OP Sequence

OP: 「飛竜の騎士」 (Hiryou no Kishi) by TRUE

「朱の戦姫」 (Shu no Senhime)
“The Crimson War Princess”

This season’s standard magical-fantasy-action-harem anime. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. So, how does it rank?

Where Are You In Your Magical-Fantasy-Action-Harem Career?

I need to issue a disclaimer. The magical-fantasy-action-harem genre is one of the most popular in anime, and it’s the genre whose tropes are the most codified. It’s not bad by any means, but it is a field frequently plowed, which means that viewers can quickly grow familiar with or tired of the usual tropes. Whether this series will for you will depend on three factors: 1) How many magical-fantasy-action-harem series you’ve seen (i.e. where you are in your magical-fantasy-action-harem “career”), 2) Your tolerance for highly tropey stories, and 3) How good this series is.

I’m going to try to speak to viewers on varying degrees of this scale. Hopefully I’ll be able to zero in on your unique experience level/tolerance/quality requirements. So while I (personally) have seen many series and have a pretty good trope tolerance (but not much free time to indulge it), I won’t just be speaking from there. Though when in doubt, that’s my starting point.

The Basics Are All Here

This series has all the usual suspects. There’s the main male character who’s somehow special, and more powerful than he first appears. He meets the tsundere female lead through some kind of sexy mishap, and is unjustly labeled a pervert. There’s an all-female school for flimsy reasons, and he must join it because shut up, harem. He proves himself through some impressive feat in combat, and either wows the girls, or at least gets them to tolerate him for a while. Oh, and he has an imouto, and his harem of cute girls is already growing.

If you’re someone who demands only the most unique of offerings, this isn’t looking like it. It reminds me of Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance by way of Infinite Stratos, or perhaps Blade Dance and Seikoku no Dragonar, though I only watched a few episodes of the latter. But I liked Blade Dance, and I liked Infinite Stratos before it went off the rails into shitsville in the second season. So if all the basics are there, how does it execute on them, and what’s there that is unique?

Respectable Execution, Bright Spots

I didn’t go in expecting much since the premise reeked of business as usual, so perhaps low expectations aided my impression. (That’s one reason I always suggest keeping low-ish expectations, though not to the point of cynicism.) But I was pleasantly surprised with the episode. Not shocked by how good it was, but I enjoyed it on the balance. It hit all the right beats without seeming rushed, and there were bright spots enough to make me not dismiss it as the most generic of the generic. I’ll remind you as I reminded myself—Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry had a wonky-ass premise that promised mediocrity, but it actually defied its tropes or used them to its advantage.

Here, there’s some of that. Former Prince Lux Arcadia (Tamura Mutsumi) is neither obviously uber strong, overly lucky, or arrogant. He’s self-effacing and has enough self-awareness to bemoan when it looks like he’s going to die, his imouto’s unwavering faith in him notwithstanding. (Related: I want Ozawa Ari to call me nii-san.) And First Princess Lisesharte “Lisha” Atismata (Lynn), while initially full-tsun, eventually decides to believe he didn’t mean to peek after seeing what kind of person he is for herself, and turns if not full-dere, at least open to him as a classmate and a friend. (Though the full dere isn’t far away.) The world also isn’t too overly full of obnoxious jargon. Granted, every time I hear someone say Drag-Knight I twitch a little—it sounds like some kind of drag racer to me—but then I remember the Logicalists of Luck and Logic, and all is well. After that show (which I enjoyed too), other jargon gripes just seem so petty.

Verdict: To Watch, Or Not To Watch

If you’re early in your magical-fantasy-action-harem journey, this looks like a safe one to watch. The first episode was slightly above average—not enough to shock (in a good way), but enough to make for a pleasant watch. Some manner of trope tolerance is required though, because they’re rife throughout. If you think too much about some of the shifty logic—why are male Drag-Knights so rare? The headmaster’s excuse didn’t make sense to me—it’s going to get to you, so if that thing annoys you, approach with care.

As for where it will end up, quality-wise … well, fuck if I know. I lean toward putting it in Blade Dance territory for now, not up there with DanMachi or Rakudai … but I wouldn’t have put DanMachi that high after the first episode either, otherwise I woulda blogged it. (Well, schedule matters aside.) (Rakudai I did, mostly because Takkun raved about it.) I could see it exceeding a middle-of-the-road (but likable) magical-fantasy-action-harem series like Blade Dance, but whether it will or not will come later.

Personally, I don’t know whether I’ll be watching this. And it’s not because I didn’t find it enjoyable, though not adding another show onto my 20+ show watch list would certainly be nice, ’cause I got shitz to do, yo. No, it’s because of a pattern in magical-fantasy-action-harem light novel adaptations that’s begun to get to me far more than any trope.

This show is currently slated for twelve episodes. I expect it to get that one season, and for that to be it. These adaptations are made to advertise the LNs, and once that’s done, there’s no reason to make another season. Only the magical-fantasy-action-harem ecchi shows occasionally get sequels, because T&A sells enough DVD/BDs to make them worth the studio’s while. But I’m getting tired of growing fond of characters, and then being left in the lurch as their stories stop partway. Sure, I could go pick up the LNs, but most LN writing is crap—sorry, it’s true. It’s inherent to the style, and to a book lover/novelist like me, it feels alternately like cheating or nails on a chalkboard. And never finding out how the stories end gets old after a while.

While I sort through my feelings on that, what did you think of this episode? It doesn’t seem a likely candidate for blogging at the moment, but then again, I would have said the same thing about Gakusen Toshi Asterisk. Tell me what you think, and LN/manga readers, mark and tag your spoilers—though feel free to give your general opinions on the series, and whether you think this adaptation will be any good.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – This season’s standard magical-fantasy-action-harem show has a respectable first episode. Seems well adapted so far #saijaku 01

Random thoughts:

  • What’s with the fascination with Bahamut all of the sudden? Though, I was going to say this was the third anime in recent time to talk about a dragon named Bahamut, but I can’t remember what the second one was (first was obviously Shingeki no Bahamut: GENESIS). Can anyone figure out what I was thinking of? I don’t think it was in the title, but it was recent.
  • I forgot to mention, but Lux’s voice? So girly. It’s like the first time you hear Yuuki Rito, or Japanese VA Goku. Jarring.
  • I like that Lux has two swords, but doesn’t dual wield (yet?). I have a soft spot for dual wielding, ’cause it’s cool, but it should be treated as difficult and unusual (and potentially detrimental) as it is. But I love when it’s done well (Ex: Arslan Senki), and if he’s the only one who ever does it, that’s cool with me.
  • Another similarity with Blade Dance: A bunch of new (and I assume cheap) seiyuu. (Ozawa Ari and Taneda Risa excepted.) Though the ones we’ve heard so far are better than Blade Dance’s bunch.
  • Do you like thigh-highs or pantyhose? Then I have the anime for you! (Also: Blade Dance again.)
  • I like that they’re not moralizing with these two empires so far. Well, they referred to the old one as tyrannical, but the new one might be too. It’s still an empire, after all. But Lux and Airi Arcadia (Ozawa Ari) are considered criminals (and debtors) even though they’re kids, so the new empire ain’t all saints to be sure.
  • Probably my biggest gripe about the episode: How damn convenient it was that the gargoyle interrupted their match. Or how it seemed like Lux would win because she tired herself out a minute before. Don’t get lazy in episode one, Bahamut Chronicle.
  • They really like those split screens, don’t they?
  • Suggestive hand placement!

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: $%&@* cuss words, Stephen, what is best in life?, It depends, and Momentum & mental space.

Full-length images: 38.


  1. Wouldn’t call this episode bad or anything like that. Just one thing that bothers me; why would the pilots’ arms be outside the mechs’ upper limbs and not inside them, making them look like some alien abominations? Why, just why?

    1. I swear to god if I have to watch one more show where the MC is labeled the weakest when he’s acutally OP…

      That shit is retarded, what happened to MCs going through growth to work their way up…….

      this trending op weakest mc crap is bull shit

  2. This is cliche beyond cliche… but then again so was Asterisk and Cavalry and both did well to exceed my relatively low expectations.

    The thing that makes me want to throw the damn thing down my Not-Watch pile is the main protagonist. The voice is girlishly annoying. His attitude reminds me of the kind wimpy incompetent worthless main protagonists that was popular back in the 90s.

    Ofcourse, our new MC is skilled and all, but his general attitude makes me want to shove some balls right up his ass so he can finally grow a pair.

    Now that I think about it, the gripe I had with Asterisk was also due to the MC. The show was able make up for the MC’s bland worthless personality.

    For My personal Verdict, I place Bahamut as “A piece of money-sink crap that I’ll watch in the off chance that it surprises me”

  3. So, if you use a “Sword Device” to summon a Drag-Ride, that probably means Lux has 2 different Drag-Rides. The other sword is black, and well “black sword” usually means something along the lines of overpowered so it’s probably something similar to Tiamat. Or maybe I’ve just watched too many “Magical-Fantasy-Action-Harem” shows…

    1. The other sword summons the Bahamut Drag-Ride. That was clearly foreshadowed in the flashback scene.

      I mean, you’re right, but it’s also apparently plot-important enough to be in the title and to be foreshadowed in the first episode. At least they didn’t treat us like we wouldn’t notice it.

      1. yeah, but it is the Girl that holds the Sword. And how it ends getting in his hands? Looks like he has also an older Brother (the real dark knight?) from the introduction and his flashback

        Also the Crest on her, was she about to married into his family? the dark knight just “save” her from this fate?

    2. ye all these years I been following randomc on these shows, this formula for this genre is way too over used and over time you just get pretty damn sick of it. I just want a MC that isnt a god damn wimp or some overpowered jesus hiding his strength like cmon stop that bull shit let’s move on to the next type…

      1. I thought the guy from Rakudai was a fairly good aversion of that trope. TECHNICALLY, he was a both a wimp AND an OP Jesus hiding his strength, but in reality he was neither. He was quite open and relatively confident about his own capabilities which, while impressive, weren’t godlike, it was simply that everyone around him judged him without knowing him.

        That said I agree completely, the MCs of this genre are even worse in terms of all being the same than the various haremettes (and they’re pretty bad).

  4. Jut once-once!-I want a show where the unlucky MC isn’t automatically labelled a pervert for an accident because the women can’t possibly consider that they were wrong. For someone to check his story and see that he was telling the truth without the stupid “we must battle to understand!” Being the “Chore Prince” kinda forced him to chase the cat into a bad location instead of the typical “I’m too dumb to watch my surroundings”, but that got cut. Any of that would’ve helped this episode a lot, since aside from the principal, every other girl came off way too blood-thirsty, with Lisha borderline insane. Maybe not the sister, but they also did a poor job portraying her as kuudere and instead she came off as just plain selfish.

    Oh well, give it another episode to see if they can level-off since the source material is good.

      1. I mean, it’s there, but it’s so shallow in the first scene you’d have a hard time seeing it without thinking “okay, little sister character; what kind of -dere is this one?” The dual was a bit better.

        I also don’t like her much to begin with, so that doesn’t help. She’s like a much less understanding Mikan (To-Love Ru).

  5. That makes two of us Stilts wondering on the scarcity of male Drag-Knights. I guess what the headmaster meant by miscalculation during the uprising 5 years ago was the Black Hero nearly wiped out all the males so only girls are left to become Drag-Knights.

      1. Apparently there are many others, I think most of this settings military is actually male, I think this should be thing around episodes 3 to 6? then again I’m mostly speaking from what I have heard

      2. If there are other make Drag-Knights(which there probably are somewhere), why is he the only guy at this school? Why would the principal try to enroll him there when it’s all girls, or rather, why is it all girls there? He can’t be the only guy left that isn’t older enough to graduate or something else like that.

        It’s all just way too convenient and smacks of the author saying “because Harem.”

      3. And that was cut in anime…
        Show Spoiler ▼

      4. I advise not thinking about it too much. Like the reasons why everyone hasn’t shagged in Shinmai or DxD, there may be in-story justifications, but they all basically boil down to, as Aex says, “because harem.” Some stories do them slightly better (Infinite Stratos is okay with this), but here it’s just a flagrant excuse. Just shrugging and ignoring it is part of the price of admission.

      5. This is due to …
        Show Spoiler ▼

    1. The ONLY reason I’m watching this is anime is because of the fact that Kasuga Ayumu drew the art for the original LN. It is a completely unrelated note, but meh.

      Too bad the author of Twintails didn’t write this, because THAT would be interesting.

      Goodwill Wright
  6. >Probably my biggest gripe about the episode: How damn convenient it was that the gargoyle interrupted their match.
    Not sure if this is real spoiler since it was in this episode, but… Show Spoiler ▼

    I really like this LN. It have generic start, but later on it become much better.
    As for this episode, it’s good first ep, and it didn’t butchered source material too much (there were few cuts) but was overall it was ok. Also, opening showed Yoruka, so I can’t wait for shipping wars between her and Krulcifer – and only peaceful solution in this is threesome.

    1. I didn’t miss the flute scene. I even included a screencap of it. But the problem almost certainly remains.

      I wanted Lux to win (or lose, or tie) by his own abilities (like Ikki in Rakudai did), not have something interrupt them at a convenient time. Now, if he actually orchestrated the attack, then it makes sense—but that puts a whole new dark spin on his character. And if someone’s stalking him to help him along in twisted ways, like some kind of stalker monkey paw, that’s okay, in which case I’ll retroactively (if I watch more) reverse my opinion. But as is, the moment someone (for their own reasons, I assume) decided to interrupt the match feels convenient. They’ll need to give reasoning later on for me to change my mind.

      1. Well the flute player is obviously the same guy with whom he talked about the swords. Given his reaction, he has an unwelcome sponsor. So it’s likely that “someone’s stalking him to help him along in twisted ways”.

  7. I”m glad I’m not the only one who thinks the main character’s voice sounds girly.
    I don’t think Lux will actually be “dual wielding” because by the looks of it the swords transforms into the mech? mech-armor? or w/e, so I don’t think they will actually have any sword fighting because it wasn’t meant to be used that way (like why use the sword if you can just transform into a mech-armor?). Then why have swords at all in the first place? because they’re cool? YUP!!

    Lux is the known as “The Weakest Undefeated”. I thought he was going to be another Kurogane Ikki, but then I later learn he just ties in battle, so he doesn’t win, but he doesn’t actually lose either….

    Well w/e, I agree this is show is definitely…. alright.
    (wait Lux is the prince of the old empire? Don’t they usually kill them?)

  8. Yo Stilts, think you can go a single article without mentioning how you’re a novelist now and how that means your tastes are so much more rareified? Cause that’s fast becoming a hallmark trope, and not in a good way.

    1. All things considered though, if you haven’t been following RandomC, or Stilts in particular, the reader wouldn’t know that piece of background. We as followers may hear it a lot, but not new readers. Plus this is the first blog post of the first episode of a season, so I think it is justified.

      Goodwill Wright
    2. @Rokky

      No, I cannot : )

      I mean, I already don’t mention it most of the time, the static blurbs at the bottom of my posts notwithstanding. There are many posts where it isn’t relevant, so I don’t mention it. It just annoys you, so you’re conflating something I do once in a while by saying I do it all the time. In eight posts in the past week, I’ve done it once! That doesn’t seem like all the time to me.

      But that aside, if someone’s a football coach and they’re talking about football, you expect them to reference their own experience occasionally. It’s part of what makes them worth listening to. I’m a storyteller talking about stories. It’s often relevant because when I speak to something about writing or storytelling, I’m not talking out of my ass. I’m not an armchair quarterback. I’VE DONE IT. And though some people might not think my first book was any good—which is fine, that doesn’t bother me—I learned a lot writing it and the next one.

      When I did electronics sales, I mentioned it in posts whenever it was relevant. Just like Cherrie references her foodie tendencies, or Samu his background in animation, etc. It just turns out that electronic sales isn’t relevant to anime all that often, whereas the art of storytelling is relevant ALL THE TIME.

  9. I thought this was straight down the middle of the genre in all aspects except perhaps above average execution. Lots of similarities with its ilk including super nice ML….who is the “worst weakest undefeated”. At least there’s the “undefeated” part, but still, you’re not fooling anyone, light novel. Yeah, he almost tied or whatever, but then again he had the crappy generic “drag-ride” (jargon in this show isn’t the best IMO) and holds his own against the hax/op “divine drag-ride”. Guess he forgot to channel his inner Inaho. 😛

    Honestly not a fan of the seemingly requisite and ubiquitous ecchi misunderstanding where harem candidate #1 refuses to listen to reason, and must pummel (some go as far as say kill) the super nice guy ML to regain her “honor” only to do a whiplash, instant 180 in attitude when she’s defeated/saved/whatever. Watched worse in that regard, but Lisha’s change in attitude still struck me as excessive in terms of degree (along with very by-the-LN(book)). Agree, battle interruptus wasn’t the most satisfying thing to watch along with a sense of deja vu (seen that before). Still, not sure how much better having ML win (or tie) would be since that’s simply as expected.

    Overall, this wasn’t bad, but IMO it did not distinguish itself either. To be fair, I’d say the same for last season’s offerings of the genre after the first episode except probably Gakuen 35 because that had a darker vibe and I liked the setting/world (that show did have its issues though, including pacing). There’s no “hook” for me right now with this (whether plot, setting or characters), but since I still like the genre (even if the same ‘ol is getting a bit weary) I’ll probably give it another couple episodes/3 Episode Rule.



    Not sure if you’re asking for blogging suggestions or not. My view is blog what you want. That being said, I do suggest that you take a look at Hai to Gensou no Grimgar if you haven’t already. Right or wrong, that struck me as a “Stilts type show” (and it’s not even that ecchi! :P). I thought the first episode was a mixed bag (mostly positive), but I did find the premise of “normal” RL people going to fantasy world (really RPG world) as themselves rather than their characters in a game interesting. Something to consider perhaps (but no guarantees of course how well it turns out).

    1. I still need to watch the first ep of that, but it doesn’t look like Samucchi will release hi death grip on it. It’s lookin’ like it’ll get blogged either way.

      I’ll definitely have to get to it soon if it’s a Stilts show, though!

  10. “What’s with the fascination with Bahamut all of the sudden? Though, I was going to say this was the third anime in recent time to talk about a dragon named Bahamut, but I can’t remember what the second one was (first was obviously Shingeki no Bahamut: GENESIS). Can anyone figure out what I was thinking of? I don’t think it was in the title, but it was recent.”

    A lot of writers probably grew up playing Final Fantasy. We have a bunch Leviathan as well.

  11. Stilts brings up a fascinating point regarding this genre that I find weird. As he say, it’s one of the most popular genres out there right now, with tons of copycats every season, and yet, it’s also one of the ones the studios care about the least.

    As stated, it’s just for advertising the LNs and they rarely if ever end. So there’s this weird dichotomy where they just crap these out, market them like crazy in Japan (seriously, it’s nuts) then drop them like a bad habit after 12 episodes and never mention them again. It’s very strange.

    1. Oh, I was never saying that part was strange. It makes perfect sense.

      With advertising, the first big push is where you stand to gain the most, because the least amount of people know about you. That means there’s less chance of you advertising to someone who’s already a customer. Plus, you’re liable to retain some of those customers even when you stop advertising. If an LN series gets a boost from 3,000 copies sold monthly to 10,000 sold monthly when an anime comes out, they’re liable to go down to 6-7,000 monthly after the anime has been off the air for a few seasons. So if you make another anime, there’s less potential upside, because you already captured a bunch of the upside and sequels don’t usually do as well as their predecessors.

      Of course, there are reasons to run traditional advertisements over time. Advertising to existing customers, even if you’re targeting new customers, isn’t always bad, for reasons I won’t get into. But anime series, even one-cour ones, are REALLY EXPENSIVE advertisements. Does it make financial sense to try to boost Series A (which already had an anime) from 7,000/mo back to 10,000/mo, or boost Series B (which hasn’t had an anime) from 3,000/mo to 10,000/mo? There’s more to gain with the latter. And even if my numbers aren’t even usefully wrong, people often like to bet on something that has a good chance of not losing money, and a possible chance of becoming the next cash cow, as opposed to the relatively predictable profit potential of a sequel.

      Unless the advertisement pays for itself. Which in this case means people buy a lot of the BD/DVDs.

      It makes sense. It’s just a bullshit cutthroat corporate logic, and even though I understand it, I don’t have to like it. I’m getting tired of being advertised to when I’m never going to buy (a manga series, sure, but an LN series, almost certainly not).

  12. I was only vaguely considering checking this out until I skipped this post and saw you compare it favorably to Infinite Stratos so thanks for helping me find another good anime to pick up.

    That said I’d probably put this as the superior first episode between the two. Not counting production values (because I know nothing about those and comparing the two wouldn’t be as fair because Bahamut is more recent) it does a better job at explaining the world even if it doesn’t go into too much detail about the Drag-Knight’s and their Mechanical Dragons.

    It’ll take me awhile to memorize everyone’s names though so far I like the brunette the most though everyone is still likable and the show seems to be pushing for Lux x Lisha.

    Speaking of which that opening scene combined with that crest on Lisha’s bodies leads me to an interesting theory. Spoilering for incase I turn out to be right:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Stilts edit: Your spoiler tags didn’t show up, so I added them. Spoiler tags are opened with < spoiler > and closed with < / spoiler >, without any of the spaces.

  13. I like the show so far, things are very well balanced and it started with some strong lines. Lux is a formable fighter but not total op. Pacing is nice too and they spend some effort to make the fight interesting. Seems like this shows get it right.

  14. Ep 02:

    Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle

    Yes, even if you are an heavy inpiration of Infinity Stratos #1, i like you. Perhaps you have the Bonus of Infinity Stratos. But this do not change that i only need 2 Episodes to choose you on my “I watch this!” List

    i love the Path of this Anime.

    Just the Show Spoiler ▼

    Part 2 of 3

    Passed with “Super Green” light, this Anime is on my Watchlist

  15. Why the name “Bahamut” is so popular among Dragons? Blame Final Fantasy for that. Bahamut there was the strongest Summon Spirit there, stronger then Ifrit, Undine and others. Bahamut was the King of Dragons

    And these Mecha Suits have “dragons” in their name.. so.. easy guess


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