Adapted from the novel series of the same name by Touya, Mahito Aobe’s A Tale of the Secret Saint is a charming fantasy manga about a girl with the healing magic of a great saint who simply wants to become a knight and hit things with swords. Will she manage to keep her powers a secret and achieve her dream? Or will she get dragged down by the pull of a grand destiny that she wants nothing to do with?
Fia was born into a family of knights and dreams of following in her father and siblings’ footsteps and becoming a brave and heroic knight. Determined to achieve her goal, Fia trains hard everyday, but her progress is incredibly slow. When the day of her coming-of-age ceremony finally arrives, Fia’s family has serious doubts that she’ll be able to complete the ritual with her current level of strength. If she can’t complete the ceremony, Fia can kiss her hopes of becoming a knight goodbye, so she insists on being allowed to participate and ventures into the monster infested forest alone. While wandering the woods in search of a monster to defeat, Fia finds and attempts to help an injured dragon – only to be savagely attacked when it misunderstands her intentions! On the verge of death, Fia suddenly regains her memories from her past life when she was a powerful Saint who used her magic to help defeat the Demon King.
Not only does Fia gain access to her knowledge and experiences from that life, but she also regains all of her immense magical power to boot! She’s able to recover from her injuries and form a contract with the rather contrite dragon who attacked her by mistake. Completing her trial with ease – since she has a dragon at her beck and call – Fia makes a triumphant return home to her shocked family. Becoming a knight should be a breeze, now that she can cast strength and speed enhancing spells on herself! There’s just one problem – in her previous life, Fia was betrayed by her allies and then tortured and killed by a demon out for revenge. Fia doesn’t want a repeat of those events in her current life; that’s why it’s vital that no one ever find out about her powers, no matter what!
Fia has been granted a second chance at a happy life, and she’s determined to make the most of it. So why not use her reclaimed magic to help make her dream come true? What could go wrong?
Despite her desire to keep a low profile, Fia’s abilities mean she immediately stands out during the recruitment process for the knighthood, and she also draws the attention of her commanding officers once she’s been accepted. It’s going to be tough keeping her powers hidden, and Fia’s attempts to bluff her way out of trouble and general failure to be inconspicuous were pretty humorous. This girl’s a quick thinker, but not cautious enough to successfully keep her head down.
But it’s not just magic that Fia has gained since recalling the events of her past life. Since her previous life was filled with strife, Fia now has a lot of knowledge about monsters and combat. She has the battle instincts of an experienced warrior and is able to take command in dire situations. Of course her superiors are going to take notice!
So far, Fia has managed to come up with excuses to hide the full extent of her new abilities from her confused family and stunned colleagues, but her fast-talking can only disguise so much. Fia is going to have to stay on her toes if she’s going to stay hidden and avoid making any new enemies, or attracting the notice of any old enemies that might remember her from her previous life. I imagine that demon that killed her past self is still hanging around somewhere and still bitter!
In spite of the tragic way her past life ended, and all of the hardships she’s had to endure in this life, Fia has a upbeat nature and generally maintains a positive attitude. I found her to be a fun protagonist, and I enjoyed seeing her use her brain, as well as her magic, to come out on top during battles. I’m excited to see her continue to take on a leadership role amongst her fellow knights, since her experience allows her to take naturally to command. Hopefully the knighthood will provide Fia with an environment where she can finally be appreciated.
For some reason, most of Fia’s family were very unsupportive of her, and seemingly gave up on her entirely when it became clear that her physical abilities weren’t up to snuff. Only her sister seemed to genuinely care about her; so it’s gratifying to see Fia get the opportunity to show up her jerky brothers and finally grab success. She’s already established a cute friendship with one of the other new recruits in her brigade, and there’s also a number of other attractive looking men amongst the knights, so there are plenty of opportunities for Fia to experience a bit of romance in the future. Things are looking up for our girl!
A Tale of the Secret Saint is a fun fantasy adventure story about a scrappy young woman who doesn’t know how to give up. I appreciated that Fia’s experience, and not just her magic, are given focus in the narrative. It’s just more interesting to see our heroine think up solutions to problems, instead of powering through them thanks to having god-like abilities. I hope her knowledge and leadership will continue to play a major role as the series goes on.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Manga’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Let me know in the comments! If you’re reading the novels, be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on those as well.
Interested in reading more manga staring a tragic heroine who’s been reincarnated? Check out these reviews!
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Glad to hear that she has to do some thinking instead of just dominating with her powers. Sounds like a very promising series.
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Yes it definitely makes things more interesting. I hope the series continues in this vein.
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