Song of the Broadsword came out of nowhere for me. No name studio that I never heard about just 20 people having it on their anilist. MAL? Not that much better with barely 200 people even acknowledging its existence. Still considering a rather high praise from one the folks I follow I decided to give it a go. And honestly in some aspects Ive actually been blown away by this rather obscure donghua. But let us not jump too far ahead and start with its premise. 700 The premise itself is exactly what you would expect from this medium its a simple story about enacting revenge onto the people who murdered the family of our main hero. Pretty standard as youd think aight? Well your not wrong the story is not the main dish of this little and short donghua. It is but an excuse for our hero to take up the sword and go out on a journey to avenge his dead family. 700 Honestly I can see people thinking that such simple story is gonna be simply bad but its not. Its not amazing by any means if anything its rather barebones. Yet its plot point as simple as they are are actually doing quite a good job of guiding you through the story. Its just that there was no time nor budget to properly expand upon it. Which imo is a shame especially considering that all of the villains felt like proper people not just your average sunday anime villains. They all had proper reasons behind their actions and given more time to explore not only them but also the character of main hero and his companion we would certainly receive story that would be nothing to be ashamed off. Still considering the time constraints the budget and most importantly direction focused on the fights we are still left with something serviceable and something that works just fine as an excuse for our journey. Including the ending which while foreseeable was a nice touch to the story and still allowed to leave the doors open for a second season. The same goes for the last 2 retrospective episodes giving us just a little bit more insight into this world of martial arts and its denizens. While not great they surely served their purpose. 700 But hey like I said the story is not the centerpiece of this donghua. It is all about the fights. And oh boy are they not only good looking but also perfectly encapsulating the wuxia fantasy. Honestly its hard to describe but the way everything plays out during the action sentences is just top notch wuxia film making and anyone who loves good old kungfu movies will feel at home. The punches kicks and all of the weapon swings feel impactful. Even more when they actually go around the opponents guard and connect with the face of the brute on the other side. Its simply a spectacle to behold one that will surely mesmerize every wuxia fan. And its not only the sound effects or the fight choreography that makes it such a great show the dynamic camera work is also one of the crucial aspects of what makes the fights look and feel so good. The way it follows our adversaries during the fights or how it sways with each powerful hit landing really elevates the fighting scenes as a whole. Making them feel even more alive and dynamic than I could have expected and certainly blowing away anything we have seen in CGI TV anime series like Ajin or Knights of Sidonia. Honestly Japanese CGI studios should feel ashamed. There is no excuse for 4 frame per second shows when no name chinese animation studio is capable of delivering buttery smooth animation on their first try. 700 Speaking about animation its just like I said before its buttery smooth and a pleasure to watch during the action scenes. But is the art style just as good? Imo its a mixed bag. On one hand we are met with really nice 2.5d style that makes use of cell shaded 3d models. Which honestly for the most part look pretty damn good a lot like Genshin impact character models which I think can be taken as a compliment. The problematic part is the 3d environment in which the fights and story tend to happen. They will at times look rather mediocre if not rather bland and empty that is not to say there were no good looking scenes in here. Its just that at times it was pretty clear that there was a lack of time/manpower or simply money to make all of the scenes look good. Certainly a shame but nothing game breaking. I think its also worth mentioning that the donghua had some nice 2d sceneries that made for a really nice reflection moments. 700 The last thing that we will talk about is the soundscape. Honestly one of the strongest points of this donghua. The Chinese stringswinds and drums playing during the fights are simply entrancing. They perfectly set the stage for the story and fights urging you and the characters to finish it all in one swift moment. If anything the OST does remind me of my time with Witcher series when it comes to the soundtrack. With both OSTs making me crave for more. Imo this is clearly the strongest point of this donghua. 700 When it comes to SFX they are also good the sound effects during the fights are just meaty enough while not completely taking over the soundscape. Its just shame that at times they kinda disappear during calmer moments for example in one of the scenes in woods you can hear the fauna and the rain but for w/e the reason there is no sound of the footsteps even though the camera is pretty close to the legs and low to the ground. However to be honest it wasnt that jarring. And I think I can excuse those mistakes considering this is coming from brand new studio that no one ever heard about before. Oh and before I forget I would also like to mention OP and ED that nicely sets up the mood for each and every episode: Honestly I think thats all I have to say about it. So to sum it up: Song of the Broadsword wont offer you a deep and nuanced story but it also wont butcher it leaving us with just good enough reason to follow the hero. The selling points are instead amazing OST and epic fights that truly bring to life one of the pillars of Wuxia that is the great showdowns between martial artists. 700
70 /100
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