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Friday, December 26, 2014

Nobunaga Concerto Episode Summary Up To Ep 11 (end)

I wasn't really planning on watching Nobunaga Concerto after checking out the first episode purely for Shun Oguri, but after watching episode 2 I think I might be hooked. However, I am going to try something different with this show though. Instead of recapping this show I will just do a short summary (like a few sentences) of each episodes with some thoughts. So this post will actually be an ongoing post that I will update each week with new summary of that week's episode.

Episode One
Saburo, a high school student who has no interest in history gets send back to the Sengoku era (the warring states period) and takes over the identity of Oda Nobunaga. Saburo becomes the lord of Oda clan when Nobunaga's father dies and names Saburo as his successor.

Nobunaga's brother raises a rebellion but fortunately due to Saburo's unconventional way of just giving away a piece of land to another rival clan, the rival clan actually shows up in time to fight for Saburo.

For a full recap and first impression

Episode Two Episode Summary

Saburo is forced to meet with Kicho's father- the famously scary Dosan Saito. However, it turns out Dosan is actually another time traveler from an earlier time.

Thinking Dosan is a great guy, Saburo is stunned when he is told that Dosan has ordered Kicho to re-marry a famously sexually perverted warlord as a concubine or Dosan will attack the Oda Clan.

Saburo finds out that Dosan was once a loving father to Kicho but despite that he still sent Kicho to another clan as a hostage for most of her growing up years and later Dosan even attacked the clan without any regard for her saftey.
Saburo pieces the puzzles of Dosan's strange behavior and realizes that Dosan has only been trying his best to protect Kicho to the best his ability.

When Dosan's son raises a rebellion against him, Saburo and his man decides to go rescue Dosan even though it seems likely they will just all die.

Saburo didn't get to Dosan before he was killed, but by chance Dosan receives the history textbook Saburo lost and was able to send it to him along with a plea for Saburo to take care of his daughter.

Watching Kicho mourning her misunderstood father, Saburo gently comforts her.


This show is hilarious during it's comical parts and so very sad during it's tear jerking moments. It just hits all the right notes. Comic moments, check. Bromance, check. Intrigue, check. Romance... we are watching a Japanese show so let's not have too high of expectation, but so far the interaction between Saburo and Kicho is awesome.

I was surprised that Dosan is a time traveler as well, and it was interesting to contrast him with Saburo. Saburo still holds firmly to his modern day ideals and view of life, but Dosan with his forty years in this foreign land seems to have been completely assimilated by the blood thirsty environment.

Of course every time I finish watching an episode I think "poor kid, he is going to die so fast..." 

Episode 3

Saburo has been informed that yet another warlord is ready to attack his clan... and this time there is no chance of winning at all. 

Kicho doesn't help the matter when she starts to describe in detail the process of having one's head cut off to Saburo. 

Feeling rather attached to his head, Saburo decides to run away.
Right into the enemy territory (he took the wrong turn) and is recognized in no time. Saburo's people rescues Saburo just the nick of time and is ready to slaughter the whole village. Stopping his warriors, Saburo convinces his people that the villagers are just innocent people under the control of a blood thirsty warlord. 

Saburo's gesture earned him great respect among the villagers and they decide to help Saburo to win the war. Using the pre-war celebration as a cover, the villagers helps Saburo and his warrior carry out a surprise attack and winning the war in one swoop. 
Thoughtful after realizing how desperate and helpless an average villager's life is, Saburo makes the decision to make Japan a better place. 


Saburo wins again by accident. I am assuming this is going to be somewhat of a pattern for the rest of the show, but I guess that really is the only way Saburo could have survived so far. But then, I guess it might not be such an accident after all. Saburo is raising a revolution just by the simple fact he is not afraid to stick to his ideals. 

I like the ending conversation between Saburo and Kicho. Saburo tells Kicho of his newly found determination to make Japan a better place. 

In response Kicho says the following encouraging words "Oh!! Then let's see what kind of country a dummy can create." 

Kicho is so prickly towards Saburo but like how she stood up to rally the clan to believe in Saburo when everyone is in an uproar over Saburo running away like a coward, Kicho seems to always come through when Saburo needs her to. 

Episode 4

As a spy within Saburo's clan, Enjiro Tahara decides that his personal vendetta against Saburo (his beef is with Nobunaga but he obviously doesn't realize that) can only be appeased if he can become Saburo's right hand man, help him achieve success then takes it all away from him. 

Enjiro as a lowly horse care taker submits a battle plan for Saburo to build a city wall in a day. Saburo happily gives the go ahead for the plan but a traitor in their midst betrays their plan. 

Right away people suspects the military strategist, Takenaka Inuchiyo (play by Fuijiki Naohito/ from Last Cinderella) who all the sudden left his Lord (an enemy to Saburo) to swear his allegiance to Saburo is the traitor. However, since Takenaka had been locked up the whole time the search for the traitor goes on.

The traitor turns out to be one of Saburo's trusted man who tries to kill himself in order to show his remorse, but Saburo just calmly stops him and tell him to be true to the clan from that point on. 

Really a spy after all, Takenaka tries to set fire to Saburo's newly built wall but finally puts his torch out when he remembers Saburo's vision of a world without fighting that is so much like his own. 

Angered by Takenaka's betrayal, Takenaka's lord sentenced him to be killed, but at the last minute Saburo shows up and saves the day. 

Saburo and his warriors goes back to their unfinished wall to find it completed while they were gone. The warrior who betrayed Saburo but was later pardoned by him, was able to get help for building the wall from independent warriors in the area by begging them on his knees. 

We end this hour with a sudden appearance of the real Nobunaga.  

Episode 5
Saburo tells Nobunaga to come back to his real position, but Nobunaga tells him that from now on he will live a new life as Mitsuhide Akechi and assists Saburo in his role as the clan lord. 
Before Saburo can finish talking, the real Nobunaga gets mistakenly dragged back to the clan. 

The naturally reserved Nobunaga feels ill at ease in his clan that has changed drastically since he left. The change is especially apparent when Nobunaga sees Kicho who greets him with her usually "hey idiot". Noticing Nobunaga's unusual mannerism, Kicho reaches up a hand to feel his forehead wondering if he is sick. Flinching away from Kicho's touch, Nobunaga wonders out loud "Are you really Kicho?" 

Saburo sneaks back into the clan only to find out that Nobunaga has already left and in the small amount of time he was there has even approved the marriage of Oichi (Nobunaga's sister) to another clan as a treaty. 

Unwilling to sacrifice Oichi into a loveless marriage, Saburo destroys his own fort that borders the other clan in order to assure them of his sincerity in never attacking them. Unfortunately, while the son of the other clan lord believes Saburo, the clan lord insists that Oichi must marry his son in order to avoid war. 

Without any way out of the dilemma, Tsuneoki (Saburo's right hand man and who also has a crush on Oichi) asks Oichi to go through with the marriage. Unsure of her future but willing to do anything for the sake of her clan, Oichi tells Saburo her dream of being able to help Saburo to achieve his vision of a peaceful Japan. Seeing a depressed Saburo, Kitcho gently assures him that even an arrange marriage could be a happy one. 

On the day of the marriage, the whole clan gathers and sends Oichi off in a grand fanfare.  

Realizing that marriage after all is just a beginning and what happens after depends on the two people that is in it, Saburo takes Kicho on a date. Back from meeting with someone important that would help Saburo's vision of uniting Japan easier, Mitsuhide (the real Nobunaga) watches as a smiling Kicho rides away with Saburo on horseback. 


Hmm... does it seem like Mitsuhide actually likes his wife but just had no way of breaking the barrier between them when he was still in the clan? Is one thing to hand over the position of the clan lord over to Saburo but his wife too? It would be interesting to see how Mitsuhide reacts to all the changes Saburo has done in his absence. It was a great contrast to see how Mitsuhide thought it matter of course that his sister would be a tool for a treaty while Saburo had a huge problem with it. 
In this episode we find out that Denjiro (the horse care taker) sniffs out Yuki (Kicho's maid) as a spy. In fact Yuki has even stole Saburo history text book and handed it over to whoever she works for. Seriously, the kid can't hold onto that text book of his. With so many spies and people out to get him, I always wonder how Saburo is still alive. 

Episode 6

Mitsuhide (the real Nobunaga) becomes a member of Saburo's counsel by covering his face. With Mitsuhide's help, Saburo is able to meet with a general but instead of getting the general's help Saburo ends up making an enemy out of the general with his talk of uniting Japan. 

A surprise guest who everyone around Saburo regard as the "devil" shows up. With one look at the "devil's" full body tattoos Saburo asks "You are a member of Yakuza?" Turns out the "devil" is also from the modern time, 2005 to be exact. 

The "devil" informs that thanks to Saburo's big talk of uniting Japan, the general has put a price on his head.  
With enemies surrounding every side and even his stalwart brother-in-law (the one Oichi married) turned against him, Saburo has no choice but to run for his life. 


How many time traveler are there? I am starting to feel like they are a dime a dozen from the way Saburo keep running into them. Of course the "devil" for one seems to be one modern man that really enjoys the warring period. 
I really love the first part of every episode because they usually use that time to showcase some of the culture difference between Saburo and his man. In this episode, his man is trying to convince Saburo to shave part of his hair off and of course Saburo wants no part of it. It was hilarious. 

Episode 7

Saburo makes it back to Kicho alive and well, but ends up getting shot right in front of her. Fortunately, Saburo wakes up after two days but seems to take the betrayal of Oichi's husband quiet badly. Saburo finally breaks down in anger and disappointment after Kicho's maid, Yuki confesses that she is the spy that shot Saburo. 

With a new determination to fight his enemies head on, Saburo follows his clan's suggestion and orders an attack on Oichi's husband's clan.

The attack was successful, but instead of celebrating with everyone else, Saburo sits alone. After some prodding from Kicho, Saburo finally breaks down and sobs over how hurt he is by all the betrayal that surrounds him. Kicho comforts Saburo by assuring him that she will always be there for him. 

Saburo and Kicho accepts Yuki back into their fold and with tears in her eyes, Yuki swears to protect Kicho with her life. 
Denjiro sees Mitsuhide's face by chance and realizes he looks exactly the same as Saburo. 
Wow, didn't quiet expect this to happen so fast. 


There was certainly no funny parts in this hour, but it was actually a wonderful episode that shows great character growth in Saburo. Up to this point, there has been a sense of disconnect between Saburo and the world he finds himself in. But in this hour, the love of those who willingly dies for him and the betrayal of those who he trusted finally breaks the wall and he is finally growing into the role of the leader that has been thrust on him.   
I am also liking how Saburo and Kicho's relationship is growing. Saburo is learning from Kicho to face things straight on while Kicho has learned from Saburo to forgive and trust those closest to her. 

Episode 8
While on a date with Kicho, Saburo finds out that much of the business enterprises in any given area is controlled by the powerful business union that keeps everyday citizens from starting businesses.

Determined to start up free enterprises for the common people, Saburo goes to convince members of the business union to stop place restriction on the common people. When Saburo's pleading falls on deaf ears, Denjiro through some smooth talking convinces the business union to stop their restrictions.
Denjiro drinking with Saburo's men to find out if Saburo is an identical twin. 
Thanks to his repeated show of brilliance and courage, Denjiro is fast becoming one of the core members around Saburo. However, before Denjiro can move forward with his revenge plan he needs to figure why Mitsuhide looks exactly the same as Saburo.  

Saburo sends one of his trusted man, Mori Yoshinai to set up a commerce center at a town that promises to become vital to Saburo's plan of expending his free enterprising society. Unfortunately, Saburo's enemy devises a plan to draw Saburo's army away while they attack the commerce center. Mori Yoshinai who is often laughed at by other warriors as weak and looked down by his own sons, decides to fight Saburo's enemy head on in order to keep Saburo's dream alive. 

Saburo army rushes to save Mori Yoshinai, but arrives only to cry over his body. However, Yoshinai's sacrifice was not in vain and Saburo is able to establish a bustling commerce center. 


Sad sad episode, that reminds us once again that Saburo is in the warring state period. Fortunately or unfortunately Saburo seems to be fast getting use to the cruel world he finds himself in and gets more determined each step he takes to create a peaceful life for the common people. 

I am quiet curious what Denjiro will do once he figures out Saburo is not the man he hates but Mitshuide is the one instead. 

On a happy note, Saburo and Kicho's relationship is super cute! 

Episode 9
Lots of war in this hour. Nobunaga clan is faced once again with certain destruction when Japan's best army decides to attack and wipe them out. After being abandoned by every ally, Saburo decides to face the army alone anyway.

As luck would have it, right before the attack the clan leader of the other army gets sick and dies.
Completely stunned by his luck, Saburo laughs after he almost falls because his legs has been shaking so badly from fear. 
Thanks to the newly arrived Christian missionaries, Saburo introduces Christmas and gift giving Santa Claus to his clan.
Now that Saburo's clan has avoided one war, another fight has found its way to Saburo's door step again. Angered by the presence of the Christian missionaries, the monks (who really are not the pious kind but the ones that doesn't hesitate to rob and kill) is waging war against the Nobunaga clan.

Knowing he is not skilled with negotiations, Saburo sends Mitsuhide in his stead. Noticing that Saburo and Mitsuhide has changed identity, Denjiro volunteers to go along with Mitsuhide. When the monks refuses to meet with Mitsuhide for negotiation, Denjiro convinces Mitsuhide to burn down the temple ... like he burned down Denjiro's village so many years ago.

Afterwards when Mitsuhide switches back into his disguise, Denjiro makes a point to compliment the "Nobunaga" leader that was so decisive in burning the monastery down, after all that is the kind of the man that could unite Japan.

The act of burning the monastery was a shocking one to all who were close to Saburo, after all this is just not like something he would do. When his advisers starts to demand answers from Saburo, he has no answer for them other than to admit he did do the deed. 

Furious over the innocent lives Mitsuhide so casually took (other than the monks there were women and children), Saburo has no one to confide to other than to stew in his room. Kicho shows up with the music box Saburo gave her for Christmas and tells him that even though she doesn't know what happened but she believes Saburo must have his own reasons. Kicho leaves Saburo alone with the music from her music box and Saburo breaks down in sobs.  


You might not be able to tell in the episode summary, but this episode is hilarious in the beginning. I mean laugh out funny and it's difficult to get me to laugh out loud. The one thing I love about this show is that it does both comedy and heart wrenching so wonderfully. 

Denjiro is sure a scary guy. So brilliant but seemingly without an ounce of empathy left in his soul. How else could he tell Mitsuhide to burn down the monastery like Mitsuhide once did to his own village? Denjiro, of all people should be the first one to know the pain of an act like that, but apparently unless it's his own family, people have no value. Doesn't that makes him exactly the same kind of person as Mitsuhide.. so what right does he have to exact revenge?  

Episode 10

Deciding he has no choice but to admit Mitsuhide's killing as his own, Saburo apologizes to his people for making a mistaken judgement call. Surprisingly, Saburo's clan members start to come up with excuses for him, telling Saburo that his decision is understandable. Stunned by his clan members' excuses, Saburo tells them firmly that the decision to slaughter everyone at the monastery was a mistake and one that must not be repeated. 

Tsuneoki notices the exchange of glances between Saburo and Mitsuhide. Tsuneokie's suspicion is confirmed when he finds the fan Mitsuhide left by accident. Confronting Mitsuhide with the fan he recognizes so well, Tsuneoki is nevertheless furious when he realizes the master he has been so willing to die for all this time is fake AND the real master he trusted abandoned them to save his own life. I feel obligated to point out that Tsuneoki was one of those that plotted the death of the master he feels so betrayed by right now. 
Now that Tsuneoki knows the truth, he sees everything differently. When Saburo wants to go meet with the general that is calling for war on the Nobunaga clan, Tsuneoki suggests that Mitsuhide go instead. In the end Saburo sends Mitsuhide, Denjiro and Tsuneoki to meet with the general.
Denjiro tricks the general into believing he has betrayed the Nobunaga clan and was able to use the false alliance to kill the general. 

While the whole clan is celebrating their victory, Saburo is dismayed to find out their victory is the result of Denjiro's deceit. Saburo tries to tell his men that victory through unsavory means is not a good victory at all, but his voice falls on deaf ears. 

Dejected that his opinion seems so foreign in the warring state period, Saburo tries to confide to Tsuneoki but Tsuneoki just coldly avoids him.
Unhappy that the Nobunaga clan seems to be on their way to dominate Japan, Saburo's enemies attempt an assassination on him. Kicho's maid, Yuki throws herself on top of Saburo at the very last minute before Saburo is stabbed. Yuki's death spurs Tsuneoki into action. 

Facing Saburo, Tsuneoki makes his formal request "You have been lying to us all this time. I can't see another person like Yuki and Mori dying for a fake. What's fake can never be real. Please leave." 

While I kinda understand where Tsuneoki is coming from, I am mostly ticked at him for ignoring everything he has been through with Saburo. Saburo is after all the one that stop Tsuneoki from killing himself. Tsuneoki, of all people should know that the real Nobunaga would have never allowed him to live after his betrayal. 

FYI, don't expect too much from the next (last) episode. They just announced that there will be a Nobunaga Concerto movie next year, so I am assuming we won't see the actual ending until then.

Episode 11
Faced with Tsuneoki's request for him to leave so no more lives will be lost to protect a fake, Saburo can say nothing but asks Tsuneoki to give him a little more time to take care of one last crisis before he leaves. What crisis? Do you even have to ask? Oichi's (Nobunaga's sister) husband, Nagamasa Azai whom Saburo also consider as a friend has decided to wage war on the Nobunaga clan once again.

While Saburo's men is ready to go to war to avenge their friends' death, Saburo tells them that only through letting go of their grudge can a peaceful world really be possible. Saburo convinces his man to send a peace treaty to the Azai clan, but unfortunately Nagamasa buckles under his own men's call for revenge and reluctantly refuses the treaty.
Left with no choice, Saburo sends his men to war and can only watch hopelessly as his friend commit suicide before him.

Keeping his promise with Tsuneoki, Saburo confesses to Kicho that he likes her under the pretense that he is only leaving on a short walk. Knowing the truth that Saburo is not the real Nobunaga and that he is leaving for good, Kicho can only keep up the pretense with him.
Before Saburo can get too far though, Tsuneoki shows up and tells him that Saburo is really the person that he wants to follow. In a flash back we see Tsuneoki making his own confession to Mitsuhide (the real Nobunaga) that he really cannot serve anyone else other than Saburo so he has decided to put himself on an exile. Surprisingly, Mitsuhide tells Tsuneoki to bring Saburo back because "In order for Nobunaga clan to conquer this land, we need that person ." Moved by Tsunoki's affirmation, Saburo goes back to the clan to the great happiness of Kicho.

In the mean time, Takenaka who has always been suspicious of Denjiro finds out that he was the secret hand that forced Nagamasa to turn down Saburo's peace treaty offer. Takenaka goes to Mitsuhide, unaware he is not Saburo and tells him of the things Denjiro did. Calmly, Mitsuhide calls Denjiro out of the shadow and also shows Takenaka his face covering. In shock, Takenaka realizes Mitsuhide is not Saburo, but the realization comes too late and Mitsuhide killes Takenaka in one swift move. Looking at the body, Mitsuhide declares "I am the real Nobunaga." 

In the last scene we see Saburo apologizing to Mitsuhide for staying and asking him to keep on assisting him. With sincerity, Mitsuhide tells Saburo "Saburo, you must conquer this land... so I can kill you and take over everything!" Oops, he didn't say the last part out loud. 

Mitsuhide watches Saburo leaves and behind him we see they name of the Honno-Ji Temple where historically Nobunaga was killed.


I miss the fun, but I guess with so many bloodshed there really is no room for it. I am not surprised that Takenaka was killed, but I am really disappointed that Mitsuhide was the one that killed him. I have kinda held out a tiny hope that maybe Mitsuhide might turn out to be good by some miracle. Alas, no such luck, here is just a guy who has totally forgotten that he was the one that ran away in the first place and pushed Saburo to take over the mess he left behind. Instead, Mitsuhide's man has the guts to accuse Saburo of robbing everything that was suppose to be Mitsuhide's. Hello?? Were you not right there beside your master when he ran away?

Of course I guess the joke is on Mitsuhide since a even more villainous Denjiro is playing him like a pawn.

This hour also really showcased the tragedy of being a woman in the warring state period. Kicho's inability to escape a marriage with one she doesn't love due to her sense of duty and Oichi's hopelessness as she watch her husband going off to a certain death in a war with her own brother.

 Overall, I am happy with this ending ... as far as it could be one with the movie coming out in 2015 (Dec?). 

I think what made the ending satisfying for me was finding out that Kicho loves Saburo even knowing the truth and in turn her conviction about Saburo contributes to Tsuneoki realizing his own loyalty towards Saburo. Of course I am really worried about how the movie would end since if I could have my wish, every one of Saburo's men would be able to go home with him to the modern world. I guess I might be fine if Saburo ends up staying in the warring state period as well... if he can stay alive.


  1. Long-time lurker, first-time commenter....

    I went "NOOOOO" when you said that Ep 11 would be the last, and "DOUBLE NOOOOO" when you said that the movie would probably be the finale. I'm really enjoying this series, especially the historical tie-ins. Whenever a name comes up, I have to pause the video to Google if the character was a real historical figure. I hope you could post about the movie, too - I'm not Japanese and can't read Japanese in either form, so word from you might be the only way I'll know if I can start looking for it online!

    Also, a very belated thank you for your recaps! I came for the "What Happens to My Family" recaps, and discovered "Nobunaga Concerto" thanks to your posts!

    1. Big thanks for commenting!! I really wasn't sure if anyone was even reading my recap on this so I am glad someone is. :-) I am actually surprise they were willing to go to ep 11 on this one, so often J-drama are only 9 or 10 episodes long. The movie is suppose to come out next year and it will cover the temple rebellion where the historical Nobunaga dies, but that obviously won't happen to Saburo.

    2. Yes, I get the feeling he and the original Nobunaga will fake Nobunaga's death, and Saburo gets to go back to his time (changed for the better, I am sure) while the real Nobunaga goes on living as Mitsuhide. I haven't read the manga or seen the anime, so this is purely my gut feel here!

      I don't know what would happen to Kicho, though. Maybe she goes forward in time with Saburo, too! After all, time travel shouldn't be a one-way street! :D

  2. I just wanted to chime in and say that I've been reading as well :>
    Nobunaga Concerto was great. Can't wait for the movie~!

  3. Thanks so much for your synopsis of this drama.

    I just want to point out one error: You speak of Fujiki Naohito as playing Maeda. He is playing the strategist Hanbei Tanakata. Inushiyo Maeda was a very loyal follower of Nobunaga, and later Hideyoshi, who ended as the first lord of Kanazawa. He is played here by Taisuke Fujigaya.

    1. Thanks Simone, You are totally right! I went back and made the correction. Thanks for pointing them out to me.

  4. Thank you for recaps. Just marathoned all 11 eps tis wkend.

  5. Thanks for your summary recaps. I'm still watching it, so I appreciate it's not the scene for scene recaps. Knowing the ending of the historical Nobunaga, I hesitate to finish it. I think it's a good drama despite how it will end, but I'm not sure if i can handle the ending. Not necessary bc it is Oguri, but I would really be crying if Saburo died in place of the real Nobunaga after all that he has done for him. Now i can keep watching it. I wonder if I'll able to watch the movie here in the U. S. Has the movie been released yet?

  6. Thanks for the recap. It was perfect for helping me remember everything for the movie