Decidedly odd in most every way this strange magical girl show proves to be both different and pretty good.
Meet Jiyu Nanohana, or Jubei as her eccentric writer of a father calls her. Fairly normal school girl who has just moved away from Tokyo. On her first day of school however she is approached by a decidedly odd 300 year old samurai named Koinosuke, who has been searching for the successor of the great swordsman Yagyu Jubei, with only a slightly suggestive description to go by. Apparently Jiyu is this successor, whether she want to be or not, and no soon has she been offered the heart shaped eye patch the samurai carries they are attacked by a member of the Ryujoji Shinkegeriyu, a clan that has held a furious grudge against Yagyu Jubei for the last 300 years. The only way to defeat him is for Jiyu to wear the eyepatch and become an embodiment of Yagyu Jubei himself, but what does that mean for her, and her friends and family?
The feel of this show is definitely of two sides. On the one hand you have a very bizarre comedy show which pulls off some truly odd ideas, including breaking the fourth wall (the characters mentioning the animation style they have been done in for example), and Bantaroís constantly changing T-shirt design.
On the other side you have a very intense and dark story about combat, the meaning of what the characters are doing and the consequences of their choices. And the strangest thing is they will switch from one to the other without warning. Some pieces that you would expect to be serious are done comically, and visa versa. It does make it a little hard to get your head around at times, but it also keeps you guessing as you watch it.
As surreal and comic as this show can get I would seriously recommend this for older children and up only, as the dark side can get quite harsh when it wants to, including the vicious attempted murder of one cast member made stranger by the fact it is done in the comical style. Some of the more unusual bits may also go straight over their heads.
The drawing quality is generally good, as is the fluidity which can be beautiful in some of the action sequences. However, the show is not afraid to cut corners and most of the supporting cast donít look as good as the main cast. It also will use intentionally abysmal visuals to pull an animation joke.
As for the dub I would say that overall it is just above average and not something you need to avoid. However, the serious bits often sound more natural than the comical bits, and it seems like some actors may have had trouble with the constant transitions in feel.
This isnít a show I can really describe well enough because of its crazy bipolar nature, but I can recommend it for the open minded, especially if you are looking for something a little more unusual in nature from the other martial arts/magical girl shows out there.