Premiere Date: 10/1
Natsuro Senou was living a normal life in high school. He was going to school every day while crushing on the girl next door Sakura and things were easy. Then one night he is given a bracelet by the moderators of a war. With the bracelet he is officially chosen as a Kampfer and must fight against other Kampfers for an unknown reason. He can’t back out and he has to be a she when he fights. Insert transformation sequence, amazing acrobatics, guns, magic and a talking stuffed animal there to act as a guide and you have something that mostly resembles a story.
Good and the Bad
Kampfer gets off to a strong start with a nicely paced action sequence. Nothing ever feels rushed and there’s not really anything really over the top about it. Lots of high jumping and short skirts but well put together with a solid end point that catches your attention. From there it just kind of slowly slides downhill into something that wants really badly to be liked.
All throughout the episode, there was one constant thought in my head, ‘This series could be so much better if they would just stop trying so hard.’ And that thought continued all the way through to the closing credits. The premise to this series is at least interesting; boy gets sucked into an all female death match, alright you have me there. From there the series could have just jumped right out of the gate using the momentum from that first action sequence.
Instead, what follows is a slow degeneration into something that mostly resembles a story. As many people might have guessed or were already aware, Kampfer is going to do its best to give you your daily dose of fan service. Even though the actual events of the episode don’t deliver that much (it’s certainly there but it’s not always blatant), they will give it to you everywhere else: the opening credits, the eye catches, closing animation, body stacking jokes and it’s all just there just to be there. Then there are the silly in jokes about the seiyuu but I’ll spare you that rant. It just felt like one long effort to appeal to hardcore fans. Stop already.
It’s actually unfortunate because once you actually get into the actual show, you find a not so bad set up. The characters in this first episode go a long way towards helping this. The gun toting Akane and her alter ego provided enough laughs to keep things moving in between the action sequences and Natsuro has his own charming moments.
One of the reasons why the battle scenes in this episode worked so well were because of awesome guitar riffs that went with them. Always driving with hard chords, the guitar themes gave these scenes a lot of additional intensity that kept things going early on. Then in the final battle scene of the episode, the guitar theme returns bringing that same feeling back making for some nice early continuity.
The opening and closing themes for this series are absolutely terrible however. Mindless pop songs that vaguely narrate out the story put against a string of fan service images. I’ll be skipping these in the future.
Go into this one realizing that it’s mostly cute girls fighting with guns, swords and magic. You don’t know why they’re fighting and neither do they. Enjoy it for what it is and you might find yourself having a good time. If you’re into having fan service inserted into every other available nook and cranny than even better. After seeing the first episode, I’m not seeing Kampfer ever becoming an amazing thrill ride of action. Another series that is going to appeal to the hardcore fans who like being appealed to but everyone else might find a decent story in the middle. I’m going to stick with this one for awhile longer at least.