Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nobunaga The Fool 2: Free Yourself From The Burden of Historical Context And Get Some Popcorn

I've had to come to terms, after this episode, with the fact that Nobunaga is not going to blow my mind with greatness.It's just not: what I'm seeing already is a mishmash of influences and tropes with no promise that they'll coalesce into something overwhelmingly innovative.That said, though, I still find Nobunaga good - and by that I mean it's going to be a heck of a "popcorn" anime, an enjoyable ride with some very good seiyuu acting, the potential for nice drama, and interesting conflicts.

SUMMARY: The "Round Table" meets to figure out what in the heck to do about the fact that Da Vinci's gone rogue and Julius Caesar (yes, Julius Caesar) volunteers to take command.Meanwhile, Nobunaga figures out that he can control the War Armor, which he christens "The Fool."As Mitsuhide worries that they might be opening Pandora's Box, Monkey learns to pilot Da Vinci's machine and Jeanne tries to get used to these new people.Ultimately, Nobunaga crashes his brother's coming-of-age ceremony with The Fool to show them that they have a new weapon in the war against their enemies.

ANALYSIS: The Round Table segment was like a game of historical Mad Libs gone wild: there was Julius Caesar, and Brutus, Magellan giving his report from space, the apparent King Arthur on some kind of uber space-throne...You have to be willing to divorce these figures from their context to enjoy this series.You just do.And once you do the possibilities on Star Europe, as I've come to call it, seem like they might be intriguing: a range of noble/elite/famous characters, sort of like in Fate/Zero, all hunting down Da Vinci and his magical machines.

Da Vinci is a character I have to admit that I'm ambivalent about, though I'm hoping he may grow on me over time; his grandiosity always has me wishing him offscreen.But we're already getting some interesting character development here with Nobunaga and Mitsuhide.At the very least, Nobunaga's flaws are becoming readily apparent: he's impetuous, and he doesn't think.He shrugs off the possible consequences of using the War Armor, forgets about his sister Ichi until Mitsuhide asks how she'll respond to Jeanne's arrival, and evades his father's question about whether or not he wants to become king of the new star.He is also in some ways intrinsically selfish, derailing his brother's coming-of-age ceremony to blow everyone's minds with his awesome new toy.Whether these cracks will deepen over the next episodes is really going to interest me; I'd like to see a flawed-but-endearing Nobunaga.And Mitsuhide...well, his caution and unease is already evident, and if you're familiar with the historical story you know at least where this could lead (though whether it does in this show, I'm uncertain).There are some lingering moments where it seems evident he's thinking hard about what's going on, and considering things that the others may not be; at any rate, though he smiles for Nobunaga, at times he seems none too happy.

The big disappointment for me so far is Jeanne, who has been largely reduced to fanservice.There's nothing about her that seems especially striking and she seems to have very little agency: a fact that Nobunaga mocks outright.Whether she'll come into her own is doubtful, but given the blond-hair-and-boobs jokes this episode I'm not betting on it.

Still, this is a fun show.I'm going to keep blogging it if only because I like to hear Sakurai and Mamoru talk, and because the potential's still there for this to be interesting and worth discussing.
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