While the anime adaptation of The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest is preparing to wrap up, the manga is far from reaching a conclusion (or catching up with Japan). This month Square Enix bring Volume 7 to the West and it’s time for us to find out what Matthias and his group are facing off against now.
This volume continues from the last where Matthias was in the middle of the Great Barrier Plan, a mission that would protect the kingdom from further demon attacks. Before the defensive magic can be put in place, our protagonist and his group must defeat the demons that are coming to attack and all is going well so far!
With preparations for the barrier in place, Matthias finally gets to join the fight alongside Lurie and Alma. The demons decide that they’re no match for him and soon retreat, but not before Matthias can place a tracking spell on them. With the demons gone, he can finally put the barrier up, but another problem then presents itself.
Now the students of the Second Academy (along with Matthias’ group) have to fend off the legion of monsters that the demons were preparing to summon or their efforts to put the barrier up will have all been for nothing. With so many monsters spawning all at once, it also causes a Void Eater to appear (a monster that eats those around it to grow more powerful), which ends up towering above the students. Of course, battle junkie Matthias is all too happy to have something so powerful to test his abilities against and charges in undeterred.
As you may have gathered, this instalment of The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest is largely action-focused with little plot development. That’s not to say the story doesn’t move at all because there is a substantial change in store for Matthias toward the end, but if you’re looking for world-building or character development of any kind you might be disappointed. And I think this unfortunately is where only having three or four chapters a volume lets the series down since it never has enough time to provide everything a reader is hoping to see.
Having said that, one of the reasons I like the series so much is because the battle scenes are so spectacular and that remains true for this volume. This is the first time we’ve gotten to see Matthias spar with such a gigantic monster and that gives the artists plenty of opportunities to try out new perspectives when it comes to depicting the battle. Iris is also given some cool moments as she battles alongside Matthias to defeat the monster, which is nice to see, given she was largely sidelined in Volume 6.
This volume also neatly ties up the Second Academy arc and, as I theorised in my review of Volume 6, sees Matthias’ party decide to leave the kingdom behind and set out on a brand-new adventure. I’m sure that long-time readers will be glad to discover something new in the future, especially since Matthias being a student of the academy hasn’t been plot-relevant for quite some time now.
As previously mentioned, The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest Volume 7 comes to the West thanks to Square Enix Manga and continues to be translated by Caleb D. Cook. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 8 of the series is currently scheduled for an English release in July.
Overall, The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest Volume 7 proves an action-packed volume that will please the fans who like to see Matthias go all out against formidable foes. It may prove more disappointing for those looking for any kind of plot progression as that’s put aside in favour of the battles.
A free preview of this volume can be found on the publisher’s website here.