Number of episodes: 12
Production Studio: Manglobe
Fansub Release Viewed: gg
Likelihood of US Release: Medium
Cecily Campbell needs a Blacksmith who can mend the sword given to her by her father. By chance she meets Luke, a magic-user with an oddly-shaped sword who can use his magic to fix her weapon.
Cecily Campbell has inherited the responsibilities of being a knight from her illustrious family name, but not the skills; though she’s capable of putting enough fear in common criminals to get them to stop in their tracks, when she’s forced to confront a war veteran gone mad, she suddenly finds her sword with its tip sliced off. She’s saved in the nick of time by a man named Luke, who uses an unusual but extremely sharp sword to defeat her enemy. Intrigued by Luke and unable to find a blacksmith who can reforge her sword (a family heirloom), she seeks him out in his house in the woods.
Cecily pleads with Luke for him to forge her an indestructible sword like his, and explains her own reasoning behind becoming a knight. Before he can give her a real answer, a bell rings and they rush to see what’s going on. Monsters have initiated an attack on a supply cart, and while Cecily cannot seem to dispatch them, Luke makes short work of the beasts. However, they’re soon confronted by an even greater menace, an ice demon created through a contract with the Devil. Luke’s sword breaks, but while Cecily buys him some time, he uses magic of his own to reforge his sword.
Oh Manglobe. I knew a gem like Michiko to Hatchin would be tough to follow, but did you really have to go the generic fantasy route? While The Sacred Blacksmith is certainly not bottom-of-the-barrel entertainment, coming from a studio that I know can produce much better (and wholly original) works, it is really disappointing.
I should note that I try not to make a habit of getting my hopes up based only on the past projects of those who are contributing to it. I think that it’s unfair to expect a constant stream of greatness from one source; there will always be missteps here and there and frankly sometimes studios are going to have to produce things that are more likely to bag them some funds rather than stand out as artistic masterpieces. But I’m only human, after all, and even though the trailers that I saw for this series made it out to be yet another fantasy series with a group of characters who wield various powers, wear silly and impractical outfits, and have stupid hairstyles, I thought that maybe Manglobe could salvage something of merit from the source material.
One thing that does stand out is the excellent animation, which is to be expected from this production house. The battle scene which takes up the bulk of the final third of the episode is a treat to watch, especially the portion where Luke deftly slices his way through the group of werewolf-like creatures. Even the footwork in this scene is well-animated. There are many instances throughout the episode where extra steps are taken to portray more natural movement, or even just more movement, period. Having seen plenty of anime go the “panning still-frame” route, this is a welcome sight for bored eyes. The character designs are also admittedly pretty appealing, though adhere more to a standard of anime cuteness than I generally like. Luke also has an irritating ponytail, which gives his overall hairstyle an appearance dangerously close to that of a mullet. I have to take some issue with Cecily’s armor, though, which is quite literally a breast plate; her curvature is outlined to a silly degree. In the scene where she guards Luke from the icy projectiles of the demonic creature, it’s difficult to keep from laughing as they break against her rock-hard boobs.
All the other elements of the series point fingers squarely at its generic nature. The opening and ending themes are your average, unrelated (in lyrics or mood) pop songs, and the story reeks of a crummy JRPG (if you’ve played one, you’ve played them all). It even appears as if, once united, the main characters will comprise some sort of standard party. It all seems depressingly brain dead to me, as if the show is going through a set of motions without any sort of real purpose or direction. And it’s very unfortunate because I know this studio can do better in all aspects.
To sum up, this show seems like it would be far from satisfying. It’s got all the elements of a standard fantasy series, and there are people who eat that kind of thing up like leftover Halloween candy. I’m just finding the whole thing very uninteresting, and putting it in a pretty package isn’t going to fool me into thinking otherwise.
- The animation is very good, especially in action scenes
- All other aspects of the series are bland and uninspired