Cecily Campbell is a new knight in the independent city of Housman, taking up her duty as head of her noble house after the passing of her father. As The Sacred Blacksmith opens, we see her on one of her first days protecting her home city as she runs into a demon-possessed man in the marketplace. She hesitates to take care of the problem, and in her hesitation she is nearly lost, with her family’s sword broken and nearly losing her life. Luckily for her, someone comes to her rescue, an aloof young man named Luke Ainsworth, who dispatches the menace with consummate skill.
Cecily soon finds out that Luke is a blacksmith and she visits him and his cute, diminutive assistant Lisa, both to thank him for her rescue and ask him to reforge her father’s sword. In a not-too-shocking turn of events, Luke refuses. But he ends up saving her life again while escorting her home, as another demon attacks the caravan in front of them before turning on them. Using the strange powers of Lisa, Luke is able to forge a sword on the spot to take care of the problem. After the battle, they find that the caravan has been slaughtered to a man, leaving Cecily and Luke to bring their special delivery to the Housman government. The package is a demon sword that has the ability to turn itself into a rather fetching woman named Aria.
One may ask where all these demons came from. We learn a demon enters a human’s life when the human enters into a demon contract. It was with a contract like this, made during the Valbanill War close to fifty years ago, that Aria first came to awareness with little understanding of her origins. Despite being a demon sword, Aria soon shows Cecily that she hates being passed from warlord to warlord and despises war. So, the two soon enter an agreement. Aria will be Cecily’s sword and use her efforts to protect the innocent rather than for slaughter.
Frankly, Cecily can use the help. She shows herself to be rather inept as a knight, and as the series progresses, it’s a pleasure to see how she improves. The plot is more than just demon attacks, as we learn about the precarious political situation Housman endures in trying to stay independent from the Empire. This situation is exacerbated when the illegitimate daughter of the Emperor, Charlotte E. Firobisher, comes to Housman with the goal of taking Aria to help with her quest for legitimacy. Also, there is the looming threat of the arch-demon Valbanill, only held in check by a sword forged by Luke’s father, a sword that soon needs to be replaced by Luke himself, if he has the skill to do so before the land once again plunges into all-out war.
There’s quite a bit of humor in The Sacred Blacksmith as well, as we see the slow, almost unwilling courtship between the earnest Cecily and the cool, detached Luke. Likewise, the battle, rivalry, and eventual friendship between Cecily and Charlotte (and her subordinates) bring some smiles. The one flaw in the humor is an obsession from nearly all the characters with the size of Cecily’s breasts. But the almost innocent design of all the characters by the Japanese studio Manglobe mitigates this a bit and makes the characters very appealing. Even the rather sensual Aria is drawn in a lighthearted manner, usually with a cheery smile on her face. Overall, the animation is competent and slick, but doesn’t push any boundaries.
The series as it stands at twelve episodes is incomplete and we never get to the final confrontation with Valbanill. But what it does do well is establish the characters and their motivations, begin to peel back the mysteries of the natures of the demons, and explore the origins behind Aria and Lisa. With the exception of the references to — and sometimes the appearance of — Cecily’s breasts, this series would be standard young adult fare, with some slightly bloody deaths due to sword and nothing more. But for those libraries that have anime in their adult collection, The Sacred Blacksmith would be a good addition. Anime-hungry teens should be able to find it there. One never knows if these series which tell only half the story will ever be completed or brought over from Japan, but The Sacred Blacksmith tells enough of the story to be worth a look.
The Sacred Blacksmith: the complete series
directed by Masamitsu Hidaka
300 minutes, Number of Discs: 2, Season set
Company Age Rating: TV MA