July 20, 2011
Today's Mystery Meat is Kage Kara Mamoru, "Mamoru the shadow protector".
A lot of anime, for that matter a lot of entertainment of all kinds, involves fantasy wish fulfillment. That's what this show is about, in spades. The hero is Kagemori Mamoru. His next door neighbor is Konnyaku Yuna. Mamoru is a complete dork, but Yuna is really cute.
Ah, but looks are deceiving. Mamoru is the latest in a long line of ninja, and his family has been protecting her family for 400 years, though as of the first episode we haven't been told why. Mamoru himself has been protecting Yuna since they were very young. He is fast and strong and extremely skilled with traditional weapons, and when Yuna gets into trouble, he (metaphorically speaking) ducks into a phone booth and changes his clothes, becoming super-ninja.
And he has to do a lot of that, because Yuna is a real airhead and has a penchant for getting into trouble. In the first episode, she gets confused and uses the men's room at a bowling alley, and overhears some yakuza involved in selling bootleg anime figurines. (Serious, this ain't.) They capture her and take her back to their boss's office, who is about to molest her when Mamoru shows up and proceeds to kick ass.
This is the fantasy of every dork who has a crush on a cute girl, I think. It sure was one of mine when I was a young dork. "What if I secretly was really cool?" Well, Mamoru is, but he can't let her know.
There isn't anything very deep about this series. The yakuza are played as clowns, for example, and Mamoru's skills are rather beyond anything remotely realistic, like the way he stood in the direct fire of a gatling gun and deflected every bullet fired at him using just his sword. Or the way he threw a kunai and dropped a model plane without Yuna noticing, even though she was standing right next to him. (Admittedly, it takes a baseball bat to get her attention. But no one else noticed, either.)
And it turns out that his parents are even more dorky than he is -- and even more skilled ninja. His mom protects Yuna's mom, and his dad protects Yuna's dad. Who is paying for all this isn't clear, let alone why they're doing it. We're not supposed to ask those kinds of questions, because it would interfere with the fantasy wish fulfillment.
The animation is rather simple, and pretty average. It's actually a bit lousy for 2005, when it was made. The voice acting is competent but no one really stands out as giving a spectacular performance. I don't think that's the fault of the seiyuu; they can only work with the material they've been given, and this isn't a breakout show.
There are hints of a harem forming, and we've got at least one girl already introduced who may be tsundere. I don't really think I'm interested enough to watch any more of it.
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At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.
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