Cecily is a new knight of the Trade Cities, now saved twice by a cold guy named Luke. In service to the city, her family sword is damaged beyond repair. Luke happens to be a capable blacksmith famed to forge some of the best swords a person can attain. The two start with a torrid relationship, so convincing him to make a replacement will be tough.
Monsters attacks are on the rise, and people forming contracts with demons are causing havoc. To stabilise the situation, the demon sword of wind is brought the city. The sword takes a human form, going by the name of Aria. Those who wielded her only brought death to people, but Cecily wants to use her to protect others. They may be destined partners. Cecily may also be destined for more than quarreling with Luke.
Some of the concepts seem cool. The intro and ending I found annoying. The designs and colors were clean and vibrant. And at least on one occasion it sinks down to the level of exposing Cecily's boobs for no reason. This was going to be a series that would be hard for me to form an opinion on. Could a series really fence sit without becoming neither better or worse? Surprisingly that's just what Sacred Blacksmith did.
At first I assumed the the characters shallow or poorly thought out, but some of that was actually explained in the story. Lisa for example, is Luke's ever devoted assistant. She seems cliche with her dedicated "I just want to make Luke happy" attitude, but there is a real reason behind that. The one character who does not beat expectations is the central character Cecily. I can only her describe as a total moron. She is totally inept at fencing, but made a guard of the Trade Cities anyway. Her naive opinions with regards to politics is astounding. She's even worthless as a maid. Cecily wants to protect people but it doesn't occur to her that using a super powerful demon sword would be the best way to do that for about 8 (out of 12) episodes? In one scene Cecily uses the sword's wind power to propel her like a dart. This anime apparently thought that was a stroke of genius because Cecily then EXPLAINS what she obviously did just 5 seconds ago. Do they really think the audience is that dumb? Wait, isn't that an insult of sorts being lectured by the dumbest character in the show? Oddly enough, this is the opposite of how she is the manga.
The series starts out with a few simple explanations with character introductions for four episodes. The next four feature a story about a princess that comes to town. I wasn't happy with this arc, but it was tolerable. At this point I expected this series to never move beyond mediocre, and leave things hanging for the next season - I'm really starting to hate that approach. Sacred Blacksmith took an unusual turn with impressive plot details emerging. It also dug into some great character stories, and on top of that actually addressed the man in black who had been ominously looming in the backdrop. Not bad!
My fear of this anime devolving into a fan service orgy was thankfully unfounded. It does sink to the level of showing bare boobs twice, but aside from that most boob jokes were simple passing comments on Cecily's bust size, and it wasn't even overused. That's surprisingly reserved considering the industry today. I was very critical of sword fighting as I watched this, but noticed an big difference in skilled vs unskilled fights. At first I had simply thought this anime was cutting corners with the clumsy swordplay, but after witnessing more adept fights I realized this anime was a bit more intelligent than I thought, and skill in swordsmanship is a visible feature.
Sacred Blacksmith is unusual for an unfinished series, as it manages to cover a decent amount of ground, developed some cool stories, and managed to actually accomplish something by the end. It's not uncommon for such series to try to build up a bunch of stuff and leave us hanging for whatever comes next, but this is worth watching as it stands right now. With only a few minor plot holes, the story thus far is pretty good - Lisa's story is a particular gem. Even better; the story of Sacred Blacksmith is poised to become something really great. I hope it gets there, and I'm looking forward to seeing some more. It's not without its problems, but with the balance of good and bad manages to be a decent watch.
Cecily: Lisa is just as much of a woman as I am.
Lisa: I think you're enormous boobs make you much more of a woman than me.
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reviewed by archen in 2011