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Anime / Jubei-chan

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Magical Girl Ninjas with the tropes of both genres.

"300 years...try imagining how long that is, Jiyu. Every person lives through a short life. People live doing what they believe is right, so they won't have any regrets. But, sometimes a person loses themself into the flow of time. It's not easy to realize this by yourself. There are people here who haven't realized it, and have been wandering, lost for the past 300 years. Jiyu... you have the ability to save those people. You have that power. You alone have that power."

"Jiyu once saved us from our dark path...but who is going to save her now?"

300 years ago, Yagyu Jubei was the greatest swordsman Japan had ever seen. His feats were legendary. But eventually he started getting old, and he didn't have an heir. Despite his style of swordsmanship being the standard, nobody quite did it correctly. He didn't want his technique to be lost, so he somehow bound it up into an eyepatch shaped like a heart. He sent his most trusted servant to find the one who would be able to access the eyepatch — he would know them by their "plump bouncy bon bons." The servant, Odago Koinosuke, left on the geas that he would find the next Jubei if it took the rest of his life, and beyond.

Unfortunately, the original Jubei's fame did not come without a price. The Yagyu family crushed all other schools of swordsmanship and slaughtered any who continued to resist. Jubei himself died in a battle with the teacher of the last school to fall, Ryujouji Daigo.

The Ryujouji clan and school swore an oath, that they would never forget what was done to them, and they and their descendants would wipe out anyone who would take up the name of Jubei. Not even death would stop this pledge.

300 years later.....

Enter Jiyu Nanohana, an Ordinary High-School Student...yeah. She's rather happy with her widower father, Sai, and her friends at school. She even has a cute nickname, Jiyu-bei. ...say it fast and it sounds like "Jubei." Isn't that funny?

This changes when she's approached by a rather strange looking guy in antique clothing, who says that she is the Chosen One, and if she would please accept this Lovely Eyepatch?

And thus, she becomes Jubei-chan, the second incarnation of Yagyu Jubei! Pity there isn't any evil around. Oh, wait. The Ryujouji School has been waiting for 300 years for this little bit of payback.

Obviously, Jiyu wants nothing to do with it. It's a circular problem. But the Ryujoujis won't listen. Also, their grudge is so powerful that it infects their souls. In order to save them, Jiyu finds a way to modify the Jubei technique, and make a sword technique that cuts the hate and undeath out of their very spirits. Those cut are freed to assimilate into the modern day and forget the past.

Nevertheless, can she take on the entire Ryujouji Clan and still be Jiyu, or will she get caught up in the bloodshed that occured 300 years ago?

Jubei-chan is an original anime directed by Akitaro Daichi (Fruits Basket, Kodocha, Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran) which originally aired in 1999 for 13 episodes. It was later followed by a second season, Jubei-chan: Revenge of the Siberian Yagyu, which aired in 2004. In it, another dead clan, this time a splinter group of the Yagyuus, want revenge on Jubei. They are overshadowed, however, by another Jubei-chan! This one, Freesia Yagyu, is the biological daughter of Yagyuu Jubei, preserved for 300 years by being frozen in a glacier. She's very upset that her father's inheritance has gone to another girl — and she wants it back. She becomes simultaneously Jiyu's manipulative best friend and Jubei-chan's worst enemy; she knows who Jiyu is. Jiyu doesn't know who she is. The second season has, arguably, some of the greatest sword battles in all of anime.


  • Actual Pacifist: Jubei II is this. Despite being an excellent swordswoman and taking her opponents down swiftly, she never kills them and definitely doesn’t enjoy fighting.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Every single man who meets Jiyu falls in love with her as soon as they see her breasts. Only her own father is immune for obvious reasons, though this doesn't stop him for being mistaken for being a pervert every so often. The exception is Mikage's husband, Mick, who instead fell in love with Jiyu's friend at first sight.
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking: In the second season, Mikage pulls the face mask off of a mysterious antagonist, revealing nothing, since Freesia ages up when transformed.
  • Arc Words: "Nisemono" from the second series, translated as either "imposter"note  or "fake". The importance starts to appear in the episode "Peaceful in a Fake Family", where it becomes clear that Jiyu, Freesia, Mikage, and Sai are all hiding secrets from each other while trying to be a surrogate family. Later still, Freesia manages to provoke Sai into slapping Jiyu by claiming that she said her father's work was fake. When Jiyu eventually recovers from the Heroic BSoD provoked by this, she shows her character development by declaring that both she and Freesia are truly the successors of Yagyu Jubei — so neither of them is an imposter.
  • Art Shift: Used continuously, and even for dramatic purposes — e.g. when the Plucky Comic Relief gets serious. In the second season each leading member of the Siberian Yagyu Clan is animated in a different style — one is in the show's normal style, one is in 3D CGI, one's drawn Super-Deformed using Thick-Line Animation, etc.
    • This gets lampshaded by the Ruffian squad, who fall victim to an art shift and become crude line drawings during a single scene by virtue of the plot moving away from them.
  • Badass in Distress: Since she throws away the Lovely Eyepatch so often Jiyu often gets cornered by villains and needs someone else to bring it to her.
  • Badass Normal: Shiro in the first series, Oozaru and Kozaru in the second series.
  • Becoming the Mask: In the second season, Freesia's character development revolves around this, as she finds herself enjoying the role she adopts in the life of Jiyu and her friends.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: The Mutodori; something the Yagyu family historically is credited to; is featured in the climax of the second season.
  • Big Bad Friend: Freesia is very close to Jiyu as she plots to destroy her.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Freesia sports them to indicate her Russian heritage.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Season 1 ends with Jiyu defeating Taiko Daiyu and ending the grudge of the Ryujouji Clan. Jiyu finally gets up have a normal life again, but Koinosuke is basically dead and leaves her grieving for him.
    • Subverted in Season 2. Jiyu befriends Freesia and purifies the Northern Yagyu clan, but Ayunosuke seemingly dies after being reunited with her father, which greatly upsets Jiyu. Freesia also is never able to speak to her father and get closure, as she gets tongue-tied before he passes on. However, Ayunosuke is shown to have survived and is adopted by Jiyu in the show's final moments.
  • Body Surf: When Shiro succeeds in forcing Taiko Daiyu out of his body he moves on to Sai.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Jiyu is quite busty for her age, and has many male admirers because of it.
  • Can't Catch Up: Lampshaded, in the second season, first season big bad Shiro confidently states that he who fought Yagyu Jubei as an equal in the first season will surely be able to at least be a challenge to this new enemy, only to be defeated instantly when he tries.
  • Clueless Dude Magnet: Nearly every man Jiyu meets falls in love with her at first sight. Unfortunately for them she is Oblivious to Love.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Zigzagged. Jiyu treats the Lovely Eyepatch as an unwanted curse and continuously tries to discard it. Said Eyepatch transforms her into the powerful Jubei II and grants her near-unbeatable swordsman abilities. However, the Eyepatch also gives her a magical fever if she wears it too long and Jiyu specifically says the transformation is like being on her period.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Jubei II wears a lot of black and is one of the good guys.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Freesia is essentially the Evil Counterpart to Jiyu.
  • Dating Catwoman: Downplayed. Shiro has a one-sided crush on Jiyu. However he’s from the Ryuujouji clan which is trying to kill her. He ends up Defecting for Love and protecting Jiyu.
  • Death of a Child: Ayunosuke turns into stone from Jiyu accidentally giving her a Breaking Speech and refusing the Lovely Eyepatch. This is eventually reversed, but the death scene is played very straight and it takes a few episodes to undo. Later, she seemingly dies again after her father's spirit comes to bring her to the afterlife, but she returns to Earth to be with Jiyu in the end.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Justified; Jiyu is cutting apart the grudge against Yagyu Jubei, which is the only reason why they attack her in the first place. They are quite grateful for it.
  • Delinquents: Parodied with Bantarou and the Ruffian Squad, who are eager to beat perceived perverts up but otherwise are dumb and harmless.
  • Demonic Possession: Basically what Taiko Daiyu does.
  • Demoted to Extra: Bantarou and Shiro in the second series; they're painfully aware of this.
  • Denser and Wackier: The second season, despite being overall more serious in tone, has wackier comedy than the first- Characters more often break the fourth wall, the Siberia Yagyu clan is full of Butt-Monkey Mole People with absolutely no chance at ever defeating Jubei, and Freesia was raised by talking animals, to name a few examples.
  • Disappears into Light: Any spirit that lets go of their obsession without being cut by Jiyu. Koinosuke in the first season, most of the Siberian Yagyu clan except for Nizaemon and Kita .
  • Distressed Dude: Sai is put in dangerous situations for Jiyu to come save him.
  • The Ditz: Jiyu is sweet and naive, but not too bright. Freesia exploits the trope, pretending to be a Funny Foreigner while hiding her intelligence and ill intent.
  • Dramatic Irony: The second season runs off of this. The audience knows Freesia is the second Lovely Eyepatch holder, while Jiyu and the rest of the cast are unaware of it.
  • Dumbass No More: The Monkey Brothers, who go from adoring Bantarou but snarking at him to Ditzy Genius levels over the time skip between seasons 1 and 2, displaying Hidden Depths in the form of wanting to pursue higher education and learning multiple languages over the course of a year. They are still comedic, but become even snarkier and less willing to go along with Bantarou's antics, frequently mocking him.
  • Evil Twin: Hajime is this for Shiro.
  • Expressive Hair: Parodied. At one point during an argument Jiyu and Koinosuke idiot hairs duel each other.
  • Expressive Shirt: Bantarou's shirt, which displays kanji related to whatever his current mood or train of thought might be. Such as "idiot," "reckless" or "breasts."
  • Extruded Book Product: Jiyu's father Sai makes a living ghostwriting Jidaigeki Samurai novels. In the second series, Jiyu asks him to stretch by writing a romance novel under his own name, which causes tension when he has to hide the fact he's doing another ghostwriting job on the side.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The Lovely Eyepatches, of course.
  • Freefall Fight: Happens in the second series between Freesia, Mikage, and Jiyu.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Freesia, who was raised by forest animals.
  • Funny Foreigner: Exploited by Freesia in the second season to get close to Jubei's family and friends. She often acts ditsy and inappropriately, pretending she simply doesn't know local culture or repeating herself in Russian.
  • Fusion Dance: Freesia and Jiyu fuse together in the last episode using The Power of Friendship, which somehow either turns them into or summons the Original 300-years-dead Yagyu Jubei. (The initial result was just a fused successor, given the boobs; Jiyu and Freesia are left on the ground, untransformed, once the original Jubei appears.)
  • Ghostwriter: Jiyu's father Sai makes a living ghostwriting Jidaigeki Samurai novels. In the second series, Jiyu asks him to stretch by writing a romance novel under his own name, which causes tension when he has to hide the fact he's doing another ghostwriting job on the side.
  • Good Parents: Jiyu's father, Sai, goes Papa Wolf and insists on being involved once he finds out what's going on.
  • Hair Antennae: Jiyu has these. Freesia has one on each side of her head.
  • Ham and Deadpan Duo: Maro is the Ham and Sachi is the Deadpan.
  • Healing Shiv: Jiyu's sword actually brings back the dead in addition to freeing their souls from their hatred. Most Magical Girl shows dealing with purifying Monsters of the Week give their heroine a magical wand that shoots sparkles and Stock Footage. Jubei just has a katana. Same results, hilarious visuals as the target very plainly gets cut down.
  • The Heartless: The lost souls of the Ryujoji and Kita-Yagyu clans.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Sai frequently works late nights and doesn’t get enough rest. This makes him act like a Cloudcuckoolander until he finally passes out.
  • Heroic BSoD: Freesia really does a number on Jiyu's sense of reality.
    • Jiyu's subsequent rejection of Ayunosuke causes her to turn into a tree.
  • Heroic RRoD: If Jiyu wears the eyepatch too long or fights too hard, she begins to fall into a magical fever that can't be cured normally.
  • Heroic Willpower:
    • The show runs entirely off of the power of Heroic Willpower. Many characters live for hundreds of years simply to fulfill their oaths or avenge their clans. The Lovely Eyepatches are similarly powered by heroic willpower, as Freesia's is a simple wood carving until she prays for her father to give her the strength to challenge the "fake" Jubei-Chan.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Since Jiyu is Oblivious to Love all the guys who like her are this trope. Special mention goes to Bantaro.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Sai gets kidnapped by Jiyu’s enemies who want the Lovely Eyepatch as ransom.
  • Human Popsicle: Freesia survives hundreds of years by being frozen in ice.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Mikage does this to trick Koinosuke into leaving the house.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Jiyu is happy being an Ordinary Highschool Student and wants nothing to do with all this samurai destiny nonsense.
  • I Owe You My Life: Mikage and her husband towards Jiyu.
  • Identical Stranger: Mikage coincidentally looks just like Jiyu’s late mother.
  • Idiot Hair: Koinosuke has these.
  • Intimate Healing: When Jiyu is unconscious with an extremely high fever after Shiro cuts the Lovely Eyepatch off her face, Sai tries to cool her down by stripping her and himself both naked, dousing himself with cold water, and lying on top of her. This results in many painful burns for him.
    • Sai uses this trope again when treating an injured Mikage. She is stabbed in the chest and he has to remove her shirt to bandage her.
    • In season 2 Ayunosuke gives an injured Jubei a full mud bath remedy, which also involves having to strip her and press mud on her body.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Jiyu doesn’t want her father to know about her Secret Identity. He is the last person to find out.
  • Jidaigeki: Subverted.
  • Kawaiiko: Subverted. Freesia acts this way to fit into society.
  • Kid Samurai
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Jubei II is this.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Unlike all the other villains Taiko Daiyu is an absolutely serious character with nothing funny about him.
  • Likes Older Men: Jiyu’s friend Maro has a crush on Jiyu’s dad.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: Freesia poses as a dumb foreigner to get into Jiyu's good graces.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: As a girl who uses magic to transform into a warrior Jiyu fits the bill.
  • Manly Tears: Koinosuke weeps dramatically about once per episode.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Not only does "Jiyu-bei" shorten to "Jubei", but Jiyu's name herself is a Japanese word meaning "Spiritual Freedom." IE, what she gives to the lost souls.
    • It's also worth noting that Jiyu's mother was named "Makoto," which can be translated to "Truth," particularly since in Season Two, Freesia's mother is named "Trusia," furthering the parallel between both Yagyu descendants.
  • Medium Awareness: Many characters are aware of being in a tv show and comment on wanting out or on being comic relief since they are being drawn Off-Model.
  • Meta Guy: Bantarou, Shiro, Oozaru, and Kozaru in the second series.
  • Mole Men: The northern Yagyu clan are essentially mole people; they have lived underground for so long they are highly sensitive to the sun and need to wear goggles to protect their eyes.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show goes from serious to parody at the drop of a hat.
  • Monster of the Week: Jiyu has to fight a new assassin in every episode.
  • My Greatest Failure: Sai stayed at work — as his boss demanded — while Jiyu's mother was dying, and only made it back when it was too late.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Koinosuke gets called out one like this by Sai after he discovers Jiyu’s Secret Identity. He tells him if Koinosuke hadn’t given Jiyu the Lovely Eyepatch she wouldn’t be in constant danger.
  • Ninja: Note, despite the English Market Based Subtitle of "Ninja Girl", Jubei isn't; she's a "Swordswoman". The only character who is referred to as a "Ninja" would be Mikagenote . Freesia wears a face mask so she may count as a ninja visually, though her fighting style (being a swordswoman like Jubei) obviously doesn't.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Freesia Yagyuu only acts like a cheerful hick.
  • Older Alter Ego / Sexier Alter Ego: When 14-year-old Jiyu transforms she grows taller and more womanly. Later Shiro gets one of these when he’s possessed by Taiko Daiyu.
    • In season 2, Freesia similarly transforms from a teenager to an adult woman.
  • Older Sidekick: Koinosuke is this for Jiyu.
  • Ojou: Parodied. Otome Shirahatamaru seems to believe she is royalty with her lavish clothing, Ojou Ringlets, and two faithful followers constantly praising her. She has a crush on Shiro and is jealous of Jiyu, but although she frequently appears she’s little more than an Unknown Rival and a Butt-Monkey.
  • Parents as People:
    • Sai clearly loves his daughter, but fails to maintain a good work-life balance. His wife died of a high fever while he was at work and Jiyu witnessed this, which she has hidden resentment for that comes out in season 2. He ends up hurting Jiyu after being manipulated by Freesia, causing her to enter a Heroic BSoD where she confuses Mikage for her mother Makoto and wants to leave with her.
    • Koinosuke similarly loved Ayunosuke, but allowed his devotion to finding Yagyu Jubei's successor to abandon her and inadvertently destroys his child's life by passing his responsibility on to Ayunosuke should he fail, which leaves her unable to age past being a young child and barely able to speak o socialize with others. Jiyu is horrified that her friend could do something so heartless and bonds with Ayunosuke despite still wanting nothing to do with the Lovely Eyepatch.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Oozaru and Kozaru, Bantarou's Deadpan Snarker sidekicks.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: After transforming Jubei II has a much deeper voice. Later happens with Shiro.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Inverted with Shiro, who in the first season was played more seriously and was closest to Jiyu's Love Interest. Come season 2, he has been demoted to primarily comic relief similar to Bantarou and the Monkeys.
  • Rapid Aging: Jubei and Freesia both transform into adults with their Lovely Eyepatches. Happens to Koinosuke quite a lot.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Koinosuke is over 300 years old.
  • Refusal of the Call: Subverted. Not only is this one of Jiyu's defining traits, but this, along with being Messianic Archetype, turns out to be the key to her victory. Even so, she does have to accept the Call to escape it.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Sai and Jiyu's relationships with Mikage, a Ninja who was the Evil Twin of Jiyu's dead mother.
  • Rousseau Was Right
  • Running Gag:
    • Characters are constantly getting lost in the bamboo forest.
    • Maro trying to take Jiyu and Sachi out to a dessert shop in town, only to be foiled by either Jiyu's other life interfering or by the store being closed for no apparent reason.
    • Sai immediately slapping Bantarou or Shiro down if they try calling him "Papa", "Dad", "Otousan", or anything similar, often with a literal slap. Shiro's mother has the same reaction to people other than him calling her "mama".
  • Samurai
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Averted! Even during the climactic final battle The Ruffians are still present and still making jokes.
  • Shout-Out: In season one, one of Jiyu's challengers is a crayon scribble named Tenchi Muyonosuke. Also a Take That!: Tenchi is short, ugly, with a nose that constantly drips snot and thick glasses, a voice like nails scraping across a blackboard, all the charming personality of a rabid wolverine, and is drawn in the style of a child's scrawl.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: More like stepping logs, but who's counting.
  • Stock Footage: The transformation sequences. Played straight in the first season, averted in the second.
  • Stock Shoujo Heroine: Played with. Jiyu has most of the qualities of a typical shoujo heroine. She’d be more at home in a high school love comedy instead of a samurai action show.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Ayunosuke is revealed to have been a girl all along when she meets her father and her clothes change from ragged boy clothing to a girl's. Given a Lampshade Hanging right after that scene.
  • Talking Animal: A whole forest of them with who Freesia lives after thawing out and before leaving on her quest.
  • Take That!: In addition to "Tenchi Muyonosuke" mentioned earlier, Sai briefly has an Imagine Spot of a gratuitous Love Hina knockoff Harem Comedy during a bout of writers' block in the second season. (He swiftly rejects the idea.)
  • Transformation Trinket: The Lovely Eyepatch is this.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Gender inverted example. Shiro and Hajime are both handsome young men and their mother is surprisingly ugly.
  • The Unchosen One: Freesia is the daughter of Jubei and thinks she should have been his successor instead of Jiyu. This is because Jubei thought Freesia was dead because she fell through the ice during one of his battles.
  • Training from Hell: Parodied in the first series. Koinosuke decides that Jiyu needs to learn how to function with one eye when she's in Jubei-chan mode, and so locks her in a one-eyed helmet that looks horrifyingly like a pink urinal. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Traitor Shot: About a third of Freesia's scenes when she's near Jiyu or Sai.
  • Transformation Sequence
  • Twin Switch: In the first series, it's revealed that Shirou and his twin brother Hajime traded identities; the Shirou the audience knew Just Wanted To Be Normal, while Hajime thought being the heir to the Ryujouji clan would be fun. This fact gets used to set up a Your Princess Is in Another Castle! moment.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Battle Couple Tenryo and Mikage are a decidedly odd-looking couple. Despite that they seem to be Happily Married.
    • Gender inverted with Shiro and Hajime’s parents. Their father is handsome and their mother is ugly.
  • Undying Loyalty: Koinosuke didn't let death stop his mission for the original Jubei, even for 300 years. His child Ayunosuke carries on the tradition in the second series.
  • Unwanted Harem: By the end of season one Jiyu’s admirers include Bantaro, Shiro, Koinosuke, and Hajime.
  • Verbal Tic: Parodied in the second series: Oozaru and Kozaru deliberately start using "-zaru" — "-Monkey" — at the end of their sentences, hoping it'll catch on.
    • Gratuitous English: In one scene, they try to redo their tic in Gratuitous English to appeal to the foreign anime fanbase. "Monkey Morning!" "Little Monkey Morning!"
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Played with. Jiyu and Koinosuke would get along swimmingly if they weren’t always arguing about Jiyu’s destiny.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Northern Yagyu clan are extremely sensitive to the sun and cannot fight in the light without protective goggles.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Subverted.