This is review number ninety eight and its part of the Summer 2012 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Oda Nobuna no Yabou and are about the conquest of Oda Nobunaga except he is now a little girl with blonde hair and a tsundere personality. Oh well, it’s an interesting premise. The anime is twelve episodes long and the anime is certainly an underrated gem of the lineup. Let’s read on.
The anime is about Sagara Yoshiharu, who travels back into the Sengoku era where feudal lords fight among each other to expand their territory and to inch their way into conquering Japan. The anime opens with our main, Sagara, trapped in a battle field. He meets the leader of the Oda clan, Oda Nobunaga. No, wait. He is shocked to discover that the man who unified Japan is actually a young tsundere blonde. She’s not Oda Nobunaga; she is Oda Nobuna. Sagara then decides to serve under Oda Nobuna and using his knowledge of playing video games about his conquest, he has proved to be a valuable weapon for Oda. He helps her correct wrongs that happened in history and to predict the events to give Oda the advantage. He also vowed to make sure she’s alive after she conquered Japan. It’s not an easy task when the rest of the feudal lords are out to make sure she doesn’t succeed.
Taking the Pants Off
This anime has been the biggest surprise of the season so far because I didn’t even knew this anime existed until a couple of days ago. I certainly didn’t expect it to be so damn good. I saw the title and I sighed a bit because I expect another anime like Brave Ten that uses the feudal era as a setting and basically doing something subpar with it. The anime has all the elements to fail miserably yet it turns out to be very amazing. I always believe that cliché isn’t a bad thing and it all depends on how you use it. This anime has a harem with all the generic fixings but it was able to properly use the elements to make one remarkable story. Also, it’s a light novel anime. I love anime adapted from light novels because they have more emphasis on story than any other medium. Oda Nobuna no Yabou is one of the best anime of the season.
The anime proves to be a bit ridiculous when you see the first episode. I actually find it hard to believe that they made a show where Oda Nobunaga is a tsundere. It boggles the mind and I was sure this premise wouldn’t last. They might replace it with pointless fan service or build a harem or something. All the elements are there for the anime to drop the premise. We have a bunch of girls and one guy, the generic casts of a harem is here: the tsundere, the big breasted one, the silent one and the loud one. They just needed to align themselves and I was preparing for the worst. It didn’t happen though. The anime didn’t disintegrate into a senseless Ecchi or Harem anime. I was relieved to know that. It couldn’t become a pointless Ecchi show mainly because the anime has a pretty impressive story to tell.
The biggest hurdle in this anime is accepting the fact that the heroes of Japan are replaced with girls. Oda Nobuna is a freakin tsundere. If you can follow that fact then you can enjoy the anime. It started pretty interesting actually. The first episode started with a battle and the plot was laid out pretty nicely afterwards. The idea of having a guy from the future telling Oda of all the things she did wrong is pretty sweet. It’s like going to the movies with a guy who already seen it. He spoils the story and Oda is able to capitalize from it. The rewriting of history and the characters turning into cute girls is among the charm of the anime. The plot of the anime is very serious despite the ridiculous elements of the anime and it’s the reason why the anime was able to straighten out right away. The first half has some very powerful episodes that will easily grab you.
The anime is about a part of history of Japan though but it never got in the way. I recognize most of the characters because I played a lot of Orochi games on the PS2 and that’s as far as I know regarding the Sengoku era. The anime often has time to have a narrator introduce the characters so they can easily slide themselves into the story. After the introduction, the anime proceeds in building the story. There are a lot of dialogues in the anime but it was used to establish certain situations in the anime. The anime is like watching a game of chess and you eagerly wait for the moment where a player shows the trick up his sleeve. There are a lot of moments in the anime that is really impressive. One example is declaring that building a fort in the field would prove impossible because it’s near a feudal lord’s territory and he will do his best to make sure the fort won’t be built. The anime uses certain situations like this and have Sagara or Oda have their moment of brilliance and attempt the impossible. Once you get used to the pattern, it’s not long before you wait for the next big hurdle to come and the moment of brilliance the characters will do to overcome the problem.
The characters are certainly the strongest point of the anime. They are a bit generic but they have the perfect personality to make the story interesting. The cute little girls being involved in feudal wars are really interesting because the anime did a great job presenting it. Of course, the idea of a stuttering ninja who looks about 9 years old is a bit of hard pill to swallow but when the story moves along its climactic moment, all the characters was able to bring their own charm to the scene. There are a lot of characters and none of them look alike. They all have a certain role to the story with their unique personality. There is no shortage of interesting characters here from both the good guys and the bad guys. They certainly make the story a lot more interesting.
Oda Nobuna is pretty rounded herself. She is considered as a military genius capable of doing the impossible but most of the time she is just a little brat. I really love how most of the times, she is the problem and her weak hearted nature adds some needed tension in the anime. It does wear off pretty quickly because the anime relies far too much on her weak personality but it deepens the story and makes it more exciting. One moment she is this girl with a nasty personality trying to rule the country then the next moment she is a docile little kitten that needs the other characters to comfort her out.
As for Sagara, well, he’s a pretty normal guy. He is the generic type of main character that just flows along with the story. If the scene calls for him to be an idiot then he becomes an idiot. If the scene needs him to be hero then he’ll rise to the occasion. If the story needs him to be “cool guy” the girls will fall in love with then he becomes that guy. I guess it’s a good thing that he’s a flexible main character but he doesn’t have enough personality to stand on his own. It’s not a bad thing though because other supporting characters get some screen time thanks to his lack of a decent personality.
There are some hints of fan service in the anime but it was never a main focus. The story did point out that Sagara is a pervert but there aren’t any panty shots and there was only one moment of boob grabbing. It’s pretty alright because some of the characters are a bit under aged and it’d be pretty awful to sit through another Ro Kyu Bu type of anime (which gets another season and some more pedo fan service). There is also a slight hint of romance to tie the entire anime together. Sagara and Oda’s relationship is one of driving plot points of the anime and it’s often of the elements that cause a lot of tension in the anime. One moment they’re buddy buddy then when push comes to shove, they’re fighting.
The anime does have some downsides to it. The biggest hurdle is accepting the cute characters as competent warriors battling adult sized soldiers and what not. The story easily covers that up. The anime never explained Sagara going back to the past though and it does bug me at first. He just suddenly showed up and no mention of black holes or time machines to explain his time travel. The anime obviously didn’t want you to question it because the plot was pretty good that it didn’t matter how he got there. The one complaint I have about the anime though is that the anime slowly pushed Sagara into the background. In the first half, he was very pivotal in the fights because of his knowledge about playing video games. As the anime progresses, this knowledge was no longer used and some of the moments of the second half would’ve been more awesome if the anime had Sagara spoil the fights. It’s a minor complain though and the anime didn’t crumble from the lack of Sagara’s knowledge.
The pacing in the second half did become a bit fast and certain events had little effect to me because the anime rushed in getting there. There was no climactic build up in the second half and it was a shame that they couldn’t make the final moments of the anime more awesome. It ended pretty anticlimactically and it’s a shame. It did tease a second season and I seriously want another run at this awesome anime.
Sight and Sound
In terms of character, the anime did a heck of a good job at it. There is a huge range of character design here from the cute kin of character up to the grown up old type adult character. One thing I love about this anime is that no character looks alike. They are all extremely detailed using the attire of the era to their advantage and putting a spin on it. There is a stuttering ninja with a pink skull hairclip, a little girl with a spear and a tiger hood and even a girl with a cute dragon emblem on her head. The characters are the best part of the anime and it’s their diverse look that makes the experience a lot more enjoyable.
The animation is also one of the anime’s best parts. The fight scenes are a bit too short but they still have an air of awesomeness to them that makes them fun to watch. The use of CG in some scenes is nicely done because it doesn’t look stiff. The way the camera changes angles is also one of the reasons why the fight scenes are some awesome.
The fight scenes are pretty straight forward and there isn’t a lot of technicality in them. The anime uses it as a way to move the story along and it’s often not the climax of the anime. It often leads to the climax but the battles where never once the main attention of the anime. The moment of brilliance among the characters is like building a fort overnight. That being said though, the fight scenes are still pretty nice. The capture the feel of a real war and there are enough effects to give us the impression of a massive battle. There is no blood though. I would’ve preferred at least some blood out of slashed necks but the anime often cut away before any blood would gush out or they would be off screen. Let’s focus on the moe characters instead.
The anime’s OP is “Link” by Aimi. This really captures the anime’s theme and it nicely reflects the relationship of the two main characters. The anime’s opening sequence is pretty awesome as well. It introduced all the characters without spoiling the story and overwhelming the viewers. I also love the scene of the horses meeting each other for a battle. You can clearly see the awesomeness of the anime and the high production value of the anime.
The ED song is “Hikari” by Makino Mizuta. It’s a slow song with a romantic theme to it. It has a meloow vibe to it compared to the rough nature of the anime. The ED sequence is has a bigger fan service than the overall series with all the girls naked and draped with a sheet. It’s pretty nice, I guess.
6/10 “A strong plot about Oda Nobuga being a tsundere”
This is a really good anime and it’s too good to miss. The plot, the characters and the action all makes for one awesome anime experience. Try to enjoy the moe girls fighting in the Sengoku era because the anime is really great. I highly recommend it.