Bamboo Blade

Genre: Sports, Comedy
Length: 26 episodes
Score: Good

This is the story of a school Kendo team, mostly the girls side of it; and particularly of Tamaki, a chibi girl who happens to be very strong. Her (secret) love of a Power-Rangers-type show is matched with a sense of justice, and she joins the Kendo team initially to protect the members from stronger guys who threaten them, then gradually it allows her to open up and express herself.

The characters are well developed – not in any deep emotional way, but they are amusing and endearing. The teacher’s motives are initially selfish (he made a bet with another Kendo teacher – if the team wins he gets free sushi for a year); there’s a two sided girl who’s sweetness and light around her boyfriend but nasty elsewhere (the boyfriend is actually interesting: he understands her a lot better than it at first appears); a girl who’s forbidden from doing Kendo so she can concentrate on her studies; a rival on another team, who despite being strong feels the need to cheat; etc.