Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bamboo Blade DVD Set 1 Impression

Bamboo Blade DVD Set 1
Sports anime usually feature a down and out team that gets a jolt of super-stardom from an unexpected source that allows them to succeed, learn about themselves and excel where the team never dreamed. These traits present themselves in the first DVD set of Bamboo Blade from FUNimation but not without its own quirks. The first being the sport is not a traditional Western one; it’s kendo so viewers will get a bit of education while enjoying the … adventures of these young ladies and their starving coach.

Toraji has issues. His kendo club is losing members and he has no dough to buy food. He makes a bet with a former classmate that his kendo club cannot beat Toraji’s class. If Toraji wins he gets all the sushi he can eat, a true dream … with one problem. His team is a few members too short so not only does he need to assemble a full team but whip it into shape to win his bet, no problem. The answer to his issues is the quiet Tomaki, the daughter of a kendo school master who herself is years ahead of high school kendoers. Convincing her is another challenge but by appealing to her sense of justice brought on by her obsession with anime leads to one tough team being formed. Soon it’s time for Muroe High and Machido High to faceoff, but will Toraji’s club have enough skill to secure him sushi for a year?

The story points are very, very high level and only covers one of the five female team members, does not mention the two male members or any other side characters. However both Toraji and Tomaki are the central figures in this series that is fun, funny and surprising (to me) addictive. I’m no kendo expert and upon judging by cover this seems to be a simpler series that maybe kids would like but it’s not. Judging by a cover will get you nowhere. Bamboo Blade offers up a unique sports anime narrative as its kendo covered. The moves, terms, competitions all follow true kendo rules and I’m sure a few viewers will find enough interest to take up kendo, why not, happened with Go. Tomaki is a likable, smaller stature character who is innocent and easy to root for, not that she needs it with her strength. Her change, growth, is in the form of interaction with her team.

The animation is actually very simple and sports what could be considered a very anime look. Big eyes, different stereotype characters and insane situations. The style is nothing new or super special but Bamboo Blade is a solid anime. The simpler art is crisp and not low quality; it’s just not a mega serious anime. Not taking itself too serious all the time helps the series along.

Overall fans of sports anime should most def check out Bamboo Blade. The art style is pleasing and story picks up to a nice pace and puts a decent plot in place sprinkled with humorous and emotional moments. Kids and adults will enjoy as there is no fan service but plenty of humorous moments both will enjoy. The sports anime that takes itself serious, but not too much so but will hook viewers none the less.

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