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SENGOKU BASARA: SAMURAI KINGS -- Watch & Learn

Haven't played the Capcom game, but this is just as preposterously over-the-top as it should be.

He parries with his face.
He parries with his face.

Change of pace, lunatics. We’ll be taking a break from EUREKA SEVEN and YU YU HAKUSHO for the next week or so to catch up with a number of fine, new Funimation titles that have come to my doorstep over the past couple months. Perhaps we’ll find a new series to follow after these current one run out?

A samurai anime that basically starts with a gang of medieval greasers (with pompadours!) running a raid on a village like they’re moto-crashing a sock hop is just my style of ridiculous samurai anime. I never heard of this particular Capcom title before I came across the DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack - - a gamier friend said it’s an import that hasn’t gotten that big of run in these parts. The intro made me think it might be the big C’s take on historical fighters like SOUL CALIBUR or SAMURAI SHODOWN, but the show itself would seem like a Japanese riff on DYNASTY WARRIORS. Whatever the origins are, this show is just as preposterously over-the-top as it needs to be.

I can’t tell how serious SAMURAI KINGS was originally intended to be, but this dub’s just an adamantine argument for how gleefully entertaining a title can be when the translation team gets room to make the material tongue-in-cheek. Or fist-in-cheek, as it were, because SAMURAI KINGS is fueled by an absolutely delirious supply of preposterone that gets you cracking up at the same time you’re pumping your fist in the air.

Hell, it isn’t even afraid to riff on the homoeroticism that comes when manly men like our pals in the picture above get a little TOO carried away with their own displays of manliness. That screengrab comes from a hilarious scene that just kind of has to be seen to be believed. What starts as your usual exchange of feudal formalities between an apprentice and his master takes a quick switchback turn into this ludicrous “bro out” brawl as the two keep smashing each other into stone walls while shouting eachother’s names in some sort of display of mutual affection. It almost felt like the scene was guest directed by John K.

And yet, all the serious stuff about dynastic feuds, grudges and various layers of manipulation actually works better than in other, grimmer samurai anime precisely because the show’s not taking itself that seriously. I might not be motivated to seek this game out, necessarily, but I definitely want to catch more of this slickly and sleekly animated, furiously-charged show.

Watch this episode, "Azure and Crimson, A Fateful Encounter" here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

doublezeroduckon Feb. 15, 2012 at 4:12 p.m.

sweet

rubberluffy is online on Feb. 15, 2012 at 7:27 p.m.

The games (yes, plural) are pretty great, and are essentially Capcom's answer to KOEI's Dynasty/Samurai Warriors games. We've only gotten 2 of them in the US, but the first game came out as Devil Kings, with all the character names changed. We got the 3rd game without them drastically altering it, and I have to say I love it. I've always been a DW fan (I'm playing DW Gundam 3 as I type this), but Sengoku Basara just takes the formula and cranks the craziness up to 11. I haven't watched the anime, but if it retains the craziness of the games I'll definitely give it a look.

metalsnakezeroon Feb. 16, 2012 at 3:56 a.m.

Its funny how the adoption is more entraining than the game. Its a solid show with nice fights and conflicts.

Username_Undefinedon Feb. 16, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.

I watched this series when it first came out and it would be lying to say that it didn't leave an impact, especially with the opening scene spoken in Engrish that sounds suspiciously like another crazy sword-swinging man, though the video only shows stuff from the second season.

I'm thankful for the way they dubbed Kenshin's voice. In Japanese, it sounded very androgynous to me and the character design didn't help either when I was trying to figure out if he was a man or a woman.

zaldaron Feb. 16, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.

eh...I'm for not changing the dub as much as they may be here. If the show is serious than the dub should be serious, now if the original japanese was done for humor than go at it. Still it would be interesting for you to watch this subbed and see if there really was a difference did they actually change it or not?

Lurkeroon Feb. 17, 2012 at 6:42 a.m.

I tried to enjoy this when it first being aired in Japan, but I did not. Too many cliches and trope filled characters that didn't do anything for me.

nivion Feb. 28, 2012 at 2:03 a.m.

@zaldar: I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be serious.

Dig Deeper into Sengoku Basara

A anime based off the popular game franchise Sengoku Basara (Devil Kings).

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