As a silly anime, it’s the story of Senou Natsuru, a stereotypically nice but sort of dorky guy who, for plot purposes, suddenly changes into a girl in order to fight for her life. Natsuru is one of those characters who asks the wrong questions badly, so gets useless information in return. Several episodes into the series he still has basically no clue why he’s fighting. Natsuru as a boy is nice, ineffective and stutter-y. As a girl, Natsuru is *exactly* the same, except she now has magic powers. Natsuru’s neighbor and friend, Sakura, is uninterested in Natsuru as a guy, but when she is saved by female Natsuru, she falls head over heels. (“And the moral of that story,” said the Duchess, “is that women will always fall for magic competence over ineffectual niceness.” To which Alice replied, “Nonsense! The moral of the story is that Sakura is a lesbian.”)
As a surprisingly intelligent critical look at tropes of the guy’s version of magical girl anime, we are introduced to a man who is a better woman than he is a man, but really not that great of a woman. He transforms into a magical fighter then given *no* reason to fight; he is pursued by the women around him as both a man and a woman, but is incapable of following through with any of them in any form. There are “cute” magical mascots in the form of eviscerated and mangled stuffed animals – I’ll come back to them later – and, in what I consider a piece d’resistance – he is subjected to all the stereotypical service dress-up scenes after which he sighs, “I feel as I’ve just had my humanity stripped from me.” Yes, Natsuru, you have. Just as all the other girl characters who’ve been put through that nonsense have.
The real reason any sane person would watch this anime is the “Entrails Animals.” These evil and unpleasant little mascot creatures are voiced by popular voice actresses – with a 4th wall crushing recognition of each other’s voices. Not *just* popular voice actresses, but VAs that have themselves built up a following voicing characters in exactly the kind of anime of which this series is a meta-comment.
I’d like to give Kämpfer the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is consciously written as a poke at the genre. I’d like to, but I can’t. It’s probably just a really silly series. (“And the moral of that story, said the Duchess, “is that you can’t compare gender-switching comedy anime to a critical reading of societal norms.” Alice nodded solemnly. “I think that’s the only sense I’ve ever heard from you.”)
Art – 8
Story – 4
Characters – 5
Yuri – 7
Service – 36
Overall – 7