「星」 (Hoshi)
“The Star”

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 Sequence

ED: 「FOOL THE WORLD」by Minori Chihara

Preview

87 Comments

      1. Nobunaga’s character designer, Kazuki Yone,also did the designs for the Hakuoki and Hiiro no Kakera otome game series.Compare:

        Nobunaga:http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire4/bc82236608259a5cbce49999ca3e33d41381277441_full.jpg
        Hakuoki:http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-v0F-uGly0SY/TWRg4aCT9xI/AAAAAAAAGrU/38E91Sg9Y2s/s1600/Minitokyo.Hakuouki.Shinsengumi.Kitan.Scans_462343.jpg
        Hiiro:http://gallery.minitokyo.net/view/366172

        Image art(esp the Tarot Cards)was done by French animator Thomas Romain.

        zztop
      1. Because code geass also got historical figures from different time periods in flashy outfits looking like models, no wait that’s not it, because code geass is set in ancient Japan where they somehow managed to fight in mechs when they still don’t have firearms, no that’s not it either… I got it, it’s because Code geass has space travel across worlds…. maybe the art style?…. damn, it’s neither of those, I’ll just assume you’re delusional.

        Mimc
      2. For some reason it wont let me reply to Mimc so I will just post it here.

        You could compare the two as they are both fairly large feeling worlds that have the potential for an epic level war.

        At any rate no need to downvote the guy in oblivion and call him delusional 😛

        Tori no uta
    1. In discussions, Zephyr was the one to convince me of this show’s efforts. Though I am interested in Sengoku-period references in anime, I just had to bet on one Nobunaga adaption over the other this season. Plus, as said above, I like the animation better here and the wider references to some of my favorite historical figures.

      I will be checking out Nobunagun though to see how that fares as well.

      Zanibas
      1. Think Nobunaga is better compared to Nobunagun based on first episode impressions.

        Also, the animation on Nobunagun seems very dated to me. Not sure if its intentional but I can’t really say I liked it.

        Euzio
      2. Might I ask exactly what about the animation of Nobunagun is outdated? The animation is fluid, the movements are detailed, the coloring scheme is good and there is close to no drop in quality over the entire episode The only thing about the animation that might be considered outdated is the low amount of cgi in action scenes and that is not a bad thing in my opinion.

        Or do you perhaps mean the art style that feels dated? I would agree on that.

        Zannafar
      3. I agree with Zannafar and personally I really liked the shading techniques used for different scenes and such. I counted at least 5 😛

        This is a bit off topic, but I wonder how many of the same historical characters/reincarnations will be in each series? Bit of a spoiler if you haven’t seen each first episode. Show Spoiler ▼

    1. @oliviaven, Servidor

      Yeah I didn’t know Kawamori was also involved in this project. No wonder it felt familiar, and now that you mention it, Nobunaga’s mech now reminds of loosely of the Nirvash. Aside from the mechs in a fantasy setting, the premise of a girl getting summoned to another world also reminded me of Escaflowne.

      @zztop

      Let’s just say that if Tomino Yoshiyuki is credited for creating Gundam (with Kunio Okawara as the mecha designer), Shoji Kawamori is known for creating the iconic Valkyries from the Macross series.

      Zhinvu
  1. Take away everything that was fun about Sengoku Basara and replace it by the same nonsense that went into Kawamori’s mind when he thought that EVOL being LOVE backwards was a good idea, you’ll get a tedious hodgepodge that not only shamelessly bastardize the historical figures of Japan’s warring states period but Europe’s as well.

    Though I can’t really complain about Da vinci since he is the only good thing about it so far.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Ananas
    1. To be fair, a quick google search shows that many artistic depictions of Joan of Arc’s burning at the stake show her hair fairly uncut. I was a little weirded out that she still had her beautiful locks, but hey–“artistic license” am I right? 😛

      And I do grant that its a bit of a mess when you start combining references willy nilly, but that’s a judgment to be passed at the end of the series rather than now. Let’s see how these references pan out, shall we?

      Zanibas
  2. So Jeanne was the reincarnation of RL Nobunaga’s gay servant who was the reincarnation of RL Jeanne?

    Can I sing “OSORE! Living your live, don’t give up now, keep moving on!”

    Whatever.

    And Magellan is here! Oh so good. And he’s in SPACE! Now where is Space Lapu-lapu, so we can kill him again?

    I’d say I’m sold, for now. I’ll give this show a 3 episode rule. It has potential, but I got this feeling it might flop.

    TheMoondoggie
  3. I really enjoyed this opening episode, the premise really hit me when the Mecha Clan appeared on screen – then i truly realised what i was watching. Im hoping this goes into some unique places and doesnt stay completely cliche.

    Randgriz
  4. Was not sure what to make of this when I first saw it. It’s definitely unique, I cannot come up with any examples that use the backdrop of medieval Japan and combine it with elements of both steampunk and mecha. Closest may be Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series, but that is definitively European and based off of World War I.

    Liking the plot so far though. Using historical characters at least lets us give some prediction to their actions, and the world itself is definitely a take off of actual history. My take is that this will become a fantasy version of Japan’s unification (an end to the multiple shogunates), before delving into how the East star is to live in harmony with the West star, or in historical terms, how the Tokugawa shogunate learned to live in symbiosis with the European colonial powers.

    There is of course the risk this can turn into a mighty big trainwreck, but we are going to need a few more episodes to see how the plot and character chemistry unfolds. So far Nobunaga the Fool is unique in a good way.

    Pancakes
  5. When I first saw this I thought that it might’ve been an continuation of Aquarion EVOL 12,000 years later with a new legend since the old one ended. There are just so many similarities to it:

    – The two planets (East and West) (Altair and Vega)
    – Reincarnation
    – Leonardo Da Vinci playing the same role as Fudo
    – The way the episode ended (just like the first episode of EVOL)
    – Nobunaga acting just like a more agressive Amata (if his soul was fused with Kagura’s) or Apollo, how he smells stuff and was attracted by Jeanne’s scent like when he says “She smelt nice.” or “It stinks”

    Then there’s also the phrase “It was inevitable” that was used like he knew it would happen. I don’t know but it just really feels that way to me. But I really like this show, so I’m gonna keep on watching it.

    PhoenixRising
    1. Somebody on Animesuki forums posted a picture showing Nobunaga with dark skin, red hair, and gold eyes, and Jeanne with purple hair and green eyes.

      They were pretty much the splitting image of Kagura and Mikono. Who knows, maybe this is a stealth sequel to Aquarion Evol, showing Show Spoiler ▼

      starqo
  6. When I saw a western Emperor garbed in purple, my thought was Charlemagne, or at the least, some Holy Roman Emperor closer in time to Jeanne d’Arc and the rest.
    But nope, it’s King Arthur.

    sinkingmist
  7. I had the strangest mixed feeling of enjoying the potential possibilities of where this could go but also thinking the show will be a mishmash of extremely complicated yet utterly meaningless plot details.

    The only other anime that’s left me in this specific state of mind in recent memory is Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. Of course, I still had the same feeling with that one even after watching 26 episodes of it, but the meaningless craziness was enjoyable right to the end. Let’s hope this show manages to at least keep things interesting, even if its plot never manages to make much sense.

    Tre
  8. Well, I think it’s safe to say that it’s going to be brutal having to wait a whole week for each new episode to come out. Especially with me starting college on the 21st.

    Regardless, I think this may very well clench the position for my AOTY for 2014 already, just like Aquarion Evol did for 2012.

    Having my favorite female seiyu as the female lead just makes it better. I just hope Jeanne will actually get to pilot (like I know Hikasa Yoko-sama would like her to) and not just stand around look oh, so hot.

    And while I’ve read lots of people complain about how the Western Star is a mix-match of various European figures, I’m the opposite. I’m curious as to how come the Western star gets what is pretty much an all-star lineup, while the Eastern Star is restricted to pretty much just Sengoku-era Japan (barring Himiko)?

    Anyways, the point is I’m very happy with the series at the moment, and am anticipating future events. And, of course, your future posts on it, Zanibas.

    starqo
  9. My favorite fictional portrayal of Nobunaga was Onimusha’s, especially in Onimuasha 2 “You will dieeee”. Honorable mentions would be Sengoku Otome’s Nobunaga, Samurai Warriors and Sengoku Basara’s Nobunaga, Drifters version of Nobunaga, and the live action Goemon’s version of Nobunaga.

    I’ll give anything with Nobunaga in it a shot! I liked this episode better than Nobunagun’s for sho.

    Magoiichi
  10. Interesting for them to have such advanced tech like mechs and spaceships (that the East Star never even had seen before apparently), yet otherwise live in those ancient settings with not much other advanced tech around. Wonder if/when we’ll learn about the origins of the tech.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
      1. It really bothered me when she was depicted like this in the Warriors Orochi 3 game. But for some reason it just doesn’t here. I think it’s because I in no way consider this anime to be a version of history. It is historical fiction at its absolute uttermost limit, so as far as I’m concerned, this is just a character named Jeanne d’arc, not an actual attempt at depicting Jeanne d’arc.

        KaleRylan
      1. Dude, not cool. First off, poor word choices. And secondly, you were rude and that was my whole point. Just like what you like. You don’t need to go insult what other people like. Which was my point.

        KaleRylan
      1. If the story is the cancer, well that depends: the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder anyway.

        I mean AKB0048 is total cancer to me but there are people who like that diabetes-tumor mix.

        TheMoondoggie
  11. Its show’s like this that embody what I enjoy in anime: Its penchant to take incredibly stupid sounding premises and present them with such seriousness, conviction and heart that I end up being invested on what they can do next with it.

    Think about how the pitch meeting went.
    Kawamori: I’m going to make a show about famous historical figures who fight wars with mecha…IN SPACE!!!!
    Studio: Lets greenlight this baby!!!

    And who else but the director who did AKB0048 to handle it? I like how Kawamori likes to add details to the setting he makes, from its ships, mecha and technology. It really make the worlds feel alive despite how ridiculous it sounds. Now let’s hope he won’t screw it up like he did with EVOL. I’d like to think that that was a fluke from his otherwise illustrious career.

    fragb85
  12. My first impression: Escaflowne and Aquarion had a baby. Jeanne made me nostalgic for Hitomi, and Nobunaga even LOOKS like Apollo.

    It was definitely a very fast paced episode. I am hoping it will slow down and this was just a info/world intro dump episode. Kawamori really surprised me with how well AKB0048 was, so I am looking forward to another Kawamori anime.

    Fuu
      1. Yeah. I was okay with EVOL until the whole Show Spoiler ▼

        happened. Seriously. AKB0048 was better than EVOL. And AKB0048’s entire premise was horrible! But it was still cohesive, built a solid world, likable characters and a plot that did not take itself too seriously so it ended up working out very well. And Okada Mari helped I’m sure.

        The original Aquarion I still 100% enjoyed. It was a well crafted show, great music, and a hilarious parody of sentai/Power Ranger type shows.

        Fuu
      2. You realize that Okada Mari wrote EVOL too right? Even more baffling was, according to the production notes, that horrible plot twist you hated was apparently her idea. I personally hated EVOL because the primary characters were pathetic, poorly-written, poorly developed and rife with sexist implications. Despite that, they kept getting focus but constantly being upstaged by much better side-characters.

        Which is why it confuses me how I liked AKB0048. Despite having the same writer and director, it actually had much better characters and character development despite an even larger cast and an even dumber premise.

        I can only come to conclusion that EVOL’s awful characters were a fluke on Kawamori’s track record. Having seen most of his work, I know he can do much better than that and I’m hoping he can pull it off on this show.

        fragb85
      3. I agree completely with both sentiments about Aquarion EVOL. And like you, I think it was a fluke. Personally, my theory is that they got carried away by a combination of culture and stereotype.

        Because let’s face it, Amata and Mikono were not that unusual in the annals of Anime lead characters. They were intensely stereotypical.

        The second part is this weird sudden decision to turn EVOL into a ‘screw destiny’ plot. The first series was about fated love lasting beyond lifetimes, and then the second series was suddenly about love overcoming destiny or whatever. It’s not good writing to torpedo your own earlier plots. Screw destiny is a fine plot, but it doesn’t need to be the plot of every show. Sometimes fate can be a good through-line too.

        Ugh, the sheer disappointment that show spiraled into still annoys me when it comes up.

        KaleRylan
      4. @KaleRylan

        The first series was about fated love lasting beyond lifetimes, and then the second series was suddenly about love overcoming destiny or whatever.

        Yes, a love lasting beyond lifetimes from Touma to Apollonius. The Genesis of Aquarion song is officially their love song. The fated lovers were always Touma and Apollonius who had been engaged since the universe was born. Celaine was nothing but a fling and a homewrecker who was fated to Apollonius’ dog. So her reincarnation finally said she was sorry. There was never a ‘screw’ fate, rather it was don’t fight against fate but don’t let it decide for you blindly. That the destined lovers were reunited (Mykage and Fudo on one side, Mikono and Amata on the other) was a long and bitter journey.

        Durga
  13. With the mash up of European historical (or legendary) figures I kinda wish there would also be a more diverse cast of Asian historical figures, not just individuals from Japanese history (Sengoku meets Three Kingdoms, anyone?) But I guess then this anime really is going to become a smoothie made from a world history text book. XD;;

    mangaka-chan
    1. Personally, I’d pass on the 3 kingdoms Mash-up bit, Sengoku Historical personalities are already a handful to keep track of without adding Cao Cao and Sonsaku and the crew to the mix. 😛

      Devastator001
  14. This show makes me think of something a chuunibyou (like that guy from Oregairu) would come up with – a mismash of random historical figures, fantasy nonsens, people screaming at the sky and giant robots. My impression wasn’t all that positive anyway. Can say I liked Mamoru Miyano hamming it up, but for the rest…eh. I just don’t see how any kind of an interesting story can really brew from this, and I’m kind of lacking a special spark.

    I thought Nobunagun was way better too, honestly – crummy animation aside, that show had a premise equally dumb but executed it with a lot of energy, which made it a very entertaining watch. The characters were more interesting too – I’ll take a geeky gun-nut who ends the episode cackling maniacally over a busty damsel-in-distress version of Jeanne d’Arc any day.

    I wonder if the fandoms of these two shows will end up battling each other, heh.

    Dvalinn
  15. well, Oda Nobunaga is pretty famous figure in japanese history. and he is some sort of constant character in anime world, whether it’s historical anime or anime like Nobunaga the fool or Nobunagun that have a strong relation to history but they aren’t in that period of time.

    I really liked the historical connections, I think it’s great. I mean, this series isn’t happening at the old times. but in some sort of different world. and I think it’s important to have historical connections that is indeed genuine (sure, not completely) for the figures, events and all (Hideyoshi’s nature, reference to Uesugi and so) it’s both cultural and historical tribute which I found adding some extra value.
    of course, it’s true not only for Japan, but also the connections of other figures such as Arthur, De Vinci, Jeanne d’Arc and so. it’s a little mess of history, but hey we’re in the anime world. I am open to mix stuff.
    Keep with the historical connection Zani!

    as for Nobunaga the fool. well one thing for sure, this Nobunaga is indeed a fool.
    so fool that I don’t like him or any of his companions. I just…don’t feel any of them.
    but I am not here for the characters. I am here for 2 things: (1)story; (2)action&Mecha. yeah, mostly due to the latter. we didn’t get a lot in that matter, a glimpse of some Mecha. nothing more. but the potential is indeed exist here. and I look forward some more “epic-Nobu piew piew”.
    as for story. well I don’t expect this to be something amazing, but the opening kinda surprised. I was somehow intrigued with the way the told us the story about east and west and all. I think there is potential to pull out something quite nice if executed well. we have variety of characters to play with and the intro lay out a world that we can work with.

    thedarktower
  16. 1st impression while I was watching this……. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon opening

    Impression while watching the rest of the episode…… Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon

    When I saw the armoured robots…… Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon

    When I saw names like Megallan, Jeanne d’Arc and Arthuria Pendragon…… Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon

    So does this mean we’ll have more Renaissance figures coming up?

    c2710
    1. But without the great cast of personalities in Horizon.
      Kawamori went off the deep end a long time ago. I was a fan of his but his recent “hot-blooded hero falls into cockpit of giant robot and changes/saves/makes a difference in the world” shows have been really meh. My impression is Aquarion LOL season 3.

      celebrinen
  17. I felt like there was information overload with this episode. The intro did not give me a good impression, as it seemed like they were cramming so much action into 26 minutes.

    J_the_Man
  18. I was interested in this anime ever since I saw the AV promoting it & when I saw the trailer & found out the story plot! I was already hook in it the story is every interesting by combining history of two cultures east & west with scifi (nicely done)!

    lune
  19. dafuq i just saw ?

    mixing historical figures ( jeanne d’Arc ) with fairy tales ( king arthur ) some dudes from japan with mechas fighting in space… someone must have high when creating the story

    if those japs mess with our jeanne d’Arc, i drop this shit at once

    kam7r
  20. Really looking forward to this one. Leonardo is one of my favorite historical figures, and it’s good to see his…quirkiness remains fully intact. Can’t wait to see who else they bring in. And the fact that Jeanne is a babe is not the only reason I’m interested, though it is a big part of it. Weird though, to see Mitsuhide and Katsuei as guys again after reading Oda Nobuna no Yabou. I’m curious though about what’s up with this AU, since both Oda and Jeanne saw their Earth versions and each other as well. Is this the afterlife or what?

    nyanlol
  21. I guess it was just me that thought this anime is trying too hard, like it’s trying to appeal to everyone and I mean EVERYONE. Hopefully it’s just the first episode. Sugita as Da Vinci was the best thing about it. He’s just having a blast with the role.

    Sirius
  22. lol! Now I don’t claim to know much if anything about the warring states period but I don’t think Nobunaga was a hot blooded Bi-Shounen. Thought I am interested but by the premise so I’ll keep watching to see where this goes.

    Dark

Leave a Reply to PhoenixRising Cancel reply

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