Review of Kampfer

kampfer

Over in America the WWE have little confidence in the drawing power of female wrestlers. I wonder why that is, when you consider the sizable income Japanese studios make off anime starring lady fighters. Kampfer, a 2009 series based on Toshihiko Tsukiji’s light novels, is one such example of a cartoon featuring gals who beat the snot out of each other. The twist on the established formula is that protagonist Natsuru Seno is actually a guy. No one wants to see a bloke battering women though, but fear not because the story has you covered. Whenever a brawl erupts, much like Ranma getting doused with water or Lana Wachowski having surgery, our gender-confused hero transforms into a heroine.

OVERVIEW

High school student Natsuru Seno’s humdrum life is forever changed one day when his tiger plushie attains sentience. Said toy, which resembles a feline pirate who has entrails protruding from its gut, informs the bewildered teen that he has been involuntarily recruited as a combatant in the ongoing Kampfer war. Armed with a blue bracelet, capable of transforming him into a busty beauty that can hurl fireballs, Natsuru is now expected to square off against rival Kampfer (who are identifiable by the red coloured bangles they wear.) Red versus blue… sounds a bit like that Halo web series – only with less funny jokes and a lot more boobies bouncing onscreen.

It doesn’t take long for Natsuru to ally himself with fellow Kampfer who conveniently study at the same school he attends. The first of these is a bashful librarian named Akane Mishima, who has the ability to transform into a feisty sharpshooter possessing a firearm imbued with infinite ammo. Also joining Natsuru’s cause is student council president Shizuku Sango, who is trying to uncover the identities of the group orchestrating the Kampfer conflict. By the time episode six rolls along the aforementioned trio become a quartet, thanks to the introduction of Natsuru’s globetrotting friend Mikoto Kondo. The sixth episode reveals that Mikoto and the mysterious silver haired Kampfer, who has been hunting Natsuru, are one and the same person! What a twist… shame then that said bombshell had already been spoiled by the show’s opening credits.

VERDICT

My rating for Kampfer is two stars. I was initially on-board with the series (it is no worse than other run of the mill harem shows at the very least) but towards the latter part of its twelve episode run things began to get tiresome. The final episode was really stupid, the gags began to get overly crude and worse of all the two bonus OVAs bundled with the DVD set appear to be episodes for a cancelled season two. As a result the series concludes without a definitive ending, despite the fact that the source material finished years ago. Viewers will have to track down the novels or the manga adaptation to find out how the Kampfer hostilities pan out. Alternatively you can cut your losses and give up on the franchise, because if the anime is indicative of the books’ quality you aren’t missing out on much.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, in an anime titled after the German word for fighter, is the lack of action on display. Instead of superhuman scuffles, what we get instead is three Kampfer squabbling over who should date Natsuru. The girls are wasting their time though because the protagonist only has eyes for school idol Kaede Sakura (a lesbian, who in a cruel twist of fate, is smitten with Natsuru’s female alter ego.) It’s a shame that Kampfer didn’t meet expectations because even with minimal story there is guilty pleasure fun to be had whenever a show successfully combines comedy, action and eye candy. If you seek a better alternative I would recommend checking out something like Sekirei. The episodes are more action packed, the quips are funnier and you can admire the topless shots without worrying that you are technically jerking off to a dude.

13 thoughts on “Review of Kampfer

    • The series aired in 2009 and the OVAs came out in 2011. I assume that they didn’t sell well enough to justify a continuation. What a shame. Even if the series could have been better I always hate it when something is left unfinished.

      • Re: “I always hate it when something is left unfinished.”

        Hmmm .. … well, like when you realize it was a dude you were looking at, you can still tell yourself it would be a shame not to finish?
        Ha Ha — by the way.

      • Hi, i havent watched this anime, but arent some things better when they are left unfinished?
        Let’s say books by Haruki Murakami, or even anime, Say Death note, season one pretty good! Amazing actually. But is completely ruined in the second season! Wouldn’t it have been better if it were left after the first season?
        Even Tokyo Ghoul, the first season was emotional and had sense, good… an unfinished ending.. But the second season, makes me feel I wasted time on it..
        So, sometimes I feel it is better if some things are better left unfinished, what say now?

  1. Kaede and Shizuku were the show’s highlights. Akane was a bore and Mikoto has a nice figure…at least they had a noteworthy moment in one of the OVAs.

    A decent het(ish)-harem when I used to still watch them. I dare say it’s a guilty pleasure.

  2. I did love this series. I watched it so quickly and was super disappointed in the fact it never got more and how the manga translations are slow. But whatever. I got into this due to the TeamFourStar full series parody, well everything but the canceled season 2 episodes.
    If I was to watch it now, since it has been like 3 years. I probably would still enjoy it mindlessly, but I could probably not enjoy it if I was to be critical about it.

  3. I am now adopting you as my “harem-o-metre” in that if a I dislike a harem show and you dislike it too then it is officially a clunker! 😛

  4. That’s one of the biggest things that I hate about anime, when they just don’t finish the story over the course of their runtime. I remember being unreasonably pissed of the first time I came across that, where Tenjho Tenge just set up this big massive tournament, explained the big bad’s motivations, and just ended without actually dealing with that. When they brought in some follow up OVAs that still didn’t end the story, that was just spitting into the wound. Since then, I’ve found myself often a little hesitant to pick up brand new series, for fear that they are going to end up just like this. It always feels like, up to a certain degree, I just wasted a bunch of time on this series.

    • Ah I was so annoyed and heartbroken when Tenjou Tenge didn’t continue, although it did make me look for the manga, which is a lot more graphic btw. But yea an unfinished anime is always annoying and heartbreaking.

  5. It’s always sad when an anime doesn’t live up to expectations and doesn’t continue. Guess this is one I will not be recommending to the boyfriend. Always looking for new harems since that seems to be the only anime he will watch with me ugh…XD

  6. I do find it more shameful to wank to the lead, that’s just be plain awkward. Sorry you didn’t have the breast time with this one. I haven’t seen any wrestling anime because CLEARLY they’ll want to showcase the show’s unique plot. *rolls eyes*

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