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Trivia / Sakura Wars (1996)

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  • Acting for Two: Setsuna and Cho are both played by Akira Ishida.
  • Breakthrough Hit: While Kohei Tanaka wrote music for video games before, his popularity got a big boost when Sakura Wars was launched.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Kumiko Nishihara and Chisa Yokoyama were originally offered to play Sakura and Iris, respectively. Yokoyama was the one who requested that they switched roles.
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  • Extremely Lengthy Creation: Oji Hiroi began developing the concept for the game in 1990. Development of the game began in 1994 after Hiroi pitched the concept to Sega.
  • Fake Nationality:
  • Fan Translation: An English translation patch for the Saturn version of the game was completed in December 2019.
  • Follow the Leader:
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Despite Maria being Russian, her voice actress Urara Takano can only speak English, not Russian.
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  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The original Saturn game and Dreamcast port are becoming hard to find since Sega discontinued the Saturn and Dreamcast.
  • Killer App: Sakura Wars became one of Sega's best-selling games for the Sega Saturn upon its release. This game, as well as Sakura Wars 2: Thou Shalt Not Die, recorded the biggest sales as a Saturn original title, and was ranked #13 place in the Famitsu's 100 all-time favorite games list, leading the series to become one of Sega's most successful franchises.
  • Meaningful Release Date: The game was released on September 27, 1996, which was the 54th birthday of Ikki Yoneda's voice actor Masaru Ikeda.
  • Network to the Rescue: Hiroi's proposal for the game was rejected by multiple game companies. Eventually, in 1994, Sega's then-vice-president Shoichiro Irimajiri contacted Hiroi to create a game for potential mascot character for the Sega Saturn. When Hiroi presented his proposal to Irimajiri at Saipan, the latter became enthusiastic and once the two returned to Japan, the game's development began.
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  • No Export for You: The game was not released outside of Asia and Russia/Russian-speaking countries/territories.
  • The Other Darrin: While Hideaki Ono portrayed Rasetsu in the original game, Hisao Egawa replaces him for In Hot Blood.
  • Permanent Placeholder: Ichiro Ogami was originally a placeholder name for the then-nameless protagonist and that name ultimately stuck.
  • Playing Against Type: Before playing Sakura Shinguji, Chisa Yokoyama was known for voicing strong characters such as Jun Asuka from Iron Virgin Jun and Ryoko Subaru from Martian Successor Nadesico.
  • Production Posse: There are quite a few TMS Entertainment regulars in the game.
    • Shunji Ōga, who was responsible for directing the anime cinematics, served as an episode director for The Rose of Versailles and would later go on to direct the 2008 Golgo 13 anime series.
    • Yasuhiro Seo, who was responsible for the opening animation, also worked on AKIRA and Sherlock Hound while at TMS.
    • Production manager Kenji Mizunuma performed similar duties on Sherlock Hound and worked as an animation producer for Sonic X.
    • Storyboard artist Masaharu Okuwaki worked on Detective Conan as a script writer and storyboard artist, and directed the 2003 Mermaid's Forest series.
    • TMS's subcontractors Studio Boomerang, Nakamura Productions and Mizo Planning worked on the in-between animation.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Chisa Yokoyama and Ai Orikasa were regulars on the Tenchi Muyo! franchise at the time of the game's release.
  • Role Reprise: Hisao Egawa returns as Rasetsu for In Hot Blood, having previously voiced him in the 2000 anime series.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot:
    • Chisa Yokoyama, who was in the running to play Iris, listened to Kumiko Nishihara's performance and suggested that the former should play the character.
    • Oji Hiroi had a limited budget and was still trying to look for an actor who could voice Ichiro Ogami. When Akio Suyama, who worked with Red Company at the time, learned about this situation, he immediately jumped at the chance to play the character.
  • Star-Making Role: This is the game made Chisa Yokoyama known to the anime fanbase. This also made Akio Suyama known as well since he had some voice acting credits and was working part-time at Red Company.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • At one point during pre-development, Oji Hiroi contemplated that the game would be set during the Meiji and Showa periods, as well as World War II but ultimately decided against it and changed the setting to the Taisho period. Ironically enough, the 2019 reboot would take place in 1940 (one year into WWII), but still set in the Taisho period.
    • Ogami was originally going to be named Soju Kanuma, an officer from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
    • Sakura Shinguji was initially named Sakura Nishijo and came from a family of witches.
    • Sakura's first battle was going to be with Ogami in the first chapter and for the next two chapters, she fought with Sumire. By chapter three, however, Sakura and Sumire would settle their differences when they are dispatched to fight the enemies in the Sumida River.
    • During the early stages of development, Sumire Kanzaki was a member of the Dream Division. She was also named Sumire Shinguji.
    • Chapter 7 would originally take place after the Great Kanto Earthquake. Sakura was going to be the Flower Division's captain after Ayame was killed and Maria would make her debut as a new American recruit. The latter scenario would later be revisited in Sakura Wars: The Movie where Ratchet Altair arrives from America to join the Flower Division.
    • Kanna was originally a nice girl named Koume Ono who stood at 2 meters (a shade above 6'6") tall and the most feminine of the combat revue.
    • Kohran was initially a male character named Ran Yuki.
    • During the early stages of development, Crimson Miroku was originally named Miroku Hosokawa. She eventually defected to help the Flower Division rescue Sakura from Satan's clutches in chapter 10, and gets killed for her troubles. Parts of that character were incorporated into Ayame for the final game.
    • Kohei Tanaka originally planned to write 50 songs for the first game. However, due to budget and time limitations, it was reduced to 24 and finally to seven. When Tanaka learned from the developers that a CD's worth of content was enough, he settled between eleven to twelve songs.
  • Working Title: According to the Sakura Wars Chronicle book, it was simply titled Sakura.


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