Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry Review - In this case, love really is a battlefield

  • Episodes : 12
  • Genre : Action, Fantasy, Romance, High School, Ecchi
  • Airing Date : October 2015 – December 2015
  • Producers : Silver Link, Nexus

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – Plot Summary (Spoiler Free)

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry: A Tale of Worst One takes place in a fantastical version of our world where humans with magical abilities, known as “Blazers,” are able to materialize weapons known as “Devices,” which are representative of their soul. The greatest Blazers are full-fledged Magical Knights, ranked throughout the world and known for their mastery of martial and magical combat.

Enter Kurogane Ikki, diligent Japanese high school student and F-ranked Blazer with the unfortunate moniker, “The Worst One.” A chance encounter in his dorm room with a half-naked princess from a foreign country, Stella Vermillion, results in a duel that sets both Kurogane and Stella on the path to the Seven Star Tournament, where true Mage Knights earn their deserved recognition. Can Kurogane overcome public perception, as well as his own insecurities, and prove that where there’s a will, there’s a way?

What is Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry Like? Who is it For?

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry combines elements of action and fantasy with ecchi romance in a high school setting. While this sounds a lot to juggle, they effortlessly combine into a viewing experience that is alternately hilarious, and packed with white-knuckle action.

The episodes often take a “case of the week” approach, where the actions of the main characters in previous episodes are built upon, but often taken in a different direction. Since this show is similar in format to other battle arena-based anime, the “case of the week” is most-often a formidable opponent that needs to be overcome by Kurogane, or the support cast drawn to him, and pushes them to their limits.

In between the action are plenty of character-building moments that help flesh out the relationship between Kurogane and Stella, as well as the friends and enemies that orbit them. Because the show is set in high school, much of the supporting cast is the student body or faculty, although there are shadowy characters acting in the background toward ends that become clearer as the show goes on. While the stakes of the show are often life or death, there are plenty of light-hearted moments of levity thrown in to help even out the town, as well as heaps of ecchi-induced awkwardness that leaves the viewer cringing in the best way possible. The show has plenty to offer fans of multiple genres, and keep them coming back until the 12th episode denouement.

TV Anime "of failing knight hero Tan (Kyabaruryi)" second edition PV

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry Main Character List

1. Kurogane Ikki

Voice Actor :Osaka Ryota

The main character of the show and the titular “worst one,” Kurogane Ikki is the oldest son of a prestigious family with a renowned history of martial and magical prowess. Because of his apparent lack of mastery or ability when it comes magic, as evidenced by his F-Rank as a Blazer, he spent his childhood ostracized by his family and grew up in isolation. He ran away from home at a young age, motivated by the words of his great grandfather, a world-famous Blazer, to use his negative feelings in a positive way, and keep him striving to improve his abilities.

Kurogane has dark brown hair and dark eyes. He’s average height, and is in great physical shape due to his rigorous daily training regimen. His Device is Intetsu, and takes the shape of a traditional Japanese katana. His signature move, or “Noble Art,” is Itto Shura, which allows him to sacrifice certain aspects of his physical abilities in order to push beyond his limits when necessary. However, he can only maintain this heightened state for about a minute, and because of the physical strain involved, he can only activate this ability once a day, and needs a deal of time to recover.

He aspires to win the Seven Star Tournament, a round-robin battle contest between schools, in the hopes of proving to himself and others that people can rise above their limits. Although he is a more than competent swordsman, and capable of assessing an opponent in battle, he is rather clueless out of combat, especially when it comes to women.

2. Stella Vermillion

Voice Actor :Ishigami Shizuka

Stella is the main heroine of the show, and acts as the main love interest and foil for Kurogane. She is the second princess of the Vermillion kingdom, and a world-famous A-Rank blazer of enormous magical ability, and mastery of fire. In an effort to push herself past her limits, she transfers from her country to Japan to attend school and compete in the Seven Star Tournament.

Stella’s Device is Laevateinn, a bastard sword that can erupt in gouts of flame. Her Noble Art is Katharterio Salamandra, an enormous firestorm with great offensive and defensive potential. Her prowess in combat initially comes across as arrogance, but after her encounter with Kurogane, the viewer learns that they have more in common than her initial haughtiness would suggest.

As a child, Stella learned the hard way how to control her abilities, suffering severe burns and risking the safety of herself and those around her. Because of her social status and upbringing, those around her assume that her abilities are the result of grooming, rather than dedication and hard work, leading to a sense of isolation similar to Kurogane’s.

Stella is the definition of a fiery bombshell, all long red hair and curves. She is very reserved when it comes to expressing her true feelings because of her status as royalty, and the societal expectations that go with it. But she does have a temper, and she is susceptible to bouts of jealousy, especially when it comes to the attention and affection of Kurogane.

Contains Spoilers

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry Review

As stated earlier, the show has plenty to offer fans of several genres of anime, and does a good job of blending elements from multiple genres together. When the show is at its best, it’s better than the sum of its parts. The initial plot is quite simple; an apparently hopeless student seeks to overcome his limitations and become the winner of the country’s most prestigious tournament. But there’s more to it than that.

The characters, even second tier, generally come off as multi-faceted and likeable. The issues they deal with in their day to day lives are relatable to viewers, even though they take place in a fantastical version of our world. They have a lot of chemistry on and off the battlefield, with the latter resulting in moments of edge-of-your-seat action, and the former doing most of the legwork when it comes to fleshing out character relationships, giving the plot momentum, and breaking up tense moments with awkward and hilarious comedy.
The bread and butter of the show are the combat sequences. Like many anime, this show takes place in a reality where the main subject and conceit of the show is the center of everyone’s attention, complete with lots of show-only jargon. In this case, it’s the desire to become a Mage Knight, by becoming a high-ranking Blazer with excellent mastery of their Device, and multiple Noble Arts, and winning the Seven Star Tournament.

At times it feels like a lot to follow, and the show seems to acknowledge this as well, as a lot of dialogue that takes place (especially on the battlefield) is expository. Characters spectating matches have a lot of insight into the abilities and techniques of the participants, and the show uses that to introduce viewers to new aspects of the magic established, which feels forced at times but is still mostly really cool.

Thanks in no small part to the slick animation style. The battle sequences are super sleek, and the action is frenetic and fast-paced. Combatants move at lightning speed appropriate for teenage warriors who have dedicated their short lives to mastering their specific arts. Although the show establishes a non-lethal way for the students to compete, when the gloves are off, bloodshed follows. The damage done to the combatants is measured in liters, as crimson colored splashes narrate the action better than any of the commentators. The animated spell-effects are equally impressive, with walls of fire, torrential deluges of water, pillars of ice, dimension-warping shadows, and more raising the stakes for combat higher and higher.

But what about off the field, as mentioned earlier? The story of Kurogane and Stella, as well as the supporting cast (which includes Kurogane’s overly affectionate younger sister, an openly transgendered lady named Alice, a zealous would-be reporter, and a down-on-her-luck warrior) is after all, a high school story, complete with all the awkwardness of romance, social hierarchy, and ambition involved. The time spent out of combat is when most of the character development takes place, and although a lot of these moments are played for comedy, plenty of somber moments punctuate the overall narrative, especially when it comes to the origin stories of the two main leads.

While the plot is quite simple, it deals with a lot of interesting themes, particularly when it comes to social mobility and self-confidence. Most of the characters are constantly seeking to better themselves, or prove to themselves and others that they’re more than the way they’re perceived. However, the show takes a strange twist around the eleventh episode that makes it feel like perhaps they were trying to cram too much of the source material into the twelve-episode season. Having never encountered the manga, I can’t be sure, but it would have been nice if a little more time was taken to explain the legitimacy of what is, at the end of the day, a high schooler being incarcerated for harmlessly kissing his girlfriend. The proposal Kurogane offers Stella following the nail-biting final battle in the 12th episode is as rewarding as it is predictable, because their ecchi-peppered romance/rivalry is as much the heart of the show as any of the battles. Without any confirmation of a second season, it’s as satisfying a bookend that fans could hope for, while leaving the door wide open if it’s picked up for more.

1. The Duel Between Kurogane and Stella

After their barely-clothed initial first encounter, the only way to cut the tension between the show’s two main leads is a duel, which serves not only as the show’s first introduction of its primary, battle-based conceit, but also as a preview for the tumultuous relationship sure to follow. The action is fiery and fast, and Kurogane’s victory over Stella proves that just like grades in a normal high school, the difference between an F and an A isn’t always as important as we’d have you believe.

2. The Final Battle

Kurogane’s final qualifying battle is as electric as his opponent, student council president Toka Todo. Her unbeatable Noble Art shocks spectators and opponents alike, and forces Kurogane to push himself further than ever before. It all comes down to one tense crossing of blades, with no room for error on either side.

3. The Proposal

Following the final battle, Kurogane’s proposal to Stella is the best catharsis the show could ask for, and a great note to end on. For the majority of the season their relationship is something that it takes both main characters time to open up to, and when they do, they try to keep it secret. Going public in such a chivalrous act is befitting of a true Mage Knight, and will have even the most frigid of fans feeling heart-warmed.

Overall, the show has plenty to offer fans of multiple genres, and the short number of episodes ensure that everything clips along at a pace that makes it easy for even casual viewers to invest in. While at times it feels like the show cuts corners in terms of its pacing, and in terms of what type of show it’s trying to be, it still does what it does really well, and would be a nice addition to any fan’s rotation.

dvd-Rakudai-Kishi-no-Cavalry-300x418 Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry Review - In this case, love really is a battlefield


Author: Nick Rich

Nick is, first and foremost, a nerd. Netflix on in the background, a drink in one hand, and a book in the other is how you'll find him most days after work. He currently works as an English teacher in Kawasaki, where he lives next to a graveyard with his girlfriend and his unnamed flying squirrel. He hopes to run into Kitaro, late one night.

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