Director: Hidekazu Sato, Series Composition/Original Creator/Main Mecha Design: Shoji Kawamori, Character Designer: Yone Kazuki
Voice Actors: Yoko Hikasa (Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc), Tomokazu Sugita (Leonardo da Vinci), Mamoru Miyano (Oda Nobunaga), Takahiro Sakurai (Akechi Mitsuhide), Minori Chihara (Ichihime), Yuuki Kaji (Toyotomi Hideyoshi),
The story takes place on both the Western Planet and the Eastern Planet, both of which were once bound by the “Dragon Pulse” which spanned the heavens. A civilisation that once prospered has turned into a tale of dreams as war tears the realm asunder. The return of super technology known as “sacred treasures” could alter the status quo but only one person knows of it – a heretical girl from the Western Planet known as Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc. She had heavenly visions of the birth of a “Star Messiah” who will save the world and so she, together with Leonard da Vinci, head to the Eastern Planet where they encounter another heretic, “the greatest fool of the day,” Oda Nobunaga.
Trying to make sense of this synopsis is pointless. I think when I was writing it I just gave up and typed on autopilot in the expectation that there would be huge drama and action since this is a series created by Shoji Kawamori, one of the big guns in anime with titles like Aquarion EVOL and Escaflowne under his belt but this story could turn into a mess with its large cast and even larger setting if he mishandles things.
The best way to think about this show is that Kawamori is reinterpreting these historical figures into a bit of a space opera in a parallel universe. The anime starts off in the real world with Joan of Arc’s burning and Oda Nobunaga’s death but that was all a dream since the characters we follow live in an age of lasers and intergalactic travel. Forget actual times, dates and realism just prepare yourself to meet a who’s who of the 15th and 16th century and see them piloting giant robots with laser cannons.
The setting of the western and eastern planets reflect the various historical periods of east and west with a sci-fi twist.
Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc lives in a medieval world where she’s an outcast in a village because she hears the voice of God.
Her ruled over by King Arthur and he has a fleet of spaceships overseen by Ferdinand Magellan and these spaceships have giant mecha on board. Awesome. I’ll buy that! She’s also hooked up with Leonard da Vinci who is pretty amusing because of his eccentricities and the fact he seems to be an itinerant inventor with a penchant for snazzy dressing.
Meanwhile over on the eastern planet…
Oda Nobunaga lives in a planet based on Sengoku period Japan. It is full of warring states where armies move around forests and mountains and use giant robots and Nobunaga rides some sort of lizard creature instead of a horse and seems to be the black sheep of his family who likes to hang out with his friends.
There are a lot of changes not least the fact that Nobunaga looks like a good-natured pretty boy protag and isn’t a ruthless warlord who mercilessly crushes his enemies. I wonder if they’ll keep that shudo aspect of the character since he’s surrounded by other pretty boys….
I doubt it because the characters are falling into familiar “safe” gender roles.
Things get a bit disappointing when one sees that Jean Kaguya d’Arc has been turned into a well-endowed damsel in distress and not a war like leader (dare I say religious fanatic?) who leads her people to victory. She’s also following Leonardo da Vinci around like a lost puppy and has already been rescued by Nobunaga in episode one!
Perhaps she will get her moment of martyrdom and destroy King Arthur and his evil empire. I’m guessing this now because King Arthur hasn’t been fully introduced and we don’t know if he runs the bad guys yet but I bet that this is how it’s going to go since King Arthur is a legendary figure in British history and Joan of Arc fought off the English during the 100 years war. I’m intrigued by how all of these historical figures and time periods are going to be linked together and who this Star Messiah could be. Plus the robot action is heating up. Hopefully things improve in terms of story and character.
If the story still sounds a mess then take comfort in the animation which is solid. Nothing really stands out, not the art or voice acting. Actually the CG was rather bad and the drama and some of the dialogue was very cheesy. I can see myself watching it even if I don’t really enjoy it all that much. It was a solid start but the weakest of the anime I have watched so far. Much better came later on that day when I watched Nobunagun…
Here are the OP and ED which aren’t that bad.