What’s it about? Young Kippoushi, who would later grow up to become Oda Nobunaga, is destined for greatness, but his childhood is marked with a delinquent past. As he aids local street rats in pilfering foreign treasure ships right from under his own father’s nose, the young warlord must face the consequences for his actions and learn to think on his feet.
Most folks in Japan know all about Oda Nobunaga’s military conquests throughout Japan. Starting with his reunification of Owari Province, the fabled general would decisively work to unify most of Japan under his rule until Akechi Mitushide, one of his retainers, rebelled against him.
Kochoki goes back to a time before Nobunaga became known as a ruthless warlord and depicts him as a rambunctious delinquent. He is fond of foreign treasures, particularly rifles, and wears his kimono with one shoulder bared, the mark of a true hoodlum. This is a Nobunaga who has not yet learned how to play politics and chooses instead to be a shonen hero, standing up for friends and fawning over pretty ladies.
The first episode largely appears to be expository. By its closing, the young Kippoushi has already been given his adult name and is about to embark on military engagements under his father. Thus, the show will likely focus on Nobunaga, not at his youngest years, but during his adolescence as he begins to fight in battles.
Since I’m not as well versed in Nobunaga’s life, especially his young years, I can only assume this is a loose reinterpretation of the young warlord’s life and adventures. I am, however, sure of one thing: they’re probably taking some liberties.
That said, the story isn’t too bad and Kippoushi starts off showing off his ability to think on the fly. He’s a carefree hero and somehow rather likeable at this point, even though you know he’s going to end up a ruthless warlord.
The cast, as these historical pieces go, predominately features men over women. Most of the action was relegated to Kippoushi and Katsusaburo, his retainer who would later be named Ikeda Tsuneoki. Of the women introduced, two will play a major role in Nobunaga’s life going forward
Dota Gozen, Kippoushi’s mother, is cold to the young warlord and appears overprotective of his little brother. This is a historically accurate depiction, given she was apparently sick of Kippoushi’s freewheeling nature as a child.
The show also introduces Ikoma Kitsuno, who serves no real purpose to the story at this time aside from being seen by Kippoushi so that he may fall in love with her. She would go on to become one of Nobunaga’s most-cherished concubines, according to the history books; and if I’m reading the ending credits correctly, she’s also going to be a ninja.
The one weird segment in the show featured Kippoushi and Katsusaburo swimming in the river. The two have stripped down to their underwear and lounge on the banks to talk about their run-in with Kitsuno the day before. The camera is fixated on their lightly toned bodies, especially as Katsusaburo lounges back. I wouldn’t be as bothered by this scene if not for the fact that these boys are like 13 years old.
Overall, Kochoki is a fun time, and I like the character designs. Nothing’s egregious, so if you want some very loose historical fiction, this might be a good show to pick up.