Igano Kabamaru is a unique anime, in the way that it’s only popular among the Greek community, and virtually unheard of in the rest of the world. I’ve been meaning to want to check it out, but the only version I could find was a crappy Greek dub. Since my Greek is virtually non-existent (the only word I know is “nè”, which means “yes” and sounds a lot like “no” in Dutch), so I unfortunately had to pass it up.
Cue the awesome people at Saiei who were nice enough to bring out a Japanese version of the series. So yeah, this is another one of those raw-reviews, so unless you happen to know Greek or Japanese, don’t bother to ask me where to get it. One of the purposes of this review is to give some more attention to this series, with the hope that it might get subbed one day, because this series has a lot to like. Sure, it also has its share of things not to like, but it’s one of those crazy and wacky comedies that definitely demonstrate that the eighties had a great sense of humour.
So yeah, this series is basically another one of those high-school comedies with a weird cast of characters. It runs around the premise of a kid who has been trained as a ninja for all his life by his evil grandfather, moving into a school whose headmistress has a crush on said grandfather (who now is dead, by the way). The big twist is that this kid (Igano Kabamaru, hence the title) is the most incredible goofball you have ever seen. He runs around the series screaming, yelling, making the silliest jokes, behaving like a little kid, and eating.
The major fun in the series comes not from him, but from the rest of the cast. These people are all some sort of parody of the romantic genre (we have the cute girlfriend, the rival, the pretty boy, the elite ojou-sama, and a lot more). Every character has something amusing about him or her, and they’re also hilarious in their attempts to deal with such a weird and uncontrollable lead character, and be sure to expect lots of nervous breakdowns. Hopeless overacting in most cases is a bad thing, but in this case it makes for a number of hilarious scenes, with my personal favourite being the marathon-episode.
Unfortunately for this series, it also has that nasty thing called a plot. The show gets really dull when the focus falls back to Igano’s traumatic past, and the time he spent with his best friend Hayate. It just keeps dragging on, and nearly completely takes over the series once it hits its second half. Because of that reason, the second half is a lot less fun than the first one, and the comedy that’s there is nowhere near as fun as in the first half.
To the show’s credit though, it does have a kickass finale. It’s worth watching through the second half, if only because of the awesomeness of the final two episodes. I was originally planning to give this series a much more negative review before I watched these two episodes, but they really make up for the rest of the disappointing second half. Episode 24 feels like the creators wanted to stuff as much creativity in 20 minutes as possible, while episode 23 has a brilliant conclusion that nobody will see coming.
So yeah, don’t expect much innovative parts, since there are a lot of clichés in this series, even for a comedy (like how this show proves that the Tsundere was already a staple more than twenty years ago). The serious parts suck, but there are a certain number of comedy episodes that are absolutely hilarious, and are in no way inferior to the comedies of the past ten years. This series is crazy, but in a good way.