Nobunaga no Chef (信長のシェフ) begins with recently-escaped Ken (Tamamori Yuta) facing a sword:

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Fortunately, it’s a friendly sword held by Nobunaga’s right-hand shinobi Kaede (Ashina Sei), who came to save Ken as a promise to Natsu (Shida Mirai).

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And he looks like he could do with the extra protection, as rogues/bandits quickly surround them, planning to take Kaede as a prisoner and kill Ken. Their initial approach catches Kaede by surprise and she gets cut on her leg.

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Fortunately, that’s not enough to keep her from wiping the floor with these assailants:

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But the exertion just makes the wound worse, and it doesn’t look like she’s ready for a repeat performance after the bad guys flee

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Meanwhile, Nobunaga (Oikawa Mitsuhiro) prepares for battle . . .

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. . . as does his adversary (and former friend) Azai Nagamasa:

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But for now, Ken has to figure out how to help Kaede.

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Well . . . he’s a cook, right? He finds some ingredients at a village that has been abandoned ahead of the battle (war is a lot like a hurricane – the best thing to do is board everything up and get out of town).

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The food looks decent, and the viewer gets a strong sense that Kaede usually doesn’t get food made expressly for her.

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Ken confirms that he can’t remember anything about his past (though he does remember a woman co-worker named Youko he had some sort of relationship with and doesn’t mention this). Kaede says not remembering is probably best – giving a glimpse of her own painful past.

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Ken makes the mistake of trying to pat Kaede to comfort her – she doesn’t like that. But it looks like he’s otherwise gotten through Kaede’s icy exterior. Looks like Natsu is not going to be the only woman in Ken’s Sengoku life.

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When they return to Nobunaga’s camp, Natsu is thrilled to see Ken, but also thanks Kaede for bringing him back.

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For his part, Nobunaga chastises Ken and Kaede for taking so long (well, what did Ken expect from the warlord – a hug?).

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Then he asks Ken to cook something delicious – for the enemy soldiers. If you can’t figure out what Nobunaga’s plan is, don’t worry, they don’t keep us in much suspense.

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After a brief bit where we see Mori Yoshinari (Ukaji Takashi) and Hideyoshi (Gori) relieved that Ken is back . . .

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. . . Ken gets cooking, getting all the meat together he can.

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As he explains, most of Nobunaga’s army are professionals – seasoned warriors who have been fighting for years. Azai Nagamasa’s force is more recently recruited – they’re farmers. There’s a discipline gap there.

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The farmers are running on adrenaline. The smell of delicious meat carried by the wind will get their stomach growling and snap them back into reality – the reality in which they’re not really warriors and really want to go home alive.

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It’s a sneaky trick, but also the first time Ken’s cooking has been used in a tactic that might actually have been tried. Well, at least it might have made it into one of the great legends of war.

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Azai loses this battle, but lives to fight another day – another few years, in fact.

Kaede doesn’t like the result for some reason, and becomes inexplicably cold to Ken again. I really didn’t understand this sudden turn in her attitude toward him – perhaps she was just uncomfortable about getting that close to anyone.

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Ken reports back to Nobunaga, telling the warlord about what his sister Oichi told Ken when she helped him escape.

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