Story: I'm not sure what it was about this story that intrested me so much, there weren't many suspenceful moments except for at the end of some matches and it wasn't a terribly deep plot, but nevertheless it was very entertaining. It followed 5 highschool girls and 2 boys in their kendo team, trying to get stronger together and do their best in tournaments. There were a few little side things that didn't really need to be there...such as Tamaki working part time and the Blade Braver series that she and Rin love so much...that honestly bothered me. My only major complaint about the storyline is I really wish they took out the Blade Braver mini-series, it was annoying and your average cliche superhero show and it just really took away from the actual plot. It had its funny moments, especially Carrie's engrish when she's obsessing over Dan thinking he's her pet armadillo named Anderson and their discussion about hemeroids and anal health earlier on in the series during practice. Also the way the sport of Kendo was portrayed here inspired me to learn Kendo myself...though I'll probably never get to, this anime made me really want to learn. If you're looking for a deep story, you wont find it here, here you'll find a light yet entertaining plot that still has much potential. The style of it actually sort of reminds me of Azumanga Daioh with its feel.
Animation: No ecchi! Thats a definite plus there right off the bat, a martial arts anime surrounding girls that has no ecchi! The character designs are fairly generic yet they fit each character well. Though Dan's design reallly annoyed me to no end, the freshmen in the last episode said it right, he looks like an acorn and he just irks me the wrong way. That and the creepy store owner lady, oh my God she is scary beyond all reason! And she wonders why seeing her gives customers the willies? Lastly of the bad character designs is the crotchity old lady with the big lips that harasses Kojiro-sensei in the shop, she needs some serious plastic surgery and I'd love to know what the artists were smoking when they drew her. Other than that though the characters look good and I love Kirino's little =3 face and her ponytail...for whatever reason I really like that. The fight scenes were eye-catching, fluid (most of the time) and I think overall pretty well done, and it greatly portrays the sport of kendo how it should be.
Sound: The opening and ending themes were alright, not something I'd want to listen to, but I don't hate them. They're light and quirky just like the series itself so they work. The only song that really pissed me off was the song in Blade Braver, it sounded like really bad Japanese opera and was just terrible. The voice acting was pretty good, however Dan's voice, the creepy shopkeepers voice, Miya-Miya's voice in her dark stage and Reimi's (the stalker girl) voices just really annoyed me to no end. Dan's voice was whiney, the shopkeepers was just...ugh, it made her seem like a really ugly feminine man, Miya-Miya's dark voice just didn't fit her appearance and seemed out of place and as for Reimi...well the only things she really ever said were obsessing over Miya-Miya and it was freakish, her voice just added to that. Though all the other voices fit the characters very well and Carrie's engrish was very humorous.
Characters: I pretty-much already covered which characters were annoying and which were not, so the only thing I really have left to say here is that Reimi and Dan really need to be removed from the series and that the character development in this series greatly impressed me. Each character matured quite a bit and learned more about themselves, especially Miyako and Tamaki. All of the main characters seemed very real and they were easy to connect to and sympathize with and they were all very individual, like real people and thats personally what I love in a character is when they seem real like that. I hate shallow characters and this bunch here definately were not.
Overall: I'd reccomend this series to pretty-much anyone, except for fans of hardcore ecchi, hentail or blood and gore, cuz you wont find that here. Its not a terribly deep plot, but entertaining nonetheless. If you like Japanese martial arts in any form I would definately give this one a try. Plus, for all those who like lighthearted humor, there's some of that here too. It has little bits of a lot of nice things without being saturated and bogged down. To sum it up all I can really say is that its light, its the low-calorie pack of anime.
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