I would like to give a shout out to reverse thieves for this opportunity and fnsna (from twitter) for going through with this on his end. This is my first time participating in Anime Secret Santa. Right off the bat, I’d like to mention that I’m technically not an anime-blogger, I’m just a guy who happens to have an anime blog tucked into the corner of the internet somewhere. That said, let’s begin. Just… please don’t expect much.
What I had expected Bamboo Blade to be about was an all high school girls kendo club, and essentially only kendo matches. The only thing that I knew for certain is the ED song “Star Rise” is awesome. Oh look, here it is right now!
I’m convinced you can find a great synopsis elsewhere, so I won’t be providing one. Personally, I try not to look at them when I go into a series.
Things this anime does well include:
- Animation changes to the sillier kind for comedic effect.
- Catchy ending song.
- Wide variety of characters, definitely more relatable than K-on!
- Not bad humor. Humor that pretty much dies out near the end.
- Fun facts thrown in, more so than the average series.
- Plot comes together nicely.
- Nice handling of the soundtrack to manipulate the atmosphere for comedy as well as melodrama.
- It begun and ended on a note that was welcoming and friendly to people who aren’t familiar with kendo.
- Tokusatsu/Anime in the anime as a sort of microcosm.
Good to know:
- It teaches a bit about kendo, not as much as one may expect, but it’s easy to understand by watching the process.
- It had elements of a hero’s journey/coming of age story, but since there’s no “main character”, the anime couldn’t follow through with that. Instead, the anime tried an approach where everyone got something different out of their experiences in the kendo club.
Overall, I think the anime appeals to all audiences. Normally, I find series that revolve themselves around sports and music to be unaccommodating. Especially because I’m very much removed from those circles. Bamboo Blade, however, was able to present itself in a more universal fashion.
This is possibly due to that “coming of age” and “hero” cycles that one guy who taught my senior English class kept on talking about. Coming of age stories are present in many famous myths of yore, and span until some of the more recent Hollywood blockbusters. Bamboo Blade grounded itself in this. Kendo and and kendo club were just vehicles that made the backdrop for the plot, not the driving force behind it.
For the most part, the Coming of Age archetypes are true for the “main character Tamaki, whereas with the other characters it’s just plain character development (possibly a more subtle coming of age).
Anyways, if you’re here just for the recommendation, then yes it’s worth the watch. For me, it sets the standard for any sports(ish) anime (don’t think I’ve truly watched one before). Also, I heard the manga’s good. Didn’t sample the dub, but the original CV’s were great.