Anime Meta-Review


Jubei Chan, Secret of the lovely Eyepatch.


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-10 of 13
  • type: TV
  • grade: watchable
  • people: Daichi
  • made: 1999
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

More fully called "Jubei-Chan the ninja girl : The secret of the lovely eye-patch". I had great hopes for this series, and hope it will elevate from this position, but I do have some concerns. Certainly the story sounds like a sure winner. We begin with a battle between rival swordsmasters. One is the renegade son of an important lord who has defeated many schools. The other represents one of the greatest schools being crushed by the same lord. The battle is fought, but both fall. With his last breath lord Jubei asks his faithful retainer to pass on an eyepatch, containing all of his power and skills to a worthy successor. And what is needed in a worthy successor to this greatest of swordsmen? The answer is `plump bouncy bon-bons' which certainly suprises his retainer, if not the audience. 300 years later we are introduced to the sensible and good hearted Jubei-chan (her nickname) who is offered a lovely eye-patch by a very strange, and rather excitable, samurai. What neither of them know is that the school represented by Jubei's last opponent has been waiting 300 years for its revenge. When Jubei-chan tries on the eye-patch, simply to appease the rather earnest man, she finds that life has become a lot more complex.

The essence seems to have been on taking the magical girl foundation and doing something a bit darker with it. While she has a transform it is in to a serious and grim warrior, who is generally then required to face other serious and grim warriors. At the same time Jubei herself has no interest in it and hates both the transform and the inherited enemies that make it neccessary. This darker atmosphere, reflections on what it means to have power and a romantic sub-plot to allow expression and introspection is very promising. However at the same time there is a `ecchi' sub-thread relating to her well developed breasts and a lot of other comedy elements and scenes. The comedy stuff is not too bad in itself, but it really competes with the serious stuff rather than complimenting it. Or taken from the other point of view the serious sections interrupt the atmosphere of humor being developed. In any case some of the comedy elements, such as the `ruffians', seem very simple and to have little scope for interest or development. This is not helped by there being a percentage of jokes that simply don't work. The writing simply seems a bit less clever and the situations less inventive than we have come to expect from the creator behind Child's Toy, Akazuki cha cha and Elf Princess Rane. I have to wonder if the difference is that rather than adopt a manga to his own style this is entirely his work. Still, it is enjoyable enough and has the potential to grow, so it is too early to give up hope. Still, it is disappointing to even have reason to doubt.

This conflict occurs in the animation as well. The ninja stuff is dark, sombre and atmospheric as would be expected. This is backed up by some fast moving and complex fight sequences which are a bit hard to follow but quite impressive and fun to watch. Then there are the comedy elements which have an air of unreality, frequently using the mechanisms of animation to try and acheive humor. What I mean is things like the lead ruffians T-shirt with a variable kanji commenting on the situation, to non-realistic appearances and upto `sketch' drawn characters. These two styles simply don't meld, and the conflict is quite distracting. Likewise for voices, with the serious and quite somber Jubei-chan conflicting with some of the near hysterical comedy voices. For that matter even the music has this duality. I'm impressed by the ambition in trying to merge such different styles into a single mature series, but that doesn't mean I can overlook the fact that it often doesn't work, and might not have been that good an idea in the first place.

No such doubt exists in the mind of Lord Carnage, (the lucky guy) who gives a glowing review in which he praises the ability to get so many diverse elements to work together. Of course, he may have seen a lot more than I.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:20 WST 2009