Oichi (as Nobukatsu's wife), Saruyashamaru
Oda Nobukatsu (Husband), Oda Nobuna (Sister in law)
Azai faction, Oda faction
Light Novel Debut
Nagamasa Azai (浅井 長政 Azai Nagamasa) is the daimyo of the Oumi province. It is said that in order to reach Kyoto, one must deal with her, which makes her a slight obstacle for Oda Nobuna's plans. She is Yoshiharu Sagara's main rival throughout the series, and the two are shown to have much disdain for each other. She is introduced when she tries to make Nobuna her wife (note that at this point in the story, she is thought to be a man), not out of love, but to further her own plans for power. After being refused by the Oda clan she constantly tries to find ways to join forces and ends up married to Nobuna's sister Oichi (who funny enough is actually Nobukatsu in drag). She is based on the real-life historical figure Azai Nagamasa.
In episode 10, it is revealed that she is actually a woman, after being discovered at a woman's bathing area by Nobukatsu.
Initially a pure antagonist in the story, it is later revealed that she has a rather difficult past and tragic circumstances to deal with and ends up becoming more of an Anti-Villain or heroic antagonist who opposes Nobuna purely because of these circumstances. After her defeat, the death of Azai Nagamasa is made infamous by Nobuna turning her skull into a cup, when in reality, this was a cruel stunt Nobuna used to hide the fact that she had survived and adopted the name Oichi and become Nobukatsu's wife.
Her seiyuu is Saiga Mitsuki.
Nagamasa has blue hair and, with some effort, can also mask herself as a man, However, beneath her disguise, she is actually quite boxum. She is taller than Yoshiharu and for that matter most girls her age.
In the beginning, Azai Nagamasa strives for more power and control, and doesn't seem to pay attention to other pursuits. Like Nobuna, she seemed ambitious, except her motivations are more out of self-interest. Later on, to her father, she acknowledges that Nobuna will be the one to lead Japan, suggesting she is actually more considerate of those around her.
Although she tells Nobuna that love just "gets in the way of things," she ends up accepting Nobutsumi as her husband rather easily, and longs for genuine affection from someone. It stands to reason she is just trying to convince herself that a female Daimyo needs to forgo her own happiness, partly due to her upbringing, and that in reality she is deeply conflicted because of it.
She would typically display a calm, manipulative exterior, and seemed to enjoy manipulating and using women, but she reveals later to Nobutsumi that it was purely a facade, and she did that so she would seem like a "real man." She's shown to strongly regret those attitudes.
It was often exaggerated that Nagamasa "abandon females after he is done using them." However this rumor was made based on simply how Nagamasa "can do nothing but walk away silently" from women who wish to have sex with her.
She has hinted many times that, inspite claiming she does not care either way, that she strongly dislikes the idea of war, and would much rather have peace. She resorts to begging when she finds Nobuna will go to war with her in provoked, and later pleads Azai Hisamasa to not betray the Oda clan and go to war, which gets her imprisoned. Furthermore, after marrying "Oichi" Nagamasa began to recognise Nobuna's talents and grew to admire her "sister" quite greatly, enough to consider killing her before she fell into the hands of Asakura Yoshikage, a fate presumably worse than dying.
Even though she and Yoshiharu are initially rivals, she hints that he has some respect for Yoshiharu, when she says that Yoshiharu will probably think of an unusual and creative plan.
After escaping from their prison via Goemon's aid, Nagamasa realises that the Azai clan is now on the border of annihilation and is forced to return to it as an ally of the Asakura; effectively, she betrays Nobukatsu unwillingly and fights against the Oda clan from then on out.
During this time, she was torn between her loyalty to her father and clan, and her own feelings towards Nobukatsu, which are resprisented by the identities of Azai Nagamasa and Oichi respectively. She is also seen to still care for her "enemies" as she intends to kill Nobuna in order to spare her the demeaning fate that would follow should Asakura Yoshikage get his hands on her and she is disturbed upon hearing that the man in question even recklessly abandoned his own men to sneak into Nobuna's camp and attempt to abduct her. She has also expressed to herself the need to fight against Nobukatsu, eventually realising she must, and believing herself able to, kill him and throw aside her Oichi persona, but falters thanks to Yoshiharu's interference. When the Azai-Asakura Alliance was brought to ruin and Nobuna destroyed Asakura Yoshikage's palace, she was confronted once more by Nobukatsu. She welcomed her death by his hand but Yoshiharu again interfered. Hearing her father had committed seppuku and that his final words were to let "Azai Nagamasa" die here so that Oichi could live on, she finally lets go of her Nagamasa personality. Her death is faked, with only Yoshiharu, Nobukatsu, and those closest to them, such as Nobuna, knowing the truth; Nobukatsu did not even inform his own mother of this fact. She permanently adopts to persona of Oichi and is later happily welcomed into the Oda clan as Nobukatsu's wife by Nobuna.
At an earlier age, she was captured by the Rokkaku Clan and used as a bargaining chip to make her father become a retainer of the lord of said clan, effectively making the Azai Clan a subordinate to them. Because their captor, Rokkoku Shoutei, was a dangerous and rather perverted individual, her mother raised her as a boy during this time, however her true gender was eventually discovered and she took to sleeping with a sword at the ready. Later she seduced the women of the Rokkoku clan and escaped back to Oumi where she rebelled against her father, Azai Hisamasa, and became the head of the Azai clan. However she was unable to return to being a woman even then as Hisemasa permitted her rule only in exchange for her dropping her female self and becoming a fitting, Male, lord to rule the kingdom, this has caused no small amount of agony in Nagamasa's heart. Also, due to the actions of Shoutei, she confesses to hating men ever since. While she is disguised as a male she used her looks to seduce woman in powerful position and rise to greater highs, ultimately reflecting her own opinion that a woman in the Sengoku Era cannot survive. She effectively surrenders her dreams in exchange for her duty, a thing she later realises she regretted.
Later she rebelled against the Rokkaku Clan themselves and was quite successful in the act, thus freeing the Azai Clan from their shadow.
Invasion of Mino Arc
Nagamasa first appears in town mocking Nobuna based on the rumours he heard about her and lamenting how he will have to marry her to serve out his own plans. This personality instantly earns him Yoshiharu's dislike.
He later appears to negotiate an alliance with Nobuna, and to get on her good side brings up her childhood name's "saru" and notes she may call her as such, which again earns her the dislike of Yoshiharu, who's opinion of her was already negative to start with. In order to serve her own ends, she notes that if Nobuna becomes her enemy in addition to Mino's then conquering Gifu castle will be virtually impossible, thus forcing Nobuna to consider their alliance.Nagamasa then asks Nobuna to marry him, which flusters her. Nobuna notes she would prefer to choose her husband rather than make it political, however Nagamasa then asks her if she already has someone in mind, namely Yoshiharu. Nobuna denies this, strikes Yoshiharu, and tries to make him say something to defend her "chastity", however the conversation shifts to the two of them arguing so much that Inuchiyo is forced to ask Nagamasa to return and wait for their reply.
Yoshiharu confronts Nagamasa in town and notes that the latter is cruel for trying to force Nobuna to marry him and making it clear he doesn't love her, Nagamasa however notes that as a female daimyo Nobuna needs to acknowledge that this is the world she lives in and that she can't pick and choose her partner, he notes he will use her for his ambitions and that Yoshiharu can never be with Nobuna due to their different status. Yoshiharu eventually tries to attack Nagamasa in a rage, but is overpowered and beaten by his men before he leaves.
He is later seen under his nickname of Saruyashamaru trying to be recruited as Hanbei's retainer and pretending to be a merchants son when Yoshiharu, who had the same idea, walked in and recognised him. Ando, Hanbei's uncle, who doesn't honestly care where they came from so long as they're rich, accepts both of their guises. Ando then leaves and Hanbei reveals himself to the group. Nagamasa is initialy unsettled that his plan to seduce Hanbei failed, since he's a man, but accepts when offered drinks by him. Hanbei then assumes the form of a fox and reveals his illusion: what they just ingested was basically horse piss and dung. This causes Inuchiyo to strike Hanbei down, revealing the real Hanbei Takenaka, a 14 year old girl.
After meeting up with Nobuna's troops on rout to Kyoto, it is revealed that she has become a much happier person than before, due almost entirely in part to her true gender being discovered by Nobukatsu and ultimately allowing her to become his wife when they're alone.
Nagamasa's relationship with her father is a stressed one at best. When Nagamasa became a hostage of the Rokkoku clan alongside her mother her father became a retainer of said clan to get them back. Nagamasa later forced her father to retire, took control of the clan, effectively rebelled against the Rokkoku clan and restored her clan's glory. However, her father's only terms to this were that she discard her identity as a woman and lead the clan as a man, which has caused no small amount of suffering on her part. He also pressed for an alliance with the Asakura clan, while Nagamasa saw the rising potential of the Oda clan and knew the Asakura's days were numbered, which caused her to side with them until her father again pressed his will.
Realising his actions caused the downfall of his clan and misery of his daughter, just to name a few faults, he ultimately decides to commit Sepukku and redeem himself by allowing "Nagamasa" to die and "Oichi" to live a happy life with Nobukatsu.
Originally Nobukatsu was sent to Nagamasa under the guise of becoming her "wife" Oichi (remembering that at this time Nagamasa was still pretending to be a man.) the end result of this however was to their mutual benefit. Upon discovering each other's true gender, Nagamasa confided in Nobukatsu, who allowed her to have some solace and become his wife when they're alone. This lasted until the formation of the Azai-Asakura Alliance, which forced them to become enemies for a time. Eventually he "killed" Nagamasa, but she in reality escaped death by assuming the name of Oichi and becoming Nobukatsu's wife. Much later, when Nobuna was betrayed by Matsunaga Danjou, Nobukatsu stayed with Oichi despite knowing his sister was in danger solely because he believed she was ill. When the doctor Belchior Dousan told him she needed to rest for two days he apparently misunderstood, as Oichi herself informs him she's pregnant before he finally leaves.
Ironically, she confessed to hating men in general, but is not shown to hate Nobukatsu, in fact she fell in love with him almost within the same minute as making that claim.
- Azai means "shallow" (浅) (asa/aza) and "well, mine shaft, pit" (井) (i).
- Nagamasa means "long" (長) (naga) and "government" (政) (masa).
|Oda Nobuna - Sagara Yoshiharu (Saru) - Akechi Mitsuhide (Jūbei) - Asano - Gōki - Hachisuka Goemon - Ii Naomasa - Kuroda Kanbei - Maeda Toshiie (Inuchiyo) - Manmi Senchiyo - Matsunaga Hisahide - Niwa Nagahide (Manchiyo) - Nō - Oda Nobuhide - Oichi - Shibata Katsuie (Riku) - Takenaka Hanbei - Takigawa Kazumasu (Sakon) - Tsuchida Gozen - Tsuda Nobusumi - Gamō Ujisato - Zenki|
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|Azai Nagamasa - Azai Hisamasa - Kuchiki Shinano - Tsuda Nobusumi (Oichi)|
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