Saturday, February 3, 2018

Nobunagun, vol. 1 review (repost)

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Nobunagun, vol. 1, Masato Hisa. Grade: A-
In the review of Jaberwocky 1914, I mentioned that I was looking for other manga by Masato Hisa now that Area 51 ended. Turns out that Maruzen books, in Tenmonkan, has the first five volumes of Nobunagun (2011-2015, Earthstar magazine). They're about $6 USD, with tax, so I hesitate to get them all at one time. But, I wanted to at least try the first book. It's not too bad.

The book starts out with Oda Nobunaga trying to get through his castle at the end of the siege he fails to survive. He enters a room and is speared by something that looks like a Jomon-era statue. The creature, which calls itself Dogoo later on, says that it's taking Oda's life now for use in a future war. Jumping to the present, Shio Ogura is a high school girl on a school field trip to Taiwan. She's sleeping through it, because all anyone wants to do is visit statues and stuff.

(When Oda met Dogoo.)

Kaoru Asao, one of the more popular girls in the school, teases her, takes their picture together, and promises to upload the photo to her phone after they exchange email addresses. Asano runs into a nearby Buddha statue, just as a series of fighter jets zip by. THESE Shio gets excited over. She's a big military freak and recognizes the models of all the weapons converging on Taiwan now in an attempt to destroy a giant fish monster. One guy, Jack the Ripper, parachutes out of the planes and uses a sword arm to cut the fish in two, only to end up releasing a whole bunch of smaller monsters into the area.

(Shio would rather look at a tank flying through the air, than a giant floating fish monster.)

Jack gets speared from behind and drops a weird metal "AU" ball that Shio picks up. The other students escape the Buddha statue, but Asao is trapped inside and about to be killed by the monsters. Shio goes into a rage that Asao hasn't asked for her email address yet, and discovers that Dogoo had secretly passed Nobunaga's DNA down through her family for generations. The AU ball activates the DNA to give Shio the super-weapon - Nobunagun.

(When asked what he wants to be, Oda replies, "Naturally, a gun.")

Newton shows up (a woman that can activate super gravity boots) eventually, followed by Gandhi (a flashy young man with brick wall hands on his head and back for putting up protective barriers). Shio tries shooting the monsters, but the recoil from the big gun keeps throwing off her shot. She tells Newton to push down on her back with the gravity boots, which helps a lot, while also putting a terrible toll on her body from the punishment.

(Hurricane fish have eggs.)

Newton and Gandhi are strictly support personnel - Ripper and Nobunagun are the only fighters on the field now, and Jack's down. Gandhi protects Asao, and Shio gradually learns from Nobunaga how to active up to three guns total (one is a smaller "hand" gun, and the other is a pistol in the Nobunagun mask).

(Jack rips.)

When all 200+ monsters are dead, the original ship fish self-destructs. Gandhi protects Jack, Newton, Shio and Asano, but half of Taiwan bay is obliterated in the blast. Later, Shio visits Asao in the hospital where she is recuperating from a head injury. The TV carries news of the battle, and the announcement of a new military organization called "Defense Organization aGainst Outer Objects (DOGOO)". The DOGOO rep says that the monsters are invaders from outer space, and that Shio is one of the newest members of the AU fighters, and the only one from Japan. Shio confesses to being terrified of all the attention, and Asao just thanks her for saving her life. Shio pulls herself together, and eventually strides outside past all the news reporters and their cameras.

(Inside front cover: Dogoo's Famous Person Collection - Nobunaga.)

In the second half of the book, we get Robert Capa, a sukebe old man stuck in a wheelchair, able to make energy clones of people for training purposes. His main weapon is a movie camera-like energy gun. And Galileo, a girl that lives inside a Dalek-suit, and uses telescopic vision to find enemies and predict their movements. There's also Commander (a 2,000-year-old woman working with Dogoo, and Dogoo itself (which is now living in a fluid-filled support tube). Apparently, the enemy fish monsters, only known as "Evolutionary Invasion Objects" (EIOs), had destroyed Dogoo's world, and it is here on Earth to prevent the next invasion. DOGOO the organization has a super-carrier craft in the ocean, heading toward Florida to anticipate the next outbreak. From what they know, there was one EIU that landed in the seas on Earth some time ago, and it's given birth to something like 10 "mother monsters".

(Inside back cover.)

The current mother monster fish lives in a hurricane barreling down on Florida, and the heroes have to stop it before there's a repeat of Taiwan Bay. The problem is that this one carries eggs, and killing the monster will only cause the eggs to be released before land fall. Shio, Ripper and Galileo work together to save Florida, with Shio and Jack both turning out to be master (and highly reckless) strategists. Along the way, Jack grabs Shio in his arms as they fall through the sky, and tells her to use Nobunagun as a steering tool to get him closer to the monster in the hurricane. This gambit works, but now Shio is embarrassed at the thought of being hugged by a boy. The book ends with Shio wanting someone to confess everything to, but not quite getting the courage up for calling Asano.

(Back cover.)

Summary: Yeah, I like this book, but it's not yet at the same level as Area 51. The wiki article says that the manga was turned into a TV anime from Jan. to Mar., 2014, to mixed reviews. I like the artwork for Nobunaga, and the character designs for the other "heroes" are pretty good, too. The background art is great, and I like the story. The actual character designs are a bit too-cartoony, though, and the battle sequences go WAY over the top. Still, small school girls with big guns. What's not to like? Recommended.

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