I decided to give a try to this taiga drama because I guessed that I could use it for my upcoming project, since I'm having troubles with contextualizing the female characters of the story, and this tv series claims to "describe history through the eyes of a woman"... Obviously I was wrong XD
But since I liked the actor playing Nobunaga here, I decided to review the interesting bits of it!
Nobunaga is played here by Toyokawa Etsushi and he entertains us for the first five episodes of the TV series.
I don't usually like Japanese men, but he is the exact kind that I fancy. *cough*
Despite how well Nobunaga's features fit Toyokawa-sama, I must admit that I didn't find his portrayal completely satisfying. In my opinion this Nobunaga was too "proper", a bit too "serious".
Sure none expect a clown out of the Demon King, but this rendition didn't give the "unexpectedness" that makes of Nobunaga such an unique character-- The director liked better the idea of a "lonely" Nobunaga, and preferred to hide behind Toyokawa-sama's frigidity the real nature of this man.
The drama is entertaining, but it must be said that for what concerns the historical accuracy and plausibility it is extremely poor.
When one says "history through the eyes of a woman" it shouldn't mean LITERALLY! Gō, the niece of Nobunaga who's the protagonist of this drama (whose actual merit was only being married to a Tokugawa shogun, in reality) practically gets to know EVERYONE and EVERYTHING concerning the events taken into consideration-- When there's no way that a kid her age could have done what she did in that drama, expecially THE WAY she did (Ueno Juri is a very nice and expressive actress, but all of that "flailing" made her look like some kind of parody of the Sengoku lady instead of a genuine portrait of it)-- Her presence was so out of place that when it reached its climax, her "mystical apparition" to Nobunaga who was about to die at Honnoji, I couldn't help but laughing:
All in all, though, even if completely out of a historical context, I found the relationship between Gō and Nobunaga quite cute in this rendition.
The way the girl developed some kind of crush on his uncle made me remember that I have a heart of a maiden too, after all, and every now and then I couldn't help blushing like a little girl...
Besides my shameless fangirling over the oyaji type, I found it nice how the drama tried to explain some of the most obscure actions of Nobunaga, in an actual decent, rational way. --Also if, sure, the use of Gō to let out such "confessions" out of Nobunaga & Co. sure was quite naive and bothering.
In the first case, Nobunaga explained that he just wanted to honor his enemies by goldening their skulls and ritually drinking sake with them to celebrate the new year.
He explained that the deal with the "skull cups" was just a rumor spread by his enemies.
I could buy that Nobunaga wanted to cherish the memory of Nagamasa, since it's reported that he held the man in high consideration, but what about Hisamasa and Yoshikage..? I don't think that Nobunaga admired them-- So I think that the goldening was just to celebrate his victory in a very morbid way.
Whatever affection Nobunaga may have had for Nagamasa, I'm sure it disappeared when his brother-in-law joined the Asakura forces.
The "Tsukiyama's Incident" refers to what brought Ieyasu to order the death of his wife Tsukiyama and his heir Nobuyasu after Nobunaga's daughter, Toku, reported of their secret conspiracy with the Takeda clan.
Sure Nobunaga's request was absurd, but the fact that Ieyasu obeyed looked even more absurd.
Nobunaga explained to Gō that he wasn't suspicious of those two, but that somehow he happened to find himself testing Ieyasu's loyalty: if he refused to obey, he would have respected him, but since he obeyed him, he swore to Ieyasu absolute loyalty in return.
At a certain point, I had to deal with my historical pet peeve:
He confessed to Gō that if there was the need of a god, that place belonged to him only, and that he was going to use Sokenji (his family temple built in Azuchi) as the center if his cult.
Obviously Gō hated the idea, and scolded her uncle harshly!
She decided that she didn't like him anymore and stopped paying him visits.
This made Nobunaga sulk, and once his sister Ichi would come to visit him, the deification's project would disappear to make room for the altruistic plans of Nobunaga to bring a long-lasting peace to the country.
Ooh, at least this made Ichi fall in love with her brother all over again.
I agree with the idea of Nobunaga fighting to grant a peaceful existence to his contemporaries, but I'm sure that they could find a thousand better ways to explain it than the one in the TV series... It was nice to witness Nobunaga's soft side, though, the one that hid love and respect for everyone behind his rude acting.
Speaking of rude acting, he sure had the time of his life punching Mitsuhide around!
When Nobunaga confessed to Ranmaru (woah, for once it wasn't Gō!) that he treated Mitsuhide harshly so to let him understand his petty limits and that he actually respected the man, I couldn't help but nod in approvation, but when Nobunaga added that he was planning to leave the control of the Tenka's matter to Mitsuhide I felt like throwing up. Mitsuhide what?! Of course Nobunaga's heir was obviously his son Nobutada!
Even the scene of Honnoji wasn't such great.
I enjoyed the extremely dramatic and emotional moment, but the "action factor" was pretty much lacking.
I couldn't forgive the director (or the writer, whoever came up with such a thing) that Gō managed to pop-up randomly even there! That was-- SO STUPID!!
Long story short, I liked this rendition of Nobunaga, but just because of how well Toyokawa-sama fitted the visual image that I have of him: