Torturing myself every season has its fun parts when I get to laugh with my friends on how bad these are.
Every season I need my dose of generally mediocre adaptation of a light novel series that more than often is a harem series. There was a joke going around that Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance would be the series that would kill and succeed the likes of Infinite Stratos and Date A Live. Now, the former can be outdone by nearly any sort of harem but some of you should know I hold DAL in some respectable regard. Seeing as though Blade Dance had 10+ volumes and how Light had been keeping up with it, I generally though it wouldn’t be bad.
I was sort of wrong.
The final episode was predictably rushed. Whereas the entire event of Blade Dance was foreshadowed since the beginning, we hardly get any fights other than the implied victories Claire’s team had gone through to actually get to fight Velsaria’s team. The entire fight was futile until Kamito steps in and everyone teams up together and wins. Velsaria gets her 30 second redemption scene while the green elf gets absolutely wasted by the principal. Apparently the REAL Blade Dance is just now about to be underway as the main character crew are now chosen as the representatives.
Of course this is a “character” driven series so let’s get my complaints and short handed compliments done.
- Kamito is yet again our strong protagonist who can’t do anything about the girls that flock to him. It’s essentially IS all over again only in a semi-medieval magic setting. Kamito is of course is one of those protagonist who had all the development back then instead of now. Simply put, he’s really good at fighting and due to reasons unexplained in the adaptation, lost his old sword Restia. He’s also apparently the successor/reincarnation of the demon king. The word unique just screams from his form don’t you think?. Simply put, I just felt indifferent on him.
- Claire is our ever so required character archetype of being the overly possessive, hotheaded, irrational, red headed little girl who is self conscious of her breasts. While it may seem pretentious of me to expect ANYTHING from a harem light novel adaptation, I will always question on who exactly might consider a character like this likable. I should at least be happy that she is not voice by Rie Kugimiya which already makes her miles above Aria. Simply put, Claire is a glaring issue in trying to enjoy a series when a good chunk of time is devoted to her and her incessant whining.
- Rinslet was the girl who the least amount of time on screen and that did her some good in not showing me parts I might hate on her. While she is somewhat possessive like Claire might be, her jealousy and attitude rarely intercedes with the show as much as the former. Ultimately, Rinslet had little presence so I do not have much to say about her. She’s better than Claire, but that is not exactly difficult by any means of the imagination.
- Ellis was formally introduced second but only got her “arc” in the final episodes. While she gave off the Houki from IS vibe, she actually turned out likable as compared to Claire and Rinslet who honestly treat Kamito like a piece of furniture. She isn’t as overly violent and it at least honest with herself so that was nice to see.
- Fianna falls under the same category as Ellis, which is to say, acting like a regular person. Not possessive, violent, and actual backstory that doesn’t involve an atrocity that has to do with family members that exist for the sole purpose of developing their respectively related character. Fianna was simply okay and unfortunately, that’s saying a lot when we consider the characters here.
- Something Japan loves doing is making ancient, powerful beings or immensely powerful artifacts all be represented by a little girl. Est is apparently a legendary demon slaying blade that, for whatever reason, was just sealed in the middle of a unguarded shrine. Est’s personality is akin to a legitimate little sister wanting attention but since she doesn’t treat Kamito like garbage, it was hard not to like her. Hell, to be a likable character in this series, all you simple need to do is be a regular, sane human who respects the Golden Rule.
- I realize Restia is an important piece of background character development for herself and Kamito in the future but the adaptation barely touched her in any sort of plot points other than for her to just show up, flap some wings to let a few feathers fly, giggle, and disappear.
Like I reviewed Date A Live, I will write the next paragraph in the most objective way possible in terms of Blade Dance holds as an adaptation while the later paragraphs will be my subjective views that will more or less tear this apart, unsurprisingly, it’s mostly Claire.
The adaptation itself apparently covers the first three volumes. Now this become a problem in itself when I bring up Restia. She’s an essential character without a doubt but when the adaptation requires her to be in it but not actually be significant until later, then something wrong is going on with the light novels. Whether or not the things are actually dragged out, properly explained, or whatever, a light novel should not just “wait around” or “extend” things and say “it gets better later”. There are cases to this sometime being good but really, this shouldn’t technically be a thing as you would ideally want things to be good in general. Now I could be completely wrong too and I’m okay with that. Blade Dance has 10+ volumes and it at least must have some merit of enjoyment if it got that far but whatever the case may be, the adaptation made Restia extremely insignificant even though she is a big part of the series. Another issue is the visual quality. I mentioned in DAL that I rarely ever give attention to this since I’m pretty lenient when it comes to looks but Blade Dance suffered the same quality issues that DAL II had. So I hope that Blade Dance at least looks better in the Blurays because then this won’t be a problem.
With that out of the way, time for some nitpicking with Claire saved for last. For a series called Blade Dance, I honestly, and wholeheartedly expected some good fights. With a title like “Blade Dance” as like, compared to “Date A Live” I’d expect the former to pull some better fighting scenes. Instead, all we got were still shots like what SAO loves to do. Comparatively DAL had some surprisingly acceptable fights which I would not expect based on the title. Even with the premise, Blade Dance identifies itself as somewhat of a battle series while DAL is more or less a parody and what do you know, the latter series pulled off more fights. Kamito’s Ren Ashbell “techniques” of which I assumed would at least resemble a titular dance were nothing but still frames, colored lines flashing, and the enemy falling down on their knees. The girls fighting always HAD to include all the incantation announcements that honestly got tiring. The girl’s powers were by no means creative and their animal forms were laughable. Do you seriously expect me to believe that a spirit of fire can be embodied in a cat that’s smaller than a pot?
At last we arrive at Claire, the glaring red rash on a rather unflattering but cute face. Claire herself brings the series down near the hellish pit that holds the two horrible series I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, Hidan no Aria and Mahou Sensou. Mahou Sensou was just overall bad and Hidan no Aria’s titular female lead is one of the most unlikable fictional characters I can remember. Claire happens to be a near carbon-copy of Aria complete with family issues, reddish hair, a despicable personality, twintails, catlike features, inability to take care of herself, and no form of social ability. What makes Claire just a little bit better (or worse) is that Aria is actually considered “skilled” with 4 weapons no less. Claire’s abilities are absolutely laughable and she is by no means skilled or talented which. So when I meant worse as a character, at least Claire is not put up on the pedestal and I laughed a bit when Kamito mentioned her as a good “strategist” in the final episode. Also her cookie cutter lines, “I’ll burn you to cinders”, do people really like this? Do they find lines like this cute? Also, I never understood the “slave spirit” thing she wouldn’t shut up on. Kamito’s a guy yet a spirit-like connection can be made? I don’t understand.
As a seasonal battle-harem I always end up watching, Blade Dance would have been decent if not for Claire. Her attitude alone drops the series a lot of favor from me and it doesn’t help that the series lacks any sort of decent fights. Machine Doll was predictable but at least it had some things that I wouldn’t have expected, Blade Dance was just going down a checklist of cliches for me. However, it wasn’t painful to watch when Claire wasn’t on screen so at the very least the other girls were nice to watch. Compared to the likes of Noucome, Machine Doll, Mahou Sensou, and Oreshura, Blade Dance is on the average line. I somewhat blame the source material for taking to long to get better with the adaptation pacing issues but that’s an inherent problem with these sort of things anyway.
In the end, it’s an average harem series that gets points deducted for having Claire be the main character. It had poor fights but I guess I was expecting too much on that part. The adaptation has not urged me in to read the novels but I did generally hear it does get better. I’m just not sure if I want to deal with Claire. For those of you who endured and found it charming, good for you there’s a lot of novel content. For people like me, I don’t think we’re missing out on anything we haven’t seen before.