Studio/Creator: AIC/Masahiro Totsuka & Agura Igarashi
Distributor: FUNimation, also streams on Hulu
Suggested Age: 13+
My Rating: 8/10
No of Episodes: 26
Summary: A down on his luck kendo instructor makes a bet with a rival that he can create a kendo team from scratch and challenge him.
Review: I got into this one because Jesu Otaku, one of my favorite Internet reviewers, put it into her top 25 best anime list. That was enough to get me interested.
First off, the animation is actually pretty good. The movements are fluid, especially during the matches. AIC is really, in my opinion, one of the most underrated anime studios.
The characterization is pretty good. Kireno, the team captain is energetic and I liked her from the start. She was a fun character and soon became one of my favorites. I liked the fact that she cared about all her teammates, even the one who seemed like the weak link.
Tamika is probably the easiest character to underestimate. And that’s why I like her. She has unbeatable determination. On top of that, she’s also cute. It was great to see her in action. I couldn’t help but like her. There was also the character of Miyamo. At first, she seems like a brainy person, but then you discover her brains don’t help her much in school. It was a nice twist on a cliche.
So, I like the studio. I like the cast. And you’re probably thinking “Okay, so, why’d you give it an 8 instead of the full 10 points? What stopped you?” First there was the repeated animation in many episodes. And I also wasn’t fond of the subplot for Tamaki. It turns out she’s a fan of a sentai show called Blade Braver. This wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t actually use it in the story as a plot point, but they did. I felt it detracted from what I was watching the show for.
For the most part, I can recommend this one. If you’re watching too many action anime and gore-fests, and you need a breather, I’d say watch this. It isn’t necessarily ground-breaking, but I like it anyway.
Sub/Dub: The dub isn’t bad, but I felt the sub was better.
Music/Score: Both the opening and closing are very catchy. The music during the show itself is also very upbeat.
Violence: 4/10–Not more than you’d expect for a show involving kendo.
Related Media: Based on the manga of the same name.