As we already saw for "The Lucky Adventurer", the "source" for this movie was another popular novel by Yamaoka Souhachi, "Tokugawa Ieyasu" in fact, serialized from 1950 to 1967 on newspaper; from what I could see, the story stops at the third volume of the novel, featuring the introduction of the Oda clan and ending with the Battle of Okehazama.
Our first meeting with Nobunaga is during the captivity of Ieyasu (named Takechiyo) by the hands of the Oda.
Nobunaga is intrigued by the strenght, smartness and dignity of the little boy and offers him his friendship, sympathizing with the forced distance of his mother.
The portrait of Nobunaga in this movie is quite intriguing.
His eccentricity has the genuine taste of the strong man, and he's far from being portrayed as someone who needs someone to take "care of him".
He's surrounded by vassals, helpers and assistants but he's the one putting his men to use and not the opposite.
The first relevant action that Nobunaga did even as a young lad was taking care of his fellow countrymen. In the scene where he got to meet with Otai, Ieyasu's mother (Ineko Arima), he's showing as teaching kids to sing and dance so that they can sustain themselves.
Behind his eccentricity and roughness he's actually the caring type --Not sure how historically accurate it may be, but sure it's a reassuring thing for the audience to assume that they are led by responsible fellows.
Hideyoshi is played by Kei Yamamoto:
Nobunaga used to meet him at the market by Kiyosu's castle, but later on he's showed as servicing him as a proper informer: "I know everything in-between Heaven and Hell" is his catchy motto!
In this movie both Imagawa Yoshimoto (Kou Nishimura) and his uncle advisor Sessai (Koreya Senda) managed to get a good deal of screentime, and are immediately portrayed as the shrewd villains of the movie.
How he used up the strenght and resources of his "forced allies", the Matsudaira, placing them on the vanguard of his army to do all the dirty job for him, was pointed out by Nobunaga as a reason to hope for Ieyasu's support.
Nou-hime was played by Junko Miyazono, and her presence in the movie was not very relevant.
A dignified rendition, but just worth a note for the sake of a complete review.
On a fangirly note, an actor playing as Iwamuro Nagato-no-kami, Nobunaga's favourite page during the Kiyosu days-- YEEEE!
He's Koujiro Kawakami and he's a pretty boy!
Pages and warriors are also the special feature of the Atsumori of this movie; a real show that Nobunaga presented to everyone, expecially to Nagato, that, as Nobunaga jokes, by now he should be bored to see:
Again, a vigorous, moving performance by our kabuki superstar.
Another interesting bit of this movie that caught my attention is the quick "lucky meal" that takes the place of the usual bowl of rice gulped down while putting up the armour:
I assume that it's some kind of ritual to bring good luck (the word "打ち勝つ" is an expression that means "to overcome")-- I assume that it's also related to the served food... As "katsu" means pork... If you get to know more about this curious ritual, please share your infos!
The Battle of Okehazama is shown while being performed early in the morning and during the famous storm:
Long story short, an interesting and original rendition of the facts that I suggest you to watch to re-fuel your imagination on the events.