“ Paperback: 192 pages / Publisher: Seven Seas / Published: 2 Sep 2013 / Language: English „
Volume two of the Sacred Blacksmith manga continues to tell the ongoing adventures of Cecily Cambell, the chesty Knight Guard who is tasked with protecting the Independent Trade City of Housman. In this second book Cecily is still in need of a new sword, to replace her old broken one, but she has made some progress in that regard after convincing the sacred blacksmith Luke Ainsworth to craft her a snazzy new katana. Luke was initially hesitant about forging a weapon for a rookie knight, but he soon changed his tune after Cecily flashed her tits in his face (not intentionally of course, the mishap happened due to a wardrobe malfunction when an ice shard struck her breastplate.) Cleavage will only get you so far though. The business savvy smithy expects payment up front for his services, so Cecily is in for a long wait given her meager salary.
This second installment of the Sacred Blacksmith saga contains one short story followed up by a three-parter ominously titled Demon Sword. The opening chapter's quickie tale revolves around Luke's pointy-eared assistant Lisa. All work and no play makes for a dull elf, so with that in mind Cecily convinces Luke to give his overworked helper a day off. Lolita fans will undoubtedly drool over the manga's pages with glee as we follow the adorable Lisa having fun at the fair and partaking in some clothes shopping. There's even a topless picture of her slumbering in bed if that sort of thing floats your boat. You may end up hanging your head in shame though as the story later reveals that she is only three years old! Although the story is nothing special it serves its purpose as a lighthearted introduction to this second book and wraps up with a sweet ending showing a tender side to the usually insensitive Luke.
From there we move onto the more interesting Demon Sword, focusing on a newly introduced character named Aria. As the title hints at, Aria is a sentient blade able to switch forms from a beautiful lady in belly dancer garb to an elegant rapier able to fire magical gusts of air that can pierce steel. Cecily's latest assignment has her acting as the mystical weapon's bodyguard and her services are called upon when a grizzled old knight gatecrashes the public auction, were Aria is showcasing her talents to prospective buyers. Despite her best efforts Cecily is unable to prevent the elderly warrior from snatching Aria from her grasp, forcing our heroine to beg Luke for help in retrieving Aria from the would be sword-napper. That's easier said than done though as the knight has the power to morph into a destructive flame entity who may prove to be too hot to handle for a lone blacksmith armed with nothing more than a brittle katana.
In terms of quality this second volume of the Sacred Blacksmith proves to be just as enjoyable to read as the first book. If anything I may actually like this installment a little more as the story is more involved than the simple bandit bashing at the woods we got in the first manga. I appreciated how the author took the opportunity to flesh out the character of Lisa, who up to this point appeared to be nothing more than comic relief. There are a few lines of dialogue hinting at an intriguing backstory for the character, which hopefully will be explored more deeply in the upcoming chapters.
The addition of Aria to the cast was something I also enjoyed and not only because her slender frame is easy on the eyes. Despite having a tragic past, having been born on a battlefield from which point she has been forced to murder others, she has an upbeat outlook on life often serving as a catalyst for the book's more comedic moments. The friendship that forms between Aria and Cecily is believable and I couldn't help but giggle whenever Aria teases her chum about the size of her chest or her potential interest in Luke (which she vehemently denies, although only a fool would believe that they aren't destined to hook up eventually.)
For the second successive book running the Sacred Blacksmith gets a thumbs up from me. Throughout my reading session I was never bored even though I am familiar with the story, as I have previously watched the anime adaptation on DVD. Hopefully the later volumes will maintain this level of quality as the Sacred Blacksmith "forges" on ahead with its blend of crisp artwork and lighthearted fantasy.