The Ambition of Oda Nobuna

Alt title: Oda Nobuna no Yabou

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CrazyAce01's avatar
Oct 14, 2012

Story (6.5/10)

You’ve just been transported from our time to the beginning of the American Revolution. It just so happens your favorite video game was a pretty historically accurate play-through of the revolution, so you have specific knowledge of the outcome of the various events including battles, betrayals, and the deaths of major figures. As a patriotic American, you decide to embark on a quest to ensure the streamlined establishment of the United States. Oh, and it just so happens that in this alternate timeline, George Washington and all his generals are smoking hot babes.

Replace George with Oda Nobunaga, a famed Japanese general. Substitute the revolution for the Sengoku Era, a period of widespread warfare between Japan’s provinces that culminated in the unification of Japan. You now have the plot of The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. Dynasty Warriors fans, eat your hearts out.

The main character, Yoshiharu Sagara, effectively replaces Toyotomi Hideyoshi in history. Sagara is transported back in time, quickly meets and promises a dying Hideyoshi to live out his dream of a united Japan, and then immediately meets Nobuna, the younger, attractive, and much more female replacement of Nobunaga. In normal history, Nobunaga dies just before the country’s union, and Hideyoshi becomes the actual ruler. Sagara decides to alter history, keeping Nobuna alive and allowing her to unite Japan.

What results is an entertaining romp through a light-hearted version of Japan’s warring states period. There is a veritable parade of famous faces as battles are fought and territory exchanges hands, Sagara all the while pushing here and there as his romance with Nobuna steadily develops. The story has excellent pacing - I rarely felt bored, and there’s always a reason to want to watch the next episode. The show does a great job of helping you keep track of the large number of people and places. There’s just enough exposition to keep you in the loop, but not so much that it gets bogged down in conversation.

I found most of the problems occur right at the start. The audience is expected to quickly grasp the fact that Sagara has been thrown back in time for no discernible reason, which is a rather large plot hole for me to immediately digest. He’s also rather unconcerned with the fact that he’s completely cut off from everything he’s ever known. This lets us get right to the meat of the action, but it was a bit off-putting that he adapted so quickly to his predicament. This blip falls by the wayside, however, because once the story hits its stride, you’ll eat it up with a spoon.

Oda Nobuna is, at its core, a relaxed harem story with plenty of fanservice set against a backdrop of the Sengoku Era’s rapid technological changes and romanticized warfare. It’s classic in execution, but takes no risks. It sometimes surprised me, but was more often entirely predictable. Still, it has a certain charm that made me smile over and over. Think Oreos - you know it’s just pure sugar in cookie form, and it’s really not that great compared to other desserts, but once you have it in your mouth it’s so delicious you can’t help yourself. While I score the story low because of its lack of innovation, it was absolutely entertaining, and will probably stick with me for some time.

Animation (6.5/10)

The animation was lackluster for 2012. Backgrounds were nice, but I was rarely impressed. They often reused scenes, and there were a lot of still frames. A lot of computer animation wasn’t blended in as well as it could have been.

One definite plus is the wide variation in character designs. While ridiculous hair colors are a bit asinine considering this is 16th century Japan, it really helped me keep track of the numerous characters. Maps and dialogue set against battles-in-progress assist the viewer in keeping track of the ever-shifting warfronts.

Sound (6.5/10)

The sound hit par, but wasn’t anything special. The opener was a bland guitar riff. I actually preferred the ED’s violin and piano combination. Voice acting was well done and appropriate for each character.

Characters (6.5/10)

Finally a harem lead that isn’t a total pussy. Sagara, our everyman transported from the modern day, earns major points for actually driving the plot. WIth Hideyoshi dead, he decides that the only way to unite Japan is to keep Nobuna alive, and he constantly works for that goal. He has his moments, the hilarious, the serious, and even the annoying, but he is always easy to empathize with.

That might be the strongest part of the whole show - I loved most of the characters. While we have our usual harem stock, the war forces all of them to be strong and useful. Nobody plays the idiot; this world doesn’t have room for stupid bimbos. No time is wasted slowly exploring relationships we know aren’t going to work out; most of the lovey-dovey stuff stays between Sagara and Nobuna, leaving more time for plot I cared about. At the same time, because I was rooting for everyone, the drama was seriously and effectively ramped up when rifts opened between friends.

Nobuna herself was a typical tsundere. I found her very easy to figure out, so she tended to be a bit boring. Again, there’s nothing new there, but originality is not the name of the game. They basically threw everything and the kitchen sink into a big war. Nobuna excels in its execution rather than pioneer anything new, which is fine, but doesn’t exactly catapult it into the realm of greatness.

Overall (7/10)

We all know these anime - the harem comedy, the tsundere lead. A healthy dose of fanservice, and a solid injection of action. Add a touch of drama, and you get something really, really fun. That’s the best word I can use to describe this show - fun, along the lines of Black Lagoon, in the same way as Kore wa Zombie desu ka. It reminds me specifically of Demon King Daimao; Oda Nobuna never takes itself completely seriously, and can drop off into the zany at times, but is still capable of something a little deeper, too. Don’t come in expecting Ghost in the Shell, and you’ll have a blast. I’m looking forward to a second season!

6.5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
7/10 overall
Epimondas's avatar
Jan 22, 2017

Nobuna is a pretty good historical action drama but it does have a plot hole or two.  Yoshiharu is supposed to be a high school student but we have no idea about this from the anime really and no introduction or setting occurs in his own time, so the reality does not exactly set in.  The only real clues we have are his clothes and a cell phone that dies.  The animation is sub par with lots of frog face style character looks, though it is a bit better for many of the male characters and some of the older lady characters and backgrounds, but the style for many female characters is so old style frog face, it sort of ruins the mood.  The biggest lapse in suspension of disbelief are all the "LOLI" characters that were historically old men but are now somehow little loli girls who are too young to fight let alone believably hold a weapon.  It is difficult as it is to believe so many women would be considered lords or warriors in ancient Japan but pretty much beyond belief that they would be tiny loli preschoolers.  About half of the major female characters and at least one male character are prebuscent children who's weapons probably outweigh them.  The story is pretty sound and a nice alternate spin on history but it is laced with a  few too many unbelievable and unrealistic elements.  It is fun to watch but hard to swallow as so many characters are barely half the size of Yoshiharu.  The nice display of historicity and strategies and tactics were all good.  The bizarre over perverted occasional obsession with women by Yoshiharu was tacky at best.  There were slightly more positives to the show than negatives but the negatives do drag it down considerably. One character has a bizarre lisp that makes her seem even younger and more childish or even babyish and she is already a loli and that is Goemon.  Sound was above average with lots of army noises and clashes of battle or crackling of fires and so on.  The dub at least fit pretty well the voices to the characters.  

Story was a bit above average with a nice twist on an alternate history but it really did not need to go the underage tiny child route.  It was in poor taste and totally clashed with historic spirit, believability, and flow of the story.  All the lolis really looked soooo out of place it was almost criminally pathetic and made the show much harder to like for the more positive aspects.  I know they may look cute and all but they just really don't belong and do look like a zebra in a chicken coop.  Some of the little girl charateristics literally got in the way of the story such as when the tiny Hanbei acted a little too childish, shy, antisocial, scared, and like a lost child.  She had so many preschooler attributes that it got in the way of her character role as an intelligent strategist. I can not really rate this much above average and part of me is reluctant to even rate it as high as average because of the heavy dose of misplaced characteristics and story elements.  The story itself flows well and as a character Nobuna is pretty likeable if not a bit overly abrasive at first.  Yoshiharu at one time acts like a mature tactical genius and other times like an immature perverted brat.  These two sides do not fit together well and made his character come off as being a farce or maybe he was given inappropriate jackhole perve charateristics and other bad qualities totally unbefitting the nature of him being wise, intelligent, sincere, and a strategist.  Mitsuhide is almost a trainwreck of insecurities and distrust.  Hanbei's shadow figure is sadly a better character than she is and much more fitting to the story.  Old man Saitou looks pretty dependable.  Most the other characters get a bit lost in the blur of the crowd of characters and though pretty strong they blend in the background too much and don't stand out enough individually.  Nagamasa and Nobukatsu are two exceptions to the blur crowd as they stand out a bit but are somewhat underused or misused.  Nagamasa is a bit misused cause of always begging for Nobuna to marry and rarely showing up for or saying or doing anything else.  Nobukatsu gets some diversity later on and helps bring more diversity to Nagamasa but it is a bit too little to late to save the obscurity of the character.

The series is watchable.  It just might make you cringe a bit or totally lose your sense of cohesion that it is supposed to be a roughly historically accurate spin on real history.  They really should have stuck with older characters whether they were genderbent or not.

7/10 story
4.5/10 animation
7.3/10 sound
6.3/10 characters
5.8/10 overall
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SPITZtheGOD's avatar
May 23, 2016

This anime did a really good job at stirring up my love for dynasty warriors. I have few complaints as I really enjoyed it. However, the beginning was a little to abrupt for me. They offer no explanation or prologue to the events leading up to the main character just spawning, 450 years in the past, and he shows no interest in finding out.

Lovers of romance, warring states, and even lolis (lots of lolis. My god the number of lolis. More lolis than your body has room for! Loli-pocalyse, loli-gheddon, loli-surplus...OK, enough loli talk) won't be dissapointed in this anime. 


For those who dislike this sort of thing (me, damnit) this anime leaves a little bit of a cliffhanger. Not a major one or anything, but i do hope there is another season to be made. I understand anime is licensed for 12-13 EPs at a time and if it doesn't get received well, gets no more eps. But i am against leaving cliffhangers if the future of the show is uncertain.

8/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
10/10 characters
8/10 overall
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TheDamned's avatar
Dec 24, 2015

Secret Santa Reviews 2015

So our protagonist Yoshiharu, who will later be known as Monkey, suddenly appears in the 16<sup>th</sup> century in a middle of a battle. With no idea how or why he is there, he bumps into Oda Nobuna. She then takes Monkey in as he knows all about Nobunagas campaign. He will use his knowledge to help her unite Japan.

The animation and sound were pretty good.

The characters were good and likely. All had their own reason for being interesting and helped kept a variation of characters.

Overall, it was a good show but it didn't really stand out. It has it moments but it seemed to lose something as it progressed.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
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TallyCrow's avatar
Jun 13, 2015

The Storyline was pretty interesting, and the way the whole Anime started was unique, as from the get go something is happening, and we are wondering what as an audience. Traveling back in time, to feudal Japan isn’t unique but everything within this world is UNIQUE. They took ideas from other Anime or Stories and history and made it unique and different, which made a change from some Anime. Not only that but the Action within this Anime was enough to keep me happy and impressed.

The Animation and Sound was amazing. The opening song was PERFERCT for this Anime and the voice actors were wonderful.

The Characters were all pretty different, and the different range of female characters was sometimes very strange to watch, as on one hand you have the tsundere type of girl and the next you have the complete opposite type. The main male character Yoshiharu, was a really great character and dealt pretty well for being flung back in time suddenly without warning. I love the relationships that are formed among many of the characters and I found the fact that the majority of the bad ass characters were female pretty cool.

Overall I really enjoyed this Anime and it kept me entertained but it was slow at times.

ps. I really love the fact they call him “Monkey” :P

9/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
9/10 overall
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