Robots & Traps in Disguise
- Episodes : 13
- Genre : Action, Fantasy, Mecha
- Airing Date : Jul. 2017 - Sep. 2017
- Studios : 8bit
Knight's & Magic Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
The isekai genre has taken Japan by storm recently. These stories often feature protagonists who have been reborn or summoned to other worlds and make all the difference with their abilities. Knight's & Magic has its own take on this idea, but this time, giant robots are the star attraction.
Ernesti Echevalier used to be an extremely prodigious programmer who had a deep fascination with giant robot models. Upon his death in Japan, he was reincarnated into a world where his hobby was made real. Giant, magical mechs known as Silhouette Knights are used by each nation in battle and are the most powerful weapons on the planet. Growing older, Eru as he is known, decides to become a Knight Runner and fulfill his dream of piloting and eventually creating his very own giant robot.
What We Liked About Knight's & Magic
Knight’s & Magic certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen giant robots in a fantasy setting. Escaflowne and Broken Blade have used that setting as well. However, this series focused a lot on the interesting aspects of the mechanics that went into building these machines, as well as perfectly lining up with Eru’s personal motivations. Seeing the protagonist get this excited over his passion and overcoming technical issues is something that the audience can share in. Sort of like how rewarding it is to see shounen heroes go from weak to strong.
Voice actress Takahashi Rie brings Eru to life, she is most memorable from her last performance this year as Konosuba’s Megumin. His excitement is conveyed perfectly through her exuberant cries. It’s kind of hard to imagine that this cute shota trap was ever a Tokyo mecha otaku. There’s an abundance of cute, exciting, and interesting in this series that keeps it from feeling boring.
In most ‘reborn in another world’ isekai stories, you can expect a couple of tropes to come into play. One involves a positively massive info dump with the main character getting accustomed to life in his new world. The other is that they deal with moral issues and differences they face with their new lives. Eru, having been reborn as Ernesti Echevalier doesn’t have to go through this. He experiences life from a newborn, but suddenly awakens to his desires and memories upon seeing his “isekai father” save his life with a Silhouette Knight. Knight’s & Magic keeps things moving as much as possible to the benefit of entertainment, a much welcome change.
1. Knights, Knights, Knights!
Silhouette Knights are the star attraction in this series. The giant robots rely upon human mana and the pilot’s magical ability to use them properly. Eru, with his programmer background, finds the inner workings of magic insanely easy and does things that no one else in this world has even attempted before. Because of this and his understanding of how giant robots “should” function, he can create some amazing robots directly out of his wildest fantasies. He’s always leaving his peers and friends dumbfounded by his abilities, with his cute face belying his true strength.
It’s purely fiction, but the way Eru explains and demonstrates the inner workings of his creations is entertaining. Doubling up on muscle strands and controlling engine output would normally put viewers to sleep in any other setting and from any other protagonist. However, the show handles it in such a way that Eru’s excitement makes the viewer excited. Towards the end of the series, his greatest creations have come to light, and the world is forever changed because of them.
While there is a very strong presence of traditional magic throughout the show, it is still very much giant robot-focused. The robots at the beginning are more magical weapons, but thanks to Eru’s influence, he begins injecting them with more Gundam-like characteristics. Towards the end of the series, his own Silhouette Knight, dubbed Ikaruga, is very reminiscent of a kind of Epyon mecha from Gundam Wing. It’s interesting seeing how the fantasy elements of this new world begin changing thanks to Eru’s mecha otaku-ness from his previous life.
2. Interesting Visuals
I’m usually the first one to complain when I see 3D CG in a 2D anime. With that said, I’ve enjoyed the Netflix series with them, and have since mellowed out of my disdain toward them. With that said I still can’t stand cheap and awful CG, and it stands out the more dissimilar it looks to the rest of a show. This is not total CG like those you may see from Polygon Pictures, but the mechs are all 3D. Still, that doesn’t detract much from the action, and in many scenes, it enhances it.
While it’s not as well choreographed as say something like Broken Blade (my top mecha anime FYI), it is visually striking. It’s also a far cry from something seen in the likes of Infinite Stratos (my guiltiest pleasure mecha anime FYI). The first few episodes featuring the Behemoth were some of the most eye-pleasing anime I’ve seen in years. The forest atmosphere with the enormous Godzilla-sized boss fight was very well crafted. Usually 3D CG is associated with laziness, but it did not seem that way in this series. Hopefully, it’s a sign that more shows will begin to have more carefully thought out implementation of this.
3. Kawaii-desu - The Cuteness Factor
For those unaware, a trap is a term for a male character that looks decidedly female. This season’s Fate Apochrypha is already challenging just how cute a trap can be. Knight’s & Magic has definitely thrown their gauntlet in for cutest male character. If you happened to see last season’s Clockwork Planet you already know when an anime is really reaching for a forced cute factor. Thankfully, Eru-kun isn’t subjected to a complete gender swap in his wardrobe. He knows he’s cute as all get out, and he’s honestly tired of the attention it draws to him. That just goes to show that there’s still a mature man somewhere in that small body.
With that said, Takahashi Rie really does scream kawaii. Nothing can be done to make you forget that. Throw in the overly affectionate Addy who can’t help but smother him in affection and a few jubilant cries of self satisfaction, and you have exactly where this anime’s cuteness comes from. The producers could have tried for more, and I’m glad they didn’t force it. It’s at an appropriate level for this type of series. Don’t make me question anything about myself unnecessarily please, just fight the robots!
1. Some Lackluster Characters & Developments
Characters aren’t this show’s strong point. Eru himself is fairly interesting, but even still, he is very one dimensional. The supporting cast is even less interesting. They exist solely to proceed the plot, which gets us to more fights, but usually they’re pretty inconsequential. Usually, at some point, the protagonist would be faced with some greater dilemma of how their technology might affect a developing world, but Eru is one tracked in his pursuit of more advanced weapons.
The main enemy, the Jarodek empire, feels poorly fleshed out. They had ties to the most visible antagonist faction, a group of rogue mercenaries that stole Eru’s mechs, but that was loosely touched on. Ultimately, the plot and characters are very dry with no depth. It’s a good turn-off-your-brain show, but having read some of the manga, it seemed to have had a bit more than that from the source material cut out.
Knight’s & Magic is a fun show. It’s a step up from series like Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, but a good three tiers below something like Code Geass. If you’re looking for a lighthearted mecha isekai anime, you don’t want to miss it, but if you’re looking for Iron Blooded Orphans in a medieval fantasy world, you’ll have to keep waiting. Just let the cute little boy with the soul of a desk job employee build his catalog of death machines!
Did you enjoy Knight’s & Magic this season? Have any favorite moments from the show? Let us know in the comments section! We’d love to hear what you thought of it!