Hello everybody and welcome back to another Sengoku Compare post… Hey, I never said this series is dead, okay?
So where did we leave off last time? Hm… Oh yes, the Three Unifiers. Well, we’re just down to the final one, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The guy who won in the end for being patient and waiting for the right time. One is the traditional old guy, the other one is the younger version. So, which one is the better Ieyasu?
Let’s find out.
Brief History Bio
Born under the Matsudaira clan as Matsudaira Takechiyo, he was at first the center of the war between the Oda and Imagawa clan with the Matsudaira caught in the center, and to preserve the relations with the Imagawa, Takechiyo was sent there as a hostage at the age of 5. That didn’t last very long, he returned to his clan and changed his name into Matsudaira Motonobu and later Motoyasu. When the Imagawa fell in Okehazama, he decided to ally with Oda Nobunaga and became one of his most trusted allies, but choosing to strengthen his power base at Mikawa instead of an invasion-frenzy, and eventually changed his whole name and clan for good, from Matsudaira Motoyasu into Tokugawa Ieyasu. As a daimyo, Ieyasu endured various things including crushing defeat by the Takeda, going into a stalemate against Toyotomi Hideyoshi at Komaki and Nagakute, etc. But after Hideyoshi’s death, he happened to be the one with greatest power and knew that his time has come to seize the land for his clan. After the crushing victory at Sekigahara, Ieyasu ended up as the shogun of Japan that made sure his dynasty lasted at least 200 years in the future.
“If the cuckoo does not sing, wait until it will.”
So yeah, for the most part, Ieyasu was usually portrayed as a fat old man, so I guess Koei kind of had to set the standard. Due to the lack of early aging system, Ieyasu started out as an old man even at Okehazama, when he should’ve been a younger man. But… that’s OK, I guess. Lack of technology. But regardless, Ieyasu at first was presented as an NPC, with its clan representative being Hattori Hanzo. And… well, he’s smug as hell, kind of cowardly and… not that pleasant, really. But that’s if you put the pro-Sanada Yukimura glasses, because at the end of it, Ieyasu still cared for his men immensely and he’s doing all those to endure and eventually secure an age of peace instead of going on a murder spree. So… yeah, unless you’re really that big on Yukimura, I think you can see a good side on him. It got a little better in Xtreme Legends as more of Tokugawa representatives like Honda Tadakatsu and his daughter Inahime got included, but still Ieyasu was stuck in the status of unplayability.
Until the 2nd game, when the general focus shifted from Oda Nobunaga’s campaign into Sekigahara, and now Ieyasu is toting a gun-cannon and there are more emphasis on how much he treasures his men, putting them in great care, lamenting if he failed to preserve them, and will always endure every hardships he has to take in order to secure a land of peace, which is not limited to doing some underhanded things and being a stone-cold demon that many hates, but as long as there is peace and the people prospers, he’s fine with that.
It’s one thing that he used to be a typical fat bastard beforehand, or if you put your anti-Tokugawa glasses on, but by the time he’s playable and you get to know him, he’s actually a real gentleman and a really nice uncle-type person you’d want as friend, he’ll consider you as his beloved treasure that he’ll give all to protect and give a good peaceful era for.
… Yeah, that’s how Ieyasu started in Basara at first. It was a wild take that rather than taking Ieyasu right at his old man self, this one takes place when he was probably being Matsudaira Takechiyo, although he’s still called Ieyasu.
And the game didn’t give him any respect at all. Ieyasu was well-meaning and a good kid-ruler, but he’s mostly inefficient, relying heavily on Honda Tadakatsu to get the job done. Well, when you have a giant robot under your control and being loyal to you, I guess it made up being rather inefficient in battle personally, considering his moveset was cloned from someone else (Maeda Toshiie’s). And it only got worse in the second game when Ieyasu received one gimmick which was based on his early days as a hostage of Imagawa: He’s always getting kidnapped and necessitating Tadakatsu to rescue him. And there’s your final unifier, ladies and gentlemen. A boy-version of Super Mario’s Princess Peach.
It was a nice touch to a peculiar part in history, but still! God, I didn’t like this kind of disrespect on Ieyasu even to this day, I found it a little too insulting.
Thankfully Capcom realized that they’re squandering the potential within Ieyasu, and come the third game… HOLY SHIT HE’S NOW AWESOME. I mean, wow, they still kept the theme of ‘young Ieyasu’, but make him in a more probable young adult age and ditch the ‘constantly getting kidnapped’ schthick. Then let him fight like a boxer with his own unique moveset and there you have your unifier punching the shit out of people. He’s no longer a boy, HE IS A MAN! (punching optional)
The better thing about this is that they kept his personality more or less intact, but gave him more layer. He’s still a wise ruler that put great care on his friends and subordinates and would like to unite the land with everyone bonding together, mostly with friendship. But he does realize that sometimes, he has to take drastic measures. He used to be the subordinate of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but after being unable to withstand his tyranny any further, Ieyasu rebelled, killed the tyrant and set out on his own to unite the land in his name. This ruined one of his strongest bonds, the bond with Hideyoshi’s most loyal subordinate Ishida Mitsunari. And though it pained Ieyasu, he kept moving on to realize his dreams of a land where everyone lived well and be in peace under his protection.
Even after all those things that makes him look hypocritical, Ieyasu’s values never faltered. He will protect his men, and just to be sure, he wanted to also be in pain for having to deliver pain onto others so it’s fair, that’s why he used fists. Let it be said that back then, I didn’t like how Capcom portrayed Ieyasu, but now? I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.
I have to say that THIS is a very tough choice on a personal level. Tokugawa Ieyasu, no matter what form he took, is usually one of my favorite Sengoku Period figures. And really, both Musou and Basara gave him very good portrayals. I mean, sure, they had their phases when they were not that cool, but eventually they blossomed to be solid characters. So Musou Ieyasu is surrounded with great characters and act like a father to them, whereas Basara Ieyasu so far only has Tadakatsu, but he stood on his own greatly. Who wins…
I think the Musou version suffers the same problem as Hideyoshi. Musou!Ieyasu as a character and ally is a great thing, but he just seemed… overshadowed with his other wonderful subordinates. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still one of my favorite daimyo characters, but when you have an (IMO) better Tadakatsu, other great subordinates like Hattori Hanzo, Inahime and later Todo Takatora, amongst all things… I just get fascinated with them more. Also, the impact of his evolution in Musou is less so. It’s good that Ieyasu became a good father figure type ruler to his men, but beforehand? I didn’t have much problems with the more cowardly and maybe a little smug Ieyasu in SW1.
On the other hand… Basara!Ieyasu? I really really hated how he was portrayed back in the first and second Basara game… but in the third game, he has greatly evolved that I’m taking back all the nasty stuffs I said about his past self before, all is forgiven. The difference between my opinion about his past self and his current self was just staggering, Basara!Ieyasu left a greater impact on myself. Also, by only having Tadakatsu on his side, Ieyasu is able to stand on his own and gave me a lot of time with him. While the Musou version’s spear cannon is a cool thing to play around with, I just think that punching the hell out of my enemies many times just felt more satisfying. Not to mention, his theme music is way too awesome, one of my favorite tracks amongst Sengoku Basara.
And of course, just for Ieyasu, there’s the voice factor. This is a very tough one, but while the Musou!Ieyasu’s Japanese voice is provided by none other than Nakata Jouji, and that man is doing an admirable job (the English VA changed nearly everytime I cannot say a concrete thing about his English performance), eventually the Basara version wins out in the end, firstly by Ohkawa Tohru, who actually is very versatile that while he give out a young-sounding voice, his default tone sounded more like… this (yes, he does dub in Overwatch). And to add up to this, and I may be utterly biased on this one, but I just can’t ignore it when his English voice actor turned out to be… Liam O’Brien.
Liam and that sexy sexy sexy voice of his. Giving life to Basara!Ieyasu in English. Yep.
Overall, the voice factor aside, it’s still a tough choice, but eventually… for the winner…
I have to give it to the Basara version. This is even despite the Tokugawa symbolized with the color yellow in Basara, not blue as in Musou. But I’ll just say that the Basara!Ieyasu is able to give me a bigger impact, is an awesome good guy and… really? Even if it’s less possible due to popularity, I wouldn’t mind him as the Basara representative for Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. And thus, he claims this round.
Samurai Warriors – 2
Sengoku Basara – 2 + 1 -> 3
Though we might not know who’s next, tune in next time!