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Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku (Mega Drive, 1991)

The Zan series remains an inscrutable beast.

That is some top-notch evocative box-art right there.


RELEASE DATE: 03/29/91 – (JP)

Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku is a strategy simulation and the second in Wolf Team’s Zan series. If you’ve been following this site for any length of time, you know that I get down with hiragana and katakana, but I’m still not proficient enough in Japanese to comprehend most kanji. Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku brings the kanji and brings it hard. As such, I didn’t get past the first few screens without giving up entirely.

Those crazy daimyo never learn!

Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku is also quite the elusive title. There are no English-written reviews, nor has anyone dared to make a Let’s Play on Youtube. I tried searching for information on Google Japan, hoping the search would lead me to Japanese gaming websites, but… I must be missing something? I thought I could just go to and search for the game, but doing this only yielded English website results? Bah.

Normally, I’d make an attempt to play a Japanese-heavy game and just fumble my way through a short write up (see: Zan Gear, Jantei Monogatari). Unfortunately, there’s just no getting around Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku‘s language barrier. Thus, in lieu of a review, I’ve collected every bit of information I could find on Zan Yasha Enbukyoku in English and placed it below for your reading pleasure. Enjoy! 

You said it.

From Wikipedia: “Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku (斬 夜叉円舞曲, “Zan Yasha Waltz“) is a strategy video game that makes noble yaksha warriors go up against malevolent demons. There is a neutral party made of other Japanese generals and rulers. Units must be deployed for both protection and attack. Natural disasters occur on a random basis, and diplomacy doesn’t always work, so that combat is the main feature.”

From SegaRetro: “Zan Yasha Enbukyoku (斬 夜叉円舞曲) is a 1990 strategy game for the X68000 by Wolf Team in their Zan series of strategy games. They ported it to the Sega Mega Drive in 1991. No version has left Japan.”

Clearly, my enemies are cheating already.

From Giant Bomb: “Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku (“Zan” is a sword slash while Yasha Enbukyoku means “Yasha Waltz”) is a strategy game for the Sega Mega Drive and NEC PC-8801 (and 9801). It is the second game in Wolf Team’s Zan franchise, following Zan: Kagerou no Toki, and the first to be released on a console.

“The goal of the game is to conquer Japan through warfare and diplomacy. In a twist, the protagonists are benevolent Yasha – Buddhist spirits that can be either protectors or tricksters – while the antagonists are demons. The human armies occupy a neutral role. In addition to enemy forces, players must also be prepared for events like natural disasters.”

“Gentleman, instead of going to war… why don’t we try some of this delicious almond-flavored sake?”

From MobyGames: “Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku is a turn-based strategy game set in feudal Japan.
“The background for the game’s events is the ongoing battle between noble warriors, known as yasha, and demons. Between the two stand the “middle people”, i.e. other Japanese generals and rulers. The player can choose to play as either yasha, demonic, or “middle” army.
“The player has to manage his army, deploying units for protection and attack, as well as negotiating with other rulers. Events such as earthquakes, plagues, etc. occur randomly. Diplomacy doesn’t always work, so battles against enemy armies occupy a large portion of the game. The battles are somewhat similar to those of turn-based RPGs (though the game has no RPG elements): the player chooses commands from a menu, such as attack, use magic, use special technique, use a battle formation, etc. There is no active movement during the battles. The outcome of the battle depends on the chosen commands as well as on the strength of the units.”

I predict certain death for those white markers.

Cheers to these websites for the information!

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