12 Sep 2011
In recent years, I have found that there has been a lack of series involving pretty girls, swords and a fantasy setting...
Okay, so that's obviously a complete lie as I can name at least three series within the last year that have ticked all of these particular little boxes. So, with all this competition from both streaming and DVD series, what does The Sacred Blacksmith bring to the table in order to stand out from the crowd?
The story follows a bumbling female knight, Cecely Cambell, as she begins her role as a knight guardian of an independent city in a land recovering from an unholy battle many years previously at the hands of a demon god. Cecely, although initially completely inept, has the advantage of at least having a strong will to fight, although she lacks talent and finds herself repeatedly being rescued from the hoardes of demons by the young broody blacksmith Luke and his childlike elven partner Lisa, who just happens to have the ability to magically forge swords.
Cecely finds her life to be generally quite easy going other than the continuous quips about her voluptuous chest contained within her well polished breastplate (I promise, that is the only comment of this nature from now on...) - that is, until she finds a demon sword thrust into her possession. This sword, Aria, reveals the true nature of the world and the darkness gathering beyond the city walls, one battle at a time. Will Cecely be able to hold back the oncoming demon hoardes and protect the ones she loves? Well, there's only one way to find out.
At first glance, and for almost the entire first disc, The Sacred Blacksmith seems to be just another "moe" anime housed within a fantasy setting and with no real substance (although admittedly, watching Cecely and Lisa just bumbling about acting cute is rather compelling in itself). At first glance, I thought the series was going the way of Spice and Wolf, but it isn't by any means. The true intention of the series is revealed as various smaller story arcs and hints intertwine, revealing a plot to destroy the entirety of mankind, Lord of the Rings style, complete with the reawakening of a demon god. Unfortunately, a few short episodes later and after several quite epic battles between friends, strangers, enemies, mystical beings and other demon swords, the series ends leaving the world a little bruised, but generally intact.
The Sacred Blacksmith is probably best described as a tease, as the series spends a good half of its run-time trying to find ways to force Cecely and Luke together. Admittedly, it spends this time building Cecely up, allowing her to train and in turn allowing us to grow attached to her odd sensibilities and personality. That is all well and good if the series had continued in this vein, but to suddenly thrust upon us in four episodes (and after a rather special story arc involving a discarded princess and her cronies) the end of the world and rampaging demon hoardes is just mean and lazy. If you are going to make a series where you tell the story of the end of the world, then do it. If you are going to have a fun time and frolic with friends, then do that instead. Mixing the two doesn't work, at least not without a longer air time and better writing. My only regret is that the world created within the series was not better utilised as it had so much potential. Ah well.
So then, is The Sacred Blacksmith something special? Well, it's nicely animated, well acted and entertaining to watch, but unfortunately badly paced and badly planned. All this aside, the Sacred Blacksmith is twelve episodes of a buxom cute and very likeable knight fighting adversity, battling for those she loves and strutting her stuff in her armoured bodice while narrowly averting the end of the world -all as a complete series, in a single box. If that tickles your fancy, then you may well want to give the series a shot.