Reign of the Seven Spellblades, Vol. 9

By Bokuto Uno and Miyuki Ruria. Released in Japan as “Nanatsu no Maken ga Shihai suru” by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

Well, the good news is the Spellblades anime was not the complete disaster the way, say, Spy Classroom is. The bad news is that it wasn’t all that great, either, and I doubt a lot of folks who hadn’t read the books will be reading the anime and going “whoah, need to read that”. Which is a shame, as these really are a series of great light novels, but alas, “first rule of anime: drop the internal narration” strikes again. As for this volume, it was mostly excellent, with one major exception which I will get to. It also had a hell of a cliffhanger, as for once the author did NOT write the end of an arc with “and I’ve run out of pages, so bye”, but instead teases us with something that I really don’t want to have happen but will also be really interested in if it does. That said, most of this is the last of the tournament, so fight, fight, fight.

There are three big battles in this book. First, Oliver, Nanao and Yuri have to fight Ursule Valois and her other team members, Generic Person 1 and Generic Person 2. This gets into a long discussion of sword styles but is derailed a bit by a flashback that made me want to drop the series. After that, Stacy, Fay and Chela go up against Richard Andrews and his team of final bosses, and do their best despite Chela basically being told “you can’t win because the teacher is your dad”. Finally, Team Andrews and Team Horn get a knock-down, drag-out battle which allows Yuri to actually become a real live boy but gives Nanao her worst nightmare: an erotically charged swordfight between Oliver and someone who isn’t her.

There are so many ways that this series feels like it was written by an emo 24-year-old boy. Sometimes this is awkward but endearing, such as Horn and Andrews battling to see if they get to call each other by their first names and maybe hang out sometimes. Sometimes this is pretty damn cool, such as Katie sticking to her principles so much that she might eventually turn evil and die, or Chela needing to be Bright Slapped by her dad. And sometimes it’s really awful and stupid. I don’t like “let me show you a flashback to my super evil abusive family to show you why I am super evil and abusive” to begin with, but this one adds a kitten to the trauma to make things extra horrible. There was no need for that, and I say this as someone who wrote very similar things when *I* was 24. That said, I’m never going to be able to stop Spellblades wearing its heart on its sleeve, which means that sometimes you get really awesome stuff, and sometimes you get this. It’s all just out there on the page, everything.

So the arc is over, go in peace. Tune in next time to see if Yuri dies, if Katie turns evil, or if Oliver and Nanao finally bang. The first two are far more likely than the third.

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