“Ace of Swords” (剣)
This wasn’t an entirely entertaining episode, as it felt like the end of an arc and the beginning of a new one – which is appropriate considering it’s episode 13 and we’re about due for the second half of the series. I am, of course, posting this the night that episode 14 comes out, in the hopes that perhaps we’ll get a new OP and ED. Not sure if they’re sticking to the same ones for the rest of the series, but I’m thinking they’ll follow the route of other 24/26-episode series.
Now, as for whether I did or did not like this episode, it’s kind of hard to say. Most of it was spent with Mitsuhide angsting over the loss of his beloved Ichihime, who is engaged to be married to the literally backstabbing Caesar. I do not blame Mitsuhide for being upset over his lost opportunity of truly building something with Ichihime; it’s devastating and the pain, frustration and anger are so clearly written on his face and in the angry, bitter, violent and reckless manner in which he spars with Nobu. It’s just fun to use the word ‘angsting’ because it bears some resemblance to a sulky teenager, when I know that Mitsuhide is anything but. He’s angry and rightly so, and the scene before Nobunaga, with Mitsuhide and Caesar subtly attempting to belittle each other was a tense but fairly entertaining pissing contest between two very grown but very dramatic men. I don’t particularly like Caesar that much but he does serve his purpose in the show as a misogynistic individual who barters for a princess’ hand in marriage and whose real agenda is shrouded in mystery on both the Western and Eastern Star’s sides. The round table on the Western Star appear to be at odds with what to do with him yet some of them are still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, or rather, they’re so sure of his slippery nature that they assume he’s infiltrated himself into Nobu’s circle of trust with the intention of gaining all the shinki Nobu currently has. Whether that is true or not is entirely up for debate, but will be answered in due course of the series.
Again, however, this show has its ups and downs with me and it’s been such a tumultuous ride that I’ve gotten past expecting anything from each episode and am really just in it for the ride to see how everything pans out. This show had – and still has – so much potential but I really feel like at this stage in the game there hasn’t been much character development at all – at least not in the front-lines. Nobu, I believe, has changed the most. He’s far less brash and far more of a real leader towards his clan and towards his friends. However the last few episodes have focused so much on the other characters predominantly that it’s almost sidelined him and we watch his growth through the corner of our eye rather than seeing and witnessing the big picture. This is not necessarily a bad thing but I think because this show works through the first-person point of view, rather than third-person or omniscient, we only get a maximum of two stories per episode, none of which are as fleshed out as they could be. This make it difficult, at least for me, to really get to know the characters and even harder to determine their personalities and quirks. The Mitsuhide and Ichihime romance was hinted at in a few episodes as something that’s sort of there but not there, yet it’s become quite the focal point in the last few episodes. I’m actually interested in their relationship, whether romantic or tragic, and I just wish it had been fleshed out more. Still, I’ve got to hand it to the writer; there are so many side-plots and side-stories due to the number of main and supporting characters (seriously, what’s happened to my beloved purple-haired Kenshin?) that a lot of shows would have a real hard time writing it all into 26 episodes. So far, I think Nobunaga the Fool has done a fairly decent job of it – not the best, as you can obviously tell from my feelings in this review, but it’s passable for such a mish-mash genre clustermess as this show is.
I hope the homestretch proves to be more interesting than the first half has been and I am quite interested in seeing where things are going to go from here. The ultimate meeting between Nobunaga and Arthur is going to be a really interesting storyline and I’m hoping we get to see more of the mysterious ‘knights’ of the round table on the Western Star.