Jubei-chan the Ninja Girl begins in ancient Japan, where the legendary Yagyu school of fighting is favored by the Shogun. In order to remain in favor, the Yagyu clan simply had its competition politically eliminated. However in the Yagyu clan there was a man named Jubei (loosely based on real historical figure Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi) who decided to become a swordsman against the wishes of his father. Yagyu Jubei’s skill became so great that members from all the other clans would constantly challenge him. The most determined of these rivals was the Ryujoji clan. Their school was one of the ones forced out of favor by the Yagyu clan, and as revenge, they are sworn to defeat Yagyu Jubei in combat. However Jubei kept defeating all their warriors up until his death. But the Ryujoji clan was certain that Jubei would somehow return, and they continued to train and prepare for the day they would finally defeat him.
They had good reason to think Jubei would appear again. For the great swordsman Jubei had decided to pass on his sword skills to a successor, the person who could wear the item symbolizing that power, the lovely heart-shaped eye-patch made by Jubei himself! Jubei entrusts his faithful servant, Koinosuke, with the task of finding this destined person. Now, what the hell was the fierce Jubei doing, making a cute heart-shaped eye patch? What if his successor was a guy? He’d be stuck wearing this silly eyepatch. But Jubei seemed to know that the one to possess his powers would be none other than….
Modern schoolgirl Jiyu Nanohana has just moved to a new town with her novelist father. On her way home from her first day at her new school, Jiyu-chan is confronted by a strange looking samurai begging her to wear this silly heart-shaped eye patch, and telling her she is the reincarnation of the legendary Yagyu Jubei. Needless to say Jiyu-chan totally ignores this freak. But ignoring her destiny will not make it disappear, for it looks like she already has people (most of which seem to be her teachers at school for some reason….) lining up to challenge her! Only by wearing the lovely eyepatch can Jiyu transform into the reincarnation of Yagyu Jubei and defeat her enemies!
This series, while played completely for laughs, does have some nice animation and character designs. I really like how Jubei-chan looks after she transforms. Now that is a cool costume! She somehow manages to look bad-ass while wearing a heart-shaped eye-patch. Surely this cannot be an easy thing to do! There are a lot of visual gags (especially with changing kanji on the ruffian’s T-shirt) and comedy parodying shoujo-manga romantic love triangles and sappy melodrama. I also like how the fight scenes sometimes go into widescreen format with the black bars on top and bottom, making the scenes look like old samurai movies.
My main complaint about the show is that it (in the first few episodes anyway) tends to fall into that typical magical girl ‘villain of the week’ pattern, with Jiyu transforming at the end to save the day. I would have liked to see more of Jubei-chan the fighter, but she is only around long enough to whup-ass on the villain before she transforms back to Jiyu-chan. Bah. I want to see more Jubei-chan fighting! But this anime is very very funny!