Legend of Basara
In a Japan vastly different from that of today, a pair of twins were born, and a prophet foresaw that the boy, Tatara, would grow to become the unifier of the Japanese people. Of course, this prophecy came to be heard in the courts of the warlords who ruled Japan, and they replied just as Herod had in the youth of Jesus. Tatara, at this time a teenage youth, was sought out to be slain ... and he was. But his twin sister Sasara pledged to avenge her brother's death and took on his identity to lead a band of rebels to bring down the four kings of Japan and fulfill the destiny that was supposed to be his.
Thus commences the Legend of Basara, which looks stylistically like a cross between Heroic Legend of Arslan and Legend of the Galactic Heroes. For those of you who haven't seen either one of those series ... to put it bluntly, the men are as pretty as the women. So it doesn't matter whether Sasara was male or female, because frankly, I couldn't tell either!
Apart from that, the story seems potentially very interesting, but very heavily plot-oriented (and therefore slow-paced), so fans of fantasy epic war sagas (and very few others) might enjoy this series. And just like the other Legend series, don't expect to remember the names of too many of the characters, either. Three days after viewing this, I could only remember the names Sasara and Tatara!
Animation-wise, it suffers from the same malady as similar fantasy epics like Fushigi Yugi. It's just not all that nice to look at, being all drab colors. I thought I was watching an 80s series, because everything just looks washed out and dull, though the animation itself technically isn't bad at all.
Learning that this series only ran 13 episodes, though, I have to wonder how on Earth they crammed a dozen-and-a-half volumes of manga into this work. I'm starting to get the feeling that they simply *didn't*, opting for something that's too slow for a highlight reel, but too undetailed to tell the full story. Maybe it was cancelled? I wouldn't be surprised if it were.
While Basara the anime isn't quite legendary, it still might fulfill a fan's daily quota for shoujo fantasy if they're burned out of watching all the other, better-known shows out there. Fans of the manga will appreciate being able to see their favorite characters on the screen, but most viewers are going to look at this, shrug, and move on.
I'd like to see more of this to give it a fair shake, but until I get my hands on the manga, I'm just finding this story a little too bland to get really worked up over. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Heads roll in this series - it's about at a par with Arslan as far as violence. (Hand-to-hand warfare is never pretty.) There was a nude swimming scene in the episode I screened, but it was implied. No sex as of yet. Okay for older children, though they'd probably be bored with it. Teens and above could keep up with the storyline better.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (1/13)
Legend of Basara © 1998 Yumi Tamura / Shogakukan / KSS
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