Credited as being the first of the Three Unifiers of modern Japan, Nobunaga was one of Japan's most successful warlords. He started as a son of a minor daimyo (and earned the nickname "The Fool of Owari" due to his childhood and teenage antics), with a number of factions within his own province opposing him, eventually he would not only crush those factions but also proceed to conquer over a third of Japan, with the rest well positioned to fall to him. That ended on June 21, 1582, when his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide attacked him at Honno Temple; Nobunaga, his eldest son, his bodyguards and his wakashu, Mori Ranmaru, died that night. Summaries of his campaigns could be seen below.
Although noted for many things, including a mastery of tactics, (most famously at the Battle of Okehazama: Nobunaga's forces, numbering at most 3000, defeated an army of around 25,000 through a combination of daring, misdirection, a brilliant surprise attack, and more than a little luck) revolutionizing the ways Japanese armies used firearms, and completely changing the economic system of and the way wealth was counted in Japan, Nobunaga is chiefly remembered for his ruthless and brutal nature, and it is these traits that dominate most depictions of him in any period pieces or games. Nobunaga's actions leave him ripe for playing the part of the villain, as his most infamous deeds include the burning of powerful Buddhist temples critical of him, and the slaughter of the thousands of men, women and children that lived in them. Even the kinder portrayals of him tend to show him as a man fueled by ambition and greed, in many others it is either speculated or explicitly said that he has either become a demon or made a literal Deal with the Devil to carry out his ambitions. See Demon King Nobunaga.
Although he did not live to see the conquest of all Japan finalized, Nobunaga's actions all but ended over a century of near-constant civil war among the lords of Japan for dominance. After his death, his general Hashiba Hideyoshi (later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) finished the conquest, and another general, Tokugawa Ieyasu (also his in-law, as Nobunaga's daughter Tokuhime married Ieyasu's son Nobuyasu), founded the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan from 1600 until 1868.
Amusingly enough, his most famous descendant, Oda Nobunari, is one of Japan's top male figure skaters, and is most known for crying at the drop of a hat, and getting caught driving his moped drunk. He has a cameo in an episode of Yuri!!! on Ice, playing himself as a commentator.
In fiction, he is almost always a Big Bad, Evil Overlord and 0% Approval Rating dictator who receives a Historical Villain Upgrade. Even when he's not getting the villain upgrade, he's at best an eccentric pragmatic Anti-Hero who sees the old traditions as outdated and wants to sweep them aside to pave the way for the future (which, considering the abundance of traditionalists back then, made him stand out or considered an oddball). Furthermore, expect him to embrace everything that would modernize warfare and the country, complete with having no qualms about utilizing foreign goods/help, (a big part of Nobunaga's success was his unprecedented use of muskets, and unlike his successors he was rather open to Jesuit missionaries) and to be fully willing to engage in some necessary brutalities. Also probably a reason why the name "Nobunaga" is rare in Japan these days.
Some of the more notable people close to Oda Nobunaga during his rule
- Toyotomi Hideyoshi: Probably the most famous and most trusted vassal of Nobunaga. Once upon a time Hideyoshi was just Nobunaga's sandal-bearer until his sheer competence eventually led to him becoming one of Nobunaga's most trusted generals. See his article for more details.
- Tokugawa Ieyasu: Nobunaga's father, Nobuhide, busted him out of being a hostage to Imagawa, making both him and Nobunaga childhood friends. Once they come to age, they become important allies. See his article for more details.
Nakanunara koroshiteshimae hototogisu. ([Nobunaga:] If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it.)Nakanunara nakasetemiyou hototogisu. ([Hideyoshi:] If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it.)Nakanunara nakumadematou hototogisu. ([Ieyasu:] If the cuckoo does not sing, wait for it.)
- The characters of three men are compared in a famous senryu, the straightforward bloodiness of Nobunaga, the craftiness of Hideyoshi, and the patience of Ieyasu:
- Akechi Mitsuhide: Nobunaga's eventual betrayer and the cause of his downfall, although they used to be trusted allies. See his article for more details.
- Mori Ranmaru: His wakashu/page, coming from the Mori clan (differing from the Western Mouri clan led by Mouri Motonari) which has a record of serving the Oda; in particular his father Yoshinari was a veteran retainer of Nobunaga. The Nobunaga-Ranmaru pederasty (same sex lord-page) relationship is probably one of Sengoku Period's most famous. Ranmaru gave his life to guard the site where Nobunaga committed seppuku in Honnoji and burned the temple to ground so no one could find and desecrate the corpse of Nobunaga. Ranmaru was then succeeded by his brother Nagayoshi, who, while a fierce (and reckless) warrior, had his life cut short as well when he fought in Hideyoshi's campaign of Komaki-Nagakute. If Ranmaru gets into fiction, he's more likely to be portrayed as a Dude Looks Like a Lady if he's in teen age, otherwise, he's an Adorably Precocious Child (he was 17 when he died). He's also prone to getting an outright Gender Flip.
- Maeda Toshiie: Renowned spearman and Nobunaga's vassal since the beginning. Eventually supports Hideyoshi and becomes one of his Five Regents, and the most powerful one, his death is the final catalyst for the eventual Battle of Sekigahara, and Tokugawa overthrowing the budding Toyotomi dynasty.
- Shibata Katsuie: Formerly a supporter of Nobunaga's brother during his days as the Fool of Owari. Once Nobunaga proved his worth, he switched sides and becomes one of his most trusted vassals, later dying against Hideyoshi in Shizugatake. If he gets into a Sengoku-based fiction, unlike Ranmaru, he's most likely getting the portrayal of a gung-ho big guy with Boisterous Bruiser elements. Except some.
- Oichi: His little sister and considered one of Japan's greatest beauties and having one of the most tragic life stories for the time. First sent off to Azai clan to secure an alliance, marrying daimyo Azai Nagamasa - despite it being a political marriage, it ended up being famously happy and harmonious. Later the Azai betrayed Nobunaga, and while Oichi, most likely out of duty to the Oda, sent her brother a sack of beans which was tied at both ends, both out of good luck, and as a warning that Azai and Asakura would attack the Oda from both sidesnote . In the end she was sent home with three daughters, at the request of Nobunaga himself, and her husband committed suicide and her only son executed as the Azai were defeated. Almost 10 years later, after Nobunaga's death, she married the aforementioned Shibata Katsuie as a ploy to raise his stakes in the power struggle among the Oda vassals. Eventually Katsuie lost to Hideyoshi in a later battle. He urged Oichi to flee as well with their daughters, but she chose to remain behind with him and commit ritual suicide. Her daughters, however, were sent away for their safety.
- Her daughters end up in unique places too: The eldest Chacha/Lady Yodo becomes Hideyoshi's concubine that gave birth to his heir Hideyori, the second, Hatsu, married into the Kyogoku clan, while the youngest, Go, eventually married Tokugawa Ieyasu's son and eventual Shogun, Hidetada.
- Nouhime/Kichou/Lady Azuchi: Nobunaga's first wife, a Princess of the Mino clan and direct daughter of the Viper of Mino, Saitou Dosan. Her mother belonged to the Akechi clan so she was a relative of Akechi Mitsuhide, although the actual degree of closeness is not clear. (Regardless, they're often depicted as cousins.) Some believe her marriage with Nobunaga was an unhappy one, or that she was barren and didn't give any children to Nobunaga, but these are only speculations and theories. The fact is that there's barely any records of her existence after her marriage to Nobunaga, so not much is known about her or her relationship with her husband. Fictional works tend to portray her and Nobunaga as Happily Married, unless Demon King Nobunaga is at play, in which she mostly gets a Love Martyr treatment.
- Yasuke: While not exactly a household name compared to others, this guy is worth noting as a black African in Japan - by no means the first or a special one, however, as many merchants, missionaries and even Japanese lords had black slaves at the time. Yasuke was a slave gifted to Nobunaga, who took a liking to him and and employed him as a member of his retinue. He was said to be a giant, although likely he was just tall compared to the Japanese people of the time. He was present during the Honnouji incident and the resulting fights, but in the end he was captured by Mitsuhide's army. Mitsuhide decided not to kill him and instead sent him to the nearest Jesuit community, and there are no records of his remaining life.
Notable Campaigns of Nobunaga and the enemies he faced.
- Okehazama (vs Imagawa Yoshimoto): This is Nobunaga's first grand battle where he made his name known to the world. Yoshimoto led his 25,000 men towards Kyoto, passing through Owari, and Nobunaga's men didn't even reach 10,000. Thankfully, since Nobunaga was familiar with the area, he had territorial advantage. After one Rousing Speech listed in his Quotes page, he took 2,000-3,000 men to ambush Imagawa's core army resting at the gorge at Dengaku-Hazama (the rest is stationed at the castle for decoy). And he has the Devil's luck that there's a thunderstorm rain, severely debilitating the Imagawa's mobility and giving them cover. Nobunaga's men struck in sudden surprise, killed Imagawa Yoshimoto and demoralized his whole army that they were sent running back to the Imagawa territory of Suruga, and then the clan never recovered. After this battle, Nobunaga reunited with his childhood friend Matsudaira Takechiyo (currently Matsudaira Motoyasu, later Tokugawa Ieyasu) and forged an alliance.
- Inabayama (vs Saitou Tatsuoki): To expand further his power and the dangers present by the Saitou clan, Nobunaga chose to invade the clan of his wife Kichou/Nouhime (made seemingly more okay that Tatsuoki's father, Yoshitatsu, committed Patricide to Kichou's father Saitou Dosan, that Nobunaga respected). This battle also showed Nobunaga's keen eye for talent, where he deployed Kinoshita Tokichiro (later Toyotomi Hideyoshi) to build a castle in Sunomata in just one day, with full trust that with the latter's talent, it became possible. Not only that, Tokichiro also went on to sneak behind the castle gates and opened the gate for Nobunaga's main force to assault the castle. Once the campaign concluded, Nobunaga improved the Inabayama castle and re-christened it 'Gifu Castle'. As a bonus, ex-Saitou genius strategist Takenaka Hanbei also enlisted to him via Tokichiro.
- Kanegasaki-Anegawa-Odani (vs Azai Nagamasa & Asakura Yoshikage): Spanning throughout several years, this is a rather important campaign on Nobunaga after he marched to Kyoto and then the Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiaki, made a call-to-arms to many warlords to strike at him. The first to answer was the Asakura clan under Asakura Yoshikage. Nobunaga responded in kind, but just when he was about to clash, the Azai clan that was formerly linked with the Oda via marriage between Azai Nagamasa and Nobunaga's sister Oichi decided to stick with their old alliance with the Asakura and backstabbed Nobunaga in Kanegasaki. Although Tokichiro (now renamed Hashiba Hideyoshi) ensured Nobunaga's escape via good leadership of his back guard, a ninja still managed to sneak and sniped Nobunaga to heavy wounds. Boy, was Nobunaga pissed... As a result, he called for help to his ally Tokugawa Ieyasu to strike at both Azai-Asakura, clashing at the river Anegawa. Nobunaga came out victorious as the Tokugawa struck at the Asakura, allowing him to strike at Azai. The clash continued to the Azai home at Odani, where Nagamasa made his last stand. However, he let Oichi and her daughters return home while he fought to the bitter end and committed seppuku.
- Ishiyama Honganji/Mt. Hiei (vs Ikko-Ikki Sect): Oh boy. This campaign is an important one because this was where Nobunaga showcased his ruthlessness and brutality, becoming the justification of many Demon King Nobunaga treatments. The warrior monks have been disruptive to both the locals and Nobunaga's conquest, and they have been a constant thorn on Nobunaga's side—such that even his tested commanders (such as Sakuma Nobumori and Araki Murashige) failed to decisively suppress them.note Eventually Nobunaga has had enough. Bringing forth his army, he surrounded the warrior monks into a certain Mt. Hiei, where they couldn't escape. Nobunaga then ordered his men to burn the mountain, leaving none alive, not even women or children were spared. Japan would forever remember this day, that Nobunaga showed that he meant business and could be as ruthless as a demon when the situation called, and he wouldn't give a shit about religions, especially if you attempt to hide behind it to justify your disruptive actions.
- Nagashino (vs Takeda Katsuyori): Another part of Nobunaga's important battles where he crushed another mighty clan. Beforehand, Takeda Shingen made great advances to the capital and trounced Tokugawa Ieyasu in Mikatagahara, leaving Nobunaga's flank exposed. Shingen unfortunately died mid-way, and was replaced by his son Katsuyori. Nobunaga, meanwhile, has been training with the fairly new muskets and gunpowders and came to like it. He then decided that he would use it to destroy the famed Takeda cavalry, which took place at Nagashino. By building up palisade walls beyond the river, he placed his matchlock troops in two lines for each palisades. One line fired, then they reloaded, replaced by another line where they would fire, creating a continuous volley of bullets. And with the river hindering the cavalry charge power, the Takeda cavalry were pretty much doomed. And Nobunaga once again showed the world that old traditional style of warfare has gone past its time, muskets would be the new big thing in warfare. Eventually Nobunaga would pursue and corner Katsuyori in Temmokuzan, where he committed seppuku.
- Tedorigawa (vs Uesugi Kenshin): On the defeat of the Takeda, their rival Uesugi decided to make a move to the capital as well. Uesugi Kenshin proved to be an overwhelming opponent where in Tedorigawa, he made use of the floodgate to diminish Nobunaga's forces. It would look as if Kenshin would put an end to Nobunaga's conquest... until he suddenly died. Regardless, the struggle with the Uesugi would continue and he put Shibata Katsuie in charge of it.
- Honnoji (vs Akechi Mitsuhide): While not exactly a grand battle, it's an important one because this was where Nobunaga finally bit the dust. Nobunaga mostly had his plan of unification under control so he decided to take a vacation with Tokugawa Ieyasu. In the middle of vacation, Nobunaga received a distress call from Hideyoshi, who asked for reinforcement to help quell the Mouri clan. Nobunaga sent in his general Akechi Mitsuhide to lead the early vanguard where he would take a small portion of his forces for a little business at Honnoji. Mitsuhide suddenly made a 180 turn and then surrounded Honnoji and attacked Nobunaga's dismal forces. Despite fighting for his life bravely, Nobunaga knew there was no escaping this, and so he told his page/wakashu Mori Ranmaru to burn the temple he resided while he committed seppuku. And so, the life of the first unifier of Japan came to an end.
Tropes as portrayed in fiction:
- Badass Mustache: Many many paintings of him got him with a mustache, so if he gets into a media that does not involve putting him in his youth, he'll always retain that mustache.
- Catch-Phrase: Modern age seems to think that there are these two phrases Nobunaga likes to spout: First, he likes to end his sentences with "de aru ka" ("Is that so?"). Second, he seems to like uttering the phrase "Zehi mo nashi" ("There is no certainty"/"It can't be helped."). The last one is reputedly based on the last phrase of the poetry he recited in the midst of the burning Honnoji, enough that people mistakenly thought that it's his Famous Last Words (that one actually goes to his request to Mori Ranmaru from afar to let none enter his room)
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He was certainly feared and respected in his lifetime, but he also confused his contemporaries with his antics. He earned the nickname "fool of Owari" and a widespread reputation to match in his youth, and from there got stranger still. He had an offbeat, acerbic sense of humor, comparing friends and foes alike to derogatory animals and even named his own heir "strange one" in his infancy for his apparently odd or ugly face. He had a reputation for speaking warmly and openly to his lessers, while often being curt and rude with officials and officers. He had a long record of outrageous behavior on and off the battlefield, such as chucking a china set into a pond when the guest who owned it complained about the food he was served. He was also flagrantly blasphemous towards Buddhism and the gods, yet traded freely with and sometimes even welcomed Christians, which was utterly unthinkable among Daimyo at the time. He went so far as to openly admire and collect western fashions and technology. Ultimately, it was likely his peculiar behavior and out of the box thinking that got him as far as it did in life. And also made him as a dangerous, vilified enemy in the eyes of many in his age. The blasphemy towards Buddhism might also factor in why the trope Demon King Nobunaga was made in response.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: His antics led his own family to dismiss him as nothing but "The Fool of Owari" and thought he'd bring ruin to the Oda clan. He proceeded to bring a golden age to his clan with extraordinary leadership and cunning.
- Good Is Old-Fashioned: Regardless of what his moral position is, one thing that Nobunaga represents is the power of innovation and change, rather than being bound with old traditions; he encouraged change and progress, unorthodox tactics or anything else to make way for progress; historians speculate that had Honnoji not happened, the course of Japan's history might change radically since Nobunaga might end up welcoming foreigners earlier to modernize Japan instead of blocking it from outer influence (what Tokugawa Ieyasu did to preserve the older traditions and his rule). The more traditional Japanese that sees outsiders as some sort of 'barbarians' use this to vilify Nobunaga as someone who dared collaborate with barbarians than preserving the old honor and tradition, which was considered 'good' and often romanticized in the previous history. And likewise, Nobunaga's victory at Nagashino represented just how effective his methods were to a frightening degree, a battle where victory is achieved by those who embraced progress than 'good ol' traditional pride'.
- Historical Badass Upgrade: Often portrayed as having super powers and being a One-Man Army due to making a pact with demons or being revived by supernatural forces in many manga. In addition even relatively realistic works portray him as being a Master Swordsman. He undoubtedly was trained in Japanese swordsmanship but sources don't indicate if he was the master duelist fiction portrays him to be.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: On some occasions, and it tends to exclude his Kick the Dog moments.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: One of the biggest victims of this in all Japanese history, to the point that he has his own dedicated subtrope. Of course, as mentioned repeatedly on this page, there are plenty of reasons why he usually plays the villain.
- Karmic Death: His death at the Honnou-ji Temple Incident still remains a classic case of this. In the words of Professor Kenneth G. Henshall:
For a man who loved burning down Buddhist Temples, it was the height of irony that he would himself die inside a burning Buddhist Temple, betrayed by men whom he trusted at least a little more than the rest.
- The Nicknamer: He was known for this in reality, referring to Toyotomi Hideyoshi as "monkey" and "rodent" for his appearance and mannerisms, calling Maeda Toshiee "dog" as a pun on his childhood name and nod to his loyalty note and comparing Chōsokabe Motochika to "the bat who refuses to fly away from its home". In fiction this trait is sometimes expanded or exaggerated.
Appears in the following works:
- Admiral Akainu from One Piece is VERY similar personality and method-wise to Nobunaga. He is even paired with two other admirals who fit the Hideyoshi (Kizaru) and Ieyasu (Aokiji) characters.
- In an early episode of Inuyasha, Kagome is startled when a handsome, idealistic young samurai gives his name as Nobunaga. She eagerly asks for his autograph, only to see in disappointment that he is Amari Nobunaga; when she asks about Oda Nobunaga, the other Nobunaga objects to being mistaken for "that idiot." This has been used by fans to put a date to the Inuyasha story, since there's a very limited period of time when Oda Nobunaga was known, but considered not to be a big deal.
- Nobunaga doesn't directly appear in Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma, but the story takes place at the height of his conquests, and he influences the story since the main character is a ninja serving the Takeda clan when it opposes Nobunaga, and because the brutality of Nobunaga's conquests is giving power to the Yoma demons. At one point the main character thinks about Nobunaga's brutality and wonders if he is a demon. While he's doing this, Nobunaga and his army are seen in a montage, and all of them have glowing red eyes.
- Nobunaga is a major antagonist in Samurai Deeper Kyo. Voiced by Shou Hayami, who even voices Akechi Mitsuhide's Basara portrayal, to top it off.
- In Drifters Nobunaga is one of the titular Drifters, famous personalities from Earth taken from their rightful time to do battles in other worlds. As one of the main characters he is portrayed as a Cool Old Guy and, despite very much reveling in his role of "Devil King", is one of the Drifters that are on the side of humanity.
- Oda Nobunaga is the reason Recca's clan all but perished in Flame of Recca, possibly as a reference to his more minor Tensho-Iga War but in the manga, his reasoning is still villainous, he heard about the mystical power of the Madogu and wanted to claim them for his own to help him conquer Japan, but the whole Hokage clan chose to hide all the Madogu from him and fight with normal weaponry, resulting the clan's annihilation. At the end of the series Kurei returns to Jidai Geki Japan and takes his revenge by assassinating Nobunaga at Honnoji (or rather, just helping him commit his planned seppuku).
- A rowdy young man implied to be Nobunaga appears in the Axis Powers Hetalia strip "The World of War and the Fool of Owari," in which he tells the anthropomorphic personification of Japan "This is the face of your future ruler." The anthropomorphic personification of Owari is skeptical.
- Nobunaga is gender flipped into a violent redhead with a big sword in Sengoku Otome. She's also one of the main characters, seeking out the pieces of the Crimson Armor to unite Japan. Her armor is largely reminiscent of Red Sonja, and she is one of the few portrayals of Nobunaga that is not villainous, wishing to stop the pointless conflict of the Sengoku Period by using the Armor as a vehicle through which she can end the fighting and unify the nation. Voiced by Yukari Tamura in the game and Megumi Toyoguchi in the anime.
- In the historical comedy manga and anime Hyouge Mono, Nobunaga is the liege lord of main character Sasuke. He is presented pretty much as he was in life: A very ambitious (and slightly megalomaniac) warlord with designs to rule Japan, and then conquer China and Take Over the World. He has an interest in western culture, wearing Portugese clothing and citing the myth of the Tower of Babel. He also seems to be highly dismissive of most of his vassals, with the exception of Sasuke whose foolishness amuses him. He is killed by Hideyoshi at Honno-Ji.
- Another Gender Flip variant occurs in Sengoku Collection. This Nobunaga is a Fish out of Temporal Water, and a little more naive than the Otome version. Still portrayed pretty positively, though.
- Another Gender Flip: In The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, he became Oda Nobuna—although her portrayal is a little bit closer to history. The protagonist, a time traveler who's taken the place of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, acts as Nobuna's Morality Chain, steering her away from the real-life Nobunaga's more ruthless impulses. This version is voiced by Kanae Itou in Japanese.
- Inazuma Eleven second series GO Chrono Stone has the current members of Raimon go back in time to get the power of Oda Nobunaga in order to defeat Protocol Omega 2.0.
- Nobunaga is the protagonist of Nobunaga the Fool and he's riding a Super Robot named "The Fool" while accompanied by Leonardo da Vinci and Joan of Arc who's a gender bent Reincarnation of Ranmaru. Yeah it's as weird as it sounds.
- In Nobunagun, Nobunaga is reincarnated in the modern day as a girl named Shio Ogura, who has a passion for More Dakka. Nobunaga himself often appears in her dreams or in visions, and the memories often help her figure out new ways to fight.
- In Nobunaga no Chef, Ken, the main character, becomes Nobunaga's chef after getting thrown back in time from the present day. The Nobunaga here is fairly balanced, an ambitious warlord capable of both kindness and cruelty.
- In Black Lion, Nobunaga is actually possessed by alien invaders who equip his armies with high-tech armaments so he can conquer Japan as a beachhead (probably; the backstory isn't covered much).
- In Wrath of the Ninja, Nobunaga appears to be the chief antagonist for the 3 heroes, conquering Japan with demonic help and seeking to be transformed into a demon himself. This time, however, there's The Man Behind the Man, a demon looking to use the bloodshed of war and Nobunaga's cruelty to power the demons themselves, and Nobunaga is just his patsy.
- In Nobunaga Concerto "Oda Nobunaga" is essentially an entity made up of Saburou (a former high-school student who timeslipped into the Sengoku period and took over the role from the real Oda Nobunaga), and Akechi Mitsuhide (who is in fact the real Oda Nobunaga).
- An omake chapter in Hikaru no Go is dedicated to dramatizing the assassination of Nobunaga (as a school play) by the main characters. The chapter focuses on the Go game played by the Go Masters Nikkai and Kashio Rigen before Nobunaga on the night before his death. During the game, a triple-ko, an extremely rare position appeared and the game ended in a draw. Because of this, the triple-ko is now considered to be an omen of ill fate.
- Is one of main characters in Ninja Girl & Samurai Master, with the main protagonist being a ninja who serves him.
- He does not make an appearance specifically in Rurouni Kenshin, but Arc Villain Shishio Makoto handily serves as a stand-in caricature of his philosophy of Social Darwinism, glorifying warrior culture, and even his entourage (he has a mistress who is fully supportive of his crueler acts [like certain depictions of his wife No-hime], he has a young apprentice [like Mori Ranmaru], and he even has an ally who tried to be The Starscream [akin to certain views on Akechi Mitsuhide]). He even sets up shop in Mt. Hiei, where Nobunaga razed monks and civilians into the fire.
- In Touken Ranbu - Hanamaru, his swords are unusually disdainful of their previous master. He was not kind to them, or to others. However, when sent back to the evening of his death, they do feel a certain melancholy fondness for him.
- In the film for Ghost Sweeper Mikami, both Oda Nobunaga and his vassal blamed for his death, Akechi Mitsuhide, appear. A ghostly Akechi defends his apparent betrayal by explaining that Nosferatu killed the original Oda, transformed himself and took his place, leading to the famed brutality.
- In Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha, Takeda Shingen, a powerful rival of Nobunaga's, (and perhaps a better general) uses a lookalike thief to pretend to be healthy instead of dead in an attempt to discourage an attack on his clan. Rightfully infuriated, Nobunaga proceeds to decimate the Takeda cavalry led by Shingen's son, the hotheaded Takeda Katsuyori in the Battle of Nagashino.
- Nobunaga is a target of the ninjas in Shinobi no Mono.
- The historical novel Taiko traces the rise of Nobunaga's general Toyotomi Hideyoshi from peasant to general and regent for the Emperor. Nobunaga, as Toyotomi's lord for much of his life, plays a large role. His defining characteristics are ambition and constant fury.
- The Adventures of Samurai Cat tells the epic tale of Miawaro Tomokato's quest to avenge the death of his lord, Odo Nobunaga, who true to form had irritated a lot of people in his youth.
- Nobunaga is the Big Bad in the novel Blood Ninja, set in 1500s Japan.
- Appears very thinly disguised as Goroda the Dictator in the backstory of Shogun. Notably, Mariko is Akechi's daughter and never, ever forgives "Goroda's" successor for executing her father.
- Another non-evil version in the Kamen no Ninja Akakage (Red Shadow) live-action Japanese TV series. (Three Compilation Movies were released in English as Watari.)
- Toshiie to Matsu gives a largely sympathetic portrayal, though it doesn't shy away from Nobunaga's worse moments, either. (It helps that the actor portraying him is quite handsome.)
- In Kamen Rider:
- A homonculus version of Nobunaga appears in Kamen Rider OOO's first movie. Exactly what he is is hard to tell - Nobunaga himself revived by Medals, or a Greeed that thinks it's Oda Nobunaga? He is portrayed as ambition incarnate, but a pretty nice guy to his friends. However, at times, he turns into his monster form and kills the descendants of those he blames for his death, and is seemingly unaware of this when not actively engaged in it. Core Medals given to him by Dr. Maki corrupt him into a Greeed-like being that Eiji has to stop. And even then, he's not really stopped, as his Core Medals go on to create an even bigger problem. Oh, and "Nobu-kun" is the first user of the Kamen Rider Birth belt, to boot.
- Kamen Rider X Kamen Rider Gaim And Wizard The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle is set in a parallel Sengoku Jidai where the Kamen Riders are members of warring factions lead by alternate universe versions of historical figures. In reference to the above movie, Nobunaga leads the OOO faction and is portrayed as an alternate version of Akira Date/Kamen Rider Birth, with actress Mao Ueda playing Ranmaru. Nobunaga doesn't get to do all that much since the Honnoji incident happens shortly after the heroes show up, but before he dies he declares Kaito Kumon his successor, declaring that the young man's ambition is almost as strong as his own.
- As an aside, Nobunaga's daughter Chacha and her husband Hideyoshi also appear in the movie, as parallel versions of Kamen Rider W's Akiko Narumi and Ryu Terui/Kamen Rider Accel. Rather than any important historical points, this mainly seems to have been done because the actors were willing to Cameo and the staff needed a married couple for them to portray.
- Kamen Rider Ghost offers a fairer portrayal of Nobunaga than past Rider shows. In an early episode, the Victim of the Week is a businessman who idolizes Nobunaga because his ancestor was one of the warlord's trusted men. However, he gets Mind Controlled by the villains, causing him to act like the stereotypical "Demon King" portrayal; Takeru breaks the man free by reminding him that Nobunaga was A Father to His Men, represented by the man's prized possession, a signed commendation Nobunaga gave to his ancestor. This ends up awakening the spiritual power in the commendation, allowing the heroes to summon and channel Nobunaga's spirit through a "Ghost Eyecon," a Soul Jar-slash-Transformation Trinket in which he resides until called upon. This Eyecon is mostly used by Kamen Rider Specter; its transformation jingle name-drops Okehazama and its Weapon of Choice is the rifle, with its Finishing Move creating a line of phantasmal tanegashima to let Specter act as a one-man firing squad. Nobunaga, as well as all the others ghostly historical figures in the series, is voiced by Tomokazu Seki here.
- In the climax of the post-series movie Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legendary Riders, Nobunaga says that Takeru's spirit impressed his fellows Hideyoshi and Ieyasu, and together they create the Tenkatoitsu ("World Unifier") Eyecon that grants Takeru an 11th-Hour Superpower form.
- Kamen Rider Zi-O briefly discussed Nobunaga, using him to parallel the show's protagonist Sougo Tokiwa, who may or may not become the Evil Overlord Ohma Zi-O fifty years in the future. During the Kamen Rider OOO story arc (of course), Sougo goes to work for Kuroto Dan, which makes his erstwhile allies Tsukuyomi and Geiz worry that he's willingly walking the path to become Ohma Zi-O. Later, Sougo's uncle (who has no idea what's happening) tells Tsukuyomi that he's a fan of Nobunaga's; when she asks "But wasn't he a horrible warlord?", the uncle admits that he did do some terrible things, but he also did plenty of good things too, and says that you can't view history from just a single perspective. This inspires Tsukuyomi to trust Sougo, and eventually he reveals that he only followed Kuroto because he wanted to see what a bad king looks like, so he would know what not to do when he became The Good King later on.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Shi En and the rest of the Legendary Six Samurai are based off Oda Nobunaga's life story.
- GURPS: Infinite Worlds: In the Shikaku-Mon timeline, alterations in the dynastic successions in Europe result in Portugal being able to focus more of its energy on colonization and conversion. More Jesuit missionaries in Japan result in more Christian converts and more support for Nobunaga, who lives long enough to finish the conquest of Japan himself and avert the sakoku (closing of the country to outsiders). Japan adopts Western technology with a vengeance, colonizes its neighbors, and ends up top dog in a cyberpunk-flavored world.
- The setting of AkaSeka being a Fantasy Counterpart Culture lumping multiple eras of Japanese history together, of course he shows up, albeit a Name's the Same person with no relations to the historical Nobunaga. His underlings include Ranmaru, Mitsuhide (who, in this universe, shows no sign of betraying him now or any time soon), Ishida Mitsunari, Takenaka Hanbē and Kuroda Kanbē.
- In the Onimusha game series Nobunaga is mortally wounded by an arrow during his great victory at Okehazama, but makes a deal with the demon king to return to life as a demon and conquer Japan on behalf of the demons.
- In Kessen III, Nobunaga does a rare turn as the protagonist, depicted in much more idealized fashion, making the traitor whose attack would kill him the antagonist, while using relatively conventional depictions of the rest of the cast. (Unlike Samurai Warriors however it actually deals with the shogunate at the time.) This game surprisingly contains a lot of Take That! to treatments toward Nobunaga in general fiction...
- Samurai Warriors has Nobunaga as one of many playable characters, voiced by Juurouta Kosugi. He has a reputation for brutality and is called "The Demon King" as a nom de guerre. Also, the ruff of his armor tends to shed black feathers everywhere, he's using a black lightsaber as a weapon, and his victory line is literally an Evil Laugh. However, despite his incredibly sinister appearance, the series as a whole tends to paint him as more of a ruthless pragmatist willing to do whatever it takes to unite Japan and bring about peace than a genuinely evil bastard, mirroring the complex re-evaluation he has begun to receive in modern times. Nobunaga further seems to get less evil with each incarnation, to the point that Magoichi Saika, a man who loathes him with a passion, finds the rule of Nobunaga preferable to the chaos that happens after his death. Heck, in the first installment of the crossover, Nobunaga is practically the Big Good, uniting humanity behind him into a single Resistance Army to defeat the Serpent King.
- His love life is similarly complex. His wife wavers between wanting to kill for him and wanting to kill him (their marriage was a setup for his assassination, but she has decided to forego going through with it until she sees what he plans to do), and his relationship with his pageboy, Mori Ranmaru, is much less platonic in the original Japanese. Nobunaga finds both of them attractive in his quotes, making him a rare video game bisexual male protagonist.
- He also gets paired up ironically in the second game with Akechi Mitsuhide, his future killer. However, in his ending he actually survives, killing Mitsuhide instead and shows that he is in fact capable of feelings of remorse and regret.
- Also from his ending in the third game, he openly admits that no man could have whatever he wants, and that he knows very well that his age will be overwritten by future rulers. Thus, he's also notably a lot more non-nonchalant and not as stubborn for when the age starts to shift. By the fourth game, he practically wants to be surpassed just so his rule can have a proper foundation for a more powerful ruler to make use of.
- Again, via a more prior Koei proxy Nobunaga indeed appears again in one of their games. A rare case of a non-evil Oda Nobunaga: the strategy video game Nobunaga's Ambition, which lets you play as Nobunaga or any of three dozen other daimyo trying to claim the Japanese crown. Nobunaga generally has the best attributes of all of them, though.
- In the series' crossover with Pokémon and another Koei-proxy title, known as Pokémon Conquest in America, Nobunaga is one of the main antagonists. His badassery is not lost here, as he gets to control not one, but two Legendary dragons (first Zekrom, then Shiny Rayquaza) through the course of the game. Oddly, this is one of his most positive portrayals, given that his entire motive is eventually revealed to be stopping conflict before people grow to view their Pokémon as little more than tools. The final story teams him up with the player character as the eponymous "Two Heroes of Ransei".
- Ninja Gaiden identifies him as the original patron of the Hayabusa clan, funding the construction of their Hidden Ninja Village to defend the sacred peak of Mt. Fuji from evil forces.
- Nobunaga is the final boss of the Neo Geo fighting game Ninja Master's - Hao Ninpo Cho, complete with a pair of flaming swords and a posessed demonic cape.
- In Inindo, Nobunaga is the Big Bad, and survives the attack on the Honnoji. But through careful play, he can die when historically supposed to (Shocks!) and be replaced by a random guy who appears for no reason with his demon-pet. Woowee!
- The Taikou Risshiden RPG/strategy series, where Hideyoshi is the main character, has Nobunaga shown as an magnificent lord defying the norm by trusting a peasant-born warrior.
- Shogun: Total War has a non-evil Nobunaga; in the linear campaign the player gets to command several of his more famous battles. The sequel, Total War: Shogun 2 also has Oda Nobunaga eventually be born into the Oda clan in its main campaign and ascend as its daimyo (though in typical Total War fashion, the player may allow Alternate History to happen, like declaring another individual as heir to the clan's leadership). Additionally, many of the game's historical battles depicts famous victories of Oda Nobunaga (the battles of Okehazama, Kizugawaguchi, Anegawa, Nagashima, and the final siege of Nagashima note ) and Nobunaga is the unique general for the Oda clan in multiplayer.
- Nobunaga makes a very brief appearance at the beginning of a historical campaign mission in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors, in which he is assassinated. The player then receives control of Hideyoshi's troops and the goal is to destroy three castles in Kyoto to avenge Nobunaga's death.
- Nobunaga gets referenced in SoulCalibur as the one who cut off Yoshimitsu's arm, or at least was there when it happened, and is the one responsible for Yoshimitsu's Doomed Hometown.
- Oda Nobunaga is the Japanese leader in Civilization V. His skill (Bushido) allows damaged units to be able to fight on as if they had full strength. In terms of his personality, he's one of the most expansionist-minded leaders, he focuses heavily on military training and air power, and he is never to be trusted.
- Nobunaga in Ikusagami inverts this, plays it straight and then inverts again. Nobunaga is shown to orchestrate battles solely to study Aoi Yasaka, Inugami and the demons and shows a borderline obsession towards them, but Mitsuhide Akechi takes the final boss role.
- In the H-Game Sengoku Rance, Nobunaga is shown to be a very compassionate leader and loves his sister dearly. His genocidal tendencies are caused by being possessed by a literal demon.
- In Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, Nobunaga appears as the immortal demon lord Big Bad. (Ranmaru, meanwhile, is The Dragon and appears as a bunny boy in a dress.)
- In Robo Aleste, Nobunaga is revealed to be the reincarnation of Lucifer, who will try to destroy the world by revealing his true form. Or so Astaros claims; the ending isn't quite clear.
- Nobunaga serves as something akin to a Big Bad, if not Evil Overlord to the max in Sengoku Basara. Though being a Dynasty Warriors-esque game defeating him isn't necessarily part of any individual character's story. He's about as stereotypical a villain as you can find, with Spikes of Villainy and Evil Laugh and speeches aplenty, and little goal beyond "kill/conquer everything", and is voiced by Norio Wakamoto of all people to drive the point home. He's playable in all the games currently released, fighting in European full plate and wielding a longsword and a blunderbluss and drawing upon dark demonic powers for his specials. Unusually for a game set in the Sengoku Period, pretty much everyone associated with the Oda Clan (including his killer Akechi Mitsuhide) are evil, with the exception of his sister Oichi who's a Tragic Villain, or possibly his demoted subordinate, Shibata Katsuie (who's too apathetic to do much evil).
- In Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban Nobunaga (or "NObunaga" as the game spells it) is revived as a missile-shooting cyborg by Martians who want to rule the Earth. It's just another bizarreness of the game that does not take itself seriously at all.
- In Payday 2, the player can steal his armor during the Shadow Raid job.
- The Nasuverse version originated from Koha-Ace, a gag manga, which subjected Nobunaga to its notorious Gender Flip, turning him into a female with a Napoleon complex as a parody of the franchise's tendency to do this to famous historical figures. She later popped up in the mobile game Fate/Grand Order, a spin-off of Fate/stay night, voiced by Rie Kugimiya. That being said, she is also one of the most powerful limited-edition Servants a player can command in the game, with her Noble Phantasm summoning "three thousand muskets" to lay waste to her opponents with.
- As another gag of the series, Nobunaga wasn't the only Oda figure that got included as a Servant in Koha-Ace. Who's the next one? One might think it would be Mori Ranmaru, but it was actually Mori Nagayoshi, his short-lived brother that died at Komaki-Nagakute known for his reckless spirit. Perhaps that was why he got the Berserker class.
- Nioh establishes Nobunaga as a major antagonist alongside Big Bad Edward Kelley, as the opening CG cinematic sets the tone for the game. Although the events of Nioh are set before the Battle of Sekigahara, years after Nobunaga has died, Kelley resurrects him near the climax of the story, hoping to reignite Civil War with the help of the most bloodthirsty, brutal warlord Japan has even seen. However, Nobunaga is incensed he's Back from the Dead, calling out Kelley for doing so, as he isn't interested in forcing the land through another conflict to rebuild something whose time is past, returning to the afterlife immediately.
- Ikemen Sengoku depicts Nobunaga as a deeply flawed but ultimately sympathetic Anti-Hero (and potential love interest for the female main character) who has quite understandably earned the hatred of multiple characters for his ruthless killing of countless people but also has just as understandably earned the loyalty and admiration of multiple other characters with his charisma, Tough Love for his men, and genuinely well-intentioned ambition to create a world in which no one has to suffer from poverty or class-based discrimination. The main character, who traveled back in time from the modern day to Sengoku-era Japan, has to reconcile her image of him as an evil tyrant from her history classes with the man who can be cold and terrifying but also unexpectedly kind and caring, and ultimately decides that while she can't agree with all of his actions or beliefs, she can see how his brutal upbringing made him believe that such actions were necessary for the greater good of Japan and understand why other characters like Ieyasu and Hideyoshi are so devoted to him.