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Bamboo Blade: Part 1

1 rating: 1.0
A movie directed by Tyler Walker

Theshojo(girl's) sports seriesBamboo Blade(2007) begins with perpetually broke part-time Muroe High School coach Toraji Ashida making a bet with an old school chum: if he can assemble a winning girl's kendo (Japanese fencing) team, he'll get a year's … see full wiki

Tags: Movies
Director: Tyler Walker
1 review about Bamboo Blade: Part 1

Lighthearted Fun Meets Martial Arts Action

  • Nov 12, 2009
Rating:
+1
Bamboo Blade Part 1 is a shining example of east meets west culture in the anime medium. The concepts, the menus, the atmospheres and even the humor are undeniably Japanese and yet thanks to FUNimation, American viewers are given the opportunity to take and apply domestic sensibilities to the universal themes within.

Coming in at a total runtime of 325 minutes, Bamboo Blade Part 1 consists of the first thirteen episodes of the show spread across a pair of discs (housed in a standard sized DVD case). The show wears an appropriate TV PG rating due to animated violence and a bit of light adult-oriented dialog.

Language options are standard sub and dub fair, which means the viewer has the option of running the original Japanese dialog vocal track (stereo) or an English dub (Dolby 5.1 Surround) and the choice of displaying English subtitles under either track.

Extras are unfortunately quite slim in this collection and include textless songs and a crop of FUNimation trailers on the second disc.

The story goes something like this: Kendo instructor Toraji is a bit of hack who, aside from running a pretty poor after school club, is so broke that he can't afford to eat. As fate would have it, a friendly rival of his happens to be jealous of Toraji's earlier accomplishments in the sport and lays down a bet (really more of a competition) with some interesting stakes: Should Toraji's team be defeated, he is to hand over his prized Kendo trophy but should they be victorious, it's a full year of free food at his favorite eatery. The gurgling in Toraji's empty gut accepts the challenge before his brain has a chance to consider the odds.

Enter big-eyed, small-mouthed Tamaki; a slightly depressed pint-sized high school girl with lightening fast reflexes and a love for anime that keeps her a slave to the TV set. With the right kind of persuasion, Toraji hopes to convince Tamaki to trade in her remote control for a Kendo sword (hence the title, Bamboo Blade) in effort to increase his chances of not only holding onto his trophy but gaining a year of hot dinners on the house. Hey, the man is starving after all!

What he comes up with is a team of five young ladies each of which boasts a different colored hair do and skill set. Toraji's training methods need improving nearly as badly as the girls do themselves but where there's a will there's a way.

In presentation the program makes a habit of never taking itself too seriously and in many instances the lighthearted humor works without going over the top. There is an underlying sense of competition/ rivalry as after all, the core of the story does revolve around a Kendo tournament, but it's never quite a plot device that drives a dedicated shonen title either. Rather high school high jinks, cute girls and a bit of drama make up the foreground here with martial arts training and fight sequences offering the backdrop.

Both language options are pretty tight with the original Japanese dialog work edging out the English dub. Not to discredit FUNimation and their impeccable scripting/ acting of late, the fact is that Bamboo Blade is precisely the type of property that the Japanese cast just absolutely excels in mastering. The jokes are a bit more fluid, the zaniness a bit less forced and the timing a bit more natural.

In all Bamboo Blade Part 1 represents a fun little tale with some cool action sequences and lovable cast just rife with teenage camaraderie, competition, and rivalry. The entire show consists of 26-episodes that ran in Japan from 2007-2008 and it look as though FUNimation will be brining out the second (and final) collection to North American markets soon.

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