Nobunaga Concerto Review

Nobunaga Concerto, a new twist on historical time-travel stories and one of the hidden gems of the summer season.
Nobunaga Concerto follows a normal guy named Saburō, who, after tripping, falls through a "time-slip," and ends up in Japan's Warring State Period (Japan's Sengoku Era), which is around the mid 1500s. Once arriving, Saburō encounters a young Oda Nobunaga, the real historical figure that united Japan and introduced technology from Europe. Since Saburō looks exactly like Nobunaga, and the real Nobunaga asks Saburō to act as his double, and thus Saburō takes the place of Nobunaga, the conqueror of Japan.

From what I have heard and read, there have been countless anime featuring Oda Nobunaga in a variety of absurd stories ranging from fantasy to even sci-fi mecha. He is essentially a legend in the Japanese culture for uniting the country and introducing various things from the western world like guns and Christianity, although the series itself does not go that far into his history. Therefore, when Nobunaga Concerto aired, everyone expected it to be a joke, just like the countless other series, but almost everyone that actually watched the series was surprised by the high quality, myself included.

The Good: Void of tropes and clichés, Great sense of humor, Likable characters, Excellent ending song, Top notch voice acting, Fun tie-ins to real history, Unique twist on time-travel stories, Fish-out-of-water humor, Great soundtrack,

The Bad: Off putting animation, Lacks sense of time progression, 

Plot: 8.3/10- Nobunaga Concerto is a very dialogue heavy series with a surprisingly intriguing use of historical elements to craft a fun and unique story. When Saburō fell through time, he had with him a history book from school, and even though he was terrible at history, he does try to do everything that the real Nobunaga did during his time, thus trying to conquer and unite Japan. Despite the potentially heavy subject matter, the series’ tone is rather light and almost comical at times, yet it actually works. Aside from Saburō being in high school, the series features almost no tropes or clichés usually present in anime, which is refreshing.
My biggest problem with the series is that even though there seems to be a large amount of time passing over the course of the series, there is very little indication of such passage of time. The character designs remain mostly constant, without showing age (maybe a budget issue), and the series makes little effort to show the passage of time either through dialogue or on screen text. Maybe, due to the Japanese's knowledge of Nobunaga, it expects the viewer to know when each of the various historical events takes place. Also, the series ends as though a second season is implied, and if there is a second season, you can be sure that I will watch it.

Characterization: 8.1/10- Nobunaga Concerto's characters are often very likable from the start. Having little knowledge of actual history, I do not know that most of the characters are based on people from history, except with a few being time-travelers due to the narrative of the story.
Saburō starts out as a typical high school delinquent, yet he is actually a very nice guy. In a time period when feudal lords and Daimyos ruled with an iron fist, Saburō, as Nobunaga is a trusting and generally nice person to his people, yet he is ruthless and cunning in war. Watching modern personality clash with the very rigid attitude of the feudal era produces quite a lot of fun humor.
Oda Nobunaga, the real person, plays an important role in the series towards the latter half. By the end, he does have a satisfying character arc.
Kichō is Nobunaga's wife, and due to the era, it was an arranged marriage. While she does not play a large role in the story, she is quite likable, and her interactions with Saburō are rather fun.

Action: N/A- Nobunaga Concerto is a series light on action. Most of the series is getting ready for war, with only a few brief sequences of the battle being shown.

Acting: 8.2/10- Per-usual, the Japanese cast is rather good without any noticeably weak performances.

Art Style: 6.5/10- Nobunaga Concerto's animation is a unique beast. 
While the animation studio behind is not known by any website that I can find, the series features 3D animation with a style resembling that of classic Japanese art. 3D animated anime, in general, just does not work, and that is not the case for Nobunaga Concerto at times. The character designs are the hardest thing to become accustom to, and so is the rigid animation, almost to the point where I nearly dropped the series in the first two episodes. However, thanks to positive reviews, I held fast and continued watching, and eventually the animation quirks became easier to watch. One of its stronger elements is how consistent and semi-realistic the animation is, with it being quite stunning at times. 

Soundtrack: 8.3/10- The series score is rather excellent for the majority of the series. While a similar theme is played often, it is sweeping and epic, which perfectly complements the series' setting.

Humor: 8.6/10- After historical and time-travel, Nobunaga Concerto's main genre is comedy. Due to Saburō being from our time period, the other characters' reaction to his how he talks and his actions are often very humorous. The series does not go out of its way to make a joke like true series in the comedy genre, but it is much more of the situation and misunderstandings that create most of the humor.

Opening and Ending: 8.2/10- Aside from a brief 15 second orchestral theme, there is no true opening. However, the series ending song, "Fukagyaku reprise" by MY FIRST STORY, is excellent and one of the most notable ending songs in quite some time.

Non-Otaku Appeal: Providing the viewer can get past the animation, Nobunaga Concerto is the type of series that would appeal to history buffs and time-travel fans, since it does not feature any anime tropes. In fact, the series could actually work in live-action without much alternation, so it is not surprising that the manga is getting a live-action adaptation.

Entertainment Value: 7.8/10- During the first few episodes, the series did tend to bore me, yet that was mostly because of the animation, but after the characters were established by episode three, it became one of the more enjoyable series of the summer.

Overall: 8.0/10- Despite a few very minor issues, Nobunaga Concerto is a refreshingly unique series for fans of both anime and the historical time-travel genre. The series also lacks much of a fan base unfortunately, with only a few anime podcasts covering the series to any extent, so it is a real hidden gem.

Closing comments: At only ten episodes, Nobunaga Concerto is a quick and interesting watch for someone wanting to try something a little different, and hopefully, Nobunaga Concerto will receive a second season. However, due to the apparent lack of popularity, that is unlikely. On the bright side, a live-action adaptation of the manga is in the works, which will air on Crunchyroll whenever it is released.

Recommended for: History fans, Time-travel fans, Comedy fans, Samurai fans,

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