September 23rd, 2012
What? Where the hell did that come from?
Well, it was a decent episode that aside from Nobuna not spending the entire thing crying, was kind of a microcosm of the season. Well, they actually did something at least partially intelligent with the fights this time around too, actually putting some budget into named characters hitting each other instead of named characters hitting grunts. They weren’t great fights, mind you, particularly compared to what Horizon’s been doing for the last few weeks, but it may be the first time the action actually got its ducks in something close to a row for this show’s entire run despite clearly having the budget to throw around.
But anyway, as was usual earlier in the season things blitzed along probably slightly faster than they should have, but better too fast than too slow. A number of these things still feel like they should have come at some point before 10-15 minutes from the end of the show though. The MYSTERIOUS MASKED MAN temporarily abandoned his quest for revenge after one rousing speech, the ‘true’ antagonist revealed himself, stabbed his buddies in the back, and then gave a speech about his true motivations literally as he was being defeated, and Saru came back after everything was already over and Nobuna had learned the valuable lesson about not fighting for revenge after… uh… falling off her horse? Oh, and Akechi healed Doofus with the power of being naked. That particular terrible cliche would probably bother me more if Jubei-chan hadn’t set the bar for using it ridiculously so high a long time ago.
It existed, most of the characters weren’t obnoxious, and the story moved right along. It doesn’t sound like I’m saying much there, but it’s more than what most shows accomplish. It’s not a bad show by any means, and as far as the glut of "historical warlords reimagined as little girls" subgenre goes, it’s probably one of the best. I wouldn’t have minded if it continued on another season, but it’s also just incredibly unambitious. If I had to say what I’d be looking forward to, I’ve got no answer. The story was never really building anywhere, no big action scenes, and few characters got even a nod, let alone any real focus or development. That kind of superficiality does work well as long as it maintained variety or actually used its seemingly ensemble cast, but unfortunately, it instead recycled Nobuna crying over Saru over and over and over again, pretending like every single interaction with him was some kind of deep, emotionally moving affair and learning absolutely nothing from any week before. The closest it came to a big event in the entire run was pretending like the main character died. Due to a smoke bomb. One episode from the end. Which made Nobuna cry. Again.
Speaking of her, she was certainly the show’s weakest point. The middle part of the show where focus was allowed to drift away from her for a while was extremely welcome. Alternatively, actually involving her better would’ve helped instead of having her mostly sit at home as she alternatively coldly sent people off to war or cried about it. The whole thing could’ve also used a real antagonist to give things a little more of a dramatic edge to it, particularly in the latter going. A recycled villain with a comically oversized cannon was too little, far too late, and even Hisahide had I think a grand total of two interactions with the main cast before her ‘big’ showdown.
As I said though, it’s not bad, and it’s easy to not notice too many of the issues as you watch. Often entertaining, but ultimately vacuous with no strong highs or climaxes to any of the arcs. I can’t imagine much, if any of a lasting impression if it ends here. If it does continue on like the ending was teasing, I hope they actually either use the gigantic cast for something or put together a plot with at least a little more meat on it than Nobuna sobbing every episode about doing the same thing she did the week before.