Sengoku Basara, episode 8 – Where’s the love (and fighting)?

Did Sengoku Basara’s fantastic first couple episodes raise our expectations a too high? There hasn’t been a really good fight in this show since episode 2. And it seems like they’re using the b-animation team in recent episodes. While I find the backstory to be entertaining, when the show ends, if I looked back, there’s a very good chance that I’d watch episodes 1 and 2, and skip everything until maybe 9 or so (judging by the title). It seems like one of those shows that likely blasted their budget for the first and last couple episodes, and is trying to cheese their way through the stuff in between. So I kinda want to press the fast forward button to get to the good stuff.

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The Miyoshi Triumvirate looked much cooler than they actually were. If I ever cosplayed – which I don’t think I ever would – I think I would dress up in samurai gear with full face mask. The one art direction piece I didn’t like was being able to see their faces around the eyes. I think it would’ve looked much cooler if the eye holes were smaller, or if there were maybe a black border around them to make them look less human. But anyway, Kojuuro squares off against the triumvirate, and even with poison wafting around, and no flaming ball transformations, he easily disposes of the three and heads forward to confront Matsunaga.

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Meanwhile Sanada and Sasuke arrive, prepped like it’s the first day of school, to give Kojuuro a helping hand. While all of them are off doing their thing Takeda and Masamune have a heart to heart. We learn an interesting thing tidbit about Matsunaga during their conversation though. Apparently, he was the only one that Nobunaga failed or chose not to kill in a previous battle. I’m sure there was interesting thought here, but it doesn’t really go anywhere.

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Sanada catches up to Kojuuro and offers Matsunaga the Takeda clan’s family jewels – debunking Matsunaga’s claims that the Takeda clan is merely using the Nobunaga clan for gain. And while Takeda does throw down a high stakes duel with Masamune after the battle with Nobunaga, that was more keeping with the competitive spirit between GAR men, than wussy backstabbing which Matsunaga seems to be fond of. Speaking of which, rather than take on Kojuuro’s challenge, Matsunaga tries to ambush them with a blast of explosives, trying to kill the hostages and then tossing some literal cannon fodder at Sanada and Kojuuro.

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Of course, all of that is no match for either Sanada and Kojuuro, who gets his health revived by Sasuke’s antidote bomb. I know Sengoku Basara isn’t an RPG, but that part just felt very RPG-ish. Kojuuro then proceeds to (disappointingly) destroy Matsunaga with one fireball charge. Again, another weak fight. For someone who survived an attack against the Demon King, I would’ve expected him to put up a much better fight than to just have some randomly placed explosives go off, and then getting one-hit killed. In the end, Kojuuro gets his men back (having survived the bomb blasts like true gangsters), and everyone is happy.

Next week, it looks like there’s a showdown between Nouhime and Kenshin (and Kasuga the busty ninja), as well as Mitsuhide and Takeda. On paper, it should be really good stuff. But I’ll withhold judgment until I see it. I haven’t played this game, so I have no idea what comes next, but either next week’s title: The Tiger of Kai dies at Midaigawa is blatantly spoiling, or one big red herring. It’s a plausible turn of events, what with all the leadership lessons Takeda’s been pounding into Sanada, but I’d be sort of shocked to see it actually happen. I can’t imagine them fighting Nobunaga without the whole gang.

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