This was a whoooooooooole lot better than I was expecting it to be. The promo pics on FUNi's site made it look like it’d be this silly fantasy adventure in desperate need of some self-awareness. The highly-dramatic teaser even bolstered that expectation, and I was seriously planning to make some snarky commentary on the order of what I wrote about BURST ANGEL yesterday. Then, the show introduced this kendo master and immediately got into the guy’s very relatable money woes… and I had the pleasant realization that this very different show than the one I expected.
I grew up on a lot of feel good sports movies from the 80’s and I feel like there were two frustrating turning points for the genre over the past couple decades of American cinema. First, studios got so tied up about making these inspirational and family friendly in the 90’s that THE lion’s share of 'em turned into toothless, inoffensive pap. Then, they got steadily phased out in the 00’s (which you ought to expect when you turn audiences off with banality) and, now, they’re so few and far between at this point that I can’t honestly remember the last one the came to theaters.
Thus, I get a very special kind of enjoyment out BAMBOO BLADE. It balances all the elements just right - - specifically hitting the right level of locker room humor without getting too crass. These are some very appealing, very well-defined characters and I’m impressed by how smoothly the show's able to integrate the real life concerns of running a martial arts business with a steady beat of genuinely funny gags.
(My favorite being the dual conversations bit where the fat kid’s being so whiney about his stinky gear. Oh, absolutely.)
Episode #2’s getting a write-up for sure. I’ll get a lot more detailed about what I liked about this show then… but I wanted to get all the whole spiel about sports movies off my chest, first. Suffice it to say, I’d rather follow this than OUTLAW STAR.
Watch this episode, " A Bamboo Broom & a Champion of Justice” below and decide for yourself.