In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki

In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki

In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki anime series cover art
In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki

Series Overview

In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki (Kunoichi Tsubaki no Mune no Uchi / くノ一ツバキの胸の内) is a comedy, slice of life anime about ninja. It’s written by Souichirou Yamamoto, whose other works you may be familiar with. He also wrote Teasing Master Takagi-san and When Will Ayumu Make His Move?

This series takes place in an all-female ninja village. Here, young kunoichi (female ninja) train without the distraction of having men around. In fact, the girls of Akane-class have never even seen a man before. They’re taught that men are dangerous monsters that they should avoid at all costs.

But, despite the teachings of Hana-sensei, Tsubaki has a desire to see a man with her own eyes. Although she doesn’t know what men look like — or even what they are — hearing about them makes her feel something. And so, Tsubaki’s goal is to learn more about the forbidden creatures known as men.

Now, while the series is about Tsubaki wanting to learn more about men, that’s probably the worst part. Since this is a slice of life series, there’s not exactly a main plot. So, I felt that Tsubaki’s obsession with men often got in the way of the good content.

What’s the good content of this anime? It’s the cast as a whole. I’ll go into more detail about this later in the review. But, my favorite part of the series is definitely the large cast of unique characters. There are 38 characters, each with their own designs and personalities.

With that said, I also think that the series would be even better if it did have a main plot. What’s better than having a bunch of good characters? Having a bunch of good characters and a good plot for them to participate in.

The Twelve Teams of Akane-Class

Since there are so many characters, let’s quickly go over the 12 teams that contain the 36 students. Most teams have 3 members, with one having 2 and another having 4.

Team Rat is Tachiaoi, Higuruma, and Hagi. Higuruma and Hagi are complete opposites in every way. And as the team leader, Tachiaoi always tries to please both of them.

Team Ox is Shion, Suzuran, and Ajisai. Shion and Suzuran act as the older sisters to Ajisai and treat her as the child she is. But, Ajisai wants them to treat her as their equal.

Team Tiger is Fuki, Itadori, and Ume. It’s one of three teams that don’t have at least one upperclassman in them.

Team Rabbit is Kagetsu, Mukuge, and Hototogisu. They’re all underclassmen and serve as Akane-class’s music group.

Team Dragon is Higiri, Suzushiro, and Hasu. From what I remember, this is the only team without an episode — or part of an episode — dedicated to them.

The 12 teams of Akane-class from the anime series In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki
The 12 teams of Akane-class

Team Snake is Uikyou and Kikyou. They’re identical twins, underclassmen, and perfectly in sync with each other.

Team Horse is Hinagiku, Kibushi, and Oniyuri. Hinagiku believes she’s the cutest girl in the class and cries any time someone else is cuter.

Team Sheep is Benisumomo, Mizubashou, and Touwata. This is probably the hardest-working team of all.

Team Monkey is Mokuren, Tsuwabuki, and Housenka. It serves as the medical team.

Team Rooster is Sumire, Azami, and Tanpopo. Azami and Tanpopo are gyaru, while team leader Sumire is a model student.

Team Dog is Tsubaki, Sazanka, Asagao, and later Rindou. This is the main team of the series. Think of them like Team 7 from Naruto.

Team Boar is Dokudami, Aogiri, and Shakuyaku. This is the strongest team. But, all three have terrible senses of direction.

All That’s Missing Is the Plot

In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki had the potential to be the best anime of the spring season. It could have been better than both Kaguya-sama and Magia Record. But, without a real plot, it didn’t reach its full potential.

As I already mentioned, the characters are the best part of the series. It’s pretty rare to get a cast of characters in an anime of this length that’s as fleshed out as this. This level of characterization is what you’d expect from a series 10 times longer.

Are there other single-cour series that explore their characters to this extent? Of course. But do they have 38 characters? No. In this series, every character has a unique name, appearance, personality, skillset, etc.

And, characterization is a part of world-building. Because we know so much about these characters, we know a lot about their world, too.

Mokuren and Tsubaki having a forehead size competition from the anime series In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki
Mokuren and Tsubaki having a forehead size competition

Something else I like is that the jutsu the characters use isn’t ever explained. Now, if this was a much longer series and the jutsu mattered, I’d want an explanation. I love when we get a breakdown of a power system in a battle shounen series, for example.

But, in this series, the jutsu are more of an extension of the characters who use them. The twins use their bells to put people to sleep. Mokuren slaps people to heal their wounds. Rindou can summon people — usually Mokuren.

It’s implied that anyone can learn to use any of these jutsu. But, that’s not how it works in practice. And I think that goes a long way in making the characters feel unique and the world feel real.

If there was a plot, though, the unique traits of each character would be more important.

Conclusion

I ended up giving In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki a 7/10. It’s a good anime. If it ever gets another season, I’ll definitely watch it. But, I do feel that Yamamoto’s niche of writing rom-coms held it back a bit.

The OP for the series was one of my favorites of the season. Though, the ED(s) are superior. The ED song is the same for every episode. But, a different team sings the ED for each episode, which is a nice touch. Also, the visuals are slightly different depending on the team.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server to discuss anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

Check out my Akane Class character tier list article next.


Discover more from DoubleSama

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

Leave a Comment