Fight on, Imperial Assault Force! (がんばれ!帝国華撃団)

by wfgodbold

Sakura Wars 2: You Shall not Die was the follow up to the successful first game; instead of having to face down an ancient evil slumbering beneath the streets of Tokyo, brought forth by the machinations of a secret society, the big bad in the second game ended up being an officer in the Imperial Army.

This is probably the closest I’ve seen any anime, manga, or game come to criticizing the militarism that was on the upswing in Japan at that time period (remember, the series is set during the reign of an alternate Taisho emperor (太正 instead of 大正)); it does this by having the nefarious army officers orchestrate a coup. It’s only through the efforts of Ohgami (a naval lieutenant, remember) and the Imperial Assault Force that his plot is foiled and the government remains free of army influence. The reign of the Showa (昭和) emperor (Hirohito), the Taisho emperor’s successor, became known (both preceding and during WWII) for the great influence the army wielded in the government; the navy, instead of trying to take over the government, was interested more in upholding the Japanese constitutional monarchy..

In a way, the goals of the antagonist in ST2 mirrored the goals of the army in 1930s Japan; both were seeking a return to the way things had been done during the Edo period, when a Shogun was the de facto ruler of the country, and the emperor merely a figurehead.

Second Lt. Ohgami manages to stave off the army coup, and preserves the status quo; he’s rewarded with a promotion, and is sent to study abroad in France. The game closes with the troupe waving farewell to Ohgami, who watches from the passenger liner as it leaves port.

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