I like the anime Kämpfer. I wanted to make a parody of it, so I did. End of.
Relax, there’s more to it than that. I could use that above statement for every question regarding that subject and leave it at that but I want to talk about it a little. I made the decision to host my abridged series of Kämpfer after years of constant YouTube takedowns despite my project being a parody and clearly stating so and the beginning of each episode. At every con I go to, somebody mentions that they loved Kämpfer Abridged and miss it terribly. Each time I hear that it makes me smile; I’m not a comedy writer primarily but it’s awesome to think that, with the help of TFS colleague takahata101, I made an abridged series of my own which people liked. Therefore, I chose to use my space here to host it so fans have a more stable platform in which to rewatch and enjoy. Each week I shall post another episode all the way to episode eleven, the last episode of both it and the original series. So have at it, friends!
So how did Kämpfer Abridged come to be and why did I choose to put the original anime in my Top 10 over other more technically accomplished titles? I was talking with my girlfriend the other night and she brought up the question and it made me think for a moment. Why do I like Kämpfer? It’s not the deepest anime out there nor is it particularly substantial [unless you take the girls’ frontages into account]. Its modus operandi is also pretty flawed in that *SPOILERS* the whole reason the characters are fighting each other is to settle a battle between two gods who couldn’t be bothered to do it themselves */END SPOILERS*. The animation either isn’t that stellar; it does the business but doesn’t stun. So far it doesn’t sound good, but hear me out. I like Kämpfer because it has charm and it’s full of character. It’s self-aware in that the whole premise of the show is pretty non-sensical and as such, most of the show is devoted to all the girls having fun and socialising with one another with occasional flirtations [sometimes literally] with the main plot. The majority of the middle section of the series has little to no mention of the overall plot and instead revolves around a school festival with the primary premise only coming back in episode nine. Some people could accuse Kämpfer being nothing but fanservice fodder and they ARE right to an extent. There is a lot of skimpy clothing and sexual nuances peppered throughout the whole show with Sakura Kaede [our supposed love interest] being the chief culprit. Granted, there are other comedies that are more polished and more successful but this series in question resonated more with me personally; I completely understand why people would have dismissed this series. It’s made little impact in the anime world with only a subtitled release in the west thanks to Sentai Filmworks. Still, I enjoyed it. Now as you can probably gather, this show is ripe for parody despite it already being a comedy.
It’s 2009 and I was having a creative slump with my first series Naruto: The Abridged Series and had just completed work on a one-shot spoof of Mahoromatic where I tested my writing skills. It proved good enough for me to find a full series to spoof. At the time, Kämpfer was halfway through its Japanese run and I was catching up. I got to episode two where the ‘faux villain’ Shizuku enters and knew I had to dub it despite there being a lack of female abridged talent at the time. Still, I could voice Natsuru as I have a ‘talent’ for female voices and could cobble together a comedic voice for his female version. Jump forward to November 2009. Myself and the rest of TeamFourStar had just met for the first time in person at Youmacon, our first convention appearance in Detroit and we were excited to chat. During dinner one night, I was talking with takahata101 and mentioned I was thinking about abridging a show and stated it was Kämpfer. Instead of a blank stare, taka looked delighted and knew exactly what I was talking about. He encouraged me to make it and after some thought I chose to act on his enthusiastic affirmations. Work began upon my return to the UK. First things first was to write a script and come up with an overall hook. In the end, it came to making the Kämpfer versions of the characters facsimiles of Team Fortress 2 characters. It proved a popular choice in the end!
I then focused on finding talent. I knew a few voice actresses who were already established but I wanted to pick new people; people who were doing their own show and where I could approach them to appear in my abridged production. First up was Nowacking [Jessi Nowack]. She had been making Bobobo-bobobo Abridged and I spotted her knack for zany acting as well as a wide vocal range despite only being sixteen! I immediately contacted her and she was up for it! Then came Akane and Shizuku. For Akane I picked a Voice Acting Alliance friend named sakurasenpai and for Shizuku I chose a member of the Sailor Moon Abridged crew, whip0falchemy. Whip’s deeper voice suited Shizuku perfectly as well as Whip’s ability to masterfully emulate the character’s deadpan nature and to also sound authoritative. For Mikoto I chose to call upon a friend and the person who got me into voice acting back in 2005, Rina-chan [Kira Buckland]. My main cast was complete. For the stuffed animal sidekicks, I relied on my TeamFourStar pals KaiserNeko, Lanipator, takahata101 as well as Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged creator LittleKuriboh. A mix of well-known internet voice actors and new talent was perfect for me. It allowed me to have a versatile cast and to see each of them grow into their respective roles.
Episode one debuted at MAGFEST on January 5th 2010. It was played during a panel I had with Kirbopher and LittleKuriboh and it was received well. It was also a chance to meet Nowacking for the first time which was a cool surprise. I hadn’t expected her to be there and to get to meet her was awesome and a coincidence; she got to see the premiere which meant a lot to me. Once the series debuted on the internet a couple of weeks later, it grew a small but dedicated following which stuck with the series despite constant takedowns over 2010 which nearly killed my enthusiasm to continue. The gap between episodes six and seven was ten months; a lifetime in abridging. What spurred me to continue to the end though was wanting to do my cast proud and not be afraid of being defeated by YouTube’s bots. I did counter-claim my videos and with other shows, the process worked; not for me! OneKids [one of the characters of Pokemon ‘Bridged] helped me with that ordeal and admitted his surprise of the counter-claim not working. It dented my confidence and played on my insecurity which I was riddled with in 2010. I chose to use this nervousness instead for positive purposes and galvanised myself. I would see the show through to the end; and I did. It ended in September 2011 with a flourish of plot holes, Team Fortress 2 references and Stan Bush.
It was complete. I had finished an abridged series. It was a great feeling. I know that Kämpfer has a second ‘season’ [more like two episodes] but these episodes are pretty lewd and I wouldn’t feel comfortable making my cast record for that so I have disregarded them. There’s also the Christmas Special which I do hope to do eventually but as it was non-canon, I didn’t count it in my initial run. After the series finished, I still had to deal with videos being removed and then the parody’s channel being removed entirely. It was frustrating and made me feel disinclined to repost the episodes…until now.
So that’s where we are. Anifile is now the home of Kämpfer Abridged. I hope that old fans will enjoy watching the episodes again and that new visitors enjoy discovering it. Thank you for reading and I hope that this editorial has shed some light on my creative thinking behind the project. Check out the first episode and have fun!