Back in Volume 7 of The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest, we saw Matthias and his team put the Great Barrier Plan into motion and fend off monsters and demons alike before the kingdom crumbled to their attacks. At the end of the volume, the group set out for pastures new and now that Volume 8 is here, it’s time to find out what’s in store for them!
Matthias, Lurie, Alma and Iris are headed to Melchias the Maze City, which sits atop a massive dungeon and is home to one of the Dracopulse Lines. Matthias wants to go around protecting all of the Dracopulse Lines since it came to light that the demons are trying to use them for their own nefarious means.
First, our party has to make it through the Chykrysbia forest which is known for being a den of monsters (although thanks to Iris’s presence, every monster is hiding and not bothering our heroes). Matthias is disappointed, since he was hoping to face off against a powerful foe and decides to lure one in before they leave, which gives him the opportunity to teach Lurie and Alma about setting traps out in the wilderness.
Then, when the group reach Melchias, Matthias can’t wait to dive into the dungeon – but it’s not long before he notices that not everything is as it seems in the city. Someone wants Matthias to leave and sends out thugs to attack him and his party and if that wasn’t bad enough, it seems the lord of the city might be corrupt and working with a demon!
After the action-packed chapters we saw in Volume 7, I find myself grateful that this entry takes a step back to do some world-building. That’s not to say there aren’t still plenty of action scenes because there certainly are, especially in the forest section, but it’s not as much of a focus as it was before.
This is also the first time we’ve been to another city outside of the Kingdom and it’s interesting to see how different the quality of life is here. Some of that is down to the corrupt lord, but at the same time, Melchias has a much rougher and dark vibe to it compared to what we’re used to seeing in the kingdom. A change of scenery is sometimes all a manga needs to refresh itself and in the case of The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest, it was getting to that point of needing a change.
With the arc in Melchias continuing into Volume 9, it seems like we’ll be spending at least a little bit more time here as Matthias figures out who’s pulling the strings behind the lord of the city. If you’ve watched the anime, then you’ll already know where this is going since we’re still within the content adapted there, but readers who are only following the manga will enjoy the twists and turns of this storyline.
The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest Volume 8 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 of note. Volume 9 of the series is currently scheduled for an English release in November, so not too long until we get to see the conclusion to this arc!
Overall, The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest Volume 8 proves a return to form for the series as it opts for a change of scenery. This entry captures the best of both worlds as we have interesting worldbuilding, combined with the detailed battle scenes we’ve come to expect from this manga.
A free preview of this volume can be found on the publisher’s website here