First Look: Nobunagun

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Alternate Titles: Oda Nobunaga Turns Into A Gun
Manga Adaptation by Bridge
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise

Sio Ogura is a military otaku who’s never really fit in. When aliens from deep beneath the ocean start attacking humanity, it’s up to her to realize her true destiny as the reincarnation of insane warlord extraordinaire Oda Nobunaga and fight back with a crazy giant minigun.

Gee’s Verdict: Crazy Rapid Fire Fun

Jack the Ripper, Oda Nobunaga, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, and other various reincarnations of historical figures team up to fight aliens, what’s not to like? Sio comes off immediately as a main character who doesn’t necessarily fall into the norm of your average female anime protagonist. Sure, she’s still clumsy, perennially late, and does the whole toast-in-her-mouth thing, but any girl who’s as enthusiastic about military hardware as I am is a decent girl in my book. Helps she buckles down and gets ready to kick ass way sooner than I expected. The show isn’t perfect though. Hamstrung by a budget that rivals Kill la Kill’s, but without the expert Imaishi direction, Nobunagun looks pretty amateurish at times, relying on textures and obvious shortcuts to do anything notable. One can only hope the anime manages to look at least passable for the rest of its run. I mean, if they’re using shortcuts in the first episode, it doesn’t bode well for the future.

That said, Nobunagun does manage to pull some pretty neat visual tricks. Great color usage and some nice dynamic angles help make things look exciting even if there isn’t much moving. In the end the absolutely ridiculous conclusion, rife with insane laughter and rapid fire antics, was an instant winner in my heart. The show is good ridiculous fun that clearly isn’t taking itself too seriously. I’m definitely looking forward to this Nobunaga show more than the other one airing this season.

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Jel’s Verdict: Pull the Trigger

There were a couple frames of Nobunagun where I exclaimed “that’s an Imaishi drawing” and I don’t think there’s any doubt the creators’ were influenced by the infamous ex-Gainax/current Trigger director. Look into the eyes of their version of Oda Nobunaga and you can’t help but see a slimmed down Lordgenome. Consider a little imitation as praise in my book though, as Nobunagun’s ridiculous premise of summoning historical figures as weapons is just the kind of over the top thinking I want to see in my action anime. I thought the first episode was pretty entertaining – loose and fun and, at times, surprisingly dark.

The only caveat is the low quality animation, which can really hurt a show that relies on action. I felt like it had what it needed when it counted (and ironically it still looked better than Kill la Kill when its at its worst), but I can’t deny it hurt the overall product. Nevertheless, this was enough fun that I’m willing to give it another episode or two.

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Iro’s Verdict: Low Caliber, High Impact

This might be the lowest budget show I’ve ever seen in recent memory, but it was also the most fun I had during the start of this season so far. Ogura is atypical enough for a female anime protagonist that she feels relatively unique. As a fan of Fate/Stay Night and its ilk, I can’t help but find this type of historical-figures-turned-into-weapons fun – the guessing game of what the powers of upcoming characters is always enjoyable. What sort of crazy, destructive attacks could Gandhi of all people have? As long as they keep up the fun and hopefully get a little more budget, I’m looking forward to seeing where Nobunagun goes.

Lifesong’s Verdict: Unfocused Directing

The visual flair both caught my attention and kept it for the entire episode, the floral overlay and randomly floating flowers around our heroine created a unique look that is sure to leave an impression. On a certain level I can appreciate what Nobunagun was trying to do, but at the same time I don’t think it was very good at it. Part of the problem is surely that the animation at stake is simply cheap, but more than that I felt like I was being assaulted by Imaishi and Shinbo all at the same time. As a result of having so much on screen at once I felt the need to take it all in at once and that experience wasn’t an enjoyable one for me. I want to like this show and on a conceptual level I see a lot to like here, but I didn’t enjoy my first experience with it.

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