The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Jubei-chan the Ninja Girl

Title: Jubei-chan the Ninja Girl aka Jubei-chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch
Genre: Comedy/Action
Company: Madhouse Studios
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 6 Apr 1999 – 28 Jun 1999

Synopsis: Yagyu Jubei, Japan’s greatest swordsman, has his days numbered. Before his death, he asks of his disciple Odago Koinouske to search for a successor to inherit his Lovely Eyepatch. Three hundred years have passed since then and Koinouske has journeyed in vain on spirit alone. This is all as the disgraced Ryouji family seeks revenge on Jubei and his legacy. With one vengeful clan growing in power and one comic relief samurai just about ready to collapse, the eyepatch of the legendary swordsman finds the man it was destined for; the reluctant schoolgirl Jiyu Nanohana.

The Highlights
Characters: Likable, yet clichéd and stilted.
Action: Boggled down by repetition.
Humor: Mildly amusing until overused.
Pacing: Mainly predictable monster of the week formula.
Length: Short enough to be an enjoyable series.

It’s always painful to have an anime that has outlived any its ability to be enjoyable… DBZ and Naruto anyone? It gets worse when that series is just not compelling enough to begin with. From this, it’s a good thing that Jubei-chan lasts 13 episodes because anything else would have pushed it from pleasant to horrendously aggravating.

Jubei-chan is not the most innovative, or the most funny, or the most action packed series available. In all honesty, it’s a pretty typical story with some amusing, albeit tired, jokes and average combat sequences that suffer from reused cells. Just leaving it this makes the show seem mediocre, but good thing that this series does have something lacking in many other original, action packed, and comedic anime: follow-through.

In many series of the same length, the plot consists of one episode to set up the plot, nine of filler, then the final two for the purpose of cramming all of the plot into a rushed mess. On the other hand, Jubei-chan pushes forward its plot on every episode. This is unfortunately bogged down by shallow and repetitive monster of the week fights early on. However, by the halfway point, everything comes together into a coherent and well-paced story with a beginning, middle, and end that tie everything together.

Overall, much of Jubei-chan is a mixed bag. Sadly, this includes the characters as well. The greater portion of the cast is quite likable. A couple of them even, especially Jiyu and her father, are incredibly well developed in terms of both personality and background. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone else seem too scripted and predictable. This really puts a damper on how much you can care for the cast, no matter how developed and multidimensional it may feel.

If anything sets Jubei-chan from many other mahou shoujo action or even just regular shounen action series would be that this anime completes a full story in 13 episodes. Anime of the same length tend to cram too much story into a couple of episodes and longer ones just go nowhere. The series is just right in this respect, and even an episode longer would not have been appreciated. Since this is not the most compelling thing out there, its nice that the staff knew where to end it… Though I can’t really speak for its second season.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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