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Sakura Taisen

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Page 1:
Intro
Development
Structure

Page 2:
Sakura Taisen
Atsuki Chishio Ni


Page 3:
Sakura Taisen 2
Sakura Taisen 3


Page 4:
Sakura Taisen 4
Sakura Taisen V

Page 5:
Hanagumi Tsūshin
Hanagumi Taisen Columns
Steam Radio Show
Teigeki Graph

Page 6:
Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2
Ōgami Ichirō Funtōki
Sakura Taisen GB
Kinematron Hanagumi Mail
Sakura Taisen GB 2
Sakura Taisen Online
Sakura Taisen Monogatari

Page 7:
Sakura Taisen V Episode 0
Dramatic Dungeon
Legacy
Influence
Resources

Discuss on the Forums!

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Sakura Taisen (サクラ大戦) - Saturn, Dreamcast, Windows, Mobile, PlayStation 2, PSP (1996)

Sega Saturn Cover

Sega Saturn LE

Dreamcast LE

As mentioned in the introduction, the first Sakura Taisen game was launched for Sega Saturn in September of 1996, and sold out the morning it went on sale. The limited edition (a Sakura Taisen tradition well before such oversized boxes were a very common sight on Japanese game store shelves) included a standard Saturn mouse and a mousepad with one of two different designs.

The game opens with Second Lieutenant Ichirou Ohgami arriving in Tokyo for his assignment as the leader of a secret combat squadron, the Flower Troupe of the Imperial Floral Assault Group. He meets his contact, Sakura Shinguji, at Ueno Park and is taken to the headquarters of the Teikoku Kagekidan (or Teigeki). The first chapter comprises Ohgami meeting the members of the hanagumi (花組), Flower Troupe, trying to figure out why he has been sent to this place, and being shocked to learn that he is to be the lowly ticket-taker for a musical theater. There are several puns involving homophones like butai, which can mean either "combat unit" or "stage", and kagekidan, which can mean "floral assault troupe" or "musical theater troupe". Finally he discovers that the Flower Troupe is a secret combat squad after all, and he needs to lead it against the occult threat of the Black Nest Society and their demonic summonings.

Characters

Ichiro Ohgami (CV: Akio Suyama)

Captain of the Flower Troupe in battle, and ticket-taker the rest of the time. He is more present than the typical gal-game protagonist, and many RPG protagonists: he has a personality of his own, and speaks just as many lines as an ordinary character. His demeanor tends to be straightforward and by-the-book. Surprises flummox him, and especially at the beginning of the game, he is fairly clueless. As the game (and the series) goes on, he develops a strong personal sense of duty to protect and care for his teammates.

Sakura Shinguji (CV: Chise Yokoyama)

Named for the cherry blossom, and a stylized design of that flower adorns the top of the hakama she wears. She is the eponymous character of the series. A newcomer to the Flower Troupe, she comes from Sendai and is the daughter of an important fighter in the previous demon conflict. She embodies the typical innocent, pure-hearted, generous, Yamato Nadeshiko or Japanese feminine ideal, albeit with a somewhat mischievous and playful side. Her affection for Ohgami starts early and is obvious to everyone but Ohgami himself. She pilots a pink Kōbu with a katana. Calls herself atashi, a casual, girlish personal pronoun.

Iris Chateaubriand (CV: Kumiko Nishihara)

Named for the iris flower, to which her bright yellow hair is probably a reference. Brought to the Flower Troupe from France because of her tumultuously potent spiritual power. Iris appears as an ordinary, upbeat young girl, but below the surface she is barely restraining her psychic abilities. She is dearly attached to her teddy bear Jean-Paul. She loves getting attention from Ohgami, and casually mentions wanting to marry him when she grows up. She pilots a yellow Kōbu, using amplified raw psychic energy. Childishly, she always calls herself "Iris".

Sumire Kanzaki (CV: Michie Tomizawa)

Her name is Japanese for a type of violet, whose color matches her kimono. Daughter of the filthy-rich, elite Kanzaki Industries family. A classic ojousama (お嬢様), high-class young lady, character type. Early on she expects to be treated like royalty by everyone around her. Of course, she eventually softens and comes to love her teammates. She has an ongoing rivalry with the coarse Kanna. She pilots a purple Kōbu with a naginata. Calls herself watakushi, the hyper-formal personal pronoun.

Maria Tachibana (CV: Urara Takano)

Her last name is from a type of citrus flower. Having fought in the Russian revolution, Maria was chosen as the original leader of the Flower Troupe. Her demeanor is cool and detached to begin with, and having to give up her position to Ohgami makes her even less friendly toward him. She is an intimidating, serious type who is deeply respected by the rest of the troupe. She pilots a black Kōbu with gun attachments. Calls herself watashi, the polite personal pronoun.

Kanna Kirishima (CV: Mayumi Tanaka)

Her name comes from the Canna lily. Kanna is a martial arts expert from Okinawa with a serious case of joie de vivre. She fits the country-girl archetype by not caring much for the refined manners of urban life and by eschewing hierarchy to befriend everyone equally. She has a voracious appetite and a hunger for a good fair fight. Her attitude is at odds with Sumire's, which causes them to get into comical disagreements. She pilots a red Kōbu with no weapon. Calls herself atai, an extremely informal personal pronoun.

Kōran Ri (CV: Yuriko Fuchizaki)

Her given name means "crimson orchid", and her family name means "plum". She comes from China, but her dialect and personality are characteristic of the Kansai region of Japan: optimistic, easygoing, and uninhibited. Her passion is for engineering and inventing. Her inventions tend to be somewhat comical, impractical, and prone to exploding, but her repair and maintenance of the Kōbu units is invaluable. She pilots a green Kōbu with missile launchers. Calls herself uchi, the stereotypical feminine personal pronoun from Kansai.

Ikki Yoneda (CV: Masaru Ikeda)

Hero of the Russo-Japanese War, Lieutenant General of the Imperial Army, former head of the secret anti-demon squad, commanding officer of the Imperial Floral Assault Troupe, Manager of the Imperial Revue, and incorrigible alcoholic. His family name means "rice field", appropriate to his love of saké, and his given name is homophonous with the word for "chug".

Ayame Fujieda (CV: Ai Orikasa)

Lieutenant in the Imperial Army; Yoneda's deputy commander. She fought alongside Yoneda in the anti-demon squad. Now her role is mostly in support of the Flower Troupe, and she fulfills the "beguiling but unattainable older woman" gal-game archetype. Her family name means "wisteria branch", and her given name is a type of iris flower.

Kasumi Fujii (CV: Akemi Okamura), Yuri Sakakibara (CV: Yuki Masuda) & Tsubaki Takamura (CV: Kyouko Hikami)

These three comprise the Kazegumi, or Wind Troupe. Ordinarily, Kasumi and Yuri work in the theater's operations office, and Tsubaki works in the gift shop (where the key items are "bromides", collectible glamor shots of the cast members). In combat situations, they provide transport and emergency backup, via vehicles such as the Shōgeimaru battle-blimp. Their names mean baby's-breath, lily, and camellia, respectively.

The first game establishes many of the hallmarks of the series, including the build-up to a false ending, after which the stakes are raised and the game goes on. At this point, the Kōbu are upgraded to much more powerful models - in ST1, the Jinbu (神武), "divine warrior". Massive, preposterous vehicles and mechanical contraptions are another recurring theme. The first game includes the Gōraigō (a Kōbu-deploying train that inexplicably spirals around the interior of its tunnel), and the Shōgeimaru (a huge battle blimp).

Sakura Taisen is often described as an RPG, even by NISA, the localizers of Sakura Taisen V. This is probably because of its tactical combat system, hit point gauges, and so on. But there are no experience points, levels, exploration, or equipment to be had here; every play-through of a Sakura Taisen game contains the same battles, with the characters following the same advancement. The only differences are dependent on the chapter-to-chapter motivation levels, based on the player's answers to LIPS interactions. The official genre listed on the game boxes, incidentally, is "Dramatic Adventure".

Character-themed minigames are another staple of the series that start here; if you discover the correct scene while wandering the environs of the theater, you may have a chance to test your reflexes helping Maria cook borscht, accept Kouran's challenge to a game of Hanafuda, or clean the theater for Sakura in a fast-scrolling obstacle run.

Dreamcast edition

In May of 2000, the first game was rereleased for Dreamcast. It is essentially a direct port of the original Saturn version, but with much higher-fidelity graphics. This served as an opportunity for newcomers who missed the series on the Saturn. It also made possible the carryover of an unbroken line of save data through all four of the mainline Sakura Taisen titles that would eventually be available for Dreamcast. The limited edition included a pink Visual Memory Unit, which nicely matches the pink Sakura Taisen controller and pink Sakura Taisen Dreamcast system that were also available.

Atsuki Chishio ni

In 2003, after the cancellation of the Dreamcast, a heavily revamped version of Sakura Taisen was released for PlayStation 2, with a new subtitle in keeping with the poetic style of the sequels: Atsuki Chishio ni (熱き血潮に), "In Hot Blood". The remake combines the original story with fresh UI, full-frame graphics, computer-assisted anime sequences, and other modernizations familiar from Sakura Taisen 3 and Sakura Taisen 4 on Dreamcast. Plus it added new scenes with characters from later games, updated the battle system to ARMS, and offered a new ending.

Backgrounds and character busts fill the whole frame during the adventure part, rather than occupying a little window. The character portraits in the dialogue box are enlivened with more expression and with animated backgrounds to convey emotion. Ohgami's portrait even changes depending on the currently selected dialogue option during LIPS decisions. The theater is now a full-on 3D map, which you can run around freely like in Sakura Taisen 3 and Sakura Taisen 4, and it includes indications of where events are available, removing the guesswork from deciding where to go next. A big addition to the Long Day mode was a remake of Koi Koi Taisen (the hanafuda tournament minigame), subtitled Koi Koi Taisen: Atsuki Shōbu ni (熱き勝負に), replacing "Blood" with "Challenge". It includes several scenarios, each complete with its own little storyline (such as a Christmas at the Teigeki!) and opportunities to affect the fortunes of other characters by responding to LIPS decisions.

The limited edition includes a pocket watch with a display stand, and preorders came with a huge, pink, heart-shaped alarm clock. The most exciting bonus item, though, is the DVD titled Project S, which details the history of the series through interviews with the creators. Much of the historical info in this article comes from that disc, and it is an excellent artifact for fans to track down.

The PlayStation 2 remake was an initial attempt to introduce the series to people outside of the core Sega fanbase, and even to international fans. There were plans early on to localize Atsuki Chishio ni and the subsequent PS2 titles, in what was called the Sakura Taisen World Project, which would supposedly bring Sakura Taisen bursting onto the international stage. Presumably, if ACN had been very successful, Sakura Taisen 2–4 remakes and localizations would have followed, thus bringing the entire series to the PS2 and to the world. The Project S DVD concludes with a vision of this international Sakura Taisen future. (To illustrate that vision, at one point Kouhei Tanaka even does a speculative impression of Westerners singing along with his main ST theme in a heavy accent.) But nothing came of this grand scheme, at least until NISA eventually released an English edition of STV in 2010.

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Sakura Taisen (Saturn)

Sakura Taisen (Saturn)

Sakura Taisen (Saturn)

Sakura Taisen (Saturn)

Sakura Taisen (Dreamcast)

Sakura Taisen (Dreamcast)

Sakura Taisen (PlayStation 2)

Sakura Taisen (PlayStation 2)

Sakura Taisen (PlayStation 2)

Sakura Taisen (PlayStation 2)

Sakura Taisen (PlayStation 2)


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Intro
Development
Structure

Page 2:
Sakura Taisen
Atsuki Chishio Ni


Page 3:
Sakura Taisen 2
Sakura Taisen 3


Page 4:
Sakura Taisen 4
Sakura Taisen V

Page 5:
Hanagumi Tsūshin
Hanagumi Taisen Columns
Steam Radio Show
Teigeki Graph

Page 6:
Hanagumi Taisen Columns 2
Ōgami Ichirō Funtōki
Sakura Taisen GB
Kinematron Hanagumi Mail
Sakura Taisen GB 2
Sakura Taisen Online
Sakura Taisen Monogatari

Page 7:
Sakura Taisen V Episode 0
Dramatic Dungeon
Legacy
Influence
Resources

Discuss on the Forums!

Back to the Index