Eva’s First Impression:
Of all the Winter 2014 shows this season, Nobunaga the Fool was definitely one of the top three shows I was anticipating the most. And I have to say, I am not disappointed. Nobunaga the Fool offers a potentially intriguing plot, lots of action and have a large selection of characters being the famous people in our own history. One of the things I am especially fond of is how they are mashing two very different eras of weapons and technology. It makes it very interesting to see a historic setting with giant mecha robots being used in the battlefield.
The story kicks off with telling us about how when the universe was still in chaos, two worlds was divided between two stars: The East and the West, guided by Dragons serving as messengers. The Star of the West has become the first to obtain the Dragon’s Breath. Now we don’t know what the Dragon’s Breath is yet, but the fact that the Dragons served as “Messengers” is probably something we should all keep a note of in the back of our heads but I digress… By doing so, they will unite their nations into an empire under a single ruler. Meanwhile in the East, they are far from united and still living an era of war.
There were a handful of famous characters introduced today, but not all of them were shown, nor we didn’t learn too much about them. Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc is said be possessed by a demon, but really it’s just the Voice of the Prophecy, guiding her to where she needs to go. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed to see how passive Jeanne was for the premiere. More than anything, I sincerely hope that Jeanne will not be a passive, helpless damsel in distress heroine. As of right now, she appears to be very reluctant when it comes down to action and adventure, but will act when she receives the call, so I am lowering my expectations just a tad. Oda on the other hand will definitely be a fun character and is certainly not that much of a fool as others claim him to be. What I especially like about Oda’s character right now is that he’s interesting and quite unpredictable. It appears (or so he had pointed out repeatedly) that he has a very sharp sense of smell (not entirely sure whether he meant it literally or figuratively) which he uses to his advantage. After suffering an overwhelming defeat by the Takeda Clan, Oda that a new era is near and he intends to be in the middle of that turmoil. Lastly, we have mysterious Leonardo da Vinci! He apparently serves King Arthur (who I believe may be the one to lead the empire on the Star of the West) and happens to be a bit of a weirdo. I can’t say I trust him that much, I have this weird feeling that he may very well have his own agenda (be it for the good or the bad).
The overall animation and character designs are fantastic, but I am certainly not a fan of the CG Mecha Units. Ughhhhh—- I actually kind of expected better, I feel like I’m being spoiled with Sunrise’s increasingly improving the quality of their CG Mecha Units. But then again, I don’t ever recall being fond of any of Satelight’s CG Mecha Units… On the more brighter note, the OST really stood out to me so I know it’s going to be absolutely spectacular!
The Tarots will definitely be an element that will be frequently used throughout the show. Oda’s card is “The Fool” (no surprise there, it’s quite a common tarot card for leading characters) and Jeanne (for this episode at least) was “The Star”. Now frankly, I don’t know that much about tarots (I certainly do wish to learn more about them), so I looked up to learn and understand the meaning behind “The Star”. “The Star” is commonly represents “Hope”, which was exactly what Jeanne was in this situation as she in the ship that appeared to be a falling star landing not to far from Oda.
Overall a tad of a lacklustre start, but I still like what I’m seeing. At least it’s giving us a sense of direction of where the story will be going, and what kind of roles the cast will be playing unlike some that other mecha show that just aired.
Possibility of Blogging: High
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Sidekick’s First Impression
Alright, I’m just gonna first let everyone know that I’m a big fan of Shoji Kawamori, almost everything he’s worked on has been at least fun to watch, so it’s no secret that I was pretty hyped for this one. And after watching it, first off I have to mention that I’m seriously impressed by the scope of the whole premise. It’s basically East meets West with a hell lot of characters (Leonardo Da Vinci makes his appearance in this first episode! Although watching Galilei Donna I thought he appeared there too since the writers of that blasted show seem to have confused Galileo Galilei for Da Vinci but I digress), and as usual, no matter what the premise is, Shoji Kawamori will MAKE SURE there are mechas. This time we’ve got samurai mechas, y’know, in feudal Japan. Whatever, I eat that stuff up so it doesn’t matter.
On to the series itself, I’ve to bring up a few of the problems I have with this premiere episode. First off, the exposition at the beginning of the episode was bland, unnecessary and frankly made things a little more confusing than I would’ve liked. I’d have preferred they start straight off with the invasion parts, because a crap load of narration kinda ruins my mood. I mean, it’s an anime with Jeanne of Arc and Oda Nobunaga with giant robots!
Secondly, the characters don’t seem to have much to them. I’m willing to overlook the male characters for now (although they seem pretty cliche, but it’s only the first episode), but what worries me the most is Jeanne’s character. Kawamori’s big problem is his inability to create engaging, layered characters, females in particular. Given how we see Jeanne passing out and later sitting comfortably on Oda’s lap in the first episode, her playing the typical ‘victim of bullying’ role…it’s really not a good sign. It reminds me of Mikono from EVOL, and god damn do I hate that useless, clingy and jealous woman. So I really need to see Kawamori at least try to fix this problem in the later episodes.
Lastly, I do wish they played the invasion part out better. They cut out the fun of feudal Japan battles and just left the usual spineless old commanders going against the words of our male lead and looking down on him…this is a problem I have with many anime with historical elements. War politics are NOT that simple, there’s a lot more than old men unwilling to admit their uselessness and their stupidity. Still, I’m not exactly here for the politics so I shan’t complain TOO much about that.
Still, this was a pretty good buildup episode and I assume next week is where all the action starts, and that’ll probably be the episode where we get to understand the plot better (no more exposition at the beginning please!). Visuals are looking pretty good (standard Satelight fare) and the soundtrack is pretty damn rad. I’ve watched too many Kawamori anime to mind the CG robots, but I do wish they looked a little better. Minor complaint compared to the other issues I brought up though.
Possibility of Blogging: Nope! I’ll probably blog Silver Spoon 2. And since I’m also blogging Samumenco from this week onwards I doubt I’ll cover much else.
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed (for at least 3 episodes)
Dan’s First Impression
After the relative disappointment which was Buddy Complex, Nobunaga managed to at least meet my expectations and give me a nice mech fix. I wasn’t hugely impressed by this episode, but I wasn’t disappointed either. The episode managed to accomplish everything a first episode should do to some degree. We have our cast of characters (which is seemingly quite large; most only had a few seconds screentime), a world and the beginnings of a plot.
The most appealing aspect to me currently is the universe the series has established. The concept of two separate worlds, the Stars of the East and West, and the way the series blends modern technology with the culture and aesthetics of 14th and 15th century society adds a nice twist to the series. It gives the world a uniqueness and personality, if you will. Given that mechs and spacecraft exist within this world, I’d like to see more of advanced technologies with 14th/15th century designs.
Our cast of characters, while large, aren’t exactly firmly established as people yet. Our titular character, Nobunaga, seems to be the typical hot headed and impulsive protagonist, with his friends Mitsuhide, the intelligent, straight laced bishonen and the boisterous Hideyoshi as support. Our female lead, Jeanne d’Arc, is rather uninspiring, however. She seems to be quite passive, which worries me. I was hoping that perhaps she would be the pilot of the mecha Leonardo da Vinci was transporting. Alas, she seems to be delegated to the role of prophetess and maiden which Nobunaga must protect. This is one area where Buddy Complex has the upper hand; Yunihara was shown to be capable and have some degree of agency (even reversing the role of damsel in distress).
Apparently Nobunaga is the Saviour King, with some grand destiny awaiting him. I’m hoping that this also involves some lessons, and deepens his character. I would also like to think that Jeanne will be developed as a character and gets some agency which doesn’t involve being saved or simply falling in love with Nobunaga. I’m not holding my breath, though.
Overall, Nobunaga was a decent watch. Not the greatest first episode I’ve ever watched, but by no means the worst. It’d definitely got potential, and I’m keen to keep watching. At this stage, I don’t think I’ll be blogging, but I am keen to watch the next few episodes and see how it handles itself.
Possibility of Blogging: Moderate
Possibility of Watching: Moderate to high; it is mecha, but three episode rule for now!