Title: Reign of the Seven Spellblades Vol. 1
Author: Sakae Esuno, Bokuto Uno (Story), Ruria Miyuki (Characters)
Publisher: Yen Press
Publication Date: November 16, 2021
Reign of the Seven Spellblades focuses on the Kimberly Magic Academy and people wishing to become mages. For the first chapter, the manga does a great job of world-building but doesn’t really name any of the characters until halfway through the volume. Instead, we simply see them walking the path towards the academy and getting bothered by a bunch of talking flowers. This sets the stage for the series to go through the different kinds of denizens of the world which reeks of pure fantasy! We have trolls, dwarves, centaurs, dragons, and more! Pretty much, it’s all of the standard fare from any good fantasy series.
Speaking of the trolls, someone ends up casting a spell on a girl and she runs uncontrollably towards a giant troll. In this world, trolls are simple-minded and are used for manual labor; however, they can attack if provoked. With someone running full force straight at them, that counts as being provoked. Some of our main cast band together in order to save her from the troll. After they succeed, they are finally brought inside of the academy where they go through the opening ceremony.
Once all of the pomp and circumstance is out of the way, we are finally properly introduced to our main characters… which I’ll touch upon in the characters section because the rest of the volume is simply them going through their first couple of classes… the first teaching them about Athames… swords or weapons used for close combat, another class telling them that swords are useless and they should settle things with magic, and a third dealing with magic and beasts. They are to transform silkworms by infusing magic in them but if you infuse too much, they turn into monsters. Well, I’m pretty sure you know where this going and can picture where our first volume will leave u!
First up, we have Michela McFarlane. She comes from an ancient noble family and prefers to be called Chela. Chela has a kind heart which proves to be a fault because guess who turned her silkworm into a monster and doesn’t have the heart to kill it off? Just from this one incident, you can easily tell what kind of character she’s going to be. Chela will be the one to hesitate in battle and question the morality of things. As a mage where your very life will be put on the line, this is a detrimental characteristic and one that we’ve seen far too many times in series such as this. She’s either been given the death flag early here or she’s going to go through some sort of redemption arc that quells her hesitations. Only time will tell which of the two paths she will choose. For some reason, I just can see her going down the pacifist path. It works in some series but for some odd reason, I can’t see it working here.
Next, we have Guy Greenwood. He’s a country bumpkin whose family has been running a farm for some time. Outside of this, there isn’t much to Guy at this point. He got his introduction but it’s obvious that he is delegated to back burner supporting character duty.
After him, we have Pete Reston who comes from a lineage of non-magic users. He’s short and to the point with his statements and prefers to study more than anything. He takes academics seriously and this is even highlighted when he is found fast asleep with a book next to him, implying that he studied until he passed out. Another character that will have their development saved for a future volume.
Then we are given an introduction to our main character, Oliver Horn. His specialty is arranging and converging spells. This was proven during the troll incident where he combined everyone’s Gale spells into that of a wind dragon that distracted the troll long enough for our next character to land the decisive blow but before we get to her… Oliver seems like a pretty level-headed main character so far. There isn’t really anything special about him, though which is kind of a letdown. Usually, I like my main characters to stand out and have a unique quirk about them but he just seems to be a bit more talented than the rest so far… especially since he was able to go toe to toe in a duel against our next character. Rather than call her “next character,” over and over again, let’s just talk about her!
Nanao Hibiya! She is a samurai because what would a magic fantasy be without having a samurai along for the ride? Nanao is a mixed bag in a good way. She is bright and cheerful, a little clumsy as she does things on impulse without a plan, but she has the battle scars all over her body and the sword skills to show that she has been in countless battles and possibly killed hundreds of enemies. Oh, and she also has no shame because she decided to bathe (or purify as she called it) herself right outside of the boys’ dorm and when she’s discovered in her birthday suit by Oliver, she doesn’t even care one bit that he can see everything! She pulled a huge tomboy move without even being a tomboy character! I like her already and I’m already leaning towards her as my favorite. She’s got that adorable aspect to her but also an aura that she’s not someone you want to mess with. Her toughness, beauty, and quirkiness will make her a star of the series for sure!
Lastly, we have Mr. Andrews… first name withheld for now for some odd reason. During their Sword Arts class, they set up the aforementioned duel. Mr. Andrews wanted to be the one to challenge Nanao; however, he simply wanted to bully her and expose her lack of knowledge of spell arts. Sensing this, Oliver steps in to duel her and this rattles Andrews. What we have here is the making of a rivalry and, possibly, a short-term antagonist. I mean, the world can’t always be filled with rainbows and gummy bears and none of the instructors should be in a position to serve as a villain so might as well do the classic plot point of turning a fellow student into a rival! Not sure how far they will take his villainy but for now, we have ourselves an antagonist… as simple as it may be.
Reign of the Seven Spellblades is off to a decent start. While some of the characters are clearly being saved for future development, their simplistic introductions were enough to get the first volume off the ground. The world was established more than anything in this volume which is a pretty important aspect to have. We already got a taste of the denizens of the world, how and why mages use Athames (swords), how weaponry and magic are fused, and just how tough Kimberly Academy truly is.
Even still, I got a bit of a Disney vibe from this series. I don’t mean that in a campy way or anything but more or less… talking plants, magic familiars, and a bit of zaniness that’s not over-the-top but gives a sense that this is a living world on a different level of most fantasy stories. This is a good thing as it adds a certain flair that makes the story stand out above others. You could look at other fantasy stories such as Tears to Tiara and remember it for Arawn, giants, and other classic fantasy staples, but when you think of Reign of the Seven Spellblades, you’ll remember that a not-so-whimsical, yet, whimsical enough world added an extra depth that stands out just enough to make it interesting.
There hasn’t been much action or conflict but this seems like a series that wants to slow-burn some aspects of its story all while getting you acquainted with the way things happen. This makes the first volume a pretty comfortable read and eases you into the new world. I think it’s off to a good start and I’m looking forward to more from this series!
If you liked this review, consider following me on Twitter @JJPiedraOELN
Follow The Outerhaven on social media:
**This item was provided for review by Yen Press