Nobunaga the Fool (ノブナガ・ザ・フール) adapts a broad multi-media franchise that includes a stage play and animation into this series following the destinies of two planets once connected, the Western Star and the Eastern Star. The two planets are now pit against each other in endless battle. The series utilizes figures from throughout Western and Eastern civilization to spin its fantastical heroic tales.
The Western Star had finally become united under one king, Arthur, but endless conflicts threaten the stability of the kingdoms. The figure Jeanne Kaguya D’Arc, saved from being burned at the stake for heresy, travels to the Eastern Star and takes up at the side of the legendary Nobunaga “The Fool” who dreams of a means to unite all of his people and bring an end to the ceaseless war ravaging his people. Jeanne D’Arc believes that Nobunaga is the one man who can use the great, technological devices designed by Leonardo D’Avinci, mecha, called “sacred treasures,” to help united both planets. But she is just reading fortunes from Tarot cards. Is Nobunaga really the man she believes him to be?
This is one of the most unique series I have come across in a while in terms of its storyline. Too bad it took me so long to finally get around to viewing it (I have so many anime series on top of everything else to watch). The idea of taking all of these historical figures — Joan of Arc, Nobunaga Oda, even Julius Caesar, among others — and bringing them all together in this sci-fi, interplanetary mecha battle that is a mixture of Japanese sengoku era and European dark ages is very inventive. None of the historical figures feel like they are out of time or place, which is a mark of good writing as well, unlike some works that have gone down this road, like, say, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, for example, which is, granted, a straight-up comedy, but one that just throws together a number of people from the past and sort of makes them seem like buffoons.
The wonderful visual style of Nobunaga is also a great selling point for this series. The action sequences, backgrounds and character designs are all eye-catching even if not groundbreaking in the sense that they fit in with what one might expect from these genres. And I say “genres” purposely, because the series straddles a few; it isn’t quite a mecha, not quite a sengoku era drama, not solely a fantasy, and certainly not a straight action series. But that’s all good. It can’t be pinned down.
The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement of the digital animation for Nobunaga the Fool is excellent on this Blu-ray release from Sentai Filmworks. Only some slight color banding can be spotted, but apart from that, it is clean with good detail and a vibrant colors. There is a cloudy patina that often covers the image, but that is an artistic choice, not a consequence of the transfer. The image is bright with no issues concerning motion artifacts or aliasing.
We get the Japanese audio mix and an English dub, both provided in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo (48kHz/24-bit) on Nobunaga the Fool: Collection 1. The sound is excellent for both despite being stereo only. The stereo imaging is strong, dynamic range is excellent, and dialogue is full and clear. The Japanese voice cast is of a higher caliber, whereas the English cast really sound very hammy to me.
Only clean opening and closing animations plus Sentai Filmworks trailers are included.
The Definitive Word
An exciting, visually enticing and inventive series that refuses to be categorized, Nobunaga the Fool is A+ anime that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray.