So I came across the cutest Japanese history anime that I want to recommend to everyone called Meow Meow Japanese History. Each episode is nine minutes long and covers different historical figures throughout Japanese history. However the characters are all cute cats! I was a little sceptic at first but after watching a few episodes I have to applaud the writers and animators for really capturing the little details without boring the audience. In the first episode Himiko entrances everyone to stop fighting, an allusion to her use of witchcraft. Later in the episode, she stops fighting amongst the cats again while basking under the sun, an allusion to her being a descendant of Amaterasu, the sun goddess. In the Oda Nobunaga episode, Toyotomi Hideyoshi is portrayed as a monkey. This is because Nobunaga’s nickname for Hideyoshi was little monkey. Also in the Nobunaga episode, at the betrayal at Honno-ji, he is depicted as dancing in the fire. This is because, while there is no actual account of Oda Nobunaga’s death and the body was never recovered, it is often portrayed in cinema and theater that Nobunaga performed the Atsumori before his death. The Atsumori is a play about a young samurai who was killed in the Genpei War and Oda Nobunaga was known for performing this play for his comrades. It is little touches like this that make me excited to watch the rest of Meow Meow Japanese History and I really encourage everyone else to give this anime a shot.
There are plenty of references in Japanese pop culture to Oda Nobunaga. He has been immortalized in films, novels, manga, games, and several anime. The most recent incarnation of Oda Nobunaga in anime has been in Drifters which has seen a more brutal approach to his character. In Drifters we see an almost maniacal man, hell bent on destroying the current world and fulfilling his dream of unifying a nation. One of the most unique iterations of Oda Nobunaga, though, has to be the character Oda Nobuna in The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. In this historical comedy, Oda Nobunaga is depicted as a teenage girl who is befriend by the protagonist Yoshiharu Sagara. Sagara is a modern-day young man who finds himself thrown back in time to an alternate reality version of the Sengoku period where all the main historical figures have been replaced by high school aged girls.
So who exactly was Oda Nobunaga and why is he considered an important person in Japanese history? Oda Nobunaga was a Daimyō in 16th century Japan and one of the “Three Unifiers” along with Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nobunaga started a campaign that would ultimately unify Japan as a singular nation. He is also noted for the introduction of firearms into his military forces. Eventually his success would be cut short by the betrayal of his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide.