Anime

Review of Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 12: The Measure of a Man and Stella’s Backhand

Quick Summary

In Chivalry of a Failed Knight episode 12, "Another One: The Uncrowned Sword King II," Mamoru Akaza tells the director that Ikki Kurogane somehow missed the car to bring him from the detention center to the arena. Of course, the reality was very different. Though Ikki was, exhausted and malnourished, he still somehow managed to run almost all of the way back to the school. With his strength fading, his self-doubt assails him. Will he be able to overcome not only his self-doubt, but the shadows of his past? Is there anything Stella Vermillion and Shizuku Kurogane can do to help? And even if he arrives, in the shape he's in, would he have any chance of victory against the goddess of lightning?

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

What's in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Moment 1: Ikki Reaped What He Sowed

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 12: Ikki earned support from the other students

Ikki invested time to help all of them in one way or another. Now, they felt like it was their turn to support him. Capture from the Hulu stream

Ikki reaped what he had sowed. And no, it was not a bitter harvest.

The Evil Mamoru had arranged for Touka's final bout to be televised worldwide. He had also arranged for Ikki to "accidentally" miss the car from the building where they had detained him. When Mamoru told Director Kurono Shinguuji mishap, she immediately knew it was no accident. But there was nothing she could do.

The interrogations, lack of sleep, and constant battles had exhausted Ikki. Despite that, he doggedly ran as fast as he could towards the school. As he ran, his self-doubts manifest themselves as an image of him that spoke from his father's perspective. It told him he'd better off just to walk away. He should stay within his limits. Trying to go beyond that costs a lot of pain and earned nothing important.

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 12: Stella reminded Ikki of their promise

Stella had an important reminder for Ikki. Capture from the Hulu stream

Shizuku found him first. He perceived her as a warm light that drew him out of his dark vision. When he came to his senses (8:38), he saw her tears. She told him he'd be okay and helped him stand. He was barely coherent, but he slowly became aware that people were yelling for him. He heard Ayase Ayatsuji yelling encouragement, and she wasn't alone. Almost everyone he had ever helped had come to find him and cheer him on. Even Yuuri Oriki, risking a massive hemorrhage at any moment, was there.

He finally saw the face he was looking for. A smiling Stella Vermillion held her gold medal aloft, showing him that she had kept her part of their promise to face each other in the Seven Star Battle Festival (9:55). It was her not so subtle way of encouraging him. 

Their support gave him the strength to keep moving forward. All because he'd cared enough to invest in all of them when he had the chance.  

Moment 2: Clash of Respectful Titans

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 12: Ikki could barely stand, but he won

He could barely stand. He had just faced the most opponent of his life. And he won. Capture from the Hulu stream

Ikki made it to the arena, but Evil Mamoru wasn't worried. He had no doubt that Touka, who I keep calling the goddess of lightning, could easily destroy the weakened Ikki. 

Touka's greeting reflected her conflicted emotions. "I’m sorry, Kurogane," she said (12:02). "I know that you’re wounded everywhere. But I still can’t help but get excited about this battle. Because ever since I saw you for the first time, I’ve been thinking, that I want to fight with you!”

Her smile was amazing.

Ikki's all about showing respect in battle. There was no way he wasn't going to respond to her. He told her that "with my strongest, I will best your strongest." 

Knowing he would only get one strike, Ikki immediately invoked Itto Shura. The audience gasped; only Stella is unconcerned. She knew this is a battle that would include no fancy tricks. It would be power against power, will against will. And she liked Ikki's odds in that kind of fight.

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 12: Touka did not hold back

Touka was Ikki's toughest competitor to date. She excelled at close range combat. So, of course, that's how he engaged her. Capture from the Hulu stream

Touka invokes Raikiri. She's not messing around, either. As they complete their power ups, they think the same words in unison: "I’m fighting because I want to beat this noble knight with everything I have!"

Ikki launches himself at Touka. He compresses everything he has into that single second. The stress on his body is so great that he begins to bleed from his eyes. Both of them are moving so fast that color can't keep up.

Then, in an instant, the battle is over. Touka's shattered sword falls to the ground. She falls beside it. Barely able to stand, Ikki raises his bloody fist to the sky (15:20). 

Outside the arena, even Kuraudo Kurashiki couldn't help but smile.

Ikki, despite the most power opposition, had won.

Moment 3: Being Ungracious in Defeat

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 12: Evil Mamoru got what he deserved

I'm not sure Stella even broke strike when she flicked this guy aside. Capture from the Hulu stream

Evil Mamoru was beside himself. He accused Touka of throwing the match; Kurono confirmed that no, Itto Shura and its ability to compress a minute's effort into a second did the trick. An older teacher who had visited goes so far as to say that Ikki (16:24), "(is) not just a demon. Something men fall into. That is something more extreme than extreme… Something that overwhelms human — the devil.”

Evil Mamoru is furious. He rushes to the arena, intent on taking matters into his own hands.

Meanwhile, Ikki can barely stand. He plants his sword in the dirt and leans against it. He's waiting for a certain someone to join him, and he's determined to remain upright until she arrives. As Evil Mamoru draws his weapons and announces he's going to finish Ikki, Stella runs up behind him.

And back-hands him aside (17:25). Well, she used her sword, but it was a back-hand gesture.

I mean, she doesn't even slow down. He's trying to be this dangerous and menacing figure. But she just blows past him with a flick of her wrist.

He barely saw it coming. And he deserved every second of his flight time.

Thoughts

Touka and Ikki's fight might have been over in an instant; but the build up was amazing. Both by watching each other's battles and by working together, they had come to respect each other. So on that field of battle, both of them gave it their all. Anything less would have been an insult.

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 12: Touka was frighteningly powerful

I don't think we've ever seen Touka power up to this level. That's the ultimate compliment to Ikki. And you know what? He returned it with every fiber of his being. Capture from the Hulu stream

Almost every time I decide to review an old favorite series (like Arpeggio of Blue Steel), I see things that I missed during first first dozen or so times I watched them. I've learned that I watch shows differently if I intend to review them. You might not be able to guess based on how positive I usually am about shows, but I'm much more critical of shows that I watch to review.

I noticed several things about this show. First, I really liked how it portrayed Stella and Ikki's relationship. Her initial hostility felt natural and understandable. As she grudgingly acknowledged his strength and skill, she became more and more interested. They started dating, then immediately had an argument because both of them were so insecure about romance. After the fight, they drew closer together based on a mutual understanding. Such a natural flow is not common, and I liked it.

That wasn't the only thing that was unusual. Shizuku wasn't a prototypical brocon. She had watched for years as his father and family treated Ikki with appalling indifference. She decided she would give him all of her love to make up for it. Not the most wholesome approach, maybe, but I'll give her this: her heart was in the right place. That's not common, either, for a character in her position!

Review Of Chivalry Of A Failed Knight Episode 12: Shizuku was Ikki's strongest supporter

Shizuku supported Ikki even when no one else would. He has others in his life now, but before them all, Shizuku was there for him. Capture from the Hulu stream

Like Arpeggio of Blue Steel, Chivalry of a Failed Knight had more thematic depth than I first gave it credit for. Look at the leading Blazers: pretty much an equal mix between men and women. There was never a point at which Stella looked or acted weak (when she was sick didn't count -- and even then, she tried to take the romantic lead). Touka was portrayed as terrifyingly powerful. 

Stella and Touka's strength didn't take away from the strength of Ikki, Kuraudo, or any of the other male characters. The show had a refreshing portrayal of gender expectations. I'm to the point in my life where I to see characters like that. I want to see strong, driven people pursuing their goals and overcoming obstacles. Stereotypes are just so dull. In the final analysis, I think that's what I liked most about this show: it's lack of reliance on stereotypes. 

What did you like most about this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts about This Series

6 thoughts on “Review of Chivalry of a Failed Knight Episode 12: The Measure of a Man and Stella’s Backhand

  1. I legitimately love this series and thinks it gets slept on A LOT for its generally rather generic premise (airing literally the same day as Asterisk War, which I think this is far superior to but is undeniably less popular than, didn’t help)

    1. “airing literally the same day as Asterisk War, which I think this is far superior to but is undeniably less popular than, didn’t help”

      Plus, both series’ leading women were red heads. There were a lot of superficial similarities.

      Asterisk Was is one of those series I can watch over and over. The characters work so well together, and like the characters in Chivalry of a Failed Knight, they go beyond their archetypes.

      I really wish Chivalry had found a wider audience. On one hand, I think it deserved it; on the other, selfishly, I’d really like another couple of seasons!

    2. Actually, the first episode similarity between this and Asterisk War were so bad for me, that I couldn’t remember what happened in which episode. I dropped this show when the little sister came in, to preserve my sanity. Not because I thought this show was bad, but because I got whiplash between the two shows. I more or less dropped this one randomly. I think, had I looked up directors, I might have dropped Asterisk War instead. I like Shin Oonuma (though not all of his shows). I’ll probably get back to this show some day, but it’s not a priority.

      1. “I’ll probably get back to this show some day, but it’s not a priority.”

        I think this worth watching. I don’t remember if I watched this as it aired or not. For a while, my affection for Asterisk War made me look down on Stella, because I really liked Julis. That wasn’t fair of me, because Stella’s actually a strong character. I really like how she supported Ikki in this episode. No lovey-dovey stuff; they’re both warriors, and that wouldn’t do. So she just showed him her medal to demonstrate that she’d kept her promise, and that inspired him.

        If you ever do watch it, I’d love to know what you thought of it.

  2. “I enjoyed the way the battle played out, and the ending felt satisfying, even with there clearly being more material to adapt.”

    I didn’t make any attempt to hide just how much I liked Touka. Seeing her bring her full and ridiculously formidable power to the fight, and seeing Ikki still win, was just magnificent.

    I’d love to see a second (and third…) season!

  3. This was about a good a final episode as I could have hoped for, I think. I enjoyed the way the battle played out, and the ending felt satisfying, even with there clearly being more material to adapt.

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