In the vicious Sengoku (or Warring States)
Period of feudal Japan, numerous bloodthirsty generals fought in an
endless struggle for power, but one man proved supreme; the Dark Lord
Oda. Joining forces in spite of their bitter rivalry, two young
warriors, Sanada and Date, must form an unlikely alliance with the other
generals in order to bring down the fearsome and decidedly ruthless
Numerous anime seriesí draw their
inspiration from feudal lore, classical texts and tales of epic
conquest; few do so with such panache as Sengoku Basara. Its
hyperreal aesthetic works perfectly within the context of an animated
epic, with story arcs, plotlines and uniquely eccentric characters given
plenty of time to cross paths, usually with swords drawn. Impossibly
bloody battles, one-eyed dragons, murderous generals, vengeful armies...
oh, and letís not forget a Demon King. Itís all par for the course for
this elegant, devilishly energetic animated outing, and the end result
is a stunningly crafted HD action-fest that barely gives you time to
blink, let alone catch your breath.
Audio & Video
Visually the series is sumptuous,
multifaceted and arresting from start to finish, with endlessly
inventive character designs and expertly staged action sequences,
something of a plus considering the characters spend a large proportion
of their time attempting to hack each other to pieces. These visual
strengths are hardly surprising given that the studio at the helm,
Production I.G., have been responsible for some of the most cutting edge
anime of the last few years, including Ghost in the Shell,
Blood: The Last Vampire and the excellent if oft-overlooked Ghost
Hound, reviewed elsewhere on these pages. The visuals are matched
by a faultless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English Master audio, and a ballsy,
perfectly respectable Japanese TrueHD 2.0. The aspect ratio is an
anamorphically enhanced 16:9 widescreen, which is how we like to get
down around these here parts, and the English subs are error-free.
Nothing to fault whatsoever on the audio or video front; the series
looks and sounds perfect on Blu.
The Region B release features over 45
minutes of bonus content all of which is, like the feature itself,
presented in 1080p HD. Scattered amongst the usual trailers and
textless openings are a couple of worthwhile titbits, though the
two-disc Blu-ray edition doesnít exactly excel in this regard. Still,
with Series One running almost five and a half hours you still get
plenty of bang for your buck.