Ah, Bamboo Blade. You had the potential to become interesting when you started, though something went wrong. The flaws for this series are a bit more subtle than usual, and I’m still not 100% sure what it was that really caused the downfall for this series. If I had to guess, then it’s a combination of things. Bamboo Blade in the end had its moments, but remains overall boring.
Let’s take a look at the characters first. At the beginning of this series, they really caught my intention, and I admit having laughed quite a bit at their antics. They get a small share of development during the second half, so what went wrong? Well the characters may have been impressive at first sight, but looking back, the creators just took a bunch of stereotypes and gave them one or two original personality-traits. This leads to a quiet and small but uberpowerful girl who is obsessed with cheesy mecha-shows, a beauty who actually is quite sadistic but has a geek as boyfriend, that geek who has managed to score such a beautiful girl as girlfriend.
This is nice and all, but the characters didn’t feel dynamic at all. The creators were so busy, trying to step away from the stereotypes that they forgot that the silent girl still remained silent, the geek remained a geek, and the sadistic beauty remains a sadistic beauty. In the end, nearly every character couldn’t shake away his or her stereotype. The side-characters are off even worse: there’s the obsessive stalker-girl, the old hag, the rival and several of the opposing kendo-teams who are cookie-cutters at best. Because of this, the characters are funny and enjoyable when first introduced, but they just can’t remain interesting for a full course of 26 episodes.
Then there’s the story. It may be me, but it really felt like the creators were struggling to keep it moving forward. Basically, the show’s about a Kendo-club who fights in a number of tournaments. Every single group of opponents gets progressively duller for some strange reason. Especially the two final opponents feel artificial at best. Seriously, this show takes a real nose-dive as it nears its ending.
I really feel that this is one series that would have been best suited for 13 episodes. At least that way, the characters wouldn’t have had any time to get boring. I’ve praised the past Autumn and Winter-Season for featuring a lot of good shows, centring around high-schools, but this is unfortunately not one of them.