It’s time for another series that revolves around anime’s and manga’s favorite historic figure to parody! That’s right, this action-packed show features Nobunaga Oda doing something not very Sengoku-esque whatsoever and teaming up with other characters from history to beat up the bad guys…
Is what I would like to say, except that Nobunagun takes a completely different approach to the Nobunaga narrative. After all, of all the Nobunaga parodies I’ve seen in anime, this one doesn’t involve Sengoku era characters, historic references, or even Nobunaga Oda as a main character! Or do they?
To start off, Nobunagun is about Sio Ogura, a below-average high school girl who is also a military otaku. While she doesn’t have a lot of friends, she does take a huge interest in very esoteric things like planes, uniforms, and reruns of Gamera.
Little does she know, however, that she carries in her blood an e-gene, which I can only describe as an heroic bloodline passed down by history’s most famous warriors, artisans, and scientists; though whether or not these people are direct descendants remains a mystery. Sio’s e-gene just happens to belong to, you guessed it, Nobunaga Oda. Upon discovering this, Sio is immediately recruited into DOGOO, an organization that gathers other e-gene holders like herself to engage in global military combat.
But why stop at being descendants and/or reincarnations of famous historic figures? In addition to saving the world from vaguely-established alien creatures that infect everything from animals to large inanimate objects, these e-gene holders also release their powers from AU balls, a spherical piece of technology that unleashes a signature weapon, thanks to their e-gene carrier. And when these troops go into battle, the very color scheme of the anime changes!
As one can imagine, Sio’s signature weapon is one she affectionately calls “Nobunagun,” for Nobunaga Oda has always had a fascination for rifles in his time. But since this is a science fiction series, simple rifles wouldn’t nearly be as cool, so Sio gets an upgrade with an armor that doubles as a fully weaponized machine gun!
Other characters within DOGOO are also e-gene holders, and the list of historic figures and references couldn’t be more eclectic! There are over a dozen people from history who are mentioned throughout the anime, of which Mahatma Gandhi, Isaac Newton, and Jack the Ripper are on Sio’s team alone.
While these characters are simply the e-gene holders for “real” people and therefore have more fictional aliases, they do interchangeably use their e-gene names. However, Sio insists on being referred to as “Nobunagun.”
And of course, as one might imagine, these characters are more fictional in nature than they are in reference to the historic figures they represent. Aside from a stretch in their special abilities using AU balls, the characters are hardly related at all to their historic counterparts.
Now clearly, the series falls in the typical shounen category, so it obviously appeals more to boys than it does to girls. Having said that, it’s fairly obvious that Sio’s character is not very feminine at all. However, when it comes to a personality that favors merciless combat, it is at least in the spirit of Nobunaga Oda. Quite literally.
It may not be historically accurate in any way whatsoever, but Nobunagun paints its main historic figure in a more honest way, in my opinion. Most Nobunaga narratives portray the Sengoku general as idealistic, naive, and overall heroic. Since Nobunaga in this series is already established as “passed on,” however, he is shown in a much darker, but accurate side to how Nobunaga Oda was really like: aggressive, sadistic, and bloodthirsty. We are, after all, talking about the Sengoku general who made enemies out of his allies, and was ultimately defeated by his own retainer.
Sio Ogura may be Nobunaga Oda’s e-gene holder, but she inherited more than just his fascination with guns.
So if you are into the action-packed science fiction type shows and also like to see historic parodies, check out Nobunagun. It may not have any references attached accurately, but you don’t really need to know anything about history to appreciate it. It’s fun to watch!