If there's one word that best describes Sengoku Basara, it's "manly". With its badass warlords, epic swordfighting, and a blatant disregard for historical accuracy and the laws of physics, there's never a dull moment in this show. It's glorious.
Also, when your cast is at least 80 percent male, you're bound to have moments where "swordfighting" and "manly bonding" take on a whole new meaning. Like these, for instance:
1st Moment – Masamune and Yukimura's First Meeting (Episode 1)
What Happened: It's the Warring States Period in Japan. Several factions want to bring the country under their control, including the Takeda (led by Takeda Shingen) and the Uesugi (led by Uesugi Kenshin) clans. One night, Shingen dispatches Sanada Genjirou Yukimura, his hot-blooded protégé, to attack Kenshin's camp.
As Yukimura makes his way to the camp, he meets Date Masamune, the One-Eyed Dragon and the leader of Oshu. Since Masamune also wanted to fight Kenshin, this put him at odds with Yukimura. The two young warlords spend the night battling it out — until Takeda's ninja, Sarutobi Sasuke, and Masamune's faithful retainer, Katakura Kojuro, step in to stop them.
After Masamune retreats, Yukimura starts babbling about how his heart is "burning". He then goes weak in the knees, and proceeds to heap praises on the One-Eyed Dragon ("Such presence… Such fighting spirit… Such strength"). Meanwhile, as Masamune rides back to his camp, he tells himself: "Sanada Yukimura. I'll remember you."
What Fujoshis See: Talk about love at first sight! The moment they started fighting each other, you could tell these two were meant to be, as cliché as that sounds. It doesn't help that, after the battle, Sasuke told Yukimura: "Don't tell me he lit a fire inside your soul." (Translation: "Danna, you're in love with Lord Masamune, aren't you?")
2nd Moment – Masamune and Kojuro's Conversation Under the Cherry Blossom Tree (Episode 1)
What Happened: In Musashi, the Date soldiers take time off from their usual military duties, and Kojuro joins Masamune under a cherry blossom tree. Masamune grumbles about not fighting either Takeda Shingen or Uesugi Kenshin. Kojuro points out that the One-Eyed Dragon isn't as disappointed as he says he is. Masamune asks his retainer why he stopped the fight between him and Yukimura. Kojuro replies that one or both of them might've gotten killed. Masamune regrets how he allowed Yukimura to "heat him up", and promises to "cool down". They then change the subject, and plot to kill Imagawa Yoshimoto — who, incidentally, is also the target of the Takeda clan.
What Fujoshis See: I love the Masamune/Yukimura and Masamune/Kojuro undertones in this scene. Even though they never mention Yukimura directly, Kojuro's insinuations and Masamune's comments suggest that the Tiger Cub of Kai has a stronger hold on the One-Eyed Dragon than Masamune lets on. Also, what's with those cherry blossoms swirling around Masamune and Kojuro? Are the animators trying to tell us something?
3rd Moment – Sasuke's Comment About Masamune and Yukimura's Relationship (Episode 4)
What Happened: Like the other warlords, Oda Nobunaga — the "Demon King of the Sixth Heaven" — wants to take over Japan. Unlike them, though, he's willing to do it by any means necessary, basic human decency be damned. Therefore, the others decide to band together against him.
One of these is Shingen, who asks Sasuke to persuade Azai Nagamasa and Tokugawa Ieyasu to enter into an alliance. Unfortunately, neither of them agree to it, and Sasuke reports this bad news to Shingen. Meanwhile, Yukimura says something stupid to Shingen (again) and gets a megaton punch in return (again). Afterwards, the ninja and his danna have a heart-to-heart talk.
Yukimura tells Sasuke that Kasuga — Kenshin's beautiful ninja who came to Shingen earlier — denied any "engagement" with Sasuke. The ninja replies that she's just shy, and starts "teaching" Yukimura about women. Yukimura then talks about how Nobunaga is strong, but the only person he really wants to fight is Date Masamune. Sasuke then gives us this gem: "Looks like you've fallen for him. And he for you."
What Fujoshis See: Oh, Sasuke. If only you can hear the fangirl squeals of gratitude the moment you let those words out of your lips. Seriously, though, you shouldn't be the one teaching your danna about women.
4th Moment – Keiji Teases Masamune About Yukimura (Episode 4)
What Happened: If Shingen is interested in alliances at all, it's all thanks to Maeda Keiji. A relative of the Lord of Kaga, Keiji wants a world where everyone could live in peace and happiness. To achieve that, he approaches warlords all over the country, including Date Masamune, and asked him to join the alliance. Masamune turns down the offer, though.
Still, Keiji accompanies the Date army to Nagashino, where Azai's forces gather to prevent Masamune from reaching Nobunaga. Along the way, Masamune mentions how he'd rather "leave the excitement of crossing swords with 'him' to the end". Overhearing this, Keiji asks who "he" is, and if there's "someone he wants to fight after the Demon King is defeated".
Oddly enough, Masamune gives a vague, evasive answer ("Yeah, I guess.") Keiji tries to make him fess up by pointing out Masamune's "intense look" when "thinking about him". Masamue shrugs it off, while Kojuro catches up with them. Kojuro glares at Keiji, and Keiji shoots back with a smirk.
What Fujoshis See: Wow, Masamune's rather… defensive about his relationship with Yukimura, isn't he? It's like he's thinking: "Sh*t, Mr. Pretty Boy knows!" Looks like Keiji has pretty much figured out the love triangle between him, Kojuro and the mysterious third stranger (Yukimura).
5th Moment – The Takeda Clan Heals an Injured Masamune (Episode 6)
What Happened: During the battle of Nagashino, Masamune gets injured and the Date army retreats. Since Oshu is too far, the One-Eyed Dragon is brought to Kai instead. There, he is placed under the protection of the Takeda's most precious heirloom: the Shieldless Armor, which has the ability to heal the wounded, among other things.
What Fujoshis See: Let's face it: There's no reason whatsoever for the Takeda to shelter the Date army. If Masamune dies, that's one less obstacle in their road to power. Shingen and Yukimura are still warlords, after all.
Still, the Takeda — or Yukimura, to be specific — offered sanctuary for Masamune anyway. Sure, the Tiger Cub says that he did it to have a "worthy opponent" after everything's said and done, but c'mon: We all know the real reason Yukimura's so concerned with the dashing leader of Oshu.
6th Moment – Kojuro Does Whatever It Takes to Protect Masamune (Episode 7)
What Happened: As if things aren't crazy enough, Matsunaga Danjou Hisahide enters the picture. Being "The Villain of the Sengoku Era", Hisahide captures three of Masamune's men, and uses them to extort both the Date and Takeda clans. If the clans don't give up Masamune's Six Claws and the Shieldless Armor, the hostages would be killed.
At first, Kojuro advises a distressed Date soldier to ignore Hisahide, saying that they cannot give up the Six Claws, or impose further on the Takeda. Unfortunately, the One-Eyed Dragon overhears him, and Masamune being Masamune, decides to go after Hisahide. Kojuro begs him not to go, but Masamune insists.
A fight breaks out between the two, which results in Masamune getting knocked unconscious again. Kojuro goes after Hisahide instead, but not before regretting what he did to his lord.
What Fujoshis See: It's touching how Kojuro will do anything to protect Masamune. He knew he was setting himself up for punishment, but he did it anyway — all for the sake of keeping his lord alive. In fact, every time he says that Masamune is "the most important person" to Oshu, you have to wonder if he really means: "Masamune-sama, you are the most important person to me."
7th Moment – Shingen and Masamune's Conversation (Episode 8)
What Happened: Masamune wakes up (again) and this time, it's Shingen who greets him. They have a man-to-man talk about Kojuro, Yukimura and what it means to be a leader. On this last topic, Masamune observes that Shingen might seem like a benevolent old man, but he's actually pretty powerful in his own right. Shingen laughs this off, and changes the topic to Hisahide — who turns out to be a former vassal of Nobunaga. The two of them start speculating about Hisahide and Nobunaga's intentions.
Finally, Shingen asks Masamune to rest and recover. Knowing Masamune's stubborn nature, the Tiger of Kai reminds the One-Eyed Dragon that they still have to fight for the capital after Nobunaga is defeated, and that "he'll want that, too" (referring to Yukimura). At this, Masamune smirks, and says "All right."
What Fujoshis See: Looks like Shingen's aware of the love triangle too. First, he reminds Masamune that Kojuro is a "precious retainer". Then, he persuades the Dragon to go back to sleep by casually alluding to Yukimura. Wonder why he thought that would perk Masamune up?
8th Moment – Sasuke Carries Yukimura Like a Bride (Episode 8)
What Happened: Yukimura and Sasuke follow Kojuro to Todaiji Temple, where Hisahide has his hideout. Realizing that Kojuro is injured, the two Takeda clan members hand over the Shieldless Armor to the Villain of the Sengoku Era — but not before Sasuke sneaks off to rescue the hostages.
However, Hisahide anticipated this, and blew up the whole place as a result. Angered by Hisahide's treachery, Kojuro continues to fight even in his weakened state. Yukimura tries to help him, only to be frustrated by Hisahide's army of bombers. When Yukimura gets caught up in an explosion, Sasuke leaps and carries his danna to safety.
What Fujoshis See: Last I checked, Sasuke also used the bridal carry on Kasuga, who is heavily implied to be his crush. So does that mean he has more-than-friendly feelings for his danna too?
9th Moment – The Necklace-Grabbing Scene (Episode 10)
What Happened: There's a thunderstorm in Kai, and one of its dikes threaten to break and flood the area. When Shingen goes out to repair the dike, he meets Akechi Mitsuhide, one of Nobunaga's henchmen. Mitsuhide breaks the dike, stabs Shingen with his scythe, and sends the Tiger of Kai into the flooding river. Yukimura dives after him, but almost gets drowned instead. Luckily, both Tigers of Kai are saved.
Seeing Shingen in a coma, Yukimura gets demoralized. Meanwhile, Masamune walks out of the room Shingen is in, and disbands the Date army. When Yukimura confronts him about this, Masamune pulls at the Tiger Cub's six-coin necklace, and says something along the lines of: "I thought you were stronger than this, Yukimura. Turns out you're a coward after all." The One-Eyed Dragon then walks off to face Nobunaga alone.
The Date army tries to follow him, only to be stopped by Kojuro, who reminds them why they fight. At Kojuro's words, Yukimura snaps out of his funk, and resolves to come with Masamune to defeat the Demon King once and for all.
What Fujoshis See: Masamune really wants to get up close and personal with Yukimura, doesn't he? He shouldn't worry, though: He has plenty of chances in the finale for that.
10th Moment – Masamune and Yukimura Work Together to Bring Down Nobunaga (Episode 12)
What Happened: Together, Masamune and Yukimura smash through Nobunaga's forces before facing the Devil King himself. In the ensuing fight, Nobunaga literally blows away both Yukimura and Masamune, with the latter getting thrown out of Honnoji Temple and having his wounds reopened. The Devil King comes up to him, and tries to gouge out the One-Eyed Dragon's remaining eye. Fortunately, Honda Tadakatsu — Tokugawa's strongest soldier — flies in to fight Nobunaga, but gets blown to pieces instead.
Meanwhile, Yukimura tends to Masamune's wounds, and they go in for one final attack against the Devil King. Needless to say, the two heroes win it out, and everyone is happy (at least, for the time being).
What Fujoshis See: Holy guacamole, this finale is dripping with Masamune/Yukimura moments. From the way the two of them work together, to the way Yukimura takes good care of "Masamune-dono", you can see why the fandom loves to ship these two.
Personally, I love how Sengoku Basara is so manly, and yet so unafraid to show the closeness between guys at the same time. Of course, whether this closeness is platonic or not depends on how you look at it. So if you have anything to add to this list, or if you have any other random thoughts about Sengoku Basara, let's talk about them in the comments!