Shana 2 vs Clannad vs Bamboo Blade

Well, here’s my final review of Shana Season 2, Clannad, and Bamboo Blade then I compare the three together at the end.

Shana 2

Final Series Score: 7/12 B (3/12 for the first half and 12/12 for the second half)
Rewatchablity: low
Pros: the animation was top-notch and being in HD widescreen only helps, Rie Kugimiya as Shana, both sets of OP/ED where phenomenal, fast paced second half kept me on the edge of my seat, characters showed nice growth through the show
Cons: the first half drags badly, it’s attempt at everyday slice-of-life storytelling was painful to watch

Awards that this blog has given to the show

  • Best OP of 2007 for “Joint” by Mami Kawada

Clannad

Final Series Score: 11/12 A+
Rewatchablity: medium
Pros: the animation was top-notch, had the Kyoto Animation polish to the show, great humor, Sunohara was a great second male character in the show
Cons: if compared to Kanon then it didn’t have the same depth of character development and if Clannad was solely about Nagisa and Tomoya then it spent too much time on Fuko at the beginning

Awards that this blog has given to the show

  • Best ED of 2007 for “Dango Daikazoku” by Chata

Bamboo Blade

Final Series Score: 12/12 Perfect
Rewatchablity: med – high
Pros: A show that successfully fought the expectations that people had of it, a great cast of characters that you couldn’t help but like, the fight scenes were heart-pumping (the makers of the Bleach anime really need to watch this show), almost every character had a chance to shine in the show at some point, after Gurren-Lagann ended this was a great way to get my weekly Kamina fix
Cons: It’s not as pretty to look at as the the other two, the overall animation quality is only decent

Awards that this blog has given to the show

  • Person I’d most want to have my back in a dark alleyway of 2007 for Tama-chan

Shana 2 and Clannad where 2 of the most anticipated of the fall season, and justifiably so, Shana 2 promised more of what made the first season good and Clannad promised to return Kyoto Animation back to adapting a Key work which they did so well with AIR and Kanon.

Since both of these shows are so well known I don’t feel the need to add much more then I already have. It’s a shame that so much of the second season of Shana 2 was wasted but the second half was very, very good. In fact, of the shows that i watched over the fall-winter seasons this one was the only one that I impatiently waited for the weekly episode (once we got to the second part).

As for Clannad, I feel slightly disappointed. The plot structure of Kanon (the last Key-Kyoto anime) was more unorthodox then what a standard show would be. It would focus on the main character’s relationship with one girl for the span of 5-6 episode and when that story arc was done then she would move off-stage, for the most part, and the next girl would start her story arc. This was primarily a result of the source material. This type of storytelling took some getting used to but I grew to like it alot because I had the chance to really know each character. When Clannad started, I assumed we would be getting a similiar treatment; and, it did seem to start like that with Fuko and Kotomi both getting story arcs but then the series drifted away from the story arc storytelling. While this led to a more realistic show that culminated with three of the girls realizing almost concurrently that they had no chance at winning Tomoya’s heart, I feel that I hardly know Kyou, Ryou, and Tomoyo and this is what I think Clannad lacked.

For these three characters I don’t know what makes them, them. In comparison, during Mai’s story arc in Kanon, we learn that when Mai was young her mom was dying of some disease and it was only through Mai’s magical ability that her mom was cured. This miraculous ability caused Mai and her mom to be ostracized by her neighbors and they had to move. They move to the city where the main character visits during the summer break. They bump into each other and he becomes the only friend that Mai has but when summer break is over he has to move back. She thinks he’s leaving her because he doesn’t like her so she tries to get him to stay by saying there are demons that need killed. He leaves for school and her fervent desire of demons causes her powers to warp into actual demons. And I could go on but I think you can see what I mean.

Bamboo Blade was picked up by me for the sole reason that Kamina was doing the voice of the teacher. Good thing I did, I was able to watch a gem. I think many people wrote this show off as either a harem-comedy anime or a sports anime but it was neither; instead, it fit best in the slice-of-life category. Tama, who could be considered the main character, received the most character time and development but all the characters got a sufficient share of time. The other thing I liked was that it continued to fight against our expectations. For example, at one point the cast was going to an onsen, bathhouse, and this is always used as an excuse for fanservice. Bamboo Blade showed them walking to the onsen and then cut the scene and then showed them walking back from the onsen. I’ve been so programmed to equate onsen=fanservice that for a split second I couldn’t believe they didn’t do any fanservice then I just started laughing.

Comparison

I’m going to now compare the three side by side, ranking in each category from best to worse

OP/ED: Shana 2, Clannad, Bamboo Blade

Animation quality: Clannad, Shana 2, Bamboo Blade

Character Development: Bamboo Blade, Shana 2, Clannad

Story/Plot: Bamboo Blade, Clannad, Shana 2

Enjoyment: Bamboo Blade, Clannad, Shana 2

Overall Winner: Bamboo Blade

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8 thoughts on “Shana 2 vs Clannad vs Bamboo Blade”

  1. Well done review. I totally agree with you ratings.

    Just as you said, Bamboo Blade was a light-hearted comedy, slice of life anime with enough drama and entertainment value to keep you glued week after week.

    My favorite character, is none other than Miya miya! Goo Miyako! I hope there is a second season. It does kinda seem likely given the ending. I need more Miya miya.

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  2. Like the person above, well done.

    I also thought it was very funny that Bamboo blade did not have any fan service. Like you, I expected something when they went to the bath house… as they cut it off I was like hey!!!… From there I gave this anime 2 times more respect. I agree with you on both Clannad and Shana 2. I expected to learn more about the other three characters that they did not really go over and was wondering about the part when they did the story about Fuko… I was like uhhh some one explain to me what was the point of it and her weird cameo appearances?

    Anyways awesome.

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  3. Bamboo Blade is a very clean comedy anime. It has no crap or whatsoever. It has nice ending. I really enjoy watching Bamboo Blade.

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  4. Let me first say that; Bamboo Blade had a very beautifully articulated story, clean yet hilarious humor(Miya Miya!!!), tear jerking moments thanks to Kirino’s utterly criminal cuteness mixed in with the certain moments in a couple of episodes, (quite literally had me in tears, feeling sorry for her) aswell as having no fan-service, while instead making the female characters very representable and jaw-droppingly beautiful. (Again, Kirino-san! She’s so freaking ADORABLE).

    I personally found the animation way beyond that of Clannad, and right behind Shakugan no Shana. I also found Clannad to be extremely dull in the art style, no real attempt at making the presentation via the color schemes seem lively, instead seemed like I was watching something somebody didn’t care about and wanted to just get it out there and hope the story/dialog would make up for it.

    All in all, Clannad receives zero points for animation from me, and in fact, zero in every area. Shakugan no Shana would be the bread winner for animation, with Bamboo Blade in second.

    But this is just a comment and I’m not the reviewer so what I say doesn’t matter. I just want to express how much I loved Bamboo Blade. I’d be willing to watch it again and again. It’s just that awesome. Recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

    (Please let there be a season 2, I need more Kirino >.< )

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  5. On Clannad, it’s actually a very hard attempt by Kyoto A to tell stories about a handful of heroines in an integrated arc. The original author didn’t make it that way so they had to adapt it. And issues resulted from it, naturally. You don’t see the concise, integrated, vision of the author. Gaps show, especially if you read the original work first.

    The story telling you noticed in Kanon, is simply typical of visual novel play for romantic heroines. The game has a story branch and if the user has a specific combination of plot routes, he goes specifically to that girl’s story. It is quite engaging and personally connects you to one character, for the most part. You can certainly mess up and have to reload or go around in confusion cause you don’t know which route to pick.

    Clannad was written the same way, although I think it was a more complex character/plot work. Sunnohara got a rather fun story of his own you could explore. His relationship with the main, shown through flashbacks and with the current plot device of his sister. It made me want to physically reach through the screen and grab some of the characters and change things. But as the reader, you just have to sit and let them handle it. Which could be hard for the impatient.

    I feel that I hardly know Kyou, Ryou, and Tomoyo and this is what I think Clannad lacked.

    if you want to know who they really are, I suggest you read the visual novel, Clannad. Or get the english fan patch. It’s worth it if you have some curiosity on the matter, as the emotional impact is far greater with the higher immersion of the novel.

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  6. P.S.

    There’s also the matter of time factor. An anime is short compared to reading a novel. Some of the plot revelations will only be fully understood if you pause and think about the previous events for a few minutes. Let it sink in. In a novel, you are given this time. In an anime, not so much.

    Anime is much easier to translate from manga, given that both are good at impacting readers with immediate visual images and word play to get a reaction and a sensation. Longer, more complex stories, from novels need to be told in a slightly different format. One that is more like Code Geass, for example. Super fast plot pacing. But that often isn’t fitting for a story like Clannad.

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  7. Watching Bamboo Blade now, around the 3/5th part.

    Stopped watching Shana after a few episodes. I don’t like cold tsunderes where they explicitly make it cold just to sort of make that really really obvious. The boss fights were also a little too weird. A lot of the manga/light novel material of the sort Shana was based upon tend to need to heavily accentuate the personality types early on and then transition to a personality change a volume. But that gets dragged out on a longer time frame with anime. Sometimes that’s good but sometimes that’s bad.

    I finished Clannad but not Clannad After Story anime.

    Kyou, Ryou, and Tomoyo have funny quirks and motivations. Watching the anime brought back good memories. Unfortunately, someone just watching the anime wont’ have enough material to form a precise picture of their personalities and motivations. Lack of detail. Lack of contextual clues. Lack of just plain face time on motivations and dramatic scenes.

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  8. Reading back on this, my graphic up top for me makes me look like a freaking BETA!!!!!

    The BETA were those alien carbon life forms sent to Earth as an invasion force in ML Alternative….

    Now I can make the connections standing here and looking backwards.

    Now for the character digests. Kyou is the older protective sister. Initially, you feel like she is trying to get Tomoya to go out with Ryou because Kyou knows Ryou likes Tomoya. Then something else started happening… It is only then that you get to see all the sides to Ryou and Kyou. One of the challenges for twins is that you need to be able to figure out which is which. Because they lose respect for you if you can’t tell the difference. To be special, you have to be able to tell the difference and thus appeal to them on a personal level.

    Tomoyo is the super genius and athlete. Her position equals that of the most popular and smartest, most accomplished girl at high school. Someone with moral, social, intellectual, and physical “weight”. She then gets teamed up with semi-dropout Tomoya, and then the rumors start flying… Her story is a cutting edge remark on feminism vs traditional husband/wife roles. Woah, you may be thinking, where did that come from? But that’s just how those two are, Tomoyo and Tomoya written underneath the same roof. The main stress in their relationship has little to do with them, and everything to do with the fact that Tomoyo comes from one side of things and Tomoya is Wayyy over there on the other side of the train tracks. In other arcs, Tomoyo acts as the noble confidant of the other girls and the one who Tomoya goes to for help with things like Nagisa’s club authorization. In her story, Tomoyo is the one in need of help. Japan places a high priority on gossip and rumor mills and on “face” or “social status”. Because Tomoyo starts so high and wants to go even higher, being known as the girlfriend of Tomoya in public is getting… well. You can imagine how that makes those two feel.

    And the ending of course… magnificent. Heart warming, precisely because of all the problems those two had to face and overcome.

    Another story that didn’t get told was Misae’s story. She is the Dorm keeper and mother where Tomoya, and Sunohara lives. Misae was the first female student council President, and thus Tomoyo often went to her to ask for help (what did I tell you, feminism).

    Personally, I thought Tomoyo’s story was the most “modern” and most difficult in terms of stress or resolution. The most mature as well. Nagisa is on the high school level bridging to adult hood. Kyou/Ryou is the story of relationship troubles and love “troubles” in high school. Misae’s story was of love lost and a promise kept (giri, duty, etc). That always gets me there: such loyalty.

    Overall, Clannad is a great marvel. And I’m definitely working on getting my Japlanguage skills to the level where I can read Rewrite and any other visual novel out there. That’s the motivation, you see.

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