In Chivalry of a Failed Knight episode 5, "The Experience of the Princess," Stella Vermillion can't help but fret. She's been dating Ikki Kurogane for two weeks, and he hasn't made any move. She's beginning to worry if there's something wrong with her! It doesn't help that a group of girls approaches Ikki and asks him to teach them swordsmanship. And if that wasn't enough, he came out and said he didn't want to teach her! Did Ikki's feelings change? Can Stella summon the confidence to confront him? And what will the already jealous male students do, now that so many women are flocking around Ikki?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What's in This Post
3 Favorite Moments
Moment 1: Stella Flirts with Greatness
You just don't get to see this kind of emotional authenticity very often. So when we do, it's awesome! Capture from the Hulu stream.
Stella continues to surprise me. She's so much more authentic than I remembered her from the first couple of times I watched this series. For example, remember how timid and uncertain she was at the beginning of the episode? Like any young person, she was uncertain about what to expect from a romance, and she was just uncertain enough to begin to feel something might be wrong with her.
For another example, look at how she fought back against her own insecurities. Ikki came back to the room after training the first group of young women, and Stella criticized him (playfully, at least somewhat) for being too nice. After all, those young women were all strong Blazers, and he might have to face them (3:16). Deep down, she was still feeling a twinge of jealousy, but he put her at ease when he told her that he welcomed the competition. Besides, those some Blazers might find themselves in a hostage situation like she and Shizuku Kurogane had just a few episodes ago.
Realizing he wasn't teaching them because he was trying to find other girls to flirt with, she summoned her courage and straight up told him that she wanted to do things like couples dating did -- but before she could get more specific, she realized that he was so exhausted that he'd already fallen asleep.
On one hand, I felt bad for her. On the other, I was happy that she tried to put aside her insecurities and just talk to him! It's not her fault his schedule was running him ragged.
Moment 2: Ikki, Sensei Extraordinaire
From enemies to students -- Ikki's on an educational rampage! Capture from the Hulu stream.
Even when Kagami Kusakabe and a couple of her friends talked to Ikki, the other boys in the class began to boil with jealousy. It wasn't enough that Ikki, a student they thought would be no competition was suddenly winning every match; now, some of the girls they had wanted to befriend were starting to talk to him!
As Ikki conducted his first class with Kagami's friends, the goys had had more than they could stand. They manifested their weapons and tried to gang up on Ikki.
Within five seconds, he had disarmed and disabled all five of them. He didn't even have to draw his sword. As he began to lecture them about how drawing their weapons in an undesignated area, the five them them lined up, knelt, and apologize profusely (5:53). Ikki was shocked. Kagami was disappointed they were such terrible villains!
Their leader confessed that they were just envious and wanted the attention he was getting. They also wanted to be strong like he was. Ikki, being Ikki, instantly forgot about the confrontation and welcomed them into his class.
Just a couple of episodes ago, he had to endure almost the entire student body chanting "Worst one" during his match. Now, they're begging him to teach them. That's got to feel good!
Moment 3: Stella and Ikki's Very Loud Argument
Falling in love is hard. I've rarely seen it so well portrayed in anime -- especially an action/ecchi anime! Capture from the Hulu stream.
Kagami was busy in this episode. First, she accidentally served as the catalyst not only for her friends joining Ikki's swordsmanship class, but for a gang of young men who had been his enemies becoming his students, too!
Ikki had brought his students to a local pool for some immersion exercises. Stella was sitting by herself when Kagami came over and using her super secret journalist skills, got Stella to confess that she was worried about the lack of physical intimacy between her and Ikki.
Kagami wasted no time in bringing Ikki over so she and Stella could have a good talk. But it started going bad immediately. Ikki had never had a girlfriend, so he was halting and mumbling. Stella didn't have much more experience, so she assumed the worst. She assumed she'd lost him and began talking as if they were breaking up. All of her insecurities just tumbled out. She said he'd probably prefer a woman who was all over him like his sister; or who rubbed her breasts on his arm like Kagami. Hot, angry tears clung to her eyelashes.
He offered to apologize, but she brushed him off, saying that she knew he hated her.
I had a real sense that these two earned their emotional intimacy. It wasn't contrived or played for comedic effect. Capture from the Hulu stream.
And it was his turn to get angry.
By the time Ikki said he liked her more than she liked him, and she responded by saying that was a complete lie, I thought I could see light at the end of their emotional tunnel. Neither had wanted to objectify the other; neither had wanted to appear sexually promiscuous; both dearly wanted to get close to the other.
This is one case where I preferred the sub, though the dub was pretty good. In the sub, Ikki shouted, "Then why are we having this fight?" To which Stella answered (20:33), "I have no idea!"
Finally, after all the arguing and misunderstandings, they finally share a kiss (21:06).
Watching these two kids struggle not only with their own emotions but with the budding experience of a new romance was just so endearing! The only ones who couldn't see how they felt about each other were each other!
I'm about to do something that I'll bet none of you thought I'd do. Truth be told, now that the time has come, it's harder than I thought it'd be. But, I've never been one to shy away from the facts. It'd be bad form to start now.
I'm about to say something negative about The Asterisk War.
It came to me as I was watching this episode. The realism in how Ikki and Stella fought at the end really impressed me. It's rare to see characters wrestle with their feelings like this. It's rare for characters to have realistic feelings at all! After all, look at the harem or potential harem protagonists. Despite how much I liked Infinite Stratos, even I have to admit how weak Ichika Orimura was. I mean, I have the emotional sensitivity of the average cinder block, and I would have been a better romantic lead than he was! And it's not like he's alone in that role.
But this show? Ikki and Stella are falling in love with each other. They act like two people falling in love. They have relatable insecurities and moments of panic.
Look at the near panic on her face! As I watched this scene, I really felt like I was watching two people working through their relationship and their own pains and failings. And this is an ecchi action anime! Capture from the Hulu stream.
Why'd I bring up The Asterisk War? Because Ayato Amagiri and Julis Alexia van Riessfeld started on similar footing. Both obviously liked the other. Heck, Julis was even a Princess, just like Stella! Yet, as much as I love The Asterisk War, I have to admit: When it came to the characters, there are ways the show simply embodied the tropes instead of trying to extend them. Ayato and Julis never kissed. They had some touching moments together, but nothing like Ikki and Stella. Even when Julis' brother brought up the topic of marriage, there was an emotional chill where there should have been something more.
I like The Asterisk War. I like Ayato and Julis. But when it come to romance; when it comes to portraying a compelling and realistic relationship, Ikki and Stella stand head and shoulders above.
What did you think of how Ikki and Stella's relationship is progressing? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts about This Series
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit: [Spoilers] Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry - Episode 5 [Discussion]
- Random Curiosity: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 05
- TheAnimeYoungin2nd -channel: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry Episode 5 ( Live Reaction ) - BEAUTIFUL!!!!! (Youtube)
This Site (Crow's World of Anime!)
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 1: The Worst One I
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 2: The Worst One II
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 3: The Worst One III
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 4: The Worst One IV
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 5: The Experience of the Princess
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 6: Sword Eater I