「Wählen ～歓喜の歌～」 (Kanki no Uta)
“Choice ~Joyous Song~”
Out of all the shows I’m covering this season, Kampfer is the one that usually has me frantically trying to get a post out about. The plot isn’t overly profound — something that’s blatantly obvious after learning of the Moderators’ motives — but I almost want to call it “harem anime done right” because of characters like Shizuku. She’s kissing Natsuru at least once per episode and it’s gotten to the point where Mikoto and Akane can’t sit idly any longer. Natsuru’s kiss count with different girls may be going up, but Kaede’s shown to be of one-mind and well aware of her actions up to this point.
Having taken Hiaburi Lion (Utsumi Kenji) from Kaede’s place during their sleepover, Shizuku discovered that he’s an old fart Messenger (even though the eyecatch suggests otherwise). She slaps him around a bit to get him to tell Natsuru what she’s told her — the Moderators use the Kampfer battle to settle things between two powers in a far off universe. In other words, Kampfers fight a proxy war of sorts in order to determine the winner between the blue and the red without having them soil their own hands. That’s it. That’s your plot and mystery behind the Moderators in a nutshell. It took all of one minute to explain things and make Natsuru and Shizuku even more against participating. While I can sense the plot-hungry viewers raging at the sound of this already, I honestly don’t mind because anime has had much dumber premises. I admit this one’s rather simplistic, but at least they have superhuman abilities and galactic powers involved.
Getting back on track, they finally revealed who the girl Shizuku alluded to getting revenge for back in episode eight is. She happens to be a former senpai of hers named Tamiko, who was defeated as a red Kampfer. Shockingly, it sounds like she’s dead for good too, which is a far cry from the current Kampfer battles where everyone comes out unscathed. Be that as it may, we have Kaede revealing herself to be behind everything right in front of (male) Natsuru after he approaches her about Shizuku’s suspicions. Thanks to Shizuku’s kiss, he’s able to recall everything that happened while he was brainwashed at the pool. Unfortunately, that doesn’t save him from being forcibly transformed into the female form Kaede likes and getting brainwashed again. With a kiss and promise of being rewarded more, Kaede gets him to lure out Mikoto, Akane, and Shizuku and try to finish them off.
Cue in the first showing of Mikoto’s long-awaited transformation scene! And with that, a trap by the white Kampfer, who get beat down in less time than it took them to introduce themselves. The tide turns when Natsuru arrives, forcing Shizuku and Akane to try and take him down without harming him. Their attempt is quickly thwarted by the appearance of Kaede though, who jumps in to protect Natsuru with both a gun and a katana in hand. She shrugs off all accusations of being either a Moderator or a Kampfer and quickly takes everyone out. Upon waking up, the three of them find themselves tied up and at the mercy of Kaede. She still withholds information about herself, but is quick to reveal that she wants to get rid of them, just like Tamiko.
It turns out the white Kampfer were created for that sole purpose, after Shizuku and co. refused to fight and joined forces against the Moderators instead. Kaede goes on to say that she’s going to make the female Natsuru their ally, before explaining how she’s going to let him decide the victor of their current battle. If he chooses to be male, Shizuku and the others win because they all love him. If he chooses to be female, Kaede wins because she’s a full-fledged lesbian. This is more or less for her personal enjoyment since Natsuru’s brainwashed, but things don’t go her way when he comes to his senses at the sight of the cell phone strap he gave Shizuku. He then declares that he likes Kaede but won’t cooperate with her, since it comes at the cost of those important to him.
Much to Kaede’s disbelief, he goes on to say he chooses Shizuku, Akane, and Mikoto, overflowing them with so much power that their clothes can barely contain it. The Messengers also show up as “support”, projecting themselves in the sky and singing their rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. As the white Kampfers get taken out, Kaede tries tricking Natsuru into helping her again, but is completely repulsed when he reverts back to his male self. Down and out, Kaede decides to retreat. Shizuku, Mikoto, and Akane however are appalled by how he almost kissed Kaede and rush in to kiss him one after another, before trying to give themselves an edge by having Natsuru feel them up. Shizuku in particular boldly says she’ll settle for the strap as her wedding ring until she gets the real one.
With practically everything out in the open now, the series has sort of lost its air of mystery. In a way, it’s like they’re waving a flag indicating we’re nearing the end. Kaede’s true intentions are clear now and all the buzz over whether she has a split personality can be put to rest. While it’s still possible she’s being manipulated, they haven’t given any indication of that so far. As such, I’m inclined to believe she’s a Moderator that possesses extremely high-level Kampfer abilities. The only thing she hasn’t shown is a Zauber ability, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she could use magic as well. In any case, she’s unquestionably established herself as the number one antagonist in my eyes. I really don’t see any new characters from the far off universe jumping in at this point.
In retrospect, this was a pretty jam-packed action episode. The fight on the rooftop against the white Kampfer was pretty short, but they did have Kaede joining in right after. As cool as that was to watch, things got even crazier at the end with round two. In fan-service-like affair, school girl uniforms were being torn up left and right, with Shizuku, Akane, and Mikoto showing us their interesting choices of lingerie. Out of those three, Akane’s was probably the most risqué since it didn’t seem to have any support, which is contrastingly befitting of her quiet, glasses-type character. Regardless of the service, I was actually impressed by the number of fight scenes they had animated, all of which was completely new material. The only reused scenes were the transformation ones, except Mikoto’s which was shown for the very first time. Even then, they haven’t shown those too often, so I still like watching them.
Story-wise, I’m wondering how they’re going to wrap things up short of a battle to the death. I can’t even fathom that there will be any casualties in this series, so I fear we’re in store for an open-ended “and life goes on” type of ending (like we have now). It’s pretty much the de facto conclusion to a harem anime, but I hope they address the Moderator/Kampfer issue at the very least. I’m fine if Natsuru doesn’t end up with anyone since I’m already expecting him not to. Next week is the finale and supposedly only bonus material, so this may be all we’re getting out of the anime. It’s Christmas and there’s some Messenger dress-up going on. I didn’t know Shizuku could make a face like that.
* For those wondering, the eyecatch is Hiaburi Lion on the left and Harakiri Tora on the right.
* The excitement got the better of me and I ended up with a wall of text. It was a flurry of thoughts, so my apologies. Cookies anyone?