OP Sequence

OP: 「Link」 by Aimi
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼

「信奈とサル」 (Nobuna to Saru)
“Nobuna and the Monkey”


Many weeks ago, I had placed Nobuna at the very bottom of my coverage picks, solely listing the reason as ‘for the lulz’. The premise seemed silly (though “Sengoku Paradox” has already done something similar), and the PV looked decent, so at the very least I would check out the first episode.

Fast forward now. Famiglia is doing terrible with female leads and suddenly Nobuna doesn’t seem so bad. In fact, it’s way better than I expected it, so much that I asked Mochi if I could do this series introduction instead. [thank her for all the amazing screenshots though!]

Before we delve into the impressions, let me clear up a few things. This is my absolute first anime concerning the Sengoku period. I am quite aware that there are quite the number of Sengoku period anime. Therefore, my impressions may come off a little too ‘fresh’ for some of you Sengoku veterans. Also, my knowledge of the Sengoku period (before spending hours researching after watching) has been limited to Total War: Shogun 2. I apologize if any of my facts come off wrong, but I did attempt a fair bit of research afterwards.

Impressions and Thoughts

Nobunaga is now Nobuna: a teenage girl who has banded with other female generals in order to lead the Oda clan to victory against other female generals. Hideyoshi is now dead, and a protagonist with an obsessive knowledge of the Sengoku period takes his place, high school uniform and all. Yup, we’re in another historical Japan anime. However, what is it that makes this title worth giving a shot amidst all the other shows this season?


First off, the visuals and cinematography are definitely above average. The character designs are tastefully done without going overboard on fanservice, for which you can thank the same designer who worked on character design for High School DxD, Miyama-Zero. The character detail is good enough that concerns with quality aren’t an issue, especially during critical scenes. The animation might be standard during downtime, but the animators took care to put their resources into the action scenes, something visibly seen in each action sequence. However, even during those non-animated scenes, post-production did a wonderful job of using pans, fades, and jitters to enhance the mood: an aspect of the visuals that often gets underworked and underappreciated. Of course, the fanservice that’s granted is not disappointing, both in terms of visuals but also with embarrassment.

Sound and music are used effectively as well. The key to a good war historical is conveying the epic mood of the events that radically shape history; what better way to do that than to add some epic horns and strings? It may not be Fate/Zero quality, but it definitely fulfills its duties in setting tones fairly well. Only once in the episode did I feel the music mismatch and even then, it was excusable considering the audible buildup before that. Takanashi Yasuharu’s experience with the action genre definitely reflects in his choice of compositions.

Finally, the cast of seiyuu does its job properly, with the more recognizable actors being a pleasure to hear as always. Check out Divine’s preview for the listings to see if any catch your eye!

Nobuna and Friends

However, what ultimately draws me to Nobuna is the inherent presence of strong female cast members. I don’t consider myself a feminist, but I sure do like it when female leads actually end up being strong and staying strong. Nobuna, like her historical counterpart, was known as a fool. Both had a fascination with guns, both had their qurky behavior, and both had a drive to mold Japan into a strong unified nation. The Sengoku period occurs as the Japanese slowly begin to realize the power of their ‘barbarian’ neighbors, and Nobuna (and Nobunaga) spearheaded that pride to not become inferior and weak to the outside world. Even though they may have switched genders, Nobuna stays true to her counterpart personality-wise.

Perhaps that’s why ‘samurai girls + history’ works. The great leaders of feudal Japan had to have strong personalities in order to leave their mark on history, which in turn leaves little room for their future representations to be weak. It’s a restriction which ends up being absolute gold for those who wish to see strong female protagonists. Even though Nobuna is not a complete tomboy, she still retains her command of authority for 95% of situations (the other 5% unfortunately being the male protagonist’s fault). Take for instance the meeting with Dousan. It is obvious she is using her feminine charms, but she uses them in a way that strengthens her position rather than for personal gratification. Her core character emanates ability, even without the protagonist’s assistance. In fact, she’s so independent that the show could run just fine if Yoshihara disappeared. Despite this, the male protagonist isn’t THAT bad compared to others in similar positions. He possesses a useful talent and uses it bravely, showing a mature understanding of the Sengoku period, albeit through games.

Although there are other female characters that are pretty much moe stand-in right now, that’s actually alright. A diverse cast of varying abilities makes for a more interesting show. After reading up on a brief history of the Sengoku period during Nobunaga, it’ll be fascinating to see how the dynamics between characters pans. Will the adaption be more modest in its interpretation of events, or will we actually get to see some real tension and grief in the air? Personally, that’s still up in the air with me. The diversity that is Madhouse doesn’t give any clear indication, and Studio Gokumi isn’t helping either despite its modestly sized resume. All I can say is that such dynamics will be exaggerated, though that’s to be expected. When in a premise such as this, being overly serious just kills the mood that people came looking for, and I doubt another Madoka is going to be pulled here.

In closing, check out Nobuna because it looks like it’ll work. The three episode rule definitely applies here, and even if you are an avid veteran of the genre, give it a shot. Feudal Japan is a popular setting for a reason: it’s a tried and true environment that elevates characters to be stronger and more fulfilled. This show is no exception. Don’t make the mistake that I made and quickly dismiss it for its premise, give it a shot and see if the whole package catches your eye.

Historical Notes and Differences: Spoilers Possible.

Finally, instead of doing alt-texts (at least immediately), I have listed some interesting comparisons between the events of Nobuna’s universe and that of our own. I try my best to point out changes that the author has made to make the plot flow better, as well as uncover interesting facts about the timeline.

Show Spoiler ▼

Full-length images (screenshots courtesy of Mochi): op 5, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 25, 26, 28, 30, 36, ed 1.


ED Sequence

ED: 「ヒカリ」 (Hikari) by みずたまきの (Mizuta Makino)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼



    1. My guess is that Sagara may go the majority of the series not knowing who “that cutie” is until it is almost too late. I think it will be interesting if they can pull that off.

      …or he’ll find out next episode and just be ignored…

      1. Show Spoiler ▼

        Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incident_at_Honn%C5%8D-ji

        Zanibas: Spoilah tags pl0x :S

  1. Nice review, Zanibas. I appreciate the historical info.

    I’m pretty much the same with you, putting this show on the bottom of the list and just checking it for the lulz and I agree that this turn out to be quite good. I like how they don’t waste time and start in media res into the action from the get go.

    The characters.. Nobuna looks like another ‘heroine with violent tendecy’ types, but for once, the heroine is actually seems likable this time. Her violence also doesn’t seems ou of bounds and make sense, given nobunaga’s infamous eccentricity. She also got some cool side to her (though I think they are a bit overdone with the whole shining-and-sailing-to-horizon thing)as well some cute/dere side 🙂

    The main character, for all that he is the typical high school boy protag, got some guts to make him likable.

    Overall, decent action/cool moments, nice character design, nice music, likable and sensible enough characters, funny enough comedy (I actually ROFL when they introduce the genderbent Ieyasu). The premise is still a silly one of course, but chance this going to be a enjoyable ride.

  2. Yep, judging from the quality of the anime and characters’ personality. This one blows other historic gender reverse out of the window. Definitely picking up this show to watch.

    And woah, that’s a lot of full-length images.

  3. The only thing I don’t like is the MC announcing to the whole world hes from the future, there just something I don’t like about that, it just make him sound so stupid, doesn’t he think that what happen if the events he know about make some changes and it cause massive damage later, then all the fingers will be pointed at him. The main character just sound so dumb, especially monkey should have been way smarter than that.
    If I was from the future you can sure bet I keep what I know to myself and only advise certain events when needed.

    1. Well time travel is iffy all together. We havent achieved time travel so how do we know how to act if we were to time travel to the past. And worst of all there are many different theories used from many different stories.

      Most importantly though, not only did the MC travel to the past, but he’s also entered a parallel universe with females as the lords of Japan. So who’s to say that any of what he does actually effects this own universe/time? Really with these kinds of stories, you just gotta go with it. Plus it seems to me like he’s doing a good job so far with his future knowledge.

      1. But aside from the future part it just in reality a person/anyone should never act too smart and know everything because it just brings trouble to them, keeping a low profile is how one can stay alive especially in those ancient times you know. Just imagine if you act too smart and the enemy kingdom heard about his enemy has a really smart advisor that knows everything, what do you think their next course of action gonna be? assassin maybe?
        It just never a good idea to bring too much attention to yourself unless you have the power to defend yourself (you never know what could be in other ppl mind like envy/jealousy), which in this case he does not.

  4. I installed Shogun 2 in preperation for this show. While I found the way we were suddenly thrust into the world disorienting and it seems rather fast paced plot wise they don’t have many episodes with which to get all of this done so it’s to be expected.

    1. Roll on the fu**ing floor laughing when that happened. Almost died laughing when the batts died hahaha. Iphone 4s: contains technology more advanced than the first space craft to land on the moon, yet its batteries don’t last for over a day (when used).

  5. My predictions:

    1. Akechi Mitsuhide will fall in love with Sagara, thus averting the “Incident at Honnouji”
    2. Sagara will eventually become a feudal warlord in his own right
    3. He’ll conquer Japan ala Rance, but it will be Safe For Work
    4. Tokugawa Ieyasu will conquer Japan via MOE~

    What I like about this episode:
    1. The loli ninja (who sounds like the dwarf princess Ymir from Queen’s Blade)
    2. The future Tokugawa Ieyasu as a soccer goalkeeper (Glasses + Loli = MOE~!)
    3. Gainaxing plate armor (perhaps the Portugese brought these along with their matchlock firearms “tanegashima
    4. The level of detail in weapons during close-ups (such as when Dousan put a katana to Sagara’s neck)
    5. Oda Nobuna thinking of Sagara as a perv when he kept her sandals in his jacket (foot fetish, anyone?)

    What I hope will happen:
    1. Fight scenes on the level of Sengoku Basara where mooks are blown away
    2. Sanada Yukimura (OYAKATA-SAMA!!!) vs. Date Masamune (Are you ready guys? Put your guns on!)

  6. First – nice review. As a fan of the Sengoku Period, I planned to watch this show from the time the summer season was announced, but given prior animes set in this period, I was more than a bit skeptical. Thankfully, the first Ep. turned out to be quite good – MUCH better than Battle Girls.

    The male lead is better than I expected. He wasn’t utterly weak, completely stupid or, conversely, some ultra gifted athlete/genius. Yeah, he’s a bit ecchi, but so are most guys his age. The cell phone scene was funny sort of “baka” moment, yet later he shows some quick thinking and guts when confronting Dousan. Female leads were well done – maybe one or two more loli’s than I’d like, but Zaniba’s historical comments in the spoiler give some rationale for that. Like others, I thought the visual quality was above average.

    My only real complaint was the soccer scene – total WTF moment for me. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that sport wasn’t played in Japan during the Sengoku Period. It just seemed completely out of place.

  7. Honestly, it feels so much like an inferior Sengoku Paradox that I don’t even want to compare them. On the other side of that same coin, I liked Sengoku Paradox so much that it makes me obsessively want to watch any show that even resembles that same feel it gave off.

    The one and only real turn off for this show is more of a personal preference. That is, tsundere characters that are more tsun than dere really, really annoy me. The few interactions between Nobuna and the male lead rated an 11 on my 10 point scale of tsun annoyance.

    I’m pretty sure it was Zero from Zero no Tsukaima that first turned me off from tsundere characters and I’ve just been gradually disliking them more and more ever since.

    I’m really hoping Nobuna either goes completely dere or the interactions between her and the male lead are limited enough that I can actually watch the show without having to rage quit because just about everything else about it really appeals to me.

  8. I seriously thought I’m going to skip this anime after episode 1, because I thought this is another of those mindless anime that only care about fan service, since they change most the historical figure to girls. But the first episode was actually quite good which really surprise me. I think I will watch this until the end if they still keep this pace. Although I still wonder why harem male lead always so weak and can’t fight lol.

    PS : Nobuna is awesome… she’s super hawt =P

    1. Forgot to say that I’m happy that they didn’t change some of the historical figures gender. At least it doesn’t look like the other one that have all-girls-character which is plainly stupid and disturbing imo.

  9. wasn’t even intending on dismissing it always loved japan’s old history and of coz oda nobunaga and his conquest tenka fubu jus so u know………btw i know wat ur sayin ur talkin bout sengoku otome right……….like the show so im gonna ignore ur comment……..

  10. This with Sengoku Collection makes historical gender bending a legitimate genre. Nobuna is fun to watch and I love the little bit with the iPod. While the animation isn’t that great I have to give props to the imaginative character design. There were a few laughs and some actions. While this anime doesn’t do anything new I have to agree with you, the characterization of the females is strong and warrants a watch!

  11. The designs for the characters here would be perfect for conversion into PVC figures. I am now hoping for a Shibata Katsuie fig. to be produced in the Near future

  12. The main difference between this anime and the other back-into-the-past anime is that this anime have HEAVY reference to the KOEI games – insofar as to there are many “in-jokes” if you have played the games. (Especially Taikou Risshiden 5)
    You can almost say that this entire anime is a live adaption of some of KOEI’s most well made games. (And yes, there is a female mod for TK5, and I can definitely foresee modders to jump on this anime and replace all the characters with the anime pictures – rather than the self-designed pictures)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *