The Legend & Butterfly (2023)
August 16, 2023 2:17 PM - Subscribe

Trailer. A romantic biopic centering on Oda Nobunaga (Takuya Kimura) and his wife Nohime (Haruka Ayase) spanning 30 years of the Sengoku period. Traces Nobunaga's rise to power and struggle to unify Japan viewed through the lens of a tumultuous relationship. Toei Company's 70th Anniversary film. Streaming on Amazon Prime.

Although there are a few actions scenes, this is not a typical historical samurai epic, with many of Nobunaga's famous battles happening off screen. Instead, it's a historical romance that weaves the relationship through major turning points of the late Sengoku period. Since the historical record of Nohime is somewhat murky, the film is free to construct a character around her and take plenty of liberties. Reviews were somewhat mixed:

"a beautiful lie about the love life of Oda Nobunaga" (Tokyo Weekender)

"a shallow and forgettable period piece" (Asian Movie Pulse)

"breathes new life into a subject that may have otherwise felt all too familiar" (View of the Arts)

"[Kimura's] heartthrob charisma still shines through and keeps the character from becoming completely hateful...Ayase dominates the screen with everything from the fierceness of her royal glare to the fineness of her comic timing" (The Japan Times)

Directed by Keishi Otomo (Rurouni Kenshin films) and written by Ryota Kosawa
posted by okonomichiyaki (1 comment total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I watched this a couple of weeks ago at a screening and then rewatched it this week on Amazon. On the surface level I enjoyed it as a fun, idiosyncratic period movie, but on rewatch I found it more fascinating. It plays around explicitly with the construction of historical legend, especially in a pivotal early scene before the Battle of Okehazama that is then referred back to in the final moments of the film.
posted by okonomichiyaki at 7:30 PM on August 16, 2023

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