Girl power! And the “surprisingly thoughtful” Bamboo Blade Part 1 Review.
“The purpose of kendo is not to teach one how to kill their opponent- it’s to learn about yourself and your inner warrior spirit” (episode 2)- this was, of course, said by a girl. If a boy was asked what the purpose of any competitive game was they’d probably tell you flat-out to win. However, having watched the first 13 episodes of this anime, it did seem the girls were right; as much as it was about winning the battles, it was also about learning life lessons on the way, like the importance of friendship and persistence.
Right from the beginning it is clear that this anime won’t be your typical slice of life, romance, slapstick or dark mystery, but more about action and subtle gender messages. I truly loved the ideology that was consistently promoted- one of girl power and friendship. It was nice to see that girls, too, can be strong and powerful, and I personally think this makes a nice change from the stereotypes we so often see today of more submissive females (you know the cliché bimbo and Stepford housewife type thing). Whilst Bamboo Blade may not have delved deeply into the femenist movement, it did show that girls can be just as action-worthy and dominant as men – and I liked that concept.
One of the few common features of slice of life shows, are their ability to look at the world differently, and promote life lessons, and Bamboo Blade is no different. The ideas of growing up, staying true to yourself, and knowing who you can rely on (to name a few) are all hugely important in any human life, and it’s nice that it helped show these, in a situation that we can all relate to.
In terms of plot, before I get all philosophical on you, I would have to admit it is quite well crafted. The simplicity of the main story is coupled beautifully with the sweet, sentimental life messages, and its brave take on challenging gender stereotypes is very inspiring. I don’t think it will be the next big thing, however it is worth watching. Toriji’s comic attempt to try and put together a 5 girl kendo squad (consisting of Tomaki, Kirino, Miyako, Sayako and Azuma) as a spontaneous bet to win against a rival kendo team (and all for the chance of free sushi for a year!) is both funny and engaging to watch, along with the dynamic battles we witness them spar. The introduction of the popular Japanese sport of kendo adds a slight cultural edge to the anime, it can be easy to forget that Japan isn’t just about manga, sushi and Takeshi’s Castle, but also has a proud and interesting history to share. In this respect it is very cleverly constructed, and along with the introduction of the dynamic characters, each with different personalities, charms and associated colours, I can’t help but recommend it.
From a personal stance it would have been nicer to have a slightly more glitzy ‘wow!’ factor, perhaps with more complexity to the plot, but regardless it still promoted some nice sentiments; I now know that girls can be just as powerful and persistent as men, and that when it comes down to it true friends are there regardless of if you fit into norms or not. ‘You don’t have to be like everyone else, you just have to be believe in something’ is the moral I seemed to pick up from this surprisingly thoughtful anime- now that’s inspirational, don’t you think?
Like This? You May Also Like: Lucky Star, Sora No Woto
ADDITIONAL: Bamboo Blade is based on a hit manga that you can fine in our shop.