The Many Faces of Oda Nobunaga

By Nopy

If you ever study Japanese history, you will no doubt come across the name Oda Nobunaga. An Important historical figure, Nobunaga was the one who started the unification of modern Japan and is known by everyone in the country. For such an important figure, it’s only inevitable that he would make his way into popular culture, and more specifically, anime.
Nobunaga is often described as a ruthless conqueror that was very successful in the battlefield. While he was also responsible for modernizing Japan and promoting the arts, most anime tend to portray him more as a demonic character with little or no mercy.  To help implement Nobunaga into an anime, some interesting character designs have been created and range from very accurate to bizarre. Below are just some of the different takes on Nobunaga from various anime.

Hyouge Mono

This anime probably portrays Nobunaga as an art enthusiast more than any other. He is sometimes seen with western clothing and talks of different pieces of art with the main character. With an accurate portrayal of his personality, it’s no wonder that he also looks like portraits from the 15th century in Hyouge Mono.


An anime about ninjas getting revenge on Nobunaga for the destruction of everything in his path, Nobunaga is portrayed as an evil villain with unholy magical powers. Despite there being demons and sorcery, he actually looks quite normal in Yotoden.

Sengoku Basara

Here we start deviating from what’s in the history books. Again portrayed as a villain, Nobunaga is called the Devil King in Sengoku Basara. Of course, when you think of a Devil King in an anime, he just has to have spiky hair. Not only that, he also has to drink from a human skull. How cool is that?

Samurai Deeper Kyo

Now this anime’s take on Nobunaga is nothing like what’s written in textbooks. After being killed at Honnoji Temple, he is brought back to life (twice) in order to fight. He has long wavy hair and half of his face is just a black hole with a red light in the middle, kind of like the Terminator. I guess the Terminator would have no problems conquering Japan though…

Sengoku Otome

By far the wildest incarnation of Oda Nobunaga is the one from Sengoku Otome. The creators don’t seem to have liked the idea of Nobunaga being a man so they figured; why not make him into a busty, scantily-clad woman. And we all know that as far as female warriors in anime go, the less clothing they have on, the stronger they get.

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Nopy is an engineer and a rabid fan of anime. He also enjoys collecting anime figures, reading manga, and viewing artwork from anime/manga artists. Nopy began blogging about anime in 2008 and joined the Forever Geek team in 2009. Besides anime and manga, he also enjoys the occasional video game and catching the latest internet memes.

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