Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $64.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
This is a story about a knight, her boobs and a blacksmith with a big secret.
If you’ve ever played a Japanese role-playing game on just about any gaming console or handheld you know that when they do fantasy they do it in a grand and epic scale that – in its own way – it feels as though you’ve experienced a story that unfolds like a brilliant anime series. So you can bet I’m excited by fantasy anime and why the Complete Series of The Sacred Blacksmith was high on my Must See list.
As it turned out, there is much to love about The Sacred Blacksmith’s 12-episodes and just a few things that keep it from being truly epic but believe me when I say that you will enjoy it either way. You see, this series is set in a fantasy realm where a god-like demon has been cast out temporarily from the nearby kingdom of Houseman but rest assured that the people are preparing themselves by training their knights for battle as well as putting their faith in a young blacksmith who will craft a sword capable of killing this demon.
One of these knights is young Cecily Cambell from a prestigious household that gave birth the noble knights. Sure, she’s a dainty-looking and very bosomy lass who might not be experienced but she has the guts to step up to an opponent much bigger than she and Cecily is the type of girl who doesn’t give up. One day, she even faces off against a deranged knight who wandered into the city only to be saved by a handsome young man who was out shopping with his cute younger companion.
Having broken her blade during the skirmish with the knight, Cecily is referred to a blacksmith that lives away from the town. Imagine her surprise when she discovers that the blacksmith in question is the same young swordsman that saved her. He is Luke, a rather grumpy yet handsome young man who lives with the oh-so cute Lisa (voiced to perfection in the English dub by Monica Rial). Luke can’t fix Cecily’s family sword and he won’t even craft a new sword for her despite the fact that she is a knight defending the kingdom. Luke won’t even shake her hand or say anything nice to her yet Cecily doesn’t stop from visiting him frequently.
Oh, but something evil is afoot as demons appear and Cecily finds herself facing these dangerous monsters only to find herself being rescued by Luke who not only knows how to craft a sword but use it flawlessly in battle. Cecily witnesses how the Luke-Lisa partnership works in a battle against a demon that was once a man as the young pair craft a sword using Lisa’s magic and Luke’s ability to weave the spell that covers all the basics of crafting a sword (e.g. folding and the various polishes that are part of the process).
It seems a mysterious figure in black is behind the attacks on the city as Cecily discovers that the men that turn into demons have done so because they had formed a Devil’s Contract. These attacks might have something to do with a unique item that Cecily is charged with caring for in a mission given to her by her captain. As it turns out, this unique item is a beautiful young woman named Aria who has a very interesting secret. You see, Aria might look and act like a human but her real form is that of a Demon Sword.
As a friendship is formed between Cecily and Aria, these two women become closer friends with Luke and Lisa. A homebody who much rather stare at the mountain from his porch, the sullen Luke finds himself going out more because of Cecily and Aria. Cecily actually tries to improve things about Luke such as how he treats Lisa who wants nothing more than to stay by the young man’s side. In fact, while you might not come to like Luke you will come to find Lisa’s attachment to Luke rather endearing. Even better, Cecily and Luke’s relationship is also intriguing since it’s obvious that she likes Luke even though the guy lacks charm or social skills.
As Aria becomes close enough to Cecily to offer herself up as Cecily’s Demon Sword, e also meet a group of young girls who wield Demon Swords as well as they protect their young master who is after Aria and Luke who is considered the “sacred blacksmith.” Meanwhile, the man in black gets a lot closer and he not only sends another opponent after Aria but also reveals himself by crossing swords with Luke.
The best part of the series comes towards the end as secrets are revealed with the biggest one involving Luke, Lisa and a childhood friend of Luke who lost her life. The story isn’t structured as smoothly as one might expect, however, and the episodes jump from one situation to the next and the ending isn’t as satisfying. Thankfully, you’ll come to love the characters and their relationships with each another. The series also has a good sense of humor as well with a running gag about Cecily’s big boobs. Then there’s the fighting scenes that are actually quite exciting.
The Complete Series of The Sacred Blacksmith is a solid entry in the action-fantasy genre that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the story, its characters and the action. Of course, it has a few weak spots when it comes to the story structure but that’s not much of a complaint seeing as you will enjoy what this series has to offer and the characters that will make you glad you picked this one up. The Sacred Blacksmith is a good series and one fantasy fans will certainly appreciate.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Cecily follows in her father’s footsteps and becomes a knight protecting her homeland but when her sword break she turns to Luke, a young blacksmith who has been commissioned to forge the Sacred Sword that is capable of slaying a demon god. Along the way, Cecily meets a special girl named Aria as a mysterious figure is targeting her and the blacksmith.
VIDEO QUALITY: A-
The animation is wonderfully vibrant and colorful with visual effects that are actually quite impressive when it comes to battles against demons. Even the character design works well in this fantasy setting so this series does give us something really good to look at throughout the series.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
Tamiya Terashima’s score feels like it would have fit perfectly in an epic role-playing game and does justice to the fantasy genre of this series. Add a great Japanese voice cast and an even better English dub cast with Cherami Leigh (Cecily), Blake Sheppard (Luke) and Monica Rial (Lisa) at their very best. The opening theme song by Gojo Mayumi as awesome and the closing theme song “Miracle Happy Day” is downright cute.
There’s a Limited Edition version with a 32-page art booklet and a pinup poster, which is perfect for fans of this series. The second disc in both versions come with textless opening and closing theme songs, trailers and a Next Episode feature that really should have been included at the end of each episode.
It’s actually great to find a really good fantasy-themed anime and The Complete Series of The Sacred Blacksmith doesn’t disappoint. Sure, there are a few things that could have been handled better to made this a true classic but the great characters will win you over enough to really enjoy this series.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment