Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mechanime Update: Nobunaga the Fool (again)

This anime doesn't fool around!
...Sorry, that was awful.

Time to come back to my favorite mecha anime thus far. I’ve watched episodes 13 through 18, and I have quite a bit to say. Let’s get started with-

The New Opening

From episode 14 onward, the opening used is JAM Project’s “Breakthrough.” The new opening is a great song through and through. The way it builds intensity makes it a real treat to listen too, and the visuals that accompany it makes it a far better opening than “Fool the World”. It fits the changing tone (and the tone in general) very well. “Breakthrough” isn’t the best opening I’ve listened to, but its up there.

Go East, Young Nobunaga
This is Julius Caesar. He killed Shingen from behind, framed Nobunaga, and forced a marriage between him and Ichihime. Yeah, I'm not a fan.
The universe of NtF is split into two stars: East, with people from Sengoku Japan, and West, with people from all across western history. The Western star is not depicted in a flattering light; they take hostages, kill civilians, engage in unhonorable tactics, torture their captives, and live by “the ends justify the means”. They’re clearly the bad guys, which is weird, since real world Sengoku figures did all of the above.

Now I can get behind a conflict of ideals, like the East losing a battle because they use more “honorable” tactics, or the West losing a battle because their scare tactics actually galvanized their opponents. But when one side is painted as evil because they have different ideals, it devolves into a simple battle of good vs evil. Its not a huge deal, but its a fault I can’t really ignore, especially when I’ve praised NtF for its great writing.

Speaking of Nobunaga…
Only character development can turn a impulsive jerk into a leader. Order now!
I love when characters develop well, and this anime is filled with some great examples of character development. Probably the best case is Nobunaga himself. In the beginning, he was brash, impulsive, and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anything. Now, he’s much more serious and even a responsible leader. It even bothers him when some Western generals call him the “destroyer king.” Nobunaga isn’t my favorite character of the anime, but his journey as a character is great.

Not Your Average Gundam
This is just a taste of how awesome the mechs get.
I just touched on the mecha design in my original review, but now I really have to praise it here. The mechas not only look really ornate and menacing, but they’re surprisingly varied. From Alexander’s juggernaut looking War Armor to Kenshin’s Hindu-inspired one, each one looks terrific. As the series goes on, I am more and more impressed with how epic the mechs look, especially when they use their Regalia.

The Cherry Blossoms Still Aren’t Blooming
What really sucks is that I like Himiko, and this behavior of hers is really annoying.
I don’t mind romance as long as its well written or genuine. But despite all of the areas were NtF succeeds, it fails in the romance department. There are two romances in this anime: a love triangle between Mitsuhide, Ichihime, and Caesar, and another between Jeanne, Himiko, and Nobunaga. Sadly, neither one is very compelling or endearing, and when they surfaced, I was more bored than anything. As the series progresses, these romances are pushed further into the limelight, which makes me cautious about how future episodes will handle them.

BTW, War Sucks.
The deaths only get more brutal from here.
This anime can be pretty brutal sometimes. Like how Jeanne is mentally abused by Western generals so she would denounce Nobunaga as the savior king. Or how Jeanne’s entire hometown, which she tried to protect, gets vaporized, leaving no survivors. Or how Alexander rips Hideyoshi’s mech in half, leaving him mortally wounded. As the series goes on, these incidents get more and more common. This shift in tone is done very well, and feels genuine rather than forced.

Alright, that should do it. See you next time!

This moment makes sense in a zen sorta way.

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