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Light Novel / Kämpfer

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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 original light novels were published from 2006 to 2010 for 15 volumes, while the manga adaptation was serialized in Monthly Comic Alive from 2008 to 2013. The anime adaptation aired in the fall of 2009, with a second season in spring 2011.

The story starts with Natsuru Senou, an Ordinary High-School Student attending a gender-segregated school. He has a crush on local school beauty Kaede Sakura, who has a collection of Entrail Animals, stuffed animals styled in brutal ways of dying. One day, he 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 Kämpferinnen 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.


Natsuru gains the attention of other Kämpferinnen, including shy bookworm Akane Mishima who transforms into a gunslinging loudmouth, the beautiful but scheming student council president Shizuku Sangou, and later Natsuru's childhood friend Mikoto Kondou. Kaede Sakura herself falls for Kämpfer Natsuru after she saves her from Akane, and views Natsuru as a rival for her affection. Hilarity Ensues. least until other Kämpferinnen decide to fight him for reasons unknown even to them. Somehow, the Kämpfeinnen 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 Kämpferinnen who have been chosen that they have to fight each other to the death. The Blue and Red Kämpfer factions form and battle, with a third White faction forming from those who do not wish to fight. The blue Kämpferinnen Natsuru and Akane, and the non-Kämpfer Sakura, are dragged into this war and must survive, all while fighting against the sinister plans of The Moderator.


Has a character sheet of its own.

The manga has been licensed by Tokyopop for the U.S. 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.

Completely unrelated to that other Kampf.


  • 12-Episode Anime: Specifically, 11 plot episodes and a Christmas episode.
  • Above the Influence: Despite many, many, many personal flaws Natsuru has had the decency not to take advantage of Saura in the face of many opportunties.
    • Sakura, on the other hand...
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council 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 Girl: Most of the Kämpferinnen.
  • 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: Natsuru cannot stop lusting over Kaede, even after she’s been revealed as The Moderator, and brainwashed him and tried to kill the people who actually care about him.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Shizuku, Akane and Mikoto all like Natsuru, who is hopelessly in love with Sakura, who in turn lusts for Female Natsuru...
  • All Part of the Show: The play in episode 5.
  • Ass Shove: Done by Shizuku to Mikoto to help the latter out of being mind-controlled.
  • Attempted Rape: Kind of averted. Natsuru gets mind-controlled and sent to rape Shizuku. But after pushing her onto the bed, he kind of just stands there at a loss. Above the Influence indeed.
    • Happens to Natsuru frequently either gender, but mostly his female form.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Natsuru. so much so that it leads to many an Attempted Rape by her classmates when she transfers to the girls' side of the school
  • Author Appeal: Girls with guns and swords, She-Fu, Les Yay all over the place, and Fanservice even more all over the place...
  • Bathtub Bonding: Akane and Mikoto in episode 13.
  • Battle Aura: So hot they cause Clothing Damage!
  • Beach Episode: Episode 9. And it's a Mood Whiplash one at that!.
  • Behind the Black: One of Shizuku's many talents is completely avoiding notice until she speaks, at which point the camera shifts slightly to the side to include her.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Natsuru both marries and has a little girl with himself. Despite this the trope could be averted because there was a lot of weird stuff in that episode.
  • Big Bad: The Moderator Kaede Sakura is the most direct antagonist in the series, being the person who gave out the Entrails Animals to the Kampfer, the one who instigates the battles, and the one who controls the White Kampfer.
  • 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 Sakura, 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.
    • Kämpfer-Akane plays this pretty straight.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played straight, Gewehr have no need to reload and their guns never jam.
  • 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. The Burnt Lion, the oldest of the Entrails Animals, is described in the novels as voiced by someone who dubs a lot of foreign movies. The anime cast Kenji Utsumi for that role.
    • 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 Kämpferinnen 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.
    • All of the advertisements that appear in the show are actually advertisements for the show with some over-the-top text. Also, when a fashion magazine page is shown in close-up, it turns out to be concept sketches of male Natsuru.
  • Bridal Carry: Natsuru does this to Sakura in episode 5's beauty pageant. She's even wearing a wedding dress.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Sakura mocks Shizuku about the death of her friend, saying the name isn't even worth remembering.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Kuro Usagi's voice reminds Akane of Yukari Tamura. Which it should, since she's Usagi's voice.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The sea slug trinket Natsuru gave to Shizuku ends up snapping him out of Sakura's hypnosis.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Probably not much of a Chekhov's Gunman but remember Sakura tossing out those stuff toys and one of them landed on Mikoto? The White Kämpferinnen also receive it the same way Mikoto did.
    • To be specific, in the anime, Mikoto got her Entrails Animal plushie in the bouquet that Sakura threw into the audience, not just tossing her one.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: All of the main girls show this at some point, especially at the end of episode 11 when they all force him to grope them.
    • In episode 8, Mikoto gets incredibly jealous when she finds out that Shizuku took Natsuru out on a date, and beats him up. Natsuru attempts to deny this, but Shizuku simply adds fuel to the fire.
    • Later on Akane comes to Natsuru's house and also demands to know why he went on a date, and forces him to take her on one as well, which leads to the next episode.
  • Clothing Damage: comes with the fanservicy girl-fight action.
  • Colour-Coded Characters: For some reason, the Kämpferinnen 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.
  • Combat by Champion: The whole deal about the Kämpferinnen.
  • Credits Running Sequence
  • Creepy Doll: Stuffed animals that can talk and move on their own, called Messengers, are the ones telling the Kämpferinnen 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.
  • Crossover: A Cameo example in the manga has Cecilia and Rin from Infinite Stratos appear as background characters in chapter 34. As well as characters like Yozora, Sena and Maria from Haganai in chapter 40.
  • Cry Cute: Mikoto during episode 8 after finding out Natsuru was on a date Shizuku. She also beats him up for doing so as well.
  • 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 Kämpferinnen INCLUDING Sakura.
    • In the second season note  Natsuru quickly defeats all four of the white Kämpferinnen in one shot and then makes a more powerful Sakura, who had already defeated Mikoto, Akane, and Shizuku, retreat. Why he doesn't try fighting earlier is anyone's guess though.
  • Dating Catwoman: Attempted. Shizuku spends the better part of an episode ignoring Natsuru's boorish behavior.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: The four messengers (Harakiri Tora, Seppuku Kurousagi, Kanden Yamaneko, and Chissoku Norainu) get almost all of the Christmas Episode combined with "Freaky Friday" Flip.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Akane and Shizuku.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The opening ("Unreal Paradise") plays at the karaoke joint in episode 4.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During the cultural fest, a few male students try to sneak into the girl-school department. The female students answer this by breaking out assault rifles and open fire on them.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The way Akane describes pretty much anything related to being a Kämpfer is full of Innocent Innuendo. Then she'll squeal and say she doesn't mean it like that.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: Akane, Shizuku and Mikoto to male Natsuru, and Sakura to female Natsuru. See All Love Is Unrequited above.
  • Don't Try This at Home: "Good boys should ignore the crazy lady." "Bad boys should ignore the crazy lady too."
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Poor Natsuru, regardless of which gender he's in.
  • Dynamic Entry: Mikoto has one during episode 8. In a possible Shout-Out to Haruhi Suzumiya, Natsuru suffers a kick to the head from her, which also sends him flying.
  • 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 Kämpferinnen.
  • 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.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Especially a tsundere penguin.
  • 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.
  • Faux Action Girl: Natsuru and Akane have yet to successfully win a one-on-one battle with anyone. Neither can hit worth a damn, and Shizuku spends a lot of time bailing them out.
  • Foreshadowing: When Seppuku Kurousagi warned us back in episode 3 that his denseness is certified to be in the Guiness World Records, it was not kidding.
    • Episode 4 is probably a straighter example. In the Eyecatch, Sakura'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.
  • Gainax Ending: Episode 12, which is about the main four swapping bodies with their dolls, ends with the dolls in their owners' bodies flying away on Santa's sled. Then the episode (and perhaps the entire series) turns out to be a story told by female Natsuru to her child. And male Natsuru is married to female Natsuru. After that, the final scene is Sakura on Santa's sled throwing Entrails Animals to the children, four of them being the still bodyswapped main cast.
  • Gay Romantic Phase: Discussed between several girls who define lesbianism as "Women who are sexually interested in women while in high school." Doesn't help that the one lesbian in the story is a psycho lesbian trying to make other girls her sex slaves.
  • Gender Bender: Read the intro.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Sakura 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.
  • Guilty Pleasure
  • Hand Wave: Played for laughs. In episode 7, all the the main characters spend the night at Sakura's apartment, including the entrail animal messengers. Flashing on-screen text informs us that Sakura doesn't see the clearly visible living toys because she's too infatuated with Kämpfer-Natsuru to notice.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today??: Both Akane and Shizuku insist this despite all the Les Yay that happens in the series.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Akane feels this way because male Natsuru likes Sakura, 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 Sakura. Even when Sakura 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...
  • Hot Springs Episode: Natsuru, you lucky bastard...
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode's title begins with a single word of Gratuitous German.
  • Idiot Hair: Mikoto
  • 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.
  • Kick the Dog: Sakura brainwashing Mikoto in episode 13.
  • Lap Pillow: Shizuku gives one to Natsuru after he fall asleep during their date. It is implied that she kissed him again during his sleep.
  • Love Dodecahedron: It's a doozy.note 
    "What the heck? Sakura loves and hates me... And I love myself?"
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Natsuru's crush on Sakura.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: See Just Friends. In the anime, it's reached the point where Sakura 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.
  • Love Triangle: Type 4, with Natsuru in "a", Sakura in "b" and Natsuru in "c". There's also a Type 5, with "a", "b" and "c" being Akane, Natsuru and Sakura.
  • Magic Skirt: No matter what angles or situations they get into, skirts simply will not show anything.
  • Mega Ton Punch: Natsuru seems to suffer these, like most other harem anime males.
  • Mêlée à Trois: There are three factions — red, blue and white — and all of them are likely to be engaged in a three-way battle at any time.
    • Red and Blue stopped fighting pretty early. So now it's just red/blue versus white.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Natsuru has these for the period of being under Sakura'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 Sakura exchanging glances with girls the audience later finds out are White Kämpferinnen and, at the end of the ep, mind-controlling Natsuru with frightening easiness. Just about everything else in the episode is lighthearted fanservice.
  • Morality Chain: Akane's Kämpfer mode is a blood bath waiting to happen, with Natsuru having the unenviable position of having to ride herd on her bloodthirsty antics.
  • 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 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).
  • Not a Date: At least, Natsuru believes so. Shizuku insisted otherwise.
  • Off-Model: This.
  • 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...
  • The Psycho Rangers: The White Kämpferinnen.
  • Real Name Alias: Natsuru is confronted in his girl idenity and is aksed for his name. He panics and gives his real name, resulting in both his male and female alter egos having the same name.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Akane and Natsuru.
    • Same goes to the kämpfer colors of red and blue.
    • 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-headed stupidity he never gets the hint.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Kampfer


Kampfer fur die Liebe

Even voiced by the Queen of Tsundere herself, Rie Kugimiya!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / Tsundere

Media sources: