Synonyms: Iga no Kabamaru, Ninja Boy
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 20, 1983 to Mar 29, 1984
23 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.271 (scored by 1266 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
SynopsisAfter the death of Saizou, Kabamaru's horribly strict grandfather and Iga ninja teacher (sensei), an old lady, Ran Ookubo, claims that she received a letter from him asking her to take care of his grandson. So Kabamaru runs off with Lady Ookubo to the big city Tokyo to gorge on yakisoba, ramen, chow mein, and attend a regular school—which turns out to have weird quirks of its own.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Igano Kabamaru
Characters & Voice Actors
I am, and thousands of other people I met in my life, a big fan of this series. I might be a little biased since I come from a generation that grew up watching this but the truth is that the story, the characters and the soundtrack are still some of the best in the genre.
Kabamaru's story is a comedy from start to finish with laughs guaranteed at every episode. It is reminiscent of Ranma 1/2 in many ways but it has its own unique flavor. It has it all ninjas, school romance, comedy, impressive fights and did I mention ninjas. Without giving too much away I would only like to add that the story is two-fold. One story revolves around the schools rivalry and the other story focuses on the friendship of the two ninjas.
The problem with Kabamaru is that all characters are likable. Even the evil ones are just too funny to hate. All play their part very well in this story and every episode links them closer and closer together. You can't help but laugh at the simple minded Kabamaru and his everlasting hunger that is tied to his strict grandfather trying to make him a better ninja. After you watch this you will think of him when you are starving for some food after a long day. Mai is the adorable kind girl that everyone loves and keeps Kabamaru in check through the series. Shizune is odd by having a kind face that hides his cruel mind. The two grandmothers are like day and night but equally funny and with their own stories contributing nicely to the whole plot.
The anime is quite old so the style of drawing reflects the 80's period with simple lines and not much variation in color. The simplicity actually makes it appealing and makes the comedic faces stand out much more.
While nothing special it is very memorable. I still can't help smile if I hear the OP song somewhere. Try googling "Kabamaru OP" and tell me if the music doesn't get stuck in your head. Classic 80's. I thought the filler music is plain but very well suited for the variety of situations it is used. Too bad there was no variation.
It is definitely something worth watching. There are no filler episodes and none of the characters are wasted. I would highly recommend it if you can find it. There is nothing like it for sure.
ANIME MINOR JEWELS SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Igano Kabamaru is the very first anime that ever aired on Greece in 1988 and it also happens to be the firs anime I ever watched. It is very known and loved here as well as in Saudi Arabia for three reasons:
a) Because it was the very first taste of anime humour we had around these parts
b) Because it was the most insane comedy we had ever seen in animation (and for some, it still is)
c) Because it had such a bad translation and voice dubbing that simply stuck to your brain!
In my review I will try to judge the series without letting my evaluation be affected by joyous sentiments of childhood memories. After all, everyone who has grown up with it loves it without having to read this review. So, this review is supposed to be read by people who HAVEN’T seen it (although remarks even from Greek fans are welcomed).
The animation looks pathetic by today’s standards; the characters are drawn very simplistic and there was little consideration about keeping their proportions right while moving. Being a slapstick comedy, there is a lot of body deformity going around in the comic scenes (that’s like 80% of the total duration), so in a way, lame graphics are part of the joke and are thus excused. Anyway, you won’t watch a series like Kabamaru for its graphics. Think of Excel Saga. It doesn’t need to have realism in order to be hilariously funny.
I have no idea how good the Japanese voice acting is. All I ever heard was the terrible Greek voice acting, which I would rate with a zero if it were possible. Greek fans may find it as part of the whole joke but the rest of the world will most likely puke at the sound of it. So, the sound department is left without any remark.
For a slapstick comedy, there is a lot of scenario in it. Two old hags had loved the same ninja at their youths but none managed to have him. They blamed each other for the failure and a good friendship turned to a life-long rivalry. Both of them are now principals in rivaling schools and compete each other at the slightest thing. One of them manages to adopt the ninja’s grandson right after his death. This causes a new wave of violence over the possession of Kabamaru, the young ninja.
From what you read so far, it sounds more like a drama rather than a comedy. It’s because the story makes fun of a very dramatic backdrop. Everything turns from serious drama to hilarious comedy thanks to the meddling of Kabamaru, who is essentially an antisocial and hapless idiot that barges on everything without asking.
Most episodes have an ongoing scenario, a fact that most comedies don’t have. The plot is rather simple but is never predictable with the likes of Kabamaru. There is a lot of humor, most of which is good even by today’s standards. There is an ending, which is surreal and lighthearted, but at least gives a simple closure to a long story. As a whole the scenario is nothing special but definitely boosts the interest.
Again, for a comedy, there are many interesting characters in it.
The protagonist is, of course, Kabamaru. Unfamiliar with the civilized world and with bitter hatred for the harsh ninja training of his grandpa, he spends most of the time eating food and kicking the hell out of poor school bullies. He practically never thinks before he acts, is never responsible, has no manners, can break walls with bare hands but his heart is big as a mountain. Because he looks like his grandfather, Saizo, he is seen as trophy by the old principals. He becomes the center of attention, as both want to control him and use him on an upcoming battle that will get very bloody. Good luck to them, as he is a free spirit in soul, a saint in heart… and a complete idiot in mind! He is a great guy! He reminds me of Son Goku from Dragon Ball Z but without the whole “I want to get stronger and fight strong people” crap.
Hayate is Kabamaru’s adopted brother. He grew up with him, shared all the harsh training, the good and the bad. He is equally a good ninja as his brother but unlike him, he is very serious and always has a sad look on his face. He is adopted by the other principal but is never seen as trophy as he doesn’t look like Saizo. He is in fact considered a second rate underling. The poor soul is ordered to fight to the death his own brother, just to please the old hag’s bitter heart. A very dramatic character and the main rival of the protagonist.
Mai is a young girl, granddaughter of one of the principals and the opposite of Kabamaru. Frail, kind, shy, gentle, she is always nagging at him for his outrageous behavior. Yes, you imagine correct, she is falling in love with him but typically never admits it. She is the eye candy in the story and represents the status quo Kabamaru blows up all the time.
Sijune is the Bishounen of the story. Handsome as hell, athletic, gentle, girls dig him, men envy him. He is in secret the head of the organization that plans to destroy the rival school. Sort of a secret and ingenious bad guy in the story up to the point his bald, gay, cosplay making siblings ( ??? ) come and ruin his perfect image.
The two old women are the principals of the rivaling schools and are the cause of all the trouble in the story. Not really bad people but very emotionally driven, they turned a romantic disappointment into a reason for bloody conflict. You get to sympathize with them as the series progresses.
Saizo is the deceased ninja the two principals loved in their youths. Hated by his grandchildren for his inhumane behavior while training them as ninjas, he is half the time seen as a gorgeous Kabamaru alter ego and as a son of a bitch the other half. He constantly appears in flashbacks in the story and continuously affects the plot in ways I can’t mention without spoiling some mysteries.
There is a big cast of secondary characters that spice up the story and the main characters even more. So in general, there are many adorable characters in the series.
It is a cult important title in Greece and Saudi Arabia but totally forgotten by the rest of the world. Go figure… I give it a medium mark in value. Beyond that it is a very enjoyable retro comedy. The crude graphics and some pathetic episodes may discourage younger otakus from watching it to the end but for those who can endure it, it is very entertaining.
Urusei Yatsura and Ranma ½. Also very old and still amongst the best comedies of the 80’s. read more
Humor from misunderstandings, bizarre fluctuations of physics, and cheesy character coloring? Fun characters despite the inability to take anyone (or anything) seriously for too long? Occasional doses of silly action and sweet hearty moments? 20 year difference and a sense of plot/conclusion notwithstanding, the laugh ratio is equally high for both.
Opening Theme"CIRCUS GAME" by Sugar
Ending Theme"Sumimasen My Love" by Sugar
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