Bamboo Blade, Part 2
2009 TV Series (episodes 14-26). Director: Hisashi Saito. 325 minutes. DVD, bilingual, $59.98. Distributor: Funimation.
Toraji and his all girls Kendo team are back! And things are getting more serious, if not just plain worse. Toraji is still one step away from loosing his teaching gig. But now the Kendo team is facing a possible, unforeseen suspension, while Tamaki is about to learn the hardest lesson of all: defeat. She may be a flawless swordsman, but there is always more to learn. Victory and employment are within Toraji’s grasp. Can these girls pull it together? Can Tamaki ensure an easy tournament win? Will everyone get their happy ending?
My previous words still stand: this is the underdog team we just love to root for! Bamboo Blade Part 2 delivers the same blend of comedy, high school drama, and sword-cracking action that made the initial DVD pack so enjoyable.
Be that as it may, Part 2 is nothing but Tamaki. These thirteen episodes move nicely, but the fun eventually gives way to Tamaki’s unavoidable defeat and inability to get over it. In fact, this topic pervades Part 2 so much that the rest of the cast is tossed to the background. The show is still good, but I would have liked to see more of the other characters and the issues plaguing their lives, which were clearly depicted or hinted at in Part 1. And the team’s banding together to restore Tamaki’s confidence unleashes a sequence of predictable events and obvious “life lessons.” Will she regain her strength and achieve victory? What do you think?
Okay, okay, I’ll stop picking. After all, I must still shower Bamboo Blade with laudations. Hey, it’s cute girls, Kendo, and a story arc that’s all focus and no filler. And as any practitioner of Kendo will tell you, your bogu is a little stinky after a while. But Bamboo Blade is as fragrant and cute as little Tama herself. I just couldn’t stop watching.
So, show Toraji some support. Help him obtain some job security. Don’t miss the final installment of this fun series.