Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry

April 10, 2016

Oh my. Do we really need another kind of this harem genre? I mean, watching Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry brings back memories of how similar it is to some of the recent harem animes that I have watched. It has those generic ingredients which made it so. Sometimes I feel that they took elements from that Blade Dance series, mash it up with that Sky Wizards series and even perhaps a little bit of that World Break series and voila, you have another harem series called by a different name. I mean, come on. Look how similar this is when I generally describe the series about a young lad in high school who is not looked up by the rest because of a tag/reputation that labels him as the worst. However he harbours some sort of latent ability when used in fights that makes him super and mighty. Then there is this bunch of girls flocking around him. See? How freaking similar this is? And here I am still watching the same thing every season. Do I sound like I’m complaining? Yeah, bring me another harem series I love this season.

Episode 1
It is all over the news. Stella Vermillion, the second princess of the Vermillion Empire will be visiting Japan today. Ikki Kurogane narrates about the gifted and ungifted and how the system separates and treats differently both categories. Long ago, his grandpa analyzed him of having the worst of everything and indeed he does. However those feelings of being the worst, he wants him to hold on to it as proof he hasn’t given up yet. There is also a definition explanation about Blazers, special people who can summon and control magic. Ikki continues to train hard to be a Magical Knight. When he returns to his dorm at Hagun Academy, suddenly a vision of Stella in sexy lingerie greets him. Before she could scream, he is going to even the odds by stripping his shirt and let her see his abs too! Nope. Wrong move. Slap. So after being lectured by the director, Kurono Shinguji I guess he needs to be a man and take responsibility. Good news: Stella won’t turn it into an international issue. Bad news: He must do hara-kiri. Fast turning into a b*tch, eh? Sure, he did say he would do anything but isn’t that just a figure of speech? And because he calls that underwear peeking accident a little incident, this really makes her incense. She is going to burn the entire place down so what has got a man to do but say the reason he was looking at her was because she was so beautiful. Instant calm down. Wow. It’s like magic. Don’t tell me she’s turning tsundere now. But here comes the worst part. Shinguji says they will be roommates. Her idea is pairing the worst one and the best one at Hagun together. There are a handful of other roommates of mixed gender too. If they don’t like it, they can quit. Being the typical woman Stella is, she lays down the rules of living together. One of the don’ts including breathing. Ah yes, breathing. The reason why all women cannot stand men. To solve this petty argument, Shinguji suggests a mock battle where the loser must do what the winner says.

Heading into the one-sided match (at least on paper), Stella remembers telling her mother the need to become a Magical Knight to protect their tiny kingdom. The mock fight begins with Stella going aggressive with her flame sword, Laevatein and Ikki is just reduced to blocking with his Intetsu. From her strikes, he can tell she put in a lot of effort in her swordsmanship. Although he lands a blow on her, it must be that rank thingy that makes him unable to defeat her. Although she knew this would happen, she wanted to proof she could win without her magic ability. Now she turns on this mode to finish off the match. However Ikki has trained hard and combines all his training for some super power for that short moment in time, avoiding her flames and striking the victorious blow before passing out. Ikki wins. Stella wakes up in the infirmary only suffering from light wounds. She asks Shinguji about Ikki’s abilities because that kind of skill couldn’t have made him the worst. Unfortunately, ranks are based on one’s ability as a Blazer and don’t evaluate other areas. Yeah, this sounds pretty familiar. Stella remembers her reason to study abroad in this country was because she couldn’t excel as everyone already ‘trapped’ her in this box called genius. When she returns to the dorm, she sees him sleeping. Now she gets curious to touch all over his body?! Then she gets caught in the act. Hi, what are you doing? She admits her defeat so does this mean she has to follow whatever the winner says? Oh, trying to change the topic that was just a figure of speech? To keep her honour as a princess, she agrees to do whatever he wants. Including becoming his sex slave. How the heck did she come up with this? His first order is to become his roommate. Handshake? Hmm… Is fist bumping the current trend these days?

Episode 2
Yuri Oriki will be their teacher. More like a zombie teacher looking at those bags under her highs. Oh, she is prone to vomit out litres of blood too. After the duo leave her at the infirmary, suddenly Kagami Kusakabe hugs Ikki! She is a big fan of his after watching the mock fight and as a member of the newspaper club, she wants to interview him. I can smell jealousy reeking from Stella… What is worse than having 1 woman interested in you? Having 2 women! Because the next one is Shizuku, Ikki’s little sister whom will be attending this school for the first time. Guess what? She kisses him! Scandalous! What the heck is this bond strengthening and haven’t seen each other for 4 years got to do with it? Time for Stella to step in and interrupt. This means… I smell a big b*tch fight coming up. It gets worse when Stella describes her relationship with Ikki as master-servant. Enough for Shizuku to summon her Yoi Shigure to cut her up. Stella draws her Laevatein too. Then they insult each other’s boobs before the big clash that thankfully didn’t bring the entire place down. Although they are made to clean all the toilets for a week, the boobs insults continue… Wow. Just amazing. I never knew there were so many things that could be used to refer to boobs. It ends when Shizuku tells her off she will never understand how Ikki feels. The feeling of being treated like as though he never existed. Shizuku returns to her dorm and meets her roommate, Nagi Arisuin AKA Alice. He’s a guy, by the way.

Curiosity got the better of Stella so she directly asks Ikki about that never existed treatment. Could she be a little more tact? His depressing story begins with the world’s greatest samurai known as Ryouma. That’s his grandpa. As the Kurogane household has produced many talented Blazers, because Ikki had no talent, he was treated as an outcast. Even during family meetings he had no place. One stormy day he decided to run away but got lost. Before he succumbed to his fate, grandpa appeared before him and spoke those motivating words. At that moment he wanted to become a man like him. But to be the kind person he wants to be, he needs to be strong. That’s why he wanted to become a Magical Knight. Unfortunately no one would teach him and he had to train alone. Although he was accepted to this school, the Kurogane didn’t like a failure to become a knight and pressured the school. This means Ikki could never graduate. Although this was imposed by the previous director and now it is slightly better under Shinguji, the Kurogane will still find ways to suppress him. Shizuku tells the same story to Alice. So when she found out how her beloved brother was mistreated, she despised them with all her heart. That’s why she will give all the fatherly love, motherly love, brotherly love, sisterly love and whatever kind of love to him. Lastly, we are treated to fanservice because Stella comes in to wash Ikki’s back in her bikini. I knew this had to come sooner or later. And yeah, using her boobs to rub his back when her top comes undone. Guess whose fault it is and guess what happens to Ikki?

Episode 3
Ikki helps Stella train for the upcoming Seven Star Battle Festival (7SBF) qualifying match. She blushes when he comments they get along well despite at odds. Huh? Then she tries to hint to him about going out on a date tomorrow but I guess she took too long (or thought a guy like him would know what she is trying to say) because Ikki gets a mail from Shizuku to go out shopping tomorrow. And he replies yes. Curses! So with the excuse she is her servant, she tags along with him and you can tell sarcasms are going to fly when both girls meet. Alice is also here as requested by Shizuku. Ikki meets him for the first time and is curious about his name. Although physically he is male, he jokes his heart is of a maiden. Because yaoi images of them start flashing in Shizuku’s mind, she becomes a demon threatening to take out Alice if he continues. Stella is at a disadvantage because she can’t hold hands like the sister (can slaves hold hands?) and when Ikki cleans some cream off Shizuku’s face, Stella wanted the same treatment but desperate enough to smear her face with it. I thought she put on shaving cream! He got her a towel instead. Curses! While the guys are in the toilet, the mall is suddenly taken hostage. Thanks to Alice’s sword, Hermit Darkness that lets him manipulate shadow, they manage to hide from the terrorists looking for hostages to round up. Then they contact Shinguji who relays information about this group led by people with Blazers. They did demand some ransom but they get their kicks in seeing terrified people via power. She has authorized them in using their magic.

Shizuku and Stella are part of the hostages as they only take women and children. When a child throws ice cream at one of them for being rough with his mom, he is going to shoot him. Luckily Stella intervenes. The big boss, Bisho arrives and is impressed with the princess and chides his subordinate for being petty. However he notes the child lacks discipline thanks to bad parenting and that the mother must pay with her life. He is going to kill her when Stella springs into action. This is a setup so when Stella unleashes her full force on him, his Judgment Ring absorbs her attacks and deflects it back with the same amount at her. Impressed with her nobility, he is willing to let people live if she takes the boy’s place by apologizing in her knees. Naked. Gosh. Is this our fanservice for this episode? I can’t be turned on seeing her in her undies in this situation. Ikki is really mad but Alice holds him back telling to trust in Shizuku who is in the midst of building a magic barrier. Once she successfully creates a water barrier, Ikki makes his move. Using his super power to analyze and evade all their bullets, he strikes Bisho by cutting off one of his arms. Stella has already taken out the rest. Then he hugs and apologizes Stella. Uhm, can you at least let her put back her clothes? It’s not over yet as one of the hostage is a terrorist and takes another woman hostage. Suddenly something strikes and kills them outright. Behold for Shizuya Kirihara. Ikki knows him. The girls hate him (they agree for once). When Ikki thanks him for saving them, he mocks him for being weak. Stella chides him off for being cocky and that he doesn’t know about Ikki’s strength. Kirihara laughs madly about Ikki’s false advertising and should tell the truth how he ran away from their match because he was too scared to face him in battle. Oh, guess what? Kirihara is the first person he will fight in 7SBF first round. Oh, did I mention he was the school’s representative last year?

Episode 4
Stella begins her first match. The spectators think she is a wuss for losing to Ikki. But for her competitor, he knows she is the real deal because before it could even start, he gives up and surrenders! WTF?! Later Stella talks to Ikki who is watching past clips of Kirihara’s match. Kirihara’s magic ability is to camouflage and hide his attacks or presence. Subsequently Alice also talks to Ikki about their bad blood last year. The school wanted a reason to expel him and so Kirihara was sent to provoke him. Ikki did not retaliate and instead took in all his beatings. In the end, it saved him from expulsion. Before Ikki goes for his match, he is met by Nene Saikyou who is known as the Demon Princess of the KOK Top League. She wants to flirt with him but seems Shinguji who is also her best friend had to bring her away and not slack her officiating duties. Now it’s the big match we’ve all been waiting for. As it begins, Kirihara uses his magic to turn the arena into a huge forest. He then attacks Ikki from all sides as he is unable to sense where it is coming from. Taking every painful blow thrown at him, Kirihara mocks his weakness and even leads the crowd to mock him as the worst one. Especially about his condition to win 7SBF to graduate. When the mocking gets out of hand, Stella has had it with it and screams out not warn everyone not to mock her favourite knight. Then she chides Ikki for giving up. I guess you need a little scolding from you girl to snap you back to your senses. He revives by using his special ability. He can now trace and detect every shot Kirihara fires at him. Not only that, he can even trace back to where Kirihara is and analyse his fighting style, etc! And when Ikki goes on the offensive, Kirihara is reduced to one big chicken sh*t, running away, begging for his life and even talking about friendship. WTF. Ikki strikes the fatal blow although he misses by a millimetre, it was enough to scare the sh*t out of Kirihara as he faints. No prizes who wins this one. Ikki collapses in the aftermath and wakes up in the infirmary with Stella by her side. I guess Shizuku would allow this once. The outrageousness begins when Stella wakes up and blames him for looking at her drooling while sleeping and for making her worried. Oh wait. She was never worried, right? Then he says he likes her. Gasp! So fast? Oh right. You don’t know when they’ll ever get a good chance like this again, right? If that isn’t crazy enough, Stella kisses him. On his cheek. And then they hug. Wow. This really escalated quickly.

Episode 5
Stella and Ikki are lovers for 2 weeks already?! Man, it did escalate quickly. She is agonizing because they didn’t do anything much ever since. Yeah, where’s the passion? Kagami brings some of her friends to train under him. At the same time, she can do her interview. Stella doesn’t look too happy… During the training, a group of jealous guys confront him and want to teach him his place. Ikki singlehandedly defeats them with his bare hands. Then the guys apologize about their envy and perhaps this was just a ploy to ask him to be their master. Ikki the great humanitarian takes them in too as his disciples. Then there’s our mandatory showdown between Stella and Shizuku to give their drink to Ikki and the latter beat her to it so the former had to chug down their share of bottled water. When Alice gives Stella a copy of an otome game, she gets hooked in playing it. I suppose it is in a game where you can be honest with your feelings. Or maybe is it the protagonist looks a bit like Ikki? Since Stella isn’t being trained under Ikki (because their fighting styles would clash), why does she have to follow him and the rest of his ‘students’ to the pool for training? Something about Ikki said about her to support him. And Shizuku thought today would be one day without that b*tch. And we have the girls showing off their swimsuits. No, not you too, Alice!

While Ikki trains the rest, Stella feels neglected by herself. She is approached by Kagami who intends to make Ikki her boyfriend. That is when Stella blurts out they are dating. Oops. It is part of Kagami’s plan to make her reveal that juicy stuff. Don’t worry, as a pride of journalist, she won’t tell others. But this doesn’t stop her from asking how far they have gone. Similarly, Shizuku is confiding with Alice about her unnatural love for Ikki. He gives her hope that is normal and she still has a chance because Stella won’t open up so easily. Well, Kagami is trying to tell Stella to be aggressive after learning they haven’t do anything much as lovers. Be quick or Ikki will run away and turn into a herbivore! So when Ikki and Stella find time to talk, she jumps the gun he wants to break up since showing her sexy side has no appeal. I guess she wasn’t listening to his worries that he too noticed they didn’t do anything much. And then they start arguing like lovers. See? You’re doing it already. They both held back because they didn’t want to be thought as a slut/pervert. Asking about the thing they want to do now, they both answer to kiss simultaneously. The first real kiss. And I think a permission to be horny with each other. Hey, they did ask if guys like horny girls and vice versa. Sure, Stella hates it but will only allow it for him. On their way back, they hold hands. But on a more serious business, they receive mail for their next 7SBF match. They’ll be facing the student council executives. Yeah, another bunch of weirdoes.

Episode 6
Ikki and Stella are facing off with their respective student council opponents. And they easily won! So much about the intimidation. So while Ikki’s girls fight over him as usual, I suppose that is the reason why they can’t sense somebody has been stalking them for a week unlike the guys. When they call out to the stalker, Ayase Ayatsuji becomes a clumsy oath in trying to run away. Once Ikki confirms she is the daughter of Kaito, the great swordsman who won many important tournaments, he is honoured to meet her since he was once taught by him. The reason he is not famous is because he is not a Blazer. He is hospitalized due to an accident. Ayase is shy in talking to boys and has been trying to figure out a way to approach Ikki to request his help in teaching her swordsmanship. Well, no need to ask. He invites her to join in. He finds her movements quite good but realizes the reason she cannot be as great as Kaito. Because she is trying to imitate his moves perfectly, due to their different gender build, it is impossible. He knows a way he can help her overcome this. Today’s fanservice will be on Ikki caressing her thighs to analyze her muscles. I’m sure it is hard for everyone to stay focus and not stray into unholy thoughts. Did Ayase get all that he has said? Fortunately she did because her improved move is now faster than before. Ayase is very grateful and praises Ikki’s good hands that remind her of her father’s. I’m having a hard time trying not to imagine dirty thoughts with this compliment. Stella is jealous but Shizuku displays her mature side that they were just merely practising swordsmanship. Even if Shizuku is not chosen but as long as Ikki is happy, she will be happy. I suppose Stella needs some sort of reassurance too so that night she wants him to hold her hands and also assures her she is the only one he loves. Nobody else.

When Ayase treats Ikki and Stella out for a meal, a group of punks from another school waltz into the place to harass Ayase. Their leader, Kuraudo Kurashiki sense great swordsmanship in Ikki and on pretence to be friends with him, smashes his head with a bottle. He wants Ikki to take out his weapon and fight. But Ikki doesn’t budge and instead smiles back. Stella is very pissed and wants to take on them but Ikki tells her not to move. Even when Kuraudo spits on him, he does nothing and continues smiling. I wonder if Stella can hold in her anger. Eventually they leave since it’s not fun bullying a weakling. Ikki explains he doesn’t want to complicate things by taking out his weapon and bring trouble to this place. He knows he will be expelled by doing so even given the circumstances. The student council duo, Utakata Misogi (vice president) and Kanata Totokubara (treasurer) commend his action because had Ikki take on them, they will have to intervene. As ‘reward’, they heal his injury like it was never there in the first place. They also mention about Kuraudo who is known as a Sword Eater and one of the top 8 at last year’s 7SBF. Though it is timely for Ayase to explain her connection with them, Ikki won’t press her if she doesn’t want to say. Worse timing, Ikki and Ayase have to face each other in the next battle. Alice sees through what is happening and talks to Ikki about Ayase trying to make a desperate move. Because if she is going to go to 7SBF, she must win all her matches without losing and she stands no chance against Ikki. Ikki has received mail from her to meet and clearly knows it is a trap. He knows she isn’t the kind of person who resorts to foul play and will not be shaken no matter what happens.

Episode 7
Ikki meets Ayase at the school’s rooftop. She asks what he will do if he meets someone unbeatable. He’ll still fight fair and square with all his might. For her, she’ll do whatever it takes to win. This means right now she jumps off the edge to kill herself. Ikki is forced to jump down to save her and use his special ability so they can land safely in the pond. This has been Ayase’s objective. Knowing his cooling period is a day if he uses it, as the match is in 10 hours, he has no chance of winning. Stella must be having nice naughty dreams of Ikki. Till she felt a bump on her body. No, it’s not Ikki going to make your dreams come true. He is not responding! He wakes up in the infirmary. Everybody has been worried. Shinguji talks to him but he will not reveal what happened and will take whatever punishment. He then asks about Ayase. About 2 years ago, Kaito fought a match with Kuraudo in a one-on-one match. He lost everything including his dojo. All that now belongs to Kuraudo. He was also severely hurt during the match and is now in coma. Hasn’t awakened since. Therefore Ayase is doing this to face Kuraudo at 7SBF to take back everything. Ikki and Ayase’s fight is here. It seems all Ayase had to do is tap her sword and Ikki will be severely cut by some whirlwind slash. Prior to the match, she used her sword, Hizume to cut up the space and placed traps all around the arena. Although this is clearly a violation and result in automatic disqualification, as long as the judges don’t notice, it is fair game, right? Ikki takes in a lot of deep cuts and when Ayase is about to finish him, he lures her into attacking him while he defence with an irregular technique. He is relieved that Ayase is still the person whom he thinks she is.

Prior to the match, Ikki went to see Yuri who will be officiating the match. He told her Ayase will be placing traps in the arena but wants her to overlook it. Ikki’s reason for doing this is because he wants to believe in Ayase. He wants to continue being friends with her and this would be his last chance to see her true intention. Now Ikki tells Ayase her mind is lost and thus cannot show her true potential as she has disregarded every teaching taught by him and her father. Ayase is desperate about proving her ideals because what is the use of believing in them if they don’t produce results. She will still do what it takes to win. In that case, Ikki will bring her pride back with his strongest move. Without using to his special ability, Ikki is able to dodge every trap while charging towards her. She unleashes whatever big move she has but Ikki does a secret sword technique that seals the match. He didn’t really cut her but something about switching his device into phantom form before doing so. His objective was to tire her out. Now that her Hizume disappears, she believes she has lost the match and her path. Ikki offers to help get back what she lost. After all she has done to betray and hurt him? He doesn’t need a reason to help a friend. Wow. So chivalrous. So much so Ayase can’t contain her emotions. She starts crying and asking for him to help her. That is what he wants to hear. I don’t know. Making a girl cry, making her begging for your help… Doesn’t that seem a little shady even if he wants to play the hero?

Episode 8
Ayase narrates about Kaito who retired from competitive matches when his heart problems cropped up. Even so, he continued to teach her the ways of the sword when she was still being immature. Kuraudo had a reputation as a dojo destroyer. Kaito fought him nobly till the end. When Kaito was about to deal his secret technique, his heart gave way and this allowed Kuraudo to deal the fatal blow. Ayase felt angry and helpless that she couldn’t do anything that day. Now she brings Kaito to her ex-dojo as that guy requests a duel with him. On behalf of Ayase, he is here to help get her dojo back. Although it is illegal to use their weapons outside school, it is an exception when the accredited martial art school and the school master give permission. Kuraudo needs to see if he is qualified to fight him so he shows proof of all his goons he has defeated while making his way here. Time to start this epic fight. After a few fast clashes, Ikki analysed Kuraudo of his special reflex ability. In short, before one can make an attack, he is already attacking 2 or 3 times. In normal matches, it would be impossible to dodge attacks like that. Kuraudo explains this reflex of his wasn’t one he trained and developed. He was born with it. He continues his multiple angle attack and the slight mistake from Ikki costs him to be injured. His luck only prevents him from meeting a fatal fate.

As the guys continue their fast pace attack, the girls notice Ikki is smiling. Stella asks Ayase if Kaito was mortified during his fight. Although she believed he was so, Stella thinks otherwise. Because like Ikki, Kaito was happy to have met his match with another strong sword fighter. Sure, Kaito has been the best of his field for years. But what is the use of that rusting away without any potential challenger? That is why when Kuraudo came to challenge him head on, he was probably more than happy to fight him. Ayase felt embarrassed she couldn’t see this despite training under him. Kuraudo’s ability isn’t god. So the downside of his reflexes is that it eats into his stamina. He is getting tired but Kaito is having so much fun he can’t end this fast. But I guess they have to and when both sides unleash their secret attack, it seems Kaito won using the Ayatsuji’s ultimate secret attack, Ten-i-muho. How does he know this move? Something about his sword that can imitate techniques. The guys call it a day and will continue the rest of it during 7SBF. Kuraudo gives them back the dojo. Ayase feels bad for making Ikki go through all this. She doesn’t feel she is good enough to carry on her family’s swordsmanship. But Ikki had her to thank because had she not memorized every move of the technique, he wouldn’t had been able to pull it off. In the aftermath, Ayase takes responsibility over her actions and admits to the committee about her foul play in Ikki’s match. She has been removed from the selection and suspended from school for 10 days. Even more good news is that Kaito has regained consciousness. And you thought it would be quality time between Ikki and Stella till Shizuku and Alice were caught spying on them. Nothing like a little Stella-Shizuku squabble after the latter has been sidelined for the entire episode, eh?

Episode 9
I suppose as reward for winning his 12th straight match, Ikki and Stella are set to go on a training camp. You thought they would be training with the student council members? Well, actually more like helping them clean the entire training camp before the next batch of trainers arrive! Bummer. Something is wrong with Stella. She has been valuing their alone time so much that when she gets the chance, she wants to continue despite feeling sick. And no, it’s not morning sickness because she’s pregnant! Conveniently the storm comes and they conveniently take shelter in a nearby cabin. Yeah… You guessed it. Time for steamy fanservice. So as not to make her feel alone, Ikki also strips himself. How considerate. Since she is too weak to take off the clothes herself, Ikki becomes a gentleman in taking them off. Slowly… Slowly… Hold still our beating hearts… And now he needs to take off her bra because it is restricting her breathing. Yeah… Amazingly he does it fast enough to even cover her so big disappointment for those who want to catch some boobs. Naturally Ikki has a boner and Stella actually is happy about that because it proves he isn’t gay. And then the ultimate question that every guy would love to hear from a girl: Would you like to have sex with me? Oh sh*t! But guess what? Ikki apologizes he cannot answer her right now! WTF?! Are you gay?! So this is his freaking reason: He wants to tell everyone proudly how he loves her and being in a sexual relation with her does not. Wait. What? I know it’s chivalrous but WTF?! Of course if you have noticed a spy stalking them ever since their journey here, now that their coordinates have been set, Mamoru Akaza is going to put forth his plan. Shizuku has gone home and sulking over how she couldn’t come to the training camp with Ikki. She is not pleased to meet her father, Itsuki and can tell he still doesn’t care about Ikki (he called her back to check her progress and is satisfied so far). Ikki felt the ground move. He goes out to check and sees a giant rock monster going to crush the cabin. Luckily he becomes The Flash to bring Stella out before the cabin gets destroyed. As he fights the monster, the more he destroys it, the more it can regenerate into clones. Luckily the student council members are here to flex their muscles. And of course we are introduced to the most powerful of them all. You mean this geeky looking girl, Touka Toudou is the student council president? I can see why she is Hagun’s best Magical Knight as her lightning slash can even fry the perpetrator remotely controlling the monster and thus stopping the regeneration. And guess what? Shizuku is Touka’s next match opponent.

Episode 10
Shizuku has always thought with her position as the family’s heir, she could have her way with anything till Ikki told her how wrong it was. Unaware of his treatment then, she decided to follow him. While Shizuku trains alone before the big fight, the rest talk about Touka’s power of lightning that could be Shizuku’s natural enemy as her power is based on water. When the match starts, none of them makes a move and it becomes like a staring competition. Seems they want to learn the other’s move if they take the first step and particularly for Shizuku, the safest bet to fight Touka is via long range and defensively because despite being in the top 4 of last year’s 7SBF, she lost to the eventual winner who bested her outside her attacking range. So when the action really starts, you can see Shizuku throwing all sorts of epic water based magic at her. However Shizuku still ends up getting slashed and wonders if it is her lapse in concentration. Ikki identifies this stealthy move as Nukiashi. Something about your brain cannot process everything all at one go and thus the lapse in that short span of memory. A trained person like Touka can use that little gap to her advantage and make it seem like she appeared out of nowhere to attack. So if Touka is already using Nukiashi, it could only mean a matter of time before Shizuku is defeated. Stella shouts out to encourage Shizuku. I’m sure she would be more appreciative if it was her onii-sama but that will do. Shizuku concentrates and brings out the maximum full extent of her powers to begin the final fight. After lambasting her with all sort of water based powers from cloning herself and hiding the arena with mist, eventually before Shizuku could go in for the kill (at least that is what she thinks), Touka saw it coming and in just one damning signature strike of hers, Shizuku is cut down in an instant. Game over. Shizuku wakes up in the infirmary. She’s fine. But she’s acting tough like it was nothing. Till Alice hugs her and tells her she has done her best while Ikki watched her till the very end. Her tough act and armour crumbles as she cries in his arms. Shizuku’s dad finds out she has lost and leaves it to Akaza for the next move.

Episode 11
Stella continues her winning streak too. It’s not too much to ask for a little romantic time between her and Ikki. Not too sure if this is their umpteenth kiss but little do they know they are being recorded. This doesn’t look good. Shinguji calls Ikki and warns him Akaza has been seen sniffing around the school grounds. Ikki and Stella meet up with the student council members to do charity work for some organization. Ikki learns more about Touka’s power regarding her super vision that can sense electric current as she is a lightning user. He realizes he can’t take his eyes off her. No, not because he is attracted to her, silly. It is the core of her strength that includes kindness and perseverance. It makes Ikki question what the source of his strength is. When they return, their friends have been frantically looking for them. The front page of the newspaper has a picture of Ikki and Stella kissing. As Stella is a princess, the scandal builds up as lots of reporters are cramming outside Hagun. Akaza then pops up before Ikki and wants him to attend a hearing by the ethics committee he is in. Stella disagrees but Ikki will fight this his way and goes with him. While being imprisoned indefinitely, in between he is interrogated. Ikki knows they are trying to corner him by forcing him to admit it was his mistake so he declares his true love for Stella and believes has done nothing wrong. As such hearing won’t to amount to disqualification of knights, Akaza has taken further measures to ensure that. This means Ikki will be fighting his matches inside the interrogation building. Although he wins, each match brings wears him down.

With all the articles filled with lies and the students badmouthing behind their backs, Stella even begins to wonder if this is all her fault. Should she break up? Shizuku beats her up and reminds her why Ikki is doing this. If she can’t even understand that, it is as good as betraying him. Stella realizes Ikki has been trying to fight and protect her all this time. Ikki continues his winning streak but is as tired as he can be. Yuri as his official judge slips him a paper. It contains a strand of Stella’s hair. This gives him the motivation that she too is fighting and their promise to face each other in the finals. Thus Ikki pleads to take this appeal directly to Itsuki. He gets the chance and wants his acknowledgement if he wins 7SBF. However Itsuki tells him he has got the idea wrong all the while. He has always acknowledged Ikki. But teaching techniques to someone without talent is futile and in fact is the worst. One can only get mediocre results with mediocre abilities. So when someone who is supposed not to do anything ends up doing anything, it gives needless hope to other useless fellows and put a strain on the organization. So please sit back and do nothing. In this heart-breaking moment, Ikki realizes that it wasn’t that Ikki hated him. He never had any hopes or feelings in the first place. Ikki was never a failure. But the bond between them was broken from the start. I guess you can’t blame him for crying how sad he realizes this silly predicament is. But the bad news is about the get worse. Akaza announces his next opponent will be Touka. This will also be his last match as the ethics committee doesn’t want to drag this out any longer. If he wins, they will stop pursuing this case. If he fails, he will forever quit being a Magical Knight.

Episode 12
Ikki looks like he is at breaking point in his cell. Touka knows this match is very much a setup by those scheming adults. Even so, she will face Ikki with all she’s got. There are 6 final matches to be played simultaneously and the winners will represent the academy at 7SBF. Of course receiving the most attention would be Ikki-Touka’s match as it is broadcasted live and in front of millions. When their match is supposed to start, Ikki is nowhere around. If a participant does not do so in 15 minutes in the allotted time, he/she will be automatically disqualified. Of course we know this is a plan by sly Akaza to run down Ikki. He claims there was miscommunication to pick him up from his cell to the stadium but when Akaza went to pick him up, he wasn’t there. So he might have gone there himself? Yup. Ikki is making his way there by foot and could collapse any time. He sees mocking visions of Ryouma and even his inner self is taunting him about being the worst one. Just when it seems he might not pull through, he is caught by Shizuku who welcomes him home. Uplifting his spirits even further is that everyone in the academy is cheering for him. The best part is that Stella and Alice already won their matches and this further motivates him.

Ikki and Touka step into the ring. Both do not waste time powering up to the max. Everything will end in a single strike as they want to uphold the honour of a Magical Knight. All that drama comes to a climatic end when Touka is defeated! From all that explanation, what I understand is that Ikki expanded everything he had to his limit at the very last moment. Sure, it left him bloodied all over but he is still the one standing at the end. Well, barely. Akaza being the sore loser he is, is going to take care of this himself and won’t acknowledge this. Before the fatty could do anything, he is bumped away by Stella here to catch Ikki. With everything so public already, might as well go all the way. Ikki asks Stella to be part of his family. She interprets that as asking to be his wife. A yes, I guess. And yeah, they kiss live in front of everyone. Stella’s dad who is of course the emperor of his little kingdom calls Itsuki and definitely he is not happy with what the kids are doing in public. It’s causing an uproar in his kingdom. Of course they still have their shady adult plan to not let their kids involve. A ceremony is held to celebrate the 6 undefeated winners who will be going to 7SBF. They are Stella, Alice, Kanata, twins Kikyou and Botan Hagure and of course Ikki who is made the leader of the team by Touka. Ikki and Stella’s romantic time is cut short when Shizuku and Alice butt in. I guess now the girls are going to be sister-in-laws, Shizuku will be laying down her absolute rules. I don’t know about this no-kissing policy that she just made up but I think Stella also made up 30-times-a-day kissing rule. I know a certain ‘fight’ that isn’t over yet…

The Weakest Link – Tale Of The Worst Harem
And so this is how it ends typically of another anime. The kind where as usual there are so many potentials for development that if the response is good, they’ll make another season out of it. But as far as this season is concerned, I guess what has to be done is done. Like Ikki clearing his name in the eyes of the public and proving that he is not the worst one like some shady adults especially his own dad want him to be. It is still a long road ahead but like I said, at least they tie up some of the plots for this season instead of leaving you having like some series.

A reason why I said this series was suspiciously similar to animes like Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance, Seiken Tsukai No World Break and Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyoukan is because of this few elements. Noticed our lead guy starts out with a very unfavourable reputation, has some sort of dark/tragic past and hidden powers that make him awesome once he unleashes it? The typical generic hero. If that is not similar enough, take a look at all the series including this. Why do they have a red head female whose behaviour is always the one showing the most emotions or flustering? Then you have the straight dark haired female lead who is a total opposite character with her calm composure and shows lesser emotions compared to the red head. The harem team have powers based on elements whether it is elemental or attack style. Oh, there is this tournament too that has yet to begin and what we have seen are just the initial qualifying stages. No wonder somewhere in my mind I had this feeling of watching something similar before.

I never understood how I started labelling this as a harem series because if it was categorized under this genre, it would have failed big time. Probably it was the ‘misleading’ poster that sees our Ikki being surrounded by a bevy of beauties that got me thinking that this is definitely going to be another one of those generic harem animes, coupled with the fact that it sounded like those aforementioned anime titles, thus the unexpected expectations. And then it surprised me that Ikki and Stella became a couple in the early episodes! Wait a minute. The typical harem guy actually chose a girl whom he wants to be? That’s not a typical decision for a lead male in a harem genre. Then this harem thingy starts to crumble after the duo became a couple. Because ever since, Shizuku has settled down and resigned to the fact that she will be okay playing second fiddle so long Ikki is happy. Even though she was his sister, she was the closest rival to Stella in the harem wars. As I thought the first time Stella and Shizuku met and locked horns would signal the start of an eternal cat fight but aside their petty taunting from time to time, it didn’t come close.

Because the rest just don’t quite cut it. Like Kagami who started off very promising to be a harem candidate quickly falls out of a race and it could be that she is just interested in him as a fan. Ayase’s case was just being a desperate damsel in distress who needs saving and it isn’t like she has fallen in love with him a bit after he helped her out. It is more like gratitude than anything else. After her arc is done, she is mostly missing until a short cameo in the final episode seen along with others to cheer for Ikki. Yeah, you go Ikki. Lastly Touka who is the ‘last’ in the fray comes across as merely respectable above anything else. I don’t want to start with Alice despite this guy claiming to be feminine inside because it would only make fujoshi fans happy. Thank goodness it didn’t even start. Also there is Nene to ponder about since she likes flirting but I don’t think she would have any romantic-like intentions and gets her kicks by flirting with Ikki. And there you have it. Where the heck is the harem? How did I even think it could be one? Yeah, I am the worst.

Character wise, they aren’t anything new. The characters feel like they have been done to death in similar fashion if you have been watching such shows for the past few years. Because characters like Ikki, either he starts off as a wuss and becomes stronger in the end or he himself is already strong and gets to whoop ass to those who look down upon him during matches. Ikki’s case that he is labelled the worst just because certain aspects of his skills are not judged and only judged based on some strict narrow criteria, coupled in with the fact his family hates him and would do anything to put him down, reminds me a lot like that Tatsuya guy in Mahouka Koukou No Rettousei. So freaking similar in character and setting that I thought they were just clones in different universes. Then you have the strong female lead in Stella who was going to turn into a tsundere when their love was blooming in the initial stages. I guess when you have such a strong guy, it is natural to have a strong girl to match his status as they go on to be the power couple. I’m not sure if they will face their strongest battle yet when they decided to get married because it seems their daddies aren’t willing to give their approval. I have a feeling it will be a thorny international issue but that will be another story (maybe they’ll elope and form a new little kingdom of theirs?).

Other characters feel like they have much to be desired. Shizuku as the little sister trope there to support Ikki and prevent and all-out development of something illicit between Ikki and Stella. Alice is another great supporter and could have been generic and forgettable if not for his uncanny ‘ability’ to know just about everything. Not too sure if this is part of his magic ability, though. It’s like he can read you like a book. Seems like no information escapes this guy. He could be a spy or double agent or something but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Then there are the student council members that all of them look like some sort of weirdo. At least in terms of stereotypic looks. You’ve got the geeky looking president, the my fair lady vice president, the midget treasurer, the hulking behemoth buzz cut hairstyle and the athletic tomboy to complete the line-up. They look like an interesting bunch especially Kanata whom I feel her role is wasted as she gives this sense of mystery given the fact that she wears a Victorian style clothing as opposed to every other student wearing their usual school uniform. I know there is something more to her than meets the eye but the way this season is heading, looks like there isn’t enough time to divulge everything.

Then there is the rest like Yuri whose sole role to her already very limited appearance seems to be as a comical character because each time she appears, expect her to gush out blood from whatever ill conditions she is having as part of the running joke. Nene too also feels like a joke character aside being told that she is some strongest Blazer blah, blah, blah. Of all the school she had to pick for judging and commenting, it has got to be Hagun. Maybe because Shinguji is her best friend. Because she has this knack to always slip away and skip her duties by leaving behind a doll version of herself and leave her co-commentator doing all the commenting themselves. She’d rather be in the audience stand watching and commenting the match with Shinguji whose role other than watching over Hagun and Ikki seems to be stopping Nene in doing whatever mischief and dragging her away. Having most adults as the bad guys seems pretty cliché these days and that teens are always the good guys. Akaza is the embodiment of your typical low level villain. That typical scheming character and typical stereotypic villainous look that makes him look like The Laughing Salesman’s brother. And then there is Itsuki who is more discreet in his scheme but nevertheless obvious enough for him to be labelled as a baddie the way he treats Ikki.

The fight scenes are a mixed baggage to me. Those that are at least half an episode long are considerately satisfactory but there are those that only lasts a few seconds long and such short battles I feel are just, well, a mockery. I’m not sure if they want to bore us with long battles like some long running series that has a single fight being dragged out for episodes but having them end before it even started feels like they are telling me it is not worth watching them. Not worth animating them. Therefore when I thought things were going to get pretty tough an exciting when they are faced with some student council members, they cut the battle out to give our protagonists victory. So much for the build up. Maybe this is just to show how our heroes garner support from those who are defeated by them? I suppose another logic is that with the limited skill and magic sets our characters have, you certainly do not want to be bored by watching them pull off the same moves. Besides, do you remember any other full length battle that Stella fought besides her first one with Ikki? Therefore when Ikki’s final match with Touka ended prematurely, it conjured those thoughts up for me. I mean, that is the reason why in the previous episode we had almost the entire episode focused on the Shizuku and Touka fight, right? The ‘longest’ battle shown in the series. Thus with time running out in the final episode, they don’t want to bore us with the same moves we have seen them pulling off in other matches.

I’m not sure how to put this but many of the ‘villains’ that Ikki fights lack depth. I mean, we don’t really want to care about those guys, do we? I thought that terrorist organization that Bisho (still remember this monk dude?) would somewhat return at the end and screw things up, make life harder for Ikki but I suppose it never happened. Subsequently there is this Kirihara guy who acts and brags like he is freaking superior to Ikki in every way. Then you see him scream and run away when Ikki turns the tables. Whatever happened to him? Not important, right? Kuraudo also feels the same but slightly better. The only reason why it feels his character has more depth than the rest of those Ikki faced is because his story is tied to Ayase’s past which was dragged out into a mini arc by itself. It gives a reason for us to ‘like’ Kuraudo slightly better compared to Kirihara whom we would just love to cuss and hate. I know Touka isn’t a villain but since she is the last person standing in Ikki’s way, but let me just add that her fight has the shortest screen time among all those Ikki had to face (aside all those unimportant characters in other matches who were fated to lose to Ikki anyway). Because I have already said about the lengthy fight Touka had with Ikki’s sister in the previous. Why do that all over again even if they are both different characters clashing?

Fanservice is a given for this kind of series although they are minimal and as far as I remember, almost all originating from Stella herself. When you have a heroine with such humongous boobs and sexy body, it feels like an insult not to ‘take advantage’ of it despite just a handful of fanservice scenes. And why do girls like her sometimes have to be ecchi minded? At least a small part of it and at least for Ikki’s sake. And I thought guys are the only creatures that think sex = love. Drawing and art remains like your typical conventional Japanese anime with nothing really much to shout about. The magic effects in battle also seem rather okay than anything you would classify as amazing spectacle. This anime is animated by Silver Link who has brought to you other notable and nearly similar series like Strike The Blood, Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu, Cube x Cursed x Curious, Watamote, Non Non Biyori and Kokoro Connect.

This series boasts quite a handful of recognizable seiyuus although I only recognized a couple of them. Namely, Yu Kobayashi as Ayase, Sho Hayami as Itsuki and Yuka Iguchi as Nene (ah, it’s been a long time since I have heard her in her trademark bratty Index-like voice). I don’t know what gave me the impression that Kana Hanazawa as behind Touka’s voice because at first it sounded like her but subsequently something felt a bit off and my confused guts believed it wasn’t so. Turns out it was Hisako Kanemoto. That same feeling had me wondering if Youko Hikasa was behind Kanata’s voice. After all that paranoia and deciding to check it out, looks like my guts were correct. Then there is Nao Touyama as Shizuku whom I didn’t recognize because she wasn’t like Nisekoi’s Chitoge. This isn’t the first time she has voiced such emotionless character as such familiarity could be seen in Gate’s Lelei, Sabagebu’s Kayo and Mahou Sensou’s Mui. After hearing Yoshitsugu Matsuoka voicing stereotypical main hero roles from Sword Art Online’s Kirito to Trinity Seven’s Arata to the titular character in Shokugeki No Souma, it was just hard for me to believe he is voicing the villain Kirihara.

The rest of the other casts include Ryota Ohsaka as Ikki (Nice in Hamatora), Shizuka Ishigami as Stella (Ellis in Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance), Shintarou Asanuma as Alice (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Kuraudo (X-eins in Valvrave The Liberator), Yuka Aisaka as Kagami (Muse in Amagi Brilliant Park), Mariko Higashiuchi as Shinguji (Yugiha in Noragami Aragoto), Megumi Han as Utakata (titular character in Mushibugyou)and Toru Ohkawa as Akaza (Saazbaum in Aldnoah.Zero). Identity by Mikio Sakai as the opening theme is catchy as it has that samba festival-like tune in it. It gets you into that festive mood of the 7SBF matches. But I am not too sure if the singer’s voice to be appropriate for this song because it sounds a bit flat. The ending theme is a surprise because it has been a long time since I have heard Ali Project but yet their trademark sound is still there. The moment I hear Haramitsu Renge, I knew it was from them. But having such naughty gothic piece for this kind of show feels a bit awkward. Especially when the ending credits animation is also animated to suit this gothic style. Naked girls especially Stella with thorny rose petals in the background? Awkward indeed.

Overall, nothing really ground breaking and treading the usual ground that it just feels familiar to a handful of anime series. But yet, different enough for curious guys and harem hopeful lovers to take a peek. Either you love it or you have had too much of this kind of genre that it is starting to get stale. I mean, who wouldn’t love a story that tells of the underdog hero who overcomes all trial and tribulations. Okay, so he started out to be one powerful heck of a dude simply because everybody else underestimated him in the first place. Still, he gets the girl in the end or rather he got her even before the halfway mark of the series. Sighs. It is the case of a good for nothing getting the girl. If only an otaku like me got such a harem in real life. If the logic of useless people should stay away from doing something even if it is good to avoid any unnecessary useless hopes so that the world would be a better place would only persist in real life. Life would definitely be a bliss. Yeah, I’m the worst.

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