Kampfer ep. 1 – Bullet Bitches

The first episode of Kampfer is great – a load of fun, a casserole of laughs, at least one or two kinds of badass, easily the best Nomad production since Rozen Maiden, and part of the growing yuri trend in anime. That said, let’s admit the truth: this is a show about female domination.  It goes beyond just having a mostly-female cast and plenty of fanservice – this show is putting an effort into placing the pussy on a pedastal that the male gender is far too weak to reach.

Kampfer kicks off with a (surprisingly nice) gunfight between it’s two main characters, followed by the main plot exposition (after the opening theme). These scenes have one general message – that the girls have the dicks in this show. Our opening scene shows us what the Kampfers can do – mad acrobatic stunts, high speed gunfights, etc. The exposition then tells us that Kampfers must be women, hence the ordinarily male main character, Natsuru (Marina Inoue), having just been transformed into the buxom blue-haired beauty you see above. In summary, to be a badass, you must be a broad.

The sooner you figure this out, the sooner you’ll start noticing the show’s emphasis on female>male messages. I caught it during the op, when I saw this:

As you will see here, the female version of Natsuru is being glomped mercilessly by the girl on the left of her, while the girl on the right of her gets defensive over it, as we will quickly learn that she clearly likes Natsuru. But watch what happens when Natsuru becomes a boy in the next image:

Ouch. No one is even looking at him now, and the girl on the left looks pissed. It sucks to be a man in Kampfer! We learn about the Kampfer and the nature of Natsuru’s transformation from a gruesome stuffed animal he happens to own called ‘Seppuku Tiger.’ It’s obviously one of those stuffed dolls you will only find in Japan.

If we are to assume that Seppuku Tiger is male, then there is a symbolic nature to the knife sticking into him. Ordinarily, weapons (especially swords and guns) are seen to be definitively male and phallic. This is a show where the women have the dicks, though, and therefor it’s the men who get fucked. Seppuku Tiger being male gets the sword shoved into his belly, probably in his nature of being some kind of servant of the Kampfer. Later, we get to meet the similarly fated and far more creepy ‘Harakiri Rabbit’ (Yukari Tamura), as pictured below.

Anywho, once the little exposition is done and Natsuru becomes male again, he heads out to catch the bus for school where he meets up with Kaede Sakura (Nakajima Megumi), the woman he is pretty much obsessed with. They are going to ride the bus together until Natsuru realizes he is about to become a woman and runs away, and ends up being chased once again by the badass bitch Mishima Akane (Yui Horie).

Another pretty cool battle ensues, mostly cool because Akane is drawn in very skillful poses and looks great holding a gun. We learn that Natsuru can shoot fireballs and stuff, and then Kaede happens to stumble upon the battle with no idea that the blue-haired woman fighting is in fact Natsuru. The fight ends when a telephone pole is about to fall on Akane and Natsuru saves her, landing them in the following position and leading into another interesting scenario.

Fanservice and yuri elements are abound, but more importantly are a couple of reactions. First Akane, who doesn’t seem to mind that it’s a girl who’s turning her on…

And then Kaede, who makes the following face after Natsuru runs off, having just given her the ‘you’re about to fall in love at first sight’ look.

She definitely didn’t make that face to the guy version of Natsuru!Finally Natsuru makes it to school where his requisite buddy ignores his problems and prattles on about hot chicks, as buddies in anime tend to do. This is a common scene (done well here) but still adds that extra bit of female worship to the show.

Natsuru then meets Akane in her non-Kampfer form, who is a quiet and easily embarrassed girl who drags him to the library to brief him on the whole Kampfer situation. She slips in an awesome fourth-wall breaking comment about her stuffed rabbit’s seiyuu, which can be taken as more woman-worship, considering the way that many otaku worship their favorite voice actresses – to the point that they even get this joke in the show.

We then get a little fanservice moment in what at first looks like the only scene of male domination in the episode. Akane makes the usual embarrassed-but-loving-it remarks about Natsuru’s ‘hard thing’ (actually a book) touching her, and some sexual jokes are made. It’s hard to say of Akane is bisexual, having fallen in love with Natsuru when he was in female form, but still liking him in male form, or if her Kampfer is a lesbian and she is straight; there isn’t enough evidence for either idea at the moment.

More importantly, this moment is interrupted by as much of a female domination as you can get. The female student council president calls to the pair from high above on a walkway passing over the library (purpose totally unknown) telling them to knock it off in as much of a snoody, holier-than-thou-bitch way imaginable, and then smiles about her own awesomeness as she walks away. Now there’s a dominatrix.

Later, there’s more transforming action, some comedy, and exposition, and then Akane and Natsuru are on their way home when Kaede shows up. Akane excuses herself, and then Kaede makes the big reveal: Natsuru thinks for sure she’s confessing to him at first, but the truth is more drastic – she’s asking if he knows about the girl she met this morning, because she’s fallen in love with her!

After that, Natsuru goes back to the library to talk to Akane again and then some fighting starts before the episode ends on a cliffhanger (subsequently ruined if you stick around for the next episode preview.) The show closes out with a pretty nice (if tonally confused) ending video that features, of course, nothing but the ladies.

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13 thoughts on “Kampfer ep. 1 – Bullet Bitches

  1. Yes. The characters look very sharp and the combat is pretty decent. Tiny little things like how characters stand, how their arms are cocked, and other things really do contribute well to an anime with action in it.

    • Yes!!! I’m glad someone else noticed this! I was really surprised by how much effort was put into posing Akane, which really sold the fights for me.

  2. Having not seen this yet, I’ll say that I find the guy version of Natsuru more appealing. He actually looks interesting for a harem lead (goodness, those sparkly blue eyes), which is an accomplishment deserving of a round of beers. I’ll give this show a look this weekend.

    • Male Natsuru is kind of a bitch and just waiting to become a totally rapeable female. I would say that the male version isn’t a harem lead at all.

  3. Not as bad as I expected, but maybe that’s just because Queen’s Blade’s exploding boobs raised the bar/lowered my expectations. The VA self-referencing was a surprise; a bit Hayate-like, I think.

    • Hayate-like is a good way of putting it, and yeah, not sure I’d have like it quite as much if I didn’t have such low expectations from Nomad, but well, liking is liking.

  4. I found the first ep amusing, and now want a set of those stuffed animals. The voice cast is pretty darn great, and the character designs nice, so I’m going to follow this…for at least the next few eps.

  5. The first few minutes turned me off. But as it went on, I realized I was enjoying it. Good pacing. Good characters. Not a world-beater, but it has possibilities.

  6. From your tweet I infer that you’re still honing your episodic style. I’d say you’re on the right track to reaching the broadest audience. People want to read something that helps them connect with their show more personally and perhaps learn about the littler things they missed, like literary references or symbolism meaning. On the other hand, you don’t want to overload them with a wall of text, so breaking up what you have to say into smaller portions and sprinkling on a generous amount of screencaps gives it a much more visually appealing and approachable format.

    So with that being said, I think you did a good job on this post. Could use a little more cowbell though.

    Remember that the person reading has probably seen or is going to see the episode. You don’t necessarily need to summarize all the events of the episode (some anibloggers write pages on just reiterating what happens, and sound like a Wikipidia entry). Summary is unfunny. It IS good to highlight the more silly/interesting/important parts, which I think you did a decent job of considering it takes a few episodes to get a feel for a show and know what’s worth making note of. Also, don’t be afraid to make us laugh with some Riff Trax commentary when you find yourself inspired to take a screenshot grossly out of context. I’m reminded of a Dark Mirage screencap of Suzaku looking really pissed off while yelling into his cellphone after Zero makes his miracle of a million, and the caption says, “What do you mean, play us out!?” while linking to a video of Bill O’Reilly flipping his shit. Hilarity ensues.

    Hmm I wonder if all this sounds a little pretentious, considering I’m the new guy around here. Personally I’m still trying to figure out my own style. My first post was on Haruhi S2 and had a shitton of screencaps with witty one-liners and almost no substance, while my latest Canaan post has some pics at the top and a wall of text at the bottom trying to form into words my thoughts on why Canaan is awesome despite lack of plot-expansion and how Ghostlightning, despite being one of my favorite reads, is an ass for not appreciating it for what it is. (That was a friendly poke.) I’d consider all of this fairly obvious but I’ve read some aniblogs that have minimal pics, lack wittiness, and boast walls of text wide enough to make your ass hurt. Even if they have something very profound to say (they often do), it is torturous to wade through an article that sounds like it belongs in an English Major’s academic portfolio.

    In regard to the show itself, it’s not really my thing, though your post was good as I mentioned before. Canaan was awkward enough with the Yuri. I’m not really in the mood for more.

    • I thank you a lot for the compliments and constructive criticism! I’m definitely trying to hone my episodic skillz, and I felt this was the place to do it. I was going to do a post on the first ep of Tatakau hSisho, but bow that I’m looking at it, I think I will stick to series I can confidently post about in an interesting way.

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