Final Review: Oda Nobuna no Yabou

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Oda Nobuna no Yabou is based on an ongoing light novel that takes place in an alternative Sengoku Era universe. Yoshiharu Sagara is thrown into the Sengoku Era where all the warlords are females instead of male like in actual history. Because he has no idea how he got there or how to get back, Yoshiharu decides to aid Oda Nobuna, who is the Oda Nobunaga of this universe, and her conquest of Japan. Yoshiharu decides that as a big fan of the Nobunaga’s Ambition video games, he will utilize his knowledge to help Oda Nobuna rewrite history in the way he sees fit. Oda Nobuna no Yabou aired during the Summer 2012 anime season and was simulcasted on CrunchyRoll.

Initial impressions of this show as that this is just another Sengoku Otome ~Momoiro Paradox~ all over again from last year. The only difference was a guy leapt through time instead of a girl. In contrast, however, this show did everything that the other title as well as most Sengoku Era alternatives wanted but better. Oda Nobuna no Yabou keeps fanservice minimal despite that warlord gender swap and attempts to at least somewhat replicate the actual events that Oda Nobunaga encountered in history. The biggest plus in this show was how it keeps things relatively real, in the sense that changing history actually changes history. Conclusion wise, it’s cheesy and expected. Speaking of expectations, a lot of events in this show are expected if you understand or know the events of Nobunaga’s Ambition. If anything, Oda Nobuna is arguably the most underrated title this season if not Binbougami ga!, which will also be reviewed later.

Art is pretty good overall for this show. It’s got a fair amount of detail but dark scenes need a significant amount of work. Character designs are solid overall with a few exceptions. Animation is very solid for a Studio Gokumi work. Studio Gokumi is basically Gonzo II and by partnering with Madhouse, this show at least looks respectable. The action scenes are quite well done even though most of the fighting is simple minded and basic with little strategy for someone using the knowledge of a “tactics” game.

OP theme is solid for this show. Aimi never stood out in any of her previous themes, but this was definitely a good song. ED theme is also decent though by an artist I’ve never heard of before. Above average background music but average sound effects for a show centered around war. Seiyuu wise, it’s probably one of the better ones this season. Kanae Itou as Oda Nobuna was priceless as was Yui Ogura as Hanbei.

Enjoyment? This show started off on a rough foot but really became a completely different show not too long afterwards. Given the amount of Sengoku era titles out there, this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve seen. Sengoku Otome can’t even compare and don’t even get me started on Sengoku Collection, which I will also be reviewing later this week. Sengoku Basara is rather different from this series and would easily prefer that over this but if we’re talking strictly alternative Sengoku era titles, I think this may take the cake.

Overall, Oda Nobuna no Yabou is not something to get so overly excited about, but if anything, this show was one of the more surprising titles this season. I definitely did not expect Oda Nobuna no Yabou to not only skimp on the fanservice but also have a relatively focused story. It doesn’t try to rush anything and it keeps the story at a constant momentum from beginning to end. Furthermore, it keeps events at a relatively reasonable level with proper explanation as needed.

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Typical Sengoku era setup. Nothing interesting.
  • Character Personalities (1/1): The characters are actually quite likable in this show. Yoshiharu can be a bit annoying but at least he’s mostly level-headed. Oda Nobuna and her retainers as well as Hanbei are all great characters.
  • Character Development (1/2): Lacking in most respects. Most of the development really came from Yoshiharu referring to his “Nobunaga’s Ambition” game.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Main cast is mostly memorable given equal screen time across the board each episode. Outside of that, it’s pretty much forgettable. Even the antagonists are not memorable.
  • Pacing: (1/1): Throws a lot of things out there and tries to get through most of the key Nobunaga Ambition events. A bit rushed but wasted little time overall.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1.5/2): Really liked how they factored in the issue of “changing history” and how Yoshiharu’s knowledge gradually became useless as history changed. Yoshiharu being alive is expected.
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Cheesy and expected conclusion.
  • Total: 6/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Dark scenes need a lot of work but otherwise nice and detailed.
  • Character Designs (1.5/2): Fair character designs overall. Yoshiharu’s, Hanbei’s, and Goemon’s felt really cheap though in comparison with others.
  • Fluidity (2/2): Solid overall.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1.5/2): Not particularly flashy in any specific regard. Colorful enough to get the job done though.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1/2): A cross of Studio Gokumi (i.e. another GONZO) and Madhouse. For Madhouse, this could be better as Hunter x Hunter 2011 is a good example of a “better quality” work. For Studio Gokumi, however, this was quite good.
  • Total: 7.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2.5/3): Solid OP theme. ED theme is not bad either but could be better.
  • Background Music (1.5/2): Fairly decent soundtrack. Must be the Precure effect.
  • Sound Effects (1/2): For a show centered around war, average sound effects at best.
  • Seiyuu (3/3): Absolutely loved it. It’s been a while since we’ve had Kanae Itou in a “cool and spicy” character and Oda Nobuna definitely fits the bill. Yui Ogura as Hanbei was also awesome. Takuya Eguchi as Yoshiharu was also not bad either given his experience thus far.
  • Total: 8/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1/2): Took a little bit to really get off its feet, but the story was certainly compelling long-term
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1/2): Again, took a while, but it then really got me hooked.
  • Presentation (1/2): Too much repetition across generation. Writers are not creative enough and makes audience sit through 39 episodes of repetition before getting to the final battle. This isn’t a video game.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): It’s interesting and a bit different but not rewatch worthy unless there is a sequel given the ongoing source.
  • Recommendation (1.5/2): Given the amount of Sengoku era titles out there, this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve seen. Sengoku Otome can’t even compare and don’t even get me started on Sengoku Collection, which I will also be reviewing later this week. Sengoku Basara is rather different from this series and would easily prefer that over this but if we’re talking strictly alternative Sengoku era titles, I think this may take the cake.
  • Value (0.5/1): Long-term value, it’s probably little given the vast amounts of Sengoku titles that come out one after another. Underrated title nonetheless
  • Total: 5/10

Preliminary Score: 5/10

Final Score: 7/10

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