Under normal circumstances, it’s not advisable for one to jump into a continuing series without experiencing its earlier installments. While I broke this rule with Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings - The Last Party, my experience with the second and third Sengoku Basara game has prepared me for the task to come.
For those that don’t know the drill, the whole series is basically a hot blooded and over-the-top take on the Sengoku Period, with each animated installment based off of Capcom’s three main Sengoku Basara games. Seeing how Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes was easy to get into, I felt that I was ready to put my guns on.
Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings - The Last Party Blu-ray/DVD Combo (DVD reviewed)
Studio: Production IG
Licensed by: FUNimation
Release date: November 6, 2012
MSPR: $34.98 [Buy]
In spite of my risky maneuver, The Last Party starts off with a brief recap that covers the battles against Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi, as Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura play an important role in both wars. Once we move on to the newer content, the story then focuses on Ieyasu Tokugawa’s plan to unite the regions of Japan; however, there is also a sinister group that’s plotting something behind the shadows. On top of that, a swordsman known as Ishida Mitsunari is on a deadly rampage to avenge the death of Hideyoshi, which is being geared towards Date Masamune. Now that the pieces are put into place, the entire cast is ready to put their guns on for one last party -- see what I did there.
I normally find recaps to be a waste of time in any medium, but Last Party’s decision in placing one in the beginning was helpful in getting the gist of the story. Honestly, when it comes to a movie that’s supposed to wrap up the story, the time space should have been filled with content that’s related to the film’s main plot. That said, Sengoku Basara: The Last Party suffers from the condition of misusing its valuable time. While Ieyasu, Date, Sanada, and Ishida were the film’s main focus, it felt that we were missing an important piece that’s supposed to link the major events together.
In all honesty, the ones who suffered the most were the movie’s villains, since they weren’t given enough screen time for viewers to soak in their motives and personalities. One example lies with newcomer Otani Yoshitsugu, whose change of heart in the film felt like it was thrown in for the sake of Ishida’s development. Since both characters are new to this installment, viewers missed out on some important grounds from Samurai Heroes that would have justified Otani's actions. To top it all off, the movie is missing a few key characters from Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes, such as the magical girl archer known as Tsuruhime. Then again, the story is meant to be told as a 95 minute long movie, so the removal a few characters is inevitable. If The Last Party was made into third TV season of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings instead, then we might have gotten a well-organized festivity that features a good chunk of Samurai Heroes’s goodness.
If there’s one thing that Last Party gets right, it’s the fact that Production IG lets loose with the dynamic action packed battles and dialogue that manages to do great justice to the source material. As you witness weapons clash, there is a strong feeling of manliness that fills the screen. In fact, Sengoku Basara: The Last Party disregards all logic when you see an important character cross swords with each other, due to the colorful effects and extreme maneuvers that split the heavens themselves. Since Date Masamune is one of my favorite characters in the original games, I was quite satisfied with their execution in giving new life to his lightning based six sword style. But anyways, the action scenes do a phenomenal job in keeping the enjoyment strong, which almost makes up for the film's rushed premise.
Johnny Yong Bosch and Robert McCullum did a fine job with handling Yukimura and Date for FUNimations dub. As much as I consider Bosch's voice to be overused in dubs, his hotblooded screams as Yukimura weren't that bad. Even though the English cast did their best to show off Sengoku Basara’s over-the-top setting, it still doesn't come close to the extremity present in the Japanese voice track. Whether you have played the previous games, or have watched the anime’s first two seasons, the Japanese voice cast continues to fill the battlefield with gut pumping enthusiasm in The Last Party. Once again, Kazuya Nakai (Roronoa Zoro from One Piece) does an amazing job as Date, since Masamune brings his own ridiculous sword style to the table. While I was sad that he didn't say his famous "gun" line from the TV series, his acting alone is still entertaining. Another advantage that the Japanese voice actors have is that they are the same cast from the Sengoku Basara games. Thanks to this benefit, the voice actors already know how to party hard!
Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings - The Last Party may have suffered from serious pacing issues, but its action sequences, over-the-top characters, and basic story still has a fighting chance in giving viewers a decent celebration. If you are in the mood for high octane action, then you’ll be ready to put your guns on, as you experience the skirmishes unleashed with flying colors. Otherwise, you are better off with hunting down Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes for the PS3 or the Wii.
6.0 – Okay: 6’s are flawed, but still enjoyable. These titles may not have attempted to do anything special or interesting, but they are nonetheless enjoyable. These typically make great rental fodder or bargain grab.
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