Anime

Review of Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 02: The Sister Arrives and the Shadow of the Past

Quick Summary

In Chivalry of a Failed Knight episode 2, "The Worst One II," Stella Vermillion is becoming more and more comfortable with Ikki Kurogane, to the point where she's willing to share his water bottle! She's apprehensive when he tells Stella that his sister, Shizuku Kurogane, is coming to campus. Stella relaxes when he tells her Shizuku is his blood sister, so it's all good -- but perhaps her relief is premature! Later, after a brief confrontation, Shizuku references the trials Ikki faced at home, and immediately tried to retract it. Stella decides the best approach is to be direct, so she straight out asks Ikki about it. The answer wasn't at all what she expected.

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

What's in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Moment 1: Sibling Love's Surprising Expression

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 02: Stella and Kagami object!

Gotta hand it to Kagami and Stella -- their reactions were completely understandable! Capture from the Hulu stream.

You know how sometimes you see something insanely bizarre happen in a show, but the characters act like it's nothing? That's not this show! I have to say I'm happy about that. 

Ikki had warned Stella that his sister was starting school today. Learning they were actually blood siblings and not the anime trope's "cousins raised as siblings," Stella seemed to relax. Big mistake. Within seconds of them walking past Shizuku, she had planted a wildly inappropriate kiss on Ikki (7:33).

Now, I'll talk a little more about this in the Thoughts section (below), and I want to state -- clearly! -- that this isn't my favorite moment because of the kiss. It's my favorite moment because of how the bystanders reacted.

Kagami Kusakabe immediately started snapping pictures, since she was in the newspaper club. All the while she was so happy she was almost squealing! She kept repeating something about "scandal" and "scoop" and "front page." 

Stella said, "What the hell is this?" (She only said "What the hell?" in the sub). 

Shizuku tried to defend herself and said it was completely normal in some countries. Stella emphatically denied it, and Kagami sagely agreed. I thought it was hilarious how only Shizuku didn't seem to see anything unusual about the kiss.

Moment 2: Stella's Delicate Social Touch

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 02: Stella's delicate social touch

Subtle she ain't! But I like that about her. Capture from the Hulu stream.

The word battle between Stella and Shizuku was very funny. They're both intelligent, strong, and powerful -- neither of them are going to back down! Yet, if I look closely (very, very closely) there was a slight suggestion of respect. I think Shizuku accidentally mentioning Ikki's past might have been intentional (12:40). But I'm not sure.

What I thought was great was what Stella did with that information. Did she try to gradually work it into a conversation with Ikki? Did she drop subtle hints to let him know he could open up to her?

No.

She waited for him to finish his evening run. She handed him his water bottle, and as he was drinking, she calmly asked (14:00), "Ikki, why would your family want to treat you like you never existed?"

Subtle, Stella. Really subtle!

But you know what? I'm starting to love that about her. I respect someone who can ask me anything, at any time, and trust me enough to hope I'll answer honestly. Or at least not get mad at them for caring!

Moment 3: Talk about Agency...

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 02: Stella knows how to make an entrance

Stella certainly knows how to make an entrance! Capture from the Hulu stream.

I debated about naming this moment as one of my favorites, because it's quite a bit more racy than the moments I usually pick. But after careful consideration and internal debate, I'm throwing caution to the wind.

This moment came after Ikki told her all about his past. Put another way, it's after she encouragingly listened to him talk about his past. It's been clear all episode that she really, really likes Ikki, but she's still a little uncertain about how to show it. 

So, does she try to be subtle? 

No.

This is Stella we're talking about.

Ikki's relaxing in the bath when she knocks and says she's coming in. At first he's like sure, okay (19:43). Then he realized what she'd said, and before he knew what was going on, she opened the door and walked into the room. She was wearing a string bikini. More accurately, she was nearly wearing a string bikini.

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 02: Stella knows what she wants and she goes after it

Stella is straight forward, honest, and courageous. This scene proved all three! Capture from the Hulu stream.

Usually, moments like this are just for fanservice, aren't they? But in this show, I'm learning to expect more. Sure, there was fanservice involved. Quite a lot of quality fanservice, in fact. But the scene showcased a couple of Stella's most outstanding traits.

First, it showed Stella is not afraid of taking charge. She didn't want to wait for him to make the first move. Maybe prompted by Shizuku's arrival, or maybe just because she wanted to be physically close to him after he opened up to her, she decided to take action. She wanted to have an excuse, so she said it was her duty as his servant. But really -- what servant would threaten to boil her master when he hesitated?

Second, as we saw earlier, Stella is up-front. She's not subtle. She flat-out asked him if he liked looking at breasts. When he tried to get out of answering, she corralled the conversation and got him to admit that he did. Best of all? She didn't shame him. She didn't berate him. In fact, she was pleased, because, well, she's Stella, and she has no worries on that front.

I can't think of too many shows that would so gracefully interweave fanservice with character. I like that about this scene!

Thoughts

This dub might become one of my favorites! I like how the dub's script embellishes just enough to be distinctive without breaking continuity. Take the indirect kiss scene early in this episode (1:12). Ikki offered Stella his water bottle, but she hesitated. In the sub, he said, "It's a sports drink!" She got flustered, they verbally tussled until she finally said, "Never mind! Just give it to me!"

But in the dub, instead of referencing a sports drink, he said, "But you need your electrolytes!" After a similar bout of verbally back and forth, she finally said, "What? Never mind! I need my electrolytes!" 

It was a subtle thing, but it gave the dub a great flavor!

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 02: Stella needs her electrolytes

She wants those electrolytes, huh? Not sure I'm buying that excuse... Capture from the Hulu stream.

I don't know why, but I adore Yuuri Oriki. She's the teacher who has bags under her eyes and vomits blood. She's so enthusiastic about supporting the students and she's so energetic -- at least until she collapses! -- that I find her adorable. I kinda want to encase her in bubblewrap, though it probably wouldn't help with internal bleeding...

I mentioned earlier how I'm not a fan of siscon or brocon series. I came from the human equivalent of a poker full house, kings over queens. So, just no...

But this show takes those tropes (indirect kisses, bikini top falling off, and a sister/brother passionate kiss) and enhances them. Makes them more interesting and makes them part of the plot.

It's almost like Stella knew something was coming when she said (in the dub) (1:46), "So, she's your sister? That's like a real sister, right? Not like a friend you call a sister?" She relaxed when Ikki confirmed they were blood siblings, but we've already talked about Stella's reaction when Shizuku planted her lips on Ikki.

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 02: Shizuku tries to do her best for her brother

Shizuku isn't just a brocon. There's more to her thought than that. Capture from the Hulu stream.

If the matter had stayed there, I would have told myself that at least Stella made it a joke by asking about their relationship ahead of time. But the writers weren't content with that. Shizuku's actions were deliberate, and they were based on how her family had treated Ikki.

She spilled this to her roommate, Alice Arisuin. She spoke of how Ikki's father, mother, and entire family had spurned him. "I decided," she said (18:40). "Our father's love, our mother's love, our brother's love.... all they wouldn't give him... I would give him all he deserves myself."

And suddenly, an awkward "what the hell was that" moment became a young woman's determined attempt to redress a terrible wrong. I might disagree with how she's going about it. But I can't deny the nobility and beauty of her sentiment. 

I don't think I've ever seen a series make me take a mental step back like this one has. I like that.

What did you think of Shizuku's introduction? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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