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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 2 (サクラ大戦2) - Saturn, Dreamcast, Windows, PSP (1998)

Sega Saturn Cover

Sega Saturn LE

Dreamcast LE

This much-anticipated sequel was released for Saturn in April of 1998. It remains the breakout hit of the series, selling over half a million copies - this also makes it the #2 best-selling gal game title of all time, behind Tokimeki Memorial. The limited edition came with a thick pamphlet and a poster. It began the tradition of using a historical, poetic quotation as a subtitle; this time being Kimi, Shinitamō Koto Nakare (君、死にたもうことなかれ), "Beloved, You Must Not Die" - from a controversial wartime poem by Akiko Yosano.

The biggest addition to the game, of course, is the expanded cast of heroines: two new arrivals, Orihime and Reni, have joined the Imperial Revue. Ohgami returns to the theater from a one-year deployment aboard a Navy ship, and finds most of the Flower Troupe away on various business. Eventually the Black Nest Society are found to be at it again, and the now 9-member Flower Troupe is called upon to save the capital once more.

Characters

Reni Milchstraße (CV: Kazue Ikura)

A stoic, androgynous child prodigy from Germany. When first arriving at the Imperial Revue after a stint at the experimental Star Troupe in Europe, Reni is assumed to be male. An incident in the bath eventually reveals that she is female. Her intellect and fighting skill are tremendous, but her apparently emotionless nature causes her difficulty in social adaptation. She does get along well with Iris, though, the other precocious young member of the Flower Troupe. She pilots a blue Eisenkleid with a lance. Calls herself boku, the ambiguous but slightly masculine personal pronoun.

Orihime Soletta (CV: Maya Okamoto)

Scion of a noble Italian family, and prodigy of the stage. She serves as a hot-blooded highborn counterpart to Sumire's simmering haughtiness. For reasons not immediately clear to Ohgami, she has a deep resentment for Japanese men (even though her father is one). This makes her a classic tsundere (tough/soft) gal-game archetype. Furthermore, she speaks with an outrageously exaggerated accent and mixes foreign words into her Japanese sentences liberally, making her seem even more distant. She was a member of the experimental Star Troupe that briefly operated in Europe. She pilots a magenta Eisenkleid with... steam-powered lasers. Calls herself watashi, a normal personal pronoun, but always spelled out in hiragana as if spoken with an accent.

Kaede Fujieda (CV: Ai Orikasa)

The replacement for Fujieda Ayame, and her sister. Due to events at the end of Sakura Taisen, Ayame doesn't return in ST2. Thankfully she has a sister who is also readily capable of fulfilling the "beguiling but unattainable older woman" archetype.

Yūichi Kayama (CV: Takehito Koyasu)

Head of the intelligence unit Moon Troupe, and an old friend of Ohgami from their Navy days. It seems that any time Ohgami is unsure of himself, Kayama appears mysteriously, strums a few chords on his flamenco guitar, makes passes at any attractive women present, lays down some sage advice, and disappears.

Sakura Taisen 2 also introduces the cutesy child character of Tsubomi, with her catch phrase "smile, smile!" And, of course, the insufferable, hyper-caricatured okama (effeminate male) trio of the Rose Troupe, presumably for comic relief.

The game systems are a refinement upon the formulas introduced in ST1. The original LIPS types are back, plus several new types. In one, you need to facilitate a touchy conversation between several characters on screen. This generally involves clicking randomly back and forth between them until the situation is worked out or until you fall asleep at the controller, whichever comes first. Another type changes up the answers on you halfway through the time limit, which sometimes helps you and sometimes harms you. Still another gives an overarching time limit that counts down while you deal with several individual time-limited LIPS choices. The biggest addition to LIPS is the personality gauge, which uses colors to track the kind of answers that you give to your troupe in LIPS decisions, recording whether you are a gentle or strict leader. Different characters prefer for Ohgami to behave in different ways, so the meter affects the way various scenes play out throughout the game.

Such added detail permeates the game, reflecting a sense of confidence and joy on the part of the creators, as if they are certain that they are onto something. 3D-animated cherry blossom petals blow past. Characters get a huge range of expressive poses and portraits. Each heroine has a new third costume in her wardrobe. In combat, the active character shows a full high-res bust, broken out of the UI, rather than a tiny portrait. The Kōbu have been upgraded to the Kōbu-Kai (光武・改), "warrior of light, revised", which are slightly bigger and more bad-ass versions of the originals. At the turning point, they are further upgraded to the Tenbu (天武), "warrior of heaven".

The scale of the game has been expanded lengthwise, too, occupying three discs versus the previous game's two. This even includes a classic hot springs vacation, just like any harem anime is obliged to, driving home the long, leisurely pace of the whole thing. Furthermore, save data from Sakura Taisen can be read in, unlocking certain scenes and allowing you to continue the relationship you have already cultivated thus far.

Dreamcast version

Sakura Taisen 2 was released for Dreamcast in September of 2000, during the lead-up to Sakura Taisen 3. It included a special preview disc for ST3, still six months off. The limited edition contained a pink Puru Puru Pack, the Dreamcast's force-feedback unit, which slotted into the controller nicely below the pink VMU from the first game's Dreamcast LE. Animations appear on the VMU screen at certain moments, such as when you earn trust points during adventure parts or perform deathblows during combat parts.

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Sakura Taisen 2 (Saturn)

Sakura Taisen 2 (Dreamcast)

Sakura Taisen 2 (Dreamcast)

Sakura Taisen 2 (Dreamcast)

Sakura Taisen 2 (Dreamcast)



Sakura Taisen 3 (サクラ大戦3) - Dreamcast, Windows, PlayStation 2 (2001)

Dreamcast cover

Dreamcast LE

The first Sakura Taisen title developed specifically for Dreamcast, Sakura Taisen 3 was released on March 22, 2001. The limited edition came in two different versions: one with a music box, and one with a VMU styled like a "Kinematron"— the mobile communication device introduced in the game. The subtitle, Pari wa Moeteiru ka (巴里は燃えているか), "Is Paris Burning", anachronistically recalls Hitler's famous, possibly-apocryphal question upon hearing of the liberation of Paris during WWII. Sakura Taisen 3 could very well be the world's only romance/robot video game named after a Hitler quotation.

Where Sakura Taisen 2 added detail on top of the foundation created by the first game, Sakura Taisen 3 started over from the ground up. The whole setting, the characters, the combat system, every bit of UI - it was all recreated to take advantage of the next-generation Dreamcast system and build an experience that felt brand-new and yet welcoming to Sakura Taisen fans.

Sakura Taisen 3 has Ohgami assigned to the newly-formed Paris Kagekidan - the European counterpart to the Teikoku Kagekidan - and their front, the Chattes Noires theater. This plunges him into a totally unfamiliar setting, populated by unknown characters, in an exotic and new culture (doubly-layered for non-Japanese players). This serves as an excuse to have a whole new set of people to get to know, making for a fresh experience. The French aesthetic is carried throughout the game, with Art Nouveau UI elements, French folk and classical and stage musical styles, and the cancan flavor of the Chattes Noires performances.

Characters

Erica Fontaine (CV: Noriko Hidaka)

The main heroine of the Paris cast, and as such a counterpart to Sakura. She is a cheerful, manic, and klutzy nun-in-training. There is a running gag made of her habit of pulling her twin machine guns, Gabriel and Raphael, out from under her skirt and waving them around at the slightest sign of trouble. Her piety and religious theme connect to an angelic, miraculous aesthetic to her attacks in combat. She pilots a red Kōbu-F with a cross-shaped machine gun.

Glycine Bleumer (CV: Saeko Shimadzu)

A member of the French nobility, with Viking ancestry. Proud and serious, she is a sort of cold counterpart to Sumire and Orihime. She is skilled with the halberd and is known to threaten people with it when they cross her. She has a stage persona, Blue Eye, whose true identity is kept secret from the theater patrons. She pilots a blue Kōbu-F with a battle axe.

Coquelicot (CV: Etsuko Kozakura)

An orphan from Vietnam, and a member of a traveling circus. As a precocious young child, she is a sort of counterpart to Iris and Reni. Her demeanor is almost invariably cheerful, and she treats Ohgami very familiarly, calling him by his first name "Ichirou". She has a way with animals, and especially loves cats. She pilots a peach Kōbu-F, decorated with a cat motif, with weaponized musical horns.

Hanabi Kitaōji (CV: Yoshino Takamori)

Daughter of a noble Japanese family with a bit of French blood. While her appearance is Japanese, and she has learned many traditional Japanese arts such as kyuudou, she has spent most of her life abroad and is unfamiliar with what Japan is truly like. Her fiancé died in a wreck of the ship where their wedding was taking place, and she continues to mourn him. Her personality is deferential and timid, and she has a barely-audible style of speaking. She pilots a black Kōbu-F with a crossbow.

Lobelia Carlini (CV: Inōe Kikuko)

A bit of an odd heroine for the Sakura Taisen series, in that she is, well, evil. She is a notorious criminal from Transylvania, Romania, who uses her spiritual power to steal valuable items around Paris. Ohgami and Erica are sent to the prison to recruit her to the Flower Troupe for her remarkable powers, with the understanding that if she disobeys her orders then she is to be beheaded. She acts aloof and self-serving, and tries to get away with anything she can. Her cracked glasses are a pretty unusual accessory in a medium where spectacles almost always indicate bookishness. She pilots a green Kōbu-F with a claw.

"Grand-Mère" Isabel Lilac (CV: Keiko Aizawa)

Commander of the Paris Assault Troupe and owner of the Chattes Noires Theater. She is the widow of a count, who fell in love with her despite her originally low status as a mere performer. Now she is seen as a respected member of the Paris community, and carries quite a bit of clout. She's rarely seen without her cat Napoleon.

Mell Raison (CV: Sachiko Kojima) & Ci Caprice (CV: Mika Kanai)

These two French maids serve a similar purpose to the Wind Troupe at the Teigeki. At the theater they do administrative work, and in battle they provide logistical support. Their names are pretty stunningly elementary: Raison means reason, Caprice means whimsy, and together their first names spell merci, "thank you". (This "just pick whatever" naming style would come back in earnest for STV.)

Combat occurs in the brand-new ARMS (Active & Realtime Machine System), which does away with the isometric grid. Instead, on a unit's turn it can run around the 3D map freely within the range alloted to it, and can precisely rotate the attack area to encompass its targets. Instead of being allotted just two actions per turn, each unit has a number of action points that they can spend on various actions.

Similar to the improved combat system, this game brings a revamped experience across the board, with the high resolution, full-frame art making a huge impact and causing the earlier games to feel cramped and quaint. The free-roaming sections of the adventure part now take place not just around the theater, but all over the city. The Long Day mode includes a multi-stage, progressively-unfolding 3D casino super-minigame featuring poker, blackjack, roulette, and slots, in which you can earn coins to unlock more content.  The result of all this makes clear the generational leap from Saturn (and Saturn ports) to Dreamcast.

Speaking of which, all of the Dreamcast hardware gimmicks are put to use. A new LIPS type requires you to use the analog stick to indicate not just what to say, but how strongly to say it - speaking not too timidly nor too forcefully for the circumstance. While plugged into the controller, your VMU represents the mobile Kinematron communication device, which occasionally beeps and scrolls important messages from other characters at you. And if you have an infinite supply of CR2032 batteries, there is a dating minigame that you can download to the VMU for portable play. Rounding out the gimmickry, Sakura Taisen 3 introduced downloadable content to the series, with several self-contained scenes available for purchase on Sega's nascent online service. This content was eventually also made available on the bonus disc that came with Sakura Taisen 4, presumably because 2001-era players were not yet ready to accept the existence of game content that required connecting to the Internet and paying extra money.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


Sakura Taisen 3: Erica does this face a lot.

Sakura Taisen 3: Exterior of the theater.

Sakura Taisen 3: Wandering Paris.

Sakura Taisen 3: Analog LIPS.

Sakura Taisen 3: Paris Floral Assault Troupe, on the scene!

Sakura Taisen 3: ARMS system.

Sakura Taisen 3: Interior of the Chattes Noires theater.

Sakura Taisen 3: Glycine in ARMS.



<<< 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