OP Sequence

OP: 「アイデンティティ」 (Aidentiti) by 酒井ミキオ (Sakai Mikio)

「落第騎士 I」 (Rakudai Kishi I)
“The Worst One I”

I absolutely loved everything about this first episode. From the pacing to the slight changes from the source material to fit its transition into an anime, the entire thing felt like a perfect pairing between source and studio. And come on, who doesn’t want a little more SILVER LINK in their lives?!

Stella and Ikki

Getting back on track, I loved how well this first episode managed to capture the essence of what made me love the manga and its two main characters. There’s just something about the chemistry between Stella and Ikki which works all the way down to the essence of their characters, somehow blending together almost seamlessly. Starting with Ikki, he’s the definition of a true gentleman and doesn’t let the little things get in his way. I mean, how often do you see a guy take the typical accidental peeping moment and turn it into pure comedic gold? And not only that, but when the situation gets out of hand because that’s just how tsunderes work, he defuses it with pure honesty about how he felt about having a beautiful girl in front of him?! Man, can you imagine how much other male leads could learn from Ikki? That said, don’t let me make you think Stella isn’t just as amazing as a person as Ikki is. Even with her tsundere side blatantly showing, it takes someone pretty emotionally intelligent to hear the offending party’s words when in tsundere mode. Toss in how she’s so innocent that a little bit of lust can completely overtake her and it makes you wonder how a character who should be cookie cutter can be so far from it?

The Strongest and The Weakest

I know of another show that has a premise eerily similar to this one, except this one definitely doesn’t come off as another reincarnation of Magical Jesus. With obvious built-in faults and a back story that tries to push the idea that the talent-less cannot beat those with talent, we have an awesome main male lead known as Ikki who just oozes with that underdog feel we all love to root for. Sure, his skills of reflecting someone’s style at them isn’t anything new, but seeing how he can only do so much with it, the idea of defeat isn’t one that seems far away in some distant land. If anything, it feels like it could happen at anytime! On the other hand, you also have to love how they handled Stella and how she didn’t come off as a privileged bitch by the end of the episode. Because after her outburst during the beginning of the episode, watching her become humbled by Ikki and his situation/mannerisms was the perfect way to establish she’s probably a really nice person.

General Impressions

If you couldn’t tell, I’m extremely happy with this show. While it remains to be seen whether or not the rest of the season will be as good, early signs are pointing to a resounding yes. I hope you guys enjoyed this first episode as much as I did, and I’ll catch you next week!


  1. I read the source material of both this and asterisk which is the direct competition. This definitely had the better opening episodeof the 2 though they are both “generic”

    1. Here we go again with this catch-all term “generic”.

      To quote someone from another forum.

      “…I know that people likes the word “generic” as much as a smoker likes cigarettes, but really, it can be misleading. Most general story types have been told already, but they can still be told again in an interesting manner. Unfortunately, people just use “generic” to describe everything they dislike, as if the stuff they like is magically unique in some way.”

      1. Its a pile of useless trash that describes it more accurately.
        Go on youtube and type “Mr weebl Mrs Johnson Horse” it gives you everything you need to forget this type of anime even exist just listen to it for couple of hours.

      2. I’m… not clear what you’re getting at. Are you saying you didn’t like this anime? Or are you agreeing that the use of the word generic is generally not very helpful (which is what the two posters above you were talking about)?

        You just seem to be saying something random but you put it as a reply to another conversation that it’s not related to… maybe. I’m not sure.

      3. It’s true that a ‘generic’ anime can still be interesting and that some people do use this term a bit too often. However, there are good reasons for people to prefer more original works. Not everything needs to be new, but some originality is always nice.

        The most important reasons for me to prefer more original anime are:
        – You don’t always know what is next.
        – Characters usually have more ‘depth’.
        – The story is more free to progress in many different directions. Good plot twists are more common.
        – Variety is the spice of life.

        As you can see in the reasons I gave above, I don’t have the impression that all generic anime is dull. I’ll usually give these ‘generic’ anime the 3 episode rule so all of these have a fair chance of making it into my watch list for the season.

        The stuff I like is often unique in one way or another.
        If anyone is interested, here are some of my favourites: (no spoilers, just saving space)
        Show Spoiler ▼

      4. @Raiu
        I disagree. I read the word “generic” especially in these types of shows, where you seem to have the same puzzle pieces being put together over and over again. There were enough shows that suffered lots of criticism, like Guilty Crown or Aldnoah Zero etc. But I never read the word “generic” there. It’s alright to use the word “generic”, and in this show, even though it tries to set itself apart from the rest, there`s still the whole setting that can be called “generic”.
        Every story has already been told? There are tons and tons of books that are published every year. Yeah, probably every storyline was told already, but using it again doesn’t make something generic. Using it over and over and OVER again makes it generic.
        I admit though, for a generic show to set itself apart from the rest is certainly something difficult to do. If this show manages just that, then I’ll praise it for that.

      5. I think generic is a complex term. Elements of a thing can be generic without that immediately meaning everything is generic and/or bad. There are plenty of examples of this in anime but also in western media. Cop shows for example, family comedies, Soap style romantic dramas, etc. Something as simple as fantasy adventure fiction could be described as generic. Nonetheless people love these settings and do not want them to stop.

        For whatever reason in current Japanese anime, the magic battle school is their go-to thing. Generally, I’d say it’s a bit TOO specific of a setting/plot and most of them ending up being remarkably similar even to the point of character designs (dark haired protagonist in white/pink/red haired princess) but that doesn’t mean that the setting/genre must be dropped forever. Suggesting we need to let a whole style of story go because we saw it before would run us out of stories pretty quickly.

        The key is how you use the setting. No Game No Life for example used a fairly standard people trapped in a fantasy world/battle comic setting but used ‘games’ instead of fights and had a fairly interesting set of leads. This seems to be asking the question ‘what if our MCs actually had brains?’ compared to the standard magic battle school anime.

        Obviously with one episode it’s hard to say, but in at least that episode they were certainly more reasoned than your average anime protagonists, and for people that are tired of the cowardly male protagonist and violently insane heroine, that might be a big enough change. We’ll see.

  2. I agree completely. Loved this episode.

    The setting at a base level is ludicrously generic, but since the focus is on the characters more than the setting that’s not the end of the world, similar to any number of cop shows for example.

    The characters are just handled so well though. Two elements really capture what makes these two heroes different. First, Ikki is not tongue-tied. Rule number one of manga/anime protagonists is that they are incapable of simply saying what happened because they’re ‘nervous’ or ‘flustered’ or something. But Ikki, when confronted about staring, just shouts out ‘I was staring because you’re gorgeous’ and IT WORKED, because SHE WAS FLATTERED.

    Which brings me to the second amazing character thing. The second ‘rule number one,’ in this case for tsunderes instead of protagonists, is that they will not listen to whatever the male lead does manage to get out, but Stella actually does. When he apologizes, she listens and compliments him (then gets mad) and when he compliments her, she hears it, stops, and is flattered.

    So much of anime is based on the leads not being able to carry on a simple conversation that simply having leads that are able to talk and listen to one another changes everything.

    – and to go a bit feminist for a second, the turnabout scene at the end was great. Letting the girl be the one to get a bit hot and bothered over a guy’s body is a wonderful turnaround. That never happens, and here it wasn’t presented as if we just discovered that she’s secretly a pervert, but rather simply that she’s a young girl and he’s an attractive man, so she’s curious.

  3. Episode 1 covered Chp 1 of LN Vol 1.

    In the book, Ikki’s title, “The Worst One”, is written with the kanji 落第騎士, Rakudai Kishi – The Failed Knight.
    (Worst One is written in furigana as ワーストワン).

  4. Rakudai’s willing to play with cliches and a slightly cheeky approach to storytelling, but with a lower budget and 12 episodes to tell its story.

    Asterisk’s more cliched and is almost following a checklist, but has better production values and 20+ episodes to prove itself. Plus, Rasmus Faber as composer.

      1. Generally I’d say that most series thare given more time has a better chance of hooking someone. I’m one of those weak people who can be hooked by really small things like one character being really good and all kinds of shit.

        Let’s look at Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance. The series IS awfully generic, the lead girl is arguably terrible in the anime and the anime doesn’t even get to the point where the “Blade Dance” is the big thing. Had it had another cour it would be allowed to get to a point where I imagine people who enjoyed some part of the previous episodes would have turned around a bit more and gotten hooked.

        Obviously this doesn’t ring true for every series out there and that’s partly due to each individuals taste or the authors writing skills.

        After watching Gakusen, Heavy Object & Rakudai I found some things in them that I liked enough to start looking towards the source materials even though I had absolutely no knowledge of the former two series prior to watching the first episode.

        Heavy Object really isn’t a series for me as I generally dislike mecha(or so I think atleast) but once I got up to volume 3 I was absolutely hooked.

      2. Length is crucial. You can’t tell a good story if you don’t have enough time to tell it.

        We see this EVERY FREAKING SEASON. A good LN series gets an anime, it gets one cour, and it winds up being totally forgettable.

        Why? The books were so good!


        One of three things invariably happens when these LNs are turned int anime:

        1. The show covers the LN in close detail… and only covers 1-3 volumes, and it ends before it gets good. Boo, boring.

        2. The shoe RACES through all X volumes of the series, and throws out all of the details and charm that made the LN interesting in the first place. Boo, this series is just like all the others now!

        3. The series herps and derps with pacing like it doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing, in which case it winds up an incoherent mess. Boo, your pacing sucks!

        Rakudai isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. It’s “pretty good.” It breaks a couple of tropes here and there, and it’s entertaining in a way that keeps me from gouging my eyes out with a pencil.

        But with only one cour to do its stuff in, it’s got a HELL of an obstacle to overcome in order to tell its story coherently, get across whatever charm the LN has, and sell books and blu-rays. That’s hard for a gifted writer.

        So you’ll have to excuse a lot of us if we aren’t enthusiastic about this. This is just like 100 other one-cour LN adaptations we’ve seen before. A few were great, but most were utterly forgettable. (And very, very few got second runs.)

        Stella is a good character, and a welcome change to the tsundere trope. Whatshisname isn’t a bad MC, either. But as a Mr. Zorg said, “I’ve seen this dance before.”

      3. This is an absolutely ridiculous argument to make with anime. The whole freaking system is built around 13 episode series. There are tons of good ones. And at the same time, many MANY anime that have 24 to 52 to whatever hundred in the case of shounen are full of filler or simply do nothing to move the plot forward between the first arc and the last arc.

        That’s not even taking into account the idea of the ‘three episode rule’ which puts the lie to the idea that more episodes give more time to hook people, since if show’s not good people won’t generally watch the first 12 episodes anyway.

        Length is not quality. A show is good or it’s not based on the qualities of the show itself, not it’s episode count.

        The one caveat is of course the speed at which a show chooses to adapt source material, but that is still not a question of length and honestly I think LN/Manga readers focus WAY TOO HARD on that since it’s once in a blue moon that an anime EVER finishes the source material (which is a personal pet peeve, but just comes with the territory) so focusing on what random proportion of source material they have or have not adapted is an exercise in futility.

      4. Yeah, that second season of “Ben-to” was great, wasn’t it? Or the second season of “Dragon Crisis,” or “insert name of mediocre LN adaptation that never got a second run here.”

        The problem IS about the whole over LN-ification of anime. It’s not really a good fit, and the only real reason LNs get adaptations is because they’re safe and because even if the anime sucks, it can always work as a season long ad for the LNs. That’s part of the calculation involved in these series.

        So we, the viewers, get mediocre, bland rehashes of LNs, which are generally rehashes of each other, with some tweaks to the tropes, but dear Crom, I’m so sick of the same 2-3 settings.

        You tell me what’s best for 13 episodes: 6 volumes of material crushed down into 13 episodes, or how about a property created explicitly for 13 episodes of animation?

        Original material made to fit one or two cour is almost always going to make more sense than a LN or manga shoehorned into one or two cour. But original series are risky, so conservative companies aren’t making them in the same numbers as they used to.

        Now it’s all about the multimedia play– can you get a deal covering LNs, manga, anime, games, figurines, merch, and a seiyuu album and concert tour? If so, then maybe you can go forward.

        Instead of just making a good show, it’s now a calculated marketing push.

        And that means the end product becomes mediocre.

  5. It’s funny… I liked the first episode of Gakusen Toshi Asterisk better because it’s tropyness (sp?) was played up as a comedic element. Just goes to show that it’s more about execution and personal taste than the tropes or genera employed as whether a show resonates with the audience. Good troppyness is just the light-armor characters in this kind of series use to keep from being understood too easily.

    The bloodlust in the dark-open for Asterisk went a long way color my reading of the lighter side…. In Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry it just felt like the writers were trying too hard to make us empathize with the characters…. Will still give each 3ep before I decide what I’m watching.

    1. Of the two, I personally preferred Asterisk despite the more ridiculous setting, because I thought it was far better at being subtle. This show laid out its characters like a Jump shounen manga, right down to the brief dramatic flashbacks and mid-fight lengthy explanations of ‘how I am beating you down right now’.

      Honestly, though, both have more than a few facepalm-worthy elements, so I’ll reserve judgment for now.

  6. Cavalry is really great series. In all honestly even though it’s cliche ridden at glace it manage to tackle theme that it’s presented very well. This series show that hard work really does pay of in the end.

    Also the relationship is really feel genuine. Ikki and Stella is just genuinely great couple. You can see that there are no forced development between either of them and their reason to fall for each other is believable not just because first girl syndrome (even though she is introduced first).

  7. OnePunch_Guy
      1. It comes close, but most of the female cast is kept at bay with a truly shocking plot device.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        I know, right? Mind = blown.

  8. Don’t worry, wait for Ep4. After watching that episode, you will look forward to the rest of the season even more. Big thing will happen to Ikki and Stella in that episode.

  9. There will come a time that playing on established tropes will be a norm to the point that it will become the cliche or new trope of that generation…

    In any case, going back to Cavalry. I like it. And seeing that it has no Harem tag in MAL is really promising unlike Asterisk. Though I’ll give Asterisk a spin as well because of the A-1 animation. Silver Link better deliver too if I’m coming from their Fate Kaleid adaptation.

  10. After watching both Asterisk and Rakudai, I agree that there are many superficial similarities, but I came away with a different reaction after the first episode for each.

    Rakudai’s princess already has a character trait that seems interesting to explore, as a genius who is bitter that her opponents always claim their hard work wasn’t rewarded but never seems to get credit for her own. Also, her reaction to his body is refreshing, though it shouldn’t be as rare as it is. The princess in Asterisk has some mysterious past involving a memento (the handkerchief), which has been done over and over. I’m willing to bet that handkerchief belonged to someone important to her who died/went missing/gravely ill, and with whom she made some kind of promise. If I’m not close on that guess, I might be more interested, but unless that happens, I’m already kinda meh on that plot line.

    The Asterisk MC has no particular traits that stand out so far. The one exception, his sister, who is missing(presumably dead), has been done before in various ways (Machine-doll wa Kizutsukanai, Absolute Duo, gender-flipped in Yugioh GX, etc.) Granted, the way Rakudai’s MC is categorized in-universe reminds me of a certain Rettousei who didn’t go over too well with many. However, at least this MC didn’t freeze up or act like a blubbering idiot like a standard MC while walking in on a half-naked girl.

    As far as the whole “generic” issue goes, I use the term when nothing in particular stands out about a show. Give me something where, if there isn’t something unusual or unique, I can at least think along the lines of, “hmm, that’s a different way of framing things,” or “that’s an aspect of a particular trope that doesn’t get much focus.” If everything seems like it checks off a box from the “List of standard tropes used in high school battle fantasy ecchi harem LNs,” and everything is played straight, then the story better be amazing or there’s little incentive for anyone who’s seen something very similar, except done better in one or a few other shows.

    1. The setting is also just different enough for me to favor Rakudai. Here at least the students are being trained for military use, so the academy itself makes sense. It’s a magical Annapolis, and I can believe in those. I hate schools like in IS and Asterisk where the main focus of the school is primarily to train the students on how to use these amazing weapons to compete in a SPORT. That just immediately feels off to me, just like the idea that these weapons would’ve ever been controlled enough to be used just in competitions.

  11. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Rakudai animated for a while now and the first episode certainly didn’t disappoint. Ikki and Stella are so awesome to watch together. 🙂

    Seriously though, why is a series like Asterisk given two cours and this one only one? Bulls***. >__>

    Ryan Ashfyre
  12. Aside from the unfortunate broadcast situation (stupid Hulu) and Stella’s hair being too pink (it’s much more red in the light novel covers), the first episode did alright. I’m not a huge fan of SILVER LINK and it is a little disappointing that Asterisk War is getting the bigger investment and longer run from A-1 compared to this, but Chivalry of a Failed Knight should still be entertaining given what we have.

    Purple Bomber
  13. So i see people posting about “animes just copying other animes” generic, etc… its the year 2015 going to 2016. Sure the concepts seem all new and everything back in the 1990s.. but as time goes on the generations will see its not just anime that goes along the same pathways.. At least the anime makers make their strives to make their animes/manga their own. I enjoyed watching both rakudai and gakusen this season. Sure they are both school setting , and do battles.. I’d rather watch that then what im assuming many of you rather watch a cartoon where all you see is a roach sitting on a wall for 20 minutes, not even moving.. theres alot of differences in each anime, the style of the animations, art, music, voices, story… gotta give all anime a chance… you might enjoy it.

    or you gonna complain about Highschool dxd.. oh look theres a school anime with fighting and spells? or sailor moon theres school anime.. just enjoy the anime, the fact you are even on this page posting means you watched the anime from begining to end.

    1. Let me say this first: I do actually enjoy many of these types of shows.

      It isn’t just that a lot of shows tend to fall into the “high school battle fantasy ecchi harem” (give or take a few labels) category that’s the problem though. It’s when the details within that category all seem similar to something else, especially initially. I’d say at least 3/4 of the first or second encounter involves walking in on a half(or fully)-naked girl, with most of those being a violent tsundere. She tries to whoop his ass no matter what he says, and then they find out that he’s going to be living with her. (This exact scene goes back to at least Love Hina) Guess what the first arc usually involves? Fixing the relationship by having the MC save the girl from some real threat, which usually leads to some bigger enemy that serves as the main villain of a 1-cour show. If I’m asked to describe a show, the first thing to pop to mind shouldn’t be “it’s x crossed with y,” or worse, “it’s a _______ version of z.” It should actually be something from the show itself that manages to stick out in my mind.

      To use DxD as an example, Issei, unlike many MCs, is an unabashed pervert who embraces his love of oppai. The others also get significant characterization, even some of his male friends. While he’s probably got the highest ceiling in the group, it’s quite clear that he can’t do everything by himself, and there are many machinations going on involving some of the other players.

      For another example, take To-Loveru, especially Darkness. Rito does have the standard tendency to become a blubbering idiot when he happens to end up in an ecchi situation. However, he’s reached a point where he will always manage to fall in such a way that his hands and/or face end up in one or more females’ breasts, ass, or crotch. Even in-universe everyone knows that he’s very likely to accidentally end up in an ecchi situation, physics be damned. Here the accidental pervert is taken to such an extreme where it’s memorable, and some of the reactions actually do change because it happens so often.

      1. @gabun: TVTropes says Show Spoiler ▼

  14. Personally, I thought the pacing was way too fast starting from the point the fight started.

    Anyway, I can’t really blame Stella for touching him and all that back there…man is Ikki ripped.

    1. The assumption there is that since he is not gifted, he has to work and train extra hard so it would be logical that his body would be more physically sculpted compared to other male students

  15. Still cautiously optimistic on how this will turn out, although what definitely sold me is the whole “I’ll take off my clothes to make it even” scene. I honestly LOL’d there. I’m along the line of thinking of “nothing is 100% original nowadays” and “execution is everything”, so the cliches don’t bother me.

    I’ll be watching this and have the fanbrats and hatemongers fighting in the background as my complimentary fireworks to go with my popcorn 😉

  16. I always wondered why animation studios don’t animate completed source materials but instead choose to animate ongoing ones. In my opinion, when you watch an anime with an ongoing source material, you shouldn’t expect any conclusiveness. When you don’t have conclusiveness, it compromises on the quality. Ultimately, I feel this is just a promotion for the source material. So if you are looking for a quality anime, the best thing to do is to watch an original anime. The odds are higher that it would be better.

  17. Cavalry is as generic as generic can be, but I must admit, this one did a MUCH better job at presenting itself than that other copy-n-paste train-wreck-in-the-making anime. I have moderate hopes for this series and I hope it exceeds my expectations

  18. Well interesting perspective.

    I did think Ikki was solid. Not a bad guy and pretty entertaining. Though will see if his backstory will grow on me. The idea of the weak guy fighting to be strong is cool, but his insane efforts to style steal and his specializing kind of leaves me not seeing his strength as an issue. It’s like a Index Touma who publically tries to get attention despite the system not rating him appropriately.

    Stella….she’ll have to work to improve. I’m not sure where the glowing opinion of her came in this episode. Asking the MC to commit suicide? Telling him to die in order to be her roommate? Trying to turn the other side into her eternal slave? Committing sexual assault on a sleeping party? She had her moments but damn….the direct comparable show frankly blows her out of the water at this stage. We’ll see how she turns out in episode 2.

    1. >] “Stella… she’ll have to work to improve. I’m not sure where the glowing opinion of her came in this episode. Asking the MC to commit suicide? Telling him to die in order to be her roommate? Trying to turn the other side into her eternal slave? Committing sexual assault on a sleeping party? She had her moments but damn… the direct comparable show frankly blows her out of the water at this stage. We’ll see how she turns out in episode 2.

      Typical tsundere behavior. Try not take it more seriously than intended.

      And, please, let’s not drag Stella’s behavior through the proverbial mud by calling it “sexual assault”. Questionable, one can certainly argue, but anything more than that is blowing things way out of proportion.

      Ryan Ashfyre
      1. Yeah…I’m pretty sure if you climb into a bed with a sleeping woman and try that…you will end up in jail. Nothing is being dragged through the mud, that’s what happened there. Her being a cute female character doesn’t somehow change reality.

        Typical or not (and frankly I think that’s beyond the line for typical tsundere), it’s still ridiculous.

        She has room to improve and grow as a character, but nothing said there was inaccurate.

      2. Regardless as to what would happen in reality or not, can we please just agree not to try and mesh the real world with what happens in an anime? That is as much of a surefire buzzkill to one’s enjoyment as anything.

        That said, just humor me for a moment. In retrospect, did Stella do anything terribly wrong? All you can say is that she touched his skin a little. Now however sensitive people might be at the thought of someone touching them (which is another argument entirely); in this context, it’s simply nothing of consequence. Nothing happened, so trying to make a mountain out a molehill is quite the exercise in futility in this respect.

        Ryan Ashfyre
    2. Look at it that way: She was really mad at Ikki right at the beginning – and based on the information available to her, she had every right to be – and the author tried really hard to establish her as tsundere with a temper.

      Then, however, she…

      o …acknowledged Ikki’s efforts during the fight and reverted her opinion of him

      o …didn’t throw a tantrum on losing or denied the outcome, but rationally asked the school chairwoman to elaborate on Ikki.

      o …acknowledged her loss sincerely towards Ikki.

      o …even though she was royally embarrassed about it, she eventually didn’t chicken out of the bet.

      Which other show in this genre can you list where the “tsundere” main character does that so early, let alone in the first episode?

      Also – keep in mind that many fans already know the LN/Manga and judge Stella based on this extra knowledge.

  19. Wow amazing. Not only was the review good but the comments here are quite level-headed. In other places that I have been, there are times where flame wars arise with clear camps on both side which is ridiculous. I’m a novel reader of both Rakudai and Asterisk and what I can say is that both diverge from their similarities with other series quickly. Basically both may have almost the same premises but they all have something to offer down the line which is not very evident from the start.

    In terms of “genericness” of a show, you have to realize a lot of these stories sell which is why there are so many “imitations” with the almost exact premises. However these imitations generally are the same only near the beginning which is used to catch the readers/viewers and usually a good author will down the line try to differentiate it by adding their own spin or kick to it. Whether the spin is good or not is what usually determines how successful the series is.

    I’m a bit sad though that Asterisk was not Jig’s thing so Jig won’t continue blogging it. Takaii, what are you feeling on Asterisk by the way?

  20. >Guy and girl student are paired up as roommates
    >For nonsensical reasons that defy the usual school operating procedure
    >Without telling them ahead of time
    >No recourse, if you don’t like it you can quit the school

    I know you guys are saying it gets better, and Ikki is certainly personable, but this setup is almost physically painful.

  21. While they may be in direct competition, I have to say I will watch this and Asterisk with equal attention. I enjoyed both episodes and I’d like to see how each progresses in contrast to the other.

    While some people have little patience for it, I do like to see the same general idea explored from different angles

    One key difference, I am told, is that Asterisk appears to be a harem while this one appears to be a “one true” kind of deal. So we’ll see what becomes of that.

  22. One of the things I like about Stella is that instead of picking a fight with Ikki because he accidentally peeped (or intentionally stripped) on her, she did so to prove herself as the new kid on the block. She wanted to prove to everyone that she wasn’t just blessed with talent, but she also had the skill to back it up. Just her luck that her match-up was the guy with only skill at his disposal.

    Overall, a welcomed diversion from the usual school harem-fantasy stories; expectations are definitely building for this one.

  23. Like many, I watched Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry (“Cavalry”) and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (“Asterisk”), and honestly the two blend together a lot. Very hard not to compare the two shows. While not literally clones, the two female leads are very similar from being gifted, uber-competant/top of the class to red hair with corresponding flame motif, and of course, tsundere (is there a red haired girl in anime who’s not tsundere?). Oh, and they have the, dare I say, generic over-reaction of “You saw me in my underwear, and therefore shall die for the crime of lèse-majesté” (literally in this case since both are princess IIRC). :/ However, what’s with the whole “whoever loses must be the others servant/dog for life” plot line? *SIGH* Not a fan of that type of plot line (whether by bet, or magic) – especially for “romance”. So Asterisk FL gets points for a simple “I owe you one”. MUCH better IMO.

    I’d say Cavalry’s Ikki is a bit less mundane/more personable than Asterisk’s ML (don’t remember guy’s name). The “OK, I’ll strip and we’ll be even” bit was funny (not sure how “gentlemanly”, but still funny). Asterisk’s ML is a cookie-cutter nice guy and… that’s about it. On the downside, I think Cavalry overplayed the “underdog/no talent” theme. Some of that’s fine and can make for a good story, but he’s failed rank F/bottom of the class, has 1/10 the average magic power (1/2 or even 1/4 wouldn’t be enough of a handicap?), etc. I get that’s the series premise (he’s the “worst one”), but the degree that theme was pushed struck me as a little excessive – “Power of Gambatte” notwithstanding, especially when you know Ikki’s NOT going to lose that duel given the setup. Frankly, the guy seems pretty “talented/gifted” to me being able to create such effective skills (no doubt unique skills) all on his own. Not a huge deal, but sufficient enough for me to take notice which is why I mention it.

    Long story short, while certainly nothing that hasn’t been done by a lot of other series in the genre (would not be surprised at all if Taimadou Gakuen 35 has similarities as well), I was surprised at just how similar the first episodes were in multiple aspects. Which did I think was better? I’d say Cavalry was the more polished of the two, but as noted above, it had some plot elements I didn’t like = both shows are pretty much even in my book. Neither one impressed me and remain well within the “3 Episode Rule” going forward.

    1. Heck, when you look at how Ikki is set up, it’s much like how Mahouka’s set up goes in that the MC is only a “failure” when it comes to just how specifically the school rates the students and yet the MC MORE than makes up for it in other areas that the school conveniently doesn’t want to bother rating students in at all, thus the MC can be “the best” in some way, taking opponents by surprise and such, while still being “the underdog” in some other way.

      1. Ikki is different from certain Magical Jesus in that he REALLY doesn’t have talent (in magic). His swordsmanship is praised (in universe) and he could actually do well in other non magic-related field.

        The MC of Mahouka is “so strong I broke the scale my power is unmeasurable thus get a low rating” strong.

      2. @SMinstrel:

        Re. Ikki: That helps because the impression I got from Ep. 01 was that he was untalented period. A completely untalented individual without no natural gifts whatsoever including 1/10 the average magic power. The anime did repeat the no talent/”the worst” theme a lot – including Ikki himself. We even had a flashback on him being the weakest/worst as a small boy. It was not clear to me that the only thing being tested in magic knight school was magic (I’m assuming that’s correct from your comment). One would think other things like swordsmanship (which he did seem to be very talented/elite) would be tested and count for knights. I guess his special skill (which I assume he created on is own – unique magic?) doesn’t fall under traditional magic like Tatsuya’s abilities. HalfDemonInuyasha makes a good point in comparing the two in that regard.

        Re. Tatsuya: You’re wrong about Tatsuya’s situation. Anime did a shit job of explaining a lot of things IMO (bad adaptation period – I dropped it). It’s not that he’s “so strong he broke the scale”. It’s that the “scale” in MKnR does NOT test for what he’s good at. The system (“scale”) is defective in that regard (i.e. doesn’t test for everything) which is plainly stated in the LN. Tatsuya is not a good universal magician which is what’s being tested – traditional magic skills based upon set, rigid criteria. Tatsuya’s hyper-competent at a few things – none of which are tested in the practical exam, and much of which are either military secrets (who’s gonna test for material burst?) or family secrets (flash cast) anyway. Even known magic like gram demolition is not going to be tested for HS entrance exam since so few can do that (Mayumi can’t).

        The difference between the two for me was that reading the MKnR LN, I never got the impression that the series tried to make out Tatsuya as “untalented” or “not gifted” or “the worst”, etc. He wasn’t literally at bottom of his class for one thing (at the top of all classes when it came to magic theory). Very early in vol. 01, Mayumi (SC Pres) comments on how impressed not only she was with Tatsuya’s written entrance exam score, but the teachers as well (the practical exam results landed him in the 2nd class). He was an outlier – an irregular in a rigid, essentially social caste type system. It was clearly the system, not Tatsuya. For Ikki, only one episode and an adaptation at that so very well could be the case that the LN does a better job with the details. However, right or wrong, rather than “it’s the system, not Ikki” watching Ep. 01 I got “he’s the worst/a failure/untalented” repeatedly with nothing to the contrary, and then, to no surprise, he goes and kicks ass against someone who’s at the top. Again, not a huge deal and your explanation does alleviate matters.

  24. It’s kind of amusing how this is generally getting a more or less positive view on this site (while Asterisk is getting dissed) while ANN’s reviewers and commentators are crapping all over Rakudai as terrible, worst anime ever, etc. while saying mildly positive tings about Asterisk. It’s all very cliquish. (Though not surprising, as ANN tends to be very politically correct and the somewhat sexier fanservice of Rakudai was too much for them to accept).

    1. ANN has ceased to be a credible site for me in 2003, when they dissed KimiNozo as pointless happy-go-lucky romcom even after episode 2!

      It’s simply another elitist hater cesspool like several blogs have become. Simply don’t go there.

  25. I didn’t have high hopes for either this show or Asterisk but I’d have to say that this one left me a tiny bit surprised. The fact that the show seems to revel more in it’s tropiness gives it a slight comedic edge that helps provide a distraction. Asterisk on the other hand seemed to take itself too seriously so all you had were the obvious tropes and the boring exposition staring you in the face.

  26. So well,I might not add anything new, but I’ll add my personal impression of the two magic school LN series:

    Both have stupid writing here and there, but overall Rakudai is funnier and more interesting. It tried to play with its tropes with relative success, while asterisk is kinda straight forward.

    Rakudai has better leads, especially male one. However, Asterisk still has time left to up the game.

    I prefer Rakudai’s character design, but overall Asterisk is much more polished, especially in BG/environment/setting. Battle coreography seems even for now, although asterisk felt much shorter.

    For music and OST, Rakudai is clearly inferior. And we haven’t saw the second song for both.

    All in all, I think I slightly like Rakudai better, but overal with only two cour to work on, it worries me more than Asterisk.

    However, before that they first need to keep themselves from typical LN downfall in the middle so I could at least watch a full cour of them, let alone the second cour.


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