Not being a major reviewer of sorts, I just need to come here to somehow make sense of the wasted 4-5 hours of my life.
I am a big fan of gender-bender storys. When I saw this on a monthly marathon, hosted by Chii on Anime Planet, I was overjoyed and really looking forward to this title. It sounded like I, Me My, Starberry Eggs, meets My-Hime, and had potential. I was just finishing a title that was the polar opposite called Aoi Bunkoi, so the change of pace sounded like Rocky Road bliss.
20 minutes into the first episode I realized I was more wrong than NBC exects setting up the Tonight Show. The first mistake? The creators decided to shoe horn about a dozen already well worn genre's into a 12 episode masterpiece of what is wrong with the industry.
To make this as easy as a Bandaid removal, I might as well get to the worst part of Kampfer, the story. Natsuru Senō is a teen boy who one day wakes up from a odd dream to find he is a girl. After the initial shock he is talked to by a stuffed animal that tells him he is a Kamfer. This just puzzles him more but like any good fast paced, poorly written show, his worry wears off in five minutes.
Later, he finds out more about Kampfers. In the preset rules are the following;
1. All the girls change apearence, attitude, or both. 2. Once changed, they fight with super powers that are limited to one of the following; A fire wielder, a gun toting mama, or a sword fighter type. 3. There are two sides that are advisaries. If your wristband is red, you are going to be fighting with girls who wear blue 4. Transformation happens automatically when they are around each other, and at first you can not control it. 5. The only way you can have powers is being a girl, this is why he becomes a she.
Interestingly enough, these guidelines are heaved out the door for convenience. There are other girls, white bands, mind control, a surprise boss out of left field ... and well I guess red and blue can fight together... and that automatic change does not always happen, and, ah screw it who needs rules?
Anyhow, he has a thing for a cute girl at school at first it is more or less one sided. Soon a second girl enters the romantic picture in the form of an old time friend, then a third who originally tried to kill him. If this does not sound like a well worn path enough, it gets better. Soon he has a harem of women which leads to the pool episode, the beauty pageant episode, the yuri action, and the girl jealousy sequences. Oh cliche! I spit at thee.
What is most frustrating, is what could have been good premises; him having to hide his transformations, or him having to be a girl to get the girl of his dreams to like him (she seems to only have a thing for women) but never gets explored enough to be humorous. And in fact it always seemed like a broken clock, the timing was off for the laughs.
For the most part the animation is clean but stiff. The transformations, which are hardly used, are actually a treat. But for the life of me, all the characters could have just been the same face and eye design with no differentiating characteristics at all. If it was not for the kindergarten crayon box of hair colors I would have a hard time identifying them. I will give the creators some credit for the absolutely disgusting stuffed animals.
Speaking about the Entrails Animals. These are what are called Messengers in the show. Designed to be disturbingly cute toys wearing their guts on the outside of thier body, they provided the only break of monotony. Every time they are on screen they provide brief amuzment, with names such as Strangled Stray Dog, Disembowled Tiger, or my personal favorite the blood shot eyed Suicidal Black Rabbit. Outside of this however, is the cast members borrowed from other anime such as Love Hina, Magikano, or Maburaho relabeled and stuck back in Kampfer.
Unmemorable... forgettable... what were we talking about? Oh yeah, sound. The opening and ending was bland crackers, which was a good thing cause after a couple episodes I could skip both. The voice acting was not bad and in fact the actors used for the animals were actually fun, with the only grating voice was the obvious girl voice for Natsuru. Why use the woman's voice for a teen boy is beyond me. Child, yes, teen, no.
Through the grace of God I somehow managed not to strangle myself with my mouse cord while finishing this series. When you decide to rumage through a pile of the most over used romantic comedy and super powered girls stories in the existance of man, your probably not going to make something memorable, or lasting. In fact if this ends up even remembered well by the anime fan mob 5 years later I will be most surprised.
Sadly, the creators will probably get the simple ratings they were going for. Which in it's own way makes me frown. =(