Just as with Eiken, reviewed last month, Kekko Kamen will either be a harmlessly amusing quick little series, or it will be downright offensive. It's not nearly as titillating as it could be, despite the fact that the title character is naked every time she appears on screen. But really, it is also limited to using the same gags repeatedly, so this one-trick pony won't fully satisfy people looking for a good comedy, people looking for a sexy series, or people looking for quality entertainment.
So, what kind of plot can be written concerning a nude superhero? At the Spartan Institute of Higher Education (no, seriously - that's what it's called), students are expected to excel academically. To hold them to the exacting standards of the principal (whose name is - again, no joke - The Big Toenail of Satan), teachers are encouraged to punish their students via bondage and other various forms of sexual harassment.
I say "students," but throughout the entire series, only one student is really picked on - Mayumi Takahashi. She's a bit dense; one sign of her lack of wit is the fact that no matter how many times that she's tortured in the nude in front of her entire class, she never tries to get away from the school, but she has a hero to come to her rescue whenever she's been naked for too long - the titular Kekko Kamen.
Attacking the oppressive principal and pervy teachers in various awkward ways, such as spreading her legs and suffocating her foes with her crotch - they love that move - this well-built woman fights for truth, bearing her soul (and her nipples) for those who are defenseless.
Of course, this is all a big joke, and the utter absurdity of it all can be pretty funny. Lauren (my fiancée) and I watched it all the way through to the end, and it was entertaining enough that we weren't inspired to shut it down altogether. I've said a couple times, "no joke", and thinking about it, that's not entirely true. As I said, it IS a joke; it's just a joke that isn't told especially well, or perhaps it is told too clumsily to work as well as it should have been. Go Nagai, the creator of the show, isn't known for his subtlety, and this work isn't going to convince people otherwise.
As an aside, his Devil Lady series is excellent, combining his predilection for sexy, well-endowed, powerful women with an experimental device known as a "good plot" that he's been seeking for most of his career. I don't mean to knock Go Nagai - I actually like most of his stuff. It's just, well, there's content, and then there's fluff. He just happens to excel at the latter. Don't get me wrong - fluff is soft and warm, and it can be comforting at times. But it's not enough, and too much of it will transform a man's brain to goo, or whatever icky substance it is that inspires lawmakers to blow ninety million dollars on a study seeking to determine how Grand Theft Auto causes children to solicit prostitutes, kill them, and then drive a motorcycle into the river because it looks wicked cool. And don't get me started on TenTen or Viz's more recent faux pas with one of Masakazu Katsura's works. You guys are lucky enough I didn't harp on that in this month's Life on the Fringe.
Now THAT was an aside.
This show will do that to you, however. Make your mind wander, that is, in a desperate attempt to find something that will keep it from giving itself a mercy-lobotomy. I think the brain can do that, at least, but in any case, I'm not going to tempt it - are you?
Character designs with Go Nagai are love 'em or hate 'em. I, personally, like them, but the quality of the visuals (because of the original source, not through any fault of ADV's) isn't too high, and animation isn't spectacular either. Maybe the animators were so excited to have a chance to have such a high naked-person-in-frame to clothed-person-in-frame ratio. I can see them, sitting in that dark, cramped space, staring at the perfect shape of Kekko Kamen's... bunny ears.
Hey - now that I think about it, she's not really naked. Not only is she wearing a mask, but also she has those long Noid-like ears (remember him?), elbow-length gloves and boots. Talk about tame!
I like the red case, if that counts for anything. I don't think it does, sadly.
As a guilty pleasure, Kekko Kamen is worth seeing. As snide as I've been throughout this review, after listening to Lauren, I have to admit that we did enjoy it. Her defense of the show actually surprised me a bit, but then, when the woman you love defends a show about a big-breasted naked woman bounding around rescuing damsels in compromising positions who may or may not have lesbian inclinations, well, I suppose you know why I'm marrying her. Let's just say it's not because she's a good cook. And don't worry - she reads this, and I will pay for what I have said.
It really isn't bad so long as you know what you're getting into before you pick it up. There isn't any steamy sex (or sex in any form) in it, the jokes keep coming whether you think they're funny or not, and the animation is somewhat dated, but as a formulaic parody of the superhero genre, it does have its merits. All I have to say is, you've been warned. Keep that in mind, and you'll be prepared to handle this goofy, offbeat show.