First Impression: Reign of the Seven Spellblades

Black-haired Oliver Horn walks through the forest of talking flowers to the spectacular castle that hosts Kimberly Academy, a magical school in a somewhat Napoleonic-era world in which swords and wands are used equally to make spells. A parade of fantastic beasts is currently in progress. The participation of a troll, though, sparks a discussion between Katie Aalto, an animal lover from non-Finland, and the red-haired Guy Greenwood, from non-Scotland. Pete Reston, the, ahem, non-magical-born intractable bookworm, scolds them, though the aristocratic Michela McFarlane addresses him kindly. But just then, one of the students casts a secret spell on Katie, who starts running to the troll against her will! The fully decked-out samurai girl Nanao Hibiya unsheathes her sword and steps in, and Oliver organizes the others to help her with a well-directed spell. Will they succeed? Who knows. You see, Kimberly Academy has a student mortality rate of 20%. People get killed in accidents, or lost, or become crazed and murderous. And according to the, ahem, exuberant director, you just have to accept it if you study here.

I think it’s fair to say that Reign of the Seven Spellblades owes an enormous debt to Harry Potter. If you, like me, are fans of the Boy Who Lived, you should be able to pinpoint the inspiration of almost every scene, with the added problem that this show doesn’t have Rowling’s patience to explain the rules beforehand and let us learn what the stakes are. Instead, it relies on various shortcuts that work only some of the time. We hear of flute spells and wind spells, of important families and magical flora and fauna, and we see the characters use various magical paraphernalia, like a flying map of the world. A sword-toting samurai is not unheard of, the McFarlanes are important and have a distinctive hairstyle, and dying of magical causes while learning magic is called “being consumed by the spell”. The music and the animation are admittedly top-notch, and at the end, we see images of war and hints of a conspiracy, so I’m mildly intrigued. I hear that the light novels are good, too. But if Reign of the Seven Spellblades wants to keep my attention, it has to start exploring its own territory soon.

Reign of the Seven Spellblades is streaming on Crunchyroll.

One thought on “First Impression: Reign of the Seven Spellblades

  1. Yes, the animation and music were lovely, but the plot development felt a bit stiff. My only major gripe, though, was “Where are the teachers and other adults at the parade???” Other than that, my interest is piqued and I look forward to seeing if a solid story can be built on this slightly rocky foundation.

Leave a Reply