First Impressions: Kampfer


Summary: German gender-swapping magic leads to fanservice galore. Oh, and sometimes they fight too.

I'm a big fan of gender-swapping anime, to the point that I will watch any show that includes genderbending as part of it's premise. Whether or not this betrays deeply buried personal desires is another issue. That's the reason I put Kampfer on my list this season, but I honestly didn't expect too much out of it. I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised. Kampfer is a flawed but fun mix of action, comedy, romance and fanservice that, after A Certain Scientific Railgun, is my favorite show this season.

*ahem* Prepare for imminent gender pronoun confusion!

Senou Natsuru wakes up one night to find he has become a girl. His stuffed animal Hara-Kiri Tiger, who has suddenly gained the ability to speak, explains that he has transformed into a Kampfer (or Kenpufa, if you  translate the katakana literally). Kampfers are female warriors who, for no adequately explained reason, are chosen by the "Moderators" to fight and kill each other. Before long, Natsuru encounters other Kampfers, both allies and enemies, and is forced to fight for his life... but these pitched battles soon give way to fanservice as "she" is transferred to the girls' half of Seitetsu Gakuin High School

This isn't what it looks like, Mr. Furley!

These are  Kampfer's protagonists, Mishima Akane and and Senou Natsuru, in their normal (i.e. non-Kampfer) forms. Akane is a shy bookish girl whose dirty mind leads her to constantly misinterpret innocuous dialogue as double entendres. Her crush on Natsuru sends her into constant fits of blushing. Natsuru is an average student who is completely oblivious to the feelings of those around him... especially if those feelings are romantic in nature.

Do you feel lucky, punk?

Here we have Akane and and Natsuru in their Kampfer forms. As a  Kampfer, Akane's shyness disappears and she becomes engergetic, loudmouthed and vulgar. Her crush on Natsuru drives her into fits of jealous rage whenever she senses competition from another girl. In battle, she wields a big, black Gewehr (gun). Unlike Akane, Natsuru's personality does not change upon transforming into a Kampfer; however, her great beauty makes her the object of every other girl's affections. (Her mere presence turns all of her female classmates into instant lesbians.) Natsuru can use a type of magic, called Zauber, that allows her to shoot fireballs.

I fell into a blazing ring of fire...

Kampfer is equal parts action, comedy, romance and fanservice. The action sequences feature animation that is fairly good, although not ground-breaking. The comedy is hilarious and varied, and managed to make me laugh several times each episode. The romantic scenes are fairly  run-of-the-mill, although unique in the respect that, thanks to a misunderstanding, most of the school believes that the female Natsuru is dating the male Natsuru. This creates a very convoluted love triangle (or quadrangle). Finally, the fanservice is usually enjoyable, although sometimes a bit overwhelming.

The show has a few flaws, too. Some of the plot points can stretch credulity; for example, Natsuru using the same name in both his male and female forms. Here you have two individuals, both named Senou Natsuru, who have the same hair color, eye color, physical features and personality, and NOBODY realizes that they're the same person? He must be taking lessons from Clark Kent. Another problem  is the overuse of fanservice, which comes to dominate the plots of the third and fourth episodes at the expense of showing any Kampfer fights. This was a disappointment for me, since the fight sequences are one of my favorite aspects of the series.

You... you shot my hair!

Well, that's Kampfer in a nutshell. If you're looking for a lighthearted action comedy series that doesn't require too much thought, then this might be the show for you.

What I liked:

  • Tons of fun. This show is one of the most enjoyable I've ever seen.
  • Great art and character designs
  • Likable characters across the board. Female Natsuru is particularly endearing... *blush*

What I didn't like:

  • Some plot points can stretch credulity.
  • Fanservice dominates the plots of the third and fourth episodes, at the expense of action.
  • The ending dance is absolutely crazy... in that it looks like performing it would rupture your spine. WTF?
  • See what I mean?

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Jon Snyder
Jon Snyder   gamer profile

Formerly known as Jenny. more + disclosures



Filed under... #BOOBS #fansubbing #First Impressions #Japanator Original



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