Wataru TakagiEiji TakemotoYuji UedaNaoko Matsui
Ninja Girl & Samurai Master
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2016: N
Also known as: Nobunaga no Shinobi
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Director: Akitarou Daichi
Original creator: Naoki Shigeno
Actor: Ayumu Murase, Chiaki Takahashi, Daisuke Hirakawa, Daisuke Kishio, Eiji Takemoto, Fukushi Ochiai, Inori Minase, Kappei Yamaguchi, Kiyoyuki Yanada, Naoko Matsui, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Raiko Sakamoto, Rie Kugimiya, Ryotaro Okiayu, Shinnosuke Tachibana, Shinya Takahashi, Shuta Morishima, Suzuko Mimori, Takashi Matsuyama, Tomokazu Seki, Toru Ohkawa, Valshe, Wataru Hatano, Wataru Takagi, Yasuaki Takumi, Yuji Ueda
Keywords: anime, historical, samurai, ninja
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 52 three-minute episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=18115
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 5 January 2018
Nobunaga no Shinobi
I think it's historically accurate. Admittedly it's also an adaptation of a four-panel gag manga where everyone's been turned into parody versions of themselves, but it's basically the story of Oda Nobunaga's campaign of conquest to unify Japan. This is surprisingly detailed. It takes us through all the battles and historical characters. It's silly and playing everything for laughs (e.g. Hideyoshi is a monkey-like idiot), but underneath that it's also a war saga with battle, lots of casualties, etc. There's lots of slaughter. It's just that it's also light-hearted.
Downside: the series ends inconclusively. Nobunaga's on the point of going to war against the Azai-Asakura alliance, but then the show stops. Fortunately, though, you can just look in the history books. Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated their combined enemies at the Battle of Anegawa, although this has a gruesome coda in what Nobunaga did the following year to the Enryaku-ji monastery on Mt. Hiei. (We're on his side in this anime, but in real life he wasn't a nice guy.)
The show's protagonist is Chidori, who unusually isn't based on a real historical character. This is justified by her being a ninja, so she can't take credit for her deeds and so will stay out of the history books. She's adorable. She looks about ten (although I think she's meant to be sixteen or seventeen) and she's a cheerful, tiny, not-too-bright girl who's always lovable and enthusiastic. Disconcertingly, this is still true even when she's slaughtering lots of people. She's probably the show's most lethal warrior, although she'll only kill you if she's been ordered to and she dislikes needless bloodshed. It's just that she's devoted to Nobunaga and thinks helping him unite the country is the quickest way to peace. (Since this is the Warring States period, she's arguably right.)
Chidori was my favourite character, of course, although she gets less screen time in later episodes as the cast grows. More and more real people appear. These are all fairly goofy and sometimes they're funny too. Smug Treacherous Bastard is a laugh, for instance. (Real name: Matsunaga Hisahide.) Luis Frois is an annoying foreigner, but he's only in ep.32 (and the episode's punchline is that he's less annoying than the shogun). You can't take the comedy exaggerations too seriously, though, since the show's basically inventing a bunch of loons that are occasionally inspired by the people they're ostensibly representing. Nobunaga's wife Kichou is portrayed as an airhead, for instance, but in real life was famously intelligent.
The show's fun and mildly educational, but no more. It's the kind of thing you wouldn't think about if you stopped watching. Sometimes it's amusing. It didn't make me laugh out loud, but it's good for a break between other things. What's more, its episode count and quickfire pace means it covers lots of ground and isn't as throwaway as most short-form series. I'd watch a second season, if it came along.