Nobunagun: Episode 2

Desperately need this soundtrack.

NobunaGun-anime-pv-001

Yes, I am cheating with this week’s screencap.  But that’s because I was a good girl and bit my tongue on it last week, I desperately need to talk about this scene. Since we are now in week 2, I have no issues spoiling week 1.

I mentioned how Nobunagun basically walks along a tightrope you can barely see.  And this scene from the first episode encapsulates it.  I talked back in Outbreak Company how certain scenes can later “define” a series, and I think this one did a wonderful job.  First, the soundtrack is marvelous.  And this climax battle music (it was used again this week so it seems to be recurring) is fantastic, it’s almost like the music itself has a heartbeat that swells and grows faster as we reach the penultimate moment.

The look, on Shio’s face, as she holds the E-Gene orb, and just everything about her. Her stance, her voice acting! Fabulous. Her voice has taken a more confident, yet unstable tone.  Even if you were ignorant of the premise of the series, it shows flashes of the dream she had about Nobunaga. And having a character named Jack the Ripper isn’t coincidence….the music builds on this tone of frantic pace, yet twisted joy.

“I remember.”

This was the single greatest anime moment of premiere week.  I will gush and gush about it.

Now that that’s over…

Episode 2 rode a pretty strong wave without disappointing.  We also got to properly meet Ghandi and Newton.

A minor break to question this show’s logic.  The E-Gene orbs take the form that the soul desires most.  For Jack the Ripper, this was knives. Lots of them. For Nobunaga, it was the gun, the weapon that changed Japan.  For Ghandi, it’s less about weapon more about the fact it protects people. I get all these.

What would compel Newton to have boots that increase of gravity of whatever she is standing on? Part of the reason these people are reborn is to have the benefit of modern knowledge and tactics. That seems like a really frickin specific power you have there, Newton.  You know. Useless. Oh, and your costume? Is shit. I’m sorry. But I can only turn a blind eye for so long.

Between the less-than-stellar designs and specific powers…I can’t see Newton and Ghandi sticking around for very long as more than periphery characters.  Jack the Ripper at least had a little bit of flair to his style, and his weapons are USEFUL.  If they’ve been fighting these monsters for years underwater, how much use was a gravity boot, really?

We should also talk about Nobunaga a bit. 

It is difficult in the West to comprehend a person like Oda Nobunaga.  The closest we get, really, is…ironically…Joan d’Arc (ironic if you have been keeping up with Nobunaga the Fool…a show I slightly regret not taking on because of the ability to say “So King Arthur sends Caeser to the other planet”, but I digress). a person who, while a known leader, was succeeded by a state that demonized her.

Oda Nobunaga is very much the same. Only he is a far more ubiquitous presence in Japanese history than Joan d’Arc is in Western histories.  But, take a well known American figure, Abraham Lincoln.  His tale was eulogized and glorified by his successors, who for the next seventy years would be Republicans, like him, a trend that didn’t reverse until the Great Depression. Nobunaga has no such state.  His two lieutennants (combined considered the three great leaders of Japanese history) Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, were not related to Nobunaga by blood, and in Hideyoshi’s case, had to desperately justify his rule since he was not noble.  So the emphasis on Nobunaga’s less than reputable actions was probably not heavily discouraged, lest it seem like the two usurpers to Nobunaga’s lifelong work to unite the country had been stolen from underneath a good man.  Now, a man with vision, but a flawed, demon king? That’s easier to then swallow that the more temperate Ieyasu had assumed to Shogun in his stead.

But like Lincoln, Nobunaga is such a ubiquitous presence in Japanese history, that his story will probably never be truly duplicated.  Much like Abe Lincoln now needs to deal with life as a vampire hunter.

Nobunagun is adopting a more…simplistic telling of the man.  Now, stating that his reincarnation would choose a gun, clever. Nobunaga re-wrote Japanese warfare with the weapon.  And it gives a good reason, when you think about it that way, why Shio is so obsessed with the latest and greatest weaponry, just now it is in tank and jet form, no longer the muskets that Nobunaga used to great effect.

Some of the symbolism is a little forced, like Nobunaga’s use of the three-row line at Nagashino becoming three directions of guns on Shio’s armor. And you do have to swallow the series interpretation of the more sadistic Nobunaga, rather than that of a man compelled to extreme action in extreme times.

Oh, but do we? I think it would be a nice little bit of character development to find that Shio’s bloodlust is as much, if not MORE her own, than Nobunaga’s influence on her.

Still, solid advice from Nobunaga. “If it doesn’t work, use guns. If that doesn’t work, use more guns. If you still need more help, that’s right, kid, use more guns.”

Well, the monster attack on Taiwan resolves, and naturally, the Dogoo organization needs to whisk Shio away to a special school for gifted….what? A press conference where they tell the world about the monster invasion?

Well….damn.

They even included a bit about how “most” nations have been informed of the problem. Apparently Taiwan was not among them, though.  Which makes a lot of sense, since it is not a “full state” by international norms.

You slipped that by me, Nobunagun.

But good stuff, as it removes the sillyness of a double-life, which has never been entertaining. Ever. No need to question how it was covered up, because it wasn’t.  The public is aware of the pacific-rim style plot, and Shio’s well known as the mysterious new E-Gene holder who saved Taiwan. It’s also well known that she is gunshy about committing to DOGOO…and the news agencies and pundits respect her privacy. No wait. Of course they don’t. They grill her alive as a coward.

Time for the power of Girl Love to save the day again.

*twitch* Oh god, my trigger’s going off. I see an elegant, older girl in a hospital bed with bandages wrapped around her head and a tomboyish one in a school outfit….oh god it’s going to be Ga Rei all over again!

Actually this visit went much better than Kagura and Yomi’s. Asao reminds Shio that no matter how she feels she underperformed (it was her exhaustion that prevented her from stopping the last monster that led to basically nuking the area), the truth remains that she saved Asao’s life. And for that she will always be important to Asao.  She then foreshadows by promising to return the favor one day.

…Oh gods, it IS going to be Ga Rei *hides her face*

The directing in this scene was nice. We got some beautiful character moments between Asao and Shio, all interspliced with clips from the TV in Asao’s room. So while we get to watch the consequences of that day on the emotional level in that hospital room, we see the worldy consequences spliced in from the TV.  It let us info dump in a very natural way, while not getting caught in word salad.  Just enough information to absorb, then back to the small talk between Shio and Asao.

Nobunagun is probably going to slow down a bit. But they haven’t lost their momentum yet. Keep it coming, guys!

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2 thoughts on “Nobunagun: Episode 2

  1. Hmmm, I was planning on skipping this one simply due to the level of absurdity that seemed required, but you’ve gone and gotten me interested-I think I’ll check it out.

    • I’m also no big fan of ridiculously absurd anime, but it’s well done enough that I managed to enjoy it anyways. Even if you can’t like the action scenes, it seems like Asio and Shio’s relationship is going to be able to carry the show. Regardless, once you can get over the fact that Ghandi and Newton are using magic-tech weapons to fight some sort of alien monster creatures, the first two episodes don’t give you anything to complain about.

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