Sengoku Basara is, in a way, a copycat of Samurai Warriors, only made by Capcom. The main difference is the stylish, ludicrously over-the-top gameplay, characters, designs, and portrayal of Japanese history. While still loosely based on Real Life, they decided to throw most historical accuracies out the window and come up with their own story. They didn't want a historical simulation like Koei did, they just wanted a new-generation Hack And Slash with a Sengoku Period setting.The result was a line of games that abandoned logic and ran entirely on Rule Of Cool, a World of Badass which even now continues to outdo itself. Expect a lot of Flanderizations here, both good and bad, and lots of well known seiyuu voicing the characters. Oh, plus the music is awesome, and has received consistent praise (and a recent "Best Of" soundtrack compilation). The series holds a strong fanbase, especially in Japan, mainly because, if nothing else, it's just fun.Capcom attempted to bring the first game to the west by giving it a Cut-and-Paste Translation treatment in the form of Devil Kings, which changed the characters' names and removed all Sengoku Period references. Safe to say, it bombed and Capcom has been scared to bring the Sengoku Basara sequels to western audiences.There are four main games in the series so far, as well as a couple of spin-off titles for various different consoles:
An anime adaptation of the series started airing on April 1, 2009. A second season began July 11, 2010 followed by a feature film debuting in cinemas June 4, 2011. FUNimation picked up the series to be dubbed, as Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings rather than Devil Kings, and with an equally-popular cast of who's-who in voice acting.In the wake of that, Capcom announced that Sengoku Basara would be brought to the US and Europe once more, starting with the third game, translated faithfully, and titled Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes. In August 2012 the first two games and the expansion were collected in an Updated Rerelease for the PS3. And as of March 2013 it's been confirmed that the fourth game will be released for the PS3 early 2014.There is also a 2008 manga adaptation, Sengoku Basara Ranse Ranbu by Kairi Shimotsuki. In 2012, a two volume English translation of the second manga by Yak Haibara, named Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, was released. For the third game a tie-in manga by Asagi Oga, Sengoku Basara 3: Roar of Dragon, was serialised in 2010. A High School AU called Basara Academy is being published, with four volumes so far.As if that wasn't enough, it has also been given its own stage production, first performed in 2009. A Live-Action Adaptation of the anime titled Sengoku Basara Moonlight Party started airing in 2012.Not to be confused with the shoujo manga Basara. This page contains spoilers for both the games and the anime.
All There in the Manual: The manga, novels and drama CDs all contain information that is left out of the games, and some of them even tell a completely different set of events. Due to the non-linear nature of the games, other media are free to do what they wish. The anime takes inspiration from both the games and the first manga, but its plot is entirely separate. This makes it hard to decide on what is 'canon'.
Anachronism Stew: Most of the main characters lived in vastly different periods of the Sengoku Era... Also, Masamune's horse has chopper exhaust pipes and handlebars and his soldiers look like archetypical delinquents, including one with a pompadour.
He recently gained exhaust pipes for himself in Sengoku Basara 3/Samurai Heroes and they actually smoke when he runs.
And beam swords. Where the sheath is the exhaust pipes.
Author Appeal: T.M.Revolution has a long-standing affair with this series. The only title he (or his band Abingdon Boys School) didn't make an opening song for was 2, and that theme is significantly less popular than any of the others.
When it comes to female characters, be sure you'll see plenty of ass and legs. While Kasuga and Magoichi also show their cleavage, every single one of the girls gets some focus below the waist.
Casual Danger Dialogue/Talking Is a Free Action: Characters are somehow able to hold conversations with each other at any point during a stage, even with the whole battlefield in between them. And if whoever you're fighting against is your friend or ally, most likely they'll chat away happily as if nothing were wrong while you're slaughtering their mooks.
Changing of the Guard: Ieyasu and Mitsunari steal the main character/poster boy slots in SB3, removing Masamune and Yukimura from the spotlight somewhat.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Everyone. Well, everyone who is a main character, since their ridiculous strength and fighting ability is what makes them applicable for this role. However they're still normal humans, apparently.
Then again, while Nouhime, Ranmaru, Hanbe, Nagamasa, Yoshimoto and Hideyoshi were dumped for a good reason (plot relevance), Musashi, Itsuki, Xavi and Hisahide simply disappear without a reason.
Xavi's fate, at least, is mentioned in Sorin's stage several times, with rumours such as "He was homesick and didn't like this land's food". At least it keeps in line (as possible as it is in Basara) with the historical figure he's based on, St. Francis Xavier, who didn't stay in Japan for long.
However this hasn't stopped Hisahide from turning up out of the blue as a playable character in Sengoku Basara 3 Utage.
Colour Coded Characters: Most notable are main rivals Yukimura and Masamune, who wear red and blue respectively, as do their older counterparts, Shingen and Kenshin. Motonari and Motochika also sport complimentary colour schemes, green and purple.
Mitsunari and Ieyasu too. Mitsunari wears black and purple to represent the moon, whereas Ieyasu wears yellow to represent the sun.
Ieyasu's yellow aura also contrasts with Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, who both have red auras.
As for the rest, Keiji, Kasuga, Oichi and Tsuruhime have pink auras, Hanbe's is purple, Kojuro's is light blue and Mitsuhide/Tenkai's is green.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: Xavi's religion of suspiciously Catholic-looking LOVE (or "Xavism" in Samurai Heroes).
Darker and Edgier: Sengoku Basara 3 and its expansion are much much darker and more serious story-wise than their predecessors.
Dark Is Not Evil: If she doesn't snap, Oichi is rather harmless. Likewise the ninja Sasuke, who's quite a nice guy.
Demoted to Extra: In the third game; Kenshin, Kasuga, Sasuke, Kojuro, Toshiie and Matsu are now NPCs, and Hisahide, Musashi, Itsuki, Xavi and Kennyo don't appear at all. However in Utage the former are all player characters once again, along with Hisahide.
Divergent Character Evolution: Initially Matsu and Kenshin as well as Kasuga and Sasuke shared the exact same movesets. However they soon managed to gain their own fighting style by the second game. Similarly, Kid!Ieyasu and Ujimasa copied Toshiie's polearm moveset before moving on.
Dual Wielding: Masamune scoffs at your feeble dual-wielding and prefers to wield six swords at a time (three in each hand). Yukimura dual-wields spears, and Mitsuhide dual-wields scythes.
But wait, in Utage, Masamune takes it up another notch in War Dance mode where while using Phantom Dive he wields all 6 swords at once in ONE HAND! I dont think anything aside from the Rule Of Cool can explain how he is doing this.
And Muneshige trumps them all by dual-wielding chainsaws.
Musashi, the original dual-wielder, once accuses Yukimura of stealing his technique, despite Yukimura never having heard of him before.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Uesugi Kenshin, justified that even his real life counterpart was suspected by many to be a woman disguised as a man. Nevermind that he was based off Takarazuka performers.
Easy Evangelism: Occasionally Xavism proves to be more effective than it seems. Motonari, Yoshihiro and Kanbe have all shown up as Xavists, with Motonari still having some deeply suppressed sentiments.
Everything's Better with Spinning: Basara attacks generally contain a lot of spinning to help raise the hit count. Yukimura, Motonari, Nagamasa and Kotaro also have a lot of weapon spinning involved in their movesets.
Eye Beams: In the opening sequence for Battle Heroes, frickin' 100 foot-tall versions of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi shoot frickin' LASERBEAMS out of their eyes! It was awesome. Shame it didn't happen in the game itself.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Allies in the third game. Use Tokugawa Ieyasu as Ishida Mitsunari's wingman? And then bring this unholy alliance to go fight Ieyasu and watch the game ignore how the same character is appearing twice? Why not indeed?
Gang of Hats: The various armies. Like Kanbe's army, blue collar workers who use tools like pickaxes and rakes instead of swords and pikes.
Get Back Here Boss: A gimmick often employed by various commanders in-game in some fashion or another.
Giant Mook: Giant enemies are bigger than every playable character but Honda. This includes Kanbe, Yoshihiro, and Muneshige!
The opening theme of Sengoku Basara 3, "Naked Arms" by T.M.Revolution. Sung in English in the North American version. By T.M.Revolution. Good luck making any sense of it. Hear it here. May double as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Grey and Grey Morality: There are very few characters who can be defined as evil in the series (aside from Nobunaga, but he doesn't count), only a group of ambitious people who have similar goals which they will do anything to achieve, and who inevitably come to blows. As Hisahide points out, no matter how honourable a samurai's ideals may be, they still cause destruction and death for the sake of their own gains. The whole conflict is extremely chaotic.
Guns Are Worthless: Guns have short range, in many cases have visible and dodgable projectiles, and don't do any more or less damage than the associated melee weapons. Gun users exist as player characters and are about as effective as everyone else, leaning towards Glass Cannons.
Hard Mode Perks: After a certain point the only way to level up quickly and increase your luck in order to get more money, better weapons or rarer items is to play on hard mode.
Harder Than Hard: The Basara difficulty introduced in Utage. You'll die in about three hits from a mook.
Hattori Hanzo: Can be equipped as a bodyguard in 3, which is a start at least. Oh, and you'll be using him a lot if you wanna find those damn fugitives...
Headbutting Heroes: Most of the designated heroes are actually enemies, so this is bound to happen when they are forced to work together.
Heroic Spirit: The series feeds on it! The aptly named Hero Mode can make time slow down or increase your attack power a hundredfold.
Hidden Depths: Despite not putting great stock in Character Development, if you really pay attention it may be surprising to see how often characters drop subtle and unexpectedly philosophical hints as to their true feelings or past experiences. Unfortunately, these are rarely expanded upon.
Historical Badass Upgrade: Most of the cast. Granted, some of those ancient warriors were actually pretty badass on their own....
Also, the war machines that show up as occasional mini-bosses. Motochika seems especially fond of using these against the player. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you... TOAD-BOAT!
Implausible Hair Color: Surprisingly, most characters have realistic brown or black hair, except for Kasuga and Sorin, who are blond, and Magoichi and Fuuma, who are redheads. No one draws attention to this. There're also no fewer than five (young) characters with white/silver hair, implying it's an even more common occurence than a blond or a redhead in the Basaraverse.
Japanese Honorifics: Most notable is Yukimura who speaks quite archaically and extremely politely towards everyone, addressing them with the suffix '-dono' which, in that era, was supposed to be only used with equals or higher. He even speaks like this to Kasuga and Masamune's soldiers!
Hanbe addresses everyone with the suffix '-kun', even people older than him. This is probably deliberately derogatory.
Japanese Pronouns: Aside of the usual assortment of watashi, washi, boku and ore, it includes such gems as soregashi (Toshiie), sessha (Yukimura), maro (Imagawa), ware (Motonari), wagahai (Yoshiaki), temae (Muneshige), shosei (Kanbe) and yo (Nobunaga). Oichi, Matsu and sometimes Nouhime refer to themselves in the third person. Second-person pronouns are equally oddball, with the archaic onushi (Shingen), kiden (Nagamasa), sonata (Kenshin) and kei (Hisahide) being thrown around a lot alongside of anata, omae and temee.
Joke Character: Yoshimoto Imagawa, Ieyasu Tokugawa (until he grew up), Ujimasa Hojo. Third game adds Hideaki Kobayakawa and Sorin Otomo.
Keigo words like '-sama', '-dono' are almost everywhere.
The writers seem to have a great deal of fun throwing in as many different Japanese Pronouns as they can find.
Kiai: Necessary for any warrior, however Yukimura does it best.
Kid Samurai: Musashi, Ieyasu (pre-timeskip) and Yukimura, who are all in their teens. However growing up in a feudal country does that to you, just like their historical counterparts. Ranmaru is an exception, being an archer.
Killed Off for Real: Since 3 is much more true to history than the other games, characters like Yoshimoto, Nagamasa, Nouhime, Ranmaru, Hanbe and Hideyoshi, whose deaths are important to the new plot, are not coming back.
Loads and Loads of Characters: There are 40 named, fleshed-out characters in the series (46 if you include the area warlords), all but 5 of whom have been playable during the series. Chronicle Heroes has a total of 33 characters.
Lovely Angels: Magoichi and Tsuruhime when they team up at Sekigahara.
Mêlée à Trois: Certain battles in the series involves crashing a battle between two characters and wiping them both out, ending in a fight between all the commanders
Mighty Glacier: Shingen and Xavi, the latter being the slowest character (which can be fixed with a speed boost item) in the game but has a Limit Break capable of, if not outright killing them, taking off massive chunks of boss health if used properly. Hideyoshi leans somewhere more towards Lightning Bruiser and Itsuki is something of a Glacier Waif. The third game introduces Kanbe, who makes up for his lack of speed with his attack range, and Muneshige.
Mr. Fanservice: The male characters. Come in all shapes and sizes, with plenty of angst and a nice voice cast. Every one of them has to appeal to some sort of fetish.
Multiple Endings: The third game introduces this to the Drama Story Mode, making the ending you acquire depend on the choices you make when deciding which battles to fight.
Named Weapons: Every single weapon is named, some even have more than one. The only exceptions are Mitsunari's swords, which are specifically called 'Nameless'.
Name Order Confusion: Samurai Heroes switched the characters' names around to western order, but the anime dub kept the original eastern order used for many pre-20th century Japanese historical figures that the fans were familiar with. This caused some confusion for those not familiar with the difference.
Neutral Powers Bad People: Hard to explain, but usually some elements like fire and lightning are associated with good/sympathetic characters, while ice, light and darkness are usually connected to negative/unsympathetic ones. There are some exceptions, like Kenshin, Sasuke, Oichi, Ieyasu, and Hisahide.
Ninja: Sasuke, Kasuga and Fuuma are all playable, and ninjas regularly pop up during stages.
Ninja Log: This exact trick is actually used by ninja grunts in 3.
Ninjas are standard fare, with playable characters Sasuke, Kasuga and Fuuma.
Motochika is a pirate, along with his crew.
Nanbu Harumasa commands an army of zombies through magic, or something.
Hondam Tadakatsu is a Humongous Mecha and other robotic enemies turn up occasionally (usually when the aforementioned pirate is involved).
No Hugging, No Kissing: For a series with so much implied romance, there is very little on-screen action to be had. The only characters who have kissed are Toshiie and Matsu, once, and you don't even see it.
One-Hit Kill: Yoshihiro has a move like this, which will kill anything and anyone no matter how powerful. Masamune's TESTAMENT comes close, if charged correctly.
Patriotic Fervor: A meta-example: There's a good reason why Sengoku Basara 3 was released on the Playstation 3 and the Wii (which are both Japanese-made consoles) and NOT for the Xbox360 (which is an American model), despite the Xbox 360 being capable of handling the game better than the Wii (and not the fact the Xbox 360 has fewer sales in Japan doesn't count.)
In another odd example, images of Date Masamune from the game were used on posters encouraging people in the Miyagi prefecture (the real Date's old stomping grounds) to vote in the mayoral election.
The Remnant: In Samurai Heroes, Mitsunari Ishida is continuing in the name of Hideyoshi. More explicitly, Oichi leads the "Oda Remnant" forces. Or rather the Oda Remnants forcefully pulled Oichi back from her sleep and had her become their figurehead. Also, Sorin's faction is apparently all that's left of Xavi's converts.
Serial Escalation: This game revels in its crazy fighting game action. For example, Masamune wields six swords. Not bad to start with, however this obviously just wasn't enough, so one of his alternate weapons has three blades to each hilt, making a grand total of 18 swords. How's that, eh?
Sissy Villain: Yoshimoto Imagawa, Mitsuhide Akechi. In the third game there's Otomo Sorin.
The Smurfette Principle: In the spinoff fighting game, the only female main fighter is Oichi. Kasuga, Nouhime and Matsu are limited to support only, and Itsuki doesn't appear at all.
It applies to the series, unlike Samurai Warriors or Dynasty Warriors who don't hesitate to include almost every good looking female historical figure as a fighter. Sengoku Basara tries to avoid that, relying on fictional characters to fill in certain niches.
Except that they did it with Oichi and Nouhime too, to a greater and more implausible extent. So they don't exactly "avoid" that much. Nevermind the fact that Saika Magoichi was historically a guy as well.
Take That: Apparently their decision to turn Kanetsugu into a eternal loser. A less childish and more subtle one: The spears wield by the enemy generals looks like those used by Sanada Yukimura, the poster boy of Samurai Warriors. It may be a coincidence.
The spear was an incredibly common weapon during that age, so yes, I'd wager coincidence.
Devil Kings even decided to throw the historical part out of the window in favour of an original story. Which, when the revisionism you had is deemed awesome, is not such a good idea.
Weapon Tombstone: After their defeat at Odawara in SB3 Masamune puts the swords of all the Date troops Mitsunari slaughtered on a mountainside in their memory.
What Measure Is a Mook?: The Sengoku Basara world is not a very pleasant place to be if you're not in possession of outrageous fighting abilities, to say the least. Mooks very rarely contribute much to a fight and will always inevitably be killed by the hundreds.
Eye Scream: In Episode 12, when Nobunaga has Masamune cornered, he torments the poor boy by threatening to gouge out his other eyeball with his finger.
Executive Meddling: The anime's second season is designed to bring the anime story into line with the game's Canon, leading to almost half the cast coming back to life for no adequately explained reason.
Heroic BSOD: Yukimura has one after Mitsuhide wounds Shingen badly enough that his survival is questionable, which he blames himself for not being able to prevent. Only a manly Rousing Speech from both Masamune and Kojuro is able to snap him out of it.
Hollywood Healing: Subverted with a gunshot wound Masamune obtains in the anime, which renders him bed-ridden for two episodes and serves as a major handicap in the Final Battle.
Played straight later with Motochika, who appears to be in great condition just days after getting beaten to a bloody smear by Hideyoshi.
Also, Episode 1 of Season 2. Yukimura has bandages on with his arm in a sling after he was beat down by Masamune at the beginning of the episode, but he undergoes instantaneous healing when Takeda punches him.
Human Shield: Mitsuhide attempts to use Ranmaru as one against Kojuro. It doesn't work. Kojuro just throws Ranmaru out of the way and kicks Mitsuhide's ass.
Hurricane of Puns: The English dub of Season 2 Episode 13 seems to be an attempt at this by the writers/voice cast. It ends up being genuinely funny, and ten times hammier and more ridiculous than the rest of the season put together.
I Can Still Fight: Masamune's gunshot wound makes it impractical for him to go after the men who were taken hostage. Still, Kojuro has to carefully and gently beat this into his master.
Just Whistle: Subverted. After Sasuke realizes he can't stop Kasuga from trying to pull a one-woman Roaring Rampage of Revenge on Nobunaga, he instead gives her a flute and tells her to blow it should she find herself in danger. When the time does come to use it, it turns into a rocket-powered glider instead of summoning the other ninja.
Kasuga: I thought you were supposed to appear when I blew into it.
Sasuke: Well, that's obviously impossible. But hey, I'm here now!
Lyrical Dissonance: "FLAGS", which opens the film, sounds just like a lively rock song akin to the other anime themes, and consists of T.M.Revolution's usual flowery lyrics. However it highlights the instability of the era, portraying the samurai as tragic figures whose lives have no meaning without war, and encourages warriors to live for the moment because they're probably going to either die young or fade into obscurity, unable to adapt to the changing times.
By contrast, the film's ending song essentially says "yeah, the whole country has gone to hell, but we may as well make the most of it!"
Mauve Shirt: Those four Date soldiers who are kidnapped in Episodes 7 and 8.
I Have Just One Thing to Say: Shingen gives Yukimura a wordless example when Yukimura comes back from Hisahide's hostage situation with everyone alive, but without the ceremonial armor. After Yukimura gives his explanation ("people are our treasure"), Shingen lets loose his usual Megaton Punch, only to stop just before contact to ruffle Yukimura's hair.
And in the very next episode, Tadakatsu goes BOOM, much to Ieyasu's despair.
Mooks: Every single soldier. One even wonders why they even bother gathering soldiers in the first place...Probably to keep the mooks from the opposition busy while their bosses fight the 'real' battles.
Neck Lift: Nobunaga does this in the last episode. Masamune must weigh about as much as a bag of sugar.
In Season 2, Masamune gets this treatment again, from Hideyoshi this time.
Rule Of Cool: So many to count, but most prevalent would be Shingen using two horses to ride to the battlefield, all while standing up, each foot stepping on each saddle. And he can get the horses to run on walls.
Speaking of horses, Yukimura rides only one, but to dodge bullets, he stabs the ground with one spear and spins around it, while still riding the horse.
Trap Is the Only Option: In Episode 11 Masamune decides to walk into Nobunaga's trap, confident that he'll be able to figure something out once he gets there and kick butt. It turns out that the trap was actually set for Mitsuhide.
Unexplained Recovery: Despite being used as a punching bag by Toyotomi, then being caught in the epicenter of his exploding base and then being almost drowned, Motochika shows up two episodes later looking as fit and healthy as ever, AND has a mind to steal Masamune's horses.
Matsunaga Hisahide, Oichi and Shimazu Yoshihiro are other examples. One blew himself up and the other two were killed by Nobunaga, yet they're alive and kicking by the second season. Though Oichi has become little more than an Empty Shell and has to fight off possession by her brother, who it seems isn't resting in peace either.
This anime has absolutely no shame bringing back supposedly dead characters for the sake of a possible third season. Just how did Ieyasu manage to grow so much in such a short space of time? How did Tadakatsu put himself back together after being blown up by Nobunaga?
Unflinching Walk: In Season 2, Hideyoshi pulls this as he approaches Motochika's Fugaku fortress-ship, while cannon fire decimates his mooks around him.
Unfortunate Song Name: Maybe it was not intentional per se (we hope), but maybe Abingdon Boys School didn't figured out that JAP (the opening theme in the first season) is a derogatory insult against the Japanese, especially during World War II, by American soldiers and it's considered a taboo word in the U.S.
Volleying Insults: Motonari and Motochika always seem to end up doing this when they meet. They get especially creative in the movie.
War Is Hell: Sure the individual duels may be glorious, but the ongoing war and chaos is always presented as a bloody and terrifying waste of human life that brings sorrow to all involved.
Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Shingen and Yukimura regularly smash holes through the doors and walls of their mansion. In the movie, they go so far as to demolish and entire building, much to the surprise of the men inside it.
Worthy Opponent: A conversation between Shingen and Kenshin in the anime implies that the two of them collaborated to arrange for Masamune and Yukimura to meet in battle specifically in the hopes that the two of them would become Worthy Opponents.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Oichi tells Nobunaga that she has accidentally killed his wife, Nobunaga calmly responds by saying that a woman like Nouhime can only go so far. He then kills Oichi for the same reason.)
And this is after he has already sent Mitsuhide to die against the heroes by giving both him and them a false location of his stronghold. Though to be fair, Mitsuhide was going there to kill him as well.