As Nobuna launches her assault on Mount Hiei, Konoe and his fellow conspirators appear well supplied and prepared, but potential cracks between them can be seen.
Easily this season’s dark horse, here’s hoping for a second season.
On the battlefield Matsunaga Danjo seductively suggests to Nagahide that they should simply set fire to the mountain as a show of fearlessness and mercilessness to turn the entire Buddhist population of Japan against Nobuna, however Nagahide firmly stands against allowing Nobuna to do such. Back in Kyo, Hanbei begins to suspect that Yoshiharu may still be alive, the reason being she can’t summon Zenki and as such suspects that he and Hanzo must have faked his death. This indeed being revealed to be the case as Mitsuhide climbs her way back up the cliff and finds evidence of his survival. In the meanwhile however, Nobuna has gone on ahead while Katsuie confronts Yoshikage’s warriors.
Having found him wounded and unconscious, Mitsuhide brings him back to a cave to help him recover, lying with him in an attempt to keep him warm. Around the same time however, Konoe uses Tsuda’s gunpowder reserves to set Mount Hiei ablaze and frame the act of doing so on Nobuna, who at this point begins to realise that she shouldn’t fight Konoe for revenge. Behind her Katsuie blitzes through Yoshikage’s warriors to catch up with Nagahide and Matsunaga Danjo right behind her.With the situation growing worse, Yoshikage also abandons Konoe and retreats, Tsuda and Shoukakuin also abandoning his cause. Knowing that Yoshiharu is still alive, Dousan also leads a search affirming that he’s going to marry Nobuna someday. At this point however Nobuna finds herself face to face with the mysterious masked man who despite pushing her back finds himself impressed by her strong will, before their battle can go any further though Katsuie and the others catch up, the mysterious masked man allowing Nobuna forward.
From this she arrives at the temple to find all the men slain and Konoe declaring that Japan’s unifier should be high-born, not some low-born daimyo from the countryside, Nobuna declaring her will for a Japan where one’s status or ability will not be determined by birth but by their will and merit. As such she easily manages to push him back and Konoe is killed when a beam from the burning temple falls upon him. With her foe vanquished Nobuna begins to thank Yoshiharu one last time, realising that from now on she’ll have to carry on her dream alone, however just as she finishes this Yoshiharu bursts out of the flames and runs towards her, Nobuna first believing it to be a dream leaping into his arms. From there she begins to berate him for dying while he asks for the kiss that she promised him, but just before their lips can meet the others catch up and under pressure Nobuna rejects the advance.
Following this everyone works together to put out the flames, Louise and Shoukakuin praying side by side, the mysterious masked man appearing somewhat swayed but retreating, Himiko reaffirming her choice to support Nobuna, and while they are far from achieving their goal they rejoice and celebrate. At the same time however, Takeda Shingen steps onto the stage.
A spectacular end to what has to have been my favourite show of the season, I first saw it as your typical genderbent-Sengoku series but it turned out to be anything but that, being oddly accurate in some places with likeable characters all around. This episode following the previous one rather nicely.
As expected Yoshiharu and Mitsuhide did indeed manage to survive and even catch up in the last few minutes for a nice heartwarming ending, but all I can really note against it was how Nobuna’s character inconsistently went from a cold and heartless, end justifies the means warlord who razes towns and kicks chivalry in the teeth. To someone who appeared to be barely fazed by what had driven her into that state and was still so idealistic as opposed to seeking revenge in one small scene halfway into the episode. It was more in character for her and also in the show for it to happen, I’ll admit that, but after the show she put up in the last episode it was somewhat lackluster. Though it did serve to make her confrontation with Konoe a lot more dramatic.
The same could be said for Konoe’s goals however as well, from the past episodes the opinion I had drawn from him was that of a somewhat corrupt imperial advisor who was intentionally trying to keep Japan in an unstable and divided state. He had torn down the Shogunate and when a strong secular power came along to replace it he was directly opposed to it, in a sense some similarities to things like the Investiture Controversy in Europe or even how the Papacy prevented any strong secular power from gaining a foothold in Italy in an attempt to protect its independence could be drawn to the nature of it. It may have even served to justify his actions as being for Himiko’s sake. Instead however his goal becomes one of conquest as well, the struggle with Nobuna being one based on noble birth and the requirements they believed were needed to unite Japan. It was nice in the sense that it drew upon enlightened ideas of merit over birth but at the same time it wasn’t entirely what I was expecting.
Moving back to Yoshiharu and Mitsuhide’s survival. As I’ve already mentioned it wasn’t unexpected, if anything it was probably a bit more cliche than what I had been expecting for Mitsuhide to nurse him back to health in a cave, complete with stripping down to warm him up, but it still ended up making for a nice ending to the season. He may have shown up a little bit too late to do anything but just in time to turn a bittersweet sort of ending around, and if it weren’t for the others showing up when they did, win the girl as well. Other than that the epilogue was pretty promising as well, alongside advocating things like unity and having a positive uplifting feeling to it in general, another key figure emerged in the last few seconds to show that the story was far from over. Simply put it made for a nice sweet and conclusive ending while still having that potential to continue it if go ahead was given.
Alongside the likes of Binbougami-ga this has probably been my favourite show of the season, like I’ve already said I wasn’t expecting much from it at all but after a few episodes my opinion had turned around entirely. It was a show that somehow managed to balance to cliches and trends that come with your typical genderbending historical series with actual accuracy and subtle detail, and furthermore what it covered seems to be a forgotten period of sorts in these sorts of shows.
A period that most anime set in the Sengoku period typically tend to skip ahead of, presenting Nobunaga already as a force to be reckoned with while focusing heavily on the many other colourful figures of the time, and even if this point is shown it tends to be brief and relatively skipped over regardless of the effects it would have had upon him. My point is that when we meet Nobuna in the first she’s still only finding her feet and has yet to go through the ordeals that would transform her into her historical basis, we saw her go from being forced to cement her control at home while still being incredibly vulnerable to anyone who so much as thought of marching on Owari to a potential and influential player on the Sengoku stage. Alongside that while many of the figures that we usually see in these series have been introduced, quite a few have yet to really make a proper entrance yet.
Another thing that I liked about this show was that it managed to achieve a nice balance between fantasy and realism, sure a good portion of the cast and figures in question are teenage or young girls but not all are, and alongside that there’s also the feeling that those that we see are generally the exception, not the rule. As a good chunk of the characters tend to be middle-aged to old men, basically there are some male daimyo alongside those genderbent. In the case of Nagamasa and to some extent Nobuna’s own situation at home, there also appears ton be some reluctance towards just who inherits. As such there’s simply a nice balance between the fantasy of daimyo as cute teenage girls and what they were in truth. Secondly there was also how Yoshiharu held himself, when a protagonist is thrown back centuries into the past they are generally unyieldingly seeking a way back but instead he doesn’t really care about going back at all, and while he does play the ‘I’m from the future’ card he’s fearful as to the effects that overusing it could possibly have. Which at the same time gives the potential for the series to veer off once it gets to a certain point.
Overall though the thing that I liked about this show was just the balance that it had, it had moments of humour and fanservice but also moments of seriousness and light romance regarding Yoshiharu and Nobuna, and most of all it knew when to use them. The show had a story to tell that wasn’t just limited to harem hijinks or its historical basis, and managed to combine the two nicely to present it. Along with this I also liked the animation for the show, as a studio it doesn’t seem that Madhouse does so well sales wise but they still remain one of my favourite studios, shows animated by them generally tend balance animation and art nicely and be consistently solid. Whereby shows that they animate capture your interest through their own merits and leave you with a nice feeling at the end. This show may have filled all the requirements to be your standard harem comedy with cute girls, but it can still be enjoyed as another show entirely. In some ways it’s even hard to consider that it could be such.