Monday, January 30, 2006
Kage Kara Mamoru 1-2
This is never going to win any awards for animation quality, but Kage Kara Mamoru is an entertaining series so far. At first glance it's easy to write this off as a generic harem show--there's your glasses-wearing ordinary student (Keitaro from Love Hina, Haruo from Magikano, Anyone from Just About Any Harem Show in the Last Decade) and there's the girl who literally lives next door, Konnyaku Yuuna. Konnyaku, for those who don't watch Iron Chef regularly, is a seriously nasty Jello-looking thing that's nicknamed "devil's tounge." No, I've never had it, but with a nickname like that I don't think I'm missing all that much. Yuuna, on the other hand, is kawaii but seriously ditzy--basically, think a clone of Milfuelle from Galaxy Angel only possibly even more ditzy. She can't count beyond ten since she only has ten fingers, so she's not going to be setting the curve on any tests anytime soon.
While Yuuna's pretty much what she seems, the male lead, Mamoru, is anything but--he appears to be your average guy but he's really a ninja, whose family has protected the Konnyakus for the last 400 years. When Yuuna gets kidnapped by the yakuza, he takes them out with ease, standing in front of a gatling gun and slicing bullets in half. I mean, sure, I could do that too, but it's good to see Mamoru's much more than the average male lead you'd expect in a series like this. Mamoru's not the only ninja, since his parents also protect Yuuna's parents, and they're also expert ninja.
Someone compared this to Shinobuden, and while it's not THAT insane, it's still fun to watch. The cast is slowly growing as episode 2 introduces Tsubaki, a swordswoman with a sword that can cut anything (almost) and is duped by the yazuka into going after Yuuna. It's hard to tell so far if Mamoru's relationship with Yuuna's going to develop any or not--she pretty clearly likes him, but is he watching over her just out of obligation, or something more than that?
Two groups are subbing this, OOM and ShinTabi, and while an English teacher would cringe at some of the subs, to me they're good enough to get what's going on so it really doesn't bother me. The animation's just so-so, but the ninja angle makes this a much more interesting story than it would be otherwise, and Yuuna's ditzy as hell but hard not to like. Out of this season's romance/comedy series, I'd rate Magikano highest, but Kage Kara Mamoru would be a close second.