Light Novel Review: Oda Nobuna no Yabou Volume 1 (Rewrite)

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?


Oda Nobuna no Yabou more or less loosely retells Japanese history during its Warring States period – with all major figures being cute girls and with a modern day protagonist, who timetravelled there for whatever reason. Although the general atmosphere of this series isn’t as ridiculous as the setting might suggest, you should be able to just go with it and not expect scientific accuracy. I can’t really put my finger on what genre Oda Nobuna is exactly; however, from strongest to weak, it has adventure, action, rom-com, comedy, harem, fantasy.

Difficulty


It’s surprisingly easy, if you consider the setting. There are a lot of names used, and they don’t get consistent furigana (that’s when kanji get hirgana or katakana besides them to let you know their pronunciation), so you better have a good memory; especially for names. Dialogues are of average difficulty. Narration can get busy when all dem plots, relations between provinces, and so on are described. I’ll give it a solid 7, it’s for those of you who stepped beyond average proficiency in Japanese.

Difficulty 7/10

Translation Where?


There’s a translation, anime, and manga – at least for the original version. The translation is okay-ish. At least for the first few volumes the anime follows the novel closely, so you might as well watch that. I like the anime’s style over the novel illustrator’s, too.

Contents


NOTE: This volumes/series has an anime and/or complete translation somewhere. Hence, the contents section will be reduced to the bare minimum as you can get the experience more or less by yourself.

Rough Sketch

Conclusion


Volume 1 Cover

There’s likely one thing on your mind: What the fuck does “Rewrite” mean? Well, the author of Oda Nobuna switched from GA Bunko to Fantasia Bunko. As he did, he also revised the scripts of his prior 10 or so volumes. They’ve improved in readability and consistency. Of course, nothing major has changed. The ride’s just smoother and more enjoyable. Now let’s get to this volume in general…

There are series out there, that tickle all your fancies just in the right spot, overshadowing its weaknesses and making it the best thing ever – at least for you. Oda Nobuna is such a series for me.

First of all, the setting. To me, it’s just plain genius: Take Japanese history during it’s busiest time (Warren States), throw a guy like you and I in there, and just switch out all the old geezers from the time with cute girls for the sexy. With this, the author already has an outline for where the story goes – a realistic one on top of that since it did happen. He can simply alter things to make them more appealing to the reader. Personally, I don’t know too much about Japanese history, so I can’t get annoyed by probable historic inaccuracies. But at the same time, I am interested in what was going on during that time. The setting it basically a history lesson for everyone interested, of course it should be taken with a grain of salt – it’s neither a history text book, nor a historic novel in that sense. I wonder how much being an “outsider” accounts for my view on this. If this kind of novel was done with my country’s historic figures, I’d be super turned off. But anyway, like this, the setting’s a ten out of ten for me.

The characters are numerous in their variety: The Viper as the old lecher, Goemon as the loli who acts mature, Nene as the loli who’s smarter than the protagonist, Katsuie as the big-boobed airhead, Inuchiyo as the flat-chested pokerface, and of course Nobuna as the strong-willed tsundere. There are even more characters than that, it’s impressive for a first volume. Even more impressive is that the cast doesn’t feel bloated despite the numbers: No one feels out of place. And man, am I glad the main heroine is best girl – I don’t mind seeing her win, at all.

Volume 1’s story is well-paced and diverse. There are action parts (battles), comedy parts (exchanges between Yoshiharu and Nobuna), romantic parts (also exchanges between Yoshiharu and Nobuna, but with the proper mood), slice of life parts, macro (trying to get Mino) and micro (Yoshiharu trying to settled into his trashy house). Nothing feels dragged out, nothing feels rushed. The single issue I have with the story is that you don’t get to learn much about Nobuna’s generals, like Katsuie. What are they doing all day long? How do they spend their time? Her generals remain rather flat. Ten pages for each of them to splash a bit of color on them would’ve been great.

The comedy does feel right at all times, nothing felt forced. That’s pretty much it, Oda Nobuna is neither a drama nor a gag novel, the jokes made me smile without ridiculing the whole situation – it’s how it should be.

Altogether, Oda Nobuna – or at least the first volume :S – is, in my opinion, an underrated masterpiece. It’s neither shakespeare nor an epos like Suzumiya Haruhi, but it does everything it wants to do in near perfection. If you can embrace its setting, I really don’t see what not to like about it. One of the best light novels I’ve ever read – and I’ve read a lot. The only reason I’m not giving it a perfect ten is that Nobuna’s generals are important characters, yet aren’t given much attention at all. It’s a minor point, but a point nonetheless. That aside, I strongly recommend you try reading it – in its rewritten version, if possible.

Rating 9/10

 

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