Double Feature: Nobunagun Episodes 10 + 11

They fight, and fight, and fight and fight and fight…


Okay, my finger hasn’t been burning the last couple days, so I think it’s okay to put some stress on the left hand. Huzzah! Time to play catch-up.

Nobunagun 10 gives us a bit of backstory on the Commander, before diving into the final battle that will come to dominate the remainder of the series.

I have to admit I am flummoxed as to why they felt this was necessary.  Let’s go, Samurai Kyubey.

It’s the third century, and the Commander is a little girl.  Her village, it seems, has been burned to the ground.  It’s in Japan, which is interesting.  She mentions “Himiko-sama”.  Now according to Chinese records, prior to this period the islands lived in a feudal system of over two dozen tribes with “a shaman queen”, whom they named Himiko.  It was eventually replaced by a five-empire system of strong military states.  In effect, the Commander is from the transition period of this feminine empire (from what we can tell, she was an elected ruler) to the Imperial-samurai system we know so well.

Is that really important? Not really. I just wanted to point it out.  It would be nice if it had much bearing on the story but that would be hope. And, on this blog, hope comes here to die.  Still, I’m a little impressed about the detail as traditional Japanese history has tended to expunge the fact they ever willingly submitted to a woman.

No, instead, Samurai Kyubey just kind of whisks her away to help him acquire souls of Humanity’s best and brightest. Most disconcerting is that her first nap in stasis is 300 years long.  Yes, Samurai Kyubey abducts a little girl like a stray and keeps her in stasis until he needs her help retrieving blood samples.  What? Is she sleeping with all of them? Probably.

On awakening from one such nap she meets St. Germain.   Samurai Kyubey picks him up because he thinks his pet is lonely. No literally. His purpose is to just shoot the shit with the Commander.  He tries to kiss her hand in greeting. A practice that didn’t exist in Europe at this time.  It’s actually 1000 years early.

You won those brownie points pretty easy for the Himiko thing, Nobunagun, but I’m docking you for something so basic.

One thing I do like, this reincarnation thing isn’t actually genetic.  It is actually a transmitter of some kind that lingers in the DNA, so thus can be passed from parent to child.  Presumably this means that that Samurai Kyubey’s technology must be tuned to a genetic sequence, and only those in his database can be used, and presumably, this process takes some time since he spends centuries between collections compiling the data.  This is actually a pretty good reason to use “reincarnations” as a baseline, as Human lifespans may not last the entire process it takes to do this, and so he lets these little transmitters wander Humanity.  It isn’t as much the SUBJECT’S DNA that’s being read, but this little red light thing.

I am assuming that the transmitters are singular. Otherwise this “lack of holders” situation could be resolved by calling everyone’s parents and having them put on suits.

But we’re already putting them into bloodlines. That’s a huge gamble, Samurai Kyubey, considering how few people’s genes carry on.  There’s a reason 1 in 4 men in Asia trace their ancestry to Genghis Khan, a man who lived not even 1000 years ago.  Our reproductive rates are extremely one-sided. Most of us? Our genes won’t matter in a few hundred years, your family line will have died out.  You know this invasion is coming, wouldn’t it be safer to wait until, I dunno, a century beforehand so, not only are you guaranteeing most-if-not-all of them are going to be carried on, but make it way easier to track those bloodlines?  It would be pretty simple for people to figure out if they had ancestors in London in 1914 right now. Even 1814 is pretty reliable.  But where were YOUR ancestors 1000 years ago?

Ah, fuck it, we have to reveal that St. Germain is immortal, as he looks exactly the same when the Commander wakes up again.  She seems much happier now that she has companions.  But she goes to sleep again before this is really communicated to us.  When she wakes up, she’s overjoyed to learn she will be going to Japan.


Yeah, the Commander doesn’t approve of Nobunaga.  You could argue this is why she indulges Shio’s decision to name herself “Nobunagun” instead of her historical figure exactly. Japan has been hardened by 1200 years of war.  The music is dark, and you can see the Commander loathes this new era compared to her own.  Samurai Kyubey makes the mistake of comparing him to Himiko.  The Commander shoots back he’s just a brute, a man whose only talent is killing.  But Samurai Kyubey, with the conversion, says that they will need someone like that to do the hard work ahead.

Samurai Kyubey says soemthing weird.  He says that even for 1200 years, the Commander still has her old ideas.  Uh…maybe for YOU, Samurai Kyubey, but for her it’s been like seven years. She runs away from the whole business, settling with St Germain, presumably in Japan.  But wherver it is, it’s destroyed in war. Again the Commander is left with nothing.  She returns to Samurai Kyubey, saying she finally understands why the world needs protecting.  Implicit is her admission that she is no such person yet.

We finally learn her name. Iyo. Samurai Kyubey is dying, so he is placed into her stasis tank.

This all happens before the ten minute mark.

The problem here is that it is way too fast for me to give a shit.  I don’t know why the Commander does what she does. I don’t know what’s important.  My literal summary to you is MORE elaborate than what is shown on screen.  No Iyo happily learning wisdom from Himiko, no Iyo braving dangers to secure E-Genes. No Iyo enjoying life, she just says she lived liked a normal person and from that I’m supposed to give two shits.  Sorry, Nobunagun, but you, of all series, should understand the mantra of “show don’t tell”.

In the present, DOGOO is tracking the underwater tunnel.  Bonus points: their warship is named the Ellen Ripley.  Fucking yes. That is what any counter-alien force SHOULD name their goddamn ship!

Jack confronts Shio about how she knew the Battleship was going to attack the Commander.  He suspects her E-Gene.  To Shio it’s not as clear cut as that, it was more her gut and she followed it, from her perspective.  But Jack seems to be somewhat in touch with his E-Gene, and he shares that while Jack the Ripper may not be a tactical genius, he is talented in his instincts.  And his instincts know that the command’s strategy is flawed. He then puts a fine point on it, saying that Jack the Ripper knows he needs Nobunaga to come through this alive.

…We’ve gone straight from high school crush into full Turtledove Yaoi shipping.

Jack brings Shio to the strategy meeting.  Vidocq tells her to think before she opens her mouth, because he’s a dick.

But Shio points out that the Evos are too quiet.  They’re probably digging an escape tunnel.  The Battleship knows the game is up, so it’s just patrolling end to end, buying them time.  Some thinking later, they deduce that with DOGOO blocking conventional waterways, they are probably digging towards Lake Nicaragua. Shio proposes disrupting their digging and forcing them to land early, so they can be annihilated before they’re given the chance to adapt.  It sure is nice of this 3-D model to adapt to Shio’s instructions before she even gives them.  Must be that adaptive technology from Samurai Kyubey’s people that birthed the Evos and NO I STILL DON’T TRUST HIM.

But there’s the issue of what to do about the Battleship. It basically kicked their ass last time, the only way we consider it a draw is that both sides had had enough.  But our boys were technically the ones on offense, so they lose if Total War has taught me anything.

Shio volunteers to be the lone Holder to hold the Battleship’s attention, heading to Episode 11.

In prep for her battle, Shio has assembled a whole bunch of tanks on an aircraft carrier like a broadside.  I’m sure this was completely tactical and we won’t find a little puddle on the deck somewhere.

We see a little montage of everything that’s happened so far from the Evo perspective.  It’s actually a bit morbid, as we’re seeing all the moments right before each of them died.  They seem to be able to see the souls attached to the Holders.  So yes I’m still going with my theory that the Evo’s are Samurai Kyubey’s people’s terminators.  But they’ve singled out Shio’s memories as they notice she’s the one confronting the Battleship.

…It would be WAY less creepy if the Evo didn’t sound like he was masturbating in front of the computer screen.

There’s a lot of cute back and forth between characters as battle commences. My favorite bit has to be how Shio can give Capa orders now.  The plan is brilliant. Using Newton’s powers and Capa to back her up with clones, they’ll cause a gravity well to make the Evos think “forward” is actually “down”, causing them to dig up.

Gandhi and Cyx go in from behind once the Evos break through and use Gandhi’s forcefield to push everything to the surface.

Most of the action is now about Shio’s battle with the Battleship, which is fittingly Nobunagun in its elegance.  All in all, let’s just say that Nobunagun is ahead of the Battleship at every stage of the fight.

Shio also gets on very well with Americans because they’re both gun crazy freaks.

Shio engages the Battleship directly, and her brilliant strategizing in Episode 8 is kind of thrown out the window as she starts blowing up landmines point blank.  But uh oh…Shio’s been attacked by tentacles!

…You do know I said the masturbating thing as a joke, right show?

On the whole these episodes are mixed.  I liked the action stuff, that worked very well. Nobunagun’s strengths lie there.

But the backstory bit seems like it was kept in either as an obligatory nod to some manga chapter, or to fill out time in this final battle.  It really should have been its own full episode to give us more sympathy to the Commander, or to perhaps show us she has a soft spot for Shio, a girl from Japan like her, or not include it at all. Like we see her mood improve, and we can imagine upon learning St. Germain would be her companion for all time felt relief.  But it is so subtle, that even I am hard pressed to imagine her rapid changes in mindset.  I also really didn’t get a sense of WHY.  Why did Samurai Kyubey pick this girl to be his companion? Why not a series of retainers through the centuries? What makes her so important?

Also, this week, Newton looked severely more badass.  I think the outfit’s grown on me.


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