I haven’t completely lost interest for the fantasy adventure genre; maybe it’s just the little kid in me. But in recent years, I haven’t seen a good fantasy anime hit all the sweet spots I felt back in the day. Anime adaptations of video game shows such as Tales of the Abyss and Valkyria Chronicles were pretty decent, but not enough to satisfy my tastes overall. Having a nice first impression about it, I turn to Seiken no Blacksmith (or The Sacred Blacksmith) and decided to watch it for just some plain, light fantasy fun. Unfortunately, Seiken no Blacksmith generally disappointed my eyes and ears. Back when I first saw Tears to Tiara I remember it had a similar outcome as Blacksmith; both productions had a good start, but then rapidly faltered towards the finish line. Thankfully, Blacksmith only has 12 episodes compared to Tears to Tiara’s 26. But honestly, Tears to Tiara did a much better job than this fantasy flop did.
So let’s see if I can do some plot justice to this whole mess. Basically, Seiken no Blacksmith is centered on an epic conflict that occurred centuries past, where the power of demons were used by humans to eliminate their enemies. Eventually the war ended and the demons’ power forbidden for anyone to use. Love and peace was supposedly restored throughout the land, but then a handful of people started abusing the forbidden demon power, intent on bringing chaos to the world once more. The funny thing is you won’t actually know Seiken no Blacksmith is actually focused on demons, monsters, demon swords, and a mysterious entity named Valbanil until you watch a few episodes in. Instead, the story starts first with Cecily Campbell becoming a knight to honor her late father, and her eventual, fateful encounter with the broody, katana-wielding blacksmith named Luke Ainsworth. And so her adventure begins from there.
The first episode of Blacksmith is actually pretty decent. You get the busty, knight-in-training Cecily thwarting a thief from stealing food from the nice townspeople, and then a drunk/lunatic old man creates some disturbance that gets everyone’s frantic attention. Cecily tries to be the courageous knight that she is and faces the old man in a duel, only to be beaten and saved by Luke. Enter a giant spider monster and knights getting killed in brutal ways possible, so it’s Luke, Cecily…and her boobs to the rescue. Blacksmith is pretty much your standard fantasy adventure anime show with a big-breasted female protagonist who is sort of naïve and inexperienced in the ways of war and life in general, and wants to have the courage to stand up to evil. At that time I was fairly interested, so I progressed through it.
But come second episode, that’s where everything starts to fall apart – and Blacksmith does so very quickly and suddenly. In several instances the show will introduce an ostensibly significant plot element, and then randomly throw in another. There’s just no real cohesiveness to the narration; as a result you’re not really sure what's going on...until ultimately you are just 100% sure that absolutely nothing makes sense anymore. For that matter, the only thing I wanted to do was to get this over with and be done with it forever. To my utmost chagrin, I actually felt compelled to do so. It was almost like they were trying to be dramatic in attempting to incorporate vital themes and tear-jerker moments here and there, but with just some trivial plot holes everywhere, they sure did an awfully poor job with that.
Too bad there's no actual fanservice beach scene in the anime--oops...spoiled that one for ya didn't I? :P
I can definitely say the same about Seiken no Blacksmith’s lame and dull characters. Though I did appreciate Cecily’s difficulty in deciding whether she should kill other human beings or not, afterwards there’s not much considerable development with the characters overall. Their seemingly selfless acts and brief, awkward moments of reminiscing / philosophical sessions just don’t bring enough to the table, making everything in Seiken no Blacksmith more incomprehensible than it already is. In some ways even, I found myself laughing at the characters because of this. Much like the show’s story itself, I felt that it wasn’t even worth my time trying to connect with the main protagonists because I was more annoyed than feeling sympathy for them. They also introduced other minor characters, but their existence in the show seems needless and insignificant to say the least.
Despite Seiken no Blacksmith’s often awkward and unconvincing storyline, its animation and production values aren’t half-bad. The main characters’ designs and features look respectable enough, but the monster designs are just horrible, and I found it not very pleasing at all. Fortunately Blacksmith had some decent action sequences going on, so those were pretty nice to watch. Voice acting in Blacksmith has good quality, but it contains so much cheesy-bad dialogue that I often cringed in agony hearing the characters talk for majority of the time.
Music is satisfactory, giving the show its medieval feel, so it wasn’t entirely horrible. Though that was the case, hearing Mayumi Gojo’s opening theme, “JUSTICE OF LIGHT” sounded tolerable the first time I heard it, but after hearing it more than once, I ended up skipping the song altogether. Though the track exhibited a fast-paced, intense feel it isn’t worth listening to over and over again. I did find Aki Toyosaki’s ending theme “Miracle Happy Day” actually quite charming, as her cute vocals create an upbeat mood to the song. Sadly it doesn’t really fit the overall tone of the show.
I was initially hoping Blacksmith would serve a better fresh dish than Tears to Tiara did, but I was utterly disappointed that it created such a terrible taste in my mouth towards the end. I do appreciate the efforts presented in this show, but with an impenetrable plot and uninteresting characters, Seiken no Blacksmith is a fantasy anime you would find laughable than substantial. Though Cecily’s boobs are a definite plus in my book, they’re not enough to consider Seiken no Blacksmith a fantasy anime highly recommendable to anyone.