Saturday, January 11, 2014

First Impression: Nobunagun

Nobunagun was produced by Bridge.

Each culture has their own historical figures that are portrayed in different ways.

While in North America most of these figures are political or crime based in Japan it's not always the same case.

Despite both America and Canada being around for hundreds of years, Asian countries have been around much longer which makes the pool of historical figures much greater.

However, what makes Japan quite different are the ways that the use these real life people in their fiction.

Nobunagun is an anime series based upon a manga series written by Masato Hisa and published by Earth Star Entertainment. The series is produced by Bridge and is written and directed by Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Gate Keepers) and Nobuhiro Kondo (Senjo no Valkyria 3).

The show starts by giving the audience a bit of a swerve.The first images and sounds we see are almost fragments from some other time.

These visions show Oda Nobunaga's, a leader from Sengoku ear, final moments alive.During an attack from the Chinese army he's attacked and killed by a mysterious other worldly figure.

Shortly after that we get to see the series' main character Shio Ogura. Shio seemingly spent too much time reading Tom Clancy novels as she has a deep knowledge of weaponry and army vehicles but little in the way of social stills.

The first episode starts with Shio and here classmates going on class trip to Taiwan. While she's there she spends much of her time fawning over the scenery instead of interacting with her classmates.

Despite her social status, one of the popular girls tries to make friends with her and asks her to join her in walking around the park. She turns her down and before she can think too much about she notices several fighters from the Taiwanese military flying over head.

Popularity may cause blindness

The fighters fire their missals into the distance and soon a large monster appears. Shortly after its appearance a dark cloud falls over the area as civilians try to run for cover.

As you'd expect the creature is too much for the basic military so a special task force is called in.

Soon a soldier with the designation of Jack the Ripper lands near the monster and uses an orb to summon weapons to fight the monster.

Shio tries to find her new friend but is blocked by Jack's battle with the creature. Once more creatures start attacking Jack is quickly overwhelmed.

In order to save both Jack and her new friend she picks up the orb and summons the power of Nobunaga and starts fending off the monsters.

Jeez this is sure an anime isn't it?

The final images of the episode give the impression that much like thousands of other hidden warriors in thousands of other titles she's more powerful than anyone could of every thought.

On the artistic side Nobunagun is an interesting title.

While a snap shot the show might not look so different from other anime, but there are a number of design choices that make it look and feel different.

The biggest design choice comes during the opening parts of the episode as the sides of the screen and the shadows of the characters are given different design themes such as flowers for the popular girls and camouflage for the main characters.

While the idea is hard to describe it helps to set-up just how different the main character Shio is from the rest of her classmates. The flowers are used as the popular girls laugh and have fun however the camo shows the audience that Shio is one a whole other planet compared to them.

Note the flowery design on the character's hair and clothing

Additionally once the monsters attack the world's colour pallet changes with most of the bright colours being replaced with darker tones.

The change makes the battles stand out and lets the audience know that the show is moving into a different place from the happy go lucky teen drama that took place before. The transformation of the environment seems to translate into her changing appearance and demeanour as Shio looks like a different character during these scenes.

While the art had some interesting designs the music wasn't as inspired.

What little music was heard ranges from generic energetic pop music to over-the-top rocking guitar solos during the action scenes.

With this only being the first episode it's clear that there's room to improve but for now it's definitely a negative.

One thing that the series does have in its favour is the interesting concept. While it didn't get the time to develop its suggested that the main characters can call upon the power/souls of historical figures in order to fight.

The first episode only showed us Jack the Ripper and Nobunaga however, a character named Gaudi was heard interacting with Jack and the government organization that he works for.

As the series moves forward they can introduce more and more interesting figures and use their history in different ways to new effects.

Despite the interesting concept as a whole the first episode was a bit lackluster.

While most of the episode was used to set-up the main character Shio, she really isn't developed past; lazy girls who likes war stuff and sleeping has powers to create giant anime gun to kill with.

Additionally the story seems to move an extremely fast pace and doesn't really get this time to breath.

Despite that it would be unfair to count the series out from just one episode as it has a fair amount going for it, but that being said there's a lot of room for the series to grow and improve.

Nobunagun was produced by Bridge. The series is being simalcast by Crunchyroll's and Funimation's websites.
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