Nobunaga Concerto (live-action drama)

It’s been done before, and it will probably be done again. Sending characters through time somehow seems to not become overused – as long as it’s done well.

Nobunaga Concerto

In this case, I’m talking about Nobunaga Concerto. The story starts with a high school student named Saburo, played by Shun Oguri (Lupin III, Space Brothers), who is on a field trip to a historical style village. Having wandered off by himself and gotten turned around, he climbs up onto a wall to try to find his way out. His foot slips on a shingle, and he slides off, falling down a long hill and onto a dirt road. Around the bend come two figures on horseback, one of which being Nobunaga, of the famous Oda clan of Japanese history. Nobunaga is frail and under constant threat of murder. He and Saburo size each other up, noticing that their faces are identical, and he asks Saburo to take over his role as the up and coming leader of the clan, handing over a sword that will serve as proof of heritage. Saburo, thinking he’s still inside the historical tour, accepts it with a smile.

Saburo of course quickly discovers that it’s all very real. He’s really in the “Warring States” era, his life is really in danger, and everyone thinks he’s really Nobunaga. Including Nobunaga’s wife Kichou, played by Kou Shibasaki (Battle Royale, Galileo). Coming from a future where there’s an atmosphere of relative peace, he has a lot of trouble with the concept of everyone trying to kill each other and themselves. He is gradually able to win people over though, as he continually makes the arguments to start building towards his future.

I’m not much of a history student, so I really appreciate shows like this, even knowing full well that they’re mostly fiction. Every once in a while, Saburo comes across someone else who had fallen through the time slip (offhand I can think of two), and aside from his school textbook I’m actually glad that aspect wasn’t given a whole lot of attention. The story was largely character-driven, and it was great to see the chemistry between all the actors. I had somehow grown so attached to Saburo, that I found myself in tears when he faced his biggest decision in the climax of episode 11.

Having read an unfavorable review of the anime and watched part of episode 1, all I can say is that there are a lot of things that can be done in live action that can’t necessarily be done with animation, especially in this case with differences in time allotment per episode. The sets and costuming were gorgeous, and while the dialogue may not have been historically accurate to character, it was believable.

I’ve seen rumor that there’s more to the story. The manga extends beyond what we’ve seen, so I sincerely hope the rumor is true. Because if it’s not, somebody wasn’t planning very well.

Unless historical fiction is the complete opposite of your “cup of tea”, I definitely recommend checking this one out.

Rating: 4th Gear

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