I’m beginning to see a trend in last seasons 26-episode long shows. Nobunaga, a little bit like Nagi, started out pretty meh with a whole lot of up and down episodes and then really kicked off in excitement in the second half of the series. Granted, we are only on episode 14, but the last two episodes have been relatively interesting and this one in particular was actually really good in terms of action, suspense and drama. When it first started I was quite sceptical and resigned myself for another dull episode but it surprised me by jumping into the action a quarter of the way in. Well done, Nobunaga the Fool; you’ve managed to catch me off guard, for once!
We meet the creepy, kind of irritating – in a semi-likeable way – General Hannibal (Ohara Sayaka) and Charlemagne (Ishikawa Kaito) who are both knights of the round table and loyal to Arthur. Hannibal is a clear sadist with a penchant for destruction and an arrogant, boastful personality to boot. Charlemagne is her partner and loyal…companion? Friend? Lover? I’m not too certain but there was clearly something quite S&M about their relationship and both of them appeared quite bent on power and murder and the utter destruction of Nobunaga and his home. Hannibal possesses the water shinki and Charlemagne the wind shinki and together they make an icy and formidable duo when they declare battle against Nobu and murder his people. It was one of the bloodiest and most violent episodes yet, which was surprising, seeing as while there have been several murders and mass deaths in the last arc, they weren’t as visually bloody as this episode was. It was nothing particularly gory or anything like that, just different compared to previous episodes.
There were a number of really interesting scenes in this episode and I suppose one of the prominent ones was the one between Caesar and Ichihime. I don’t think he loves her yet; or if he ever really will love her as much and in the way Mitsuhide does. But there’s something kind of sweet and puppy-doggish about the way he actually bakes her a chocolate cake to try and get her to smile. Ichihime’s obviously the more reserved of the pair, being the unwilling party, but for some reason she’s warming up to him, which…I’m just not sure how I feel about that. It feels way too soon and there’s also the fact that he murdered her father, but I’m guessing the writer’s choosing to overlook that fact seeing as everybody was murdering everybody else’s parents ‘back in the day.’ Sure. HOWEVER, Ichihime did do something that felt quite out of character and made me rethink her ‘good’ nature when she demanded that Caesar choose between her and Arthur, when she asked him to go and help Nobunaga and his friends. I thought that was a nice little bit of emotional blackmail, especially seeing as Caesar is quite obviously obsessed with her. How long that’s going to last, I don’t know but I’m willing to bet that Ichihime’s going to be the kind of wife who’ll have Caesar wrapped around her finger. Well done, princess. Mitsuhide’s going to have to up his game.
In terms of the main characters, Jeanne screwed up again but it wasn’t really her fault, she’s just a little naive and now has the deaths of all those people Hannibal and Charlemagne completely obliterated on her hands and then managed to get kidnapped by Hannibal and sent back to that floating fortress in the sky where Arthur resides. One thing she did do right, though, was toss Nobunaga her shinki, which means that at least not all is lost! The highlight of this episode, though, was the appearance of my gloriously beautiful Uesugi Kenshin, who is still as pretty and purple-haired as ever, not to mention an utter badass, when he saves the day in his amazingly powerful armour, Visra. He literally managed to swoop in unannounced and kill Charlemagne and severely wound Hannibal within the span of about twenty seconds. If that isn’t a sign of badassery, I don’t know what is. Regardless of his battle prowess, though, the rest of them are in deep trouble with Jeanne gone and two ambiguous characters in the form of Kenshin and Caesar. Nevertheless, with Ichihime keeping Caesar in check for now, I don’t think we’ll have to worry about him for the time being but I have a feeling his loyalties will be tested in due time.
With the start of a new arc comes new OPs and EDs, hooray! The new opening theme is called “Breakthrough” by JAM Project, which is so old-school mecha and action anime that it’s addictive. I’m loving the new OP in all its majestic, military splendour and downright boyishness. It’s awesome! And I really like the new ED, which is called “Orchid” (蘭（RAN) by Asuka, which is really lovely and so fitting to this show. And I had to screencap the ED sequence because it’s just so pretty and I love this mixture of art nouveau and silk painting style going on in this show. I really feel like the new songs do a much better tribute to, and fit Nobunaga the Fool so much better than the previous ones, no matter how much I adore Stereo Dive Foundation. As usual, the soundtrack for the show is still incredibly epic and majestic and I can’t wait until it’s released!
Basically, this was such a promising start to the second half and I’m actually really impressed with the way things have gone. I think the characters are slowly beginning to come into their own and hopefully we’ll see a lot more development in the following episodes. I don’t think I’ve looked forward to another week of Nobunaga the Fool as I have this week and so it’s pleasing to see the turn this show has taken and it goes to show that even something you don’t enjoy can always turn itself about and surprise you!