I know the burning question, dear readers, is now that Reign of the Seven Spellblades has let its proverbial cat out of the bag, where do we go from here? What will the actual trajectory of its story encompass? That’s to say nothing of the question of how I’ll fill out these reviews now that I can’t endlessly speculate on the big, now-delivered plot twist. So now that it’s revealed Oliver’s true intentions and the depths of corruption in this world and the institution of Kimberly, what new subjects can this series ambitiously approach?
Yes, now that we soundly know why Oliver is the main character, it’s time for Seven Spellblades to get to developing the members of his self-selected friend circle who aren’t Nanao, and this week we kick off with Pete. Pete’s going through that magical time in a young wizard’s life; Your body is growing in unexpected ways, you start feeling odd urges, and sometimes you wake up as a different sex, you know how it is. All jokes aside, it is an interesting idea to open up on, especially as Seven Spellblades has conducted itself thus far on not making immediately clear where it was going with any particular plot element. There’s trepidation about how it might handle such a fraught subject, especially given how it just kind of petered out on the whole “rights of magical creatures and the radicalization of those who fight for them” thing.
Pete’s situation is also just one element marking the show’s move into a new phase, confirming as it does at the beginning of this episode that we’ve jumped four months ahead since Oliver’s confrontation with Darius. We’re aware of things going down at Kimberly, but so are the faculty that Oliver’s got his sights set on, so more of their members are coming out of the woodwork to complicate things. This includes Chela’s father Theodore, who not only takes over Darius’s alchemy class but also turns out to be the one who sponsored Nanao’s enrollment in Kimberly. One can sense only a little criticism of that ol’ British imperialism as we find out Theodore has made fame for himself hawking a series of books chronicling his adventures over in the far and mysterious East.
Following the students through that class and others fill out more of where we’re at, post-time skip. We finally get to brooms in this magical world, providing another of Spellblades‘s interesting takes wherein the flying mounts are sapient magical creatures that students have to interact with. That might provide the possibility for Katie’s involvement as an angle, but we focus instead here on Nanao again. Showing how Nanao’s empathetic approach lets her partner with a more “wild” broom is nice enough on its own. And it further sets up how her personality might ultimately clash with Oliver’s vengeance-fueled trajectory, especially as Nanao here specifically reminds Oliver of the mother he’s ostensibly going on this teacher-murdering spree for.
Not that Oliver’s protective side isn’t still around. We get to watch yet-another new class in the form of Magical Engineering. This mostly repeats the beats we’ve seen before of Oliver helping his classmates with their work and safeguarding them when stuff inevitably explodes (into snakes this time, which is at least rather novel). This kind of repetition here is important since it reinforces how even with his true intentions revealed, Oliver still genuinely cares about the well-being of his peers. It specifically contrasts the way Kimberly and those running it disregard the lives of students, painting Oliver’s pursuits in a more revolutionary light. Which gets around back to his outreach to Pete and helping him understand his condition.
There is some incredulity in Spellblades‘s approach to Pete’s status as a “reversi” here. Oddly, this is a known condition that several other people in this wizarding world have, yet Pete was wholly unfamiliar with how it might be happening to him. And while I get it’s to build up powers in this setting, I have to laugh a bit at the inclusion of inherent magical genderfluidity while asserting that elemental magicks themselves still adhere to hard essentialism in sex-based aptitude. But I think the heart of this plot point is in the right place, particularly when we see Oliver get invited to a whole gathering of various magically queer people, a spectrum of support opening up to help him understand himself. An emergent element of Seven Spellblades has been tearing down the issues inherent to the world-building in the likes of Harry Potter in a bit more serious-minded manner than the satirical angle of something like Mashle. So just as an inclusion that would make a tremendous transphobe like J.K. Rowling scream, I’m here for all this.
So really, even though it’s no longer tonally tip-toeing around its big shockers, Seven Spellblades proves to be even more engaging when it’s being straight-up. We have a real confirmation and understanding of what Oliver’s railing against here, and the kinds of outliers like Nanao and Pete he’s doing it on behalf of. We’re not holding our breath anymore, and that allows a bunch more breathing room to explore this setting and the ideas that push against it. The series is dedicated to interconnected intrigue now, and I am indeed intrigued.
Reign of the Seven Spellblades is currently streaming on
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.