There are only two words that can describe this episode...EPIC DRAMA!!! The previous twenty three episodes were all laidback, a slice of life with kendo added as spicing. Out of the blue, this episode stumbles its way in. Where do I even start?
The entire club is in turmoil as Miya Miya is still not showing up for club activities, and Tamaki has decided to quit the club. This makes Kirino and Ishida depressed that they start avoiding the club. Unlikely key figures in Yuji, Satorin, and Toyama and Iwasa, suddenly turn things around almost in an instant.
Although it was a bit predictable that all of the problems would fix its way back to normal, it did it in such dramatic fashion. All of the character development that the entire anime has built up towards now really made this just an absolutely spectacular episode to watch, sort of like Fullmoon wo Sagashi-te, except the beginning wasn't boring.
I'm one to hate the anime series' obligatory conflict and inevitable arguments, but the ones that Kirino and Satorin delivered were just beautiful. It felt really down to earth and realistic, an argument I could actually imagine happening in real life. The characters were never more fleshed out than they were here. Even Toyama who we have seen little from, also played a huge part; although he was the catalyst to stopping the club from being suspended, he was still in character. Excellent execution on his part.
While it's usually a bad thing when an anime suddenly changes the atmosphere and tone, even for a single episode, Bamboo Blade made the transition smooth, and best of all, it was excellent. I've been truly taken by this episode, and there are still two episodes left in the anime.