Nobunagun Episode 1 [Quick Look]
Sidekick’s First Impression
One Nobunaga series down, one more to go.
Well that was a pretty interesting premiere episode. Basically we’ve got a military otaku (they’ve got otakus for everything don’t they? Last time I saw this trait was back in Full Metal Panic, heh.) girl named Ogura Shio. Her strange interests makes her quite the outcast at school, and the series starts off with her being late for her school trip to Taiwan. So far so good? It’s a pretty generic beginning half of the premiere, save for the Nobunaga dream sequence in the beginning (I’ll talk more about it later).
Later in Taiwan, as her classmates all group up and have some time with their friends, Ogura is, not surprisingly, alone. She does catch the attention of one of the ‘most popular girls in class’ – Asao Kaoru, who asks Ogura to join her and her friends, but is later rejected by our lead girl, who firmly believes she should stay an outcast. Of course, the two do have the potential to be friends, and Ogura does like Asao quite a bit.
Yeah, and at this point, I was ready to turn off the video. Until SHIT HIT THE FAN. Literally. Nobunagun suddenly became a completely different series in the second half of episode one. Suddenly we see Taiwanese military aircraft (that Ogura is kind enough to give us a little info dump on) actually fire into nearby land, and monsters start appearing from nowhere to attack the aircraft, and of course the civilians. It suddenly becomes a bloodbath on the island, and the camera switches focus to an unnamed organisation releasing what are known as E-gene holders to battle the monsters.
E-Gene holders are well, you guessed it – basically reincarnations of old famous historical figures. The first one we see in combat in this episode happens to be Jack The Ripper, the infamous serial killer from London, in the form of a boy wielding several knives, easily fighting these monsters (later named as evolved invasion species) until he gets stabbed from the back and requests backup. Our lead girl Ogura though isn’t too worried about herself, her potential new friend Asao is hurt and not yet found, and she makes it her duty to find Asao, before running into Jack The Ripper, taking a strange ball from him, and this triggers the soul of Oda Nobunaga within her – a famous warrior in feudal Japan. And thus her codename NOBUNAGUN comes in. She’s wielding…a gun! Yes! A gun!
HOLY SHIT WOW WHAT DID I JUST WATCH. The first half of the series was mundane, bland and incredibly tame, except for the dream sequence in the beginning which was kinda overdone in the visuals department (that can be said for the entire show though) but when the second half kicked in it was basically watching Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure again, this time without the bulky men and the written onomatopoeia. Everything was incredibly colourful and incredibly insane.
While I was definitely entertained by the zaniness of the second half, the first half didn’t do much for me, if you can’t notice my lack of enthusiasm already. The first half didn’t do much to give our lead girl more charm and she stayed kind of shallow, and there wasn’t any sign of depth to Asao either. I honestly suspect the series is just going to make use of its craziness to make up for shallow characters and plot (like Jojo) but given how it’s already pulled out the big guns (hehe) in this premiere episode it’ll take quite a bit of effort to top this in insanity. I also suspect an episodic, monster of the week formula for this one (let’s face it though I don’t think you’ll be watching this for the story) but I’ll give it a few more episodes to see if it gets old.
On to the visuals and sound departments. The music is kinda distracting. The tracks themselves aren’t particularly bad, but they just stand out a bit too much, especially in the beginning. The thing I wanna talk about in greater focus though is the visual direction. This series is all about lots of colours and textures (literal textures, mind you, reminiscent of Gankutsuou’s wallpaper style) , and the director seems to have this thing where in the first half of the episode he thought it’d be cute to label everything from Ogura’s bedhead to her toast. It’s alright to do it for the military model parts, but not anything more than that. The dream sequence could’ve been a bit more well-directed really, but it’s a good effort. I can tell the studio is trying. The choreography of fights isn’t fantastic though. Like, it really isn’t. The insanity is cool and all, but it’s mostly the visual style rather than the fight sequences itself that are interesting to watch.
Alright, I think I’m about done! This was a pretty decent first episode! The first half was incredibly generic in content, but I see effort in trying to spice things up with the visuals – I’ll see how long the series can keep up with changing up the presentation to keep me interested but for now it’s definitely getting a thumbs up from me. The second half is pretty awesome. The only major problems are the actual content (characters, plot) as well as whether the director is going to overdo it with the visuals.
Possibility of blogging : It’s a no from me, series like these can be entertaining to watch, but other than a couple of explosions and gunshots it’s pretty shallow.
Possibility of watching: I’ll give it 3 episodes as usual, but I’ll probably be sticking with this for the season. It’s pretty fun.