Chivalry of a Failed Knight: Episodes 1 – 4
When streaming service Viewster first picked up Chivalry of a Failed Knight I decided to give the first episode a go to see what the show’s all about. With the anime being handled by Silver Link I was pretty optimistic as the studio has also been responsible for a few series that I really liked. From reading about Chivalry of a Failed Knight it sounded just perfect for their portfolio. Four episodes down and my opinions are mixed on the show, but I think it has a lot of potential.
The story of Chivalry of a Failed Knight is set in a world where certain humans, known as Blazers, have supernatural powers and can create weapons known as Devices through their souls. The Blazers are ranked based on their Devices and abilities. Our tale is centered around Ikki Kurogane, an apprentice knight who is an F-Rank Blazer and known as “the Worst One” due to his lack of magical ability. Ikki has been tasked with winning the Seven Star Sword Art Festival held between mage schools in order to graduate from Hagun Academy and become a real mage knight.
While training for his part in the festival, Ikki ends up being given a new roommate in the form of Stella Vermillion, an A-Rank Blazer considered to be a once-in-a-decade genius. Initially Ikki and Stella can’t agree on anything, which leads to them having a battle to determine some ground rules. Stella is quite smug and goes into the fight fully expecting to beat Ikki – I mean, after all, an F-Rank Blazer should be no competition for an A-Rank surely? Well, it turns out (in a not unexpected twist) that Ikki himself is also a bit of a genius and possesses amazing swordplay abilities. As a result Ikki promptly defeats Stella in their little duel.
I really liked that Chivalry of a Failed Knight included Ikki and Stella’s fight in the first episode because overall I think that the battles will be what makes the series. Thankfully, action scenes have always been where studio Silver Link shines. As of the fourth episode, we’ve had two major battle scenes and both have been impressive in terms of the action and the smoothness of the animation. I remembered that Silver Link worked wonders with the fights in Strike the Blood and I think that magic transfers over well here too. Everything we’ve had so far has been so incredibly compelling that it’s difficult to take your eyes off the screen for even a second. I truly hope that Chivalry of a Failed Knight can keep this up for the rest of its run because if the fights in the festival start losing their edge, it’ll be easy to lose interest in the show.
See, the problem with Chivalry of a Failed Knight is that it doesn’t offer a lot beyond the action. Ikki, Stella and the rest of the cast are likeable enough but they also feel quite generic. While I do care about them, I’d not lose any sleep if something unfortunate were to happen to them. The issue is that Chivalry of a Failed Knight spends a majority of Episodes 2 and 3 on pointless fan-service rather than character development. Heck, Episode 2 even has a really long bathroom scene of Stella washing down Ikki! While I’m not against fan service by any means, I am annoyed that the series wasted time that it could’ve been using to better develop Stella as a character. I pushed through the second episode, which is by far the worst offender, in the hopes of better things (which I was given by the end of Episode 3) but I have a feeling that not everyone would be as willing to sit through it.
It doesn’t really help that Ikki continues to expand the harem of girls around him by the episode. Even his biological little sister is in love with Ikki and wants to sleep with him for some ridiculous reason. I don’t mind a show having an overabundance of female characters but currently in Chivalry of a Failed Knight it’s just becoming frustrating. All of the girls wasting time trying to seduce Ikki brings the show down from what it otherwise could be and, for what’s intended to be a twelve episode series, that’s not easily forgiven. Now that we’re finally getting into the Seven Star Sword Art Festival I’m hoping that the level of pandering just drops off a cliff, but I have a sinking feeling that I won’t be so lucky – especially thanks to a certain development at the end of Episode 4. It’s actually quite interesting that this level of fan service is present as Silver Link normally cuts a lot of it out (as they did for Strike the Blood, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, and Kokoro Connect) but for whatever reason that is not the case here, sadly.
Where the fan service and characters somewhat hinder Chivalry of a Failed Knight, it’s hard to fault it on any other front. The voicing cast is a pretty strong selection with Shizuka Ishigami (Syr Flover in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?) playing Stella, and Ryota Osaka (Yuma Isogai in Assassination Classroom, Ryu Yamada in Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches) playing Ikki. Ikki’s main rival in the series is voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Kirito in Sword Art Online), so the show earns extra points from me purely for that. The music is being handled by Kotaro Nakagawa, who is perhaps best known for his work on Code Geass and Gosick. He’s also handled the music for Prison School more recently.
Overall I think that Chivalry of a Failed Knight has a long way to go in terms of its characters but with Silver Link providing some simply wonderful animation for the show, especially its action scenes, it’s safe to say that overall Chivalry of a Failed Knight is in a pretty good position to be pulled around. After the exciting festival match in Episode 4, I’m looking forward to seeing more, just hopefully the harem of girls calms down.