We finally come to the end of Sengoku Basara: Judge End. I just… sigh, I’m just glad it’s over.
I set myself up way too much for Sengoku but honestly can you blame me? The first 2 seasons were AWESOME! My main issue with Sengoku Basara: Judge End is that it’s a different creature of its own, nothing like its earlier siblings. Things got serious and the overall tonality of the show was just that, serious. Sengoku’s meant to be crazy and party and just outright brash! A change of studio and change of staff probably did that to Sengoku Basara: Judge End. It changed the game and it didn’t end well for me.
That final fight between Ieyasu vs Ishida was such a let down. A waste of time and animation budget. What was the point of that green bubble they fought in? And in the end they drew?! What happened to Date Masamune proclaiming confidently that this battle will end with either one of them dead? Ok so it’s quite your typical shounen stuff of guys who were once the best of friends, fighting it out because they came to believe in different things and somehow words alone can’t swing either to the other’s side of things. But that’s exactly what Date vs Sanada is so why is it that their fights are so much more epic?! Ishida spoke my exact sentiments when he roared at Ieyasu to just stop with those darn bonds, bonds, bonds over and over again. Stop putting everything into words Ieyasu! Stop putting everything into words Sengoku Basara: Judge End!
To be fair, this instalment to the Sengoku franchise has always been about Ieyasu vs Ishida. The spotlight should’ve been on them from the very beginning and it was! Then things slowly turned towards Date’s meltdown and Sanada’s listless lost tiger cub situation. And then more characters got into the story which I more than welcomed but there wasn’t any value-add to these new characters. This final episode saw a happy ending for everyone – Saika, Maeda Keiji and Matsu, Otomo and Revolution (TM Revolution’s Sakai), Ichi, Tsuruhime, old man and his Fuma shinobi, Kobayakawa (and maybe Tenkai?) and even green Mori survived! What did any of these supporting characters do for the main story? Sure they took sides and yeah they kinda spent an episode fighting the revival of Oda Nobunaga but am I the only one who felt short-changed?
There was a lot that could’ve been done in this show but instead the production staff team chose to include a lot – quantity over quality. Maybe they’re thinking they have another season seeing as how this one ended with the beginnings of a second wave of Battle of Sekigahara. It should’ve been kept simple – Ishida’s despair that his closest friend chose to betray their lord Hideyoshi, breaking Ishida’s important bond with his lordship for the sake of what Ieyasu has been calling his plan to unify all of Japan through bonds between people, which really was just the guy’s self-righteous ambition and greed to unify Japan for himself. So why did this fight end with now Date commandeering the Eastern forces vs Sanada commandeering the Western forces? Was there any resolution to Ieyasu vs Ishida? Are they bros again now that they’ve fought the daylight out of each other?
I’m just glad that the veteran seiyuus got to hold the reins on this anime because with all the upcoming newbies taking over left, right and centre, this is just about the only show left that has purely veterans. Nakai Kazuya, Hoshi Souichirou, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Seki Tomokazu, Ookawa Tooru, Koyasu Takehito – you’re not going to see this sort of line-up in any other future show anytime soon. Having them voice the characters really is a throw-back to the good old days (not that the newbies aren’t good!). But even they couldn’t hold up a poorly written script and narrative that went haywire in the second half of the series. The visuals and animation’s been good; the OST does the job. But it’s not the epic standard of its predecessors and is mediocre at best. As it is, I’m listening to Sawano’s OSTs for Sengoku Basara seasons 1 & 2 as I write this review! If there’s another season, I won’t watch it. I don’t want to know what happens next. I’m happy to not know. I’m not going to ruin what the first 2 seasons of awesome, epic, over-the-top Sengoku Basara did for me.
Thanks for getting to the end of my rant-posts these last few episodes and for the patience of anyone who’s actually reading, for waiting for me to stop procrastinating and finally get to the end~ akatsuki out!