For those of you who follow my posts from season to season, this choice of show may come as a surprise. I normally do romance or comedies–that much is true–but the sheer combination of characters in this show have convinced me to step outside of my bounds. Joan of Arc and Leonardo da Vinci happen to be some of my favorite characters from history, and with the research I’ve done on Oda Nobunaga’s life from blogging Oda Nobuna no Yabou, this show pretty much poised itself to have coverage.
Right off the bat, it’s interesting to see the interpretations of the many, MANY characters based off of important figures from Western and Japanese society. Apparently the world of the East Star and West Star (both guided by dragons) are parallel universes to our own, where the lives of many important figures in history play similar yet radically different roles. Instead of sailing across the sea, cruising through space is the way to go. Instead of Takeda using horsepower to assert their dominance, they use giant robots with blades as the ignition key. It’s not a beautifully constructed historical narrative, but as one who is familiar with most of the historical figures present, it’s a pleasure to see what parts of a character’s historical counterpart help enhance the story.
For instance, Nobunaga’s own foolish counterpart and his retinue–Akechi Mitsuhide and (Hashiba) Toyotomi Hideyoshi–generally have the characteristics that history embodies them as. Nobunaga was a brilliant general whose gambits often won major battles, Mitsuhide is as calm and strategic (and possibly treacherous) as he is remembered, and Hideyoshi–stereotypically enough–is given monkey-like traits true to his nickname. With Nobunaga being accepted as a king by a giant robot, combined with Nobunaga’s own personal distaste for the warring states, it is clear that the show will follow Nobunaga’s “Tenka Fubu” campaign of uniting the East–and possibly the West–Star, “under one sky.” There will be numerous opponents against him though, with immediate threats from the Takeda and a possible challenge for power from his younger brother Nobukatsu. It also doesn’t help that explorer Ferdinand Magellan and consequently King Arthur will prove a nasty treat, especially considering their technological superiority.
However, to deal with these trouble are the help of two characters, whose true alignments have yet to be seen. First is the acclaimed polymath Leonardo da Vinci, whose inventions and remarkable creativity amazed people then and now. Not much is known about what his intended plan of action is, but he sure is nice enough to lend the robot he designed to the one and destined king. Second, and more important to the current story, is Jeanne (Kaguya) d’Arc, whose visions of both the East Star and her own burning at the stake in our world have led her to a destiny that she herself cannot predict. Her character interestingly will share both her sacrificial and inspiring tendencies as the Maid of Orléans and the characteristics of the less popular but no less brave Mori Ranmaru, attendant and male lover of Oda Nobunaga. It’s a wild stab in the dark, but I believe she will play an important role in repelling the Arthurian Empire from East Star similar to how she helped inspire France to beat back England during the Hundred Years’ War–through martyrdom and love.
I apologize for all the historical connections here, but when shows like this make these interesting connections back to a fictional world, I can’t help but appreciate the time taken to connect these threads together. Sure, in the end it might end up as a name-dropping game with no regard for deep historical reference, but as it stands now, there is much potential in this show to become an epic alternate history narrative, full of robots, betrayal, romance, and ultimately resolve to unite a warring people.
ED: 「FOOL THE WORLD」by Minori Chihara