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Review of Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 07: Stella’s Burden and You Can’t Fool Your Soul

Quick Summary

In Chivalry of a Failed Knight episode 7, "Sword Eater II," Ikki Kurogane agrees to meet Ayase Ayatsuji in the middle of the night, even though Alice Arisuin warned him it was a trap. Alice was right -- Ayase tricked Ikki into using his Itto Shura so he couldn't use it again in their match later that day. ikki and Stella Vermillion went to Yuuri Oriki, the teacher who was scheduled to comment on Ikki's match against Ayase. But what he asks of her causes Stella to spit out most of her coffee. It's clear that Ayase is cheating -- so what is Ikki up to? How does Stella feel about Ikki's plan? And just how far is Ayase willing to go to win?

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

What's in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Moment 1: The Depth of Ayase's Commitment 

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 07: Ayase was serious about winning

Ayase tricked Ikki into using his Itto Shura just hours before their match. Capture from the Hulu stream

During the previous episode, we got an idea of what Ayase's fighting for. Kuraudo Kurashiki had challenged her father to a sword fight with his dojo and land as the prize. And her father had not only lost, but he is now bed ridden and has not gained consciousness since. Ayase's fighting for her father and everything she's lost.

When she invited Ikki to a meeting in the wee hours of the night on the roof of a school building, Alice warned him: It was a trap. Ikki's not an idiot, but he met with her anyway, because he's come to think of her as a friend.

That's when we learned just how desparate she was.

Telling him that she was going to win at any cost, she materialized her sword. Ikki braced himself, but instead of attacking him, she blew away the fence behind her and dove off backwards (1:09). Ikki was shocked. He just couldn't understand what she was doing. But there she was, plunging head-first towards the ground. He invoked his Itto Shura, the skill that allowed him to move super fast but that was so draining he could only use it once a day, and raced to break her fall.

He said that he didn't understand what she thought she was doing, but she was elated. "You used it," she said (3:34). She knew he could only use it once a day, and since their match was later that same day, she had just taken Itto Shura away from him. 

The betrayal is even more stinging when you realize that she bet her life that he would save her -- just so she could defeat him.

Moment 2: Ikki's Irregular Guarding

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 07: Ikki's Irregular Guarding was a surprise to Ayase

Strange. Ikki doesn't look like a man on the verge of defeat. Capture from the Hulu stream

During their match, it was fun hearing both Ikki and Ayase think through their tactics. It hammered home a very basic idea: they were both top-notch swordsmen. For a while, between's Ayase's new found skills (honed somewhat by Ikki's own teaching!) and her wind technique, it almost looked like Ikki was on the ropes.

Until he wasn't.

She thought Itto Shura was his "ace in the hole." She thought that without it, she would have a chance. She obviously didn't know any more about his arsenal that we did as viewers!

She hit him hard with the cheats she had setup before the match. He was bleeding badly from a large wound in his arm. She thought she had nearly finished him, so she unleashed a brutal series of attacks (14:40). Finally, he seemed to over-commit on an attack, and she parried. Pausing only to say "Kurogane, I'm sorry" (14:58), she unleashes what she thinks is her finishing strike.

Which he easily blocked and held on his sword's hilt.

Fortunately, Shizuku Kurogane was in the audience to explain that he had just used his Irregular Guarding technique. It seems that the closer an opponent get to Ikki, the most devastating his defense. 

That's probably something Ayase should have researched!

Moment 3: It's Not Just about Winning

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 07: Ikki planned to help Ayase from the start

Ikki didn't help her because he wanted to look good. He didn't want to add her to his harem (he doesn't have one, despite what Shizuku might want!). He helped her because she was his friend. Capture from the Hulu stream

Swordsmanship for Ikki isn't just a way to fight. It's a way of life. His techniques align all aspects of himself, from his spirit to his rational mind to his emotions to his body, so that when all functioning in harmony, he's at peak power.

He was happy to see that Ayase was making basic mistakes.

He flat out told her as much when he told her her technique was sloppy because she knew the path she was on was wrong. "But you can't fool your soul," he said (17:25). When he appealed to her pride, she protested that she was doing what she needed to do to win, and that she was convinced that this was not only the right course, it was the only course that would take her to victory. "Ideals that don't produce results are meaningless! ...I'll do whatever it takes to win," she said (17:50).

So he told her to prepare herself, because he was about to use all his strength to give her back her pride.

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 07: Ayase didn't want Ikki's help

Ayase certainly didn't lack conviction and strength. Capture from the Hulu stream

His strike was so fast, even Alice couldn't see what happened. Shizuku explained that he'd switched his sword to phantom mode at the last instant (19:20), but she could not figure out why. Stella knew, and what she said makes this my third favorite moment.

"His objective wasn't just to win the match," she said, her face as serious as I've ever seen it (19:30). 

From the very beginning, he planned not only to win, but to restore her faith in herself. He didn't want to physically hurt her. Despite her betraying him, despite her cheating, despite her even lying to herself, he refused to give up on his friend.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the chivalry of a failed knight. 

Thoughts

Remember when Ikki went home after Ayase tricked him? Just before he staggered into their room and collapsed onto Stella's bed, she was dreaming. Apparently, it was a pleasant dream, because she told Ikki that if they didn't stop, people would see them. Okay, standard enough fare. But then she said, "Not your Itto Shura of the night" (04:58). His what now? And isn't Itto Shura a speed technique? Stella, I think your lack of experience is showing!

I like the show's humor. The double spit-take when Ikki announced his plan was a funny example. He and Stella sat down with Yuuri Oriki, the teacher scheduled to do color commentary on the match. When Ikki said that he had evidence that Ayase was cheating, her spit-take was the blood she often coughs up (15:47). It should seem gross, but by now,  I guess it's just part of her character. Collecting her wits, she then says that she'll stop it as soon as she sees Ayase cheating. Ikki, though, asks her not to. About that time, Stella decided to take a sip of her coffee. Bad idea... Her spit-take was potentially more dangerous, what with the scalding coffee and all...

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 07: Yuuri's spit-take was unique

There's a part of me that feels like I should laugh at Yuuri's blood loss... Capture from the Hulu stream

I'm having a had time deciding between two positions, and I'd like to get your perspective. This episode featured a philosophical battle as much as a sword battle between Ikki and Ayase. Ikki's idea was to always fight fair and with all his strength. Ayase said that was all well and fine, but she asked (logically, I think) what good that philosophy had done her father. He had wanted to fight fair and with all his strength. Now, he's unconscious in a hospital bed. 

At first glance, the utilitarian part of me sympathizes with Ayase. She's fighting to regain her father's dojo. She's fighting to take revenge on Kuraudo Kurashiki. Ayase knows how powerful he is. She watched him cut down her father. She's desparate and will do anything to win. It's hard to find fault with her reasoning.

And yet...

Ikki said something that made me think that Ayase might not have it right. Remember in my third favorite moment where he said she couldn't fool her sword? Remember just after he cut her down and she said that she wasn't done? She tried to stand, but she couldn't. Even her sword de-materialized on her. Her will was willing, but the discontinuity between her heart and spirit and body ruined her performance as a swordsman. The implication is that a swordsman must be unified in himself or herself to fight at their peak. In her heart, Ayase didn't honestly believe that the darkness had consumed her. Down in the core of her being, she was still her honorable father's honorable daughter. 

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 07: Ayase finally remembered who she was

Looking first at Ikki's calloused palms, then her own, Ayase realized she saw honor in the same light as her father. And as Ikki. Capture from the Hulu stream

So it's not a matter of being so desparate that you're willing to throw away your honor and morals. That's the same as saying you've decided you don't want to be at your best. At least, that's how I've reasoned my way through it. Does that make sense to you?

Of course, that leaves open the question of what path Ayase should have taken if her heart really were black...

What did you think of Ayase's dilemma in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts about This Series

4 thoughts on “Review of Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 07: Stella’s Burden and You Can’t Fool Your Soul

    1. About the best I can say is that it’s not as good as High School DxD, so keep your expectations reasonable; and it’s not nearly as bad as Testament of Sister New Devil (though I’m partial to Zest), so you should enjoy it more than that.

      That last one’s not saying much, I know!

    1. Isn’t it hard not to?

      Rewatching it to review it helps me like it even more. I didn’t catch half of the subtle character moments. Like, while Ikki and Ayase were fighting, they were both thinking about the fight. They were both such good swordsmen that they were practically mirrors of each other. To a point, of course!

      Thanks for visiting!

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