The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

The Sacred Blacksmith

Title: The Sacred Blacksmith aka Seiken no Burakkusumisu
Genre: Drama/Action
Company: manglobe
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 3 Oct 2009 – 19 Dec 2009

Synopsis: In a land of might and magic, a great war was fought 44 years ago causing great strife and turmoil. New and evil practices were unleashed in this war, resulting in the Demon Contract, a willing bid for power at the cost of one’s soul. Years later, the traumas from that war are still having an effect on the world. Cecily Campbell, a third generation knight, vows to protect an independent trade city from any who would disrupt the peace. But she is young, raw, and has no combat experience. One day, as her life is in jeopardy, she is saved by a young man named Luke Ainsworth and his unique type of sword… the katana!

The Highlights
Premise: A good idea not executed well enough.
Animation: Good for a television series.
Characters: Managed to get at least 2 dimensions from the mains.
Music: OP and ED clash; BGM was okay.
Katanah!?: Oh internet.
Cecily Campbell’s breasts: Sheeeeeee-it, I’m about to go blind!

As Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, of Futurama fame once said, “Well, that was pointless”. I know he wasn’t talking about The Sacred Blacksmith, but he was thinking about it. Here we have a clear cut example of what NOT to do with only 12 episodes. One, don’t introduce an interesting premise then throw it aside for several exposition episodes about the characters. Two, don’t chuck an important plot point about the rarity of Demon Swords then give one to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that shows up. Three, don’t give us a totally unrelated plot arc right in the damned middle of the show. And, finally, four, don’t try to rush an ending because you screwed up on the pacing. None of these things may be the fault of the creative staff as they may have been following the source material literally, but that is not always the best course of action. Other anime, with arguably better direction and production, have veered from the source material when it looks like said source material is becoming unfocused or lost. Perhaps they figured because other light novel anime have done so well, they were going to get a second season and they could even things out more. Well, it hasn’t happened and, as far as I know, there are no plans to make one.

So what we’re left with here is a fantasy setting story that starts out rather interesting and just glides to a rather unsatisfactory ending. I heard a number of guffaws and grumbles about the Japanese egocentric katana superiority thing, and I know that distracted those same folks from seeing the show for what it is. To me, that’s fandom at it’s worst. If you’re going to allow your enjoyment of something to be diminished because you can’t get over a rather minor aspect of a show, then you’re a jackass. The story of a young knight wanting to become stronger to protect the city she loves is nothing new, but toss in a snarky and cynical young blacksmith, an adorable waif, and a weapon of war that has seen a lot of bloodshed, and you’ve got a nice mixed bag of characters who have room to grow. As the show progresses, Cecily becomes more worldly and less naive, Luke becomes softer and more helpful, Lisa becomes human, and Aria begins questioning her purpose as a tool of war. By the show’s end, you get the feeling that these people can continue to grow and change.

However, like I said, the show got lost way too quickly in exposition and randomness. Character episodes aren’t a bad thing early on, but considering the whole of the show, they end up being a rather bad idea. Not enough time was given to fully explore the nature of the Demon Contract and the veterans of the Valbanill War who continue to be a source of conflict years later. Instead, we end up with a rather nonsensical villain whose motives are confusing and a hurried attempt at creating a climax. Too many questions left unanswered with lots of unexplored possibilities. What was the overall goal of The Sacred Blacksmith? I can’t find one and am left to conclude that it is nothing but a pointless mess.

The Rating: 5
5/10

Reviewed by: TypicalIdiotFan

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