In the middle of the night, dim street lights casting harsh shadows across the pavement, a young blue haired girl frantically runs for her life, her skirt nicked by bullets while a trigger happy redhead pursues her.
Making her way to a tall building’s rooftop, she soon has nowhere left to run as the redhead drove her to the edge. A final shot resounds, with a chilling scream the blue haired girl plummets towards the streets below.
In the Senou home, Natsuru shouts when spotting her ample chest, long hair and shapely female forms for Natsuru should actually be a man!
A soft voice is heard, explaining this is normal because Natsuru has been chosen by the ‘Moderators’ to be a ‘Kämpfer’ fighter, and all Kämpfer must be women. The blue bracelet that is now irrecoverably tied to Natsuru’s wrist is proof of this contract.
Confused, Natsuru spots the voice’s origin, Harakiri Tora, originally a gift from Natsuru’s friend Sakura, the stuffed animal has become a ‘Messenger’ who will guide Natsuru through being a Kämpfer.
Even more confused by seeing a stuffed animal talk, Natsuru slumps down on her bed, deciding it must all be some kind of odd dream. The girl is soon sent back to the land of dreams by a swift drop-kick from Harakiri Tora.
The next morning, Natsuru is relieved to see he’s back to his old self and brushes it all off as having had a wicked nightmare.
Heading to school, Natsuru spots Sakura, whom he has a crush on, near the bus stop. But Natsuru’s happiness at spending time with Sakura is short lived when his blue bracelet begins to glow and he remembers the stuffed animal explaining this signals he will soon transform into his Kämpfer form.
Not willing to expose Sakura to his transformation, Natsuru prepares to dash off when the redhead from his dream appears before them, intent on finishing the job she started the previous night.
Running through the streets, Natsuru’s attempts to flee prove futile as the gun wielding girl soon catches up, making Natsuru dodge one shot after the other. Complimenting the blue haired Kämpfer for staying alive for so long, the foul mouthed redhead first asks about Natsuru’s name and later introduces herself as Mishima Akane.
Intent on finishing Natsuru off, Akane swiftly changes targets to Sakura when the innocent girl appears from a side street, right in the middle of the battlefield. Seeing her crush targeted, Natsuru instinctively attacks, launching a large fireball towards Akane who’s barely able to dodge.
As the smoke clears Akane once again aims her gun at Natsuru, but as the redhead squeezes off a shot, Natsuru knocks her down, saving her from being crushed by a falling electric wiring pole that toppled over.
Realizing she’s been saved by Natsuru and spotting her opponent’s blue bracelet, Akane backs off.
Before Sakura can question Natsuru, whom she doesn’t recognize in female Kämpfer form, Natsuru too runs off.
During recess, Natsuru is told a girl came all the way from the girl’s side -their school having segregated girls and boys classes and buildings- and meets a bespectacled girl out in the hall. Unsure why this blushing, shy girl came all the way to see him, Natsuru is shocked to hear her name is Mishima Akane, the same girl who tried to shoot him that morning.
Heading to the student shared library together, Natsuru is relieved to hear Akane will no longer attack him since both their bracelets are blue, meaning they are fighting for the same group.
The bespectacled girl is embarrassed when having to explain her personality changes to an aggressive and foul mouthed trigger happy Gewehr Kämpfer.
Puzzled at the term, Natsuru learns that there are three types of Kämpfer: Gewehr (gun wielders), Schwert (sword wielders) and Zauber (magic users). Akane further explains what she was told about the Kämpfer rules by her own Messenger, the stuffed animal Seppuku Kuro Usagi.
Hearing all those German terms, Natsuru looks for a German dictionary and when a row of books topples onto them, causing Natsuru to loom over Akane who fell to the ground, both students blush beet red and extensively apologize when the stern student council president Shizuku Sangou catches them in such an compromising pose.
His bracelet suddenly glowing, Natsuru soon transforms into female Kämpfer. Unable to transform back right away, Natsuru and Akane sit together out on the school’s roof, the blue haired girl clearly uneasy in her female form.
Pondering what is the matter, Akane hears from a desperate Natsuru that she adamantly needs to use the bathroom, but doesn’t dare to in her female form.
Escorting the terrified girl to the nearest girl’s toilet, Akane is shocked when she misinterprets Natsuru’s plea to watch as a kinky request. When Natsuru explains she merely meant to watch the door so no one else enters the toilet, Akane berates Natsuru.
Heading home after school with Akane, Natsuru feels dead tired even though he reverted back to his original male form. Hearing someone shout after him, Natsuru’s face brightens as he spots Sakura running towards him, saying she needs to hear him out about something important. Reading the atmosphere, Akane swiftly excuses herself and heads on.
Blushing, Sakura asks Natsuru if perhaps he knows about the person who’s caught Sakura’s eye, the one she thinks about, the one she’s dying to meet…
Already dreaming he is the one Sakura is referring to, those dreams shatter to pieces when Sakura says she absolutely must know about the brave and beautiful girl that saved her that morning and is dying to meet her again.
Lamenting his despair at Sakura’s request to Akane the next day, Natsuru is rebuked by Akane who says it’s none of her concern but it rather looks like the bespectacled girl is jealous.
Saying she’s the only one he really can talk to or ask advice from, Natsuru is delighted when Akane asks him to simply call her by her first name.
But as the words ‘Akane-chan’ leave his lips he soon feels the touch of cold steel against his jaw, Akane having turned into her foul mouthed Kämpfer persona.
Realizing another Kämpfer must be nearby, the pair barely dodge a sword that slashes at them. Attached to long chains, swords lash out at them from an unseen opponent further away, giving them a run for their money, Natsuru barely catching Akane as she falls from an overpass.
Trying to lure out their enemy, the two are shocked to spot Sakura in the midst of the rows of bookcases.
Mistaking Sakura for the mysterious assailant, Akane says she will finish off the meddlesome girl and fires off a round, the sound of the gunshot echoed by Natsuru’s scream.
A very nice opening episode that followed the manga rather closely. For those yet not familiar with the story or premise, an easy opener since most of the terminology and setting is immediately explained through the ‘Messengers’ or the conversations between Akane and Natsuru.
Animation was very good, with fluid action scenes and special care for character’s faces and the more fanservice oriented scenes. When pausing some less well executed frames can surface here and there, but hardly anything bothersome.
The opening animation sequence and accompanying song is nice, though am not too sure yet about the closing theme, which sounds a bit silly.
With this solid first episode “Kämpfer” show tremendous potential, not especially for the nice mix of action, comedy, yuri romance and ecchi fanservice -for those only put it in the class of common good anime series- but several of the voice actresses deliver stunning work.
Especially Marina Inoue who voices Natsuru and Yui Horie who voices Akane. Marina Inoue perfectly switches from a more boyish voice reminiscent of Wataru in “Hayate No Gotoku!” to a spunky female voice like Kana in “Minami-ke”, while Yui Horie’s seamless transition from shy bookworm schoolgirl type to a foul mouthed tomboyish brat is flawless. Their performance alone makes it worthwhile to watch.
A nice touch is the inside humor used when Akane and Natsuru mention that their stuffed animals, Seppuku Kuro Usagi and Harakiri Tora, respectively sound like Yukari Tamura (Nanoha in “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha”) and Nomura Michiko, which are actually the names of the voice actresses that are really voicing the stuffed animal characters.
Was looking forward to this first episode with anticipation and it delivered everything I hoped it would be, quite keen on seeing the rest of this series!
In closing, want to say that reports about yours truly having shed countless gallons of blood through explosive bloodnose at the unlimited sexiness of female Natsuru are definitely not true.