by Lauren Orsini,
Ah, Nobunaga Concerto, my very own Scylla and Charybdis.
On the one hand, we've got movement-heavy action, all the better to showcase Nobunaga's herky-jerky animation. The sumo wrestling scene at the beginning of the episode looks less like two characters opposing one another, and more like a body part free-for-all in which arms, legs and heads jitter independently from one another in an effort to escape this horrid show.
On the other hand, we've got motionless exposition; characters sit around in a room discussing dull, complicated plotlines. At least when everyone is sitting still, my head aches a lot less than when they're jerking around like uncanny marionettes.
I don't think I'd be remiss in calling myself a history buff, though my specialty is more the American Civil War. Still, I've been watching Nobunaga with Wikipedia open in another window, pausing to look up people's names and events every time Saburo scratches his chin and telegraphs to the viewer, “Hey, isn't that an important historical name?”
What bothers me is that the show's decisions of whether to stick to known history or completely diverge from it seem arbitrary. Episodes ago, they were eager to remind the audience that Ieyasu Tokugawa was a womanizer (because it's interesting, I guess?) but this episode has flat-out turned Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Nobunaga's most loyal followers from boyhood, into his would-be killer for no discernible reason. Heck, they've even made Toyotomi (pictured above) resemble the historical accounts that say he looked a bit "monkey-ish," but have altered his entire range of motives.
By the way, when is Saburo going to get around to noticing his history book is missing? Toyotomi Hideyoshi burned it two episodes ago, and Saburo still hasn't gotten around to looking for it. At one point it was his most prized possession and everyone knew it. (That's why his antagonist burned it in the first place). It's strange that the anime would completely abandon what I thought had become its greatest plot point.
Honestly, I'm harsh on Nobunaga Concerto because it really had potential—a rich historical precedent, stunning visual settings, a moving soundtrack—and in spite of that, it's becoming nearly unwatchable.
Nobunaga Concerto is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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