What’s happening: It’s the warring stats era of Japan- so various factions are at war. Yukimura and Masamune have a heated dual that forges their rivalry.
BASARA is faithful to the original video game-a game I enjoyed a few years ago. This is a shounen Beat-em-up show; hence, it requires about as much plot as a typical porno. If there are epic fights and foot soldiers die by the hundreds, you don’t need to know much about why.
All around, it’s a very attractive episode. It combines strong character designs, dynamic camera work and lush scenery. This is a slick looking show-extremely well polished for a shounen anime. The characters look just as they did in the anime segments of the PS2 game. They are essentially stylish caricatures of the warlords they represent. Their colorful appearances and simplified nature give the show a distinct juvenile feel. I know that comes with the territory and I don’t typically care, but in this case I feel a bit awkward about being out of the intended demographic. Maybe it’s just my nostalgia for the game and fear of becoming older. I’m not saying I dislike the larger than life cast, in fact, I love them. They give a strong first impression and remain memorable. I’ll take a bold and colorful cast over and bland one any day.
There was one major issue holding back this premier episode: For an action show, BASARA did not wow me. The big duel between Yukimura and Masamune had potential but didn’t deliver the action I expect from an anime like this. It was short and pulled its punches. I would have loved to see a free fall battle like in Afro samurai. That would have been most intense. I had anticipated seeing hordes of foot soldiers taken down by the named characters. Where is the hack-n-slash I remember from the good days?
The BGM is classy and cues in often; serving to further enhance the production values. They seiyuu are well cast; even if some of them are typecast. Romi PAKU, the voice of Toushirou Hitsugaya, playing Kenshin is just one example of how perfectly the voices are matched.
I was happy to see the punch off between Yukimura and Takeda made it into the first episode. It was one of the many great endings in the game, and while it didn’t have the same surprise factor as in the original scene-it worked well. It had more of a Gai and lee feel, only reciprocated.
A good introductory episode with great production, but it lacked the intensity of fighting that it required. 3/5
What’s happening: Yukimura and Masamune get into a dual over a weak clan, and end up running into the villains of the era.
FUCK! Now, this is how it’s done. This second episode turns the heat on for an epic party. You’d be hard pressed to find more badassery and sick animation in the span of just 20 minutes. WATCH THIS NOW!
Yoshimoto really ups the level immaturity that I was concerned about last time. This is countered by sick fight animations and outlandish feats. In this respect, it earns the comparison to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Both are aimed at a younger demographic, but broaden their appeal with strong characters and insane action. The plot here is a bit more straightforward, but the parallels are clear. Even with a bright, cartoony cast and simple plot a show like this can thrive on its hot-blooded insanity.
Some of the feats in this episode include: Takeda rides on his horses by standing on the saddle-even as they climb a vertical wall, Kenshin’s orgasmic touch, a ninja slices a volley of arrows, and Masamune dive-bombs a mass of soldiers.
This episode brings the action I was hoping for and then some. The slaughtering of soldiers has been distilled and dramatized impressively. It’s presented in top notch animation. There are various styles in the mix that showcase some of the most sick animation you can see these days. Some parts are more avant-garde than you typically see in a shounen show. The camera direction and use of 3D modeling of the soldiers is also outstanding. I must say, the fights tightened my trousers but their brevity still left me hungry for more.
The way the bad guys are introduced is classic but not too cliché. Oda Nobunaga is an Uber Pimp of Gendo Caliber. He does not have to utter a word-he lets the ominous music and vortex that forms over his head speak for him. Oda is both badass villain and funny parody at the same time. He and his henchmen avoid the rut of being flat and generic with their style and lethality. It also helps that this show never takes itself too seriously-again the same as TTGL.
The guns are on! Everything is turned up a notch, including the goofy parts, but it’s well shot, well animated and stylish- not to be missed. 5/5