“Nobunaga no Chef season 2” is one of the dramas this summer that I’m really looking forward to, I’m not a huge fan of French cuisine but I’m totally rooting for Ken and Natsu. Despite the low pilot episode rating it received (9.7%), “Nobunaga no Chef” continuous to dazzle me with cooking, a lesson of Japanese history, and some squeal-worthy moments between Ken and Natsu.
Here is a quick recap of Nobunaga no Chef season 2 : Episode 1
[FYI, the 1st episode is almost two hours long so I’m gonna compressed everything into this recap] Short background from season 1 : Ken(Tamamori Yuta) is a French Chef from Heisei Era who got time-slip in Sengoku period (Warring States Period). There he met cross-dressing Natsu (Shiida Mirai) where the two meet Oda Nobunaga‘s troops. Eventually, Ken was able to win over Nobunaga’s trust with his cooking and he became Nobunaga’s personal chef.
At present, Sengoku period is typically a battleground and the story starts with The Oda Nobunaga (Oikawa Mitsuhiro) fearlessly fighting his enemies together with his minions. Back at Nobunaga’s camp, Nobunaga is clearly irritated that they have to withdraw for a while and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Gori) can only wish for Ken (Tamamori Yuta) to hasten his cooking with hopes that Ken’s cooking, which have never failed, will soothe Nobunaga’s sour mood.
Ken arrives with a galette of dried shrimp with sesame sauce and added that its rich in calcium, magnesium, and zinc; vitamins that are known to decrease irritation or stress levels. Nobunaga ate it with gusto and feels that his “stress” have lessened. Nobunaga then decided to give Ken a new assignment and that is to “finish” Asakura or to drag his soldiers out.
It was year 1570 and Nobunaga’s enemies decided to unify themselves in dethroning Nobunaga. The Azai-Asakura faction are Nobunaga’s enemies and the Asakura troops are staying somewhere at Mt. Hiei and while Toyotomi, Ken, and Natsu are thinking what to do with Asakura, Inoue Kyonosuke (Kitaro) is fervently praying that Ken won’t be able to come back from Mt. Hiei so that the kitchen’s head position will be his again. haha.
Toyotomi looks outside and notices that it’s already snowing and wonders if Asakura‘s troops will declare ceasefire so they could go back to their hometow in Echizen for New Year. That’s when Ken had an idea and asks Inoue what is Echizen’s specialty. Together, Ken with his giant wok on his back and Natsu with supplies, walk to Mt. Hiei and introduce themselves as merchants who are offering their cooking for the soldiers. Ken cooked zouni, an Echizen specialty, that only made the soldiers more homesick.
Eventually, Azai Nagamasa (Kaai Gamon) receives a report that the Asakura troops have decided to go down from Mt. Hiei and return to Echizen. As to why they decided to withdraw, Azai’s informer tells them that the soldiers ate something that a merchant cooked. Azai immediately asks if that person has a ‘western style haircut’ and when his informer said yes, he ordered for Ken’s head. It makes me wonder how Ken was able to maintain his hairstyle, did he cut his own hair?
Well… Ken and Natsu are on their way back to Nobunaga’s camp when they heard Azai’s soldiers approaching. There were some squeal-worthy moments as Ken and Natsu ran hand in hand until some soldiers catches up to them. Just when Ken thought that its his end, Akechi Mitsuhide (Inagaki Goro) arrives to save Ken’s ass and tells him that it’s not just outside forces who are aiming for Nobunaga’s life but also those from the inside.
Ken and Natsu arrives wet and okayand Nobunaga personally serves Ken something to drink. Since the Asakura’s forces on their way back to Echizen, the Nobunaga troops decides to return to Gifu. On their way back to Gifu, Ken is still wondering about Akechi’s parting words and eyes every other soldier with suspicion Nobunaga. I don’t know why is he worried knowing that Nobunaga will be killed in Honno-ji incident and nothing more.
Despite his worries, Ken still has time to make the soldiers a potage to give them ample nutrition and vitamins. As they were resting somewhere in the woods, they heard a gunfire and Nobunaga fell, Ken gets rattled and spews nonsense that it’s not yet Nobunaga’s time to die since he will be killed a lot later. Nobunaga wakes-up in time to hear those words from Ken. When asks what is he talking about, Ken just made his alibi. Well, it turns out that Nobunaga wasn’t shot but just part of his cape.
At Osaka in Settsu Ishiyama Hongan-ji, the news of Nobunaga being shot have spread. Ashikaga Yoshiaki (Masana Bokuzo) isn’t too impressed with the assassins failure and Kennyo (Ichikawa Kamejiro) can only agree. Both men has hatred toward Ken but Ashikaga quickly points-out how delicious Ken’s food is. Speaking of food, Kennyo introduces his newest find, Karen (Sasaki Nozomi).
Also elsewhere, the so-called Tiger of Kai Takeda Shingen (Takashima Masanobu) asks Matsunaga Hisahide (Sasano Takashi) on his take with the food prepared for him. Matsunaga says it tastes normal and Takeda Katsuyori (Kaku Kento) is obviously not pleased that his dish called hakutaku isn’t well-received. Takeda tells Matsunaga that he receives a letter from the shogun asking him if he wants to subjugate Nobunaga. Takeda then asks Matsunaga if Nobunaga is watching his [Takeda] moves or if he has any idea what will be Nobunaga’s next move.
Matsunaga says that an ordinary person like him have no ways of knowing what is Nobunaga thinking and Takeda can only laugh since he knows that Matsunaga will soon be serving Nobunaga.
Back at Gifu castle, Ken continues to wonder on who is plotting Nobunaga’s death when Natsu arrives. Ken tells her that there might be opponents among them and Natsu thinks that Nobunaga is so lucky that Ken is worried about him. I knew it, Natsu’s greatest rival isn’t Karen orYouko but definitely Nobunaga. XD. Unknown to Ken and Natsu, Nouhime (Saito Yuki) observes them from the top.
The next day, Nobunaga and Ken goes horseback-riding with Kaede (Ashina Sei) running after them. I know that Kaede is a ninja but it still looks funny that she was just running while the two men are on a horse. Nobunaga brings Ken in seaside where Nobunaga does one of his favorite pastime, Atsumori dance. On the same site, Nobunaga tells Ken that he plans to build another castle, a symbol to the new world and of Japan’s power. Ken can’t help but admire Nobunaga’s vision and thinks about the future Azushi castle. Nobunaga then orders Ken to prepare a banquet for the man who will be responsible in building his newest castle, Matsunaga Hisahide.
Kaede hears this and is obviously disturb that Matsunaga will be under Nobunaga. She tells Ken and Natsu that Matsunaga is known to have poisoned Miyoshi Yoshioki, the son of Matsunaga’s Lord, and is also known to have killed Miyoshi Nagayoshi. Furthermore, Matsunaga also cooperated with the remaining Miyoshi clan in overthrowing shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru. Lastly, Matsunaga is known to have done the Toudai-ji, a surprise attack to the Miyoshi faction.
Listening to this, Ken is more disturbed than ever since he can’t remember anything about Matsunaga from his time. He even blames himself that he should have paid more attention during his history classes and Natsu can only say that he should stopped talking about weird things. HAH~
After Nobunaga’s dinner time, Nobunaga gives Ken a tea container called tsukumonasu that Matsunaga have given him after he surrendered. According to Matsunaga, the said tea container costs around 1000 koumon (equivalent to 1 million Yen at present) and Nobunaga wants Ken to use it for the banquet that he will prepare for Matsunaga. The said tea container will also be a test on Matsunaga’s loyalty.
Banquet time arrives and Ken serves Matsunaga with okoge with dried meat and seafood on a hot iron plate. Before Matsunaga can take a bite, Ken tells him that it needs a dashi and he presents the tea container with dashi in it. Matsunaga is originally aghast that Ken used the expensive tea container to store the dashi.
Nobunaga takes Ken’s side and tells Matsunaga that the tea container is an object and should be used. Nobunaga takes the tea container and as he attempts to pour the dashi on Matsunaga’s plate, he slips (on purpose?) and Matsunaga saves him from falling. The dashi was all over Matsunaga’s arm, scalding it, and the expensive tea container was left on the floor-unbroken.
Nobunaga orders Ken to apply medication on Matsunaga’s arm. Okay, so Ken is also a medic? As Ken bandages Matsunaga’s arm, he tells Ken that it was cruel of him to use the expensive tea container to prove his loyalty to Nobunaga by testing whether he will save Nobunaga from hitting the iron plate. However, Ken tells Matsunaga that he and Nobunaga knows the truth; Matsunaga did save Nobunaga, but Matsunaga’s move is just the result on his part trying to prevent the tsukumonasu from hitting the iron plate. In short, Matsunaga did save the tsukumonasu and Nobunaga.
Matsunaga can only laugh at Ken’s trickery, he brandishes his sword and tells Ken not to play those kind of trickery on him, ever.
Night falls and Ken and Natsu gets kidnapped. As Ken awoke, he finds himself in a jail together with Natsu a few feet away, still unconscious. Their captor arrives, who happens to be Nobunaga’s legal wife- Nouhime- and asks Ken why Natsu pretends to be a guy. It’s weird how one’s sexuality can be told by merely a difference in clothing, it’s so obvious that Natsu is a girl despite wearing a man’s clothing, duh.
Ken tells Nouhime that Natsu is a swordsmith so she can’t be a woman (back in 1st season, Natsu tells Ken Gods only favors men as swordsmith) and Nobunaga also knows about Natsu’s real gender. When asks what is their relationship, Ken says that Natsu is his important person and that without Natsu, he won’t be able to survive the Sengoku period. Natsu heard all of this but she still pretends to be asleep. Nouhime then orders Ken to cook something for them so she can be sure of Ken’s loyalty and orders Natsu to help him. It’s weird how Nouhime can tell that Natsu is awake with her back turn against them yet it took them awhile to guess that she’s a woman.
Ken and Natsu starts cooking with Nouhime’s girl minions on the watch and they even erupted in applause after Ken finishes the sauce for his dish. Afterwards, he presents Nouhime boiled shrimp in butterfly shape with sabayon sauce. He also tells Nouhime that she must dip the shrimp in the sauce. Nouhime is not only impress with the taste but she’s also impress that Ken used the meal to symbolize butterfly, wherein Nouhime’s kimono pattern is full of it.
Elsewhere, Matsunaga is at Kennyo’s place where Karen presented him with some Western style biscuits. Kennyo and Matsunaga also talks on how Ken is an eyesore and Kennyo shares that he’s thinking of attacking Nobunaga from a different opening. After which, he orders Karen to prepare a poison and despite her obvious displeasure, she forcibly follows him.
Back at Gifu Castle, Nobunaga receives a letter that Kennyo wants to reconcile again and in honor of their reconciliation, it’s likely that Kennyo will present Nobunaga some famous product so Nobunaga orders Ken to make a dish more worthy of any famous product. Matsunaga also let it slip that Kennyo has a beautiful chef known to make pastries from the West. Ken can only think of Youko and Natsu is worried if Youko is still in Sengoku period.
The day of reconciliation between Oda Nobunaga and Ishiyama Hongan-ji clan arrives and while Ken and co. are busy with their preparations, they also see Karen which made Natsu relieve that it isn’t Youko. Ken is also sure that he didn’t know Karen though unknown to them, Karen knows him and whispers Ken’s whole name, Kenichirou.
The reconciliation banquet starts with Kennyo presenting Nobunaga a nutmeg, a type of spice from Indian trees, that is usually used in pastries and such. Karen arrives and presents Nobunaga with nutmeg macarons. Each macaron comes in four different colors symbolizing their flavors. The rest of the guests (I’m assuming they were usually vassals and so) gets only 2 pieces while Nobunaga and Kennyo get all colors and an extra 2 pieces.
Nobunaga asks Matsunaga to try one and because Matsunaga knows that Kennyo is trying to poison Nobunaga, Kennyo reach for his own set of macaron and tries one. This relieves Matsunaga and tries one of it as well. Afterwards, Karen tells Nobunaga that if he eats all four flavors, it would give him a taste of heaven.
Heaven it is, Nobunaga eats all four flavors and a bit later, he experiences psychoactive effects. Nobunaga was brought to his room and he orders his retainers to call on Ken. Ken runs to Nobunaga and after taking a bite of nutmeg macaron, he immediately knows the reason Nobunaga felt that way. Apparently, raw nutmeg in large doses can be toxic to body so Ken orders Natsu to get hot water with lots of salt. He makes Nobunaga drink it and assists to thrown-up everything.
Enraged that Kennyo tried to poison him, Nobunaga orders Ken to make food that will regain his status. Nobunaga returns, wearing a fiercer outfit, and Ken arrives to announce that he will be serving a full course of French cuisine. Eating the food that Ken made is a challenge for Kennyo who is not to sure whether he’ll be eating toward his death. On the last course, Ken presented them with a deer meat dish. Before everyone can dig-in, Ken has to do “finishing touches” by grinding a handful of nutmeg that Kennyo gave earlier and pours it over Kennyo and Nobunaga’s deer meat.
Kennyo knows that Ken found-out about the nutmeg poison and he also knows that it might be his turn if he eats the deer meat sprinkled with nutmeg. He ate one macaron a while ago and he doesn’t know how much more he can eat before he gets poisoned.
Nobunaga sarcastically asks Kennyo on why is he not eating the dish sprinkled with nutmeg that he gave. “Surely, its nothing dangerous right?” Nobunaga said. To show Kennyo that there is nothing to fear, Nobunaga confidently eats his own serving of deer meat and tells Kennyo that his cook, Ken, is someone with great skill and not the type of man who will serve something in poisonous amounts. Nobunaga can only laugh as Kennyo force himself to take the deer meat.
Afterward, Ken confronts Karen and asks her on where she learned to make those macarons. Karen chose not to answer Ken until Ken tells her that as a cook, she hates Karen for doing what she did. Karen then tells Ken that as Youko have said, everything is Kenichirou’s fault. Eehhh….She also shares that Youko saved her and taught her about making pastries so she can survived until they got separated. When asks what happen to Youko, Matsunaga arrives before Karen can answer. Since Karen is being blame for poisoning Nobunaga, Matsunaga kills her as a payment. Well, it looks like he killed her.
Ken is still brooding about Karen and Youko when Natsu arrives with a rice soup that she made. Ken loves the rice soup and says that its been so long since he ate something that someone else have cooked. Awww…They got called for a meeting by Nobunaga where he declared that they will burn Mt. Hiei. Mt. Hiei is not just a sacred mountain but it’s also home to monks. Nobunaga’s plans was first met with discord since the mountain has been known to be holy and burning it is a defiance against Buddha and God.
However, knowing that Ishiyama Hongan-ji’s Kennyo tried to kill him, Nobunaga tells his minions that if God and Buddha will defy him then they will be his enemies too.
At the corner, Ken can only broods as he thinks on how he will be stop Nobunaga in committing something that is labeled as a massacre.
Episode 1 is too long to the point of it being tiresome. I’m not even eating any of Ken’s dishes but its like when you keep on eating the same dish and it gets tiring to the point of hating it. It was like that though it should be understandable since the drama is about Ken being a chef. Also, I love history but for someone who is not well-versed with Japanese history, being given a crash course on Sengoku period is enough to dry out all my neurons. There’s just too many characters in one episodes that there’s no room to even breathe.
Despite the flaws of the first episode, just like every dish, it has some merits.
There’s just the right amount of sweetness between Ken and Natsu. Though I’m expecting something more romantic, I have to make do on what they can give me since Nobunaga no Chef is about cooking first. I’m actually thinking of reading the manga in hopes that there will more scenes for Ken and Natsu but I decided to hold back, for now. When Ken declares Natsu as his “important person”, it sounds like Natsu is important for him since she is his guide and helper and not because he is important to him in a more romantic sense. Natsu is obviously enamored with Ken and I love it every time she gets flustered on little things.
There’s also the right amount of trust between Ken and Nobunaga enough to make Natsu and Nouhime jealous. It’s weird how Nobunaga is becoming to dependent on Ken’s cooking where it also shows how cooking is just like being in the battlefield. I love the scene when Nobunaga ate the deer meat sprinkled with nutmeg, it just shows how confident he is that Ken won’t betray him by eating nutmeg that almost cost him his life a while ago. This trust between Ken and Nobunaga is enough to label Nobunaga’s vassals as mere side characters.
There’s also the right amount of suspense since we’re all waiting on when the famous Honno-ji incident will happen and what will be the events leading to that incident. Also, why does Kennyo loves to kidnap and enslave women who make foreign foods? Rotten monks are really rotten. Lastly, how will Matsunaga and Nouhime play their roles?
Plot aside, Tamamori have gotten better with acting, not that his role requires that much effort. It’s such a shame that Shida Mirai’s role got limited to asking questions and accompanying Ken. In new characters, Sasano as Matsunaga is good enough though Sasaki as Karen is indeed pretty but there are times when her acting fell flat.
All in all, if you have 1 hour and 30 mins to kill then feel free to watch this drama. Though the writers already has the Sengoku period at play, I hope that they can still spice things up that will not only involve Ken’s cooking.
Raw and subs from d-addicts
Pls. respect the owners’ hardwork by not uploading to any streaming sites nor distributing any of their subbed work.
Screencaps : mine