The historical giant of Japan’s Sengoku (warring states) era, Oda Nobunaga, has been revisited and reincarnated dozens of times in anime. If you thought Sengoku Basara (still one of my favourite anime, for my sins) took some liberties with historical inaccuracies, allow me to introduce you to Nobunaga the Fool from MVM Entertainment.
You know what the age of the samurai was missing? Mechs, apparently, and Joan of Arc. You read that right. Nobunaga the Fool is set in a world that is split in two – the West and East stars: the West is united under the legendary King Arthur but the East is still divided by warring samurai warlords. Joan d’Arc, of the West star, has visions of a Savior King who can pilot the mysterious technology of Leonardo Da Vinci to save the future of both worlds. She heads for the East to find him and meets Oda Nobunaga, but could this reckless young man really be a saviour – or just a fool?
The plot of Nobunaga the Fool is as ridiculous as it sounds but this is the sort of series where you’re simply in for the fun of the ride, not for historical lessons. To be honest, the story gets pretty convoluted towards the end. If King Arthur, Leonardo Da Vinci, Julis Caesar, Niccolo Machiavelli and Charlemagne can all exist in the same timeline, you’re going to have to leave thoughts like “that isn’t historically accurate” at the door. I suspect the Japanese producers had fun picking out a few names from European history books when coming up with their characters.
On the East star side of things, we see some more familiar historical faces. Oda Nobunaga is portrayed as a very reckless but passionate young man, often reigned in by his calm and collected (but questionably loyal) right-hand man, Akechi Mitsuhide, and his hyperactive and crass retainer, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin also make appearances and, honestly, Takeda Shingen piloting a mech was probably my favourite thing in Nobunaga the Fool.
The fight scenes are well animated and entertaining to watch – and this series really is about the ‘flash bang’ effect rather than epic storytelling or well-developed characters. My main complaint is that the characters, while entertaining and a landmine for cosplay ideas, are two dimensional. There is some romance between Nobunaga and Jean but it’s rushed and not particularly convincing.
It’s worth noting some of the impressive Japanese voice actors who are involved in this series. Nobunaga is voiced by the awesome Mamoru Miyano (Light Yagami from Death Note) and Yuki Kaji (Eren Jaegar from Attack on Titan) lends his voice to Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
I recommend Nobunaga the Fool for fans of ridiculous samurai series like Sengoku Basara. It’s a fun watch and, with Christmas only a few weeks away, would make a very good gift! It gets a 7/10 from me.