I’ve got a Nobunagging feeling about this…
There are two shows about Nobunaga this season, in case you didn’t know enough about Sengoku-era history. Then again, I doubt watching Sengoku Basara gave me the true story of how things went down back then. I doubt flying robots were a thing back then. But now it is the glorious future and we can do whatever the hell we want with Nobunaga’s image – even make him a girl with a giant gun on her arm!
This season is sure full of historical characters doing wacky things. This is nothing new with this theme exploited by Fate/stay night, Phi Brain and later by Galilei Donna; though, the latter went off to the dangerous realm of underage attraction and loliconism but let’s leave it at that. To watch this, you don’t need any history lessons, just keep an open mind as it’s too early to be suckered into typecasts and comparisons.
From dork to dark
Overcooled// The handful of shows I’ve watched from this new season all have one thing in common: awesome female leads. …Okay, so Noragami and Nobunagun are the only shows I’ve seen this season with female leads so far. Maybe the trend isn’t quite as amazing as I’m making it out to be. But I’m still pleased that Ogura isn’t air-headed, too tsundere to function properly, or a whiny imouto. The option for female leads often aren’t all too enticing. Ogura is a gem because she has no sex appeal, she’s a creepy loner, and she turns into a trigger-happy pyschopath with a gun for an arm. Yeah, you can keep your imoutos.
She starts off with the unassuming act, running to school with toast in her mouth and the whole nine yards. Then you slowly start to see just how much of an outlier she is. Even the visual design makes her an outcast, giving all of the popular girls a flowery tinge while Ogura quite literally blends in with army camouflage. However, Ogura isn’t moping or wishing she had friends. She’s content to be alone and do her own, nerdy, military-related things. She’s completely comfortable with who she is, even if other people aren’t. She doesn’t seem to have any desire to change to alter herself to fit in. Shows like Watamote show that trying too hard to change yourself just doesn’t work sometimes, and you’ve got to get people to like you for who you are.
Ogura is gangly and awkward and I love that about her. She’s a total dork but she’s enjoying herself! You don’t need to constantly be with friends to have a good time. On the flip side, she’s not completely antisocial. She develops an immediate infatuation with Asao, which gets creepier by the minute. The fact she runs head first into what is essentially an alien invasion just so she can retrieve the selfie they took together is absurd…but it works. Ogura’s whole character is a little unhinged in just about every domain. I don’t know how often she’ll slip into murderous intent, but I really hope it’s a regular thing. It’s so fun to see her go from possessive, creepy kid to a badass reincarnation of Nobunaga himself.
Re-branded History Jazz
Stuff happens when you contract with a mechanical Kyuubey…
Kyokai// Now that Cools has covered Ogura thoroughly, let’s move over to the background hints, which were not too difficult to decipher. Nobunagun’s world seems parallel to our present with one big change, the existence of Invasion Object and an organization to fight against it with the help of “E-gene Holders”, a group of individuals who are reincarnation of historical heroes. The awareness is triggered by a spherical object infused by the original hero’s spirit, which makes their weapon of choice a reality (trace-on much?). I wonder this object is designed by an alien-specie? The same intelligence that is behind this organization running things with E-gene holders? For now this is the only probable plot point and let’s not go into how much canon these heroes would be in comparison to the actual world histories, which is for later debate.
If I put my post-graduate to the test, I can tell you that history repeats itself, not only for socio-political matters but in all major fields intertwined with our lifestyle. Fashion, products, trends are recycled and every hundred year or so, a new tyrant is born. It’s a thing that happens over and wide. Not that pompadours can ever be cool again but who knows that by the time we spawn our own kids, its back in fashion…?! (Ugh! Scary thought). But anyways, from the first episode of this manga adaptation, we are getting old heroes in new tech packages and for now it looks interesting. These days, original anime are something from the past but imagine some prominent heroes who we know from history books, actually kicking ass on screen? Just don’t take it too seriously (anime is supposed to be an escape-entertainment rather than presenting RL stuff), and go with the flow. For now, we have met Jack the Ripper, who appears to be a cousin of Ben-1o, while we still need to see Gandhi and a female Newton in action. I’ll be waiting with a bucket of popcorns.
As expected from the premise, Nobunagun is pretty bizarre. Bizarre, but oddly entertaining! The first episode is set up very neatly and compactly, telling you everything you need to know without being an info-dump or leaving you lost in the dust. It doesn’t take long for you to get the idea that Ogura is the dorky kid no one wants to be friends with, and that she’s in a world of her own. Add in a sudden alien attack to get the ball rolling and then you’ve got yourself a full introduction of exactly what to expect in episodes to come. It’s predictable to the point where you even know what Jack the Ripper will say as his next (horrible) one-liner, but it succeeds in being entertaining.
The largest success of the show is Ogura, who is off-kilter and wonderful in so many strange ways. The animation style greatly complements this, giving the characters a bit more of a loose design. That may partly be due to a lower budget, but Nobunagun certainly looks good. The JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure-like colour palettes are great, for example. On the downside, this show feels like it could get incredibly repetitive. It’s fun, but lacks any deeper thought other than “Gee, wouldn’t it be cool if Nobunaga were a girl with a huge gun-arm like Megaman?”. But hey, sometimes you just want to watch a girl go nuts and turn things into swiss cheese with bullets.
I’m all for strong female leads and I prefer more of this than skirt-flipping moe-girls who give off mixed-signals. Bridge is really not a big production house with a handful of releases till now but except for a non-existent opening and ending animation, everything was good if not excellent. Another reason for no actual OP/ED on the first episode could be due to episode time-limit and emphasizing the characters and story rather than dumping more hints of the overall plot. Whatever the cause maybe, this was a solid first episode from a series that I had zero expectations from.
This is another super-power series but I can only hope this is not the typical toku kind, both of us have had it with this particular genre for sure. I will be giving this a three-episode test with the assumption that the characters will make or break this series because anyone can fight monsters/aliens with weapons but their interaction with each other and their basis to fight is what really gains an audience. Let’s see how this goes.
Expect a mix of freedom and gravity