Nice one, 26 episodes, and -rare thing- not one felt like a filler.
It's hard to actually evaluate story in sport anime. Well "normal sports" at least, as most of it will involve winning matches and competitions. But outside the simple "fight and get better" this one has a few good addiction. Instead of everlasting matches, the encounters are actually quite short, leaving lot of free time to develop the story and the characters personality. And the story is able to catch your attention without releasing it that soon.
A nearly closed club of kendo arises from it's ashes to climb the mountain of opponents that oppose it. Well maybe this is a little emphasized, but hey, surely they will face a few challenges!
The good mix of humor, deep thoughts and a few sad, or at least not happy, dramatic moments actually achieves a good result. Some tournaments, troubles -either small or big-, victories, losses, and a small part for romanticism take place during the story, in a sequence that jumps from a theme to another, and it's done so well that the watcher won't actually notice it so immediately.
The characters are really good, not a single one that looks similar to another. And, although I had some difficulties, they could be recognized even while they wear the kendo clothes, which is not easy task, as you can only see their eyes. A really good point is how they've made front side of the protection mask nearly transparent for most of the time, so that one could see sometimes the whole face, but most of the time just the eyes. And it's exactly in the eyes that the animators actually did their best. Perfection in simplicity! :) Especially in Myia-Myia's. So lovely when she's angry...
Just two minor negative notes... The background is somehow repetitive, but it's actually well masked, as the characters catch your attention so well that the background is absolutely not important. Second thing is that while I said that I appreciated the short fights, it is also true that they are somehow too simplified. It's about the same scene over and over again, what change is just which one of the two kendoka lands the winning blow. Still, while it may seem a huge downside, in fact it is not, as most of the story evolves outside the fights.
Voices are nearly perfect. So many characters, and each one has his/her own voice, similar to noone else, just like the appearance. And even if taken one by one, every voice is so well made that you could tell the expression and the feelings of the character, even if you just ear it's voice without looking at the screen. Again, a note of distinction goes to the voice of Miya-Miya :)
I would have appreciated at least a minor musical background every now and then. Nothing big, just something that is not the opening of the Blade Bravers, the anime-in-the-anime.
A massive amount of characters, each one with distinct look, voice, personality, etc. And surely there is no risk of getting bored for looking always at the same one. Still, while there are that many, there's a bit of emphasis on just a couple of them, leaving most of the others as a side choice. Not a big damage, as each one of the 5 girls in the team soon or later receive their own moment of glory, And there's a fairly average attention to the team evolution, rather than just one character at a time
Something that I felt it could be better is that the two male members of the kendo club are nearly not considered. They do have some importance in the whole story, but since they are part of the club just like the five girls, if they had about the same importance as the girls it would'n hurt for sure.
There are no bad points at all, and a few things bring this anime slightly above a "good" evaluation.
I can't say much more that I haven't already, just enjoy it! It's not a must, there are better ones, but it deserve a place in the "to watch when I have some spare time" list.
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