Ikki has the lowest magical rating in the school’s history and the organisation controlled by his family is determined to see that he fails. He finally gets a chance to prove them all wrong, but it’s not going to be easy!
Chivalry of a Failed Knight (Season One)
What did you watch?
We all know that I’m a sucker for swords, pretty girls, and pretty girls with swords… So, it seemed perfectly natural that I would want to watch Chivalry of a Failed Knight. I hadn’t seen it before and knew absolutely nothing about it going in other than the aforementioned pretty girls with swords. So, let’s dive in and see what I thought! Expect spoilers…
Stella Vermillion, a Princess, arrived at the Hugan Academy to train to become a Mage-Knight. However, not long after arriving, a boy walked into her room while she was undressing and in an attempt to ease her discomfort, took his clothes off too… Sadly, that did not help the situation and while it wasn’t looking good for Ikki, Stella decided to make him an offer, since it was all an unfortunate accident. They would duel and the loser would become the servant of the other for life. Stella was fairly confident given her A-ranking and Ikki’s F-ranking.
However, things changed quickly in the fight as Ikki showed more determination and skill than anyone would expect of an F-ranked Blazer. In fact, he seemed to be able to read her skills and abilities, nullifying them with his own seconds later. Things heated up, quite literally as Stella unleashed her full fire magic, but that was what Ikki was waiting for. He swept in and won the duel. Stella couldn’t believe it, but she raised the stakes and paid the price.
The principal who had refereed the duel quickly brought Stella up to speed with Ikki’s situation. How he was an F-ranked Blazer and had been blocked from attending classes and competing in competitions by his family. It was wildly political, but things had changed this year and Ikki finally had a chance to take part. She also recommended that Stella learn everything she could from him as he is unlike any F-ranked Blazer she’s ever encountered.
What did you think?
On the whole, I really enjoyed this series. The romance between Stella and Ikki was possibly the most realistic one I’ve seen in all of the anime I’ve watched. There were moments, most notably when they had an argument when both were feeling the same thing but assumed the other felt differently, which completely resonated with my teenage years and I’m sure many others would feel the same. On top of that, I loved the way that Ikki had to prove himself to everyone despite being so powerful and skilled. The political elements really added an edge to things and while they could have been a little more prominent, they were always there, often in very subtle ways.
What was your favourite moment?
The fights in Chivalry of a Failed Knight were excellent. They managed to pull on a variety of animation styles and artwork to really capture the emotion and dynamism of the action. As such there were several to choose from. One of my favourites was the fight between Ikki’s little sister, Shizuku and the student president, Touka Toudou. The action was exquisite and it just seemed to get bigger and better as it went on, which was pretty much the entire episode. Then, just when it looked like Shizuku was going to win, Touka struck and it was epic. The cinematography was spectacular.
To contrast that fight, I’m actually going to throw in another favourite moment. This comes directly off the back of my least favourite moment, which I’ll get to next. Ikki had to run to his final fight which was also against Touka Toudou. If he won, his father’s company would step out of his way permanently and if he lost, he would give up on becoming a Mage-Knight. He arrived at the arena just in time but was worn out from days of abuse and questioning. If he was going to win, he would have to put everything into one hit. Touka knew this. If she wanted to win, she just needed to avoid that attack.
They faced off against one another like a couple of samurai, each knowing that they had the fight won with a single attack. There was no messing around here. They both put everything into the attack, Ikki pushing himself past his limits, blood oozing from his pores. They met in a flash of steel and it was over in an instant. Touka fell to the ground defeated. Ikki struggled to remain upright, but he had won.
What was your least favourite moment?
We’d seen the lengths that Ikki’s family had been willing to go to just to stop him from attending lessons. The principal laid it all out for us and then Shizuku told us over and over again. We saw flashbacks to how they treated him and how it was his grandfather that gave him the strength to continue. Even with all of this, it was quite the shift in tones when Ikki’s father’s retainer took him into custody for having relations with Stella after a photo had been leaked to the press. In full-on 1984 style, they took him to a secure facility and performed a mockery of justice and human rights as they held him.
I loved this, but I felt like the shift in tones, which was reflected in the art style was a little too harsh. Had they used this throughout the series, even just for a moment here or there, then this wouldn’t have been quite as jarring. I get that they were probably trying to go for that feeling as it was pretty horrific what they did to Ikki, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh. In my defence, it was like watching a fun harem series being invaded by the Gestapo!
Who was your favourite character?
There were a lot of fun characters in this series and it’s hard to look past Ikki and Stella for this section. Both were great individually, but as a couple, they really flourished. It was impossible to not get swept up in their romance and seeing it build through the season was nice, rather than nothing happening until the end.
I will also say that I loved Touka Toudou and wished that she had gotten a little more time to shine. She only really appeared in the last three episodes and that wasn’t nearly enough. She was cute but deadly. A master with her sword and fighting styles, but also clumsy and endearing. I’d watch a series about her any day.
Who was your least favourite character?
It has to be Shizuku. I found her getting in the way of Ikki and Stella to be quite frustrating, and let’s not talk about the kiss… Why did they have to make her his actual sister? Couldn’t they have just been childhood friends? That would have worked fine and removed all of the weird awkward situations. I really liked her fight with Touka and how she handled herself in the hostage situation, so it wasn’t all bad. But she was his little sister… come on!
Would you like some more?
I would absolutely love some more. I think this series had an interesting balance between the fun, goofy harem stuff and the fights. They nailed the blossoming teen romance like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and the fights were so entertaining, and with the various Blazer abilities, the possibilities are endless. I also loved the fact that Ikki was basically an overpowered protagonist, but because of the rules he was forced to be a nobody and treated as such. We got to see him as the shackles were removed and he was finally given the chance to show us exactly how incredible he was.
What have you learnt?
I think the fact that the political system was so well dealt with in Chivalry of a Failed Knight was one of its strengths, despite my criticism of the jarring way in which it was shown. If you think about it, any society that has a need for Mage-Knights and a school that regularly has them fighting with weapons in real scenarios where people can get hurt and possibly killed has got to be pretty messed up. It, therefore, makes perfect sense that there is an organisation determined to control who can have those powers. Ikki was perfect as the catalyst to show that anyone can achieve more, and, of course, they would want to squash him and his ideals.
I’m surprised this side of things hasn’t surfaced in more stories like this. There are loads of school-based anime where fighting is the norm. It’s a great idea to step back and look at the world in which something like this would be possible and weave that into the story. There’s more to a good story than just fighting. We need to know why they’re fighting and what do others gain from it.
Other posts in the series
- Season One
- Episode 1 – The Worst One I
- Episode 2 – The Worst One II
- Episode 3 – The Worst One III
- Episode 4 – The Worst One IV
- Episode 5 – The Experience of the Princess
- Episode 6 – Sword Eater I
- Episode 7 – Sword Eater II
- Episode 8 – Sword Eater III
- Episode 9 – Princess’ Vacation
- Episode 10 – Witch of the Deep Ocean V.S. Raikiri
- Episode 11 – Another One: The Uncrowned Sword King I
- Episode 12 – Another One: The Uncrowned Sword King II