(12ish episodes ?)
What’s it about ?
Adaptation of yet another manga where a random Japanese teenager travels to the past and switches places with Nobunaga Oda.
Saburou, our lead character. Not very bright, shallow, terrible at Japanese history (he vaguely remembers about this Nobunaga dude) : the perfect protagonist for this kind of story ! How he travels to the past is refreshingly unexplained (it just happens suddenly).
Nobunaga himself happens to be passing by, on the run from servants who want him to stay at home. Hey, random weird lookalike, want to take my place for a while ? I’ll give you this cool sword. Saburou’s all “hey, cool sword” (after a bit of “where’s the camera filming this, anyway ?”), but quickly realizes that Nobunaga’s early life was a bit prison-like, and wants to go home.
Kichou, Nobunaga’s wife. “Wait, he had a wife ? She’s cute !” And so Saburou decides to stay around a bit more. She’s all too happy from the attention, after him seemingly having forgotten all about her. (“I know it was an arranged marriage, but still…”)
Nobunaga’s servants are baffled by their master’s bizarre new behaviour, despite his renewed healthiness. Has he lost his mind ? One of them lets himself be convinced it’s better to just kill him off, but Saburou somehow manages to deflect this. And hey, he can’t die now ; this would totally wreck history and stuff ; after all, Nobunaga’s supposed to conquer Japan or something. The servants then marvel at their master’s “hidden ambitions”.
Noboyuki, Nobunaga’s younger brother, sees the occasion as his chance to get rid of him. After manipulating that servant failed, he tries something against Kichou… but it doesn’t work out ; he winds up being sent off to an asylum for his trouble.
From now on, Saburou is taking this a bit more seriously. He’s started reading his history book (although it’s way too imprecise to be of much use). Anyway, he’s going to try his best ; Nobunaga totally conquered Japan and lived happily after, right ? (Ahah, no. We even had the history lesson at the episode’s beginning reminding us how it’s supposed to end ; Saburou didn’t pay attention, as usual.)
Cell-shaded CG characters everywhere ! You ever love it or hate it ; I think it works quite well, giving the anime a bit of an “historical painting come to life” look. It helps that the CG backgrounds are gorgeous. And there are some nifty stylistic touches here and there.
For a premise so well-trodden, this is a surprising breath of fresh air. Part of it is that it’s played entirely straight by most characters, with the comedy resulting from the clash of cultures. But the real selling point here is the sheer charm of Mamoru Miyano’s performance, perfectly convincing as this little git way out of his depth. It’s impressive how you end up rooting for a character so punchable.
It’s fun, it’s charming, and it looks great. I didn’t expect to enjoy this at all, but it turns out I did. I’m in.