Sengoku Basara Game Best
Sengoku Basara Game Best
November 3, 2010
Buy Used Copy
Sengoku Basara Game Best is a compilation of the opening and ending themes featured in the Sengoku Basara series of hack-n-slash games. It features performances by artists such as Takanori Nishikawa, Tomiko Van, and Chiaki Takahashi in a range of styles. The songs of this limited edition album were presented on both a CD and DVD.
The album begins with the opening theme for the original Sengoku Basara by T.M. Revolution. The track complements the in-game music quite well with its energetic electronic beats and hard guitar riffs. Vocalist Takanori Nishikawa also brings the melody to life with his energetic performance. It’s not particularly memorable, but is nevertheless quite a compelling opening theme with its immersive elements. In contrast to the game’s sequels, no separate ending theme was created for this title.
Less impressive is Sengoku Basara 2‘s opening theme by High and Mighty Color. While the series’ music has never been an authentic fit, this song is particularly out of place with its wannabe metal stylings and thoughtless lyrics. Though the song will appeal to the band’s fans, the duetting vocals and cheesy solos won’t have stand-alone appeal among the masses either. The ending theme “Brave”, taken from the debut single of Do As Infinity’s Tomiko Van, is more appealing with its gentle verse and energetic chorus. While not particularly original, it should have a wider appeal than its counterpart thanks to the passionate vocal performance.
Listeners are also offered the vocal themes for the enhanced title Sengoku Basara 2 Heroes here. Takanori Nishikawa returns with his band abingdon boys school for the opener “Blade Chord”. He complements the cutting-edge vocals with hard guitar riffs and the occasional shakuhachi wail. Whereas most song production has been outsourced for the series, the ending theme “Sleeping Scarlet Flower” was actually composed by one of the game’s instrumental composers, Rei Kondoh. His immersive blend of acoustic instruments and pop elements here complements the game perfectly. The melody is beautiful too, though Mamiko Noto’s is too dreary and immature to bring out the most of it.
Sticking with abingdon boys school, the opening theme for Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes, “JAP”, is the sixth track of the best album. Here Nishikawa gives one of his most extravagant vocal performances to date, and brings out the most of uplifting lyrics like “reaching for the sky”. The instrumentals are more generic this time, but still keep the vocalist buoyant and energised throughout. Less appealing is the ending theme “Sailing Free”, a straightforward upbeat anthem. The rock stylings are of the lame and trashy variety, while Olivia Lufkin’s vocals are of the obnoxious youthful sort. Her existing fanbase might enjoy this track, but most others won’t care for it.
Capcom let Nishikawa handle the opening theme for Sengoku Basara 3 too, “Naked Arms”. This track is pretty typical of T.M. Revolution’s music, though there is an interesting catch: Nishikawa recorded versions in Japanese and, for the game’s localisation, English. Both versions are featured on this album and its counterpart single, though neither will unfortunately make sense to most Westeners. Finally, legendary singer Chiaki Takahashi of The Idolmaster fame. Blending influences of pop and operatic singers, the vocals are gorgeous and far deeper than the game itself. This track is also exceptional for the way it incorporates authentic Japanese instrumentation into the mix.
In addition to the main performances of these tracks on the CD, the album also features a bonus DVD featuring their music videos. While most will be fine with the CD alone, it’s certainly a fine bonus for consumers. It will be a particularly welcome treat for fans wishing to reminisce about the series’ games, with their action-packed visuals. Note that “crossfire” is actually included in two versions here, one used in Sengoku Basara and the other used in Sengoku Basara X.
With a roughly even mix of hits and stinkers, the music featured on this album doesn’t really deserve to be described as the best of the series. However, the performances by Takanori Nishikawa and Chiaki Takahashi are certainly highlights, both in the game and on their own. Despite the inconsistency, it’s commendable that the record label decided to produce this reasonably priced compilation of music tracks and videos. It’s the definitive purchase for those looking for the series’ opening and ending themes, though those just looking for specific artists should stick to their main albums and singles.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.