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NOBUNAGA CONCERTO #1&2 -- Special Review

A spectacle like this only comes once in a great while.

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Every once in a great while, there is a show that reaches new levels. That stretches the limits of what we know as art, and explores new forms of style and design. NOBUNAGA CONCERTO is just that kind of show this season.

…but for all the wrong reasons.

The story’s harmless enough. Saburo is a high school slacker who one day falls off a fence and back in time (that is all the explanation given in the pilot, and I kind of respect that). Landing in the Sengoku Era he’s immediately mistaken for Oda Nobunaga (who just ran away to escape the pressures of royal life) and brought back to the Oda estate. It’s there that Saburo realizes that he must become Oda Nobunaga and unify Japan, armed only with his limited knowledge of history and the Zen-like confidence in his success.

Sure it’s a silly premise, but there are some redeeming qualities here. The show makes a roundabout point about how anyone can be the next Nobunaga, and have a significant impact on history -- even if they’re just doing it for the chicks. It might have even been refreshing if any of the characters had an IQ higher than an unmicrowaved bowl of Cup Ramen.

I’m only to make these observations, though, with the benefit of hindsight. At the time of my viewing of CONCERTO, I was far too preoccupied with what is easily one of the most horrifying and grotesque examples of art direction I’ve ever seen.

From what I can tell, CONCERTO’s animation is the product of the unholy union of low framerate CG and motion capture (or perhaps its big brother rotoscoping). The motions are fluid, but somehow jerky at the same time. Kind of like if you had to continually blink to try to get sand out of your eyes while watching a live sporting event.

Come to think of it -- I would recommend getting sand in your eyes over watching this show.
Come to think of it -- I would recommend getting sand in your eyes over watching this show.

Then there’s the character design. There’s no sense of a holistic world, here; each character’s head looks like it’s from a completely different show. The resulting affect is eerily similar to animegao kigurumi – which, if you are unfamiliar, is exquisite nightmare fuel in it’s own right, lurking somewhere in a cave system beneath the Uncanny Valley.

The deadly combination of weird heads on top of the weird animation is what makes NOBUNAGA CONCERTO an honest-to-goodness freakshow. CONCERTO isn’t in the Uncanny Valley, because I’m not certain they’re trying to depict real people. I would theorize instead that they’re depicting animegao kigurumi (already Valley denizens).

NOBUNAGA CONCERTO dwells within the Uncanny Faultline that made the Uncanny Valley millions of years ago. It seems to try to emulate something that freaks you out even when you know it’s a real person in it -- thus the finished product is exponentially more alien. This can be interesting enough to study in it’s own right… but you’ve been warned what lurks in the depths.

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About the Author

Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.

Kino88on Aug. 20, 2014 at 6:38 p.m.
What a pity....
YotaruVegetaon Aug. 21, 2014 at 4:43 p.m.

CGI on a budget is very scary. Concerto's not a bad anime, but it really didn't need to be animated in this way.

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