First Impression: In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki

Tsubaki is part of a kunoichi clan, where a bunch of girls live and train together to learn the ways of the ninja, without any interaction with anyone in possession of a Y-chromosome. Naturally, this leads to very distorted views among the girls about what men are like, with their teacher adding fuel to the fire by insisting that men are frightful barbarians. However, lately Tsubaki has been bothered by a… growing interest and curiosity in men? It’s bad enough that she has to go out to find her teammates when they sneak out at night to try to find some men to beat up, but after nearly running into one of said men, the next day, the very mention of them makes her lose concentration. Will Tsubaki be able to ninjitsu her way through adolescence somehow?

To be fair, she’s not wrong.

Okay, so I guess this is supposed to be one of those “coming-of-age” comedies about trying to deal with burgeoning romantic and sexual interests. The problem here is that Tsubaki and her fellow clanmates have had no actual interaction with men, which means that Tsubaki’s interest in men is entirely based on the various rumors she’s heard of them, with no basis in reality. This would be fine if the story involved her actually meeting boys herself and learning what they are like and how they differ from what she’s heard about them, but the closest we get to that in this episode is her hearing a man’s voice before running away. The rest of the episode takes place squarely among the ninja clan, with the repetitive joke of Tsubaki getting flustered when the word “men” is mentioned, so that the whole thing just comes off as stupid and unfunny to me. Add in supporting characters that are more annoying than amusing, and this is one show that fails to work for me as either a comedy or a relaxing cute-girls-doing-cute-things show. Perhaps if the show actually adds a recurring male character for Tsubaki to interact with, it might be able to turn into something interesting, but I have no interest in sticking around to see if that’s the case.

In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki is streaming on Crunchyroll.

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