Volume 3 of The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest gave us an important training arc as Matthias, Alma and Lurie prepared themselves for a demon invasion. Now with Volume 4 in hand, it’s time to find out if all that training paid off!
This volume picks up with Matthias having just defeated the demon Ashril and changing course to help Alma and Lurie defeat the other demon trying to destroy the kingdom. Ultimately the group are successful and the King is incredibly grateful for their efforts.
However, while talking to the King about their rewards, Matthias realises that there is a demon listening in to their conversations, which explains a lot about how they pulled off this recent attack in the first place.
Matthias manages to trace the demon back to an abandoned village, which would normally take weeks to reach by normal means. However, our hero has an idea for how to get to the location faster – enlist the help of a dragon he knew in his past life!
The dragon Matthias turns to is the Dark Dragon, Iris. In our hero’s past life, Iris picked a fight with him, but because she surrendered quickly, Matthias chose to spare her life and the two became friends. Thanks to that, he’s hoping she’ll serve him in this life as well and take them to the village where the demon is hiding out.
Compared to Volume 3 of the series, it feels like this instalment successfully moves the plot along and in an interesting direction. Not only are we beginning to find out more about the demons who are trying to invade the kingdom but, thanks to the addition of Iris, we’re also learning more about Matthias.
This volume also does a better job of balancing the exposition and fight scenes compared to the previous book. The action is always a highlight of the series for me since the artwork is so detailed and easy to follow, so I’m happy their major fights here didn’t disappoint. It was also nice seeing how expressive Iris the dragon ended up being, given how many series wouldn’t have bothered to do much with her character. I hope she’s here to stay as a core member of the cast.
Now that we’re four books in, it feels like The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest has firmly found its feet. For better or worse, the series is content to have Matthias fighting stronger and stronger enemies in a bid to hone his skills (and protect his friends) as he adventures. At least right now there is no sign of that changing anytime soon, which may disappoint some readers. However, it has to be said that this focus on fights is a real strength since the artists (Liver Jam & POPO (Friendly Land)) are so capable. I hope the anime team can replicate that when the series airs next year.
The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest Volume 4 comes to the West thanks to Square Enix Manga and continues to be translated by Caleb D. Cook. The translation reads well as always and once again this release includes a short story written by the original author. Volume 5 of the series is due out in September, although a lot of Square Enix Manga releases have been getting delayed closer to release so this may yet slip.
Overall, Volume 4 of The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest delivers an interesting new addition to the cast as well as offering the impressive fight scenes we’ve come to know it for. Provided you like what this series has to offer, you’ll have a great time with this instalment.