Blu-ray Review: Blade Dance of the Elementalers – The Complete Collection
09/05/2016 Leave a comment
In our latest Blu-ray Review we take a look at Animatsu Entertainment’s release of Blade Dance of the Elementalers, a show I have eagerly been looking forward to watching; so is this release worth your dancing time? or should it be burned to crisp like so many other anime titles? Well lets find out!
Only a pure maiden can have the privilege to contract with a spirit. Priestesses, who can summon spirits from Astral Zero, the world of spirits, and have full command of their power, are called elementalists.
Kamito Kazehaya is the only male with this privilege, and due to what happened in the past he comes to Areisha Spirit Academy where priestesses are trained to become elementalists. He is then told that he is to transfer to the school, form a team with priestesses to compete in Blade Dance where the most powerful elementalist is chosen, and win.
Ever since Jerome announced the license acquisition of Blade Dance of the Elementalers at the MCM London Comic Con in October 2015 I had a suspicion that I would enjoy what the show offered; a suspicion that turned into reality when the tentative box-art of the series made its appearance onto online listings. Of it wasn’t until these discs arrived that this suspicion of a reality turned into a fact and despite some ‘questionable’ content and an unfinished story I can’t help but recommend giving this series a try; especially if you enjoyed Shakugan No Shana.
It all starts with Kamito Kazehaya, a mysterious male who has the ability to wield elemental powers and form pacts with spirits, who finds himself being summoned to the Areisha Sprit Academy by its headmistress Greyworth Ciel Mais. The pretext here is that Kamito has been invited to the academy to take part in academic students for elemental wielders, something which is only done by females, so that he can become a better elementaler; but the reality is that Kamito is trying to correct mistakes made in the past by finding his previous past pact spirit known as Restia. Basically several years prior Kamito, disguised as a girl known as Ren Ahsbell, and his now rogue pact spirit Restia took part in the Blade Dance, a duel between strong elementalers that sees them fighting for the ultimate prize, and won the event but upon winning it something occurred which resulted in a several peoples lives changing for the worse. Nothing about the events is explained; but one can assume what happened and now in order to correct this mistake Kamito has returned to the Academy in hopes of finding new information on his rogue pact spirit… and it is here where the adventure of a lifetime begins.
It’s a great setup for a potential interesting story; but disappointingly this series wants to focus on an entirely different matter; the opposite sex. Shortly after Kamito arrives on academy grounds he meets up with a relatively unpopular elementaler known as Claire Rogue who is trying to find a powerful pact spirit in the forest. Long story short Claire is trying to obtain a strong pact spirit so that she can prove her sister’s innocence; however its actually Kamito who ends up wielding this powerful pact spirit. Filled with anger at his actions Claire makes Kamito her slave ‘pact’ spirit which in turn sees the two begin to develop feelings for each other through a series of unfortunate, but comical, events. Throughout the remaining episodes of the series the story of Kamito trying to make-up for past mistakes and find restia is soon overshadowed by the relationship between him and Claire; a feat which becomes more hectic when new characters arrive on the scene, such as a former queen who previously encountered Kamito in the past, a member of the student guard and a friend of Claire. The introduction of these characters soon turns into a harem, with even Kamito’s pact spirit trying to get in on the action; and as such we see plenty of comical outbursts and jealously between each one of the characters involved.
If you’ve seen The Familiar of Zero then you’ll have a rough idea of what to expect from these ‘harem’ scenes but unlike TFOZ these elements don’t completely overshadow the underlining storyline of trying to locate someone you care deeply for; to which both Kamito and Claire understand greatly. As mentioned Kamito is trying to track down Restia, meanwhile Claire is trying to track down her sister (known as the Clamaity Queen) in order to find out the truth from three years ago and while both strive for power in order to find the people they desire nothing ever comes of it. Ironically enough the storyline elements of finding a loved one, or managing a relationship with several girls, isn’t the only talking point in this series as while these are the hot topics we also see the numerous characters form a team in order to take part in the Elemental Blade Dance; the ultimate event which sees teams show off their potential power. It’s a massive build-up which sees the individual characters become stronger and share experiences with each other, as well as take part in the odd battle with other team members at the school, but just like majority of the other talking points of this series it doesn’t come to fruition. Basically the series ends on a rather shallow high-note and, at the time of writing, a second season doesn’t exist…. which means you will have to read the ongoing manga to find out what happens next.
When it comes to bonus features then this release of Blade Dance of the Elementalers has to be commended as not only are the ‘usual selection’ of content present on the disc but we are also treated to six mini OVA episodes as well as a selection of Japanese promotional trailers.
Personally for me the highlight of this Blu-ray release was the Mini OVA Episodes as while they are short, each one is only about three minutes long, they can provide some extra context to certain parts of the TV Series. In some instances however they also provide a few laughs; including a hot springs scene which sees Kamito mistakingly thinking it was the men’s bath when it was instead for the girls.
The Japanese promotional materials on the otherhand do give a nice overview of what promotional activities the series went through in Japan for its TV and Home video release; a small feature which seems to be absent from most anime releases over here in the west. Of course both of these may not seem like ‘massive additions’ to a Blu-ray release; but compared to the usual selection of bonus content then they are a welcome addition.
Media: BD 50, BD25
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:07:03 (Disc 1), 1:13:54 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
What Blade Dance of the Elementalers is everything and nothing at the same time; it offers a story that is not only uninformative but inconclusive and yet it manages to hit the right buttons on what makes an anime series enjoyable for me. The presentation of characters, the action sequences and the challenges brought about from past events – it is all delivered but yet there’s no conclusive ending. Instead it i a cliff-hanger endings with no sequel in sight; so it is off to reading the manga.
The series follows lead protagonists Kamito Kazehaya and Claire Rogue and while they each may have their own goal in mind, such as locating a lost-loved-one, neither actually manage to accomplish it; instead we see them grow as characters and develop a bond between each other while at the same time make new friends and rivals. Its interesting to say that even the ‘bond’ between Kamito and Claire is inconclusive and, just like many great love stories, we don’t see a romantic ending but a happy ending with a goal in-sight is what can be seen; the ultimate blade dance and a common goal.
While an inconclusive story can be found with this series it does provide a lot of entertainment and the same can be said for this Blu-ray release by Animatsu Entertainment thanks to inclusion of easy reading subtitles, which change colour depending on who is talking (White and Yellow) and a nice selection of bonus content. Most Sentai Filmwork releases tend not to contain a wide selection of content; but here not only do we have original promotional content but we also have six OVA episodes – each of which are just as inconclusive as the main series itself. The quality of the show may not be as high as most other anime productions; but its safe to say that this Blu-ray release of Blade Dance of the Elementalers brings out the best of what the show has to offer; especially the wounderful animation colours for Claire’s fire during certain scenes.
Typically speaking Blade Dance of the Elementalers is a show I shouldn’t really enjoy; not only does it have an incomplete story, both in romance and in goals, but parts of the series are filled with potentially over the top ecchi scenes and harem styled banter – all of which I tend to get bored with easily. Somehow however it all pulls together to provide an entertaining series from start to finish; and with this Blu-ray release by Animatsu Entertainment that inconclusive storyline is made complete with a high quality release and a variety of bonus content. If you enjoyed elements within Shakugan No Shana and The Familiar of Zero then you will no doubt love this series; be even if not I still suggest giving it a go – especially if you like magic.
Blade Dance of the Elementalers is now available on Blu-ray and DVD within the UK.