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"If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it."

"Destroy everything equally."

Credited as being the first of the Three Unifiers of modern Japan, Oda Nobunaga (June 23, 1534 - June 21, 1582) 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 being fully willing to engage in some necessary brutalities. Also probably a reason why the name "Nobunaga" is rare in Japan these days (unless you're Nobunaga Shimazaki).

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 for all of five minutes before the Imagawa forced him to send Ieyasu over. Once they come to age, they become important allies. See his article for more details.
    • 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:
    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.)
  • 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, due to such kind of passionate love affairs being quite popular in the Edo period. Ranmaru perished in Honnoji along the other pages and attendants who was with Nobunaga when the temple was invaded by the Akechi soldiers. 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. As a page in his younger days, he was purportedly also involved in the same pederasty with Nobunaga as Ranmaru (although he's eventually allowed to have a legal wife, Maeda Matsu, later). 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, he tends to be the Foil to Ranmaru; most likely getting the portrayal of a gung-ho big guy with Boisterous Bruiser elements while being an Old Retainer. With a few exceptions. This is mostly taking account from how he was very fierce in battles, earning the nickname "Oni/Devil Shibata".
  • 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 the alliance fell apart. note  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/Kochou/Sagiyama-dono: 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 husbandnote , though some paintings depict her in joining the likes of Ranmaru in a Last Stand at Honnoji, dying in process like a Yamato Nadeshiko fulfilling her duty to defend her home. 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.
  • Saitou Dousan: Originally Toshimasa (with Dosan being his lay-monk name), Dosan would be Kicho's father and thus Nobunaga's father-in-law. Despite his reputation as "the Viper of Mino" (allegedly for his shifting loyalties and his tendency to have enemies poisoned), certain historical records would also label Dosan as an able administrator, at least better than the original warlords of Mino he overthrew. Despite decades of rivalry with Nobunaga's father, Oda Nobuhide, he would later choose to marry Kichou/Nouhime to Nobunaga for political reasons. Nevertheless, it is alleged that Dosan and Nobunaga eventually found each other more agreeable. Indeed, to the point that supposedly Dosan willed the entire province of Mino to Nobunaga rather than his own son, that it led to Dousan's overthrow and assassination by his firstborn, Yoshitatsu. Partly for political reasons and vengeance on Dousan's behalf, Nobunaga would invade Mino and drive out his Saitou in-laws into exile and irrelevance.
  • Yasuke: While not exactly a household name compared to others, this guy holds the honor of being the first black African seen in central Japan who rose to become a weapon-bearer in Oda Nobunaga's retinue, making him History's earliest example of a foreign-born Samurai.note  Yasuke first arrived in Japan alongside the Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano, where the novelty of an African man within the capital caused such a sensation amongst the localsnote  that Nobunaga caught wind of it and requested that the "cafre" be brought to him. At first, Nobunaga refused to believe that Yasuke's black skin was natural and ordered that he be stripped and washed to make sure he wasn't just painted by the priests with ink. But the more his servants scrubbed, the darker Yasuke's skin became. After clearing up this confusion, Nobunaga became greatly impressed by Yasuke; who was exceptionally tallnote , spoke a respectable amount of Japanese, knew some party tricks, and was described having The Strength of Ten Men. This lasting impression led Nobunaga to ask Valignano to transfer the African man over to him and the rest is history. Yasuke's tenure under Nobunaga was relatively short, lasting just a little over a year between 1581 to 1582. But during that time, Yasuke accompanied Nobunaga into the Battle of Tenmokuzan and was present during the Honnō-ji Incident and the resulting skirmishes. In the end, he was captured by Mitsuhide's army while fighting in the defense of Oda Nobutada. It is said that Mitsuhide decided Yasuke was Not Worth Killing on the grounds that a "black slave is an animal" and thus could not be considered Japanese, instead choosing to either ship him back to the Jesuits or put him under the care of a 'Nanbanji'note . There are no records of Yasuke's remaining life after the battle, leaving his ultimate fate an enigma. While Yasuke tended to be left out of early media due to Small Reference Pools, he's since then become a popular figure in modern Jidaigeki with franchises such as Nioh and Guilty Gearnote  significantly elevating Yasuke's profile in pop culture.
  • Lady Ikoma/Kitsunonote : Nobunaga's favorite concubine. Since Nouhime above was barren, Nobunaga had to do something to secure a descendant. And that was where Kitsuno came in, giving birth to Nobunaga's children and generally well liked by Nobunaga himself. She was thought to have been quite sickly in life, and died at a relatively young age. Some legends even claim that she was Nobunaga's true love, so much that Nobunaga cried for days when she died.

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 (or in his time, just around Japan). 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 with the request of the Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiaki, to escort him back to the throne thanks to his brother Yoshiteru being assassinated. Once Nobunaga restored Yoshiaki's position, he then realized that Nobunaga just made him a Puppet Shogun and in return 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 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 warrior monks of Ikko-Ikki and Tendai sects): This is actually too complicated to summarize into a bite-sized article. Nobunaga's campaigns against the militant monks are the justification of many Demon King Nobunaga treatments, but as with many things in history, nothing is ever that simple. 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  He had to agree on a cease fire with Azai-Asakura for the moment (he would come to stomp them personally in a later date) so he could concentrate on vanquishing these disruptive monks. Bringing forth his army, he invaded Mt. Hiei, where the monks' main headquarters Enryakuji was located. Nobunaga then ordered his men to burn the mountain, and history recorded somewhere between 1000-3000 people were put to death — men, women, and children alike. This burning of Mt. Hiei is the reason why Nobunaga has his Demon King reputation, as Mt. Hiei was a holy site revered by the people for many centuries. Setting it on fire would be like if you burn down the Vatican today. note  Ishiyama Honganji proved to be a much tougher foe. Unlike Enryakuji, which is only concentrated one site, they control a network of temples and militant groups all over Japan, and its main headquarters at Ishiyama had strong defences that is very difficult to breach. After 10 years of on and off battles against the Honganji forces with no end in sight, Nobunaga showed that he's not only a powerful man in battlefield, but also in politics. He brought down an imperial decree on Honganji, and evicted the chief abbot Kennyo, thus putting an end to the feud.note 
  • 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. Unfortunately for the Takeda, the legendary Shingen died mid-way, and was replaced by his son Katsuyori, who was actually pretty capable, but just had problems in living up to his father's awesomeness. Nobunaga took the opportunity to team up with Ieyasu, and launched an attack against their common nemesis the Takeda at Nagashino. The Tokugawa set up camp as the vanguard, running distraction operations, while the Oda behind them put up palisades to defend against the incoming cavalry and prepared their guns. note  It's a common misconception to say that Nobunaga won this battle because he was the only person around who regularly used guns in warfare but he wasn't. He just had more of them, and better bullets toonote . The guns mowed down the Takeda cavalry, and the Takeda never truly recovered as a powerhouse after this battle, and some years later, Nobunaga would pursue and corner Katsuyori in Temmokuzan, where he committed seppuku.
  • Tedorigawa (vs Uesugi Kenshin): Nobunaga received report that trouble was brewing in one of the Oda outposts that bordered the Uesugi territories, and so he sent Shibata Katsuie to take care of it. The domain had turned to Uesugi before Shibata arrived there, and so the Oda forces was surprised to find themselves face to face with Uesugi Kenshin himself. They were routed into Tedorigawa river, and had to withdraw. Kenshin, who didn't know that Nobunaga wasn't actually there, was utterly disappointed about how easy of a fight it had been. He died the very next year, so who knows what he could or would have done moving forward.
  • Sieges of Kozuki, Itami/Arioka and Takamatsu (vs the Mori clan): While noted patriarch Mouri Motonari has long since passed, the Mouri clan was under the able leadership of his grandson Mouri Terumoto and his uncles (Kikkawa Motoharu and Kobayakawa Takakage), talented generals on their own right. The Mouri, implementing a defensive strategy, would instead enable/supply smaller clans on the way of the Oda machinery and halt their advance (the ones involved here being the Ikko-Ikki as discussed above, a treasonous Araki Murashige, and their castellan Shimizu Muneharu (for Itami and Takamatsu, respectively). Kozuki, in turn, was held by The Remnant of their old rivals the Amako, who Nobunaga and Hideyoshi promised support to. Strictly speaking, the campaigns themselves were part of the overall Oda conquest program, but have been mostly implemented personally by Hideyoshi. The campaigns would also involve another of Hideyoshi's notable strategists, Kuroda Kanbei (who was in fact held hostage in Itami due to initially offering terms to the Araki). The results of the campaign was a mixed bag: the Amako were defeated by the Mouri, Araki was smoked out and Kanbei rescued, and Takamatsu was going pretty well for Hideyoshi, up until...
  • 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 report 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 committed seppuku, instead of letting the enemies take his head and humiliate him. And so, the life of the first unifier of Japan came to an end. Most fiction said that he told Ranmaru or other vassals to burn the temple he resided while he put his own life to end, but nobody actually knew who set the place on fire, with some accounts claiming that fire burst from the kitchens (implying a completely accidental fire).

Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

  • Anti-Hero: Even at his softest and most moral Nobunaga is almost always presented as someone who isn't above ruthlessness and making an example of others, even with close allies. In this case he's usually a Pragmatic Hero or Unscrupulous Hero, presented as someone forced to into ruthlessness and bloodshed due to circumstance or has to do so for the greater good of stopping even more bloodshed.
  • Catchphrase: 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?"). This was based on his smartass response when he was introduced to his father-in-law Saitou Dousan for the first time. Second, he seems to like uttering the phrase "Zehi mo nashi/zehi mo oyobazu" ("It can't be helped."/"It was inevitable."). The one is based on his response when he received reports of Mitsuhide's rebellion at Honnouji, and was largely considered his "last words" (which, of course, really depends on which historical record you're reading from).
  • 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 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. The blasphemy towards Buddhism might also factor in why the trope Demon King Nobunaga was made in response.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Nobunaga almost always prefers convenient and effective tactics over stuffy old maneuvers. His use of firearms alone made him a force to be reckoned with.
  • 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.
  • Cultured Badass: Aside of his military successes, Nobunaga was into various cultures, both traditional and foreign ones (despite crushing the former that don't like the latter). One of his favorite plays is most likely the Atsumori Noh play as he's reputed to perform such dances and often cited one of the stage's paragraphs to express his life views as if it's one of his other Catchphrase (because he didn't invent it):
    Mankind's 50 years, when compared to years in Getennote , it is but a very dream and illusion.
  • Fanboy: While he's also known as some sort of Western Otaku, there's one traditional Japanese thing that Nobunaga is a fanboy of: Sumo. He's known to organize sumo tournaments purely for his and his men's entertainment and generously rewarded the champion of those tourneys.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Nobunaga is known to be very welcoming with Europeans in a time where others are wary of them note . He's very open and tolerating to Christian missionaries and protected them against the objections and threats of Buddhist sects who detested the rival religion intruding on their turf. When the missionaries came to visit him, Nobunaga personally served them the food and refreshments and took them on tours around his castle (as opposed to ordering his attendants to do it).
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: His origins are usually those of an upstart daimyo everyone looked down on. By the time of his death he was revered by his allies and feared by his enemies.
  • 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). It's not to say that he completely disregards tradition. He has enough respect for it, but at the same time he doesn't let himself be tied down by it.
  • 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. Many positive portrayals of Nobunaga either skipped out the burning of Mt. Hiei or portray it as a necessary Shoot the Dog moment, where Nobunaga really had no choice but to initiate such brutality otherwise the war in Japan would not end.
    • One of the things you can be sure that writers would gloss out was the falling out between him and his sister. In any Sengoku-based fictions, Nagamasa's son were either Adapted Out or Nobunaga just skipped the part of executing him, allowing him to act more like a good big brother that lent his sister a shoulder to cry on after she experienced such a crappy fate for her happy marriage.
      • Historically speaking, it's not known for certain whether Nagamasa's son was also Oichi's son or not (as he purportedly had another consort), so in the rare occasions that this was actually discussed, people also justify Oichi having no reaction on the boy's death by this fact. Instead, they only focus on Oichi's feelings towards her husband.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: One of the biggest victims of this in all Japanese history, to the point that he has his own dedicated subtrope though recent depictions have taken a more nuanced and sympathetic tone with him. 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.
  • Magnetic Hero: Whether villain or hero, Nobunaga is always presented as a charismatic individual that draws others to him with their loyalty being genuine.
  • The Musketeer: While a samurai, Nobunaga is always shown to have a particular affinity for guns. His use of them revolutionized Japanese warfare and forced other clans to adapt or face defeat.
  • 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 called Chōsokabe Motochika "a bat in an island with no birds". In fiction this trait is sometimes expanded or exaggerated.
  • Pet the Dog: Even if portrayed as a villain, Nobunaga is still shown to have genuine friendships with others.
  • Token Black Friend: He was very fond of Yasuke, a African slave formerly in the service of Alessandro Valignano that Nobunaga negotiated to be brought into his personal retinue as a Samurai. Nobunaga even gifted Yasuke a house with his own servants/pages, which is a glowing endorsement when compaired to how he initially treated Hideyoshi, who was Nobunaga's sandal-bearer prior to carving out a more respectable position for himself.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Practically the Trope Codifier for the Warring States Period. After Okehazama he goes from some random lord in Owari derided as a buffoon to The Dreaded on the battlefield due to introducing new tactics and strategies many clans weren't equipped to counter as well as his charisma that gains him many allies.

Appears in the following works:

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  • One Piece:
    • Admiral (now Fleet Admiral) Akainu/Sakazuki is VERY similar both personality and method-wise to Nobunaga. He is even paired with two other admirals who fit the Hideyoshi (Kizaru) and Ieyasu (Aokiji) characters.
    • Kozuki Oden, former and deceased daimyo of the Kuri region in the Land of Wano and Momonosuke's father. While Oden was definitely more moral, his vast list of insane accomplishments and wholly uncontrollable behavior resembles Nobunaga. And just like Nobunaga, Oden dies before he can see his dream come true, sacrificing himself so that his retainers and children complete it for him in the future. "Oden" also happens to be a viable alternate reading for the kanji "Oda".
  • 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 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 Show 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, particularly teaching them how to make gunpowder and about all the cool things one can do with it.
  • 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 Jidaigeki Japan and takes his revenge by assassinating Nobunaga at Honnoji (or rather, just helping him commit his planned seppuku), Nobunaga is pretty chill about it and considered it inevitable that Kurei wanted a piece of him.
  • A rowdy young man implied to be Nobunaga appears in the Hetalia: Axis Powers 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 Battle Girls: Time Paradox. 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. And also trying to create a timeline where both Nobuna and Akechi Mitsuhide will survive which turns out more difficult than anticipated because Mitsuhide has yandere tendencies and has romantic feelings for both Nobuna and the protagonist. This version is voiced by Kanae Itō 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.
  • As part of the Alternate History of Strike Witches, Nobunaga survived the Honnou-ji incident, after which he joins up with Hideyoshi's forces and unifies all of Japan. A semi-official doujin work covers this bit, featuring a Historical Gender Flip version of Mori Ranmaru as a Witch who flew Nobunaga out of Honnou-ji.
  • The manga Sengoku Komachi Kurou Tan is about a modern day Japanese girl going back in time and being saved/accosted by Oda Nobunaga, who exploits her knowledge of agriculture and other technologies.
  • The SD Gundam sub-franchise would get its second character based off of him from the SD Gundam World series with Nobunaga Gundam Epyon.
  • Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga: Nobunaga is reincarnated as Cinnamon, a Shiba Inu living in modern day Japan and owned by a teenage girl. Other warlords like Takeda Shingen, Sanada Yukimura and Uesugi Kenshin are also reincarnated as dogs.
  • Yasuke features Nobunaga in a supporting role in flashback scenes from before his death during the Incident at Honno-ji.
  • Nobunaga Teacher's Young Bride focuses on a modern schoolteacher descended from and sharing his name with the historical figure, who apparently has the power to reawaken the memories of other figures from the historical Nobunaga's life in their descendants by touching them.
  • A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics: Sara and Livia are from an alternate world where Nobunaga lived to old age and succeeded in unifying Japan, with his empire and lineage surviving to the present day.

    Film - Animated 
  • 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.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Oda Nobunaga is a key character in the first live-action Touken Ranbu film, Touken Ranbu The Movie, who the protagonists are dispatched on a mission to secure the death of during the Honnou-ji Incident after the Historical Retrograde Army try to meddle with it in a bid to change history. Nobunaga being rescued from his death is what kicks off the main plot of the film.

  • 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.

    Live Action TV 
  • A 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.)
  • Understandably, being a very popular character in Japan, he is a staple of many NHK Taiga Dramas. Some notable appearances include the following:
    • Kunitori Monogatari (国盗り物語, 1973), based on the novel by Ryotaro Shiba. He would share screentime with his father-in-law Saito Dosan (with whom he shares a ruthless reputation on the battlefield) and the man who would kill him, Akechi Mitsuhide. Hideki Takahashi, later a veteran actor of film and television, would portray Nobunaga in one of his earlier roles.
    • Nobunaga: King of Zipangu (信長 KING OF ZIPANGU, 1992), portrayed by Naoto Ogata. The series shows him as a rebellious son who actively rejects his father's petty-minded bloodshed, chronicling his way towards becoming the remarkable conqueror and "demon king" he will go down in history as.
    • Toshiie to Matsu (2002) gives a largely sympathetic portrayal, though it doesn't shy away from Nobunaga's worse moments, either. (It helps that the actor portraying him, Takashi Sorimachi, is quite handsome.)
    • Gō: Hime-tachi no Sengoku (江〜姫たちの戦国〜, 2011). As the uncle of the titular character (and whose conflict with her father Azai Nagamasa led to the latter's death in battle), his actions loom large in her fate and that of her sisters.
    • Gunshi Kanbei (軍師官兵衛, 2014), portrayed by Yosuke Eguchi. We see him taking in the runaway Kinoshita Tokichiro and gives him many Pet the Dog moments, underlying his preference on merit and progressiveness over clan standing. Tokichiro/Hideyoshi's loyalty convinces the titular Kuroda Kanbei of the righteousness of the Oda unification cause, even as the body count of its conquests pile up. At the same time, he is also actively overworking his generals and demanding very high standards of them, to the point of causing an inferiority complex on his successor, dismissing long-time retainers, or even causing them to rebel out of fear (notably Araki Murashige and, obviously, Akechi Mitsuhide). The series even implies what eventually drives Mitsuhide's rebellion is just how radical Nobunaga's vision is—with him seeking to eliminate the Emperor of Japan from politics entirely. Nevertheless, he goes down fighting and securing himself to commit seppuku, satisfied with how his life turned out.
    • Kirin ga Kuru (麒麟がくる; 2020), portrayed by Shota Sometani. Despite the storyline covering similar ground as Kunitori Monogatari, the series chose a significantly-psychological take on his character, following him from being "the fool of Owari" towards the hegemon he became—even implying they're not as unrelated as usually assumed. Nobunaga's "foolish antics" is portrayed as him looking at the lives of regular people up-close (not unlike Prince Hal of Henry IV, Part 1), giving him a unique perspective on the governance issues Owari experiences under his less-than-capable father Nobuhide. However, the series also gives him a massive case of "Well Done, Son" Guy—with much of his subsequent life and political choices being about pleasing those that he latches onto (with his parents unsuccessfully; with his wife No/Kicho, his father-in-law Dosan, and the protagonist Jubei/Mitsuhide, a bit more successful). This search for approval increasingly consumes him as his power grows (with the pressures and frustrations that comes with it). He is eventually left unsatisfied, paranoid and truly confused when people begin to disapprove of/betray him one by one (as they historically did)—culminating in Mitsuhide's treason.
  • 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 × Kamen Rider Gaim & 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 make a 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 main weapon 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.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O uses Nobunaga more than once to parallel the show's protagonist Sougo Tokiwa, who wants to become a king but may or may not ultimately 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 the megalomaniacal 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.
      • During the Over Quartzer movie near the end of the series, the heroes time travel to the Sengoku era and meet Nobunaga himself. It turns out that he was a cowardly womanizer (basically, he never grew out of his "Fool of Owari" phase), and all the military victories attributed to him were actually won by Geiz while posing as Nobunaga.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • 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.


    Video Games 
  • The setting of AkaSeka being a Fantasy Counterpart Culture lumping multiple eras of Japanese history together, of course he shows up, albeit a 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.
  • Assassin's Creed: Shadows takes place in his lifetime.
  • 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...
    • He appears in the first Kessen in a cutscene, also in a non-evil depiction, as a vision of the idealistic Tokugawa Ieyasu speaking of his dream of a unified Japan. Well-Intentioned Extremist of sorts?
  • 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.
    • The fifth game, which is a Soft Reboot, shows a younger version of him, voiced by afore-mentioned Nobunaga Shimazaki (apparently as a pun because both of them obviously has the same given name). This reboot would focus more on his life starting with his "The Fool of Owari" days until his death in Honnoji.
    • 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 possessed 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; a very close look at his sprite shows that he in fact commits seppuku in his death animation sometimes. 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.
  • 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. According to her official materials, the clan elders tried to pass leadership over to her younger brother, but Nobunaga's tactical brilliance, charisma and ruthlessness allowed her wrestle and maintain control for herself (alongside killing those dissenters). Nobunaga later would get a Berserker form in a swimsuit that somehow became even more of a gag character, wielding a fire-spewing ax that's also a guitar and summons a giant burning skeleton. She then got an Avenger form, which combines the above gag-based Archer form, and when she ascends to the second form, she becomes a MALE (albeit one with a Crossdressing Voice) and when she ascends to the third form, she goes back into being female, but this time as a tall woman with flaming red hair and much more ruthless and using the supernatural power like a demon more. Her niece Chacha and younger brother Nobukatsu/Nobuyuki appear as a Berserker and another Archer.
    • 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. The fourth GUDAGUDA event also featured Shibata Katsuie as an unplayable Berserker, being a hulking juggernaut of an old man. Also hilariously, the 4th GUDAGUDA event also featured 'Real Deal Nobunaga', as in, the actual non-genderflipped, less bombastic Oda Nobunaga with his common portrait (The left one over here) and his head blackened out, giving the Nasuverse version a temporary existential crisis. Ranmaru would end up being included in the sixth GUDAGUDA event under the title 'Mysterious Ranmaru X', as a parody of 'Mysterious Heroine X' parodying the Series Mascot Altria Pendragon, and Ranmaru gets a case of Ambiguous Gender due to the usual popular media not being able to settle on Gender Flip or Dude Looks Like a Lady on Ranmaru in general: Mysterious Ranmaru X is referred as female, but other Servants recognize the Proper Human History version of Ranmaru to be male. Yasuke is also briefly mentioned in the sixth GUDAGUDA event during a flashback to Nobunaga's final moments, where he was fighting Akechi's forces in a last stand while Nobu gave Ranmaru the orders to take her head and hide it.
    • Nobunaga later appears in Fate/type Redline, except she is played dead seriously.
  • 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. Nioh 2, on the other hand, chronicles Nobunaga during his younger days.
  • 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.
  • In Dragalia Lost, the faraway nation of Hinomoto is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to feudal Japan; composed of twelve clans themed around the Eastern Zodiac. Nobunaga is a young woman who leads the Horse Clan and is Mitsuhide's best friend. She's shown to be a brash Blood Knight and has a strong disregard for cultural traditions — for example, befriending Mitsuhide despite longstanding tension between their clans. Though it's suggested that the game's Nobunaga is actually a descendant of "the" Nobunaga, since the tension started when Mitsuhide's ancestor betrayed Nobunaga's.
  • In the Assassin's Creed series, Nobunaga was a puppet of the Assassins who used him as part of their proxy wars with the Templars until he obtained a Sword of Eden, thus necessitating his death.

    Web Original 
  • Travis of 4Player Podcast has a loud, blood-thirsty alter ego that he uses sometimes in games of Halo named Nobunaga. Whether or not he's related at all to Oda Nobunaga has yet to be confirmed.