Nobunaga the Fool – 06

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In the aftermath of Lord Nobuhide’s death, the Oda clan is embroiled in doubt, uncertainty, and disunity that threatens to tear it apart. Nobu is taking it particularly badly, and only makes his detractors hate him more when he shows up to the funeral late and improperly attired and makes a mess of the place. He doesn’t so much as utter a word to Jeanne, which for her is the last straw. She packs her horse and prepares to set off.

Nobukatsu’s supporters continue to scheme against his older brother, leading the younger to consider acquiescing to their demand that he take over as clan leader for the time being. But with enemy clans no doubt preparing more assaults, he simply isn’t the kind of leader the clan needs. The fact that he allows himself to be manipulated by his subordinates and his desire for peace is proof of that. With things the way they are, peace means surrender and subjugation.

While troubled after the disastrous results of holding Nobu back from battle, Mitsuhide still knows he can’t allow that to happen. Nobu is AWOL during a crucial transitional period, but even if he were present, there isn’t enough time to allow everyone to come to “understand” him.

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Like Nobukatsu’s detractors, Jeanne is simply sick and tired of trying to figure him out; but as da Vinci elegantly puts it, their inability to observe him objectively keeps them from understanding him. Just because he’s a rude, impulsive asshole doesn’t mean he’s not the Savior King Jeanne seeks.

Himiko doesn’t seem to mind him ignoring her, because it’s enough for her fate to be tied to someone with so much potential. Like her, Ichihime, Mitsuhide, Hideyoshi, and da Vinci are all willing to give Nobu the benefit of the doubt, and are certain that no matter what happens, he’s the one to keep an eye on and remain beside. But if he is the lion in the “Strength” card, his betrothed Himiko is the woman supporting it with her own kind of strength.

Prior to this episode we would never have believed Mitsuhide would turn a sniper rifle on Nobukatsu, but the case is coldly but convincingly made. Just as shocking was Himiko’s demise, but it’s her strength, devotion, and love that saves Nobu’s life, so it wasn’t in vain. Nobu appears just as shocked by her action, and the only word he utters this week is “Himiko.” And it’s probably no accident that Jeanne was drawn to where Nobu was just as that tragic scene unfolded.

7_very_goodRating:7 (Very Good)

Nobunaga the Fool – 05

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This episode took a little while to get going, what with the tedious scenes revolving around Nobu learning how to activate his regalia, which could have been edited down. Pretty shoddy of him to outright ignore the existence of Himiko unless he needs something from her, but he can only handle one thing at a time: in this case, using his war giant to defeat Takeda and all his other sundry foes.

But he’s pissed off enough people that they’ve arranged for him to be assassinated in the heat of battle, so it’s up to Mitsuhide to first warn him, and then preemptively serve him a drink laced with a paralytic, to keep him out of said battle. Only the gambit backfires, and Lord Nobuhide leads the fight. For the record, Nobuhide is pretty badass, going up against a far superior foe in Shingen, and after receiving a thorough beating, barring the path of a new-on-the-scene Caesar.

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For his part, Caesar seems singularly interested in breaching the castle so he can pluck Ichihime away, having become smitten at first glance. It’s disappointing that with all the technological liberties thos show takes, it couldn’t take some societal ones while they’re at it, but alas, Himiko and Ichi are stuck standing around watching the men fight. At least Jeanne eventually suits up and provides a crucial assist for Nobu, but in the end, Lord Nobuhide is killed by Caesar, pissing Nobu off to no end (perhaps the “divine anger” the Tower card portended).

While tragic, Nobuhide remarks that his passing, and the passing of the old guard, is necessary so that the new ways that are coming to be in the world can take over; he is the “ice that melts in the spring.” Nobu is now the de facto leader of the Oda clan, but will he rule, or leave that to his brother while he battles rival clans and Caesar? It’s still up in the air for da Vinci, Jeanne, and us, whether he’ll be the savior-king of the star, or its destroyer. In any case, we wouldn’t mind a change of scenery; we’re starting to feel a bit cooped up in Oda Castle.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Nobunaga the Fool – 04

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Between gaining command the war giant The Fool, befriending da Vinci, fighting a seasoned foe to a draw, and becoming betrothed to the Queen Himiko of Yamatai, Nobunaga certainly seems to be amassing the means with which to make his own destiny, something he imparts to his brother is crucial to living life.

As his father and other clan leaders consider the benefits of their new alliance with Yamatai with regard to shoring up their defenses, and plans for a betrothal (not wedding) ceremony are underway, all Nobu wants to do is take his new regalia and stove in the heads of his enemies as soon as possible. “The woman is extra”, he says coldly. Nobu: Male chauvanist.

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Himiko remember being lovingly tossed about by Nobu as a child, and so sought him out for marriage as soon as she was able. Beyond the puppy love, we sense some ambition in her: she’s forming a bond with someone she knows will be going places in the near future, while at the same time she’s a big part of why he’s going places, by giving him the regalia. Their ceremony itself is a mad marvel of excess and theatricality, blending both Eastern (kabuki stage) and Western (wedding gown) tradition and ending with the traditional cutting of the (ten-story) cake with a regalia-boosted katana strike.

Part of why everyone calls Nobu a ‘fool’ is the way he jumps headlong into things; his character also fits much of the symbolism of the tarot card of the same name, a card that inspired the modern Joker, which is often “wild.”  We’ll see whether these nuptials are win-win for all or have unforeseen ill-effects. We’re also curious to see if Jeanne, now believed by most (but interestingly, not Himiko) to be a dude, will continue to be sidelined. We’d like to see her pull a knife (figuratively speaking) on Nobu more often.

7_very_goodRating:7 (Very Good)