Kämpher Review

What is Kämpher?  In our case it is an anime adaption of a manga by the same name, and this is my not so flattering review about said adaption.

Natsuru Transformation EndingJumping right in, this story focuses on one Natsuru Senō.  He is given a stuffed animal from the Entrail Animals series (think stuffed toys that in some way committed suicide or died horribly) by the love of his life, Kaede Sakura.  Turns out the new "toy" is actually a messenger for the Moderators, who are spooky and ominous.  As the owner of this messenger Natsuru is turned into a Kämpher. Being as such, it includes perks like a wonderful blue bracelet accessory that turns him into a girl.  Why a girl?  Apparently all Kämphers must be girls.  It is somewhere in the rules, they are sure of it.  So now we have a boy who turns into a girl and gets the ability to throw fire. Natsuru must fight red Kämphers lest he be killed himself.  At this point it seems like it can be a cool anime.  Ah the misgivings of the uninformed mind.

Shortly Natsuru meets the other blue Kämpher in the area, Akane Mishima.  She is always a she, but when she transforms she goes all nuts and becomes a sociopath.  Instead of fireballs she also has guns, which despite being team mates Natsuru finds himself/herself on the receiving end of the barrel more often then not.  Eventually we are introduced to what should have been their enemies.  The school president Shizuku Sangō and childhood friend Mikoto Kondō.  Do we have all the cliché bases covered now? No, we are missing a transfer student, but I think this will do.  So our nice battle anime has turned into a harem in  about four episodes, give or take a few.  Normally I would not mind this, but there was almost no battles happening.  They fought every few episodes and not always against each other or not for very long.

This series mostly takes place in the school which is a divided co-ed school.  The only time the male and female students can see each other is if they have a special pass or in the library.  This occasionally causes trouble for Natsuru, but only for a few episodes.  Then he learns to control his transformations and the problem is gone.  Shizuku enrolls the female Natsuru in class on the girls side as well, which leads to the extortion of his female side by the student council of his class.  Things that you would expect guys to do such as dressing her up her in skimpy outfits and taking pictures to sell them.  It moves on a bit from there, but it pops up every so often when they have a new scheme to make money off of Natsuru's female popularity with both genders (lots of lesbians at this school apparently).  This is one of the things that really irritated me.  It felt as if wacky school hijinks happened more often then any battles.

After 1/2 the series is over you get an idea of where it is going and it is not the way you really want it to go.  The whole thing turns into an unfinished love story.  Kaede only loves female Natsuru while Shizuku (tsundere type), Mikoto (childhood friend) and Akane (quiet book worm when not transformed) all vie for the male Natsuru's attention.  But since he spends most of the time as a girl though, not by his choice usually, it seems as if this series was written for the yuri fanatic that needs to get away from hentai.  You eventually find out why the opposing sides are supposed to be fighting each other and while I guess it works, it is so late in the series it does not matter.  Then when the series ends, there is NO resolution.  So they are either planning for a second season or they just all together failed in telling a complete story.

So now you must be thinking; is there A LOT of fan service to this anime?  And you would be partially correct.  There's full frontal nudity, him taking advantage of being able to be a girl and fan service based transformations.  They do have fan service episodes, but not all of the characters dress as skimpy trollops all the time.  And when the characters are nude such as being at a public bath or hot springs, there is use of steam to act as natural censor to mask the naughty bits.  Natsuru himself is playing the reserved male character.  He does not like to look at his female form in the mirror let alone touch anything.  And unless the girls out right say "I love you" he does not get it.  This is also one of those animes where the girls are far more pervy then the guy character is, so you think the guy would take a hint earlier on.

All in all it could have been a good series.  There were some funny portions of the show.  But it could have used some more actual battles, more plot, and maybe a resolution.  But without that all they had was High School Harem anime with some nice art that ended unsatisfactorily.

Rating: 2 / 5