Ahh Sakura Wars. while not the original Otome game but is one of the main pushers that led to how many RPGs would use the bonding system for the players to select a waifu to love in the end and far as japan goes was something a game changer in a many respects and whether you realized it or not was it’s own cultural phenomena. in many ways I guess you can say certain game developers such kenichiro takaki(senran kagura/valkyrie drive/Kandagawa Jet Girls creator) and a few others whose names I really should’ve bothered to learn but the creators of other games like Ar tonelico and record of agarest war all try to make something the can be crowd pleaser and whill not terrible there are reasons why something Sakura Wars continues to stand the test of time with many other great classics and likely why folks would pick this over other waifu games. yeah this includes topping kenichiro takaki’s games where despite most on twitter trying to make it sound like it’s the be all end all of waifu taming, Sakura Wars continues to surprise people with how it has such a massive following.
I guess I should go into what it is exactly for those who don’t know. the basic story is this is pretty much an alternate timeline of our history in the 1920’s where supernatural beings simply called the darkness at first has been attacking globally till a certain organization developed a new kind of weapon that can fight the darkness as the armor and weapons repel the darkness and these things are mechas. but only certain people can pilot them. those people being ones with spiritual awareness. those with spiritual awareness are mostly women but I think somewhere along the way it’s implied some men can do this too but it’s been a long time since I last looked into this series for me to recall how that works. So, pretty much after this world military governments gave funding approval to make more if they can prove these mechas can defeat teh darkness.
enter the flower squadron. at first 5 then much like a sentai/power rangers team a few more get added in later installments. this team of girls primarily were stationed in japan to act as the protectors in that area. particularly Tokyo of 1926 i believe. Now again this is alternated history so whatever you know about actual history isn’t as much of an influence where while yeah there is some level of implication racism and such still exist just not to the same influencing degree as our actual history due to the darkness constantly attacking every on the planet. so racism wasn’t as much of an issue but cultural divides still exist a bit since given how the girls hail from different nationalities had to learn and adapt to living in japan with the teammates they had that know japan. also yes that’s an actual loli in the team for those asking and is child age. she’s there due to the fact children tend to be the most spiritually aware and they have cases where they can outpace the adult pilots.
Now the girls had 2 functions. function 1 is being soldiers of the people for the entire planet since they promotes unified nations needing to stand together. function 2 is being stage dancers. NOT THOSE KIND OF DANCERS PERVERTS! I mean actual stage performers where they do stage plays to entertain audiences with costumes and stage effects and singing. this serves to both provide constant funding for their military operations and maintenance as well as giving the people peace of mind. Okay, so we got magical girls, sci fi, steam punk, mechas, and waifus all in one, so it’s needless to say Sakura Wars became a lot of things in one package and this would be the kind thing where a screw up could’ve made Sega go bankrupt given they were trying to go for something big and bold to challenge nintendo and it was successsful. the first game released on the saturn and it actually pushed saturn up in sales. in japan anyway. yeah Sadly, Sakura Wars 1 to 4 would never get a US release since they didn’t think Western audiences would really care. that is until around 1999 they went for an anime adaption of their successful game which later got an english dub in the 2000’s roughly. during Toonami i believe.
Much like the game the anime for those who saw was a big success. 25 episodes run time and while slightly different from the games original story, still hit it big with audiences to the point it’s gotten multiple OVAs and even made it a point to do OVAs for each new game that came out and it even got a movie that was pretty well recieved by audiences. then 2007 where Sakura Wars 5 came out for the playstation 2 and later got a western release in 2009 i believe. I may have that wrong so don’t quote me on it, anyway Sakura Wars 5 came out and did pretty well. it wasn’t horrible or anything but after 5 SEGA just stopped making Sakura Wars. and things were just quiet. it’s still well remembered and loved since during this time of hiatus, Sakura Wars waifus, in particular the lead heroines…
and Gemini Sunrise
would continue to appear on various games such as Project X Zone, Granblue Fantasy, and Star Ocean and it showed how much these characters and their series was still loved by many and hasn’t been forgotten and even many constantly asking Sega if they would ever do another one. then in 2017 at a game convention the announcement came.
The announcement came that Sakura Wars returns with a new story. the original creator is brought on board to help with the story and if the new designs and animation look familiar then they should cause the first person they picked for the designs of the characters and mechs was Tite Kubo. yeah you know the guy who made Bleach cause despite what many western anitubers claim Bleach is still surprisingly popular in japan and with Tite Kubo is one of the animators who worked on the Bleach Anime. so yeah this 6th installment has a lot of the Bleach look and aesthetic to it. 2 years later in 2019 the game has been released in japan with a US release not far behind. so pretty much this game comes out after 12 years on the 20th aniversary of the original game’s release.
Okay so I kind of go vague on this series mostly cause I do think the anime at least is worth a watch and much like the other 5 games before this new one Sakura Wars 6 is set to have an anime in 2020. So all that said is the series that great? Well honestly while I can see how this can go under some people’s radar and probably if you didn’t know about it before you may not get into it if you’re looking for what’s currently modern with waifus but with that said I think there’s a few reasons why this series can continue to come back with as much love as star wars in a sense.
Reason 1: first of it’s the music. like just the opening song alone from the original gets people’s attention and it’s sung and treated like it’s bringing a show which is funny how that ties in. yeah i know Sakura Wars 3 and 5 have different songs for openings but here’s the thing even those are good when you realize those songs are used to match the setting of the new locations which were paris and new york in those cases and even the way Sakura Wars 6 handles the opening where it has nostalgia in it but it’s changed to match the fact this is a new generation of pilots who come oddly enough 10 years after the original heroines of tokyo, paris, and new york vanished supposedly.
Reason 2: Second Reason is presentation. whether the games or anime, Sakura Wars does a good job of presenting itself as a complete package to some degree from the era they live which is both ficitonal and historical and that gives the writers a lot of wriggle room. This is surprisingly an anime that was way ahead of the curve on how to handle people’s arguments on diversity and such without really forcing it. the story and execution of everything is very well handled and even the stage plays they do are very well done.
Reason 3: Uniquenss. yeah I know that can be said for a lot of anime but this really went all out in taking a lot of inspirations and making something that is unique to itself. like i mentioned before with all the various genre tags on it this could’ve easily failed on the first go but manages to make it work so well and even though the mechs aren’t anything massive they still have a unique look to them that works for the kind of setting they’re in.
Reason 4: The Characters. This goes without saying but again unlike with most anime that have superficial waifus where most only come back to them for lewding reasons which is fine on its own but ultimately you really don’t have much to remember or know about them. this is a series that took its time to write these waifus and give them personalities and actually developed them.
Reason 5: The themes. now this one I’m probably reading a bit much into it since I think people take a lot of different meanings but looking back there are some interesting themes in each story. granted some things are by the books and generic but when a theme is presented in the story or episode it’s handled pretty well. whether it’s the relationships between people or how different cultures mesh or dive into different kinds of struggles and depression where yeah even now it’s simple but simplicity does work when handled right. again that could just be me reading more into it than what was intended.
those reasons I list are mostly from what I can tell and got since I know those who follow this series all have different reasons for liking it and come back to it. if you got any thoughts on Sakura wars leave them in the comments below and talk about what you like in the series and what you look forward to seeing in the 6th game and 2020 anime.
and don’t forget to buy your tickets for the show performances. lol
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