Hattori Hanzo. Master of the Ninja Arts. His Kung-Fu is stronger than yours.
|On the fourth episode of Oda Nobuna no Yabou, it’s time for the Battle of Okehazama! Will Oda Nobuna prevail against a numerically-superior opponent? Or will it go just as planned, like Imagawa Yoshimoto thinks?|
Episode 4: “Winds of change! Okehazama!”
I’ve been waiting for a character in a Sengoku-themed anime to say that one.
I was definitely saying “wow”, “cool”, “awesome” and other such adjectives when this episode aired. This episode delivered comedy, romance, and action in spades. Everyone in the cast (especially Shibata Katsuie and Niwa Nagahide) gets their moment of awesome, whether it’s on or off the field of battle, and we were treated to a little bit of fanservice near the end. Hmm, that last one may or may not have been necessary, depending on your taste.
Let’s take a look at Imagawa Yoshimoto. Like all daimyo of the Sengoku Jidai period, she desires the unification of Japan under her clan’s banner. Unlike Oda Nobuna or Saito Dousan, however, she never leads from the front, and uses Matsudaira Motoyasu’s (the future Tokugawa Ieyasu’s) forces as expendable meat shields to soak up the brunt of casualties from the battlefield, while her own forces remain fresh and strong.
“We will enter the capital elegantly and unscathed. That is how a noble fights” – Imagawa Yoshimoto
Looking at history, most armies (with notable exceptions) after the Roman Empire and before Napoleon Bonaparte tended to be on the small size, due to difficulties of logistics and communication. You had to feed both men and horses, and supplying food for the men and fodder for the horses was tough, even at the best of times. Objectively speaking, Imagawa Yoshimoto was acting in a sound manner, keeping forces in reserve, and preferring not to risk danger on the front lines. Her quote above reminds me of magus Tohsaka Tokiomi from Fate/Zero, who, like Yoshimoto, placed too much stock on concepts like “refinement” and “nobility”.
However, it is exactly this mindset that perhaps led to Imagawa Yoshimoto’s defeat. Personally, I believe it is her lack of empathy with her troops and allies that doomed her campaign from the start. If a commander does not share the hardships with those they command, the soldiers will have less respect for them, and even less incentive to fight – and die for them. Case in point, Oda Nobuna’s outnumbered troops fought for her precisely because she fought alongside them. Yoshimoto on the other hand, preferred to recline on her chair, eat grapes, drink wine, and play with her ball.
Hanzo: “Naruto? Oh please, that orange-jumpsuit ninja wannabe has nothing on me.”
Once Sagara Yoshiharu appealed to Hattori Hanzo’s devotion to his master Motoyasu, it was decided that Okehazama would end with an Oda clan victory. Sagara Yoshiharu probably knew this well from his game The Ambition of Oda Nobunaga, and decided to risk everything on the chance that Hanzo placed his master’s safety above everything else, or perhaps he thought that Hanzo was a closet lolicon. Hohoho…
The anime version of the Battle of Okehazama went just like its real world counterpart: the Imagawa’s campaign is brought to a halt, and Nobuna establishes herself as a front-runner daimyo for the unification of Japan.
Sagara attacks Katsuie for Maximum Damage! It is Super-Effective!
The one thing that played out differently is that Sagara decided that he would let Yoshimoto live because “killing a beautiful girl is such a waste”. That was fine with me, but did he really have to fondle Katsuie’s chest while trying to save Yoshimoto? C’mon! I mean, melon farming is a legitimate male fantasy, but to add ecchi moments when the plot doesn’t need it, it’s just too much of a mood whiplash for me (or maybe I’ve been watching too much Hagure Yuusha no Estetica and Dakara boku wa, H ga dekinai! to appreciate what Sagara did. KINGDOM!!!).
No, this is not your Sengoku Jidai-era mail delivery service.
Next week on Oda Nobuna no Yabou, it looks things have calmed down after the Battle of Okehazama. Why has Azai Nagamasa returned? Will Katsuie feel the “taint” of Sagara Yoshiharu’s hands on her chest forever? Who is the youthful white-haired girl? Find out in the next episode: “Strategy of the genius tactician”.