Anime

Review of Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 04: Ikki’s Poker Face and Stella Takes a Stand

Quick Summary

In Chivalry of a Failed Knight episode 4, "The Worst One IV," Stella VermillionShizuku Kurogane, and Alice Arisuin easily win their first matches. Ikki Kurogane tries to put on a calm, brave face, but his first opponent, Shizuya Kirihara, not only has powers that are the least susceptible to Ikki's attacks. He also mercilessly taunted Ikki last year and completely humiliated our hero. Is the new instructor who's a previous tournament winner Nene Saikyou right? Does Ikki really have a chance? Or is the rest of the school right when they chant "Worst One!" as Shizuya pierces Ikki again and again with invisible arrows?

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

What's in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Moment 1: Alice's Insight

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 04: Stella didn't hear Ikki's silent cry for help

Alice's words pierced Stella's misunderstanding. Among the things I like about Stella? When she's wrong, she admits it. And makes amends. Capture from the Hulu stream

Ikki tried to put on a brave face, but after his match started, Shizuya began carving Ikki up. Stella was aghast. She didn't understand why Ikki hadn't attacked right away, before Shizuya could engage his cloaking ability. 

"It should have been an easy decision for him," Stella lamented (13:03). 

Alice, astute scholar of character that she is, knew what was going on. Ikki was too nervous. This was, after all, his very first official match. It was against the worst possible opponent. So of course he was nervous!

Stella protested, saying that was impossible. But then she remembered that his behavior had been off. 

Alice went on to explain, saying that this match meant everything to Ikki. There was no way that he wasn't terrified. And then suddenly, Stella understood. And she cursed herself for not seeing it before. 

Moments of realization can be awesome. 

Moment 2: Stella Makes Her Stand

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 04: Stella makes her stand

Stella had had enough. She decided it was time she took matters into her own hands. And in doing so, she turned the tide of the battle. Capture from the Hulu stream

The fight went on. Ikki took strike after strike after strike, until the pain and blood loss drove him to the ground. The show clearly set Shizuya up as a complete jerk, but he decided to outdo himself by encouraging everyone to start chanting "Worst one" over and over. 

Shizuku was frozen in horror as she watched her big brother get torn apart. She couldn't move.

But Stella's cut from a different cloth. She's a princess. She's been trained to command. 

Standing, she screamed for everyone to shut up (15:12). She then explained that he was better than all of them before she turned her attention to Ikki. This is one occasion where I preferred the sub, because looking straight at him, she said "You need to stay cool in front me of at all times! You idiot!"

It was precisely what he needed to hear.

There's something to be said for a woman who's not only as strong as Stella. But who's as perceptive, too. 

Moment 3: Ikki and Stella's Confessions

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 04: Stella and Ikki confess to each other

A quiet, honest moment of affection. No histrionics. No tsundere outbursts. She kissed him because she wanted to. If only the world were so simple... Capture from the Hulu stream

After the battle, Ikki collapsed. Not surprising, since he used Ittou Shura, and that completely drained him. He woke up in the hospital, with Stella sitting beside his bed and napping. After a brief argument (she was upset he just watched her drool -- but seriously, she drools so prettily!), she demanded to know why he let "that little prick" beat up on him.

He used the opportunity to get serious and tell her, with no ambiguity, that "I really like you" (20:32). 

Of course, she was all embarrassed. But then, she reacted in a way that proved once again, this show uses the tropes to setup the general sketch of a moment, then fills it in with distinction and light. 

"No fair," she said, under her breath. I preferred the sub in this episode again, because she went on to say, "Being honest all by yourself. It's not fair."

She then demanded he close his eyes, and she gave him a lingering kiss on the cheek.

"I did it because I wanted to," she said.

This is the kind of thing that elevates this series above others with similar themes (and numbers of panty shots). It's hard to beat a moment of honest, earnest affection. 

Thoughts

I've always liked strong women characters. Stella had my attention from the moment Ikki's sword slammed into her shoulder -- and did nothing to her (in the first episode). Not only was she powerful, but she was proud of it. She embraced it. 

She impressed me again in this episode during the first scene. The huge, hulking knight opposed her. The crowd jeered at her because she'd lost to Ikki. But the armored knight? He hesitated. Smiling sweetly, she reminded him that this was a real battle with real weapons -- and real wounds. 

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 04: The mere threat of Stella won her first battle

She looks to happy standing there, wreathed in flame, surrounded by a deadly power! Capture from the Hulu stream

Faced with the power rolling off her, seeing the flames just itching to leap out at him, he did the only reasonable thing. He gave up.

The mere threat of facing Stella was enough to break his will. How cool is that?

The first time I watched this series, I thought well of Stella, but I didn't appreciate her depth of character. Look at how she shone in this episode! At the very beginning, she cowed a powerful knight into surrendering just by talking to him! The rest of the student body (except for Alice and Shizuku, of course) jeered Ikki, but in spite of that, she stood up in front of all of them and, in her most commanding voice, told them to shut up. Then she proceeded to read Ikki the riot act. At the end, despite her tsundere nature, she actually kissed Ikki on the cheek and confirmed that she liked him, too.

All of that paints the picture of a smart, powerful, dedicated young woman. That's all well and good, but did you notice her mistake? 

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 04: Alice understood Ikki better than anyone else

"Can you imagine any world in which he wasn't terrified?" Alice asked. That was the catalyst for Stella. She finally understood. Capture from the Hulu stream

Even when it was first pointed out to her, she didn't quite catch it. It took Alice's patient explanation to help her understand what she'd done. She hadn't understood Ikki's silent cry for help. I'm not blaming her, because Ikki himself didn't understand it! But I thought this was an important moment for Stella. It showed that sure, she's a princess. She's powerful. She's even empathic and supportive of the man she's falling in love with. 

But she's not perfect, and that made her even more attractive as a character!

What did you think of Ikki's performance in the duel? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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