The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Bamboo Blade

Title: Bamboo Blade
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Company: AIC A.S.T.A
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 2007 – 2 Apr 2008

Synopsis: Ishida Toraji is a young, downtrodden Kendo instructor at Muroe High School. He barely makes enough money to get by, so he spends his days pinching pennies and loafing in his own sense of worthlessness. One day his old time friend who is also a Kendo instructor challenges him to a Kendo match using their female teams. Toraji must now assemble a team of five girls and train them to fight at a tournament level.

The Highlights
Characters: Mostly one dimensional but quirky and interesting to watch.
Animation: Solid; no corners were cut.
Comedy: Hits the mark often and repeatedly but wanes with time.
Ending: A tad weak for an otherwise good anime.

Bamboo Blade is a seinen anime about girls playing kendo. As a comedic sports anime, it has all the common tropes of its shounen counterparts including gimmicky characters, a simplistic plot and tournament matches up the wazoo. What makes the show stand above the crowd is its writing and execution which takes these banal elements and refines them down to what made them so desirable in the first place.

The engine that drives the show is undoubtedly the characters. The cast ranges from the cute kendo genius to the ditzy team captain, but the characters work well together and their interactions are simple but fun. I won’t say that the characters grow any great amount of depth over time, but their combined chemistry is a joy to behold. The show knows how to handle human interaction, whether it’s for a cheap laugh or a serious conversation.

For an anime targeted an older demography (or perhaps because of it), the show is seriously toned down in terms of fan service and violence. The series could have easily raked in fans by throwing its cute characters into questionable circumstances, but the show keeps the cast away from prying eyes, and nurtures them in a safe, respectable environment where even the most childish gags cannot be considered low-brow. The action usually consists of only slightly exaggerated motions, and they are exceptionally short in length; expect entire tournaments to start and end in a single episode.

Bamboo Blade is a show that is best summed up as a fun but relatively mindless experience. The show has no claims at greatness, but it’s a show that feels like time well spent at the end of the day.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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