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Bamboo Blade Part 1 UK Anime DVD Review

I'm familiar with a number of sports series, in particular ones which follow a formula of creating a team from scratch to challenge the country's best. Ones such as Princess Nine and Eyeshield 21 work the formula well, whilst others for me like Suzuka, don't. I was wondering how Bamboo Blade would fair especially as I felt Princess Nine was untouchable in being the best sports anime out there. Turns out it may have a new challenger to the throne. The story starts with the school and kendo teacher Kojiro, of Muroe High, a typical single man who have money (and food) worries and seems to slack at his job teaching the only kendo student, a bright and pretty girl named Kirino due to it, being very relaxed. However, things change when a bet is made with his old friend and upperclassman Ishibashi, who is also a kendo teacher at a school. The bet '" if Kojiro can make a team of 5 girls who can team a 5 girl team of his, then he will treat him to a year's worth of Edo style sushi at his father's restaurant. If Kojiro loses, then he has to give him a trophy that Kojiro won back in this youth by beating Ishibashi in the final of a national kendo tournament. Can you say incentive? Source Here: //www.mania.com/bamboo-blade-part-1_article_126075.html

Bamboo Blade - DVD Part 2 Review

It's a cheap trick to reduce a series down to a movie pitch line, but there is simply no better description: this is Azumanga Daioh meets A League of Their Own, down to its band of friends, and their washed-up, disgruntled manager trying to bring the team success but not trying hard enough, leaving the girls to prove themselves on their own. The one thing these stories have in common before being morphed together in this particular anime is their inability to impress on paper, minimal in scope and somewhat trivial in subject matter. Past the typed synopsis, however, you have two treasured, lighthearted classics, and Bamboo Blade takes the best of what they have to offer and adds a few adrenaline-powered battle cries to deliver something really special. This is a series about kendo, a sport no western viewer should care about, and the series assures us, very few Japanese find appealing due to its old-fashioned rigidity and smelly equipment. Yet this is exactly what a great sports show should be like because it's not really about kendo, it's about a bunch of young girls in love with the game. These characters complement each other wonderfully, and the story stays focused on their lives as much or more than their kendo matches. You don't have to know anything about the sport to feel the tension of each match for these characters, and the series never foists it on you with monologues about rules or strategies. No, the only monologuing present might be Azuma's crippling realization that she has the world's worst stomachache mid-match or Miya's paranoia that her childhood stalker is watching her from the bleachers with camera in hand. Still, these girls keep practicing and helping each other through their ups and downs because they need the team more than they need the game. Read More Click Me!

Bamboo Blade Review Part 2

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) The second half of Bamboo Blade brings us back into the lives of the girls (and the couple of guys) of the Muroe high school kendo team. The first half of the series worked well in setting up some of the basic events and introducing all of the characters. We got teased towards the end about a larger issue involved Kojiro and his being potentially dismissed from the school over an incident with a neighbor of the principals. With his position not terribly secure, the option has been chosen to try and get the team to the Nationals and show the principal that he has value and shouldn't be let go. This half of the series works on a couple of tracks, some more enjoyable than others, while other aspects get the short end of the stick which is really quite unfortunate. The main track of the series revolves around the continued goal of getting to the Nationals. Bamboo Blade takes an interesting approach when it comes to this part of the series as everyone is motivated to win, but they play it fairly realistically in that some have more challenges to overcome than others. Even more surprising is that they don't actually win any of the competitions they get to, but we see the continued improving of their relations and bond together, which is at its core what Bamboo Blade is all about. And it's an element that we see coming from the way the other teams watch the Muroe team after the tournaments in how they laugh and enjoy each others company even after defeat. The challenges within the matches are interesting as they play out. Tamaki has a face off with a new friend she's made named Rin who shares her love of the Brave Blader series, though she's more interested in Shinraider instead. The meeting of the two is something that needed to happen as Rin is the one who will teach Tamaki the most important lesson for those who have excelled in any area, and that's to feel defeat and understand it. The two girls get along well enough and they share several episodes together in relation to the Brave Blader series, and the result of it all is really quite good as it adds tension to some of the matches while also giving Tamaki the education she needs. What bothers me, and I know I'm probably the odd man out in this, is that it uses the whole Brave Blader aspect. I can't think of a single show within a show that I've ever liked and Brave Blader is no exception as the whole thing feels too corny and forced at times. But I will admit that I liked how the team captain, Kirino, uses some of the sentai elements to reinforce the bond of the team later. To Read More Click Me!

Bamboo Blade Season 1 Review Part 1

As its name suggests, the Japanese discipline of kendo shapes and defines Bamboo Blade in much the same way as most sports anime are shaped and defined by their particular sport, to the extent that the series can essentially be thought of as a sports anime. Familiarity with, or even interest in, kendo is hardly necessary for appreciating the series, however, and that may, in fact, be one of the series' greatest strengths: it makes its subject matter so approachable that even the most neophyte viewer is unlikely to be overwhelmed by its technicalities. Though it does also show off the negative side of kendo (it seems to delight in stressing kendo's odious reputation for odiferous equipment, for instance), the discipline could do far worse for free advertisement. Of course, the presence of a passel of comely, quirky girls certainly does not hurt. How delightfully fun the girls can be once their particular idiosyncrasies start kicking in saves the series after a very shaky start, as through most of the first episode the series shapes up as a bland tale about a kendo teacher's selfish goals and the roster of girls he assembles to achieve them. It gives every indication early that it is going to be one of those shallow, dumb series whose humor is built on ridiculous overreactions - and then we get to the second episode, learn that quiet little Tamaki actually wants to be a champion of justice because she idolizes heroes in combat team anime, and start to realize that maybe, just maybe, this series has some promise after all. By the time Miyako discovers her (somewhat misguided) passion for kendo an episode and a half later, viewers will either be completely hooked or at the point where the series will simply not work for them. The former reaction is more likely, however, and additional treats come later on as Sayako formally enters the picture and the stalker character shows up, with Azuma's introduction and indoctrination rounding out the first half. The painless and seamless way the writing examines the philosophies underlying kendo is another strength. Toraji and the kendo sensei of another school have a direct conversation at one point about how one's strict approach contrasts with the other's looser, more fun-focused approach, how the former developed, and the advantages of each, but even then the scene feels more like two men coming to an understanding about different approaches rather than some kind of info dump. Other scenes devote a lot of time to exploring what motivates individuals both to get into kendo in the first place, how they get enthusiastic about it, and what aspect of the practice gets them excited. For some, kendo is a means to exercise violence in an acceptable manner, while for others the attraction is the fulfillment of mastering a precision discipline or appreciating true talent in action; Kirino makes the comment at one point, without any masochistic overtones, that being struck by an impressive blow can actually be invigorating, which makes one great scene where members of an opposing team almost literally line up specifically to be struck by Tamaki only slightly less mind-blowing. But really, the charm of the series comes from the girls themselves. Tomaki is the quiet and socially maladjusted one who is also an otaku, so seeing her gradually come out of her shell and start interacting with people is a treat; the way she blushes when complimented or appreciated also makes her irresistibly adorable. (Some would argue that she is a moe character, although this is hardly a girl who needs to be protected.) Kirino is the cheerfully catty one, which the producers make sure that viewers understand by giving a perpetual catlike curve to her mouth. Two-faced pretty girl Miyako may be the biggest delight, as both of her basic personas seem honest despite how completely they contrast. Sayako is the unstable drama queen, while Azuma offers a more serious-minded counterpoint as a girl whose circumstances forced her to abandon kendo but whose passion still lingers despite her attempts to ignore it. Toraji, despite coming across like a loser a lot of the time, occasionally shows some merit, Danjuro Dan Eiga provides comic support, and Reimi, the stalker girl, is just plain creepy. The only major supporting character who fails to make an impression is Yuji, a colorless nice guy who as often as not seems like an afterthought. To Read More Click Me!

Bamboo Blade Season 1 Review

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Based on the ongoing manga series by Masahiro Totsuka with artwork by Aguri Igarashi, Bamboo Blade is a series about the spirit of getting fired up for something and following through on it. There's a lot of character material to be had in here overall, but the core theme that I took from the first thirteen episodes is the scattered talk about how kids have changed and getting fired up and into something has fallen out of favor, leaving an impression of laziness about things as fewer and fewer kids take up various activities, especially the more cultural ones like Kendo. The series is an ensemble piece that revolves around a young kendo prodigy of sorts named Tamaki, but Tama doesn't really take center stage for a bit as the initial setup for everything is elsewhere. That focus is on Toraji Kojiro Ishida, a part time teacher at the Muroe school where he also serves as the coach for the kendo team. Kojiro was once a good kendo student himself and he won a trophy at one point that has led to contention with a friend from those days and the two still compete in different ways. Because of his status and being single, Kojiro doesn't eat well so he easily takes up Kenzaburo on his offer for free meals at his old mans Edo-style sushi restaurant if Kojiro's kendo team of five can take on and win against his own. To Read More Click Me!