Nobukatsu finally takes action to rebel against Nobunaga with his forces, pushed into things by his retainers and Tsuzuki, who seems eager to force him into battle no matter what. Nobunaga soon gets word of the upcoming war between the two factions, and despite his hesitation, meets his brother on the battlefield. The battle takes place amongst the village of Ikoma Kitsuno, Nobunaga’s first love, with bandits hired by Tsuzuki wrecking the place and killing many. However, Nobukatsu’s unwieldy leadership leads to his forces being easily overtaken by his brother’s, eventually leading to their surrender and capture. While he initially plans to execute him, Nobunaga spares his Nobukatsu, though Tsuzuki’s machinations aren’t finished just yet.
…well, that was a bit of a letdown. The last couple episodes made it seem like this sort of battle between brothers would last a bit longer, but it kind of crumpled soon after it started. Nobukatsu’s pretty much lost his innocent and likable qualities and turned full evil, losing pretty much all of his common sense along the way. I have to admit, I expected him to bite it one way or the other here, but it seems he’ll survive for at least a little while longer. Or at least, until Tsuzuki can make use of him for his own goals and get them both killed that way. My cursory glance of how Nobukatsu died (spoilers, people who lived thousands of years ago are now dead) didn’t tell me whether it was in battle or not, so I guess I get to be surprised about that down the road.
This is also a major test for Nobunaga as both a leader of the Oda clan and a brother. Hidetaka’s death is still fresh in both his and Nobukatsu’s minds, as is a yearning for justice and making that death count. How they intend for it to mean something is where they differ, with Nobunaga wanting to avoid another death in his family and Nobukatsu wishing to take the position as head of the family that his faction has been pushing him to take for awhile now. It’s not entirely Nobukatsu’s fault, as he basically ended up being a pawn in the game of others in order to placate Nobunaga, but he was the one in charge of things at the end of the day. And while Nobukatsu’s forces followed him with their own goals in mind, Nobunaga’s follow him out of loyalty to HIS goals, which ultimately made the biggest impact on their battle.
There are also little bits of development for Kichou as she meets the woman that Nobunaga once loved, but that’s probably going to pay off later. The focus is on the soul of a nice young man who was corrupted by those who intended to use him for their own ends, which we’ll likely see happen for a few more episodes before it’s resolved. Though honestly, I figured the actual fighting would last a lot longer than the aftermath, but this is where we ended up I guess. That still leaves us with the remaining third of the series, and who knows what’s left to happen there.