Monday, February 22, 2016

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry review

The fantasy school battle anime; one type of anime that keeps popping out at least twice or more in every single season. Heck, we have 3 of them in this season. This show however, stands out from the rest of the other similar show by having the best romance development, bit by bit between the hero and heroines as the story goes on. It does have the same formula copy pasted, but the way the story is executed makes the anime to exceed my expectation.

The "school sword action" story revolves around Magic Knights, modern magic-users who fight with weapons converted from their souls. Ikki Kurogane goes to a school for these Magic Knights, but he is the "Failed Knight" or "Worst One" who is failing because he has no magical skills. However, one day, he is challenged to a duel by Stella, a foreign princess and the "Number One" student. In this duel, "the loser must be obedient for life." (Source: ANN)

The story is plain and simple, just what you would expect from a fantasy school battle anime. We have the protagonist, having his own issue and try to make his way to the top while meeting several heroines along the way. At first glance, you might expect that it is probably just your average ecchi harem anime. The first episode even showed the same cliche that we all have seen before; like for example when the protagonist entered a room where the heroine trying to change. One particular differences is in how they execute the cliche in a refreshing way. Instead of the protagonist being really dense and the heroine slapping him afterwards, we have the protagonist trying to achieve equality by taking off his own clothes instead for example. This subtle differences is what makes me really love this show. The main aspect that really makes the anime stands out however is the romance between the hero and heroines. Instead of having a protagonist who is dense and indecisive, this anime offers one that actually stick to one route until the end. The relationship was also not straight forward rather build bit by bit for each episode which I really think is a nice touch. It gives some sort of realistic approach and direction towards their relationship which seems rather more natural with its own pacing. While the romance itself is not like one of the best out there, it does a very good job executing it for a fantasy school battle anime which I have not experience for a long time. The chemistry on this genre is very suitable and well done in terms of the story department, which is points going forward for the series. Other than that, the overall story itself is nothing special; simple and straightforward. I does not have a complex story to tell, but the general feel to the whole story is satisfying. Even the finale ended up in spectacular way. Just give this show a chance instead of dropping it at first few episodes just because of its generic theme and setting.

The cast of characters in this anime are not really original, since they are all basically your basic archetype characters. However, the way they were established and portrayed in personalities wise and the relationship between each of them is done really well in this case. They all act in a mature way and some of the important characters have nice character development. Most of the cast of characters have a motivation to fight and their strengths can be shown throughout the episodes. The main character Ikki Kurogane is not your usual dense harem protagonist. He is strong in his own way, and does not afraid to show his affection towards other. He is technically the most mature character of the series; in most situation he shows a tolerable, patient and very knowledgeable side. He is full of determination, especially when it comes to love. Stella Vermillion is your tsundere, red hair with twin tails, with fire magic and princess archetype. Th best thing about her is that she is not an annoyingly tsun character and goes dere  more than halfway through the story. She is really likable, and become the main support for the protagonist himself. Although my only complaint about her is nothing too personal, but I personally would want to see more of her fights with others in a full fight in a way. Both Ikki and Stella, as I stated before in this review; their relationship with each other feels very dynamic and nicely done, which makes them even more loveable in my personal opinion as a whole between the two. the other supporting characters also have some development in them and generally likable.

The art and animation is mostly above average. Some of the battle animation however was executed really nicely, and really captures the strength for the characters. The color palette has some sort of pop into the anime that it looks actually very good and it is nicely done, mostly fits with the overall tone of the show. The character designs also look very appealing and the backgrounds art are of no issue at all. The music however might need some improvement. It is really bland sometime. The OP for example have nice animation, but the song in itself is not something you could always enjoy unless by hearing it repeatedly until you are getting used to it. By contrast, the ED animation is not really creative, with down scrolling credit sequence but it does have a nice song to go with it. The OST could be more epic to match up with the scene and makes the anime better, but it is fine as it is.

Overall, this is one of the fantasy battle anime that I really recommended to watch. It has generic and simple story but nicely executed. The romance are done really fantastic in this anime, and I enjoyed every single bit of it. It exceeded the expectations I never thought I could find in this type of trope of anime, and in my personal opinion, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry got towards the absolute potential with its own identity. (tldr: watch this instead of the other fantasy school battle anime).

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