「天下布武」 (Tenka Fubu)
Tenka Fubu was an important phrase in Oda Nobunaga’s conquest. He coined the term on his seal in 1567 as a way of expressing his intent on conquering all the land under one sky. The adoption of this phrase also marked the acceleration of Nobunaga’s conquests and his transition from being a lucky daimyo to a formidable general.
It’s fitting that this final episode be named as such then, for this episode marked the transition from Nobuna the Idealist to Nobuna the Ambitious. Her struggles–losing the people she loves–has not gone in vain; she has risen as a leader who can push forward despite the emotional toll. It’s great that Saru finally came back for Nobuna, but the story could’ve continued just fine without him. The story could’ve gone without Juubei’s survival as well (what a trooper she is!), but hey, the story needs its major love triangles for the second season! Nobuna x Saru x Mitsuhide, Nobukatsu x Nagamasa, and of course the heavily implied Dousan x Danjou…
But alas, no main character is ever fated to die (yet), so the episode ended on an even lighter note, where good completely prevails over evil and where Nobuna moves onto the next stage of her conquest. Although I don’t typically like these types of endings, it’s a satisfactory ending that’s to be expected of the show. Everyone ends up happy, the foreshadowing for a second season is placed, and of course, OF COURSE, that tease of a kiss at the very end. My only complaint for this ending is how easily everything seemed to resolve itself. Katsuie finishes off two characters that are all talk with a single lunge, Nobuna conveniently is able to bypass the mysterious masked figure *cough*, and Saru’s phone…most durable phone ever? Although I predict these conflicts aren’t elongated due to time constraints and production values, if I could have my way with this finale, it would be longer battle sequences WHILE all this dialogue is going on, so that the feeling of tension that’s so critical to a conclusion can be expressed more clearly.
Despite the minor gripe, I would say that Oda Nobuna has exceeded expectations and has proven itself to be a great series in the genre of Sengoku era genderbending. “It’s just another Sengoku Genderbend!” many said, even us as writers, where the only real twist was the genders themselves. However, Nobuna has proven to be a story that takes its twist very seriously, integrating it into a more general problem of altering a timeline. A prime example of this serious take would be the twist of Asai Nagamasa. While some of us knew from the get-go this would happen, either from the light novel or a lucky guess, the twist is a plot point that works with the setting, rather than as a tacked on gimmick. The show doesn’t just moe your favorite figures from a part of Japanese history, it presents an alternate reality. It was easy at times to forget what was historical fact and what was fabricated, for it all started to blend in. The first few episodes stayed true to history for the most part without any major changes, but as the plot sailed forward, all these small changes begun to pile up, snowballing into the events we’ve seen in recent episodes.
However, other than history changing due to Saru, the main changes that occured thanks to genderbend was due to the change of heart thanks to the gender switch. To see the conquest of Japan from a strong female group’s perspective is a fairly interesting concept to wrap your head around. The women of Oda don’t perceive their goals as something about honor, blood, or power. Instead, contrary to their predecessors, they sought to unite Japan through more altruistic reasoning–a desire to unite the people in the name of peace and equality. It’s not a silly type of unity that’s meant to be moe either–their ambitions are honest. Nobuna follows her dream due to her background, and as a result, everyone else is inspired by her ideals and follows her banner. Although I haven’t personally seen any other genderbends, as I stated at the start of this series, I am impressed by the way that the show mixes the silly elements of a harem and ecchi show with the serious topic of conquest. It’s a nice mix that doesn’t really disappoint those looking for women fighter fanservice, but doesn’t alienate those who are looking for a more serious plot.
The serious plot does have its own flaws though. Throughout the show, the flow of tension and the path of conquest was marred by the constant pattern of comedy-serious-happiness format that dominated the majority of the show. It became such a predictable format that it ruined most of the conflicts that popped up throughout the show–it became an expectation that any conflict wasn’t permanent and would be resolved by the end of the episode. The show may have attempted to rectify this problem by the end, but the damage already had been done, perhaps enough that future seasons will suffer from this expectation. However, if future seasons continue to shake things up progressively more and more, I may yet again have to swallow my words, like I have done several times throughout the season. The show is becoming less and less afraid to inflict emotional and physical pain on the main characters, even going as far as to kill off minor characters for the sake of shaking up emotions. Goemon will never forget her fanbase, despite how clingy they were. The show is becoming more open to causing bad things to happen to shake up the plot, though it seems going ‘all the way’ is still far away for the show. There is a threat to Oda’s cause, but it constantly keeps stabbing itself, letting Nobuna clean up with an easy blow.
However, there was one plot point I feel they did justice to, and it’s Nobuna and Saru’s relationship. I was really surprised at how receptive the two were to the other two’s actions. Normally in a rom com, the development that occurs between characters is usually reserved for the end in one big swoop, at which point the characters revert to being the best of friends. Nobuna and Saru shake things up to that formula by having both of them influence each other, with recognizable results. It was obvious at the beginning that Saru had (and to an extent still has) a superiority complex due to his knowledge, but Nobuna was quick to put Saru in his place. However, apart from any comedic resistance…he actually listened and kept that in mind throughout the series. Nobuna, who lacked certain confidence in herself to lead the Oda without Saru, was encouraged to go forward with her dreams through his reassurance from beyond the grave. While all of this is happening, their relationship continues to grow…albeit slowly and steadily. The moments when they embrace each other at the end of the series…I just want to reach out and congratulate them on finally opening up to one another!
After all twelve episodes, I appreciate Oda Nobuna no Yabou for giving me a thoroughly enjoyable show to watch. I know that many of you saw my transition from coverage of Famiglia to Nobuna–I don’t regret that decision one bit, for I moved onto a show that truly exceeded my expectations. Nobuna really sets the standard for future genderbends of history: not everything has to end in a comedic gag. It’s been a pleasure to cover this show, and I will gladly jump on the train to cover the second season, should it ever come to fruition.
In fact, just like how I’m considering reading up on Moyashimon’s light novels, I will DEFINITELY consider taking a look at Oda Nobuna’s light novels as well. The source material is definitely ahead in terms of development, so seeing what happens next, before a second season comes up, is something I’m dying to see now!
Any historical questions that you have about this episode or any of the previous episodes: feel free to ask! Just as a heads up, not much other than the burning of Hiei by Nobunaga himself happens historically in this episode.