Sunday, 18 December 2016

Nobunaga Concerto (2014, 2016)

Today I'll review the series and sequel movie "Nobunaga Concerto", again your time travelling TV drama pimped by popular actors, lously based on mangas and fawning over great ideals but with a mediocre resolution.
The staff for both TV drama and movie is the same, featuring director Hiroaki Matsuyama and Ayumi Ishii as the original creator of the manga.

I already talked about the general plot of the manga on my post concerning time travelling Nobunagas in anime, so I won't add more to the issue but for some complaints about how the concept of the original manga was pretty much inverted making everything dull and boring, but we'll talk about that at the end of the review.

Right now let's focus on our Nobunaga, today portrayed by hyper-popular Shun Oguri.

Gotta say, fortunately besides a cute face and huge popularity, this guys also included pretty good acting skills, and his performance was quite fun and entertaining to watch.
Of course, it has nothing to do with our idea of Nobunaga, since he's an "imposter", but his acting was indeed convincing for his role.
One also gotta think that besides Saburo, the "Nobunaga impersonator", Shun acted also as Mitsuhide, or the "Undercover Real Nobunaga", where he really was a "different person".

I mean, as his rendition of Nobunaga was obviously irrelevant to our interests, at least it was a nice performance.

Speaking of the other characters presented in the pieces, I would say that Tsuneoki "Tsune-chan" Ikeda, played by Osamu Mukai, can be considered pretty much a co-protagonist.
As in the manga he's pretty much the faithfull assistant of Nobunaga, in the filmed counterpart his role seems to say something else... It is pretty much that of an ideal man compared to inconsistent Saburo, a guy firm on his beliefs with a caring heart, the "paragon of a samurai" as Kichou says commenting on his selflessness.

The antagonist of the series is Hideyoshi "Saru" Kinoshita, Takayuki Yamada, portrayed as the super-boss. He's such a super-boss that in the end both Saburo and Nobunaga were defeated by him!!

Despite the historical inconsistency of this rendition (but who knows!), I gotta say that the character of Hideyoshi, or Denjiro, was pretty intense. The final resolution though, was waaaay too forced, and the result was that of a strong, yet one-dimensional villain.
--I was in a kinda fangirly mode everytime Saburo and Hideyoshi were together onscreen as both played in one of my favourite movie saga, "Crows Zero", again as rivals, tehehe.

Another familiar face is that of Toshiyuki Nishida, here playing as fellow time-traveller Saito Dosan:
Do you remember about him? He's Okabe Mataemon on Katen no Shiro!

Next we have Nouhime, played by a decent Kou Shibasaki.
Nouhime was one of the characters who was changed the most compared to the manga: here she's a tsundere constantly bikering with Saburo... Such a pain, seriously.

Despite the fantastic set of the drama, I would say that the historical reconstructions of clothes (but Saburo's!) and setting were quite stunning.

Armors, clothes and costumes were quite realistic, as the reconstructions of the battles... Too bad that the actual historical facts were wrong, off, or completely made-up.

Speaking of which, I found amusing when Nouhime and Oichi (Kiko Mizuhara) were shown playing kaiawase, or shell-matching, a popular court game since Heian period.
It was a nice touch to give the idea of a pair of sophisticated ladies spending time together.

Also Saburo got to play "Atsumori" in this drama:
He got the lyrics wrong and at a certain point he turned it into moonwalking... That was hilarious! Expecially with all the retainers saying stuff like "How bold of our lord!", ahahahah!

Both in the drama and the movie, Nobunaga is compared to his famous portraits:

During both episodes, Saburo complains how ridiculous they look and how they don't resemble him at all!
This made me smile, I thought "I hoped so", ahah.

Another amusing bit was the location of the beginning of the TV drama: Saburo and his schoolmates were on a school-trip to Nikko's Edomura

I wonder how that connected to the proximity of Nagoya, though.

A final word concerning the heraldry featured in the pieces.
I found it quite amusing to see how the "yellow" banner is shown as belonging to Nobuyuki (Yuya Yagira) at first, with Nobunaga sporting multicoloured banners:

Later in the drama more colours combinations will be thrown in the mix (probably to suggest a variety of corps), Eiraku Tsuho included.

So well, we reached the end of this review.
Compared to the manga, which is a light-hearted commedy with some intense moments, this drama suffers of the presumptions that were poured into it.
The first half is indeed lots of fun, and it would have been better if this was kept a comedy rather than turning into that emotional and emotive stuff that I hate dealing with during my free time.
Probably the concept behind the original manga, that a complete idiot from the current days may turn into a hero of Sengoku times, was perceived as too disrespectful towards the history of the country, so the message was turned into "A modern boy to survive the Sengoku era gotta man-up and play according to its rules".
This was also confirmed by the gigantic role that Tsuneoki was granded in both the drama and movie: compared to Saburo, he's boring and predictable, but also dependable and righteous. Eveyone trusts the judgement of Tsuneoki, so, when at the end of the TV drama he comes to accept Saburo knowing that he's not Nobunaga, all of us are somehow reassured.

During the series Saburo tries to apply modern concepts, like the treasuring of life and the importance of individuality, and even if everyone agrees, as the important things for human beings are indeed the same in every era, Saburo has to declare his failure in front of "stronger" ideals: the first of it is during Nobuyuki seppuku, seen as admirable and awesome by the vassals, second during the substory of Nagamasa, where he sacrified his happiness for the sake of his clan and vassals, and in the end Saburo himself agreed to be his second during Nagamasa's seppuku-- And then we have the Enryakuji episode, orchestrated by Hideyoshi and supported by Mitsuhide-- A cruel act of violence indeed, that despite Saburo's shock led to the victory against the Ashikaga shogunate. Despite the "big picture" of LOVE & PEACE then, the rules of the past are overwhelming.
So, the insolent manga was overwrote by the more "reassuring" concept of a humanity tied to a past to keep in high consideration, rather than destroy or belittle it, as the victories of the present are the result of the battles fought in the past.


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