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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nobunaga Concerto Episode 1 Recap & First Impression

9:30 PM Posted by ninja , No comments
Nobunaga Concerto is a manga adaptation that centers around our hero Saburo (play by Shun Oguri) who somehow traveled back in time to the warring state period.  Saburo meets Nobunaga Oda who looks exactly like him. Nobunaga is the eldest son of a warlord and due to his physical weakness asks Saburo to take his identity. Finding himself stuck in the middle of the warring period, Saburo is now charged with the task of unifying Japan.

The premise of this show caught my eye... okay, I'll admit that Shun Oguri being the lead caught my eye first. Anyhow, I originally meant to do a short intro on this show but ended up with a full on recap, so that's a good sign.

Saburo, a high school student who doesn't like history is on a school field trip at a tourist site that cosplay the warring state period. By accident, Saburo takes a tumble down a hill side and ends up what looks like completely foreign land.

As Saburo looks around in bewilderment, two men on horseback comes towards him. To Saburo's amazement one of the man looks exactly likes him, except the other guy is in costume. After the initial shock, the man introduces himself as Nobunaga Oda and asks Saburo to take his identity and offers his sword to Saburo as a token of thanks. Remembering seeing Nobunaga Oda's name on a cosplay poster, Saburo is excited to accept such a sweet deal since all he needs to do is to participate in a cosplay reenactment.
Nobunaga's people quickly finds Saburo and assuming he is their lord, whisks him back to their clan.

Before Saburo can even get comfortable shouts of war breaks out and when Saburo is asked to stay back due to his "weak constitution" (because the real Nobunaga is physically weak) Saburo laughing says he cannot miss something as big as a war. Thinking the whole war is just a large scale cosplay, Saburo is too busy taking selfies with his cell phone to realize people are actually dying.

The shock of the reality of what he is seeing quickly sinks in when Saburo starting seeing people being impaled by swords and to have men coming at him for his life.
Scared out of his mind at being pulled back in time, Saburo finally calms down when Tsuneoki Ikeda (one of Nobunaga's clan member) comforts him and assures that he will protect Saburo from harm.
Being sent back in time is not all bad though, as Saburo finds out the pretty lady he keep meeting is actually his wife.

Trying to get some of his husband benefits Saburo tries to act all manly with Kicho (Nobunaga's wife) but turns out Kicho has no love for Nobunaga and chases Saburo out when jeering words.

To make things worse, the clan members tell Saburo that Kicho comes from a very influential family (thus the marriage in the first place) so under no circumstance is Saburo to get on Kicho's bad side. Especially since Saburo is suppose to go meet Kicho's family tomorrow and if Kicho is to say anything negative, it could lead to a full on war. 
The next day, while Saburo travels with Kicho to meet her family, Kicho is kidnapped. Nobunaga's younger brother tries to use this opportunity to suggests that Kicho's family should only be appeased by Saburo performing a seppuku (suicide by disembowelment). 

Thankfully, Saburo was able to find Kicho and Kicho being moved by overhearing Saburo worrying for her safety decides to make an excuse for her late arrival. 
The same night, Nobunaga's father is assassinated and with his dying words he names Nobunaga as the next Clan Lord. 

Surprised by the amount of authority he suddenly have, Saburo starts implementing changes. 
1. Introduction of a rest day... which makes the clan members think Saburo is saying they are not needed.
2. Changing two meals a day to three meals a day... which the clan actually doesn't have enough food to support. 
3. The last change that shocked the whole clan. There is another clan that has been fighting with Nobunaga's for as long as they can remember over a piece of land. Saburo figures since the other clan would like the land then he should just give to them in order to avoid anymore fighting. And that's exactly what he did. 

Ikeda (the one that comforted Saburo when he was scared) angrily confronts Saburo about all the changes he has made and tries to convince him of the wrong he has done. But of course Saburo and Ikeda simply thinks too differently to even communicate.   
Saburo's effort to avoid war is of little use when the next thing he knows Nobunaga's little brother has gathered his own forces to start a take over. With hundred of people dying left and right, Ikeda who actually secretly works for Nobunaga's younger brother calls on Saburo to preform the sepuuku in order to appease his brother. 
Just when Saburo is faced with his clan members' expectant faces (for him to kill himself), an unexpected reinforcement in the form of Nobukiyo Oda suddenly shows up. Thankful for Saburo's act of giving him the land the two clans has fought over for so many years, Oda has came to support Saburo in his time of need. 
Nabunaga's younger brother is bound and ready to face his death when Saburo surprises him by asking him if he knew how many people died because of the war he started.

Sneering, Nabunaga's younger brother says "They are my servants of course they are grateful to die for me." 

Furious at his callous words, Saburo yells "No one wants to die! Everyone has someone waiting for them. Someone that will cry at their passing. And that's why I won't kill you." 

Kicho stands afar with Ikeda and mutters "Letting your enemy live. What a foolish man." Instead of agreeing with her, Ikeda wonders out loud if Saburo might achieve what he thought was impossible before.
Nabunaga's younger brother and his right hand man Shibata are amazed that Saburo actually allowed them to live. Shibata is ready to swear allegiance to Saburo but Nabunaga's brother decides to assassinate Saburo because he refuses to live the rest of his life under his brother. 

Shibata saves Saburo from the assassination attempt and Nabunaga's brother performs ... you guessed it, the seppuku. Stunned at watching a man dying right in front of him, Saburo tries to get the people around him to help, but instead of helping, all the people compliments how precise Nabunaga's brother's seppuku is. 

Puking his guts out after witnessing a man's death, Ikeda adds to the crisis by confessing to Saburo that he has been working for Nabunaga's brother all this time and is now ready to preform his own seppuku. 

Shocked into action, Saburo grabs Ikeda's sword and wrestles it away from him.

I know, I know. Let's all just ignore the glaring fact how a high school student can wrestle a sword away from a guy who has fought in wars all his life. He is Shun Oguri... all thing is possible. 
Both men sobbing, Saburo cries out "Please! Don't die. This is an order!" 

We end with the real Nobunaga standing with his man who asks him if he is ready to resume his identity now there is no threat on his life anymore. Nobunaga answers that he is not Nobunaga Oda anymore and he will have a new name. 


Nobunaga Concerto delivers what J-Drama do best. Comedy with a healthy dose of moral and heart. 

I will admit that it was a bit weird to see Shun Oguri playing a high school student. He seems a bit too mature to play a student but I guess we'll be spending the rest of our time in the warring state period and we can just assume people mature a lot faster back then. 

Watching this show did get my thoughts churning on how different people back then must think differently than we do now. Saburo's idea are so alien to his clan members but underneath it all, human nature is still human nature. After all "No one wants to die" and "everyone has someone that will cry for them" will ring true to anyone no matter what age they were born in. 

I am not sure if this show will make it on my watch list. After such a long J-drama drought I all the sudden have so many I am interested in so it will be hard to figure out what show I am going to follow and which show to put on the back burner. 


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