Shin Sakura Taisen The Animation Takes Place Slightly After the Game's Story
New details on Shin Sakura Taisen The Animation and the Moscow Combat Revue designed by Kaguya Luna character designer Mika Pikazo. Staff, cast comments.
Sega held on January 29 the 11th Sakura Taisen Imperial Communication Department’s Broadcast stream. You can find the full stream here. It was the first stream since 2020 began. As usual, it featured MC Mami Yamashita, Yohei Azakami, who was cosplaying Seijuro, and Producer Tetsu Katano. The stream included many new details on the upcoming anime adaptation, Shin Sakura Taisen The Animation. The Moscow Combat Revue was finally revealed, along with a new trailer, story details, screenshots, and comments from the cast and staff.
First off, here is the trailer, narrated by Sho Hayami, revealing the new characters from the Moscow Combat Revue:
The biggest shock about the anime is how it takes place on Taisho 30, meaning it’s a sequel to the game, which takes place on Taisho 29. Producer Katano said the anime takes place “slightly after the game”. This is surprising as when the anime was first revealed, Sega said it would cover more or less the same story events as in the game. This is fine by me, as hopefully, I will have finished the game by April, but this is a bummer for fans waiting for the game’s localization. Fans who wish to avoid spoilers won’t be able to watch the anime as it airs. This is just a guess though, but I believe the anime won’t spoil the game much and will focus on its own story instead. This was the case with most previous Sakura Taisen anime.
Here’s the story pitch from the Shin Sakura Taisen The Animation official site: “Taisho 30 (1941). The Imperial City, Tokyo, regained its peaceful days. Seijuro Kamiyama, the captain of the Imperial Combat Revue Flower Division, was assigned to Europe, and Sakura Amamiya is temporarily replacing him as acting captain. The Flower Division’s days without their captain are full of troubles. One day, Seijuro momentarily comes back, bringing along a girl named Clara, the only survivor of the Moscow Combat Revue, destroyed after a certain incident. Seijuro transfers Clara into the Flower Division, entrusting her to Sakura Amamiya and the others, who warmly welcome here However, individuals who claim to be the supposedly destroyed Moscow Combat Revue appear in the imperial city. What is Clara’s real identity? And what is the objective of the Moscow Combat Revue? The curtain rises on the Imperial Combat Revue Flower Division’s new battle.”
On stream, we were then introduced to Clara and the Moscow Combat Revue characters:
From left to right: first, we have Clara, voiced by Misaki Watada. Next, we have the captain of the Moscow Combat Revue, Kaminsky Valery, voiced by Akabane Kenji. Lastly, we have his squadmate, Leila, voiced by Haruka Shiraishi.
All three characters were designed by Mika Pikazo. We translated her comments: “When I first heard of Sakura Taisen in my school days, it was already a legendary game. I was overwhelmed by the passion emanating from the series, the cuteness of the character designs, and the myriads of songs. Each member of the Moscow Combat Revue has multiple facets to their personalities and backgrounds. They’re all very charming. Taking all this into account, I put a lot of thought into how to design them. I’m looking forward to how they will interact with the main characters and how their feelings will clash with each other”.
— Mika Pikazo🚀PARCO全国ツアー (@MikaPikaZo) January 29, 2020
On Twitter, Mika Pikazo added: “This is my first time being involved with anime production, and it’s Sakura Taisen! I’m so excited! I’m so happy the characters I designed will be interacting with Kubo Tite’s characters and the characters created by artists I admire”.
Mika Pikazo shared more illustrations for Clara, Kaminsky, and Leila of the Moscow Combat Revue on Twitter. Mika Pikazo often uses highly vivid colors in her drawings, giving her art an eastern Europe feel at times. This is a perfect fit for the Moscow characters, as the Sakura Taisen series purposefully exaggerates stereotypes.
Personally speaking, I didn’t expect at all that Mika Pikazo would be Moscow Combat Revue’s character designer. She’s 26 and a very new pro artist compared to the other designers on Shin Sakura Taisen: Tite Kubo (Bleach), Yukiko Horiguchi (K-On), Abec/Bunbun (Sword Art Online), Fumikane Shimada (Strike Witches), Noizi Ito (Haruhi Suzumiya), and Shigenori Soejima (Persona). All of these are popular series who originated in the early 2000s or early 2010s that would be considered old by today’s Japanese teenagers, fitting Sakura Taisen‘s old atmosphere. Mika Pikazo, in counterpart, is the character designer of Kaguya Luna, one of the five most popular virtual youtubers in Japan, and, in my opinion, the only one who’s actually funny. This shows how Sega strives to make Sakura Taisen more popular among a younger audience. Besides Kaguya Luna’s design, Mika Pikazo is also the illustrator of an isekai novel themed around real-life magic tricks, titled Saikyou Juzoku Tensei: Majutsu Otaku no Utopia. The manga adaptation is drawn by Asahi Shinomura, yet another great illustrator.
Each of the seiyuu voicing the Moscow Combat Revue also shared comments on their characters:
Comments from Clara’s seiyuu Misaki Watada: “I was so happy when I heard I’d be voicing a Sakura Taisen character I started crying and we all celebrated together at my agency. Look forward to how Clara will interact with the other characters. I’m sure both older fans and newcomers who discovered the franchise with Shin Sakura Taisen will enjoy the anime”.
During the stream, Yohei Azakami mentioned he does know more about Clara, since he already recorded his lines for the anime, but he can’t say anything. He and MC Mami Yamashita jokingly added that Kohei Tanaka would have spoiled everything if he was there.
Comments from Kaminsky Valery’s seiyuu Kenji Akabane: “I got into Sakura Taisen in my school days, after watching Sakura Wars: The Movie. And I never imagined I’d be voicing a captain character one day. I was so surprised and so happy. Kaminsky is a true gentleman, but he’s also a bit weird (laughs). I hope you’re enjoying the game, and are looking forward to the anime.”
On stream, Producer Katano mentioned Kaminsky is a bit similar to Seijuro in the game, mixing seriousness and weirdness. In the anime, Seijuro acts overall cooler and more serious than in the game, seeing he can’t pick any dumb or perverted dialogue choices. Yohei Azakami and Kenji Akabane are both at Aoni Production. Azakami funnily remembered that back when it was decided he would voice Seijuro (this should be over a year ago now seeing how early in development Japanese videogames are dubbed), Akabane was acting super envious, saying he wanted to do it too. I remember a similar comedic scene that happened during a Super Robot Wars stream where they appeared together. Nice for Akabane, he ended up in Shin Sakura Taisen now.
Comments from Leila’s seiyuu Haruka Shiraishi: “The character I’m voicing, Leila, has a complicated past. She’s suffering because of it. Expressing her pain, loneliness and all her emotions in my acting was something quite difficult. Leila becomes more and more interesting as the story goes on, so look forward to the anime, and what kind of choices will she make.”
Next, we were introduced to the Spirit Particle Fighters used by the Moscow Combat Revue. They’re called Ekaterina and were designed by Mika Akitaka, the game’s mecha designer. He designed the five Spirit Particle Fighters Mugen used by the Flower Division, and all the other Spirit Particle Fighters and mecha in Project Sakura Wars.
Comments from Shin Sakura Taisen Mecha Designer Mika Akitaka: “I’m happy I was able to make new mecha designs not only for the PS4 game but for the anime as well. These are the units used by the Moscow Combat Revue, who appears for the first time in the series. Manabu Ono, the anime’s director, asked me to design a mecha that feels reminiscent of a bird. So it looks pretty different than the other mecha. Look forward to the anime.”
A new key visual for Shin Sakura Taisen The Animation was shared as well. It shows Sakura Amamiya, Hatsuho, Claris, Azami, and Anastasia, weapons ready, protecting Clara. Azakami said it echoes the anime’s story.
Comments from Shin Sakura Taisen The Animation Director Manabu Ono: “I’m happy but feeling a lot of pressure participating in Sakura Taisen‘s revival. However, I’ve fallen in love with the series once again after the meetings for the anime with Sega’s staff and the game’s development team. Sakura Taisen focuses on intense battles, friendship, and love. Along with comedy and hot-blooded story developments. I wish to show all the aspects of the franchise with the anime, so look forward to April 2020.”
Last but not least, Producer Katano, Yohei Azakami, and Mami Yamashita commented on the anime as some screenshots were revealed.
They first explained that the anime’s protagonist is Sakura Amamiya instead of Seijuro, something we already knew. As previously mentioned, Seijuro got assigned to Europe. Katano mentioned Seijuro is with Lancelot and Elise over there.
They also mentioned the anime will give more occasions to shine to Reiji Shiba and Hakushu Murasame. As a reminder, Reiji is the Flower Division’s mechanic voiced by Tomokazu Sugita. Hakushu is Sakura Amamiya’s swordmaster, designed by Soejima and voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro.
This is the Moscow Combat Revue, Kaminsky and Leila, doing Russian Ballet together. They like to dance like this whenever discussing together. Sega also hired ballet dancers to do motion capture for these ballet scenes.
Lastly, we have screenshots showing te Flower Division fighting against Kouma.
— サクラ大戦公式@SEGA (@Sakura_Taisen) January 29, 2020
The usual end of stream photo with Mami Yamashita, Yohei Azakami, and Tetsu Katano.
Shin Sakura Taisen The Animation will start airing in April 2020. The next Sakura Taisen stream will be held on February 26 and will include more info on it.
Shin Sakura Taisen is temporarily named Project Sakura Wars in the west and is scheduled to release on PlayStation 4 in Spring 2020. If you don’t want to wait, we’re translating the game via a let’s play. You can find the episodes we did so far on our YouTube channel. The first episode is also included below, along with our full coverage of the game.