By The Sword by Sanami Matoh

By The Sword wasn’t what I was expecting – for better or worse. What we have here is a vapid story in a bog standard fantasy Japanese setting. The characters are all exceedingly stupid and most are pretty hard to like. The series has only two volumes – I get the impression that it wasn’t well received and canceled early as a result.

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Story: Asagi is a demon hunter looking for the moegi – a special sword that is magically forged and won’t break. When he meets a young half demon girl, Kaede, he also finds the moegi. Turns out, her father forged the weapon but he has been rendered nearly chibi size from a curse. Kaede wants to help her demon father get back to normal form. Asagi wants the sword to aid him in hunting bad demons. Problem is, when Asagi releases the Moegi, Kaede’s father then possesses Kaede, much to Asagi’s discomfort. They will go on a journey to find a way to release Kaede’s father and help Asagi find his heritage.

The story is centered on humor – more slapstick than anything really intelligently written. As such, it is a light and fluffy read that you can’t take too seriously. Coincidences abound and the ‘evil’ creatures are just as cute as the good ones. It’s the sort of story that feels very ‘1990s manga’ rather than the more sophisticated fare of the modern manga era.

The artwork is fine but again also feels very 1990s dated. Those expecting the undertones of Fake will be disappointed – there’s no romance here and the female characters are incredibly annoying. Honestly, I couldn’t even figure out what the purpose was of Kaede since she was written to be a 4 year old in the body of a teen and the only thing she does is a running joke of eating everything in sight.

Admittedly, I wasn’t very enchanted by the first volume and didn’t really feel compelled to seek out the second and final volume. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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