In Chivalry of a Failed Knight episode 9, "Princess' Vacation," Stella Vermillion is excited to be going on a vacation to the school's training facility with Ikki Kurogane, her boyfriend. School director Kurono Shinguuji set up the trip, and you might suspect she had an ulterior motive. You would be right. Stella and Ikki arrived at the facility to find many of the student council members already there. Just what were the director's plans? What role with the student council members play? And who's the shady character who seems to be stalking Stella?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What's in This Post
3 Favorite Moments
Moment 1: A True Test of Chivalry
Ikki faced his greatest test of chivalry: Could he help Stella get undressed while a) not losing control and b) not making her feel awkward? Capture from the Hulu stream.
Do you remember the scene where Ikki carries Stella, sick with the Deadly Anime Cold, to a cabin in the woods? When they arrive, they're sopping wet. He lights a fire, but it's quickly obvious that Stella's wet clothing is bleeding her body heat. She's too weak to undress herself, even though she tried (10:53). She asks Ikki to help.
I've been thinking about this for a while, but I honestly can't remember a more honestly tender intimate scene in anime. Can you? The way the scene unfolded was just so natural and sweet. Ikki could have developed a nose bleed. Stella could have gone all tsundere and slapped him. Instead, Ikki understands that she's struggling (11:04) and decides he's going to help her.
He managed to unhook her garter (which is no small feat). Not wanting to embarrass her, he kept his composure as he removed her stockings. I thought it was funny -- and very Ikki-like -- that removing her blouse was difficult, but seeing her stomach almost cost him his self control. He had just congratulated himself -- and I was nodding in approval at both their efforts -- when she asked him to help remove her bra.
I'm not sure which was more amusing: the sound of his heart-beat rapidly increasing or the speed with which is wrapped her in a blanket. Capture from the Hulu stream.
Her front hook bra.
The camera switched to his perspective as he tried to keep himself calm and collected (12:55). To his credit, he accomplished the feat -- and instantly covered her with a blanket (13:07). Some tests are almost too much for mortal men!
What I really liked was how determined Ikki was to help Stella. He was determined to keep her comfortable throughout. His concern for her, and her trust in him, really made this scene.
Moment 2: A Bittersweet Moment of Understanding
Stella understands what he means when he said no. She knows it means he's serious about their relationship. Capture from the Hulu stream.
The sexual tension in the previous scene was unusual in anime. Not unheard of, but unusual, because it was based on a genuine emotional attachment between Ikki and Stella. My next favorite scene is tinged with a little sadness because of that. Ikki's past reasserts itself, and in a way that might have hurt Stella had she been a weaker character.
Just moments after the previous scene, after a humorous interlude where Stella is worried if Ikki's all right because "I mean, you're kind of exploding..." (13:35), Stella gets very serious and asks him if wants to be physically intimate with her.
This is a huge moment for her. I don't think she's ever opened herself up to someone like this, so there's a certain level of expectation and hope involved. Ikki pauses and says, "I can't answer that question right now" (14:51). In a moment of chivalry that might well exceed his efforts just minutes before, he says that he wants to wait until he is "able to tell everyone proudly that I like you."
My favorite part was when she understood (15:18). You could see her disappointment and could see that she felt a little hurt, but she understood what his gesture meant, and she appreciated it.
Seriously, they're so good together that even the first time I watched his series I was big-time concerned about what the show was going to do to them next!
Moment 3: The Goddess of Lightning Arrives
The student council and Ikki couldn't defeat the stone monsters. Touka could. In glorious fashion. Capture from the Hulu stream. Ikki and Stella could only watch in amazement.
No, not Akeno Himejima. She's the Priestess of Thunder. But in terms of raw power, I'm not sure they're very far apart.
It was cool enough when members of the student council showed up to save Ikki and Stella, who were caught off guard. Renren Tomaru saved Stella after Ikki got slapped away from her; Ikazuchi Saijo pushed the golem-like monsters away from Ikki when they closed in. But even with Utakata Misogi and Kanata Totokubara, our heroes were eventually pushed back. The monsters just kept reforming. Ikki and Utakata realized they were dealing with a "steel wire user" (19:58), so until they dealt with that Blazer (who was likely somewhere far away), the stone creatures would continue to reform.
Then Touka Toudou entered the field of battle (20:14).
She overheard Utakata and Ikki talking about the steel wire user, and she said that no matter how far away they were, they were connected by lines of magical power. She threw herself into the monsters, her lightning shattering them right and left, until she got a feel for their patterns of force. Then, as the stone reformed into a single huge monster (a desparate attempt to counter her power), she unleashed one of her special moves, Raikiri (Thunder Slash). The huge monster blew apart, and her lighting travelled back through the circuit and fried the steel wire user.
Talk about a grand entrance!
Did you notice how, when Renren handed Stella off the Ikki, she said (19:30) “A sick person should get some rest!” She was so upbeat and excited when she said that. I really like the student council members.
I had to feel bad for Shizuku Kurogane. First, she had to travel home alone to meet her father, who she hated. Then, after we get the amazing introduction to the power and might of Touka, poor Shizuku learns her next match opponent is... Yep! The Goddess of Lightning ( 21:10). At least Shizuku tries to put on a brave face by saying, "She’ll make a worthy opponent.” Yes. Worthy.
Shizuku doesn't stand a chance.
Ikki was able to say no to this face -- for the right reasons. Capture from the Hulu stream.
Can you believe Ikki made it through my favorite moments 1 and 2 without a nose bleed? The man's made of pure steel. How this episode portrayed their quiet intimacy was so natural and so (relatively speaking!) realistic that it made he wonder, when I have seen any scenes that were better?
In terms of realism, Dewbond posted an article called "Shinmai Maou’s Basara Toujou: Anime Blue-Balls, Sexual Independence and A Moment of Greatness" on Shallow Dives in Anime. That scene had a similar level of realism (no nose bleeds; no exaggerated reactions) but it was short on the emotional intimacy and support that Stella and Ikki shared.
I know that Honey's Anime published a post listing the Top 10 Anime Sex Scenes, and those scenes are fine and all, but they don't have the tenderness shown in this episode. At least in terms of the series I've watched, this episode doesn't have many competitors.
Compare this scene to one in another series that ran around the same time and that remains, overall, one of my favorite series: The Asterisk War. There were several scenes where Claudia Enfield made it crystal clear to Ayato Amagiri that if he wanted, he was welcome to spend the night. It's important to note that she didn't make that offer to just anyone. In fact, I think Ayato was the only one. She was an interesting character: Ridiculously beautiful, wickedly intelligent, and tragically caught in a web of corporate power that she didn't know how to escape. In Ayato, she saw someone with whom she could share a moment of peace.
Ayato said no to this face -- but mostly out of fear. I doubt Claudia felt comforted. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Now, compare Ayato's reactions to Ikki's. Ayato stammered and fell all over himself trying to leave. Ikki squared himself, looked straight into Stella's eyes, and told her he couldn't -- yet. While Ayato left as quickly as he could, Ikki stayed beside Stella. Even if they couldn't be physically intimate then, he could still share the time with her. Stella went to sleep feeling a little dejected but knowing in Ikki she had someone who would stay by her through anything.
Claudia just had her imagination to keep her company.
In the final analysis, it's not the quality fanservice or the great battles or the pleasant plot that kept me interested in Chivalry of a Failed Knight. It's the characters like Stella and Ikki who are good people trying to be good to one another. I'm not saying they're as pure and good as Tooru Honda, because let's face it: They're formidable in battle, and Tooru needs her protectors. But in terms of how they treat each other, they're really not that far off!
What did you think of Touka Toudou's entrance? 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 9 [Discussion]
- Random Curiosity: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 09
- TheAnimeYoungin2nd -channel: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry Episode 9 ( Live Reaction ) - Stella was Hot n Ready 😉
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
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 7: Sword Eater II
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 8: Sword Eater III
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 9: Princess' Vacation
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 10: Witch of the Deep Ocean V.S. Raikiri
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 11: Another One: The Uncrowned Sword King I