Gun No. 13: Nobunagun
So here we are folks, the final act of humanity’s struggle with an alien invasion force who seeks to claim our shores. Were it not for the superhuman abilities of history’s best, brightest and most brutal, we would have fallen years ago. So as Earth’s final bastion of rebellion stands before their greatest foe yet, the only thing left to do is hope they can pull through again. It’d be kind of a downer if they didn’t…
I’m just gonna come right out and say it, my prediction was a little bit off last week regarding the reveal of the Florence Nightingale E-Gene. IT would seem that it is indeed one E-Gene per person and my theory about quelling vicious personalities with ones of temperance was wrong. As we learn via flashback description, Nightingale and Jack the Ripper are indeed two historical figures of note…they just also happen to be one in the same. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. The so called “Angel of Crimea” a renowned nurse, even to this day, is also one of the most well known serial killers of all time. That being said, her motivations were not entirely monstrous (as the series depiction of the Ripper would seem to denote). Apparently, Nightingale possessed the unique ability to hear a mysterious voice analogous to God. This voice both led her to become a nurse and commit murder on the streets of London. To save London. From bio-terrorism. So Secret Agent Florence Nightingale murdered women injected with terrible strains of bio-weapons in order to save Europe, all because of a mysterious voice that only she can hear. Don’t you just love Nobunagun’s revised history? I’ll admit it does seem a little convenient that Jack would unlock a new power right when it was needed, but this is anime after all. Eleventh hour superpowers are all the rage. A minor twist however, is that he did not unlock it to save himself, but rather Nobunagun. Who, in turn, is revealed to be crucial to the world’s survival. SO SAYS THE VOICE.
As Jack and Sio fought within the evil alien battle ship, a majority of the action was in fact taking place with the rest of the E-Gene Holders. In their final strike against the remaining “boss” Invasion Object, Geronimo, Cyx, Gaudi and Gandhi really got a chance to show off their true combat abilities. The manner in which they aided each other in the assault was fluid and logical (in an insane way), showcasing that despite all the fighting, they are in fact a team capable of supporting each other. Even Gandhi managed a hero moment when he protected Gaudi from an incoming barrage of spikes with his not-barrier things. It was nice to see this battle receive the attention it did because, though Sio and Jack’s attack was highly dangerous, it was in fact the main goal of Operation Stone Forest. The second battleship wasn’t even a part of the calculations, it just kinda appeared. Glad the anime didn’t fall into the trap of caring too much about the protagonist and let the other characters fall by the wayside. Though the same can’t really be said for the countless other E-Gene Holders who net roughly 5 seconds of airtime over the course of the series. I’m curious what other historical figures got the reincarnation treatment.
After winning their respective battles and saving the world, the Holders earned themselves a little rest and relaxation. Naturally this allowed the episode to end in a similar vein to where it began: awkwardly. A fun kind of awkwardly. Despite the hardships they faced together on the battlefield, the E-Gene Holders are still a dysfunctional collision of personalities that makes you wonder how they’ve managed to work together this long. Poor Sio adds Cyx to her ever expanding list of female friends who are “too familiar” with her on a daily basis. Of course, this situation allows the male E-Gene Holders one last moment of anime pervertedness because that’s how saviours act apparently. Seriously, Capa had a camera with him and we already know what he does with his E-Gene ability in his spare time. Poor Sio.
That aside, we also get to see some actual development on the relationship front. Unfortunately, Hunter’s heroics and subsequent use of his wish (for winning the body count competition, much to Gernimo and Jack’s chagrin) were not enough to ingratiate him in the eyes of Galiko, who still remains focused solely on Vidocq for whatever reason. The main development would, of course, have to be between Jack and Sio. Possessing her usual cutesy awkwardness, her joy surrounding Jack coming to her rescue is cut short as he explains he was following his E-Gene’s orders. Devastating. Of course this immediately followed by him kissing her, explaining that his E-Gene had nothing to do with it this time. Well played Jack. I thought it was nice to see the series end by following through on what it had hinted at throughout. A lot of series love to hide behind the ambiguity of character’s interest in each other, letting the fanbase decide how it plays out. Though, in all honesty, that’s a bit of a cop out. Just finish plot points, some will like it, some won’t. I liked this one. Though I do feel that the moment didn’t have a much impact as it could have. Though there were hints that Jack liked Sio in return, it was sort of glazed over in order to focus on more action sequences. Some smarter time management throughout the series definitely could have enhanced this final scene. Though it was cute. I’ll give it that.
So, the Invasion force is crippled but still kicking. I guess that means that the world is not yet free from the Invasion Objects and there may just be more E-Gene adventures somewhere down the line. Though if this is where the journey ends, that’s fine too. Nobunagun was never a series that tested your emotions in a grand way. It never inspired true fear or created poignant moments of sadness, but there was one thing that made the series what it was: a sense of fun. From the quirky protagonist, to the even quirkier bundle of colleagues she was thrown in with, Nobunagun certainly knew how to enjoy itself. Sure the fight scenes would’ve been more intense if there was the threat of death that more serious anime carry with them, but that’s not what the series was going for in my opinion. I mean, the cast ranges from Jack the Ripper to Mahatma Gandhi, existing as souls to power ridiculous weaponry in order to save the world from alien fish. If you were expecting a serious anime based on that, you’ve only got yourself to blame. Also the title, and subsequently the titular character’s name, is a pun. Which is all kinds of awesome. I guess you could say that, all in all, this strange little series was Nobunagood.
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