This episode of Nobunaga no Chef (信長のシェフ) begins with the simple delight of anpan (red bean buns). Ken (Tamamori Yuta) let rival chef Inoue (Kitaro) help out with the preparation.

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But why is Nobunaga (Oikawa Mitsuhiro) getting ready to shoot them? Oh, wait, he’s just trying out those guns Ken secured for him.

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But because he had to use an alternative sweetener instead of sugar, the anpan wasn’t quite as spectacular as it was meant to be. Ken pointed this out, and Nobunaga decided that he would have Mitsuhide – you know, the man who would eventually assassinate Nobunaga – pick some sugar up from the capital, where the shogun had apparently received some.

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Not far from the shogun’s palace, abbot Kennyo still has Youko (Kashii Yu) under his control, and he’s told her about Ken.Nobunaga no Chef Ep 07 006Nobunaga no Chef Ep 07 008

And she tells him about Nobunaga’s death at the hands of Mitsuhide, though she doesn’t do so without hesitation. Kennyo’s really brutal towards her, and I’m not sure whether this depiction is fair towards him. Since he was an absolute loser in this period, I suppose the histories have not been especially kind, but the writers decided to turn him into the main antagonist and quite an evil character.

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Mitsuhide (Inagaki Goro) meets with the shogun for the sugar.

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He also confronts the shogun about rumors about moves against Nobunaga, but then Kennyo comes in wanting to have a word with Mitsuhide. I think we know what this might be about. Will Mitsuhide turn traitor here?

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There’s a token scene with Mori Ranmaru (Nagase Ren) overlooking the forging of a weapon for his father – a scene that only really serves to establish that Ranmaru is present. It also gives Ken an opportunity to reflect on Ranmaru’s fate – for the benefit of the viewer who doesn’t already know.

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Back to Mitsuhide and Kennyo, Youko prepares a little sweet to smooth over the talk, and to establish that Kennyo also has a person from the future who can cook things never before seen in Japan.

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Meanwhile, Ken meets someone . . .

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. . . well, this is really totally unnecessary:

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It’s Hamaguchi Masaru-san, of course, and this scene is a total in-joke. You see, on his show Ikinari! Ougon Densetsu, Hamaguchi-san became famous for catching seafood with a harpoon. Here, they show his character coming in with the product of his catch. If you don’t already know who Hamaguchi-san is, this scene makes no sense and has no point.

With that superfluous scene out of the way, we once again return to Mitsuhide and Kennyo . . .

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. . . and it looks like Mitsuhide is not ready to hear these overtures from Kennyo – the abbot jumped the gun acting on Youko’s prediction.

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Ken has a nice lobster meal (thanks to Hamaguchi-san) ready for Nobunaga when news of an uprising reaches the capital.

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Out of nowhere, Natsu (Shida Mirai) suddenly starts worrying about the possibility that Ken will return to his original world. I wonder what brought that out now? Lobster?

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When she asks him about his memories, he mentions further details about Youko, making Natsu feel worse.

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Kennyo asks Youko whether she knows Ken, and she says she doesn’t. It looks like Kennyo saved her from bandits when she arrived in the Sengoku Jidai, and he uses that fact as leverage to manipulate her.

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And more:

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Hmm . . . I really think that’s going too far in defaming Kennyo. Will Ken be able to save Youko from this villain?

It looks, though, like the stars are aligning against Nobunaga and Ken. Nobunaga arrives at Honno-ji – the place of his assassination. And all the players who would be there for his death are present – Mitsuhide and Ranmaru in particular.

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Mitsuhide gives a suspicious sidelong glance at Ken as Nobunaga orders Ken to make a dish for Mitsuhide. In a talk as they walk together to the kitchen, Mitsuhide detects that Ken is scared of him for some reason. Of course, after the meeting with Kennyo, Mitsuhide probably has a good idea what that reason is.

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In the kitchen, Ken wonders what to do. It’s too early for Nobunaga’s assassination, but there’s no telling if events will unfold exactly as they would have done without his presence, especially now that all the pieces are in place.

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Ranmaru appearing in the kitchen doesn’t help the situation, since the boy is destined to die at Honno-ji as well.

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I think that sets up the question for the episode – will Nobunaga survive? We’ve only got two episodes left, but perhaps this is really too soon.

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Will Ken make Mitsuhide a dish that will dissuade him from any seditious thoughts?

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But we already know that Mitsuhide wasn’t ready to take up Kennyo’s offer, so could Ken’s intervention instead have the opposite effect?

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What leads Mitsuhide to put a sword to Ken’s throat?

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Okay, I think that gives you a fair idea of what this episode is all about. There’s a bit more about Youko, too.

This was an episode that had to happen, and at least it happened in an unexpected way. We finally have the return of Mitsuhide and Ranmaru, but have very little sense of either character. Ranmaru in particular is sort of a disappointment – characterized as nothing more than a loud-mouthed brat, really. The way they made Kennyo act is unsettling, and it seems to me that they went too far in turning him into the “bad guy.”

On the bright side, Oikawa-san’s acting continues to make Nobunaga an enjoyable character to watch, and that’s really been the saving grace of this entire series. Otherwise, I can’t say much for the rest of the acting. Tamamori-kun is straightforward and conveys the character well, but there’s nothing about Ken that is interesting or engaging.

From here on, it’s all about how they wrap up the series, including how they resolve Nobunaga’s fate, Ken and Youko’s reunion, and their eventual return to the Heisei era (or not). We’re past the point where the characters can be developed further or redeemed – it’s all plot now.