Shio Ogura is a Japanese high school student, who is visiting Taiwan on a school trip when she is suddenly attacked by monsters. Agents known as "E-Gene Holders" from the government agency DOGOO also arrive, who wield weapons infused with the spirits of historical figures. Shio is revealed to also be an E-Gene Holder when the soul of Oda Nobunaga awakens after she tries to rescue a friend.
A schoolgirl with a giant gun. Got your attention yet? It’s not every day that we get to see a young girl who holds the soul of Oda Nobunaga. More so, how about the concept of monsters known as ‘Evolutionary Invasion Objects (EIO)’ attacking people? To take this premise and formulate it into an anime takes guts. And that’s what Nobunagun tries to do, on first case anyways. But for what’s worth, Nobunagun is just another slapstick attempt to create an anime with an action girl. There’s little taste that is favorable in this show that comes off as a dumb-down shoot fest.
Taking on the
premise, the show is fairly simple despite the complexity of how it starts out. We have a young girl named Shio Ogura with at tomboyish personality. She is a Japanese high school student who seems to be curious around the world. Unfortunately, she comes off a bit as an outcast with only few friends. From the surface, it’s easy to notice that she is a caring girl but has some strange tendencies. Nonetheless, she enjoys her life just the way it is until the faithful day to Taiwan for a field trip; the day that she will never forget.
The series takes off with its banal trope involving some sort of invasion by the mysterious Evolutionary Invasion Objects. They come off as creatures taking on abnormal features with bug-like body structures. In retrospect, it is a trite and generic theme as series over the decades have done similar style of presentation. While it’s not a total war on another planet type of story, it still adapts itself as the ‘organization out-to hunt down supernatural creatures’ theme. Meet DOGOO (Defense Organization aGainst Outer Objects), a government agency that trains “E-Gene Holders”, normal humans gifted with special abilities to deal with these EIOs. One unique attribute relating to the E-Gene Holders is the fact that all its users are infused with spirits of historical figures. For Shio, she has the spirit of Oda Nobunaga within her. It matches with her style perfectly considering Shio’s ebullient personality. But for it’s worth, the series embraces on this power to combat the enemy to save humanity.
Nobunagun would come off as a fun series if it worked itself by character building. Unfortunately, the only characterization features Shio and lesser extent to other characters. The show explores a few type of relationships ranging from professional, caring friendships, and a potential romance. On a professional level, Shio comes off as a clumsy soldier. Despite being dedicated, she makes mistakes and often blames herself for it. Shio’s colleagues often treats her like a kid because her fresh status as an E-Gene Holder. The only development she receives on a professional level deals with the progressive power increase of her abilities. In essence, Shio’s relationship with her colleagues remains vague and lacking. But on a friendship levels, Shio does shine a bit more after saving her fellow classmate, Kaoru Asao. Despite their friendship being a prominent motivation for Shio to fight, their similarities are worlds apart. Asao comes off as a popular girl with an elegant figure enveloped with lady-like manners; the classic Yamato Nadeshiko. Shio on the other hand is the typical klutz with a hotheaded personality and somewhat of a petite figure. Yet somehow, the two fit like two peas in a pod by their strong friendship all after that one faithful day at Taiwan’s field trip.
Characterization is generalized as being almost insufferable throughout the show. Most characters’ backgrounds are hardly explored. With the show being only one-cour (13 episodes), it lacks many degrees with developing the characters beyond their generic standards. Even Jack the Ripper, a prominent E-Gene Holder holds only the bad boy persona. His relationship with Shio transits into somewhat of a romance although it’s left as a weak subplot. Obviously, the show isn’t a love story considering many circumstances. Even comedic wise, Shio and Asao has some yuri-undertones with their interactions throughout various episodes. Other characters from Shio’s second platoon can only be appreciated for who they are at best with their various behaviors. Haplessly, none of them are really noticeable for their behavior such as the teasing, kissing, and constant silly arguments over little matters.
The DOGOO agency is also stereotypical with their projects to annihilate its enemies. While it tries its best to help humanity, the agency also display hypocritical behavior when their own agents cause collateral damage involving casualties. Their image of the pseudo mad scientist gives off a weak impression beyond their motivations. And of course, their characterization is hardly a focus since the show concentrates its story on obliterating the EIO.
Action features as perhaps a driving force to motivate viewers to watch the show. Gainax composes the battle sequences but most of it comes off as cheesy and frivolous coordination. It goes full throttle when the battle comes into scenes to demonstrate intensity. But most times, it’s just there. It lacks emphasis, intelligence, and most of all direction. Most episodes have the characters fight for typical reasons such as friendship and survival. Expected would come off as a first word for this type of execution. But really, Nobunagun performs crazily and is all over the place. It doesn’t demonstrate psychological aspects or present any sense of morality. In retrospect, it formulates itself as mindless battles of berserk and flippant execution.
On a plus note, the show can be fun to watch for its worth. Shio’s a character that can be relatable on some standards and it’s nice to see her change a bit, even if it’s not significant. Comedy also works on numerous occasions with its dialogues. Shio’s face expressions also become an antithesis of the ‘damsel in distress’. She symbolizes a classic tomboy. It’s also memorable to see how such a character can get along with others when they are so different from her in the show. Fanservice is also tolerable on most parts with camera angles focusing on some compromising positions. Skin is generally kept in tone with the characters’ battle outfits rather than portraying it as a sex appeal. Shio doesn’t represent an eye candy in the first place so this works out consistently for her character. In fact, most of the characters in the show feels natural and display who they are rather than hiding it behind like a mask. One other interesting point to note is the way it displays its dialogues through gag bubbles and references. It comes off as a fun device to get viewers into attention.
Courtesy of animation Studio Bridge, we get its visual aesthetics but only in a few ways. Known recently for its production involving Devil Survivor: The Animation, they demonstrate some acceptable degree of their style. Yet, this might come off with mixed feelings. For one, the animation style feels goofy and amateur. The way it presents its visuals feels like an avant-garde. Its modus operandi composes of oblique structures, amateur character designs, and simplistic backgrounds. The monsters in the show are presented as being acceptingly malevolent. It can draw some attention in but most of the time becomes generic by their mindless behavior. Otherwise, most of the E-Gene Holders display their toughness. And while the show isn't indulged with fan service, there are some lascivious scenes when it comes to tentacle EIOs. You get the picture...
Soundtrack comes off as energetic and hyper, perhaps too much. But that’s not necessarily a drawback for this series. In fact, the OST works out best when it’s coordinated with its lively tone. It brings out its dynamics that matches its exuberance. Both the OP and ED song clearly reflects this way with its strong and rapid lyrics. There’s also degrees of calm music during emotional scenes. Character voices such as Shio, Jack the Ripper, and Asao also matches naturally to their persona. Just be ready for the craziness.
Nobunagan is a show I would watch when I need a dose of energy. The way it comes off is molded with tropes and clichés. Only the main characters stands out the most although a lack of characterization limits their true visage. The story is honest to its premise but the development comes off as dull. However, do expect a mindless ride of fun if you’re in for the full throttle action. It won’t be on a level of TTGL, Kill la Kill, or something you’ll have your eyeballs glued to the screen. Rather, expect a girl packing big guns and some attitude.
This series is one of the few series that truly stood out when I was making my decisions of what to watch. A fairly normal, typical school girl who has trouble making friends, turns out to be the central role is just fantastic and refreshing. The way the characters/powers, based off of some of the most infamous, famous persona's in history, are portrayed in this series is something that I have never seen in any other series. Using these historical figures to inspire the characters or "reincarnations" could prove to be difficult. But it was done extremely well in this case. Being able to
develop the chemistry between the team members, and develop each character so in-depth is just one of the many reasons this series is so great. Other than that, the story and plot are extremely entertaining and unique, and there is a ton of action! Every episode brings about another wave of action and includes some very well placed comedic relief. Lets not forget to mention some of the budding romance, and extreme comradery between some of the said characters that makes for some interesting scenarios and situations. There is indeed some fanservice, which exists in a majority of series these days. But it's not to the degree that it will overwhelm you. In the end, this series leaves you wanting more.
Nobunagun is one anime that dedicates itself in delivering action.
Personally I think this anime would be more well-liked if it was aired some years earlier.
The idea of borrowing the power of historical people is quite promising, however the entire idea of "fighting the invaders to protect the world" is too basic and heavily limits the show's potential. Though, the invaders' (Evolutionary Invasion Objects) intelligence and tactics used by both parties were something new for me, and kept the show somewhat intense.
Ogura's getting influenced by Nobunaga badassery was an eye candy for me (she was the only one though?). Thankfully it wasn't overused; every scene
that included it was fun till the end.
On the overall, the series started strong. But nearing the end, if I went to peek at the first two episodes again I would feel that the it has became much less fun than before. I still believe the series has wrapped up really neatly though.
If I could comment on the character designs, I'd say the writer was being a hipster, giving them designs full of roundness, also resembling what lots of people has said, Megaman...
Nobunagun has more characters than our usual shows. Adequate explanation and screen time for everyone is difficult to achieve while maintaining their dedicated action time. I'd say that the producers have done a really good job in pacing/balancing action time and introducing/explaining the new/side characters (Commander and First Platoon) given only 13 episodes.
Regarding character voices, I didn't have any issues with them. Seeing Ogura's CV is new, it was pretty good. Only Dogoo and Asao (at the start) had voices that seemed off.
Dogoo.. well seeing his design I guess he's like a kyubey.
Asao as a character was weird at the beginning, they tried to force her into the story in a manner that didn't work well for me. All the drama between Ogura and Asao felt off, unrealistic etc, at least at the start.
The producers were apparently trying to be different with the art in this show.
The colours of shown in this anime are quite thick and dark, even outside of the battle scenes. I guess it's the company's way of suggesting a sinister atmosphere, and unsettling/disturbed air after the EIOs appeared.
The drawing and presentation of background scenery is more on the simple side, not a lot of budget has been placed on it.
Also they tried to present something different by using pointers/floating words, pointing out "drooling girl", "bed hair", etc, and using flower-patterned or camo-patterned shadows. These 'different things' were however inconsistent, shown only at the beginning and sometimes randomly after, which ultimately made them insignificant and irrelevant.
Despite these downsides, the over all animation is good, even during action scenes. Camera angles/perspectives were fine as well.
Once again the anime tries to be different, this time for the OP. It's like the studio saying "hey look this isn't mainstream crap" at your face. Personally, I like the OP though. I think it makes people who like this show like it much more, and likewise, make people who dislike it do so even more. Respect for the dead men! They really mean it, i guess..
Regarding the OST, some were good others were just normal.. nothing much to say about the OST.
Nobunagun is a series that I didn't regret picking up, didn't regret finishing either. It is underrated at worst, seeing many people have dropped it for the art/design/story. However in terms of story/action presentation I can say that it is better than a lot of other series out there.
Fanservice is present but very mild, they drew the line well. They know what they were supposed to do. The producers paced episodes well, so there weren't really much rushes and those stuff. Of course, there's only a few manga volumes out so I can't really compare. However I'm appreciative that it ended well.
Nobunagun is a slightly dark anime where colorful characters kill aliens via power suits while jamming to an engaging OST.
Main plot of this story comes from these alien invaders known as "Evolutionary Invasion Objects" whose purpose is to slay humanity.The heroes being branded "E-Gene Holders" manifest the spirits of historical figures into a weaponized form (Similar to Shaman King).
What this anime offers is style & is full of it. Character designs are covered in full body armor each displaying their historic spirit & specific traits which is complimented by the eye catches in each episode. One of the highlights of this series is
how it is "influenced" by several animes of the past or at least can be compared to. One example is the color tone changing similar to Jojo's Bizarre Adventure's anime adaptation. Other examples include the invaders being similar to "The Blue" from Blue Gender as they evolve with every encounter.The same can be said to either Shaman King or Fate/Zero due to their usage of historical figures.
Sadly, the cast is kind of bland leading to a couple of "erotic" moments thrown in just for the hell of it. The lead Sio Ogura is okay as a military otaku who is just quirky character with a few cool moments. I was hoping for more interaction between the host & their spirit which doesn't really happen until the last episode.
Being based on a ongoing manga, the anime seems to give an passable conclusion as this series won't seem to do will if it goes beyond its limit. However, the music for the anime is excellent; being filled with rock & electronic music which suits the semi-hot blooded tone of the show. In other words, Nobunagun is not the coolest thing ever but at least it knew what it wanted to do; a slightly dark anime where colorful characters kill aliens via power suits while jamming to an engaging OST.