As an anime fan, I'm usually open to any sort of anime recommendation, from ecchi, to shounen. Last month, one of my friends asked me to watch the anime Bamboo Blade, and to be honest, I was kind of skeptical on it,due to the fact that I don't often watch anime such as this, though once I started watching it, I couldn't help but to fall in love with it, and perhaps Kendo.
The story starts really serious, with a guy mentioning assembling the five warriors for his team. Though the real story is about Kojirou, a man down on his luck, assembling a kendo, or sword fighting, team in order to win championships, due to a bet with a rival school teacher. The only problem is that there is only one active member of the kendo club. As Kojirou gathers members, the anime follows not only the progression of the girls' skill, but also the girls' interactions with each other and their competition.
For the cast, you have my favorite, Kawazoe Tamaki, or Tama-chan for short; she is the best in the club, and usually wins all her matches. Also, the reason why I like her is the fact that she is an anime fan. She is obsessive over the anime series that is present during the Bamboo Blade series, Blade Braver, and thus is her inspiration for practicing kendo. My other favorite girl is Azuma Satori, a ditzy girl who comes in about half way in the series. She has terrible grades, and thus tried to study as hard as she can in order just to be average. But, she was convinced by a fellow club member to join, and that her grades would improve if she did. Although she is a dtiz when she isn't fighting, when fighting she can actually hold her ground pretty well. The only girl in the club at the beginning is Chiba Kirino, another sort of ditzy girl who is the club captain. She is a second year high in school, and is the "heart" of the club. Also, we have Kuawara Sayako, or Saya, who is a flighty person, who quits the kendo club repeatedly to pursue different careers, though just wind up returning to the club. Last of the girls is Miyazaki Miyako, Miya-Miya for short. She is a seemingly ind girl, with a dark streak. Also in the cast, you have the two guys of the club, Yuuji and Danjuuro, or Dan. These two really sometimes omitted as being vital, but they are in their own little way.
The story of this anime was actually alright for me. The gathering of friends to compete in tournaments is actually pretty cool, and along the way, each character was developed along the way. Each girl got their own little but, and when one girl started getting too much in the story, they shifted over to another girl. The story was also a bit of slice of life, because people do not just grow in tournaments, they grow outside them.
The voice acting was actually pretty good. From the quiet Tama-chan, to the loud, obnoxious Kirino, the cast is well done. The only thing that annoyed me was Dan-kun's voice, and especially when he said Miya-Miya, it just irked me so badly. (Yes I watch the Japanese with subtitles on it.) Besides the fact that Dan-kun's voice annoyed the hell out of me, the voices seemed to fit every character very well.
The animation was also decent for this anime, even though the chibi effect happened a lot. Each girl was distinguishable from another, and even the opponents were distinguishable from each other most of the time. Also, the art was mostly consistent in quality.
Also, one thing I would like to say about this anime: This is NOT a harem. Yes, there is a bunch of girls, and yes, there are hardly any guys, but this is not a harem. The girls are not all attracted to one guy, like for example, Miya-Miya is dating Dan-kun, and though Tamaki is kind of attracted to Yuuji, the other girls don't display any obvious sort of affection for either one of the guys. It just simply a bunch of girls being in a club, and competing in tournaments. So basically, it's like K-On, except with more exciting club and more humor and less Moe.
Over all, this anime was a good watch. I learned a little bit about Kendo, and had a few laughs along the way. Each character was well developed, and they made the whole anime an amusing watch. So, grab your shinai (the kendo sword) and head to your local dojo and donn't hesitate to pick up this anime!