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.
It's been awhile I haven't done a review so I decided why not, fair warning this review is only for the anime I won't included aspect from the LN. I know alot of you won't like it, but stick with me ok, I'm a bit rusty.
Anyways Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance doesn't seem like an all out series, but for those who don't know this is all just the prologue, the actual story doesn't happen until a bit further on. But again I won't be getting into that, just saying for those who came from the LN and starting to watch this, don't expect anything
to great from it, anyways I'm prolonging now let me just get started, cause no one cares about introduction.
So this story is obviously that of a fantasy, includes magic, Demon Lords (Maou), and knights. These "magicians" aren't refer to mages like most magical anime, they are called "elementalers". Each Elementaler controls an element in the form of a contracted spirit. These elements as seen in the anime are in form of fire, water, wind, earth, and ice. One of these Elementalers is known as Kamito Kazehaya who meets a girl bathing in the forest, she is known as Claire Rouge a fire elementaler, from this they join into a team to compete in a tournament known as The Blade Dance. Without going into much summary, this story is pretty bland, Kamito is the only boy elementaler in the school, surrounded by a sea of girls. His goal is to win the Blade Dance to get his wish granted and to chase down his former contract spirit Restia. It's not a touchy story, it's more of an underdog type of story, those who come from troubled past with no power try to go against odd to achieve strength and victory.
The art was pretty good in this series, well drawn, the key animator of this series should give themselves a pat on the back for this. Background was aesthetically beautiful, and the characters were so well made, you can see that they aren't just based with model with different color hair and eyes, they put some effort into making each character structurally different, with no disproportional body parts. Hats off to you animators, job well done.
Sound pretty generic nothing very memorable as per say, the opening was ok and ending was decent but nothing that you will download into your mp3 of course. As for the voice actors, the main characters voices were well picked but Restia's voice (even though she wasn't a main) just was too kiddish, I understand they were aiming for a bit of a seductress voice, but it's a bit let down.
I'll list each of the main characters so you guys have a generic idea of each of them:
Claire Rouge- A tsundere Flame Elementaler, her contrated spirit is a flame cat name Scarlett. As stated she is a heavy Tsundere, instead of seeing Kamito as her crush/friend she keeps stating that he is her "slave spirit" and like most tsundere out there she's flat chested and very insecure about it. Typical right?
Rinslet Laurenfrost- Also a tsundere, but an Ice Elementaler user, her contracted spirit is a ice wolf name Fenrir. She's a girl who never truly say what she means/want, so usually her maid translate for her. She is a very prideful noble, and a close friend of Claire, even if the 2 don't admit it.
Ellis Fahrengart- Another but yet very soft tsundere, she is a Wind Elementaler, her spirit is that of a Eagle name Simorgh. She is a knight who gets flustered around Kamito easily, a good cook too, and very impressionable too, she doesn't have a bad past like the others, but her present was getting a bit muggy
Fianna Ray Ordesia- No worries she's not a tsundere, she's just a playful teaser, even though she has meaning behind her flirts. She is a Light Elementaler her spirit is like a huge knight known as Georgios. She is a "Lost Queen" a forgotten princess due to the events before the series, She knows Kamito secret alias and sometimes use that as leverage against him.
Terminus Est- The best girl in the series, ok personal opinion aside she is a spirit herself, a powerful sword spirit known as a demon slayer. She is more comedic relief and a bit of a fan service type character, suggested to have chocolate licked off of her, or having Kamito "Eat her" and always appearing naked, yet draws the line when asked about her kneesocks, which she refuses to remove. She is an ecchi but moe loli, and that's a win, I kidded of course.
Kamito Kazehaya- The main guy and one of those rare harem MC who isn't useless, not much to explain but to say this guy pretends to be dense, he just rubs off the girls antics. He is both a Dark and Light Elemantaler, Dark as for the event before the series, Light during the show, he controls Est. He's also known as a Demon Lord successor and a Demon Lord of the Bedroom.
Too many tsundere characters however, so far warning, if you don't like that character trope, you'll get a little ticked off.
It was good, the ecchiness was pretty soft compare to most out there, because well that wasn't the focal point and they made sure to incorporate those moments at reasonable moments, same for the comedy. They kept the action with the action, kept comedy with the comedy, they rarely ever tried to intertwine with each other, giving each scene its own focus without taking anything away from that plot use. So very well balanced, and seeing that was a bliss to enjoy.
Wow usually my personal rating and my review rating ever match but it seems this time it did. Again like I said at the beginning this story is just basically the "prequel" sort to say, so for those coming from the LN to watch it will probably be boring to you, but if you came to see Est animated than by all mean have fun. I don't really have a closing statement for this, but hope you guys got something out of this, and it was helpful. As always enjoy!