「無冠の剣王II」 (Mukan no Ken Ou II)
“An Uncrowned Sword King II”

All good things must come to an end — and that includes one of my favorite shows from the season. But hey, maybe if the planets line up just right and I wish on enough shooting stars, maybe there’ll be more Rakudai in the future?

The Ensuing Fight

So, there’s no way we can skip what happened throughout this week’s episode since last week’s stark shift to a dark and depressing place was a huge surprise. You had everyone conspiring against Ikki and even his father dropped such a huge bomb on him that you probably couldn’t even blame him if he just stood up and admitted defeat. Except that’s not what happened. Even with everything around him fading into the darkness, Ikki managed to hang on with a little help of a friendly flame to guide the way. A flame that gave him just enough strength and courage to face and defeat the frightening Raikiri head on in a true and honest battle. As an added bonus, Ikki also got to demonstrate his strength to more than just the people in the stadium and even got to make one hell of a proposal to Stella! Something we’ll talk about more in the final impressions.

If I were to have any complaints about this finale though, my only little gripe would be just how quickly things resolved themselves. While it makes sense since Ikki literally only had minutes before he needed to get onto the battlefield, I was really hoping his return to form would be dragged out a little longer. That said, after all the nonsense Ikki had to deal with, I don’t mind seeing him have a slightly easier time than what we’d expect because he’s already dealt with so much crap already. That and seeing a crowd of people cheer for him felt so good that I’m having trouble describing it.

Before jumping into the final impressions, I just wanted to thank everyone for keeping up with my posts week and week. I know this one is a little late compared to the usual post (friend’s birthday messed up my schedule last night), but I loved reading and responding the comments every week. And with that, let’s jump into some final impressions!


Final Impressions

After previewing this show in the Fall 2015 preview, I had some pretty high expectations for it. With a small core cast of characters that I adored and a couple that flew straight passed all the nonsense, I was praying that Rakudai’s transition into an anime wouldn’t tarnish what I loved. Amazingly, SILVER LINK did a fantastic job at bringing over and preserving the overall feel and lovey-dovey StellaxIkki moments in anime form.

Starting things off with the couple of season (or maybe even the couple of the year?), I can’t get over just how much I loved seeing Ikki and Stella together. You had two people who knew exactly what they wanted, went after it with their heart on their sleeves, and managed to break past all the typical anime barriers that have all of us facepalming all too often. The best part of it all was we got to see their relationship grow and mature throughout the season. From their extremely cute confession scene, to how they handled their relationship woes, all the way to seeing them get awfully intimate and even propose to each other, what more could you really ask for?

And even if romance isn’t your thing, the action throughout the series was more than good enough to keep yourself on the edge of your seat. With all the fights having just enough flair to keep them fun but not going completely overboard that they seemed ridiculous (except maybe the golem fight), they all had their own feel and meaning behind them. While I don’t have a personal favorite since I enjoyed them all, I really did enjoy Ikki’s first real battle against a certain unnamed asshat.

Overall, I think Rakudai did a great job with what it was given. Even though it was only one cour and there was a lot of stuff packed into it, I think it’s a testament to SILVER LINK and the source material just how much fun it was to experience it all. Hopefully, like I said in the beginning of the post, maybe we’ll get another season somewhere down the road. One that’ll pick up right where we left off and continue the story of the Worst One and his bridge to be alongside all of their friends. We can dream, right?

End Card


    1. Am I the only one that felt a little disappointed that there was no epic fight, but just a single (nonetheless) epic moment against Raikiri? I was expecting an epic battle, much like Shizuku vs Raikiri…

      Also, dat ending card.

      1. I liked that it was a one-hit thing, not all battles have to be the MC getting beaten, then getting a power up and winning. He just straight up overpowered her by putting all he had in one strike and it paid out.

  1. Fight scene times watched: 10+

    That was really good. I was really invested in his predicament and his reasons for betting his whole fight in 1 move, it just felt so right. Toka’s reasoning and decision to play into Ikki’s gambit felt really right too. Reminds me of Saber and Lancer’s chivalry…


  2. Rakudai was a pleasure to watch. Thank you Ikki for showing those loser MC-kuns how to have an actual relationship with a girl. So few shows deserve a season 2, hopefully this one is granted one. Cmon, if Shinmai can get a second season, surely this series can!

  3. https://randomc.net/image/Rakudai%20Kishi%20no%20Cavalry/Rakudai%20Kishi%20no%20Cavalry%20-%2012%20-%2027.jpg

    Ikki’s KO move on Touka was essentially a suicide move with a 50/50 success chance.
    The novels mention he was already weak, tired and feverish from his ordeal; what little food he’d been given was drugged. He knew he was in no shape to properly battle Touka. He HAD to take her out with the one super-move, or else all would be lost.

    Ikki’s ordeal may be based on real-life facts. Japan’s criminal justice system is infamous for relying on confessions for prosecution purposes, and duress and torture is commonly used to obtain them, like 23-day long detentions without charge, and sleep deprivation. http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21679472-suspects-japanese-police-cells-are-far-too-vulnerable-abuse-forced-confess

    I assume Rakudai’s author was using the above facts as his basis for Ikki’s ordeal, although perhaps his worldbuilding was not very well-established here. In fact, LN readers say the novel’s worldbuilding is one of the weakest.

    1. That is true, now that I think about it. The parts of the world that Ikki doesn’t go to basically don’t exist, and when he goes there or when they finally become important it kinda feels like they were made up on the fly. Even Stella’s country might as well be exactly like Japan for how little she needs to get used to. There’s basically no effort to expand the reader’s view of the world in itself, but most people accept that because if that’s the case, no one thinks the story will go beyond or outside Ikki becoming Sword King. “No outside elements needed” I guess…?

    2. to add to this, probably Touka would have won by dodging his initial attack, but she chose to engage him directly with her signature move, to both act honorably and test the true strength of the both techniques…
      on another note I find it bittersweet to see his Imouto teary-eyed yet smiling at that final kiss between Ikki and Stella…
      speaking of Stella, nice job smashing that sleazy douchebag who tried to keep you and Ikki apart!

  4. There’s enough material for a Season 2, but the 7-Star Games arc spans 6 volumes.
    To properly cover the whole arc at an ideal pace, it would need at least a split 2-cour season, similar to what Asterisk War’s getting.

    The question is whether Rakudai can rack up enough LN/Bluray sales and fan support to convince the producers and related parties to give it the abovementioned treatment. The worst case scenario is that only 1 cour is approved, which results in a super-rushed adaptation of the next tournament arc. Or an anime ending which is never resolved.

  5. Ikki: stella, I want to be proud when announcing our relationship

    A few week later, making touka become a corpse and propose right after it and recorded on international channel(poor touka, celebration before medic)

    Well so refreshing to see male protagonist that so “manly”

  6. While to be honest I didn’t actually like Ikki and Steall as characters, the technical aspect of the show deserves a lot of praise.

    They did a good job pacing the show, the visuals were distinctive, and they wrapped things up fairly well. I think more series could afford to have an overall solid adaptation like this.

    May not miss the show that much, but glad it was done well.

    1. Yes it’s really there on the LN, overall all the scenes in this episode is canon. If they want to pick a second season up, it will be seamless transition to the next volume LNs.

      1. They removed a bit of foreshadowing in Vol 3 for Vol 4. For example, Show Spoiler ▼

        Otherwise it doesn’t affect the current story’s pacing at all, and could be quickly addressed in a Season 2.

  7. I’m sorry, I know it’s just meant to add to the drama and maybe I’m simply getting too old for this (and I’m not that old), but seriously. NO ONE sees a dirty, bruised, disheveled, parched, broken teenager show up to school and CALLS THE POLICE? I mean what the hell? I just cannot get past the fact that it is apparently acceptable to torture children in this setting.

    The fact that they even pretend to draw attention to it by having the principal ask Akaza ‘what did they do to him?’ as though it wasn’t COMPLETELY OBVIOUS, and as though anyone in this setting was going to do anything about child torture when they’re clearly not, actually made me more annoyed.

    1. I feel the same. I was utterly disgusted with how every character treated this situation.

      Like Touka fighting an abused, half beaten, half dead man is something she can be proud of ….

      1. Touka says that she does not feel it is a fair fight but she has to do it because of knight’s honor or something. The real honor would have been to refuse to fight under those conditions.

        That is the main thing I dislike about the last 2 episodes the author stacked the deck against Ikki by making everyone else either cartoonaly evil or completely spineless.

      2. @magewolf: It’s a weak defense, but she does have her own goals and people supporting her. That’s all you can really say, alongside the thing where her as an opponent inspired Ikki.

        Yeah, both that and a swordsman’s pride in situations like this are things I’ve never understood. I guess you could say she knew she really couldn’t “win” here, so she chose to do this much on her own terms.

      3. @Magewolf

        (Touka) backing down means forfeiting the fight, which gives Ikki a free pass to enter the Seven Stars tournament. That’s about as logical as forfeiting an important badminton match because the other player is having a high fever or something.

        After all, she does not have the power to call for a postponement of the match.

      4. in the end Both agreed to attack with their strongest Attack. And both sides (well more Touka) let him charge this heavy attack. She could end this quick with an fast counterattack, but she choose to take him on. So in a way she “went easy” on him. gave an opening for this one strike

    2. This (Rakudai’s) is a world where two teens fighting each other with REAL SWORDS and gushing blood here and there considered acceptable (and maybe even fashionable), what’d you expect?

      OTOH, dirty, bruised, disheveled, parched, broken teenagers should be everyday occurrence in a school that, you know, entire purpose is to train in superpower fighting?

      1. This is idiotic. Combat sports are a real thing. Combat is a real thing. And just because we allow combat doesn’t somehow mean we allow torture. And obviously the people in the setting thought what was being done to him was wrong, that’s literally the whole point of the last two episodes.

        It’s not that they think torture is okay, that’s not what happened at all. It’s that apparently the government in this world has the right to torture children, and everyone knows it’s bad, but no one does or says anything about it.

    3. I’m sorry, these defenses are stupid (and I don’t know why everyone is focusing on Touka, she’s just a kid, what can she do?). The problem is HE WAS TORTURED, and he is clearly showing the after-effects of torture, and no one can do anything about it apparently. It pulled me right out of the situation.

      And as I said above, the fact that the teacher said something before the match made it stupider. She says something about how does he look like that, as though if they’ve done something wrong she’ll get angry. Which is idiotic because it’s completely obvious that they did something wrong and no one does anything.

      And she totally should have refused to fight. EVERYONE should have refused to fight. The school should have refused to fight, the teachers should have gone nuts, the police should have gotten involved. Again, the situation here, by going the way it did, basically turned the setting completely insane.

      I LIKED the episode, and the fight, and all that. But that was nuts.

      1. tl;dr–this is not our modern world, much less modern day America. If you can’t accept the circumstances, just remember that this is an alternate historical timeline where the feudal-era mindset of Japan prevailed due to being victors of the alternate World War. To view this thru modern eyes, like with any historical events and societies, is the one that’s silly.

      2. Again, that’s idiotic. You’re attempting to defend the torture when the show does not actually defend the torture. It would have actually made more sense IF the show had acted like it was okay, then all these inane defenses above about ‘it’s not our world’ and ‘this is a fighting school’ would actually make sense.

        That is not what happens. The show makes very clear that what is done to Ikki is wrong. The teachers call them on it. His friends make dramatic faces about it. The conclusion is the emperor putting a stop to it. No one is pretending ‘torturing teenagers is okay in our world’ It’s a logical break in the world and the writing designed to add to drama. Not only IS the world meant to be based on our world, but the episode ONLY WORKS if its meant to be based on our world. We’re supposed to be horrified at what is being done to Ikki. The problem is it’s not handled logically.

      3. It just goes to show how much influence the Kuroganes have that whatever underhanded and inhumane tactics and violation of law and order that they do, they’ll get a pass. It’s probably the main reason why the events in Volume 4 happened, which makes sense. Time to dismantle a dynasty but unfortunately, only to be replaced by a new one which could probably be more evil.

  8. Overall a better conversion than it was to be expected, of a lovely little show which offers one of the sweetest romances in the genre ever. Well done!

    I’d have been even happier if they had not taken out most of the Stella scenes. In fact, she has been stripped of her parts so much that to the pure anime viewer, she seems to have assumed the role of wish fulfillment trophy wife. Which annoys me, because in the original, she is not.

    To give an example for the final episode: In the LN, Stella oneshots her opponent for her final qualification match in 3 seconds and runs over in a desperate attempt to see and encourage Ikki _before_ he enters his fight. In the anime she’s merely waiting and waving her qualification medal in front of him. Yes, it’s only a detail, but an important connotation gets lost – AGAIN. And this happened all the time, in a frequency that I almost wonder if the scriptwriter had no clue about the characters or was consciously ordered to alter Stella’s role. I found this truly annoying.

    Nevertheless, a job well done overall!

    1. A detail that I loved in the LN! She was so much more frantic she actually set a record for shortest match because she HAD to see him, and was a lot more emotional when she did. That moment lost a lot of impact here. Like you said, Stella herself lost a lot of impact for the anime. She’s still amazing, but she’s supposed to be damn-near perfect. Maybe someone thought she was too perfect, but that’s a really flimsy reason to make even small changes to a character.

      1. I agree that it’s unfortunate how much they downplayed her (and gave a lot more screentime to shizuku) but I doubt it’s to make her less perfect. Since removing most of her scenes if anything made her more perfect because she basically did nothing other than be drop-dead gorgeous and supportive.

        If anything, I’d wonder if he we have a case of a creative staff/director with a fetish for sister types as opposed to the sexpot types and so they shifted stuff around.

      2. Veeery possible. I won’t say Shizuku wasn’t as important in the LN, but her incestuous antics got toned way-the-hell down a little after the Hunter fight. We didn’t get that here, so that could be why, or the sales/marketing department might’ve thought bringing the series closer to “harem” would up the interest. Newspaper-girl was around more often, too, so I’m leaning more to that idea. In which case all I can say is “wtf” >.<

      3. Whatever the answer is, it seems like the real through-line is that someone on the creative staff did not get the selling point of this LN series, which is the main couple above all else. That still came through because you would need to change more than they did in order to take away from that, but every change they made was basically to take something away from the main heroine (stella) and give it to others, which is strange and ridiculous.

  9. Silver Link is becoming one of my favorite studios over the past years. I really enjoyed this show every week even more then any show this season. Last show I enjoyed like this was Strike the Blood they both just hooked me the same way. Hope we get a 2nd season.

      1. While Silver Link gave us a lot of sasuga in the final episode of Rakudai, I cringed heavily on how A1 tried to use a different art style when Ayato had a power up in the last episode of Asterisk. Damn fugly 3D. They should have just sticked to their usual style which is an eye candy.

  10. Goes to show Silver Link is really great at stylistic fighting animations (Fate Kaleid Liner looks awesome). I might have a few gripes with how rushed it all felt and how cartoonlishly evil that fat guy was, but I still really loved this episode because it gave us a great heartwarming conclusion. Seeing the students and Stella support him was really great, and that epic 1 slash confrontation was cool to see. This show exceeded my expectations, and I’d definitely be on board for another season.

  11. And everyone important lived happily ever after!

    …Ok, fine, so the story is really just barely beginning, but come on, they’ve agreed to get married! Now they just need to finish overthrowing Ikki’s father, and Stella can go back home and eventually become Empress of Vermillion, and the two of them together can forge a globe-spanning empire and take over the world!

    …All right, that train of thought went somewhere I wasn’t expecting. Can I just squee and hug them because they’re such a cute couple who actually have the guts to keep developing their relationship rather than letting it sit at the status quo forever?

  12. Am I the only one who cracked a satisfied grin when the Vermillion Emperor himself was the one who called out Ikki’s dad for his BS?(at least that’s how I interpreted it) That was more memorable to me than Stella “homerunning” that dirty blob henchman, although that was funny and awesome too in itself.

  13. My goodness that End Card. <3 Stella.

    This was a surprisingly good show, especially for a light novel adaptation. I actually preferred all the Ikki x Stella stuff over the fights and action scenes. Felt like that was more of a vehicle for the relationship between the two.
    I really liked Stella and how honest of a character she was. Kind of refreshing.
    And I certainly wouldn't mind a 2nd season in the future!

    Thanks for blogging it, Takaii.

  14. I really enjoyed this show. Certainly better than the generic “harem” “magic-school” show you would expect. 8/10 Would watch again. Want a second season. Get on it Japan.

    Gouka Ryuu
  15. So given I was behind by a few weeks thanks to work, I decided to wait for the last episode of this and a couple of other shows to comment again. And at the end of it, my total impression of this show is… frustrating.

    This show has some very positive points. I don’t care much for fight scenes in general, but the ones in this show were undoubtedly gorgeous, if a bit too reliant on flashy special effects and stylistic cinematography. And speaking of cinematography, Silver Link definitely decided to try some of the old SHAFT-style experimentation in this show, contributing positively to the show’s overall distinctiveness. Individual arcs – okay, one in particular, Ayase and Kuraudo’s arc – were very well written. And the main character Ikki is a generally consistently written character with believable conflicts, doubts, and complexes, which saves him from becoming another Kirito.

    That last above is very fortunate for him, given that the entire show is basically about him. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it – Rakudai is the story of Ikki and frankly everyone else is window dressing, which the writing reflects very much. This isn’t exactly unusual for LNs, mind… except that in this one there is in fact a main pairing, a character that’s being sold as Ikki’s partner, and yet Stella, like just about every single other character, is basically a collection of one or two character tropes, except tacked onto the role of ‘Ikki’s waifu’. It’s not helped by the fact that she plays virtually no real significant role in the conflict resolution of any arc, except as Ikki’s ‘mental support’ – I’m informed that she had more fights in the LN, but from the descriptions I’ve read I’m not convinced any of those would have added up sufficiently. This of course goes for the entirety of the main cast as well – Shizuku’s entire character is basically about ‘love Ikki’ and ‘hate the rest of her family’, and Arisuin is ‘cryptic wise advisor’. And for as much as I liked Ayase and the lengths she was willing to go to, and Kuraudo being the only real antagonist in the show that wasn’t cartoon evil… a couple of side characters aren’t going to make up for the flatness of the rest of the cast.

    It’s also possible the above would have been less noticeable if the story had actually been sufficiently well written, but as good a character Ikki is, it felt like literally any time the show tried to touch his backstory it went into absurdist drama territory. I really liked the cinematography for episode 11, but the actual story being told was so bad Korean drama-style melodramatic I couldn’t take it seriously. If you need to write your whole society as, at best, dysfunctional and at worst schoolyard bullies just to victimize your main character, there’s something wrong with your writing – a mistake made by Lance N’ Masques this exact same season, and that one actually had more worldbuilding. The resolution in the finale was similarly melodramatic – I actually really liked Ikki’s doubts about the words said to him in the past as he ran, but the entire sequence where he needed to end up running in the first place and the JUMP-worthy ‘your nakama are here for you’ scene just felt like a complete maturity-level whiplash. The second half kind of rescued it, but ironically with Stella as flat a character as she is, I can honestly say that I was probably more invested in Kirito and Asuna, despite thoroughly disliking the former, than I ever was with Ikki and Stella.

    On balance, I have to say this show feels very uneven, and thus jarring. You have a very well written and strong main character, surrounded by trope cutouts. You have individual arcs that are subtle and explore multiple character facets, bookended by painful melodrama. You have often surprisingly mature thought and philosophy, immediately followed by puerile conflicts. You have a show that attempts very consciously to steer clear of typical LN conventions, but often does so in an extremely unsubtle and inorganic way, like a puppy wanting to be praised. If it was any worse I’d be able to write it off with scorn (like Comet Lucifer) or not write about it at all (like Lance N’ Masques); if it was better I’d be able to praise it for all the good points I outlined above. But it’s neither, and thus simply frustrating as a waste of potential.

  16. Me previous ep: After Ikki wins this thing he needs to propose to Stella (and start familiarizing himself with the paperwork he’ll need when he takes on Stella’s family name cuz F* Kurogane, get dat royal status with the Vamillion name!)

    This ep: *wins fight and proposes*

    Tbh I didn’t expect a proposal to actually happen after he won but how pleased I was it happened! I legit started this anime cuz of what I heard about the romance and it didn’t disappoint. Didn’t disappoint in any other area either, fights were great, well I could have done without the incest thing from his little sister but at least it was a clearly one sided and less emphasis was placed on it overtime. It was on a whim but i’m glad I picked this up, it was enjoyable. Will watch the 2nd season if its ever done.

    Ep star point: Stella unceremoniously knocking butterball joe out the park, gurl was like “Out da way fatso, gotta get to my man”)


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