Marina InoueKana AsumiKana UedaShiori Mikami
Kampfer
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2009
Director: Yasuhiro Kuroda
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Original creator: Toshihiko Tsukiji
Actor: Eri Nakao, Junko Minagawa, Kana Asumi, Kana Ueda, Kaori Nazuka, Kenji Utsumi, Kotomi Yamakawa, Mamiko Noto, Marina Inoue, Megumi Nakajima, Michiko Nomura, Nana Mizuki, Shiori Mikami, Yoshihisa Kawahara, Yui Horie, Yukari Tamura
Keywords: anime, harem, rubbish
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 14 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=10861
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 26 August 2022
Kampfer
I quite liked the first two episodes, in a shameless dumb way. Ep.3 was then silly bollocks. Suddenly, the show became almost unwatchable. Its second half zombie-staggered its way back up to "worthless", but then leapt head-first from a cliff with two downright unpleasant final episodes.
Don't make my mistake. Avoid this show.
EPISODES 1-2
A boy called Natsuru likes a girl called Sakura and doesn't even mind her Entrail Animals. Sakura collects soft toys like Disemboweled Tiger, Black Seppuku Rabbit, Electrocuted Wildcat, Strangled Stray Dog, Burnt Alive Lion and Exploding Penguin. She's given him one as a present... so naturally it turns Natsuru into a girl with superpowers and says she has to fight other such girls called Kampfers.
That's quite funny, especially when Natsuru discovers that his current gender state can be used as an enemy detector.
"Shit, you've transformed."
"So I have!"
There's a meek girl called Akane who, to her distress, becomes aggressive and rude in her combat form. "My personality changes when I become a Kampfer and I say vulgar things."
This is all cheerfully, knowingly stupid. When Natsuru asks why the Kampfers have to fight, he's told not to sweat the trivial stuff. (The show doesn't care. Admittedly, there will be an explanation, eventually, involving an alien planet that's using humans as proxies in a replacement war. However that's clearly just an excuse and the show forgets about the planet without ever telling us what happened to it.)
There's a very silly innuendo scene. Superhero fights can be stoppped with a sprinkler. Trying to kill someone with an edged weapon will only inflict clothing damage in the bust area. "Why don't you make her hate you?" is soooooooooo dumb. And of course the sleazy end credits sequence is trash to the power of trash... but I still enjoyed it. I was garbage diving, yes, but so far it was a laugh. There's also a weird love quadrilateral with Natsuru (m), Natsuru (f), Sakura and Akane.
BUT NOW IT RUNS INTO A WALL
Natsuru becomes female at school and transfers into the girls' classes... and is mobbed. By everyone. Everyone without a Y-chromosome is instantly a lesbian with the self-control of a toddler on heroin. Three of Natsuru's classmates start charging 500 yen for talking with him for 30 seconds, etc. He doesn't protest! He goes along with everything in sheep-like fashion, obeying their orders and dressing up in exploitative costumes on demand. He doesn't even show self-will when it comes to abduction for lesbian group molestation.
There's a beauty contest and a maid-like cafe. Natsuru's love triangle expands and the show quietly ditches the Kampfer battles, because it really just wants to be a harem anime. The battles will make a fitful return in the show's second half, but never seriously and the show's real attention is always on dates, swimsuits, boobs, four-girl kissing games, etc.
Furthermore, the harem angle makes it clear that the show has no interest in resolving its love hexagon. It's meant to be the status quo. Our girls are:
1. NATSURU him/herself, who couldn't get denser if he fell into a black hole.
2. SAKURA, the girl he loves. Natsuru never tells Sakura about his gender bending, even though she's in love with girl-Natsuru and keeps asking his male self to set up meetings.
3. AKANE, the only girl who genuinely seems to like Natsuru. The others are all merely throwing themselves at him/her because this is a harem anime. Akane does have the problem of a violent, rude alter ego, though.
4. SHIZUKU, the student council president. The anime works hardest with her, going to great length to establish Shizuku's interest in Natsuru. Unfortunately, she's also a high-and-mighty ice queen who orders around everyone like insects and is apparently incapable of showing human warmth. You'd feel more affection towards a caterpillar.
5. MIKOTO, Natsuru's childhood friend who returns to Japan in ep.6 and tries to make up for being a late harem arrival by being extra shameless.
The show settles down into being empty and shit, albeit not yet exploitative. It's visibly avoiding panty shots, for instance. Then, though...
EPISODES 13-14
Technically, this was a two-episode sequel finale from two years later, in 2011. It's not a conclusion, but just a big "to be continued". It's ramping up the fanservice. Baths, nudity, near-sex scenes, girls practicing kissing with each other, swimsuits, yet more nudity (this time contrived), lots of waitress fetish service, all the villainous girls naked in the bath together, etc. One of our heroines lets the villains hypnotise her in such a stupid way that she looks feeble-minded. The show's only non-combatant turns out to be stronger than Schwarzenegger.
It's unpleasant. I went "yuck". Harem anime can be charming, but this one makes me want it to resolve the love triangles it doesn't want us to remember. There are some mildly interesting developments with Sakura, but otherwise this is an anime to flee from at top speed.
When it's on form, I like this show's sense of humour. The cross-dressing peeping toms getting shot (harmlessly) in ep.5 is moderately funny. The Entrail Animals are memorable for cheerfully bad taste. I'd defend the first two episodes, in a trashy way. Overall, though, this show is bloody awful.