Nobunaga Concerto Review

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Oda Nobunaga and anime never seems to mix. As every season brings yet another attempt to ruin the name of the warlord of Japan. So what would possess one to attempt to watch a rotoscope and CG mixed show featuring a modern-day high school boy living as Oda Nobunaga? A sleeper hit, that’s what.

nobunagaconcerto9Story
Saburo was never a fan of history, often slacking away in class and claiming that stories of old don’t mean a thing to him. Unfortunately he would soon eat those words as he finds himself falling through an unknown time warp back to the warring era of Japan, the Sengoku Era.

Once there he stumbles upon Oda Nobunaga who is fleeing his estate. Seeing that Saburo looks quite similar to him, Nobunaga asks him to become a stand in for him so that he can flee and get some much-needed rest from his waning health as he feels he cannot serve his people in his current state.

Still confused at his situation, Saburo is dragged back to Nobunaga’s estate and assumes the role of leading the Oda family. At first, he’s quite reluctant and often flees his guards. This causes many of the Oda family to think Nobunaga has become possessed by a demon and many seek to end his life in fear of the Oda name being brought down. However it is in this trial that Saburo finally assumes the name of Nobunaga and seeks to conquer Japan.

nobunagaconcerto5At first I wasn’t to sure about the idea of a high school boy assuming the lineage of the warlord Oda Nobunaga. It seems stupid and quite unbelievable. However I quickly found myself forgetting that fact and instead being lost in the journey of Saburo. I believe this is thanks to Saburo’s likable nature and often carefree actions surprising his people.

Admittedly, I am as lost a Saburo was when it comes to Sengoku Era history. Thankfully that doesn’t really matter too much as you’re really seeing things from the eyes of someone who is rather lost himself. Yet the show continues with easy to follow events and I found myself often reading up on characters to see the significance to things. That said, I’m sure those knowledgable would have obtain something much more enhanced by knowing what actually happened.

At so many points I became lost in the moment to moment situations that Saburo found himself in. Amassing an army with little care for the situation he was in. Jumping into his text-book at the confusion of onlookers. Being made out as a genius when everything was as he read. It never gets boring.

nobunagaconcerto1Oddly enough, I especially found a lot of the side plots great. For one, Nobunaga’s wife was handled excellently. Having little connection to the real Oda Nobunaga, Saburo begins going through the motions of being a husband, much to her surprise. Bringing delight to her, then to tie this in with the real Oda Nobunaga was excellent. Then there’s Nobunaga’s sister who was a very powerful segment of the show.

Sadly the only thing that really holds this show back is its lack of conclusion. Though this could continue at in a second season, with no sign of that in sight, one can only assume that it will be left unfinished. At the same time, I didn’t feel cheated in the end as it didn’t feel like a brick wall was hit, rather that the story will continue on without us.

Animation
The animation choice is definitely where Nobunaga Concerto divides the crowds. Using advanced rotoscope along with CG, the show has a very unique feel to it. Mixing in an art style that mimics classic Japanese artistry, it manages to create an almost living painting look which actually looks good.

nobunagaconcerto11The only downside is an occasional oddly placed elements, bouncy heads, and jumpy character turns that can be a bit jarring. Although I have to say that compared to most shows using rotoscope and CG, this show was easily enjoyable despite its choices.

Sound
When it comes to musical choices, Masaru Yokoyama. Capturing the feel of the era, there’s a significant use of classical Japanese instruments that create a believable feel to the environment. Ramping up some good scores for the more impactful moments. However at many moments, the music didn’t seem to stand out.

Regardless, the inclusion of My First Story for the outro music had me kicking up the volume to conclude my watching of each episode. A brilliant end to a good show.

Conclusion
nobunagaconcerto7Nobunaga Concerto definitely turned out to be the biggest surprise of the Summer 2014 anime line-up and earned its place as a good show in my book. While it didn’t shake the foundations of storytelling or impact me emotionally, it was entertaining from start to end. Really only being held back by its lack of a conclusion. Perhaps I’ll rethink burning every show with Nobunaga in its name in hopes of finding yet another gem.

Family Friendliness-This show is very clean in content, only straying in times of battle. Even then, none of the depiction of war were gory in a sense. Rather just quickly slices and falling bodies.

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

REVIEW VERDICT:
Good!

Pros:

  • A good Nobunaga anime
  • Fun and entertaining
  • Good side plots

Cons:

  • Jumpy CG/Rotoscope
  • Lacking conclusion
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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.