Jubei-chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch

Jubei-chan: Secret of the Lovely EyepatchType: TV Series
Episode Count: 13
Genre: Comedy / Action / Drama
Vintage: 1999

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 02 May 2006

Grade: B

Off-the-wall craziness that could only come from the mind of Akitaroh Daichi.

Plot Summary
Jiyu Nanohana is a regular perky 8th grader. She’s just moved to a new town, and things get off to a weird start. Koinosuke, attendant of the legendary swordsman Jubei Yagyu, has been waiting 300 years to find Jubei’s heir with the only clue being “plump, bouncy, bon-bons” as foretold by Jubei on his deathbed, and present the Lovely Eyepatch to this heir. Unfortunately for Jiyu, Koinosuke finds her and decides that she meets the description, and presents Jiyu the Lovely Eyepatch, which she flatly refuses. At that moment, a member of the Ryujoji clan – sworn rival and enemy of Jubei who carry a 300 year old grudge from their defeat – challenges her to a duel in the forest. Against her wishes, Jiyu puts on the Lovely Eyepatch and is transformed into the legendary Jubei Yagyu. Now she must try to live a normal life while being forced to take Jubei Yagyu’s form with repeated challenges from the Ryujoji clan who wish to eliminate Jubei and rule Japan.

The Review
There are shows that throw everything and the kitchen sink at them with varying degrees of success, and then there’s Akitaroh Daichi. Jubei-chan is both a high school comedy and a samurai drama. One minute, you’re rolling on the floor from humor and jokes that come from all sides, and the next you’re watching the swordplay of samurai and ninja battling in the forest. Did I mention that the two sides of this show are linked by a Magical Girl transformation sequence? No, I’m not kidding.

Jubei-chan is a semi-parody of the Japanese samurai drama drawing from the real-life Japanese legend of master swordsman Jubei Yagyu, complete with cinematic references and overscripted introductions from characters. On the other side of the coin, Daichi’s style of comedy simply has to be seen. It’s very tongue-in-cheek and comes at you with a hyper pace. Animation styles shift without warning, characters look at the show’s title card, and references are often made by characters of their role within the show. Most of all, the show doesn’t take itself seriously. The later episodes are where it shows its heart, with an overall theme of friendship and remembering to value the people close to you. This makes for a somewhat sentimental angle to a show otherwise going between two extremes in its presentation. For all of its random comedy and high action duels, Jubei-chan has a big heart.

Jubei-chan is my first step in going further into Akitaroh Daichi’s catalog; Animation Runner Kuromi was my first exposure to Daichi, and that OVA is what prompted me to look into more of his work. I can say that Daichi is probably my favorite comedic anime director. With any luck, Fruits Basket and Kodocha will soon be in my collection, since if this and Kuromi are any indication, Akitaroh Daichi knows how to have fun with a series.

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