Game based animes often turns out to be a giant waste of time. Shows originating from cRPGs usually have messed up pace. Ero-game based romances often have shallow characters, and unrealistic developments. Finally - series made after action games tend to have no plot whatsoever. I'm getting sad, just by remembering the horrors of productions like Tekken the movie or Devil may cry. I get the killing urge when I recall the goddamnawful 2 eps of Final Fantasy unlimited, my friend made me sit through. So why is Sengoku Basara enjoyable show? The answer to that is easy. Instead of trying too hard in convincing the viewer, that the story is deep, interesting and worthwile, they just went for parody.
Story - 5.2/10
Sengoku jidai (a.k.a. The Warring States period ) is a very appealing theme for a show. Many warlords fighting each other provides a large area for possible stories. From the wandering ronins, through epic battles all the way to demonic monsters - if you want a good, samurai show, Sengoku period is one of the best settings you can get. That makes it also ideal choice for an over-the-top parody of the classical samurai+shounen animes. Sengoku Basara goes down this road, and produces good results.
And so we have countless heroes clashing in a not-so-deadly battles for the sole sake of fighting (covered with some petty reasons like pride, honour, justice, domination or whatever else they can think of in the short times they actually use their brains). The viewers could get confused there for a second, and think that they are trying to tell a serious story (and that could result in change in attitude from hyped "oh yeah!" to condescending "oh..."). In order to prevent this scenario, over-the-top fighting was brought to a new, different level. First they made every action of their characters scream "I am the most manly man of all the man gathered here". Then they multiplied the weapons - no one will take a fight seriously when it's a duel between a warrior using 2 spears and his oponent using 6 katanas. Lastly they made a new law of physics - when 2 samurais fight, shit blows up. Unfortunately, since it's "anime explosion" it won't do much harm to environment, it's just like a fireworks festival.
Even over-the-top should have it's limits though, Sengoku Basara unfortunately forgets that. The appearance of giant mecha in samurai show is a failure that really spoils the fun. Of course they try to cheat their way, saying it's a giant samurai in an armor and using an enormous spear. That doesn't change the fact, that what we can see is a "robot-like" warrior, using a jet-pack to fly around and a drill on a stick to attack his enemies. He even got some sort of energy generator on his chest... Yeah, it's just as stupid as it sounds...
Animation - 9/10
Production I.G. really created one hell of an eye-candy here. The backgrounds are beatiful. The animation of weapons is crystal clear and really appealing. The character movement, the CG, the animations of large scale battles, the character designs - everything is top notch. This show is a real feast for the eyes in almost every aspect - even the "coloured auras" appearing near characters during fights doesn't look half bad. Maybe a bit too cheesy, but it fits "over-the-top" theme.
What seems on a slightly lower level than the rest, are facial movements. While they're not really bad, they aren't anything hot either. Somehow anime companies spoiled us enough, that we could expect a bit more from a 2009 production.
Sound - 8.5/10
The opening and ending weren't really good or really catchy tunes. On the other hand the background music was really great. All the tracks are skillfully conveying the mood ( which for most part is "adrenaline rush" action ). The seyius were also amazing - that's what happens when you fill the cast with the best voice actors. Thanks to their work, characters doesn't sound dull even if when they are spouting nonsense.
Characters - 6.6/10
From the "realistic characters" perspective, every single person in Sengoku Basara fails. But as a parody of shounen samurai archetypes they are awesome.We have a warrior adding english words to his sentences, to sound more cool. We have a loyal and honest idiot, A bit feminine "beatiful swordsman, a "real man" with a giant axe and a female ninja getting orgasms when praised by her lord. All of them are completely flat heros, but that's part of their appeal.
The evildoers have an amusing representation as well. Money driven mercenary, murder driven sociopath, justice driven self-proclaimed hero... And finally - Oda Nobunaga, who yet again is playing the role of the demon lord (suprise, suprise ).
If you have a free weekend and all 12 episodes of Sengoku Basara, there is a way for a great relaxing time. Buy some snacks, get a few beers (or juice if you are still underage), optionally invite friends over (if you are one of those who likes to watch animes with lots of friends). Then find some comfortable position in front of the TV or the monitor, and enjoy 6 hours of over-the-top-action fun. You don't need to think much about story progress, character psychology or any of those difficult matters. Instead you can just have a good time, watching well animated characters fighting a nonsensical battles with each other. If that's not your thing, than you probably should just skip this show.