I’m not entirely familiar with Bamboo Blade. A few episodes crossed my path but nothing really stuck out that I could say drew me in. Despite that, I decided to dive into volume 8 with an open mind.
As with most anime today, Bamboo Blade started life as a manga by Totsuka Masahiro and Igarashi Aguri. It originally ran in Young Gangan magazine from 2004 to 2010, before receiving a spinoff titled Bamboo Blade B. As you might guess, seven volumes have come and gone, so the story is no doubt developed and the characters fleshed out.
The volume opens with Miyako practicing a new move, much to the chagrin of Dan-kun. This doesn’t really lead to anywhere as the rest of the volume focuses on Kenzaburou running his dojo. He’s not exactly the most patient of coaches, especially not with the slackers cluttering his classes. It doesn’t help that he’s more concerned with defeating his rival Kojiro.
Shifting focus, the volume shines the spotlight on Kojiro. His confidence in his skills is waning, causing him to pursue lessons with Tamaki’s father. Determined to settle things with his rival, Kojiro endures lesson after grueling lesson. Unfortunately, the duel between the two will have to wait till at least the next volume as the group decides to treat themselves to a much needed break.
As my first experience with the manga, Bamboo Blade proved itself a delightful surprise. The characters are charming, and the story lighthearted. It’s not heavy on action or plot, but it makes up for its shortcomings with heart and humor. Had I not been playing catch-up with the story, I believe this volume would have been that much more enjoyable. As it stands, I would suggest reading Bamboo Blade from the beginning to get the most out of the series.