Nobunaga Concerto (信長協奏曲)
Synopsis: Saburo; an ordinary high school student, travels back in time to the Sengoku era (1549). He encounters a young lord who looks exactly like him and is told, “Be my substitute. I’m the eldest son of the Oda family, Oda Nobunaga.” After the young lord leaves, Saburo is mistaken for Nobunaga by a vassal and taken to the castle. He starts to live as Oda Nobunaga from this day.
Episodes: 11 episodes
Genre: Historical, comedy, drama
Network: Fuji TV
Casting: Oguri Shun, Shibasai Kou, Mukai Osamu, Fujiki Naohito, Fujiyaga Taisuke etc…
Nobunaga concerto is not a great drama. But it is a good one (to some extent). Specially for those who, like me, had never dared before to watch an historical japanese drama because of -let’s say it- the ugly haircut of the hero. When I say historical I’m not exactly right. This drama mixes both modernity and history. It takes place during the Sengoku era (1549) but the hero is a guy coming from 2014. Therefore he brings modern elements to the era (Christmas, marriage & love, free trade, freedom of religions etc…) and tries to improve their living condition to recreate the world from which he comes from (2014). The concept was pretty nice in itself. I knew it could bring both at the time a comical and a “deep” dimension to the drama. We follow the evolution of an ordinary japanese student -Saburo- who becomes the head of a samurai clan. He reacts just like everyone would: he freaks out. Can you imagine being flung into a battle field, being responsible of your soldier’s death just because you’ve made a wrong decision? One mistake and you change the course of History. That’s a pretty scary situation and therefore it was not that surprising to see our hero constantly running away from his destiny.
We could only understand his behaviour but at the end it became quite boring. We are now reaching the heart of the drama’s problem. The plot dragged quite a bit. Even though it was only normal (such story needed time to be properly set) I surprised myself starting to sigh more than what was necessary. The scriptwriters made the mistake to repeat the same pattern in every episode: peace, an exterior elements (an unknown character) who comes to disturb the order, war, Saburo running away, the people losing their faith into their leader, Saburo suddenly coming back with a brilliant strategy to defeat their enemy, fight, fight, victory, lessons of the day (the eternal and same song: “I want a world without wars” tatatatain) everyone gets happy, see you next week with the same story. The relationship between the characters progressed at a snail’s pace, and I’m not only talking about the romance between Saburo and his supposedly wife. I even came to wonder what was the use of some of them. As for the ending it was the most frustrating I had ever seen (specially for those who like me had never planned to watch the movie!). We waited for a twist during the whole drama and they gave it to us in the lasts minutes, like dafuk! I can’t forgive this end. That’s a shame cause the drama in itself had really good elements (the costume, the landscape, the battle filming, the ost, the actors -even though I’ve never liked the talented Oguri Shun) even though the characters in themselves were pretty banal, the drama was slow, the scriptwriters had the wicked pleasure to kill all the characters I had grown fond of and the fact that they didn’t even take the trouble to give us an explanation about how 2014’s persons had ended up in this Sengoku era.
Our hero Saburo (Oguri Shun) was naive, funny, coward, warm, nice. He embodied the classic hero who evolved along the episode because of all the hardships (here wars) he was going through. He actually got me bored right from the second episode. He was too classic for his own good. I thought I would like his character since his story was original but in fact that didn’t prevent him from falling into pure plainness.
The true Nobunaga wasn’t really great either. He was just the perfect opposite of Saburo. If it had not been for the end I would even have put him in the “useless” category. He challenged for a bit our hero but the scriptwriter could have made so much more of his character and his relation with Saburo.
Kichou (Shibasaki Kou) was also a predictable character. She was “sold” to the Oda clan just to reinforce the alliance between those latter and the clan of her father. Forced marriage she only expresses cold toward her husband who seems to be quite indifferent of their situation. Her carapace is soon cracked by the arrival of Saburo. She believes him to be Nobunaga, her true husband, and only thinks he changed: warmer, funnier, caring for her, we witness to her transformation. She keeps her mask in front of him, calling him “dunderhead” but once out she smiles, cries for him when he is hurt… Kichou is not a revolutionary character. She was needed in the drama for the romance but that was basically it. She was not fascinating but nice.
Actually my bilan about Tsuneoki Ikeda (Mukai Osamu) is quite close to the one I’ve just made for Kichou. He was also pretty plain in term of originality. He was just the right hand-man of Saburo/Nobunaga. A good samuraï, an intelligent adviser, a loyal subject, that’s all he was. They tried nonetheless to breathe life into his character by introducing Nobunaga’s sister. They hinted the start of a love story between those two but it was finally completely crushed by another event. After that they never really mentioned it again. Just like they gave us some strange signs about his relationship with Kichou and never exploited it thereafter.
Hanbee Takenaka was a character I really expected (cause I really like Fujiki Naohito) even though I knew he wasn’t a main character. And he revealed himself, unfortunately for me, to be in fact completely useless. He was supposedly the best strategist of whole Japan… then why was he always passive when they talked about battle? We never really got the chance to see him having a brilliant idea, saving the day. Actually he barely opened his mouth once his episode was passed. He was almost there only to look pretty. I had some hope when the scriptwriter made him the only smart guy who wasn’t blinded by Kinoshita Tokichiro (alias the monkey) and saw that he was in reality a spy. But then again nothing really happened. I don’t understand why he did not report his suspicion to Saburo right from the beginning (>>>SPOILER- that would have maybe prevent him from dying in such stupid way. I will never say it enough: the guy was supposedly smarter than the average! and he only discovered the WHOLE truth in the last minutes of the latest episode. Can someone explain me what was his character about? – SPOILER<<<).
Kinoshita Tokichiro (aka monkey) was disrupting. He made me laugh quite a bit. The scriptwriter presented him as being the big traitor of the drama. They even invented him a semblance of a past to explain his motivation. He clearly had for goal to kill Nobunaga Oda. For someone who lived only for that he revealed himself as being really slow at doing it. I found him a second excuse: “well he doesn’t want to kill the true Nobunaga that’s why he is taking his time”. Episodes were passing and nothing was happening. And suddenly just like that, he announced with a weird and misplaced diabolic laugh in the very lasts episodes that he will help Nobunaga. You should have seen my face. We actually get his character only with the lasts very very very lasts minutes of the drama. And I thought it disappointing. I like twist but this one did not pleased me like it should have. I had finally accepted the uselessness of this character and was not ready to have such opened ending.
My conclusion is, at the end, quite mitigated. I leave this drama more angry than pleased whereas at first I believed in it. But overall I can’t say that I hated it. Like I said there were some really great and beautiful elements in this drama…they just didn’t managed to get me swallow their bitter pilule.
Oh and I’ve discovered this little guy in the process (with longer hair and dressed in a kimono): Fujiyaga Taisuke
Quizz time! Doesn’t it make you think of someone else? A cutie pie from the neighbourhood?
I swear there is something! it’s not just me and my craziness! MissWho thinks the same!
Note de Dushbadou: 6.5/10
Note de Whoovy: 7/10
Note finale: 7/10