Kämpfer (the umlaut is the difference between being German for "fighter" and camphor) is a Japanese light novel series with both a manga and an anime adaptation available. The anime aired in the fall of 2009.The story starts when Natsuru Senou, a normal high school boy, wakes up to find himself mysteriously transformed into a girl. Immediately afterward, he finds a bracelet strapped to his wrist that he didn't remember putting on, and then a stuffed tiger doll named Harakiri Tora telling him that he was chosen to become a Kämpfer. On one hand, Natsuru gains great strength and fighting abilities. On the other hand, it's apparently a rule that Kämpfers can only be girls, so any boys that are chosen transform into girls when their powers activate, while those who were girls from the start transform in other ways.Hilarity Ensues, at least until other Kämpfers decide to fight him for reasons unknown even to them. Somehow, the Kämpfers are chosen by talking stuffed animals called Messengers, who are being distributed by an unrevealed entity only known as "The Moderator." The Messengers then inform the Kämpfers who have been chosen that they have to fight each other to the death.Has a character sheet of its own.The manga has been licensed by Tokyopop for Western markets and was set to be released in June 2011 but its future is in doubt in the United States due to the company leaving the United States. The anime has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks and was released in January 2011.A set of two OVAs under the title Kämpfer für die Liebe ("Kämpfer: Fighter for Love") were released in spring of 2011. The first is a kind of sequel to the series and the second is pure waitress fanservice
Absurdly Powerful StudentCouncil President: She's able to get Natsuru transfered to the girls' side of the school, no questions asked. She also has a throne room. In the second episode of the anime, Natsuru wonders how much power does she wield.
Action Prologue: The show starts out with a very fast-paced scene where a certain girl runs for her life from another girl with a pistol, but was abruptly cut by the show's introductory sequence. See the Mood Whiplash entry below for details.
Aesop Amnesia: Dammit Natsuru! Stop lusting over the Big Bad! She brain washed you, and tried to kill the people who actually care about you!
Big Bad: After episode 10 we have to guess who it is anymore.
Big Bad Friend: While they are in real terms friends, in this instance it's more of a case of Big Bad Love Interest.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Shizuru acts this way from time to time (at least Natsuru thinks so), played straight with Kaede, especially later in the series.
Bland-Name Product: "VAGUE" lingerie store in Episode 4. Also, a box of "Packy" in Episode 7.
Blood Knight: A more subtle example. Shizuku isn't very loud or blood-crazed, but she initially claims that her reason for fighting is "Because." We later find out that she does have a reason for fighting.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Characters constantly are pointing out who other characters are voiced by in real life. Although usually they'll only say they sound a lot like the voice actor, occasionally they'll say something like: "For something voiced by Nana Mizuki, you sure say some pretty queer things!" It should be noted that those voice references actually did occur in the light novel. Natsuru makes the Shizuka-chan reference, while the Tamura and Mizuki references came from otaku-TV enthusiast Akane. That burnt lion, the oldest of the Entrails Animals, hasn't been voiced yet, but according to his description in the novels, he's voiced by someone who dubs a lot of foreign movies.
The line "For something voiced by Nana Mizuki, you sure say some pretty queer things!" is actually closer to "For something with a voice similar to Mizuki Nana..." in the original Japanese. Guess the Fansubbers are getting sick of using the same line.
Also as of EP 9, all 4 of the White Kämpfers are revealed at the credits (Ueda Rika in Ep 8 though, hence the 'as of') to be voiced by seiyuu with the same surname as the characters, right down to every single kanji. Not a really blatant example of Breaking the Fourth Wall, and could be a new method of painting it instead though.
Bridal Carry: Natsuru does this to Kaede in episode 5's beauty pageant. She's even wearing a wedding dress.
Colour Coded Characters: For some reason, the Kämpfers are divided into teams by colored bracelets, including red, blue and white. This didn't stop Akane from trying to shoot Natsuru when they first met, even though they were on the same side.
Creepy Doll: Stuffed animals that can talk and move on their own, called Messengers, are the ones telling the Kämpfers that they have been chosen. Names such as Harakiri Tora and Seppuku Kurousagi don't quite help. It also doesn't help that their insides are coming out. Just to make that clear, these are stuffed animals designed to look like they have committed Seppuku, meaning stabbed themselves in the stomach and ripped upwards to let their entrails come out. Each one has realistic-looking fake guts hanging out of their stomach. Somehow these are considered cute toys for kids to have. Small wonder that the novels tell us that the company manufacturing those dolls is said to be in a bad state.
Curb-Stomp Battle: How else would you describe that supposedly last battle? To elaborate, due to a Theme Music Power-Up and with some upgrades, Akane, Shizuku, and Mikoto defeats the White Kämpfers INCLUDING Kaede.
In the second season note really just two episodes Natsuru quickly defeats all four of the white Kämpfers in one shot and then makes a more powerful Kaede, who had already defeated Mikoto, Akane, and Shizuku, retreat. Why he doesn't try fighting earlier is anyone's guess though.
Early-Bird Cameo: In episode 5, four Entrails Animals are thrown to the audience of the play. The unnamed background characters who recieve them reappear several episodes later as named White Kämpfers.
Even the Girls Want Her: Episode 3 loves this trope; upon female Natsuru's arrival to the girl's side, the collective reaction of her new female classmates is to perform what is essentially a large, simultaneous group-glomp. Following that, the remainder of the episode features nothing but the rest of the school's female population depravedly fawning over her, with a few even going so far as to capture her and tie her up so they so they could play with her as much as they wanted. Natsuru, you lucky son of a bitch.
Evolving Credits: Rather crudely done in episode 7 after the official introduction of Mikoto, which just edited some scenes to show her Kämpfer form jumping from the sky. It's not for the sake of preventing spoilers, either, given how the previous opening goes...
Fanservice: He-llo LEGS!! The opening and ending themes as well as the eyecatches are nothing but this.
Double dare you to watch episode 13 and tell us its not THE most fanservicy thing short of Hentai.
Episode 4 is probably a straighter example. In the Eyecatch, Kaede's expression is similar to her evil side.
For the Evulz: Natsuru is told that the battles between the blue and red Kämpfer serve as a substitute for war in a far away galaxy, but the only moderator we see relishes being cruel and manipulative.
"Freaky Friday" Flip: Episode 12. The four main casts switch bodies with their respective Messengers.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: For a series like this, its surprising that theres an example of this. Basically, Shizuku and Akane invite themselves to go along with Natsuru (in female form) to Kaede's house. Kaede, being the not so subtle person she is, buys multiple bags of Pocky (otherwise known in-verse as Packy) to play the kissing game. This leads to Shizuku and Akane kissing and what ensues makes it look like Shizuku has ravished Akane, complete with Akane completely sprawled out on the couch, utterly agog at how good Shizuku is. Whoof hot and heavy indeed......
Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Kaede generally has innocent eyes, but when she goes into Manipulative Bitch mode, you can clearly tell something's up with her. Probably one reason why she was able to fool the other main characters for so long.
Gratuitous German: The title of the show is just the tip of the iceberg. In short, you've got the title, the names of their weapon types (Schwert, Gewehr, Zauber), and the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming. The Gratuitous German is even Lampshaded within the series thrice to date ("It's German, you retard!", Akane offering to show Natsuru the German dictionary, and once in a next episode preview).
However, all this remains bearable until episode 11, when the producers decided they wanted the big fight to be accompanied by classical music, so you get to hear some Japanese people who've obviously never studied any foreign languages other than English trying to sing "An die Freude". Hint: "Flügel" does not rhyme with "Google".
Also, the grammar of the title is a bit off. As all Kämpfer are female, it should be Kämpferin (singular)/Kämpferinnen (plural). But that doesn’t sound as good.
The non-German fanbase who is not able to write the word "Kämpfer" just writes "Kampfer" instead of "Kaempfer". "Kampfer" would be pronounced as "Cum-pfer". The German "Ä" is equal to "Ae".
Green Rooming: Happens to Mikoto, who's seen via postcards in the first 4 episodes, then she returns home in episode 5, but doesn't see Natsuru until the beginning of episode 6.
Hand Wave: Played for laughs. In episode 7, all the the main characters spend the night at Kaede's apartment, including the entrail animal messengers. Flashing on-screen text informs us that Kaede doesn't see the clearly visible living toys because she's too infatuated with Kämpfer-Natsuru to notice.
Hopeless Suitor: Akane feels this way because male Natsuru likes Kaede, and while in female form, Natsuru seems even more popular.
Mikoto probably plays this trope straight however, since she doesn't really seem to have a chance with him. But that doesn't stop her from trying.
Male Natsuru towards Kaede. Even when Kaede finds out (if she didn't already know) about male/female Natsuru, she tries to seduce the male one into doing bad things to his True Companions and changing into his female form permanently so that "he" can enjoy her. It almost works...
Ignored Epiphany: In Episode 9, Natsuru spends 5 seconds considering the white Kämpfer, the moderators and other events... and then gets distracted.
Involuntary Shapeshifting: The initial transformation is involuntary and occurs if an enemy Kämpfer is nearby, though it can be voluntary if in the presence of a friendly Kämpfer; the transformation back starts off involuntary, but a Kämpfer gains control over it as she gets used to it.
It Amused Me: Shizuku forces Natsuru to transfer to the girl's side of the school, and then casually spreads the rumor that male Natsuru and female Natsuru are an item. Because tormenting Natsuru is hilarious.
Just Friends: Natsuru (in male form) and his childhood friend Kaede Sakura, even saying in the manga that he doesn't want to outright ask her out and potentially get shot down so he decides to stay friends with her. However, when he changes into a girl, Natsuru quickly gets a Relationship Upgrade with her even though she doesn't seem to realize that the two Natsurus are the same person.
Love Dodecahedron: It's a doozy.note Mikoto and Akane like male Natsuru, although normal-Akane and especially Kämpfer-Akane don't act too differently around female Natsuru. Sakura likes female Natsuru, and Shizuku might, but is more likely screwing with Natsuru's head. Natsuru likes Sakura, but everyone else keeps getting in the way. Add that to the fact that everyone thinks that male Natsuru is dating female Natsuru, while Sakura caught Akane and male Natsuru in a compromising (probably innocent) moment. Oh, and most of the school is crushing on female Natsuru. It's only gonna get worse from here.
Loves My Alter Ego: See Just Friends. In the anime, it's reached the point where Kaede actually sees the male Natsuru as a rival for her love to the female Natsuru, while still not realizing that the two are the same person.
Mind-Control Eyes: Natsuru has these for the period of being under Kaede's hypnotic suggestion to ravish Shizuku (anime episode 10).
Moe Anthropomorphism: Several of the eyecatches, when not doing fanservice of the human characters, sometimes present anthropomorphic versions of the animals. They're considerably less creepy when turned into a human girl. Note that this applies to all of the animals. Even one voiced by Kenji Utsumi.
Mood Whiplash: The pre-title sequence of the first anime episode is a decidedly humorless scene featuring Kamper!Natsuru running for her life from Kämpfer!Akane, who seems to be shooting to kill. The scene ends with Kämpfer-Natsuru plunging off the top of a building, seemingly to her death. Cue the opening.
Episode 9 has Kaede exchanging glances with girls the audience later finds out are White Kämpfers and, at the end of the ep, mind-controlling Natsuru with frightening easiness. Just about everything else in the episode is lighthearted fanservice.
Naked Apron: Natsuru and Akane are forced into wearing this (among other costumes) by the female students in episode 5, and Mikoto greets Natsuru with it early in episode 6.
Mikoto also wears one when she gets a job as a cook at a hostess club in episode 14.
No Fourth Wall: By the way, the staff ate the other parts of the animals afterward. Yeah, this show makes you feel like the staff really wants to break the fourth wall or erasing the fourth wall all together.
After Akane imagines Natsuru to look exactly like Kamina (from Gurren Lagann) near the start of Episode 9, the magazine she was reading is shown to have a center spread of Male Natsuru's facial character sheet (used by animators as reference).
Paper-Thin Disguise: So the only way to differentiate yourself from the original person would be to put cattiger ears and a tail!?
Parental Abandonment: Necessary for narration purpose, none of the characters seems to live with their parents. It gets funny when Natsuru says that if he gets home late, Harakiri Tora would be worried. Having a foul-mouthed Creepy Doll as a parental substitute? Maybe this is why he's an idiot...
Interestingly enough both Akane and Natsuru are on the blue side
Rescue Romance: You have to wonder how many girls Natsuru's gonna get this way. Akane developed a crush on Natsuru after s/he pushed her away from a falling street light, Shizuku began to have interest in him after he spared her , and Sakura became obsessed with Natsuru's Kämpfer form after she saved her from Akane. Twice. Sadly, the inverse is never true, as no matter how many times Akane or Shizuku save Natsuru from his own air-headedstupidity he never gets the hint.
Selective Obliviousness: Natsuru. No matter how many times Shizuku tells him that they're on a date, Natsuru is absolutely sure that she's just messing with him and that they're really just trying to lure the white Kämpfer out of hiding. It would seem that Natsuru has a hard time accepting that he's popular with girls, even after Akane said it straight to his face.
Serious Business: Several boys try to break into the girl's side of the high school in the beginning of episode 5. They're promptly stopped by a squad of girls wearing military uniforms and wielding guns to stop them.
Took a Level in Badass: While Natsuru is still the dumbass we all know and love, in the first OVA, he does manage to one shot KO all the white Kämpfers at the same time with a fire blast and later saves Mikoto from being shot by Sakura. Give him credit for throwing some amount of weight around.
Too Kinky to Torture: The evil harem at end of the first season who react enthusiastically from the news that they'll be punished.
Transformation Sequence: Because when you're turning into a girl, the right amount of flashiness is a must. Of course, Shizuku (episode 2) and Akane (episode 8) also have them. Mikoto joins them in episode 11, which cheekily adds orgasmic moans to all the transfomration seuqences.
Kinda subverted: the transformation sequences are not used very often (at most a total of 4 times in 10 eps) so they're not annoying.
Parodied in KäTAS 1 when Shizuku attacks in the library
Natsuru: Wait when did I change? God damn anime couldn't afford to do it twice?
Unperson: This is what happens if a Kämpfer is defeated in battle.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In episode 5, Seitetsu Academy gets BLOWN UP by a Rocket Launcher from the girls survival club, has an experiment that went HAYWIRE which caused a (dramatized) Zombie Apocalypse and some tentacle rapes and the two bystanders just CHUCKLED that it's the School Festival. Seriously, NO ONE bats an eye at those!?
Unwanted Harem: At the last count, Akane, Kaede (the only "wanted" part), Mikoto and maybe Shizuku (if she's not just messing with Natsuru's brain).
Voices Are Mental: In episode 12, when the main characters swap bodies with their dolls.
Dunno if it's this trope or not but in episode 11 Natsuru declaring that he chooses Akane, Shizuku, and Mikoto and to prove it, he transforms back to male.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Whether you have it as a normal human or not, you will have some ridiculous hair color in Kämpfer form. Probably the worst is Shizuku, whose hair has a black over layer and a whitepearly under layer. Few characters have natural eye colors, either.