Basara is a manga, or Japanese comic book or graphic novel, that was created by mangaka Yumi Tamura. Tamura began publishing manga in 1983 with her first short story Ore-rachi no Zettai Jikan. She has since made more than fifty volumes of manga. There were 27 volumes of the manga created between 1990 and 1998. The manga was turned into an anime in 1998 but only lasted for 13 episodes.
Basara is set in a post-apocalyptic Japan. Since the apocalypse, Japan has been controlled by a bunch of corrupt rulers. The current ruler, known as the Golden Emperor, is a ruler that is obsessed with keeping himself in power. He is so obsessed with it that he had most of his children killed so that he will not be challenged to the throne. He takes the remaining children and allows them to be subordinate kings to certain territories. They end up fighting against each other, however, and wind up ignoring the people that they rule in their own province.
Even though the peasants have been beat down upon for a long time, they still have the will to fight. There are four swords that have been named for the Ssu Ling gods: Byakko, Suzaku, Seiryu and Genbu. These four swords are a symbol of the resistance that is hiding underground all across Japan. Byakko is kept in the village of Byakko, named for the sword. A psychic tells of a prophecy that the child who will lead the revolution will be born in Byakko village. Two children, twins, are born under the prophecy. One is a boy and one is a girl. It is the girl, Sarasa, that becomes known as the child of fate. Fearful that no one will follow a woman, she takes her brothers name.
The people believe that she is her brother and follow her. Sarasa has a difficult time pretending to be her brother, and often visits the hot springs in order to spend a little time as a girl. Whenever she is there, she runs into a young name named Shuri. Sarasa and Shuri fall in love with each other. Sarasa does not realize that Shuri is the Red King, the man that they are trying to kill, and Shuri does not know that Sarasa is truly the “boy”, the rebel leader, that he wants dead. The two fall more deeply in love without realizing that they are sworn enemies.