The ambition of Oda Nobunaga unified Japan and heralded in a new era. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, however, aims a lot lower. In a lot of ways, it's as what you would expect--a room full of Sengoku Era warlords and generals, except they are all cute girls of all ages, doing what warlords-as-cute-girls do.
For the people looking in from the outside, that's really the embodiment of what is problematic with late-night TV anime today. But for people looking out from the inside, the Ambition of Oda Nobuna gives us a sliver of hope as to how to execute the historical fiction moe genre in a way that won't embarrass everyone. Click on and see why I'd recommend it.
It's easy to look around and see shows like Samurai Girls, Koihime Mousou, Ikki Tousen, or Sengoku Collection and dismiss them as generally shows full of cute girls doing cute or silly things. Character-driven situational comedies are fine per se, but the focus in those shows often are simply the girls themselves; the plot tend to get out of the way of the otaku's enjoyment. Thematically, this genre do tend to play soft. If you're not in to enjoy the company of these perfect 2D wives, it's easy to think why these kind of fare is not for you.
And to be fair, the Ambition of Oda Nobuna doesn't deviate from that formula much. The largest difference is how it remembers that the historical re-enactment and historical fiction too is a key reason why people enjoy this genre, especially coming from the video game side of things. That is at the heart of the story. Rather than a character inspired by historical records, Oda Nobuna is a character that helps the audience to understand the pivotal role Oda Nobunaga played upon the crossroads of Japanese history, by giving us a glimpse of his emotional conflicts via hers. Nobuna's consistent struggle with doing things the simple but ruthless way versus the much more difficult but thematically sensible way helps us see, if anything, that uniting Japan is not an easy thing, even apart from the strategy and battles one needs to do it by force.
The other thing Oda Nobuna did well was to weave together a pretty powerful alternative time line, by changing and reordering the historic events to match major character development climaxes. I suppose that is to be expected, but everything came together well. Perhaps the only real problem was how many characters had to show up in the story because of their relationship to the events in real life, but they weren't given much, if any, time to develop within the anime.
I also think there's a lot to be said about the way this story pairs Nobuna and Yoshiharu--instead of dealing with a clueless harem lead and an irritating one-true-pair, I feel compelled to cheer for the two, as they are compelling leads in this story. Nobuna's stereotypical tsundere behavior is even a little more forgivable given her position as the leader of the clan, and, well, there's the matter of Juubei. And even that little triangle is couched in the context of history.
In terms of the production, the collaboration between Madhouse and Studio Gokumi seemed to be solid, if not also occasionally flashy. The occasional mass battles are where the visuals shine, via some solid digital composition. There were a few clips across the series, invariably having to do with some battle, that approaches awe-inspiring. However, there are little else to write home beyond that. Everything looked fine during my weekly sessions on Crunchyroll.
The Ambition of Oda Nobuna is by far the best Sengoku genderbender that could, as long as you give it a chance and come into the show without that snobbery bias. Okay, so in the end we get a pretty feel-good resolution with major reveals that you could see miles away, but this is all history, right? It's okay if Nobuna's bra (she wears a bra?) is hanging out half the time, right? We can believe Monkey's smartphone is made of super Gorilla Glass, right? I guess it's still best to not take this anime too seriously.
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