Lots of Beautiful Girls with lots of Samurai Action! Showcase of duality and dichotomy.
|Hooray! We’ve got another anime about the Sengoku Era of Japan… After getting disappointed by Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox, and Sengoku Collection, we’re getting Oda Nobuna no Yabou. Let’s see how it fairs in the first two aired episodes.|
Episode 1: “Nobuna and the Monkey”
Center: Oda Nobuna; To Her Right: The aforementioned “monkey”
Diving to premise, the long and short of it: Sagara Yoshiharu is mysteriously transported back into the Warring States era of Japan, and changes history by getting Toyotomi Hideyoshi killed before he could become a general to Oda Nobunaga. Sagaru then replaces the dead Hideyoshi and vows to make his dream come true. However, all the important characters have been gender-bent into women! Sounds familiar? Yes it should, since in Sengoku Paradox, Hide Yoshino essentially does the same. So does it mean Oda Nobuna no Yabou is a failure because of the same premise? Not far from it.
From this angle it looks like I killed Toyotomi Hideyoshi with an Origin Bullet. XD
The first thing I look at an anime (if it’s available in the first episode) is the OP. Yabou’s OP doesn’t disappoint, the visuals are amazing, mixing hand drawn animation with what looks to my eye as CGI, and shows Oda Nobuna, along with her coterie of “princess generals” kicking ass and taking names. Samurai action with cute but capable girls is always a failsafe formula in my opinion.
Remember kids: never go outside without charging your smartphone. You may need it as a last resort weapon.
The first episode doesn’t provide much in terms of plot, since its main purpose (in my opinion at least) is to do some world-building about the Sengoku era that Sagara, now nicknamed “Saru” (translated as monkey; hinting at Sagaru’s replacement of Hideyoshi as Nobuna’s future general in this timeline) by Nobuna, finds himself in. The second purpose is to introduce the major and minor characters, which the anime does via a lemony narrator (think of the narrator in the Nakata Sae arc in Amagami). One thing that makes it different (and dare I say, better) from Paradox and Collection is that not all the characters are gender-bent. I’m looking at you, Hattori Hanzo. Why do you look so cool being all dark, mysterious and ninja? It’s not fair. XD
Even the meeting between Saitou Dousan and Oda Nobuna to discuss the future of Mino province is overshadowed by Sagara’s recklessness, his genius, trying to hit on Akechi Mitsuhide, or his luck at figuring out the posturing between Oda Nobuna and Saito Dousan. Guess playing games about the Sengoku era definitely helps when you’re stuck in said era, right?
Sagara Yoshiharu: “I am an ordinary highschool boy sent back in time, to change the future, for one lucky lady”
ED is pure fanservice. It’s not really NSFW, but it exposes just enough flesh to spark the imagination of boys, and some girls. Wish fulfillment in the Sengoku Jidai at its finest.Show ▼
Episode 2: “Oda Clan Power Struggles”
Oda Kanjuuro Nobukatsu. He wants to make everyone eat rice jelly. And he calls his sister a fool.
Having watched the second episode, I feel I can say that Oda Nobuna no Yabou as a whole is a showcase of duality, or dichotomy. First, the show itself is a (loosely “accurate”) historical anime, yet it is also obviously a harem-based romantic comedy with one male lead surrounded by several gender bended Sengoku-period characters.
I disagree. As Sagara said: “They’re filled with men’s hopes and dreams!” Ah, such honesty. XD
The plot of the episode itself moves from light-hearted, especially the scenes where Sagara “Saru” Yoshiharu lets out his perverted side, such as remarking about Katsuie’s bust size, and is rewarded for it with physical punishment, either coming from Nobuna herself or one of her generals, to the darker-and-edgier scenes, i.e. where Nobuna’s little brother is convinced by his advisers to rebel and take over Owari, or when Nobuna was about to cut off Sagara’s head for almost failing to meet the deadline of his task. Even the background music itself changes to suit the tone of the scenes.
The mood changes from lighter to softer…
The character themselves are examples of dichotomy. Oda Nobuna, the eponymous main character is at once a daimyo who is brash and violent, obsessed with military technology (specifically muzzle loading firearms) from “barbarian nations”, and wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone, family or friend, who stands in her way. At the same time, she is also a young girl who spins a globe and likes to talk about her ambitions of unifying Japan, as well as a Type “A” Tsundere who is easily flustered by Sagara’s antics.
…to darker and edgier in the space of a few moments. Talk about mood whiplash. XD
Sagara himself, the boy who replaces Toyotomi Hideyoshi in this altered timeline, is possessed of a dual nature. Like almost all male harem leads, he is perverted, especially towards women with large bust sizes (oh poor Katsuie-san and her literal Boobs of Steel! XD), somewhat of a fool (hitting a Daimyo’s brother on the head even though he’s just a foot soldier), and what he knows about economics (read = how to get more money) is something he picked up from games.
Exhibit A: Oda Nobuna fanboy, circa 15th Century A.D.
However, once thrust into the warring states period, he is easily able to adapt, and even thrive in the circumstances he finds himself in. Case in point, near the end of episode 2, we see Sagara scoring a victory over the forces of the rebellious Oda Nobukatsu – by making Nobuna’s army shout and cheer for her (just like what fans do in idol live concerts) and thus break Nobukatsu’s will to fight. He gets bonus points in my book for managing to save Nobuna’s soul by preventing her from killing her brother in the name of conquest. Seriously, you cannot spell Sagara without GAR. He should probably make every princess general fall in love with him and conquer Japan!
I also observed some subtle (and not so subtle) shout-outs from other Sengoku-themed anime, and some from actual Sengoku Jidai history itself. For example, the loli Nene is actually the future wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and now that he’s dead, Sagaru is introduced to her and takes Hideyoshi’s place as her future husband. The loli-ninja Hachisuka Goemon is based on the real life ninja Ishikawa Goemon – who in real life was executed by Hideyoshi. Also, the real-life Oda Nobukatsu was actually Oda Nobunaga’s second son. Gotta those little trivia that pop up in the show every now and then.
My verdict for the first two episodes of Yabou: It’s not the best anime of the season, but it’s far from the worst, and I will definitely continue watching it past the requisite three episodes. Having Oda Nobuna voiced by Itou Kanae and Imagawa Yoshimoto by Mamiko Noto counts for a lot as well (Yes, the seiyuu present in the anime also counts a lot when I review an anime).
Bishounen? Or Bishoujo?
Next week on Oda Nobuna no Yabou, Azai Nagamasa enters the scene! Is Azai Nagamasa a he, or a she? Will Imagawa Yoshimoto make her move? Will I ever get tired of loli characters? Find out in the next episode: “The Mino Disturbance”