「力」 (Chikara)
“Strength”

How many more must die before Nobunaga finally acts?

Ignoring the minor gripes with the way today’s events proceeded, I am impressed overall with the way the plot is moving forward. The show is finally maturing into a world where everything is anything but black or white. Can we label Nobunaga as either a complete asshole or a misunderstood savior? Is Mitsuhide a pragmatic advisor or a ruthless and blinded individual? Before, it may have been easier to put such labels on these characters, but now, who knows?

From a historical perspective, a good number of these events fall perfectly within some corresponding story of Japan’s past. Nobunaga did indeed throw incense at his father’s funeral while being inappropriately dressed, which obviously offended Nobuhide’s former retinue and consequently broke all chances of Nobunaga gaining support from his clan from within. In fact, it would take seven years after Nobuhide’s death for the Oda clan to fully rally under Nobunaga’s cause. At the same time, there are a number of added events that deviate from history, but nonetheless strengthen the story and its characters. Some must die for the rest to continue to grow.

As hinted in the OP, Mitsuhide has acted in the Oda’s best interests, despite how morally wrong it is to kill an innocent soul. Even Mitsuhide himself admits that Nobukatsu would’ve been a great leader in times of peace, but such a style in war would be an open invitation for the mistreatment and subjugation of the Oda by its neighbors. Though I’m confused as to why Nobu’s brother couldn’t have gone into hiding, it still is tragic to see such a nice character die. His death was purposeful for the story though–there is now a clear message that the means for the Oda to survive will be bloody and full of disappointment. Mitsuhide leads that charge, and no doubt will he continue to lead that charge, even against Nobunaga and Jeanne. No longer is this show about our main characters triumphing over all, but rather how our main characters will have to survive the dehumanizing choices they’ll have to make so that the many will out-survive the few.

With Nobunaga’s own family falling to pieces and his sister in grave danger, who knows what that rage and sadness will transform into. Although he’s still mainly perceived as a sociopath by everyone (audience included) except his closest peers, the show is paving a proper road to revealing Nobunaga’s true face. The hints such as the homage of cherry blossoms or the isolated mourning at the waterfall show a side of Nobunaga that he stubbornly refuses to show, allowing only the faithful to hope for his eventual return. It’s still perplexing why Nobunaga would sabotage his diplomatic ties so blatantly, but I optimistically look forward to seeing it all tied together before the end of this season’s cour. So far, it’s been hard to watch this show with Nobunaga acting like a douche without reason, but if the soft-spoken characters in this show place so much faith in him, there has to be something redeeming going on within Nobunaga’s mind.

With the presumed deaths of both Nobukatsu and Himiko, whose roles have been fulfilled in the political play, it becomes much more compelling to follow the logic behind each character. Going forward, everyone’s intentions must never be judged at face value, and no one can be presumed guaranteed to survive to the end. This suspense and unpredictability, though imperfect, has made this show a whole tier more interesting to analyze. Though I will miss the characters that have died today, their efforts in setting up the story will not have gone in vain (hopefully).

 

Preview

39 Comments

  1. I was so disappointed by Himiko’s death. It does pave the way for Jeanne, who was probably gonna end up with Nobunaga anyway, but I hate it when shows kill off characters early. Granted this wasn’t as bad as what Valvrave did with Liselotte. I’m hoping Himiko’s death is a red herring, there’s so much more use they could have gotten from her character, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Wizard_Marshall
    1. While I knew that the marriage between Himiko and Nobunaga would not work out (given the circumstances about how it came about). I did not really expect her to be killed off this quickly. We are also not given much insight to what exactly occurred between them in the past. Only flashbacks of a young Nobunaga playing with a young Himiko. Sure it does open up the Jeanne x Nobunaga route (which I’m still in favour of), but I would have thought that Himiko would have stuck around for quite abit.

      Then again, there is a possibility that Himiko might come back at some stage in the future. She was referred to in history as a Shaman Queen, so it won’t be surprising for the series to incorporate her having some sort of shamanistic powers.

      Euzio
  2. This doesn´t make any sense, Nobukatsu sure, he was dead meat for while now, there was no other way to secure Nobunaga´s ruling but Himiko had way tto much screen time in the opening to just kill her off so early, I´m hoping she somehow survives.

    haseo0408
  3. Strength in tarot represents one’s inner strength, determination and/or compassion to overcome adversity(the girl in the card tames the lion with her quiet but firm inner strength.).

    Quite a few characters have displayed today’s tarot theme, starting with Nobukatsu. Unlike the shy, retiring boy of the previous eps, he was determined to take clan leadership and apply a compassionate ‘soft-power’ approach to deal with the other warring nations.

    Mitsu’s loyalty to Nobu is absolute(for now), therefore his determination and focus to ensure Nobu’s smooth rise to power even though it means having to spill blood in the process(ie. Nobukatsu’s demise will deprive anti-Nobunaga advisors from creating an opposition symbol in him.)

    Himiko’s strength was always a given, considering her longtime love for Nobunaga, to save him from the assassin(hopefully she survives!o(>< )o)

    zztop
    1. Aside from loyalty to Nobunaga, it seems like Mitsuhide’s assassination could also be seen as a way to “spare” Nobukatsu from being the Clan Head. As pointed out, he did believe Nobukatsu would make a great ruler in peacetime, but not during war time.

      If he were to become the head at this time, chances are, that’s all he’d be for the advisers; an anti-Nobunaga symbol, and not the actual Clan Head (so would end up being little more than a figurehead), so not only would a more calm and peaceful person like Nobukatsu seem to be begging to be trampled on by very aggressive and confrontational external forces like Shingen and Usuegi, but also internally by his own advisers, who would probably try to “guide” him towards doing what THEY wanted and keeping the status quo.

      After all, the Clan Head is the one who ultimately makes all the decisions (even if it goes completely against what the advisers believe) while advisers were merely there to do just that; advise, and Nobunaga makes it no secret that he doesn’t care much at all what they think and does his own thing with very little being able to sway him otherwise.

      HalfDemonInuyasha
      1. so, he killed him. because he fear, that the clan grown weak, and being conquered from outside? or the head mens, use him for they own good?. so fear to be weak

        or is that he wanted to get nobugana back in seat (or forcing him), so that he is back in power, too. so selfish reason

        or he wanted to snap him out of the finger of the head mens? no sir, no one get the peace puppet

        well, to tell the truth. i am confused. but hey, it’s okay. i just try to understand out of curiosity

        Germanguy
    2. The fact that Mitsuhide killed Nobukatsu could mean Nobunaga is going to kill at some point, no matter how good his intentions were or the fact he have secure the future of the Oda clan, he still killed the little brother of his best friend and Nobu is not going to forgive him once he finds out.

      haseo0408
  4. This build-up had better be the preparation to an epic anime of the year-esque delivery.

    Shows like this are dangerous. There is a lot of room for not just “oh bad ratings” failure, but like plummet-your-studio-to-the-ground failure. The producers must have a lot a faith in this production to start it this way.

    I’m hoping they’re not wrong/stupid!

    Jello
  5. Didn’t see either death coming in this episode, but it’s understandable from a plot perspective. Simply put neither Nobunaga nor Nobukatsu are leader material, the Fool because of his childish behaviour both before and following his father’s death and the sibling because of his passive and weak personality. In this situation you have no room nor time to break down and forget your responsibilities, you either do what is necessary or perish. Mitsuhide understood this, which is why he assassinated Nobukatsu.

    Killing Nobukatsu and his betrothed are the push needed to break Nobunaga out of his bout of incredible selfishness and come to the understanding that more than one life rest upon his shoulders. It was his failure to “grow up” that caused both of them to die.

    Pancakes
      1. Doesn’t matter if he wanted it or not. This being based upon feudal japan if he had kept refusing the position the clan would fall to chaos, and clearly nobukatsu is unfit to be the leader due to his lack of resolve, he himself said that his brother could kill the birds he could not. Nobunaga is the only one with the potential and ambition to rule the clan and without him the clan would perish. Deaths exist and if anyone drops the show because of it your an idiot, in fact the deaths only add to the immersion value of the show and the atmosphere is it able to emit.

        peropas
  6. Love the twist where when Da Vinci implied that Jeanne was going to be the woman who embraces the beast in the tarot card Strength, instead it was Himiko who took the shot when Nobunaga was targeted to be assassinated. I dont think Himiko will die though somehow.

    Kinji
  7. I have to hand to this show, I was caught completely off guard. Although I have mixed feelings about this development, I do think this is starting to become a lot more interesting. It’s finally strayed off the course of being a typical main character beats all of his adversaries, and into something more dark and realistic.

    Seeing both of those characters die was depressing. I seriously did not understand Himiko’s death though. There was foreshadowing to Nobukatsu’s fate, but Himiko’s “death” came completely out of left field. Like she just happened to be there at the right time, and saw an incoming attack at the right time. That seems way too convenient for the plot. However, I do find it quite ingenious how the show cleverly weaves the tarots into the events that play out in the most unexpected ways.

    At least Nobunaga will finally get his ass out of the clouds and grow up. No matter what some of the characters are seeing in Nobunaga, It’s clear that he caused the death of two characters that did not have to die. Here’s me hoping Nobunaga can redeem himself and show the audience why he’s the main character in the first place.

    ChromeNova
    1. I’m hoping he doesn’t though, I’m rather tired of seeing the typical socially unacceptable protagonist turning into a socially acceptable person scenario’s(aka growing up,character development,etc.) I watch anime for entertainment and interesting stories/characters, not to learn lessons about morale righteousness.Not that they are entirely bad but there seem to be too much of those kinds of shows.

      anon
      1. You do raise a good point anon, it’s very common in anime where righteousness usually ties in with character development, especially for characters who aren’t as socially accepted. When I say Nobunaga has to redeem itself, I don’t necessarily mean he should become a morally acceptable person and take the rein as a true leader. Although I do see that happening, I have hopes it won’t be via conventional methods. Nobunaga is someone who doesn’t care about social status and does what he feels is right. I want him to show the audience his own thoughts and ideology, and just what sets him apart as a great leader or someone who can bring change, whether for good or worse. He has yet to do anything that makes him interesting beside being sort of a douche, so we’ll see what he ends up doing with the plentiful episodes left 🙂

        ChromeNova
    2. Yea,I also felt that Himiko’s death came a bit early and I’m not so sure about the decision to have it simultaneously with Nobukatsu’s as in it kind of took out some of the impact of each of their individual deaths. As such,I’m hoping the next episode continues from where this one left off.

      That’s mostly a minor issue though as overall,I’m liking the direction the show is taking. By reducing it’s number of relevant characters so early(especially when it has two cours to work with),it makes it easier to flesh-out & develop our mains,namely Nobunaga,Jean and Mitsuhide(I consider him a main character as well,even though MAL has him listed as a supporting one). So I like to think they did a smart thing here,albeit slightly rushed,and know how to use the “extra screentime” they now have,along with the plentiful remaining episodes,wisely.

      MgMaster
  8. Love the part where Nobunaga starts shouting. So much raw emotion in every roar, and it’s telling that there really is more to meets the eye than him being a douche.

    There’s just so many things happening here. I’m interested to watch the path that Mitsuhide takes as a demon and where it leads him to, perhaps even to the eventual betrayal as per historical accounts. Himiko’s death came totally out of the left field and literally left me shocked for a bit, though it was pretty clever of the writers to put on a little show about Jeanne possibly being the source of strength for Nobunaga in this despairing period. While I didn’t want Himiko to go so quickly (if she doest come back, that’s fine too), it does provide a bigger platform for Jeanne to shine more. Does feel like she’s slightly being shafted at the moment.

    Great show, continuing to impress.

    Owaranai
  9. I doubt that they’re both dead; but at least out of commission for the rest of the show. Himeko has one more Regalia she needed to give (provided it’s not an after-death gift by her ghost at some point), and Nobukatsu knows that him being taken out would only leave Nobunaga as the choice for leadership. Besides, isn’t the side he was shot in the same side that held the pocket watch that Nobunaga gave him?

    If they are dead, then so be it. The path to war has always been paved with blood and sacrifices.

    Lurker
  10. You just said yourself that this turn now into black and white. so not my kind of show. sorry first there where to many historical names around, and now this

    if you have this kind of friends, you dont need enemy’s…

    Germanguy
  11. Personally i didn’t care much for Himeko. Her personality was overly cliche and annoying. And even though this is a fantasy setting i don’t feel like she meshed well with the other characters. Plus i think she only served as a means to make Nobunaga stronger and not much else. A rather weak plot device you might say.

    I was a bit torn Nobukatsu’s death though. Objectively speaking i don’t think you can reasonably justify Mitsuhide killing him since he was indeed an innocent child in all this. But i think that’s the point. Mitsuhide judging from the preview is still shaken by what he had done and resides to the fact he’ll turn into a “demon” in order to assist Nobunaga. I’m sure he knows what he did was by all means wrong but he’s putting aside his morality for Nobu. Considering all the crap he has to deal with due to Nobu’s actions i think that’s worthy of note. That’s what makes him the most compelling character in the show at least to me while everyone else has more or less been a bore since the start of the show.

    leatherhead333
  12. Himiko is way too prevalent in the OP to be dead yet (knock on wood). Nobukatsu, by comparison, doesn’t appear at all. There are a few factors which would make her survival plausible:

    1) She knew a gunshot was coming. This may have given her the opportunity to put on one of those chain mail undershirts you occasionally see ninja wearing (and which occasionally results in their surviving being shot when they intercept a bullet meant for someone else)

    2) Unlike Nobukatsu, who was Mitsuhide’s target and shot where Mitsuhide was aiming, Himiko was not the target and may have been hit in a less vital spot, leaving a wound that is serious but not necessarily fatal if treated

    3) Jeanne has a horse right there, and Ichi’s handmaidens/Mitsuhide’s Kunoichi left at ninja speed, so getting Himiko to help quickly is possible

    I wonder if there’ll be a purge when Nobunaga gets home or whether the polite fiction of “Takeda spies” as the assassins will be used to avoid an internal bloodbath while Shingen is still on the loose. As to Caesar, it will be interesting to see if he’s formally visited Shingen now or is just circling like a shark.

    I think we now know where conflict between Mitsuhide and Nobunaga is coming: Mitsuhide has established a pattern of taking action without Nobunaga’s knowledge. While to date these have been things Nobunaga will likely agree with after the fact (as distasteful as the assassination of Nobukatsu is to modern sensibilities, it was probably necessary to avoid the civil war that actually occurred in history (twice!) and a war with the Takeda is -not- the time to be engaging in such things), it is not hard to see him overstepping some time in the future, particularly if Jeanne starts getting influence as Nobunaga’s “conscience”. Mitsuhide, feeling ill used after all he’s done for Nobunaga, starts the path to Honnou-ji.

    Mahavira
  13. God dammit, I don’t know who’s scheming and who just getting caught up in the turmoil anymore!

    – Nobukatsu knew he was going to die, but was he in on Mitsuhide’s scheme, or just allowed it to happen?

    – For some reason the ninjas were either so fucking slow or allowed the assassin to take a shot (giving a chance for Himiko to take the bullet) before killing him. This is either purely coincidental or another plan by Himiko to snap Nobu out of his stupor and start taking action.

    – And as usual, Jeanne is still clueless.

    Mediafag
    1. I highly doubt he knew he would die, but he probably instinctively knew who shot him at the very least considering how his conversation with Mitsuhide went and also possibly an unrevealed understanding he has of his elder brother’s chief retainer.

      I’m fine with clueless Jeanne though. If I recall correctly, she isn’t exactly wise in the ways of the world, having come straight out from her village and into this whole mess.

      Owaranai
  14. Himiko is not dead for several reasons.

    1) She has exposition left to deliver. There is no need for them to hint at their past relationship unless they intend to follow up on that.

    2) She was too well aware of exactly what was going to happen and she is not suicidal. She wants to have Nobunaga as her husband which means living. There were other ways to stop the attempt.

    Her death is also made obvious by the contrast of her vs Nobukatsu. Nobukatsu has blood coming out of his his mouth and hands and we see him die on on screen.

    Sadly, the most likely explanation is that poor animal thing from earlier. She had that inside her clothes and it got hit. This is why the animal thing got a lot of screen time this episode– so that when we see it dead, it explains everything (how she can be shot, have blood, not die, etc).

    It just makes no logical sense to know that your husband is going to be killed and then to choose to die rather than to save him by other means.

    Sadly, this just means that Jeanne will win later and we’ll have another dumb Japanese extended love triangle.

    One Comment Wonder
    1. Kidnapping would have served little purpose IMO, since the possibility of him being alive gives a reason for the retainers to continue holding on to their hopes of grabbing the reins of power and dispose of Nobunaga. Killing Nobukatsu is literally killing off that hope they have.

      Mitsuhide certainly had a great amount of resolve put into the act itself, and even then that wasn’t enough to assuage his guilt (as seen by his tears). He makes for a very interesting character in that he’s willing to do sacrifice someone important to his liege in order for him to breakthrough and attain the lofty heights he believed Nobunaga could. This is why I’m really anticipating future developments in the story and see if they go according to history with his betrayal.

      Owaranai
  15. Tears are not how you deal with grief if you are Nubonaga no you must scream at the top of your lungs under a cold waterfall in the middle of the night because that’s how only the manliness of manly men do it!

    Dark

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