Recap: As the other show featuring genderswapped Sengoku era warlords, Sengoku Collection has been flying under our weekly coverage radar, as well as just about every other kind of radar out there. Based on a popular mobile card game, Brain’s Base has adapted the thinnest of source materials into a weird amalgam of short stories that will probably teach you more about classic movies than Japanese history.
Jel’s Final Impressions: Waaay back in Spring when we did our first impressions of Sengoku Collection, I think it’s safe to say we were not impressed with the first episode. I was particularly hard on it for its boring setup, in which the moe version of Oda Nobunaga literally falls from the sky on top of boring male protagonist #678545987992. From there, all the usual “Girl Falls From the Sky” anime clichés ensue.
But after you survive the first episode (which naturally ends on our hero accidentally walking in on Nobunaga in the bath), something magical happens: you never see Boring Male Protagonist guy again. In fact, you barely even see Nobunaga as she only appears to remind you of some plot about collecting secret treasures to go home blah blah blah whatever. It becomes clear right away this is not about their story.
What we get instead is a series of one-off episodes looking in on how the other famous generals are adjusting to our modern society. Some embrace their peaceful new life by drinking tea, writing poetry, or pursuing an idol career. Others can’t fight their warlord instincts however, and gather power to confront Nobunaga.
The show’s format is its most unique feature, keeping each girl’s story contained to a single episode with very few exceptions. This allows the stories themselves to vary greatly, covering a wide range of emotions and genres. Some of my favorites were Matsuo Basho’s visit to a seaside town, Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s bizarre… whatever that was, and Outani Youshitsugu’s lonely penpal story. The best episodes manages to establish a completely unique setting and tone and still tell a satisfying story in 24 minutes or so.
One of the reasons the variety works is the source material, and I’m not talking about the Sengoku Collection game or the history it’s based on. I’m not much of a movie buff so I can’t claim to have discovered this on my own, but apparently each episode is loosely inspired by a classic film. There are are other sources that can explain the connections better than I can, but once the references to the movies I know were pointed out, it definitely made sense. It certainly adds another unique layer to an already odd show, and I’m sure I’d be even more into this series if I was more into movies in general. I will also forever think of the 1953 Audrey Hepburn classic Roman Holiday as a moe romantic comedy. THANKS Sengoku Collection, thanks.
Of course the downside of Sengoku Collection’s format is you roll the dice with every episode. Some work, some don’t, and it seems when they don’t they really don’t. Sometimes it’s plot related, like the first episode mentioned earlier. Sometimes it’s the production values, like boring direction and pacing somehow ruining the story of a loli Tokugawa Ieyasu voiced by Kana Hanazawa becoming an idol. Seriously, how do you mess that up? And in other cases it’s both, such as episode 14 that smashed together several characters and had virtually no plot or animation.
Perhaps Sengoku Collection’s single biggest problem is the first three episodes happen to also be three of the worst episodes. So even though the show has many more highs than lows, it puts up a huge barrier for getting people to stick with the show. Honestly I would have never picked it back up after the first episode if I didn’t happen to hear some crazy stories about the direction the show ends up taking.
So take my story as a cautionary tale and don’t make that same mistake. If that’s not enough of an endorsement, I’m sure the concept of re-interpreting old movies with genderswapped Sengoku era warlords living in modern times will at least pique your interest. Either way, give Sengoku Collection a shot. It has some very high highs and very low lows but it’s definitely a unique experience worth watching.
Lifesong’s Final Impressions: Jel really said it all, but the world needs to know so I will give my piece as well. Brains Base pulled one over on us. If you think this anime is about Sengoku warlords well you are part right; however, you are also very wrong. The first 3 episodes of this show are pretty bad, but there are also some fantastically clever episodes in this show. I’m going to list just a few of the things you can expect to see in this anime below because you deserve to know what it is you missed out on!
Hideyoshi going down the rabbit hole into wonderland.
A genderbent warlord wielding an AK-74.. In SPACE.
A fishing rod used successfully in a shonen-esc battle scene.
Liu Bei as a maid that turns into a werepig at night.
A genderbent warlord learning to fish and having a cosmic fishing orgasm.
A poet who only speaks in Haiku.
An incredibly bleak depressing look at life from a samurai who has nothing.
A battle for dominance.. of a PRESCHOOL where naptime is used to gain a strategic advantage.
And best of all Brains Base being Brains Base. This anime is capable of being wacky and clever in ways you would never expect, and If that means anything to you then you really should give it another shot.