Bamboo Blade | 08

by

Bamboo Blade (Tama-chan)
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“Tama-chan and The Part-Time Job”

Summary: A TV spot ad for an animation set called Materia Puzzle brings out the otaku in Tama-chan. She absolutely must have it but she doesn’t have enough money. She decides to take her first part-time job, filling in for Miya-miya at a cute shop. It’s a nerve wracking experience for her but it turns into real problem when her father believes she’s working to get him a birthday present.

The episode is centered around Tama-chan’s growth. Physically she’s strong but she’s socially stunted. Her first major hurdle was joining and getting along with the kendo team which was easy since they’re a friendly bunch (excluding Toyama). Her next big hurdle is socializing outside of school, working at a shop owned by a creepy woman. She’s exhausted by the time her shift ends because she was so anxious during work. I’m sure most people can relate.

Some people think the quiet moment at the end where Tama-chan rests on her bike and takes in the scenery is filler. Disagree. This reflective moment shows she’s changed from that once anti-social introverted girl from episode 1. Recall her routine. She used to be fine with going home promptly for kendo lessons at her father’s dojo then watching anime before bed. Joining the kendo class taught her to interact with other’s her age. Taking a part-time job taught her how to interact with other people. On top of that, she begins to understand the concept of working and earning money now. The so called meaningless landscape scene shows her appreciating those carefree moments she took for granted. It can also signify how she missed out on the world because of her closed minded mentality before joining the kendo club.

In my opinion, Tama-chan isn’t the main character. It’s Kojirou. It’s similiar to Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, where the the main characters, Claudio and Hero, are overshadowed by Beatrice and Benedick. As Ishibashi commented, he has the task of raising Tama-chan, potentially the strongest kendoka the world has ever seen but he can’t help her if he can’t help himself. Broke, hungry, bumming off his students… not the best role model. He also shrugs off the responsibility in this episode to Isibashi’s comment she’s missing something.

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