Episode three shows the Battle of Nagara-gawa, a conflict between Saitō Dōsan and his firstborn son, Yoshitatsu; in real life, Dōsan perished during this battle, but in this episode, he survives and returns to Owari. During the course of this episode, Sagara Yoshiharu becomes closer to Oda Nobuna; in one scene, while the two converse, Nobuna reveals that a foreign man motivated her to travel internationally and unite Japan. She also reveals a major fear that she harbors – she is nervous about establishing a relationship with someone, as her father and the “barbarian” man died, and she fears Dōsan will follow suit. Nobuna likely feels alone – those that meant the world to her passed away, leaving her scared of being alone her entire life. Despite her apprehension, however, she has allies that will defend her; her servants are willing to protect her against the manipulative Nagamasa Asai, who arrives in Owari to ask for her hand in marriage. They are quite loyal to their lord, and are willing to guard against any intrusions; Nobuna is not alone, like she believes, as she can rely on her servants.
Nagamasai Asai, a rare male daimyo in this show, shows himself to be rather manipulative; he desires power, and his offer of marriage is only to further his political goals. He doesn’t love Nobuna at all – by contrast, Yoshiharu feels jealous of the handsome man asking to wed Nobuna, demonstrating that he likely considers Asai a rival for Nobuna’s affection. The two disagree on whether love is important – Asai claims that Nobuna should not pursue love (considering it a “naive dream”), while Yoshiharu is willing to help Nobuna achieve both her goals of unification and love. Asai is rather cold-hearted in dismissing love; he is only interested in political power, and love is very much inconsequential to him. Yoshiharu, on the other hand, considers love quite important; he shows some romantic interest in her, something that Nagahide Niwa observes when she calls an argument between the two a lovers’ spat. Yoshiharu shows interest in Nobuna’s dreams, showing that he truly cares for her; Asai, on the other hand, considers Nobuna a pawn that he can use for political power. Nobuna ultimately rejects Asai’s marriage proposal with the help of her allies; she and her servants have the ability to stand up to the daimyo, declining his advances.
After rejecting Asai, Nobuna has another concern to attend to: Saitō Dōsan plans to die in battle, leaving Nobuna to carry on his dreams. Yoshiharu helps him understand that his death will made Nobuna sad; she had already lost her father and the “barbarian,” and another loss would devastate her. Yoshiharu does not wish Nobuna to be depressed any longer – he will save Dōsan and bring him back to Owari, even though that would put him in danger of being killed. He is commendable for risking his life to rescue Dōsan; he really cares for Nobuna, and wishes for her to be happy. He will gladly place himself in harm’s way to save one of Nobuna’s allies, so that he will not see Nobuna sad any longer; DAfter rejecting Asai, Nobuna has another concern to attend to: Saitō Dōsan plans to die in battle, leaving Nobuna to carry on his dreams. Yoshiharu helps him understand that his death will made Nobuna sad; she had already lost her father and the “barbarian,” and another loss would devastate her. Yoshiharu does not wish Nobuna to be depressed any longer – he will save Dōsan and bring him back to Owari, even though that would put him in danger of being killed. He is commendable for risking his life to rescue Dōsan; he really cares for Nobuna, and wishes for her to be happy. Dōsan initially refuses to return to Owari, preferring to die honorably, but ultimately acquiesces to return; he points out to Yoshiharu that a dream is a dream because you share it with someone. He mentions that a dream is an ambition if it isn’t shared with someone; “ambition” carries a more negative connotation, as it refers to something someone does for selfish reasons. Dōsan poses an important question to Yoshiharu: will this land be burned by ambition or brightened by dreams? This question illustrates the distinction between ambition and dream – the former is destructive, while the latter is positive. Dreams are what one must strive for; ambition leads one down a dark path, potentially destroying the world around you.
Dōsan is rescued by Yoshiharu and his allies, sparing him from death in battle; the episode ends with Imagawa Yoshimoto marching on Owari. This episode shows how Nobuna feels alone in her life, with important figures (her father and a foreign person) dying; she worries that she can’t love anyone, lest they perish. Yoshiharu loves her, though, and will do what he can to assure Nobuna’s happiness; he saved Dōsan, showing he is willing to put himself in danger to rescue someone. His jealously of Asai shows that he wants Nobuna for himself; he may not admit it yet, but he loves Nobuna.