Sacred Blacksmith Episode #04 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Release Date: Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cecily's path to being a knight, a hero and a protector of others, faces more challenges that she must overcome.

What They Say
Cecily must use Aria as bait to draw the hidden enemy from the shadows. When a monstrous demon attacks, putting her friends in danger, Cecily is forced to decide - does she have what it takes to kill?

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The introduction of Aria in the previous episode was pretty welcome, especially since it managed to keep Cecily away from Luke for the most part so that it didn't become just a basic relationship drama series. Aria adds a bit more history to the show and an element of darkness that's welcome while also providing a fairly strong woman in Cecily's life, something she needs after a rather bloody fight that occurred with the possessed prisoners that were on the rampage before. The friendship that Aria and Cecily have is one that I find pretty interesting since Aria is in truth a sword, but one that really does think and feel and has a history that can help Cecily become who she wants to be.

The tinge of darkness we saw in the background of the previous episode becomes a bit of the focus with this one. With the rather dark and ominous fellow that Cecily saw toward the end, we see how he's being manipulated into wanting the Demon Sword Aria, his mind being tweaked into making full on efforts to acquire it. In the midst of a display about the Demon Sword, he makes his attack and it's surprisingly brutal as flames whip around and up into the sky, causing the sizable crowd to flee in quite the panic. Unlike her rather up close and personal fight in the last episode with someone that looked entirely normal, outside of the snake crawling out of his mouth, this particular opponent doesn't really come across as human once the flame transformation happens.

The whole incident goes rather poorly as the creature causes quite a lot of destruction, enough so that Cecily is feeling overwhelmed by everything. With the loss of Aria to the creature, she has to go begging and pleading to Luke for help, something he's very reluctant to do for his own reasons. While there are numerous people trying to hold back the creature, Luke and Lisa are the only ones able to really set the stage for his defeat by using the richly and beautifully animated magic sequence. While he's doing that, it's up to Cecily to truly understand what it means to be a knight and what you have to do in order to protect others, which will at teams mean killing someone to save someone else. It's not an easy thing for her to accept even after all that's happened, but it generates an intense, beautiful and thoroughly engaging second half to this episode as the fight is dealt with.

In Summary:
Sacred Blacksmith is a series that continues to be able to work a lot of great magic when it comes to atmosphere and setting while also progressing on story, something that other shows tend to fall short on. While there are moments of lightness in the series and in each episode, it plays things more dramatically in general without going over the top or making it too heavy with emotion. It's managed to find a really good balance in how it wants to work, particularly in avoiding the trap of falling into camp. It's helped a lot by the animation and design which I'm falling in love with all the more as I see more episodes. The Sacred Blacksmith is quickly becoming a really strong standout fantasy series for me.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sacred Blacksmith