Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Ambition of Oda Nobuna Review

The Ambition of Oda Nobuna Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

As I've mentioned before, some shows I just step into without seeing the synopsis or knowing the characters. This is one of those situations. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna is one of those shows that I didn't even know existed until Sentai Filmworks licensed it in the US, and then planned to release it in December. I was very curious as to what the show would hold, and hoped it wasn't stereotypical or boring.

In the end, however, this is one of those rare surprises in these past few months. The series was actually pretty good, and I wasn't expecting it to be that good per say. I was invested on what was going to happen, the characters were great, the show didn't try to force a harem onto us, and I was looking forward to what was going to come next in the journey.

Of course, the series isn't one of the best I've watched. There are a few problems that didn't make it as good as it would have been. Though for the most part, this show was quite fun and entertaining, and I'm glad I watched it.

Let's move on to the story, shall we?


The main element of this series isn't going to win any gold stars for originality. This takes place in a re-imagining of the Sengoku period in early Japan. However, we add a high school student to the mix, who's named Yoshiharu Sagara. After being randomly transported to the Sengoku period, Yoshiharu struggles through a battlefield, and gets saved from a fatal shot by the man who would become Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who dies from his wounds. So, we've already altered history!

Trying to make things right, Yoshiharu soon meets a girl who's fighting on the battlefield. Though in this version of the Sengoku period, Nobunaga Oda does not exist. This girl, known as Nobuna Oda, had replaced him, who still holds the Daimyo position. She takes Yoshiharu under her wing with her other comrades, giving him the nickname monkey, since Saru is Japanese for it, and starts to fall in love with him sooner or later. Yoshiharu learns that the events in the world are actually different than some of the happenings in one of his favorite video games, Nobunaga's Ambition. Now stuck in this world, Yoshiharu tries to correct some events in history, as well as try to find his way back home.

Overall, this is a pretty interesting set-up. Though re-imaginings for the Sengoku period have happened before, along with others, but this one decides to do something a bit different by throwing in a human from our world who lives in  modern day. Not only does this sound interesting, but the anime makes it work. Some of the events that happen are actually pretty interesting, though some aren't as good. But all of them provide intrigue and suspense.

Of course, there's some issues with the story's pacing. Though the finale has the final battle between the main villain of that arc and Nobuna, and that was epic, there were 2 main things that bugged me. One was that a character named Yoshikage said he was going to make Nobuna his, and mentioned how he was going to fight her. However, this doesn't happen in the final episode, and I was hoping for that because it would have been really interesting to see what would have happened. I searched up his character, and it says he committed suicide, but the anime never really mentions what happened to him, or if he's alive or not.

Also, this series has an open ending. In the last few seconds of Episode 12, there's promise of a new villain of the horizon, and more threats. As of May 2015 however, there are been no confirmations of a new season, or OVA's for that matter. One can read the light novels, but they're not available in the US yet. Because of this, the ending is a bit of a let down.

As a whole though, we had a great story here, and it managed to impress and deliver. And that's a good thing, because I was worried about it in the beginning.

Character time!


There are quite a few characters in this series, and a lot of them are fairly interesting. So, it's was hard to narrow it down to 4. However, we have our 2 leads, and 2 other characters that were my favorite out of the Oda Faction, so I say that's fair enough. :)

Why don't we start off with our Monkey, Yoshiharu?

Besides coming from modern day Japan, Yoshiharu is also now replacing the role for Hideyoshi Toyotomi. After Toyotomi saved his life. Yoshiharu now swears to make his dream of becoming a feudal lord true, along with being popular with the ladies. He also uses his own knowledge from the video game Nobunaga's Ambition.

Though Yoshiharu doesn't have a lot of background information surrounding him, he still is a likable character. And yes, he also has the habit of falling in the stereotypical harem range as well, but I don't really see him as one. At least he's kind, does try to be a great help, mainly has feeling for only Nobuna, and is just pretty funny to watch as he communicates with several characters, and members of the Oda Faction.

Now onto the great Nobuna herself:

Nobuna is the Daimyo of Owari who is very ambitious. She wishes to unite Japan so that it will be stand on equal ground with European nations. Besides wishing to conquer Japan, she is also an admirer of foreign culture and items. Besides having a tsundere archetype that is blatantly obvious throughout the series, she also has issues with being a leader in the series at various moments. She isn't the biggest fan of violence, and is more of a peace maker. However, there are some times where decisions have to be a little more drastic.

Besides giving Yoshiharu the nickname Monkey in the first place, she later starts to develop feelings for him, but can't find herself to admit them. They are obvious by the time the latter half of the series starts, and they almost kiss in Episode 12. Almost.

Overall, I think I liked Nobuna mainly for her charisma. Yes, she is a full on tsundere, and the anime will show that side to her more often, but unlike some tsundere characters I've seen, she has feelings for her peers. She doesn't want to be left alone, and she cares for the main set of Oda Faction members we see in the show. At some aspects, her personality seems like someone you've seen before, but that does change.

Now, we're stepping out of the main character territory, and into the favorite one. First off, Nagahide:

Naghide is the Oda faction tactician, which is someone who can easily plan tactics to use in battle. Though we don't get development on her a lot, one of the highlights of her character is that she uses a point value to show her approval or disapproval of an idea. This is shown to be from battle strategies and jokes mainly in the series.

As I mentioned earlier, we don't get a lot of development wise on the members in the Oda faction, which does make some of them less interesting. But I like the quirks some of them have. Also, Nagehide is one of the more memorable characters from the show alone due to her point value system.

Now onto my other favorite character from the series, Goemon:

Goemon is a young ninja who has issues with speaking for long periods of time. She may run out of breath at certain moments, or run her words together. For example:

Aside from that, she mainly serves under Yoshiharu, as she swore to her old master that she would find a new lord and get promoted with him. So 2 for 1 deal! She is the leader of a task force, and is willing to risk her life for others, almost dying once in the series. Though little is known about her past, she rarely talks about it anyway.

Also, because of her height, she is able to sneak into prisons and spy without any major trouble. I don't remember a lot of her spying, but I do think we saw it at least once.

But overall, another good character. What made Goemon entertaining for me was when she struggled with talking in long sentences. These were pretty entertaining, especially when she and Yoshiharu first meet in Episode 1.

Other characters include various members in the Oda faction including a general, a spear wielder, a strategist, and one of the villains in the 2nd arc who goes over to Nobona's side, and is a Daimyo. We also have the Daimyo of Mino, various other main faction members we meet along the way, though I will be mentioning one in particular in the Sound section.

And last but not least, we have Nobuna's younger brother, members of the Christan Faction, And we finally have our main villains of the 2nd arc, which includes one of the Miyoshi Three leaders, and the Daimyo of Echizen.


The animation for this series was produced by both Madhouse and Studio Gokumi. Madhouse is most known for Highschool of the Dead, Cardcaptor Sakura, and No Game no Life, and Studio Gokumi has done animation for the series A Channel, Kin-iro Mosiac, and The Severing Crime Edge.

I've already told you how much I enjoy various animation in anime series, and how I love most of them. This series is no exception, and the animation is just SO FREAKING PRETTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOOK AT THE PRETTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I never saw the animation drop at least once throughout the show. It was always consistent, colorful, great to look at, and just freaking incredible. It's definitely one of my favorite shows animated wise in the recent months. And though that's pretty much all of the anime I watch anyways, this one will have something extra special since it's a mainly unknown series.


The score for this series was composed by Yasuharu Takanashi, who has also done the scores for series such as Fairy Tail, Ikki Tousen (starting with Dragon Destiny), and Sailor Moon Crystal.

It's no secret that Yasuharu Takanashi is one of my favorite composers in anime that I've heard, along with Shiro Sagisu. Both of them put a lot of energy into the pieces I've heard from them so far, minus Testament of Sister New Devil based on Episode 1 for Yasuharu. 

Though this score is a bit forgettable compared to Fairy Tail and Ikki Tousen: Great Guardians, I still found a lot of moments had some great pieces. The dramatic music, like his other scores, manages to stand out the most, though light-hearted ones still have their own presence. My favorite, much like DRAMAtical Murder and Death Parade, is the next episode preview song that is used in the show a few times. Though I also like this one:

Overall, the original Japanese of this show is highly enjoyable, and we have a lot of great performances from some seiyuus who manage to always impress me. It was a surprise to find out this show was getting a English dub from Sentai Filmworks when they announced their December release schedule for last year, because from what I know, I don't think this show was really popular when it first aired. Also, considering that this is Sentai Filmworks, and that the majority of their dubs are either okay or horrible, I wasn't looking forward to it.

Though I've only watched a couple of minutes from the 1st episode, it's definitely one of Sentai's better dubs. There's less awkward pauses, and most of the cast members sound confident in their delivery and performance. Though there's one cast choice that I'd like to bring up, and that is of Nagamasa Asai.

Nagamasa Asai is the Daimyo of Omi, and is first introduced as a male in Episode 3. "He" initially offered an alliance to Nobuna in exchange for marriage, or the Asai clan would ally with the Oda Faction's enemies. Though later, since "he" couldn't return to "his" homeland without receiving a bride, Nobuna's crew tricks Nobuna's younger brother into being the bride. So basically, opposite genders for ya!

The main reason why Nagamasa hides her actual gender is because her father disapproves of a girl becoming a Daimyo. Now, we have cast clashing here. In Japanese, Nagamasa is voiced by Mitsuki Saiga, who has been known to voice more masculine roles in the past, and is one of the better seiyuus at doing so. However, in English, we get Blake Shepard, one of the male actors at Sentai Filmworks who does do well with the majority of stuff that he works on. Now, I'm not so sure if Christopher Ayres knew that this character was a girl from the get-go, and cast Blake Shepard because he wanted a risk. Or, Chris wasn't familiar with the show before he worked it, and just went for Blake instead of exploring the character? Either way, it brings up a lot of questions.

Highlights in the original Japanese are Takuya Eguchi, Kanae Ito, Hitomi Nabatame, Rei Matsuzaki, Sayuri Yahagi, Masumi Asano, Tomoko Kaneda, Yui Ogura, Suzuko Mimori, Mamiko Noto, Mitsuki Saiga, Emiri Kato, Rumi Okubo, Rina Sato, Seiro Ogino, Ryohei Kimura, and Sumire Morohoshi.


This show was such a surprise for me. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did, but this show was definitely worth my time. Though I do wish this had a more conclusive ending, I still would prefer this show over Sengoku Musou any day.

Score: 9/10


Interesting story.

Great main characters.

Beautiful animation.

Good score.

Very eventful 2nd half.

Surprisingly good show.


Some characters not as fleshed out as I would have liked.

Show has an open ending.

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