Written & Directed by Akitaroh Daichi
Music by Toshio Masuda
- Swordplay video
- Art gallery
- Reversible cover
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Follow the bouncing boobs
- Spoofing of Very Serious Things
- Slashings and smashings
Released by: Geneon
My Advice: Get it if you like ninja movies or spoofs of martial arts flicks.
[ad#longpost]The various incarnations of the Jubei franchise are all based upon permutations of the same story: a seventeenth-century warrior hero dies on the field of battle, but not before impregnating his heart-shaped eye patch with his spirit and entrusting it to his loyal retainer, Koinosuke. Koinosuke’s solemn duty is to wait for and find Jubei’s spiritual heir and give him or her the eye patch, which can then call forth Jubei’s fighting spirit. He finds her in Jiyu Noanohana, a schoolgirl who wants nothing to do with this warrior spirit. The series is intended to be a spoof of samurai and ninja anime with a healthy dose of bouncing breasts and lots of comedy.
What could be very, very lame is actually rather interesting, but mainly because this is a second series, building upon the characters already established in the first series, Jubei-Chan the Ninja Girl. Jiyu has grown up physically and mentally, and is struggling to hold her “family” together in the face of the pull of the eye patch and the ambitions of her own sister, Freesia. This means that if you’ve watched and enjoyed the first series, you’ll get a great deal out of this show, but if you’ve missed the earlier series, this show will not be nearly as rich or nuanced, and it might even be confusing. The answer of course is not to trash this series, but to insist that you go back and familiarize yourself with the first, inferior series, which is, while not brilliant, another well-known series that’s a basic of all otaku’s education. This series is a bit less comic than the earlier series; there are some rather serious themes going on here, especially with the real suffering of the Siberia clan, which only Jiyu can release.
The art is interesting, very modern in style, and shifting subtly to support the emotional needs of the show. Where the characters are moody and pensive, so are the colors. Where Jiyu is being silly, the colors are bright and clear, with full lighting and minimal backgrounds, and so on. Nightjar continues to make the best menus in the business. The sound is nice and crisp also, with both English and Japanese voice casts doing a good job to draw out the personalities of their characters.
The extras list is quite nice here. We get only three episodes, which is disappointing, but the art galleries show some nice artwork from the Japanese DVD releases, which we don’t usually get to see. There’s also a roughly twenty-minute video that shows seiyuu Yui Horie (the Japanese voice of Jubei-Chan) going to some sword masters to learn the moves that her character knows. This is by turns interesting, graceful, and hysterical. It’s a clever addition that many DVD releases would have overlooked; kudos to the producers for thinking of it, and then acting on the thought.
Fans of spoofs will enjoy this one, as will kung-fu and ninja movie fans, even if they have yet to make the leap to anime. This is as good a place to start as any. Just be sure to watch the first series first to get the most out of this one and appreciate the characterization and cleverness of the plot.