Seireitsukai no Blade Dance takes place at a very prestigious school for holy shrine princesses called Areishia Spirit Academy. At this school, the girls train to be elementalists and try to form slave contracts with spirits so that they can compete in battles against one another. Only females have this privilege... at least until now.
Kamito Kazehaya is a normal guy in pretty much all respects except for the fact that he's the first man in 1,000 years to be able to form a contract with a spirit (which he "stole" from a shrine princess named Claire Rouge). Additionally, the headmaster of the school, Greyworth, has summoned him to enroll and is forcing him to participate in a special tournament that will take place two months down the road. With Claire demanding that he become her contracted spirit, will Kamito even manage to survive the entire two months until the tournament takes place?
About half a year ago I had the absolute pleasure of reading through the Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance light novels, and after having caught up with them I consider it one of my favourite series to date. Consequently I was of course very much looking forward to this anime adaptation; however I still felt a bit awkward about it because as it is, Blade Dance is not really an amazing series from the very beginning. It isn't until a few volumes of content down the road that it starts getting exponentially better; however this mere 1-cour adaptation doesn't even reach that far into the
story. As a result, people watching this anime will most likely think of it as just yet another cliché harem series, which by itself isn't wrong but it's only scratching the surface of what Blade Dance truly is deep down.
In short, Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance takes place in a fantasy world where magicians called Elementalers (or Elementalists if you prefer) form sacred contacts with elemental spirits in order to be allowed to wield their powers. However this privilege is only given to pure maidens of noble families who undergo training in order to become spirit contractors. This means that there are no male Elementalers... or at least there shouldn't be but *as it happens*, there is one exception to that, namely the story's protagonist Kazehaya Kamito. Consequently he's transferred to the rich girls' classy school as the only man in an ocean of girls. Sounds cliché and overused as hell I know, but I think it utilizes that premise better than most other such cases out there.
Now undoubtedly the most important part of a harem series is the characters themselves, as if they're not likable then it will suck no matter what, so here's a rough draft of the most important ones:
Name: Kazehaya Kamito
Description: Good natured, dark history, strong fighter
Comment: Not a pervert, not a wimp, not dense. Actually a competent harem protag for once
Name: Terminus Est
Role: Contracted spirit, bEst girl
Description: Ancient legendary sword spirit, expressionless, snarky
Comment: One of the most nosebleed-inducing characters in existence, total moe overdose and perhaps the main reason to watch this series. Don't you dare drop this anime before she makes her first appearance (episode 3)
Name: Restia Ashdoll
Role: Former contracted spirit
Description: Antagonist(ish), motives surrounded in mystery
Comment: Cute yet seductive character design, hard to figure out for sure what she's thinking or what her personal goals are most of the time
Name: Claire Rouge
Role: Tsundere Ojou-sama #1, emphasis on the tsun
Description: 95% tsun, 5% dere, Kamito's self-proclaimed "Master"
Comment: Imagine Louise de la Vallière except without Kugimiya Rie and you won't be too far off the mark. Also a closet pervert though
Name: Rinslet Laurenfrost
Role: Tsundere Ojou-sama #2, emphasis on the Ojou
Description: 50% tsun, 50% dere, extreme rich-girl aura, Claire's childhood friend
Comment: Without a doubt one of the most strikingly Ojou-esque characters out there
Name: Ellis Fahrengart
Role: Tsundere Ojou-sama #3, emphasis on the... creative ways of insulting people
Description: 33% tsun, 66% dere, captain of the Sylphid Knights
Comment: Strong sense of justice and a quite straightforward personality, but on the inside she really only wants to be treated like a girl
Name: Fianna Ray Ordesia
Role: Perverted Ojou-sama
Description: Playful and teasing personality, frighteningly bad at cooking
Comment: Aggressively seeks to seduce Kamito for her own reasons. She's good at teasing people but not so much at being teased herself. Also somewhat naïve
Short version would be that some characters are more likable than others, but there's bound to be at least *someone* everyone would like from the cast. Est is by far the most popular but Restia and Ellis have some sizable fanbases as well.
As far as the production value goes, the art style looks mostly like how I imagined it would and is quite pleasing for the eyes overall. The animation quality however is uneven at best. For panoramic sceneries and close-up character shots everything looks fine, but every so often during more distant shots the characters' faces will look completely distorted and just plain weird. It really feels like they skimped on the budget in that area and sadly it drags down the overall impression of the visuals quite a lot as it'll constantly nag you in the back of your mind.
The soundtrack however, the only aspect I had absolutely no expectations on whatsoever coming into this as a LN reader, sure as hell was the real surprise of this show. The OST is just soooooo catchy, I was so impressed with it and it really has its own feel to it. It's not particularly J-pop-esque, but rather gave me some East European or tribal vibes... I think "wild" might be a good word to describe it. Note that I'm not just talking about the OP (though this one is a bit more "normal" than the others) and the ED with this, but the soundtrack as a whole including the CD-only tracks (like Shukusai no Elementalia for example) that aren't in the anime itself are also fantastic and I'd recommend you to run to your nearest YouTube and check them out if you haven't. Also one does not simply mess with a group name as legit as Ni-Sokkususu (pronounced Knee Sockss) >.>
Moving on, overall this is definitely not a show that would ever be labelled as "deep" or "intelligent" or "artistic" etcetera, but that's not what an ecchi harem show needs anyway. What it needs is cute girls and mindless fun, and as far as that part goes at least there's not much to complain about. Some people might get annoyed at Claire but she's only one among many, and there's bound to be at least someone that can carry the show for every viewer specifically. In the end, anime is simply entertainment media and for that purpose alone, Blade Dance does its job. That's all there is to it really.
However as a final note, as someone who's read the novels I really want to get this message across: since no second season has yet been announced despite the anime being finished airing, combined with the fact that (to my knowledge) it didn't have the best BD sales in Japan, it’s worryingly likely that no more content will ever be adapted for this series. If that really does seem to be the case however, then I really recommend you to at least try out the LNs instead. I'm not going to be one of those hypocrites who keep yelling stuff like "the source material is so much better, don't judge it by this anime" etcetera, because that is definitely not the case. In fact I think this is a quite respectable adaptation as a whole; not perfect but good enough. Rather it's simply that the story improves immensely pretty much from the very moment at which the anime ends, and thus judging the full story merely from what these twelve episodes cover alone will give a quite unfair image for the series as a whole. This is essentially just the prologue. The main arc of the novels begins literally the second the last episode of the anime ends.
Though if you're not quite that hardcore and simply want to watch a show casually for plain fun, then this adaptation on its own still does a good job at doing just that, and arguably that's really all you ever need to ask for when it comes to anime.
The best way to describe Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance is that it is basically a remake of Zero no Tsukaima with a few additional archetypes thrown in and a few intricacies removed.
The show is a very standard harem, somewhat in the vein of Infinite Stratos, where the main character is the only male elementaler in a school for female elementalers. Predictably, he quickly runs into a cast of about 5 girls who all have affections for him.
What the show does well is pacing. Most harem shows have a few episodes of pointless stalling to focus on one individual girl and pretend that they are
going to offer some romantic development. While some girls are more or less prominent in Blade Dance episodes, the story does continue to move forward each episode and there is very little in the way of wasted time (other than fight scenes that are perhaps too lengthy).
What the show does poorly is originality. This is either going to comfort you if you like seeing the tropes that it will cascade one after the other or it is going to seriously annoy you if you were hoping to see something new here. We have "you're not yet ready to fight me" bosses, an average of two people fainting per episode, a main character that is constantly jumping into the paths of projectiles to save people, no developed male characters in the story, and girls who you've all seen before if you've watched one harem and played one or two JRPGs.
For me, I found it sort of disappointing. However, if you're looking for a story with a fantasy setting and can ignore its faults, this is a viable option.
Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance or Blade dance for short is one of five anime adaptation of LN that simultaneously announced by MF Bunko J. For you who have watch many anime by synopsis alone you can see which direction this series will take. Yes this is harem romance comedy with fantasy setting and dash of action. Nothing new here but it's not like being unoriginal equal boring. Blade Dance is type of series that not try to hard to be deep or complicated series. Instead it achieve what it is trying to do becoming simple yet enjoyable series.
Now we are talking about animation and
art that is used here. Nothing groundbreaking or spectacular but it still have it's up and down. The best aspect here must be character design an important part on harem genre. Every character is drawn very attractive and very pleasing to the eyes. The downside here sometimes the background is not moving. But overall it is still good.
About sound even though most of main cast played by rookie seiyuu but every one of them play good job and match the character they are playing. The best must be Yuuki Kana VA of Rinslet which bough up her ojou aura more than her LN counterpart. And about soundtrack it is decent but I still disappointed that Shukasai no Elementia the one used for PV is not used as ED or OP instead.
Now the most important part of harem anime is character. We are starting with our main character first Kazehaya Kamito. As the only male spirit contractor in the series people are wary about him because in history the only male spirit contractor Demon King and as you can guess it create chaos in the past. He have good nature personality but is not above teasing his harem member. He is also competent fighter and neither wimp nor (really) dense character. Now move on to Claire. She is tsundere with heavy dose on tsun than dere. Thoughit can be annoying sometimes but over the time she really grow and become more likable. She also have rival and childhood friend named Rinslet. Rinslet like Claire is also tsundere but instead of tsundere to our male lead she is mostly tsundere to Claire. She is also have the most ojou appearance and voice in the series. Move to another character we have Ellis who is also tsundere who lean more on dere than tsun. She is serious and upstanding person. She is also act according to knight honor. We also have Fianna. She is princess also she is the tease on the series. As one of a few character that know Kamito secret she always take advantage on it. Next we have Est. The best character on the series. Bold, cute and charming. She is also very powerful spirit and Kamito trusted partner. The most defining trait of her character is that she like to wear nothing aside for knee socks. Now for the last we have Restia another spirit character. The most mysterious character on the series and the driving force behind the series. What she think and what she do is always mysterious.
This is relaxing and enjoyable series overall but since I've read the LN I know very well that Blade Dance haven't reach it's full potential yet. I'm definitely recommending this to you who like harem fantasy or who like lighthearted series in general.
On a side note the main story start right after anime end so for those who like this adaptation enough I'm strongly recommending read the LN. You can start at volume 4 where anime left off but I think it's better to read it from the start.
In every anime season there are always the usual category of shows that we expect. There are those hyped shows that everyone wants to watch, there are the romance shows that prove to be either promising or not, and finally, we have that one show every season that you can tell, you can tell will be bad. Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance.
Story (4.99/10): The story of Tsukai no Blade Dance revolves around a magical world. In this world, there are spirits in which only women or girls, are able to make contracts with these spirits and use them as different weapons of
different varieties and uses, better known as elemental waffes. (Basically, Zanpaktou). It is here where the only male elementaler (the term used to call the people who use the spirits) in the enrolls in the noble school of using learning how to use elemental spirits, so that he can finish a task in which the headmistress of the school has assigned.
To be completely 100% honest, this story is absolutely horrible in every way shape or form. Tsukai is filled with so many plot holes that it makes SAO's two year timeskip seem minuscule, there is absolutely no focus on plot, pacing is a rushed nightmare, nothing is ever explained, and the ending is so unsatisfying that this show deserves to be shunned from anime history. Maybe that's a bit harsh, but to say that this show has problems is an understatement.
One of the biggest flaws of the series I feel is its lack of explanation. From episode one, Tsukai gives you its world, just straight up gives it to you without any backstory or explanation. Kinda like getting a 2000 piece lego without any instructions on how to build it. It basically expects you to already know what this world is and has to offer before minute one of the first episode is up, which is a very big no no if you want to get any sort of audience engaged with your plot. As the series progresses, you do get some semblance as to what this magical world is, but it's so minuscule that it feels as though they shouldn't have even bothered at all. They mention events within this world that apparently are very significant but are just so glossed over that it's really more of a fact than having really any effect on the plot in general.
Another big flaw of the series is how there is really little to no focus on plot. Many ecchi shows have this flaw where the series tries to go all serious and explain something that's actually relevant and important, before switching gears completely and throwing a pair of breasts or pantsu at the screen to show that this guy is getting more attention than he should. It's a really jarring transition because the show at some very rare points, actually makes itself sound interesting before going the complete opposite and talking about a loli with a bust complex. The series mostly focuses on an extremely clunky TWGOK style story where every "arc" features one of the main girls, solves their "issue", then absorbs them into the almighty harem of ever growing group of bitches.
In addition, the pacing of the show is quite unbalanced as they mainly spend their runtime giving this one magical Infinite Stratos MC copycat five girls that literally throw themselves at them, whilst trying to "maintain" a serious sounding plot. If you're going to make a show, go one way and not the other. You can't do both.
And then we have the ending of the show. Oh boy, was this a mess. I'm that kind of person that always likes a satisfying ending to stuff. Even if the plot itself isn't complete, as long as it resolves itself with at the minimum, most of the stuff getting wrapped up, I'm decently satisfied. The main focus of this show was revolved around something called a blade dance, which is basically a teamfight between teams of people with contracted spirits. They series ends literally right before the long awaited climax, which to be honest, is the worst way to end any series, period. There is no resolution at all as it is all open to hell, they build all this "tension" of the importance of the blade dance in the twelve episode runtime just to shoot it all down with the credits rolling at the run to the what I assume to be the most critical part of the story, thus destroying whatever sort of credibility this show had because of just how much bullshit there was at the end. And with that, it really just puts the nail in the coffin of just how bad this show is.
- Swiss cheese story (cause of all the holes, get it?)
- No focus on plot
- Awful pacing
Characters (5.00/10): If the story is any indication as to how bad this series was, the characters will more or less reflect the same sort of detail and quality.
Up first is our main protagonist, Kazahaya Kamito. As most harem MC's, you get your standard "bread and butter" copycat harem leader who is nice to everyone and gets all the bitches. Aside from a few fairly decent traits such as not being reluctant to see girls naked, be a generic pervert, and having some actually good funny moments, he's not really much in terms of actual character. He does have some good wit to him, but really, he's just your average harem protagonist. This however gets much worse in terms of overall characters as he is the most detailed and most well-rounded character in this entire cast, which really isn't much.
And then we have Claire Rouge, our token flat-chested, fiery, and tiny main female. Plain and simple, this girl is your basic cardboard cutout tsundere who feels as though she "needs to get stronger." Literally, that's it. There's nothing more to her character aside from saying her catchphrase "burn in cinders!" over and over again till is gets old like a broken record. (You can get sick and tired of it from episode 1, I guarantee you.)
And then we have the rest of the female harem involving Rinslet and Ellis, both tsunderes (seriously, three tsunderes in one series?), Fianna, the walking pair of breasts with a pension to get Kamito's D, and Est, the kuudere sword spirit who will sleep beside you with practically no clothes on and follow your EVERY command despite looking like an 11 year old. And then we have Carol, the maid who's only purpose is to act as Rinslet's dere side.
Apart from them, you have the supporting cast of random characters that I won't even bother mentioning since their appearances are so scarce and so varying (in addition, their names are freaking long), that I feel as though there is no point to them even being mentioned. There are however a couple special cases in this cast that I feel deserve a little bit more insight on.
The first is the Calamity Queen. This character just feels so useless to me as a character just in general. For one thing, she never shows up in the series. Not in person, only in flashbacks. She's a part of Claire's character development (as small as that is), and is only ever really mentioned. To me, this seems like a big waste considering how much they talked about her in the series, and never even did anything to make her seem any more important since the character apparently had some motivations to do what she did, but was never explored.
And finally, what I feel was the biggest waste in the series was the character known as Restia. This girl was by far the most mysterious character and was legitimately the most interesting character in this entire series. It's shown in this series that she has a connection to Kamito and I felt as though that was the most defining moment this series had as it delved a bit more into the story and it really made something in this series, regardless of how small it was, shine. I feel as though she was the most underused character in the series and it was really a shame since her motives were nicely shrouded and gave something nice that this series was seriously lacking. In the end though, we got a character that basically appears out of nowhere, titters, then leaves mysteriously. There was a lot of underused qualities that Restia had, and it's a shame she wasn't explored or used more than she was.
+/- Meh MC
- 3 tsunderes
- Completely forgettable supporting cast
- Very underused character
Art and Sound (7.11/10 and 6.06/10): The art of the series is actual a rather nice and aesthetically pleasing style. There's no real standout moments for the actual animation as it's pretty standard/consistent all the way through, but the color scheme and the overall look of the show is rather nice. (However, if you don't greatly dislike moe style characters, I suggest you stay away from this.)
While the art in general is nicely detailed and very nice-looking, there is one very big flaw that this series has, and that is its ecchi. This show is very big on ecchi and basically strips its girls naked just to reveal to you that "it's this kind of show." (Hell, the opening scene for Claire is a scene of her bathing in a lake with Kamito "peeping" in.) The ecchi for this show is quite extreme and they really don't hold back on flaunting their girls. They even go to the extent of doing a close up shot of any single girl's chest or lower torso region during any transition between the first half and the second half of the show meaning, you're basically forced to watch an ecchi scene. So if you really don't like eechi, this show is not for you.
The music for this series is meh. There's nothing really noteworthy about it. I don't like the opening, the ending is ok, there's nothing really much to say. It's generic, it's ok to listen to, but it's not really a memorable track.
+ Decent looking art
+/- "Ok" music
- Ecchi get in the way of a lot of things
Personal Enjoyment (5.49/10): To be honest, I expected this show to be bad. From the very beginning before it even aired, reading the synopsis, I knew that this series would be disappointing and basically, bad. However, there was something that always pulled me to watch the next episode. An almost unexplainable force pulling me back to watch more and more of this awfully created series. Strange. Anyway, off to the three questions.
Did I like this series?
No. Just straight up, no. There were too many plot holes, there was absolutely no background explanation to give some semblance of what this magic world was, and to top it off, the characters were beyond bland and overused. Not to mention the ending being one of the single worst endings I have ever seen. But somehow, regardless of the horrendous amount of flaws, I continued watching with slight eager anticipation. (I don't know why I did.)
What didn't I like about this series?
Apart from the rather decent looking art and fluid action, everything.
Would I recommend this series?
Honestly, no. There are so many flaws with this show that it doesn't even make it a good fluff show. In my opinion, there is nothing about this series that makes it stand out in any way, and I wouldn't recommend this to be put on anyone's list. It's poorly written, there are no good characters (except the mysterious and underused Restia), and the plot points of this series were incredibly rushed and overall, just very jarring to watch.