「皇女の体験」 (Koujo no Taiken)
“The Experience of the Princess”

Not wanting to ease up on the gas, this week’s episode dove straight into the things that make truly make a relationship, a relationship.

Ikki’s Popularity

Before jumping into Stella and Ikki’s relationship, I wanted to take a second to point out how much of a star Ikki has become. Ever humble in his behavior, it was nice to see the school finally giving him some recognition for all the hard work he’s put in and the crap he’s put up with. Taking down opponent after opponent with relative ease, there was a real sense of pride seeing other students ask him for help instead of the other way around. The kicker though? Ikki’s humble personality shining through all of it and besides being a humanitarian, seeing how he truly believes empowering his fellow students is good for them and him. A behavior you don’t see all that often in this day and age.

That and if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t have minded seeing Ikki act a little arrogant for once. But he didn’t, because that isn’t who he is, and I’m sure we all love him for it.

Lover’s Quarrel

Just like last week’s sudden but not unexpected moment where Stella and Ikki sealed the deal and became an item, this week’s episode didn’t hesitate at all while tackling a pretty common relationship woe. Honing in on that awkward period right after two people start dating, I loved how the episode managed to fit two weeks of frustration within a mere fifteen minutes. Giving us glimpses of Stella’s insecurities as well as moments where fate was just getting the better of her, there was a sense of urgency as well as a looming fear over wanting to know what was going to happen.

But then to see it come all together and explode in a fight was what really got my heart pumping. With rather ominous music playing in the back and Ikki showing an uncharacteristically angry side of himself, I’m sure a lot of viewers started to expect a sudden break up coming. Instead, we got to see the two work through their insecurities and talk things out in a way you don’t normally see between these types of characters in these types of shows (aka actually getting through the whole conversation uninterrupted). Sealing the deal with a honest-to-god kiss on the lips, it was great to see things end on a cute and happy note.

Looking Ahead

With another potential relationship block out of the way and next week’s matches scheduled, it feels like the story’s about to get back on track with the competition. While it remains to be seen who those hooded figures are, I have to say that they aren’t really giving off an evil vibe. In any case, it looks like there’ll be a lot more action next week so if the relationship stuff isn’t doing it for you, next week is your episode!

Catch you guys next week! Ciao!

Takaii’s Notes:

  • Ikki’s such a tease. The way he went in for a kiss and backed off to talk was plain evil.
  • I was a little disappointed how they changed the pool scene since it looks like Ayase won’t properly show up for another week.
  • I also don’t remember people flocking to Ikki for training — but I think it worked well here since there isn’t enough time to flesh too many things out.
  • Stella’s outfits this week were on-point. So cute!

End Card

52 Comments

  1. OHhhhhhhh this is how you do tsundere. My god I couldn’t help but go “OMFG THIS BAKOUPLE, GO KISS ALREADY!” Hahahaha. So much vanilla I could get diabetes. Is this sum shoujo manga?

    It’s notable that they delayed the Sword Eater arc and added some adorable Stella Otomege original material. I won’t say it’s bad thing though. Seeing Stella project Ikki into the Otomege was just adorable and hilarious. Also they changed the OP to reflect the next big bad.

    On another note, that end card by Momi is excellent. I love Momi’s doujin works.

    FlameStrike
    1. It’s amazing how quickly standards change when a relationship actually moves in an anime. In any other anime, we’d still be annoyed that we’ll have to spend the next 8 episodes (or whatever) waiting for them to even admit they like each other (let alone date). Here, we’ve passed both of those hurdles, which are usually reserved for the climax, in episode 4. So we’ve moved on to normal kissing. Which they solved in an episode.

      This is like uncharted territory for an anime. Certainly for a non-shoujo one, and even pretty rare for the shoujo ones that aren’t about marriage (and some that are).

      KaleRylan
  2. This episode is largely anime-original. It uses elements from Vol 2 but in a different context:
    1) the novel very briefly mentions people flocking to Ikki for training. The anime expanded an entire part of the episode for this.
    2) Stella didn’t discuss her feelings for Ikki with Kagami, but with the new character, who briefly appeared at the pool this episode.
    3) the class, Shizuku and Alice didn’t go to the pool. It was just Ikki, Stella and the new character.

    Stella playing the otome game was taken from Vol 0, a collection of humourous short stories.

    zztop
    1. Yeah, this was almost like a Frankenstein’s monster of canon material. It’s… not something I’ve really experienced before, so I’m not entirely sure how to feel about it. I am a little concerned about how they’re going to fill in the material from the Sword Eater arc they plundered (which obviously will be animated since next week’s episode title is Sword Eater I).

      Purple Bomber
  3. Despite some changes from the original source I’m enjoying the anime adaptation a lot. Even though the anime postpone the introduction of a new character, they cover it up with a more focused story telling about Ikki and Stella’s relationship problem. It’s not a problem in the form of book, but due to time constraint I think they made a wise decision to focus into a single focused theme this episode.

    cryarc
  4. I thought that seeing Stella mixing her looks up was a very nice extra for the fans. “Hair-down” Stella was very easy on the eyes, too ^_^

    Though I’m a little bit worried that for anime-only viewers, Ayase will have it even harder, now that some of the kinder/sweeter scenes in helping resolve the Stella/Ikki romance problems have been taken away from her and attributed to Kagami.

    Mentar
  5. http://randomc.net/image/Rakudai%20Kishi%20no%20Cavalry/Rakudai%20Kishi%20no%20Cavalry%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2008.jpg
    “What are you guys? In a situation like this, you’re supposed to say, “Huh! You’ll regret this!” or something, and run away!”

    http://randomc.net/image/Rakudai%20Kishi%20no%20Cavalry/Rakudai%20Kishi%20no%20Cavalry%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2029.jpg
    Ikki : “Then why are we having this fight?!”
    Stella : “I have no idea!”

    http://randomc.net/image/Rakudai%20Kishi%20no%20Cavalry/Rakudai%20Kishi%20no%20Cavalry%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2031.jpg
    Usually in this kind of anime, when the protagonist is all alone with the girl, they will get interrupted by a third party or something silly.

    Rakudai Kishi has showed us that it can get out from those cliches.

    OnePunch_Guy
    1. Well, the Kiss was more an greeting Kiss. so Short, perhaps to not angry the viewers. They are lovers. Well, they should not necessary advance in hug their heads, or french kiss. But a kiss of 1sec length would be okay…

      This is just an “Greetings” kiss, nothing more. i had expect more

      WorldwideDepp
      1. Umm… the Japanese don’t have ‘greetings’ kisses. A kiss is a kiss. This is a culture that is so averse to romantic physical affection that they consider drinking from the same container a ‘secondhand kiss.’

        And again, what standard are you using here? Aside from the fact that culturally you’re off base, I can count on one hand the number of romantic leads in a non-shoujo anime that have actually intentionally kissed each other for the purpose of romance.

        Were you expecting them to make out? That would have been a bit awkward given the nature of the scene.

        KaleRylan
      2. That was the entire point of that scene. What Shizuka did was WAY over the line. Having taught in Japanese (and Korean) schools, I know for a fact that if you tried that in a real school and were seen like they were you would get in a massive amount of trouble. Bare minimum, your parents would be called. But it could easily lead to suspension at the low end. That’s not even mentioning Shizuka being his sister.

        Anyway, long story short THIS is normal, THAT was crazy. Which was the joke of that scene.

        KaleRylan
      3. They were in a public pool. Public displays of affection are exceedingly rare in Japan in general. It’s part of why they make such a big deal about hand-holding.

        That said, I actually kept waiting for someone to interrupt their fight. These two were having a full on screaming fight followed by a kiss in a public pool that had at least 12-13 other people there (their classmates) and no one noticed? I mean, it was refreshing to see them work out their problems, but cliche or not, it would have been pretty funny for someone to stick their head through that water curtain and ask what they were yelling about.

        KaleRylan
      4. Yeah, i was expecting somehow the same. Like his Little Sister, or Alice or this News Magazine Girl for “exclusive” Pictures in her News paper.

        But perhaps your right, the Short kiss, where i expect a bit longer, could be my culture difference. So gome-ne

        WorldwideDepp
      1. In the novel at the end of the fight one of the pool’s employee comes and reprimand them because they’re disturbing people with their lover’s quarel lol. Well if that’s also included in the anime I think that would broke the romantic tension of that scene so probably the director decides to cut that part xD

        cryarc
    1. The implication that I’ve gotten from the show (haven’t read the LNs) is that most blazers don’t actually know how to fight/use martial arts. They rely almost entirely on using whatever their power happens to be and the minimum combat knowledge required to use said power.

      Even Stella seems to have an usual knowledge of ACTUAL sword-fighting. It sees that most people with her weapon and power would have simply focused on the shooting fire as opposed to actually learning swordfighting.

      KaleRylan
      1. This is pretty much it. The common thuoght is that Blaze>All, so why train in any other way? Also explains why Ikki‘s family gave up on him so fast, and why the excuse of “natural talent” pisses Stella off. Ikki is pretty much a splash of ice water that breaks the idea of the Blazer having inherent limits because of the part of themselves that can’t be trained.

        Aex
      2. @KaleRyan: I think you meant Stella has an UNusual level of actual sword fighting. She’s trained herself to a high level, but most folks don’t bother. Althought we’ll end up meeting most of the ones that have bothered, as it turns out…

        Wanderer
      3. It actually made me think more about the short bout between Lee and Sasuke shortly before the Chunin Exams in Naruto (when it was still decent).

        Sasuke believing that just because he had the power of the Sharingan unlocked (and upgraded to two tomoe in each eye now) that Lee would pose no challenge to him, but Lee quickly proving him wrong due to the sheer amount of hard work and training he does every single day (as well as already having a couple years of shinobi experience under his belt whereas Sasuke had little less than one year) and also revealing a flaw of the Sharingan itself (even though it allows Sasuke’s mind to perceive things as moving slower than normal, it doesn’t literally slow down time, so unless Sasuke can actually move fast enough in real time, then it doesn’t matter if he can perceive the opponent’s moves, he can’t hit/block them because that opponent is still has far superior speed).

        And then Sasuke learning that Lee can’t even use Ninjutsu or Genjutsu (he and the others thinking Lee must be using Ninjutsu of some kind to allow his speed and such) only smacking his ego even further.

        So, as mentioned here, many Blazers tend to believe that their special powers are all they need to beat their opponents, thinking the only thing deciding factor on who wins is whose power is stronger/used more effectively while not bothering to train more than the minimum required to use their power, but as we’ve seen, if that power is somehow overcome/made useless, they really have nothing else to fall back on and are quickly defeated.

        HalfDemonInuyasha
      4. @Wanderer: yeah, I did mean unusual. Noticed it too late, and no edit button of course. And I had a feeling we would meet the others.

        That’s kind of the nature of these series. They make out something to be special, then you discover every legitimate challenge does the same thing, leaving you wondering why supposedly culture says that thing isn’t necessary when all the strong people do it anyway.

        KaleRylan
      5. That’s part of the growing up process. Learning you aren’t special, even if you’re lucky and work hard enough to be a contender and competitive, there’s others that do the same.

        The coming of age process is written well here.

        Drasca
  6. Wow, this is a first: I actually liked these changes to the source material! All other studios take notes!! With this much thought put in and attention to detail, you too can successfully adapt content without being 100% faithful! The change from a month to two weeks was especially good, since it took future events into consideration.

    Aex
  7. I am really not pleased that they stole Ayase’s best scene and gave it to Kagami. That scene had all sorts of benefits, both in-universe and out, in establishing her character as a genuinely good girl, despite her situation. It also helped firmly establish her friendship with Stella, and shows us, again, that the series isn’t going to become a harem, despite the fact that her character-type is one that would normally fit perfectly in a harem.

    That last point is less significant, but the point is that this was a strong establishing character moment for Ayase, and now she won’t have it. That seems ill-advised, because they’ll have to patch over this somehow.

    Wanderer
  8. Ugh, am I the only one who was bothered that they were having a lovey dovey quarrel and romantic kissing in a pool where his “disciples” are still out there in the same building, training?

    While I’m appreciating the move to steer deep into romance territory, it’s not really a good point if the execution is bad. For a romance, it’s awkward and rather cheesy. For a romance comedy, it’s not funny enough. It’s still even has a haremish romantic subplot from her sister’s perspective which I have no idea should be treated seriously or not. Am I supposed to sympathetic to her?

    This lack of focus makes this as the first episode of Rakudai which I rated lower than Asterisk, compared episode to episode. While Asterisk is solidly expanding its world building and even boosting its already impressive visual budget (it’s now becoming more like an action shounen series with harem rather than a harem with actions), Rakudai tries to focus at romance, but seems to unable to drop elements from harem tropes which need to be dropped if its romance want to be taken seriously. That’s a waste, especially since from what I read in the comments that the problems stem from anime only decisions. It seems like this episode is treated as a filler, especially since the derpy faces is very notable this time.

    zeroyuki92
    1. Not sure why this is that big of an issue. Couples get in fights at the wrong place and time all the time.

      Your second paragraph is very subjective so sure, though I agree the sister is a black mark on the whole plot. The simple fact that they do seem to be treating her incestuous desires for her brother as a serious thing is very weird. Obviously, there are stories where incest is the plot. Some bad, some… good I guess (not my thing). But the key is it’s usually faced head on, with some view towards the ramifications. To use incest of all things as a minor side-plot is very strange and rather off-putting. I keep wishing it would go away, and in some ways it does, but never completely.

      And I continue to disagree vehemently on asterisk, it’s shallow and bland. But I had my fight about that last week, so I’ll leave it at that here.

      KaleRylan
  9. This may be a little late to point out but did anyone notice how they slightly altered the opening animation? I remember prior to Ikki’s victory over Kirihara, it was Kirihara who was dueling Ikki in the opening. Now it’s that guy with the long coat and whip sword kind of weapon. And since I already brought it up I just dig this opening song Identity, both in terms of music and lyrics. I knew the singer sounded familiar since he sang Drastic My Soul, the ending theme to Scryed which was also a favorite of mine.

    Zhinvu

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