What would you be willing to do in exchange for a magnificent sword made through magical smelting techniques?
Story: Isao Miura
Art: Kotaro Yamada
Translation: Adrienne Beck
Adaptation: Janet Houck
What They Say
Like her father and grandfather before her, Cecily Campbell has entered the knighthood and joined the ranks of the Knight Guards of Houseman. Eager to do her heritage proud and defend her city, Cecily rushes to the marketplace to stop a madman from terrorizing the populace. She quickly realizes, however, that she is hopelessly outmatched and ill-prepared for an actual fight. A lone figure named Luke Ainsworth swoops to the rescue, a swordsman and blacksmith of much renown, who will repair the broken sword Cecily has inherited from her father and take her down a road of perilous adventure beyond her wildest dreams.
The Review! (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I like Seven Seas front cover for this volume better than the original Japanese release because the Seven Seas book is zoomed out and we can see all of Cecily. The background on the front cover also looks nice. I really like Yamada’s art style, with highly varied panel shapes, full-page art, well-done panels with overlap, and comedic moments that are just enough and not overkill. Fight scenes are frenetic and surprisingly gory, which I like.
This is an e-copy review, so I don’t know what extras there might be or how the printing turned out. The adaptation reads well and I didn’t notice any grammar or editing problems. The original Japanese SFX remains with an English translation overlaid and mimicking the art style of the original. I thought this was a nice touch.
The world of The Sacred Blacksmith is a mixture of sword and sorcery where some swordsmen made Demon Pacts to become stronger. The act of making a Demon Pact and sacrificing their body parts was a desperate tactic that wreaked havoc over a massive scale between the armies battling in the Valbanill War. That was forty years ago, and Demon Pacts have been forbidden since the end of the war, or so people think.
Cecily Campbell is a member of the Knight Guard and looking to keep up the honor her family has maintained over the years. That is a lot of pressure for the only daughter of the Campbell family. Cecily believes she must protect the people of her city, but she also wants to do it with her family sword, broken down as it is. This proves to be a poor decision when her sword breaks during a skirmish. With the rabble-rouser’s axe about to split Cecily in two, she quickly realizes how poorly she is prepared to live as a knight. Luckily for her, a stranger steps in and uses his sword to cut Cecily’s attacker’s axe blade in half.
The power of her savior’s sword is more surprising to Cecily than the fact that a stranger stepped in and saved her life. Personally, I think Cecily should be a lot more grateful than she is, but she’s too fascinated with this stranger and his sword to even realize how lucky she was. Cecily learns the man is a smithy named Luke, and he made the sword he carries. So she travels to his smithy and asks for him to make her a sword but he refuses, stating that he only makes everyday items for people, never weapons. Lucky for us, Cecily is hard-headed and won’t take no for an answer. She gives Luke an impressive speech about her convictions and desire to protect people, but it doesn’t do any good. Instead, she hires Luke to be a mercenary with her knight brigade as they go to capture bandits. Although, she secretly plans on making him see how deserving she is of his sword.
Things get dicey as the bandits they are hunting have some Inhumans working for them. They turn out to be huge werewolf like creatures and they are more than Cecily’s knights can handle. Luke may be a tough guy, but can he kill all the Inhumans and take out the bandits without any help? Is this how Cecily’s quest to prove her worthiness of Luke’s sword making skills is going to end? And why does Luke have a young elf-girl sidekick?
It has been a long time since I watched The Sacred Blacksmith anime, but I had just as much fun reading this first volume of the manga from Seven Seas as I did watching the anime. So much that now I want to go back and watch the anime again. I’m not sure how many episodes of the anime equaled this first volume of the manga, but my hope is that the manga will go much longer and make it beyond what the anime covered since both are based on a light novel series. I would also like to see the manga branch off into different side adventures to differentiate it from the anime.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Seven Seas Entertainment
Release Date: May 21st, 2013