OP: 「誇れ 気高き 美しき, いきざまを」 (Hokore Kedakaki Utsukushiki, Ikizama o) by Eight of Triangle
「天下分け目のグラウンド争奪戦!」 (Tenkawakeme no Ground Sendatsusen!)
“The Fateful Battle for the Playing Field”
For many gamers, Sengoku Basara is a fun hack-n-slash that takes Sengoku-era generals and warlords, gives them a fresh coat of anime-style paint, and pits them against each other in the battle for supremacy. While the cast of the Dynasty Warriors games can get overwhelming if you haven’t brushed up on your knowledge of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, luckily the focus on Japanese history is easier to comprehend as allegiances are made apparent by their affiliation or their wavering faith in their present leader. In Gakuen Basara, it takes the relationships of these warriors and simplifies it all down to a fun, comedic school setting. Your mileage may vary, however, on whether the jokes register with you depending on your experience with the games and the history.
The first episode is centered around a competitive game between Sanada Yukimura, captain of the Soccer team, and Date Masamune, captain of the Baseball team, as they fight over who gets to use the field. As they’re trying to play their baseball/soccer hybrid, their game is heavily interfered by a student body presidential campaign between Ieyasu, a noble student who snitched on Hideyoshi for starting a revolt against Principal Oda Nobunaga, and Mitsunari, a student sympathetic to Hideyoshi who resents Ieyasu’s role in taking him down. The winks and nods along the way towards the historical context of their real life selves as well as their relationships within the game are scattered about as characters in the cast are constantly introduced at breakneck pace.
It’s at this point where you would notice the divide if you were hopping into this assuming you would be able to laugh at every joke. Much of the humor is dependent on how much you know about the warriors both through their real life counterparts and their connection in Sengoku Basara. There are some funny gags that work to its benefit like Masamune’s tendency to shout in English when he’s excited or furious, Akechi being a creepy nurse, Magoichi Sayaka being a disciplinary teacher who mows down a biker gang for not wearing their helmets, Hideyoshi’s revolt being shown through dramatic stills, and Principal Oda Nobunaga outright causing explosions and building fires in his wake when he suspends Hideyoshi and bans the Soccer and Baseball field from being used period. However, there is a threshold that can be hard to pass regarding if you’ll be able to fully appreciate how some of the warriors are depicted like Sasuke, Honda, Motochika, Maeda, Matsu, Inuchiyo, Kingu, Mori, Otani, and the remaining cast. It should still be a fun anime with or without context, but it does feel like something’s missing without the full experience of the games.
ED: 「Be Affected」 by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Nishikawa Takanori