Nobunaga no Yabou ～Rin-ne～ (信長の野望 ～輪廻転将～, Nobunaga no Yabō ～Rin'ne Tenshō～, roughly translated as "Nobunaga's Ambition: Shifting Future in the Transmigration of Souls") is an ongoing free-to-read online comic adaptation of Nobunaga's Ambition. Made for the 30th anniversary celebration of the series, it is drawn by Yoichiro Ono.
The protagonist of the story is Nobunaga who mysteriously finds himself back in the past after his historic death. It is roughly based on a story which was once featured in the MMORPG.
The chapter begins in 1579 with Nobunaga being congratulated by Hideyoshi on the complete construction of Azuchi Castle. Upon receiving praise for fulfilling his ambitions, the warlord corrects his servant by declaring his bid for the land as destiny rather than desire. The narrative then describes how Nobunaga conquered various regions while slaughtering most of the other clans in the process. However, all that came to an end when the Incident at Honno-Ji occurred in 1582.
While having a tea party with his comrades, Nobunaga is informed by Ranmaru of Mitsuhide's sudden revolt. As the Akechi troops swarm the temple and slaughter innocent civilians, the remaining Oda officers choose to remain by their lord's side to the death. Nobunaga, on the other hand, rebukes his vassals for their blind loyalty and orders them to evacuate the survivors instead. At the same time, he makes his intent of becoming a god clear by setting the temple on fire. With Honno-Ji engulfed in flames, Nobunaga stands alone amid a number of corpses, berating himself for not realizing his dreams. Awaiting death, he spitefully converses with an imaginary Mitsuhide before being called out by his wife Nou who elected to stay behind. As the two spouses share one last moment together, the narrative then summarizes the events that lead up to Ieyasu's unification of the land.
The true story, however, starts when a flash of lightning suddenly strikes the Oda camp. Nobunaga opens his eyes and inquires Hideyoshi of the current situation, expressing bewilderment when the vassal informs him of their assault against Hanbei who should have died from illness long ago. Upon hearing of their ongoing march to Mino, he wonders if his mind somehow returned to the past or if everything he experienced after this point was all a dream. Regardless of the circumstances that brought him back, he decides to use his knowledge of the future to accomplish his goals.
At Inabayama Castle, a cavorting Tatsuoki Saito receives news of the Oda army approaching his domain. Dismissive of the threat posed by Nobunaga, he confidently deploys his father's tactician Hanbei to battle. Meanwhile, the Oda troops continue their march towards Mino until they find themselves ambushed by unseen riflemen. The attack turns out to be a memory from Nobunaga's previous life as he remembers it as the same tactical maneuver that delayed his conquest of the region for three years. Not wanting to repeat the same mistake, he commands his men to wait patiently rather than advance forward.
Days pass as the Saito ambush troops grow impatient over the inaction of Nobunaga's forces. Perturbed by this recent development, Hanbei contemplates the opposing army's motive for not moving until it starts raining. Recalling how the Oda triumphed at Okehazama, he immediately realizes Nobunaga true intention as the latter makes his move during the storm. Because Hanbei's formation relied on the stability provided by surrounding trenches, the rain rendered them useless. Nobunaga understood its weakness and waited for the right time to strike using his cavalry. Thus, the ensuing conflict resulted in devastating casualties for the Saito while the Oda suffered minimal losses.
Nobunaga begins to realize the implications of his time traveling experience upon seeing Hanbei brought before him. Excited by the prospect of changing history for the better, he foregoes executing his captive and frees him much to Hideyoshi's relief. Hanbei is touched when the warlord sincerely exalts his talent and asks him to join the Oda army's quest in unifying Japan. News of his defection reaches Tatsuoki's ears, though the Saito head remains unworried due to his castle's natural fortifications slowing down any would-be invaders. His confidence is shattered when one of his messengers informs him of a castle built by the Oda on Sunomata in just one night. After praising Hideyoshi for this feat, Nobunaga turns his attention to Inabayama Castle and prepares his next move.
With Mino conquered at last, Tatsuoki is forced to flee the region while Nobunaga takes over Inabayama Castle and renames it Gifu. As various factions from across the land hear of the news, Yoshikage Asakura expresses his outrage upon learning of the alliance between the Oda and Azai. The story then switches back to Gifu Castle where the Oda clan celebrates the wedding of Oichi and Nagamasa Azai. During the reception, Nagamasa shares his concerns towards Nobunaga's recent actions and how it might harm his long-time allies, the Asakura clan. The warlord cheerfully assuages his fears and tells the newlyweds to enjoy their night together.
At night, however, Nobunaga recalls how his brother-in-law originally betrayed him and died as a result. Wondering how he could gain Nagamasa's true loyalty, his thoughts are interrupted when Nou enters the room. Seeing his wife for the first time after their deaths at Honno-Ji, he returns her playful teasing with a passionate embrace. The two of them make love as Nobunaga relays his experiences of the previous timeline to Nou who remembers nothing of them. Exhausted from their intimate act, he vows not to let her die before achieving his ambition.
The next morning, Hideyoshi alerts his comrades of a dangerous turn of events; the remaining clans have conspired with one another to eliminate the Oda. While most of the other retainers are shocked to hear this, only Nobunaga remains unaffected. Having received the report from Ichimasu earlier, he decides to turn the situation around by relying on Hanbei to provide them with a strategic solution.
The narrative flashes back to the original timeline in 1573 where the Azai are cornered by the Oda forces at Odani Castle. Although Oichi wants to remain by her husband's side, Nagamasa urges her to leave the castle for the sake of their daughters. Heartbroken by this decision, she tearfully complies to his wishes and returns back to her brother. Hideyoshi mourns the loss of Nagamasa despite the amount of entreaties rejected by the latter. The memory of his brother-in-law's death haunts Nobunaga all the way back to the present.
As the Oda troops do their drills, Nobunaga mulls over the details of his secret strategy and notes that timing it at the right moment is highly essential. The time for him to execute the plot presents itself after Hisahide Matsunaga and the Miyoshi invade Kyoto to overthrow the current shogun Yoshiteru Ashikaga. The other warlords express their outrage at Hisahide's duplicity while the shogun's younger brother Yoshiaki finds refuge in Omi. Because Nobunaga had foreseen the events that unfolded in his past life, he commands his men to advance towards Ichijodani instead.
A castle town used by the Asakura as their main base, Ichijodani finds itself under siege by the Oda army. Yoshikage, who initially mistook the assailants for the Miyoshi clan, is stunned by Nobunaga's presence in his manor. Gaining his wits, he accuses the invader of collaborating with the Miyoshi only for him to be accused as the real traitor. This had been Nobunaga's intention all along. He and Hanbei devised a plan to monopolize their alliance with the Azai by taking advantage of Hisahide's revolt and labeling the Asakura as accomplices. Meanwhile, Yoshiaki is located by Hanbei to further ensure the success of their strategy. Before Nobunaga can kill Yoshikage, a single bullet grazes his left cheek. He realizes the shooter is none other than his future nemesis Mitsuhide.
Nobunaga is caught in a precarious situation as the Akechi riflemen fire at him. Unfazed by Yoshikage's taunts, he calmly points out the unlikelihood of those shots killing him due to the wide gap in range and the minimal amount of firearms available at the time. He then proceeds to impale the helpless daimyo before turning his attention on Mitsuhide's panicked group. Seeking revenge for the betrayal he received, Nobunaga orders his mounted troops to charge at the riflemen's position. With no time to reload, Mitsuhide can only stand in awe as the vengeful warlord seemingly stabs him.
News of the Asakura's demise reaches Omi where the Azai live. Much to Nagamasa's disbelief, he learns of the supposed reason behind the Oda clan's assault and concedes that his long-time allies are beyond help. With Ichijodani as part of their territory, Hideyoshi wins over the residents by offering them food and hospitality. Hanbei also returns with the late shogun's brother in tow, thus enabling the Oda to begin their plan of storming the capital without suffering major repercussions. After their short conversation, Nobunaga wastes no time introducing Hanbei to their army's newest addition: Mitsuhide Akechi himself.
In Kyoto, the Miyoshi Triumvirate and their figurehead Yoshitsugu discuss their current plan of action now that they have full control over the capital. When Hisahide mentions the Oda's latest conquest, the trio can only laugh in response even though the former is anxious over Nobunaga's swift movements. Back in Gifu, an angry-looking Nagamasa confronts his brother-in-law for what he did at Ichijodani. Nobunaga makes no excuses for his deeds and bravely anticipates the Azai leader's wrath. Surprisingly enough, Nagamasa stays his hand and expresses admiration for the way the people of Ichijodani were treated. Holding no grudges with one another, the two of them shake hands as a sign of respect.
Later on, they both join the other vassals witness Yoshiaki's formal ascension as shogun candidate. Grateful for the Oda's support, he encourages them to expel the traitorous Miyoshi from the capital. The guests celebrate this special moment with much enthusiasm, though Hanbei senses something amiss regarding Nobunaga. Observing his lord's casual behavior towards Mitsuhide, he suspects something sinister about their latest recruit only to be assuaged by Hideyoshi.
After praying with the troops outside Atsuta Shrine, the Oda warlord privately has the chief priest investigate the paranormal phenomenon he experienced only to find no answers. While contemplating the advantages of living the same life repeatedly, he notices a nun passing by. Intrigued by her cryptic appearance, he initially suspects her to be a Takeda kunoichi until she mentions his death at Honno-Ji. Taken aback by her knowledge of the former timeline, Nobunaga questions the woman's true identity. She addresses herself as Yaobikuni after revealing her ability to see the past, present, and future.
Upon learning the nun's name, an apprehensive Nobunaga inquires if she is indeed the same legendary immortal he once heard of from the chief priest. Yaobikuni does not verify this claim, but instead unveils the truth behind Nobunaga's return to the past. Because of her unique gift to see beyond time and space, she can detect those who have been forced to repeat their past lives. The warlord's surprise turns into shock when Yaobikuni reveals how these individuals could not escape the karmic cycle of life and death to the point where they went insane. She also explains how someone with a very strong will is responsible for entrapping him in this time loop and that only he can figure out who it is.
When asked why he spared Mitsuhide's life, the warlord reminisces a time when he and his betrayer shared a moment of camaraderie in the past. It was when the Azai hunted him down at Kanegasaki that Nobunaga and Mitsuhide exchanged guns as a sign of trust. Seeing that gun again at Ichijodani reminded him of that particular moment, making him wonder why his vassal chose to revolt in the first place. Yaobikuni reasons that solving this mystery may help him understand the cause of his own reincarnation as well. Promising to offer help whenever he needs it, she disappears in an instant, leaving behind a camellia.
After that fateful encounter, Nobunaga sets his sights on Kyoto now that Hisahide and the Miyoshi Triumvirate have broken their alliance. The invading Oda forces easily conquer the divided Miyoshi while establishing Yoshiaki as shogun to control the capital. Left without any options, Hisahide feigns surrender to Nobunaga and even gives the latter a valuable tea caddy to prove his sincerity. Thinking his act was a success, he smirks at the thought of using his former enemies until Nobunaga directs him to a terrace where the Miyoshi Trio fearfully await execution. Although Hisahide assumes that the Oda warlord will not kill them, he is proven wrong when one of the brothers is decapitated. With the other two beheaded, the horrified tactician now realizes his cover has been blown. Meanwhile, Yaobikuni foresees the upcoming conflict while walking on the snowy fields of Mikawa.
The chapter begins with the Tokugawa struggling to repel the Takeda army at Nagashino. Despite the odds against them, Ieyasu commands his men to endure until reinforcements from the Oda arrive. He notes that Nobunaga's swift expansion has left them vulnerable to Shingen's assault. In the meantime, Kyoto prospers from the improvements Nobunaga made in commerce and transportation. As the people enjoy their newfound peace, Yoshiaki vents his frustration at being cast aside. The shogun's resentment flares up when Hisahide plays devil's advocate, pushing him to secretly form a new alliance against the Oda. Unbeknownst to him, Nobunaga anticipated this move all along and made plans to counter it as seen in the previous chapters. With the other clans preoccupied or inactive, the only faction opposing the Oda is the Takeda.
Having surrounded Ieyasu from all sides, Shingen notices the Oda's arrival and looks forward to his eventual clash with the Fool of Owari. As their cavalries charge against each other, the story briefly shifts to Yaobikuni's perspective. Watching the battle unfold from a distance, she notes how things will be different for Nobunaga this time around now that the Tiger of Kai is his opponent instead of Katsuyori. The two commanders duel one another, deeming themselves to be the next ruler of the age. Shingen's war fan is torn in half during the first bout whereas Nobunaga finds himself without a horse. Pointing a blade at his dismounted opponent, the Takeda warlord considers him inferior to Kenshin. Nobunaga, however, has the last laugh when Nagamasa rides to his rescue. The thrill he feels from the near-death experience intensifies his desire to defeat Shingen.
After their initial encounter with Shingen, Nobunaga's forces regroup by coming to Ieyasu's aid at Nagashino Castle. With Tadakatsu Honda keeping the enemy troops at bay, the two warlords are free to discuss their current situation. Ieyasu wholeheartedly agrees to have his men remain on the defensive long enough for Nobunaga to implement his strategy against the Takeda. Impressed by the Tokugawa leader's keen mind, the Oda warlord laughs heartily before turning his mind to those entrusted with the fruition of his plan.
The scene changes to Hideyoshi, Hanbei, and Mitsuhide traveling through a deep forest with only a small number of retainers by their side. As they approach their destination, the group is suddenly ambushed by musket troops. Initially mistaking their unknown assailants for bandits, Hideyoshi recognizes them as the Saika clan who the Oda retainers have been searching for. Hanbei's knowledge of gun warfare and its weakness intrigues the mercenary leader enough to restrain his subordinates and welcome the group as guests. Apologizing for their previous ambush, the man introduces himself as Magoichi Saika.
As Magoichi gives his visitors a tour of the Saika stronghold, he wastes no time in questioning their motives, even threatening to kill them should both parties come to an impasse. Upon being told to join the Oda, the mercenary refuses to give up the clan's neutrality unless doing so can benefit them greatly.
Determined to fulfill their mission, each retainer attempts to solicit Magoichi's trust differently. Hideyoshi asserts his lord's greatness by exemplifying the prosperity of their conquered lands and sharing his first meeting with the man. When his sentimental speech seemingly fails to move Magoichi, Mitsuhide resorts to more provocative measures by taunting the entire clan. This earns him their hostility as well as a punch to the face by Hanbei. After apologizing for his comrade's rudeness, the tactician shrewdly grabs Magoichi's attention by unveiling a plan that would help them seize victory as well as make the Saika group ten times stronger than it is now. Despite the disapproval of his peers, the mercenary willingly listens to their terms.
Back at Nagashino, the Tokugawa continue to sustain heavy damage from the Takeda army. Ieyasu implores Nobunaga to leave for safety only for the latter to refuse. Confident in the success of his followers, he is proven correct upon seeing two signal flares from the sky, signaling the arrival of Hideyoshi and the Saika riflemen by his side. With all of the necessary pieces in place, Nobunaga orders his men to leave the castle and press onward to the front lines.
With the Saika clan on their side, Nobunaga is finally able to set his plan into motion. As Ieyasu grabs Tadakatsu to safety, the Takeda officers pursuing the Oda warlord are greeted by rows of riflemen firing at them repeatedly. Much to Shingen's disbelief, his cavalry proves defenseless against the carefully timed shots of the musket troops. Because Nobunaga originally used this tactic against Katsuyori Takeda in the previous timeline, he understood its effectiveness against mounted units and sought out the Saika's large supply of guns to implement it at an earlier time.
Faced with imminent defeat, Shingen orders his men to turn back and withdraw, noting to himself how his foe is more of an obstacle than he had originally thought. Likewise, Nobunaga considers his victory against the Tiger of Kai as nothing more than luck and knows he cannot get away with using the same tactic again. During their celebration party, Magoichi tells Mitsuhide that he saw through the latter's previous taunt as a ruse to have him negotiate with Hanbei. While their act impressed him enough, he confides that Hideyoshi's sincerity is what truly persuaded him to side with the Oda. The scene changes to Nobunaga and Ieyasu sharing a private conversation. Nobunaga muses how they all must prepare themselves when the moment arrives as the temple of Honno-Ji comes into view.