Double Feature: Nobunagun 12+13

Fight fight fight, fight fight fight…

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I rarely like double featuring ends of series, but both Nobunagun and KILL la KILL have presented us with basically nothing in the semi-finals, so with tiny word counts I don’t feel so bad extending them.

In the annals of history, great rivalries have sprung up. Light and dark, Hatfield and McCoy, cat and dog…Japanese girls and tentacles.

The Battleship that’s been destroyed has given birth to a new and improved armored version, which has been given all the information from the previous battle with Shio.  She’s fighting like a champ, but she keeps running into dead ends in her tactics.

Cutting to the land fight we are treated to Geronimo losing her temper and engaging her super-duper combat mode.  Why is crazy so damn hot?

Hunter isn’t handling combat well. He’s a lab assistant, not a fighter.  But in getting monster blood all over himself, the Evos seem to be ignoring him.  After some finagling, Hunter realizes that the Evos are using pheromones to identify friend from foe since they are sea-based and don’t yet have eyes adapted to land.  He devises a compound to neutralize the friendly fire signal, so the Evos start slaughtering each other.

There’s a nice interlude this episode with Asao on a train assuring civilians that Shio’s going to wreck the Evos.

With the land battle wrapping up, Jack is told by his E-Gene that Shio needs his help.  He bolts off through the air, and we are shown…! His “Nightingale Mode”

Now at first we might say “well maybe Jack has 2 E-Genes.  But as we established last time, the trasmitter devices are more likely to die out than find two in any SINGLE person. But clever.

No, as we enter the finale, we are treated to a flashback that shows Florence Nightingale IS Jack the Ripper.  Damn…just…yeah, fucking damn.

Nobunagun has latched onto Jack the Ripper mythos, saying that the murders were in fact committed by Florence Nightingale in her later years.  She seems to possess some kind of power in her eyes that allows her to see where she is needed.  It seems odd, but we do know by St. Germain’s example that supernatural powers do exist in the Nobunagun universe, so we’ll roll with it. Continue reading

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Double Feature: Nobunagun Episodes 10 + 11

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

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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.

Continue reading

Nobunagun: Episode 5

Messy.

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There’s still  a bit of casting around for footing in Nobunagun this week.  That’s actually a crime, as many more like this and this “slump” is going to turn into “tone” for what has, until recently, proven to be the most exciting show of the season.

I still suspect Noragami will disappoint me, my feelings on Sakura Trick are that it is fully capable of doing that, too.  But, picking favorites, from the purely emotional level, this is the series I want to succeed most.

We start with the higher ups discussing Shio’s fate.  Capa complains that she doesn’t know the first thing about sniping, so it would be pointless to put her on a sniper squad right now.

Wait. Sniper Squad? Last episode didn’t we establish there are all of TWO long range fighters in DOGOO? Shio and William Tell?

DOGOO consistently puts the cart before the horse, I think.  If we have a bunch of specialists who could help a sniper, but have, until recently, only had ONE sniper, there is something structurally flawed with Humanity’s last defense.

I blame Samurai Kyubey. Continue reading

Nobunagun: Episode 4

First Nobunaga, now Galileo…science dictates there will be a Jack the Ripper series in the coming year. Science!

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Did you ever read the riverworld series? It is a science fiction story about what might happen if everyone who ever lived, from the stone age until the modern day, went to an afterlife of the riverworld (it may have a proper name but it eludes me) all centered around this river. Billions upon billions of souls walking around in fresh bodies.

Like all good sci-fi, while there was a plot, one of the interesting things riverworld did was explore the consequences of its universe.  This took many forms, but one that stuck with me was that there were all kinds of fellows proclaiming themselves to be Jesus Christ.  In one of the stories we met a man, just a little Hebrew carpenter from Roman times trying to make his way in the new world and mind his own business. “Hey aren’t you-” “Nope, you must be mistaken.”

Nobunagun reminds me of that.  If every anime just tried to be itself instead of trying to be the second coming to “save anime”, the whole field would be much more entertaining on the whole.

Because even though I feel Nobunagun’s flaws are starting to show, it still feels “genuine”. A show that’s just having fun and doesn’t give a crap what theorycrafters have to say.

That said, chinks begin to appear in Nobunagun this week.  We’ll get into that.

Also, yes, I’ve fallen a bit behind. Been a busy weekend, I haven’t even caught all of LAST week’s episodes. But they’re coming! Don’t worry! Like dragons.

So, further worrying my confidence in DOGOO, turns out they have two ranged characters! For the entire planet. Yup. Meaning prior to this series, if you needed something to be hit at range, you needed William Tell. If they were busy, sucks to be you.

Which I can buy.  For now. There’s no demonstrable way they have to detect E-Genes except random chance, and probably some way to measure the probability but wholly impractical for the entire population.  Though Samurai Kyubey, being directly responsible for this crap, probably gives them clues where he’s placed them. At least at birth, but that’s no guarantee.  It’s still something that, it feels to me, like there are WAY more E-Genes out there than are actually drafted, maybe 10% or less.  The only way we know about Shio is random chance, and if it weren’t FOR that random chance? The entirety of the southeastern United States would be helpless right now.

We also kind of dropped the drama of the crew kicking the bucket, shouldn’t there be more weight on Shio than is shown?

Okay that’s kind of a lie, she tries to made a platitude about how their death isn’t in vain…only for Jack to shut her down by just not giving a shit.  In fact, he expects her to fail.

I like Jack. Continue reading

Nobunagun: Episode 3

Yup, our show still has a pulse.

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Forgive me, internet, for I have sinned. I must confess a moment of weakness.  I feared Nobunagun might be slipping into generic wallpaper anime for a few moments there.

Cue the conclusion of the episode where we are right back to reality.  It was a very effective method, actually.  It worked not just in terms of framing the story, but on the meta level, for us the viewers. “You thought that life (anime) was going back to normal after the fresh smell wore off? NOPE!”

If there was a theme running throughout this week, it was “isolation”.  Shio is officially severing ties to her home, both metaphorically and physically, and, in a nice touch, digitally. Capa is isolated, both within his aging, feeble body and, it is hinted, socially from others, playing the part of cranky old man.  And even St. Germain, who judging by his role here as schoolmaster and war-room advisor, is probably based on the actual Saint Germain of Catholicism, the learned saint, stands apart from other E-Gene holders and their combat roles, roles so vital that they have “drafted” Shio, who will now be a high school dropout (I’m sure an honorary education is on its way somewhere down the line, but still).

Oh, and the THEME SONG. Didn’t really discuss this much last week, but the theme is nice.  It is…heavy fun. While fast paced, the visuals have this heaviness to them, especially the latter part when it becomes about drowning, the world becoming corrupted, and an ethereal Asao cradling a crying Shio while the song politely reminds us “there’s nothing you can do”….yeah…that’s not dark at all.

So, Shio arrives at the island she will be training at, somewhere in the tropics.  All with this music that is just SO Pokemon when you’re starting on your adventure.  I can’t help but feel the similarity is on purpose.  But Shio keeps falling asleep, even riding in a Humvee isn’t enough to keep her awake (you know how much Shio loves military equipment), though in hindsight it might be that Saint Germain purposefully drugged her somehow. Either way, she is left behind, the Humvee explodes in the distance, and Shio is attacked by Evo’s (I’m just going to call them Evo’s for now).

Psych! Danger room!

Specifically, it is the power of her new instructor, Robert Capa (the war photographer).  His E-Gene power is based on his camera.  Or rather…moving pictures, as we will see later on.  We get a brief moment where Old Lady and Samurai Kyubey (sorry I just don’t know their names) are debating if this really is the smartest course of action.  Samurai Kyubey is simple, logical….stop living up to your namesake so well, damnit.  He says Nobunaga’s power is necessary to win, so it only makes sense to rush Shio out as soon as possible.  Old Lady is less sure, and she seems to be, from her comments here and last episode, a little bitter that she lost her life to the DOGOO organization.  And while she agrees with Samurai Kyubey on the one level, on the emotional she seems to harbor a glimmer that Shio would turn them down and try to lead a normal life.

Well after failing her ambush miserably, not even killing one opponent, Shio is sent to her room to wind down.  She gets excited, ready to tell her mom and Asao that she’s arrived safely! Except…no cell signal. St. Germain explains to a furious Shio that she’s a soldier on a training compound now, and personal communications need to be restricted.  But he does ask if it is an urgent matter.  Through gritted, angry teeth, Shio responds with a firm “No.”  She then goes back to her room and starts beating her pillow into submission.

Shio is a very likable hero, and this is just one of many reasons.  She may be fuming, like any modern high school girl might fume, that her ability to text her family and friends even once a day has been lost.   But even when a convenient excuse comes up, she doesn’t try to abuse it.  And yet we still get to see a cute girl swing punches at stuff.  So this is win-win.

Cue training montage!  Well less of a montage, just a fast-forward “training!” episode.  And Shio is getting the full treatment.  Formal schooling from St. Germain on her E-Gene power’s mechanics, boot camp drilling, and danger room simulations with her E-Gene gun…her E-Gun. Sounds more science fictiony that way.

But even Shio’s will has to break sometime, and soon she’s sneaking around the base at night trying to find a way to contact her mom and Asao.  But…this is Shio, so she is soon distracted from her quest by some military airplanes in the hangar, and she can’t help but take pictures.  Side note: I love the little hearts around her as she’s gushing over things.  I wish I had those.

She then runs into the crew, a UN combined force that basically runs all the maintenance and piloting duties for DOGOO here.  On top of that, they are a unit that observes hurricanes, likely as part of their old cover.

And they all idolize her as the hero of Taiwan.  Careful Shio, you aren’t going to have this many guys trying to get into your pants until you’re playing World of Warcraft.   Continue reading

Nobunagun: Episode 2

Desperately need this soundtrack.

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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.  Continue reading

Nobunagun: Episode 1

OMG SO KAWAIIIIII!

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If you’ve peeked into this blog from time to time, you know that your host Anna is a lesbian.  So it’s no surprise that the level of adorable in this series has driven me to take up this show.  And how! Surprise!

Mind you, this isn’t a “yuri series”, I don’t think. Time may prove me wrong, of course.

This is definitely an action show. But this previous summer, we had a little show called Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou, a show that was mostly about action, with a nice little dose of girl love thrown in for good measure.

And frankly? That is what convinced me to throw my support behind this series and review it week to week.  The nail in the coffin, as it were (any show that gets the attention of this blog seems doomed, doesn’t it?). But there is so much more to this show than that.  Can I say, without the girl love, would I have made the effort? Not sure, honestly.  I think I might, though, because there was some REAL talent on display.

This show is primarily about fun, and we see that from the opening and Shio Ogura waking up late, as the little floating text warns us, is a habit of hers.  Along with her butt, belly button, and mirror. Good to point these out.

Actually good indeed, because it seems rather cute, but the text scrolls are really important.  Some are obviously just for fun, repeating the “bedhead” was one of those.  But it takes the time to point out Shio’s love of weapons.  She knows tanks and missiles by a simple glance over.  She is a little bit of a weird outsider, and this is all good stuff to know.  Very subtle, I hadn’t realized where this was heading. Continue reading