Cecily’s a blushing knight in shining armor. Unfortunately, it seems most battles end with her as the damsel in distress. Her lack of skill and distaste for violence make her an unlikely heroine – until the brooding blacksmith Luke comes to her aid, using his powerful magic to forge blades of supernatural strength. Cecily wields this sacred steel and charges forth to face a dangerous new threat; a cloaked fiend is unleashing demons upon the land, and though he lurks in shadows, the villain is much closer than Cecily can imagine.
Like Lina Inverse in Slayers, Cecily Campbell, the heroine of The Sacred Blacksmith, is a klutzy, loud-mouthed, red-haired knight who always comes through in the end. Unlike Lina, Cecily is built like a brick sushi bar, and most of the humor involves comments about the size of her chest. Isao Miura's series of light novels began appearing in manga form in March 2009; the anime version followed in October. The descendant of a noble clan of warriors, Cecily longs to follow in their footsteps, but her skills with a sword leave a lot to be desired. Her clumsiness earns her the scorn of Luke, a blacksmith who works with mysterious but cute assistant Lisa to forge powerful katana (Japanese long swords). His insults and her punches quickly turn into a typically fractious anime courtship. The convoluted plot teeters along unsteadily, like Cecily when she tries to wear high heels. The quarrelsome twosome has to cope with Demon Swords (some of which assume human form), demons, the malevolent god Valbanil, and a sinister cabal involving the emissary of a remote emperor. All ends happily, if inconclusively, with sequels likely to follow. Adolescent boys will delight in the mixture of chivalric daring-do and fan service shots. The special edition comes with a 32-page art booklet and pinup poster. (Rated TV MA; suitable for ages 16 and older: violence, violence against women, grotesque imagery, nudity, risqué humor) --Charles Solomon
(1. Knight, 2. Devil's Contract, 3. Demon Sword, 4. Pledge, 5. Ties, 6. Princess, 7. Family, 8. Departures, 9. Remnants, 10. Victim of Love, 11. Truth, 12. Blacksmith)