Nobunaga the Fool: Destruction and Rebirth

See those two worlds there? Yup, they collide ^^
See those two worlds there? Yup, they collide ^^

For something to be born anew, for a world to be completely changed, destruction is needed. This is a theme that seems to echo through some memorable series I’ve seen—Code Geass, No. 6, Guilty Crown, Evangelion, to name just a few. Whilst this is something that I wouldn’t want to happen to the world I live in, history does show us that it holds some degree of truth. The reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War shows that such ‘destruction and rebirth’ can lead to new realities that then persist for many years; after all, does anyone expect Germany and France to go to war against each other again? Some people would argue that Japan is another example, as it rose from the ashes of WWII to become the world’s second biggest economy in the space of just thirty years. Arguably the biggest change was that the people went from a land of people worshipping the Emperor and showing absolute obedience to the state into a society that has long resisted pressure from its own leaders and the US to take up arms again. Whilst that is changing today, I think it is important to recognise that Japan is still very strange compared to the rest of the world. I mean, what other country has to write laws to allow its military to protect its allies and their citizens when they come under fire?

The three of us will change the world!
The three of us will change the world!

Given this tumultuous history, and the great desire for a change that will drag them out of a twenty-odd year period of economic stagnation, it really doesn’t surprise me that so many stories tackle or touch on this theme of destruction and rebirth. In fact, the historical record of the Warring States period and how Tokogawa Ieyasu finally united Japan can be examined under this framework of death and rebirth as well. And that’s precisely what Kawamori has explored with Nobunaga the Fool, through the dichotomy of the Destroyer King and the Saviour King who would together change the world. So, how did this creative team fair with this endeavour?

Nobunaga_03 Nobunaga_04
Leonardo Da Vinci and Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc???

I wanted to enjoy and appreciate this show, I really did — and there were indeed certain things about it that I really loved, as one of my year-end posts will definitely show — but despite how much I like the theme I outlined above, I felt that the execution simply didn’t live up to it. Far too much time was spent on Da Vinci and his posturing about who the Saviour King was, and who would be involved in The Final Supper. I also grew weary of Ichi reiterating how we would come to understand Nobunaga and what he wanted to achieve. And then there was Jeanne…if her role was simply to restrain Nobunaga’s destructive powers, then perhaps she should have been more successful at saving people in the course of the show, non? Because she failed at that so often, and because she had been so focused on trying to figure out whether Nobunaga was indeed the Saviour King, it felt like her role at the end really come out of the blue.

Hm...something was missing...
Hm…something was missing…

However, the worst thing was that all of these came at the expense of the key to the show: Mitsuhide. Admittedly, this show reminds me of what happened to me with another Kawamori favourite of mine, where I only understood the main character’s arc after I actually rewatched the series in its entirety. However, given that what I’m most interested in here is the broader message that the show has for our world through this theme, I really don’t think a rewatch will give me more food for thought than I’ve already gleaned elsewhere.

Nobunaga_06 Nobunaga_07
Well…let’s just say that a certain character kept me watching until it was too late to turn back…

There is, on the other hand, something else about this series that piques my interest. Nobunaga the Fool is actually part of a bigger project that also includes a series of plays (where their anime seiyuu give voice to characters represented by both animation as well as real life actors on stage). With only three acts, the developments in these plays are vastly different to what happened in the anime. Knowing Kawamori, I’m going to view these two versions as ‘different representations of a history that no one really knows’; and that really means that I should have a look at those plays when they’re finally released on DVD.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

One Response to Nobunaga the Fool: Destruction and Rebirth

  1. Pingback: Looking back on 2014, part 1: the sexiest voice in anime today | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

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