UDON Entertainment's Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends is a prequel to the Wii game Sengoku Basara 3, and features a slew of attractive characters battling it out for your entertainment. Written and illustrated by Yak Haibara, it's non-stop action as various samurai lords and their armies throw themselves into enthusiastic combat as everyone struggles to take control of a power vacuum in the land.
I was made aware that Sengoku Basara has quite a yaoi following, and although I've never played any of the videogames, reading this first volume in the manga series, I can totally see why. Some of these men are extremely pretty. Keiji Maeda is a delight, and Yukimura Sanada runs around in a sexy little outfit. And some of the dialogue gets a little flamboyant, although I'm not sure if it's written purposefully that way or if I'm just reading too much into it.
The book looks gorgeous, and Haibara's artwork is quite lovely. But I had the same problem with Sengoku Basara that I do with a lot of action-packed manga. While individual panels and pages are striking and dynamic, the actual panel-to-panel storytelling leaves a lot to be desired. There are a lot of characters running around in this book, and I found it difficult to keep track of what, exactly, was going on most of the time. Yes, Sengoku Basara is published in the purer back-to-front layout, but that's not what throws me. It's just the way it's drawn, where it's hard to follow panel to panel. Sometimes it's because there's visual shortcuts that may not be immediately recognizable to some Western audiences (like me), but mostly I just felt overwhelmed.
Still, if you're into the games, the manga would be a great backstory to read. And while I didn't get into Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends, the beautiful artwork and non-stop action might just lure in manga fans looking for something new.