Pokémon + Nobunaga’s Ambition is no doubt one of the strangest crossovers we’ve ever seen. This is not only because it’s crossing a feudal Japanese war strategy game with Pokémon, but also because all the characters in Nobunaga’s Ambition are based on real people. So let’s take a look and see how these real historical figures have been Poké-fied for Pokémon + Nobunaga’s Ambition
Oda Nobunaga was one of Japan’s greatest generals and one of three men responsible for the unification of Japan. In his 47 years of life, he conquered a full third of Japan.
Designers took little licence with his appearance as he looks very much like he does in a portrait done by Jesuit painter Giovanni Niccolo in 1583. And while the armour is completely fictitious, Nobunaga’s crest remains largely intact, though now with a pokéball in the centre.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi succeeded Nobunaga after his death and continued Nobunaga’s conquest — eventually conquering the majority of Japan and becoming both the Imperial Regent and Chancellor of the Realm.
Although the game shows him as a teen, he was only two years younger than Nobunaga in reality. And while the armour in the game doesn’t resemble his actual armour, both the Pokémon companion and monkey ears on the helmet are an allusion to his nickname — Monkey — which was supposedly given by Nobunaga himself.
Upon the death of Hideyoshi, Ieyasu Tokugawa fought and won Japan’s last major civil war, eventually becoming Shogun. He and his descendants ruled a unified Japan for the next 268 years.
This is one of the most accurate of the game’s character design adaptations. Both the armour and actual character look like their real life counterparts, and the tri-leaf family crest has simply become a tri-pokéball crest.
Oichi was the younger sister of Nobunaga and was known for being as beautiful as she was strong-willed.
The game makers just seemed to do whatever they wanted to with this one. There’s nothing in her appearance to tie her to the historical figure whatsoever.
Date Masamune (not to be confused with the swordsmith Goto Masamune) was a brilliant tactician that served both Hideyoshi and Tokugawa.
His famous helmet and armour are well preserved in the game, and — being 30 years younger than Nobunaga — he actually appears to be the right age. Oh, and they apparently remembered that he lost his right eye in childhood as well.
Uesugi Kenshin was a powerful lord that fought against Nobunaga. Many of his followers believed he was the Avatar of Bishamonten, the Buddhist god of war.
While the armour and body type are quite different, the head wrap and the prominent nose mark this as the same man.
Kato Kiyomasa served under Hideyoshi and led Japan’s armies in an invasion of Korea.
While he was indeed 30 years younger than Nobunaga, he was at least fourteen by the time he started working for Hideyoshi. His grey hair and dark skin are purely artistic licence and there is really nothing about the game character and real person that look even remotely similar.
While the female player character is not named, she is obviously a re-imagined version of Kotaku’s very own anthropomorphic avatar, Kotaku-tan. And though she doesn’t start with a fish companion, all Pokémon trainers know that when Eevee evolves into Vaporean, she becomes more than fishy enough.