Blade Dance of the Elementalers isn’t bad. It just isn’t good. It’s so average that it practically defines the word. The kind of product that fades in to the background as it attempts to do the popular thing without adding anything new to give it its own defining characteristic. The characters, the weapons, the fights, the spirits, the story for the most part, the high school setting, the basic concept of magic: all of it has been done better by other anime long before this show. That said, there are some intriguing points in its plot, but I fear I’ll be driven in to a deep sleep before it manages to grip me if I ever decide to return to any future releases. If you’d like to know more, read our full Blade Dance of the Elementalers Complete Season 1 Review, but like with the anime itself, I’d recommend you don’t waste your time.
The release itself contains 12 episodes at roughly 24 minutes per. It has a Japanese dub with English subs, and contains 5 mini-OVA episodes in the extras. There are also trailers for other products published by Sentai Filmworks.
The basic plot is that, on his way to Areishia Spirit Academy, Kamito Kazehaya happens upon a naked, flat-chested woman named Claire Rouge. He accompanies her momentarily as she seeks a powerful spirit to make a contract with and, in an effort to protect Claire from a fatal blow, he takes a shot to the hand and forms the contract himself with Est, the Demonslayer Blade. It turns out, Claire is the younger sister of the Calamity Queen that brought destruction to the Empire 3 years prior to their current time. She is a student of the same Academy Kamito is heading to, and the headmistress forces him to enroll too. What’s the twist though, you ask? WELL! It’s an all-girl academy. They’ve never had a male student. As a result, Kamito is thrust in to various situations that’d brand him a pervert by his peers, but they still throw themselves at him like it’s nobody’s business. Kamito is looking for Restia, his old partner, and seeks to win the Blade Dance tournament in order to be granted his wish. After his basic shack is burned down by a spat between Claire and her childhood rival Rinslet Laurenfrost, much to the chagrin of the Sylphid Knights’ leader Ellis Fahrengart that built the shack, Kamito is invited to room with Claire because nobody else wants to due to the stigma of who she’s related to.
You know, reading that short overview on it, the story doesn’t sound bad at all, but it’s executed in such a basic, bland way that it just isn’t interesting. They hang their hat on the legendary Ren Ashbell, winner of the (first?) Blade Dance. As if she’s a driving force for the characters to move towards, but that mystery gets solved pretty quickly and no fallout happens to come from the semi-reveal. Not everybody knows, I guess.
Now, in this world of spirits, they all have physical forms. Est, the over-1,000 year old sword spirit that has a pact with Kamito just happens to be a seriously young girl. Like, “about to crack open the crayons and draw a doll-house” kind of young. This would be fine if she didn’t constantly insist on being naked and pressuring Kamito. At one point, even drawing “Eat Me” on her naked body with chocolate. It’s seriously disturbing. I’m not easily phased by fan service, but this show lays it on thicker than custard. There’s literally no reason (that we’re given, at least) that Est has to look this way as an ancient spirit. Claire has a fire-cat, Ellis has a bird, Rinslet has a wolf-dog, Kamito gets an inappropriate, naked girl. Money, right? It’s a shame, because Est has some seriously cute character traits that make her a great member of the cast, but man do those creepy shots of her body ruin it.
The biggest failing is the insistence of making every woman fall for Kamito. In the tropiest of anime tropes, this harem has every woman of any kind falling for the heroic, “manly” charm of Kamito Kazehaya. What’s worse? Kamito does the tropey anime guy thing where he pretends like he doesn’t realise it. He seems like a smart dude. He’s had an interesting past. He seems like he’d be able to see through people, but it wouldn’t be any fun if Kamito knew that this entire cast would line up around the Academy to lick him like a lollipop. Romance isn’t something to shy away from, neither is sexuality, but the way this show handles it does a disservice to what depth these characters may have had.
If we removed the over-reliance on sexual imagery, we have Claire Rouge; the younger sister unable to stop her sibling from committing a terrible crime. Ellis Fahrengart; the beautiful, dutiful knight with a sister complex of her own. Rinslet Laurenfrost; a confident daughter of a noble family that can’t bring herself to openly admit she wants to be included. Fianna Ray Ordesia, the Lost Queen of the Ordesian Empire that seeks the man that saved her in the forest three years ago. These basic backgrounds on the four main women of this show suggest a level of depth that isn’t realised in the show because they’re too focused on how to get bigger breasts to impress Kamito with by visiting the “Big Titty Fairy”. That’s a legitimate reference, I kid you not.
My major character gripe is with Claire. I get it: she has abandonment issues. She feels alone. That doesn’t mean that the fiftieth time she yells and screams at Kamito for being around another girl is cute. No. It’s annoying. Claire does have an engaging backstory and that could develop in to something truly captivating, but her obsession with her small breasts and her whiny nature just make me disappointed to see her most of the time.
If there were a reason to watch this show, it’d be for the journey of Kamito as he seeks out Restia. As a dark spirit, she seems to be testing him by throwing obstacles in his way to awaken his latent abilities as the successor to the Demon King. The two of them have a history and why they separated is yet to be explained. On top of that, the headmistress of the Academy is a powerful witch that seems to have an ulterior motive to bringing Kamito to the school. The cherry on the top is Claire’s sister, the Calamity Queen, whom we know very little about at this point. These plot-lines are genuinely interesting and I do kind of want to follow up on them, but I don’t think I can handle seeing Est naked again. At least throw Ellis in there instead. I could deal with that. There are shows that were so good in their plot that I could look past their creepiness, such as “No Game, No Life”, but the execution of this show is so “meh” that the creepy parts steal the spotlight.
Animation-wise, there’s nothing special here either. Special effects are fine, character designs are a dime-a-dozen Moe with the standard school uniform styles we’ve seen many times. I found nothing remarkable about the art style or fidelity, but it’s consistent in its mediocrity. I guess you can give it that. Again, it’s not bad, just boring. Other anime in this sort of style have rendered these scenes in a far more impressive way.
The Extras were a pretty good addition, with 5 mini-OVAs packed in at about 3 minutes a piece. They were actually pretty funny for the most part, as is the show actually if you can get past the hang-ups I’ve had.
Blade Dance of the Elementalers lacks any real personality to it. It’d never come up in a conversation about a show I could recommend in any given genre. If you’re in it for the naked girls, I’m certain there’s better content. Action? There’s better content. Shows involving magic spirits and schools? A WHOLE HEAP of better content. I just can’t say much in its favour outside of its occasionally decent plot points and its relatively likable characters.
Looking for More?
Game: Blade Dance of the Elementalers Complete Season 1
Review Format: Blu-ray
Animation - 6/10
Story - 6.5/10
Sub and Dub - 7/10
Extras - 6/10