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Posts Tagged Bamboo Blade

Review: Bamboo Blade (Vol. 14)

Bamboo Blade (Vol. 14)

Author: Masahiro Totsuka
Manga-ka: Aguri Igarashi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (13+)
Release Date: August 2012

Synopsis: “After the intense drama of the Burnish Academy TV shoot, each member of the Muroe kendo team has a new outlook on their involvement with kendo, and Tamaki is eager to learn what reasons her friends have for participating in the sport, hoping they will help her find her own motivation. Kojiro plans a trip to observe the Gokuryuki national tournament to help Tamaki in her search, and with the support of her family and friends, Tamaki takes a confident step toward the future in the final volume of Bamboo Blade!”

The back of this book features an afterword from writer Masahiro Totsuka about the series. In it, he describes how he wanted to give readers who are not sports fans a story that demonstrates the passion that athletes put into sport and how much it shapes them as a person. In this final volume, Bamboo Blade more than delivers on this plan as the story is brought to a very satisfying, though not completely conclusive, conclusion. It thus achieves another thing mentioned in the afterword, which was Totsuka’s goal of putting his characters “on the starting line” by the series’ end.

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Review: Bamboo Blade (Vol. 11)

Bamboo Blade (Vol. 11)

Author: Masashiro Totsuka
Manga-ka: Aguri Igarashi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: December 2011

Synopsis: “Up-and-coming TV personality Ryouko Toda is an ambitious young woman who’s willing to use any means necessary to claw her way to the top. For Ryouko, image is key, but it’s tough for this cutthroat celebrity to maintain her cool on-screen persona when she’s forced to appear alongside ditzy costar Erina Sawamiya on Burnish Academy, where silly, simple Erina manges to best Ryouko in every single sport! To defeat Erina in sports and in the ratings game, Ryouko must call upon her skills not as an actress, but as a master of the kendo ring!”

It’s been awhile since I checked into the cast of Bamboo Blade. This later volume in the series continues its fun mix of slapstick comedy, realistic sports and deadpan characters. As the primary cast and Kojiro do their best to continue improving at Kendo, the story shifts onto some new characters, with much of the volume satirizing the idol system that Japanese pop-culture centers on.

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Review: Bamboo Blade (Vol. 04)

Reviewer: Andre

Author: Masashiro Totsuka
Manga-ka: Aguri Igarashi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: March 2010

Synopsis: “When word of Kojiro’s angry outburst at the supermarket gets around to the chairman of the school board, Kojiro’s future at Muroe High is in jeopardy! But there’s really nothing the kendo club can do to help…or is there? Surely the principal wouldn’t dismiss the coach of the kendo team that won the National Tournament?!”

Our technical protagonist Kojiro runs into trouble, while the team begins the search for the next member of the Kendo club. Totsuka and Igarashi continue to deliver the goods as we encounter even more nostalgic school days bliss, the horrors of being a newly employed recent college graduate, and the horrors hidden in a teenage girls’ relatively short past.

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Review: Bamboo Blade (Vol. 03)

Reviewer: Andre

Author: Masashiro Totsuka
Manga-ka: Aguri Igarashi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: December 2009

Synopsis: “The girls’ kendo meet continues with one victory on the board for Muroe High. Despite her inexperience, Miya’s ferocious shinai is a force to be reckoned with, and Captain Kirino is no pushover either. It’s a tight race until Tamaki reemerges as the bespectacled “Bureiba” to battle in the fifth and final match. But is Tamaki’s weak disguise enough to mask her superior abilities?”

Completing the previous volume’s dramatic tournament while moving on to some fun slice of life moments, Bamboo Blade continues to be an enthralling mix of sports manga and school life comedy. Totsuka and Igarashi provide a pleasant serving of it all again with this volume, nudging along the cast gently while taking some downtime after an intense tournament.

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Review: Bamboo Blade (Vol. 02)

Reviewer: Andre

Author: Masashiro Totsuka
Manga-ka: Aguri Igarashi
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: September 2009

Synopsis: “With the expert Tama-chan on the squad, Kojiro feels confident in his team’s chances in the upcoming kendo meet. But the match is rapidly approaching, and he’s still shy one member – not to mention getting newbie Miya and elusive Saya up to speed. With a year of all-you-can-eat sushi on the line, Kojiro’s determined to use every trick he can think of to win, but just how far is he willing to go?!”

When reading the first issue of the Yen Plus anthology, of the Japanese series I was most absorbed by Bamboo Blade. It offered a more down to earth, approachable read that complimented the general audiences vibe of the Korean and domestic series, despite it’s seinen origins. Over the course of the series it became a favourite. The serialization has ended, but Yen delivers more Bamboo Blade direct to trade paperback with this second volume.

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