Bamboo Blade manga v1

by dm00


More proof that "it's all about Tamaki"

More proof that "it's all about Tamaki"


Volume one of the Bamboo Blade manga arrived in the mail the other day.  Despite sharing this blog-space with TheBigN, I was a late-comer to Bamboo Blade, but I’m intent on making up for lost time.


Kendo comes to life on the still page

Kendo comes to life on the still page


It may be because I watched the anime first, but the manga is…merely okay.  I think the series truly benefited from being adapted into anime: I like the anime character designs more (especially Tamaki and Kirino), and, while the manga artist does a good job conveying the action of the kendo bouts, there’s no compensation for the loss of motion and sound.


An endpaper sketch of Tamaki by the manga's artist Aguri Igarashi --- more like the anime, less like the artist's own work in the manga

An endpaper sketch of Tamaki by the manga's artist Aguri Igarashi --- more like the anime, less like the artist's own work in the manga


This volume of the manga introduces our main characters in the Muroe High kendo club (save for Saya and Satori), and takes us roughly to the end of the second episode of the anime (we’ve seen hints of Miya-Miya’s darker side, but, beyond a stolen smoke and a fierce moment as she wields a bokken in the kendo supply shop, little of her other personality).

So far, at least, the anime was a faithful adaptation of the manga.

For me, Coach Ishida is the least interesting of the characters, and, to my taste, he’s a bit too prominent in this volume, sharing the focus with Tamaki.  Kirino is almost invisible, though her pleasure at sweat is highlighted at one point.  I hope to see more of Kirino in future volumes — and I will be buying future volumes, of that there’s no doubt.


Bamboo Blade OST 1

Bamboo Blade OST 1


One of the lesser-recognized aspects of the Bamboo Blade anime is its soundtrack.  Senba Kiyohiko’s soundtrack collections are a wonderful find for a fan of improvisational drumming.  Both the first and second collections include extended cuts of fourteen minutes.  I don’t remember noticing the


Bamboo Blade OST 2

Bamboo Blade OST 2


music (beyond a few clacks of woodblocks) while watching the series, but was thrilled by the CDs the first time I listened to them, especially the extended length of many of the cuts.  I’ll be on the look-out for more of Senba’s work.

8 Responses to “Bamboo Blade manga v1”

  1. 1 Snark June 5, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Ever since I saw the Bamboo Blade anime, I’ve been looking all over the place for the manga, but the damn things pretty much impossible to find here in Sydney >_<

  2. 2 21stcenturydigitalboy June 5, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    I wanted to buy it REALY bad but I can’t get past the lame art. Especially when the anime is fucking brilliant.

  3. 3 Jesus159159159 June 6, 2009 at 1:21 am

    I dropped the anime along time ago because it got boring for me (I think this was before the episodes got good), but if I recall correctly, there should be a cat that sniffs anything. Would this same smelly-cat be in the manga as well? It was my favorite character in the anime (from the episodes I’ve seen) :3

  4. 6 TheBigN June 6, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Jesus159159159 should watch the rest of the show to find out. :3

    Coach Ishida was one of my more favorite characters actually as he grows out of his initial motivation to start up the girl’s kendo squad, his anachronistic eccentricities (loved his Sega support), and so on. Though I do like that the focus becomes a lot even as the show and manga goes on.

  5. 7 X10A_Freedom June 7, 2009 at 1:03 am

    Interesting…I actually found it the opposite way round. Just like dm00, I watched the anime then read the manga but I much preferred the manga character art versus the anime.

    I find the characters’ faces in the manga to be more consistent and better proportioned and found many deformities in the anime when I watched clips to compare.

  6. 8 otou-san June 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I like Ishida myself — comically speaking he’s great but his internal struggle with failure hints at more interesting things for him later (haven’t seen the anime, don’t know).

    I like the art and don’t understand the art hating, but I can definitely see how Bamboo Blade would benefit from the motion you get from anime. The actual kendo scenes are the weakest part of the manga.

    Does anyone know if this volume covers any more ground than what was in Yen+ before they took it out of the mag?

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