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.
I'm not sure what the author of the original light novel thought when writing this mediocre piece of mess, but I did in fact find a way of replicating it. All you need to do is write down all the overrated harem series you watched on individual pieces of paper, mix them up and draw them at random. After you picked out around six you then have five minutes to come up with a story that includes all of the series you drew. You shouldn't worry about characters though, the more transparent and emotionless they are the better, you should google all the "dere" characteristics
and draw generic moeblobs corresponding to each of the types.
That pretty much summaries Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance for you, it's a generic, lifeless, clustered piece of shit that anyone with more then two brain cells will instantly hate. It's filled to the brim with cliché dialog that made me want to rip my ears out and never listen to a human being again. It tries to be interesting, and at times, it succeeds. The first one or two episodes have some genuinely interesting plot, which I should mention are all involving Restia, the only girl that isn't a cardboard cutout and didn't make me want to commit suicide. But all the mystery surrounding Restia is quickly forgotten as she disappears for most of the anime, just to be replaced by an episode where the main girl tries making her boobs bigger, or a shitty two episode side story about how she felt betrayed because the MC didn't eat her chocolates or something...? I'm not really sure myself... my brain turned itself off after the second episode.
It's like Date A Live, Sword art Online and Infinite Stratos had a threesome and this was the result... yeah... its sounds bad... and it was bad.
It later turns out that the MC was the best blade dancer who beat up some girls in gundams when he was 12 and won a tournament of some sorts. And everyone loves him/her but they don't know it's actually him, because he did it all while cross dressing as a girl because that's his fetish or something. It's never really explained what exactly happened "that time 3 years ago" but all you know is that Restia is his sword that turned evil and wants to do bad stuff that is never explained with literally no motive other then "im the villain so i have to to bad evil stuff and look edgy"
This is all of the story there was in the 13 episodes of this anime, you wait untill you find out what exactly is happening, but it never happens. It spirals into a clusterfuck of shitty harem ecchi humor leaving all the plot back in the first episode.
Story aside, the art was generic 2014 cute girls. It was average, it never truly amazed me, but that's to be expected when you can clearly see that all of the budget went into Fianna's boobs rather then the fights. In the end it did it's job, and nothing else.
The soundtrack was really forgettable, nothing really stood and the fight music was average at best. But looking at the series as a whole, not even my favorite composers like Yuuki Kajiura or Sawano Hiroyuki could make the anime any more enjoyable. Also lets talk how abysmally horrible the opening was. It sounded so bad that a prepubescent 12 year old that doesn't know proper English could sing something and it will make my ears bleed less then the joke of an opening that Blade Dance had.
Overall. It's not bad, and it defiantly had it's moment, but skip it. Even if you are a hardcore ecchi/harem fan, you should still skip it. Until season two is out just completely forget that it even exists and watch something more enjoyable.
*note* This review is over exaggerated for comedic effect. Please don't get your Est bodypillows in a twist remember that this is what I thought of the anime not you. And I will not judge you or your taste if you enjoyed it.... Okay. Maybe a little....
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.