Nobunagun

| June 9, 2015

While I’ve had plenty of rewarding experiences recently watching shows like Ping Pong and Space Dandy, there’s nothing like watching something like Nobunagun. Adapted from Masato Hisa’s manga, this anime from Studio Bridge isn’t going to set the world ablaze, but it makes a point to have boatloads of fun, with both its quirky characters and engaging historical premise. Sio Ogura is an average nerdy high schooler, with an odd obsession with military weaponry and vehicles. One day on a school trip, her class is attacked by aliens, that resemble bug-like creatures, that have been trying to invade Earth for thousands of years. Caught in-between a bunch of the aliens and her fellow classmates, Ogura finds out that she is actually an E-Gene holder, a person with the latent abilities of a major historical figure, which have been curated by DOGOO, the Defense Organization aGainst Outer Objects. Ogura manages to retaliate with the powers of the famed General Oda Nobunaga, combined with her obsession of military weaponry to become, Nobunagun. Along with the likes of Jack the Ripper, Mahatma Gandhi and Issac Newton, Nobunagun joins DOGOO in order to fight against the invasion and save the world.

The premise in Nobunagun is wonky enough, but part of that, along with seeing the different historical characters is where all the charm is. Ogura herself becomes an engaging character, a lonely girl, who manages to finally create friendships, as well as find confidence in herself and her abilities, while up against enemies of Earth. As much fun as it is to see her character grow throughout the 13 episodes, its also pretty great to see which people throughout history the story chooses to fight for DOGOO’s cause and what their powers will be. Obvious one’s are Jack the Ripper and Issac Newton, but the fact that the series dives into people like Antonio Gaudi and Eugene Francois Vidocq, makes for Nobunagun to be a real treat for history buffs as well.

Director Nobuhiro Konda and Studio Bridge work plenty with Nobunagun, but the animation at certain points of the series, leaves much to be desired. The first things that are pretty noticeable are the uses of framing and color palette that the series uses to convey both action and style. Much of the show revels in rich black and red tones, in order to give it some edge. I was reminded by the same sense of style that Akiyuki Shinbo uses in his works, especially The Soultaker, which used much of its canted angles and color palette to portray both characters mental states, as well as to keep things engaging. The lull begins after episode 6 or 7, when the animation begins to skimp out and showcases the corners that the production has cut. Things pick up a bit after, in order to give a good amount of production towards the final episodes, but the series never looks as great as the first few episodes.

The Limited Edition package from Funimation comes in a nice chipboard box, along with both the Blu-Ray’s and DVD’s. In terms of extras, there are only a few commentaries from the English cast, textless intros and outros, as well as a bunch of trailers for other Funimation releases.

Most anime fans might look at a show like Nobunagun and balk, due to its premise or drop off in animation. Its due to the solid writing and sense of style that give Nobunagun an endearing quality that makes it such a fun show to watch. While it won’t be as memorable as something like Evangelion, Nobunagun still packs some fun firepower behind it. Recommended! 

About the Author:

is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He's an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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