I recently just finished this and I have to say it’s been quite some time since I enjoyed a J-drama this much!
In recent years, I find that Japanese dramas pale severely in comparison to Korean dramas. With their massive pool of talented (and good-looking!!! *heart eyes*) actors, insane budgets which translate to gorgeous wardrobe and styling, elaborate locations and sets, advanced filming techniques… it’s really become quite overwhelming for J-dramas to beat.
It’s not even an exaggeration, but of late, for every J-drama series I watch, I probably watch around 10 K-drama series. I want to love J-dramas, but… K-dramas are so sparkly and pretty and…
Wait. What was I talking about?
Right… Nobunaga Concerto.
Amidst all our K-drama watching, I wanted to try watching a J-drama again, so Fu and I started watching this together. But I think he’s very used to the style of K-dramas and he was all meh-faced after the first episode, so we stopped and picked up another K-drama instead.
HOWEVER, I continued watching it on my own. How could I not? It has two of my favorite Japanese actors – Oguri Shun and Mukai Osamu!!! (that’s the rightmost two guys, respectively)
Best decision ever! I really enjoyed it and was quite sad it was over in 11 episodes.
What is the show about?
Saburo (Oguri Shun) is a high school student good in sports, but not very good with his studies. One day, Saburo travels back in time and arrives in the Sengoku period of 1549.
There, Saburo meets Nobunaga Oda who looks and sounds just like him. Nobunaga Oda is the son of a warlord and magistrate of the lower Owari Province. Nobunaga Oda though is physically weak and he asks Saburo to take his place. Then, Saburo as Nobunaga Oda attempts to unify the country of Japan.
This drama is a very interesting interpretation of history. A fictional spin is given on known facts in history and at times, the justification is so convincing I can’t help wondering “What if that was really what happened?” Yes yes, I know that would involve people teleporting to the past, but…
All the events in the drama did, in fact, happen in real life, just not for the same reasons and sometimes not in the same sequence. Yeah, the drama piqued my curiosity in the real-life Nobunaga enough for me to go read up on him!
For example, Nobunaga is known to be eccentric and given the nickname “The fool of Owari”. In this show, we see that the “justification” is because Nobunaga is from the future therefore he appears crazy to people from the past. Imagine talking about smartphones, going on dates and Christmas to people in Japan 500 years ago. They be like:
Sengoku (the Warring States period) marks more than a century of military conflict and social unrest in Japan, and Saburo, who came from the future wanted to bring to the country peace – the same peace he knows possible because he experienced it in the future. This was what set him out on his goal to conquer and unify Japan. I find this reason is more romantic than him simply being a power-crazed person on an ego trip, no? :D
Saburo is a very kind person, but Nobunaga is actually known to be “one of the most brutal figures of the Sengoku period”. This was balanced this out in the drama by having the real Nobunaga carry out the violent acts. Quite neatly done, I think!
This drama is adapted from the original manga, which has also inspired an anime release! Perhaps I will go watch the anime if it covers events beyond the drama!
All in all, I really like how the story works around as well as incorporate pieces of facts into it, as well as the way it unfolds. Towards the end of the drama, a development shocked my soul out of my body though. I totally didn’t see it coming and was quite… shocked. Sorry, recalling still leaves me in shock and I am unable to think up other synonyms to describe shock except shock itself.
Apart from the story, the actors are also praise-worthy! Not just my favorites, but the supporting cast as well! Ok, discounting the part where Oguri plays the high-schooler. Not 100% convincing to me haha. But that takes up only a few minutes of the show at the start, so I can easily overlook it.
Sure, it does not have much of the glitz and glamor of K-dramas that I’m used to (and still watch a lot of), but sometimes all that is needed to make a good drama is good acting and a good story. Plus, I like that this drama has little to none of the logicfail plot loopholes that K-dramas are frequently riddled with.
After a long while, this is one J-drama I heartily enjoy and recommend!