Reign of the Seven Spellblades has made clear that it’s got a bunch of different plot lines it’ll be able to keep following for the foreseeable future. It’s still setting up new angles for the various main characters, and they haven’t even let Guy do anything yet! So as we come up on the end of this season, I’m not expecting a ton of resolution to all this by the end of this cour. However, there’s still enough escalation and expansion happening here that it feels like the narrative is arriving at some satisfying places. Some of those arrivals are a bit abrupt, admittedly, but they’re doing some cool stuff with them, so I’ll let it slide.
The return appearance of Miligan is probably the most “Wait, what?” worthy moment of this episode. I’d been uncertain about the exact mechanics of Katie receiving her old workshop, but it seems the scientist has just breezed by that whole “Kidnapping and experimentation” thing and is hoping the Sword Roses can forgive and forget as well. She’s even happily converted her lopped-off hand into a familiar, which is about the most lemonade-out-of-lemons approach to that situation I can imagine. Her surprise drop-in is mostly for a little exposition and to bring Marco the troll down to Katie’s new digs. And it’s all one big reminder of Seven Spellblades‘s staunch refusal to elaborate or explore or do anything with Miligan to the point that I guess I’m mostly happy they just move past it quickly.
That’s my biggest frustration with this episode, and once it’s out of the way we move onto more interesting stuff, though still arising out of the show’s haphazard deployment of its multitude of plot threads. That tournament that Rossi started up is still going, despite his early drop-out, with our lead characters still invested in engaging with it. Stace, who’s been lurking on the sidelines with her buddy Fay for a few episodes now, incites the main conflict of this one by bringing in her apparent beef with Chela for a challenge. There’s an honestly amusing little stretch where the characters all stand around considering and debating the rules and technicalities of this wholly unsanctioned tournament that they just made up. I’m sure the teachers at Kimberly would be heartened to see their students so earnestly practicing governance amongst themselves.
It’s also a place where they keep piling new elements onto the confrontation until the fight can happen. Turns out there’s another layer down in the labyrinth that’s like a forest where they’re going to battle. Then another interloper named Albright shows up to make the challenge for a three-on-three battle. The troll is there. It’s fine, it’s all fun. Stace in particular makes for an entertaining antagonist, her facial expressions in this episode are especially amusing. Her story isn’t fleshed-out at this point, nor does what we get seems super-original; She mostly seems to be filling out some sort of inter-family rivalry with Chela, who is wholly ignorant of what her deal even is. But this does allow Chela to at last get a few moments to shine, which is one of the reasons I’m happy to breeze past all the otherwise basic framework of this one.
After so much of seeing Oliver be the one to tag-team with Nanao, it’s smart of the show to silo him off to fight that Albright guy so Nanao can team up with Chela instead. And pitting Nanao’s martial abilities against a specifically skilled magic user is a smart follow-up on her practice with Oliver earlier in the episode, where it was highlighted how she needs to hone her spellcraft to catch up with her physical skills. And Nanao’s dynamic with Chela lets the former flex in ways different from how she is with Oliver. Nanao gets to prove herself as the sharp one, in this moment, correctly assessing that the most compassionate action Chela can take here is to wholeheartedly engage in the battle with Stace and Fay, proving themselves against each other seriously.
That’s a point arrived at following the escalation that is Fay revealing his werewolf transformation. Who amongst us is immune to hot buff wolf-boys? And Stace jumping on top and riding him into battle is just the extra absurd action gravy on top of all this. There are a few other aside elements ahead of that, including seeing how Oliver turns the tables on Albright, which all come together to find me getting into this straightforward shonen-style smackdown stuff, despite myself. This isn’t the best-animated stretch of fights by Spellblades‘s usually strong standards for that element, but the sheer absurd panache of it all holds it up, in terms of pure entertainment.
There’s even a bit of heart brought around to make it feel like a little more than mere action fluff. After his earlier attitude about wanting to take on all challenges to his friends for them, it’s pretty cool to now see Oliver commit to wholly trusting them to handle themselves in battle. And as much of a sheer spectacle as Stace riding around on Fay in his wolf-hunk mode, there’s also some sweet backstory revealed as the context for it, as we learn how she took him in and initiated the odd long-term pet play situation they seem to have going on. I dunno, I just think they’re cute together in their vengeance-fueled crusade. That’s all enough to distract me from the clunkier parts of this episode and hone in on the fun and functional stuff it does well instead.
Reign of the Seven Spellblades is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Chris is back for another season of calling wizards nerds. Feel free to disagree with him on that on his Twitter (for however much longer that lasts), or check out his irregular musings on other nerdy subjects over on his blog.
Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.