I wasn’t originally going to watch this, since I’ve never played the game, but having heard it was a mixture of awful and brilliant, I wanted to try it. I wasn’t disappointed. Production I.G. handled the adaptation, and it really shows from the visual quality. They really did as good a job as could be expected from an adaptation of a game in the vein of Dynasty Warriors.
I’ll start by saying that this is not a good anime, by which I mean the writing is anything but decent, and the plot appears to be non-existent. It’s just loads of guys having a great big party and fighting one another in ridiculous battles. If you want a serious, dramatic, historical action series, this is not the show for you. If you want something that is simultaneously terrible and highly entertaining, however, Sengoku Basara is exactly that.
Visually, it’s very polished. The animation and art is great, with both characters and backgrounds looking very nice, and the costumes, while utterly stupid a lot of the time, are certainly well drawn. The battles are fluid and energetic, and inexplicably full of explosions. It’s not just the visuals that are good, either. Oda Nobunaga is voiced by Wakamoto Norio! His brief scene was probably my favourite in the whole episode. Wakamoto’s ridiculous, over the top voice acting is perfect for this kind of show, and he really pulls out all the stops for this one. There were several other familiar voice actors in there as well, so it’s clear that Production I.G. wanted the superficial aspects of the show to be top notch to make up for the utter lack of substance.
It was clear that the show wasn’t intended to be taken seriously. The dialogue was ridiculous – from Date Masamune yelling random English phrases to various characters making absurdly ‘poetic’ comments. Takeda and Yukimura beating each other up as some sort of bonding process was also silly and entertaining. There were plenty of homoerotic vibes thrown in to the mix as well, presumably in an attempt to draw in a diverse audience for the show.
I’m definitely going to keep on watching this one, just for sheer entertainment value. It exemplifies the ‘so bad it’s good’ subset of anime.