Kämpfer (けんぷファー), which literally means “Fighter” is a 12 episode long anime produced by Nomand, that aired between October 2 and December 17 2009.
Genre: Action, Comedy, Harem, High School Setting, Ecchi, Gender Bender
After having a weird dream, Natsuru Senou, a totally average guy, wakes up in his bed, wearing a strange blue bracelet he’s never seen before. As if this wouldn’t be weird enough, a stuffed animal that he just recently got as a present, starts talking to him, telling him that he was chosen to be a “Kämpfer” (German word for fighter). On top of that he is told that whenever he needs to fight an enemy he transforms into a girl, gaining magical powers and inhuman strength.
Sounds weird huh? But trust me it gets even weirder!
Throughout the whole anime, Natsuru meets a whole lot of more Kämpfer with all kinds of different abilities such as “Zauber” (Magic), “Schwert” (Sword) and “Geweher” (Gun). While the color of their bracelet indicates whether they are an ally or an enemy, this soon becomes irrelevant since they start randomly forming teams in order to stay alive and find out more about the meaning of the game.
Since the Anime is called “Kämpfer” it’s actually no surprise that there is so much pointless fighting going on. And it’s just always the same:
Natsuru finds a new enemy; They fight and accidently shred most of their already skimpy enough clothing; The fight ends in a draw; They mysteriously become allies; The former enemy joins Natsuru’s harem; the circle repeats
In fact, even in the end, we never get reasonable answers to the most important questions of the whole show: Why the hell do they have to fight each other? Who makes them fight? Where and why did they get their abilities and why on earth would anyone just accept to randomly fight strangers for no apparent reason?
So yeah, if it’s not clear enough already, what this anime has in store for you is A LOT of pointless fighting, an equal amount of naked skin and, who would have guessed, some yuri subtext.
It doesn’t really make sense and the anime doesn’t show the slightest inclination to actually explain what is really going on but I think that’s the problem of
mostmany ecchi shows.
|from left to right, Mikoto, Shizuku, Kaede, Natsuru, Akane|
Natsuru Senou: He is the main protagonist, a second year student and probably the most normal and average guy you can think of. He’s average in school, average in sports and, just like every other normal boy in his school, he as well has a (hopeless) crush on Kaede Sakura, the cutest girl in all school. After becoming a Kämpfer and gaining some magical powers called “Zauber”, he is forced to transform into a girl whenever another Kämpfer is nearby or wants to fight him.
While the male Natsuru doesn’t really get a lot of attention from his male and female classmates, the female Natsuru on the other hand is the centre of attention wherever she goes. Her beautiful appearance doesn’t only rank her within the top 3 school beauties, she also becomes the target of affection of both male and female classmates and also of his secret crush Kaede.
The thing I don’t understand about his character is the fact that he, out of all people, gains a harem consisting of 4 girls, among which even the two school beauties are. While most of the members are interested in him as a boy, Kaede is the only one that only shows her affection whenever Natsuru is in his female form. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t seem like anymore really cares whether he’s a boy or a girl, except for Kaede of course.
Now am I the only one wondering how a guy like him got a harem full of beautiful girls?
Akane Mishima: She’s a blue Kämpger as well and the first to fight Natsuru and eventually join his harem. Other than Natsuru, she can’t use “Zauber”, but instead obtains a weapon called “Gewehr”. Whenever she transforms into a Kämpfer, not only her appearance change but also her personality. While Akane is usually an overly shy, docile and rather quiet girl, she transform into a total bitch that is a master at cussing and threatening people, whenever she is using her powers.
Shizuku Sangou: Shizuku is the president of the student council, one of the two school beauties and a red Kämpfer fighting for the purpose of revealing the meaning of the game. She has a weapon called “Schwert” and only slightly changes in appearance whenever she transforms into a Kämpfer. While Shizuku is a rather calm and confident person, she sometimes appears cold and even arrogant.
Mikoto Kondou: As the daughter of an archaeologist, Mikoto often travels abroad and is thus only able to see her precious childhood friend Natsuru, when she returns home every now and then. She is a very energetic and adventurous girl, joining Natsuru’s group of friends as the last member of his harem.
Sakura Kaede: Sakura mastered the technique of effortlessly switching between her two personalities, enabling her to fool everyone around her to believe that she is the cute and innocent girl everyone loves. But when really she is the main villain of the show, by far the strongest of all Kämpfer and also the most manipulative one. She doesn’t really hide the fact that she is a lesbian, as well as the fact that she is head over heels in love with the female Natsuru. As the anime develops, her innocent moves on Natsuru become bolder to the point that she actually tries to seduce her. Till the end it’s not really clear who exactly Sakura is. All we know is that she has a connection to the Moderators but is not a Kämpfer herself, since she doesn’t have a bracelet and is far more skilled and powerful than all the other Kämpfer.
We have a lot more important characters, such as the stuffed animals, that Sakura handed out to all the Kämpfer and of course the bad guys (in this case girls), all members of Sakura’s harem that all come with typical, cliché characters traits.
For an ecchi anime like this, the animation just has to look awesome, since especially the movements of bouncing breasts needs to look as good as possible. And that’s actually a good thing that comes with perverted Anime like Kämpfer, the animation is really fluid, colorful and in general very high in detail, especially when it comes to the presentation of the characters. You really won’t be disappointed with the animation since this is one of the strong points of this Anime.
Unfortunately I can’t find a good trailer, so here’s the opening, it should show the animation good enough.
Music and Sound: 9/10
While the opening and ending themes are fitting but not that remarkable or catchy, the background music is what really caught my attention. I usually don’t even notice background music at all, but in this case, it was so catchy and fitting that it made the anime at least 10 times better. Here you have a playlist of the OST, you should really give it a try, it’s awesome.
The choice of voice actresses also surprised me. You’ll find some pretty popular names in the list, such as Yui Horie or Yukari Tamura and I think they all did a great job.
On the internet I often read that Marina Inoue, who did the voice for Natsuru, wasn’t really the best choice for the main character, since she had to do the voice acting for both, the male and female Natsuru. But I don’t really see why so many people had a problem with her. I would even say she did a pretty good job, especially with the male Natsuru’s voice.
I wasn’t really surprised seeing quite a few yuri moments in this anime, especially when knowing that the main character is a gender bender. You’ll get some kissing here, some touching there and a lot of sexiness in general. While most of the characters are heterosexual and prefer Natsuru as a male, there is one character that doesn’t. As already mentioned Kaede doesn’t really keep her attraction for the female Natsuru a secret, in fact she is quite bold when it comes to showing her love. Furthermore I would say, Sakura is the main reason why the “Yuri Meter” is so high.
Total Enjoyment: 7/10
I’m sure most of you expected a lower rating, since I made it pretty clear that the story is crappy and doesn’t make any sense. But I didn’t really expect anything else when starting watching this Anime to begin with. And even though I call this show, crappy I still enjoyed it, a lot actually.
It’s pure entertainment, with a lot of action, great animation and background music and quite a few very funny moments. This anime doesn’t take itself very seriously, especially when it comes to its plot but let’s be honest, you don’t watch an anime like this because you want to see a great story. You watch it because you want to be entertained without having to think about much and that’s exactly what Kämpfer delivers.
By the way, there is a second season out, “Kämpfer für die Liebe”, which literally means “Fighter for Love”. I don’t really think that a full review of this short series, which only consists of 2 episodes, is really necessary, since it’s exactly like the first season.