「New & Old」
What’s this, Pancakes covering K&M? The one and only boys and girls. If you’re not aware Zaiden is off spelunking through the wilderness of Japan for two weeks, so I’m here doing coverage duty while he enjoys himself. Thoroughly. Alright teasing aside, I cannot complain too much, particularly when K&M picked a good place for me to intervene. Prototype mecha battles, discussions of advancement versus refinement, hint towards an actual plot? Why yes I think I’ll take it.
It’s been obvious from the beginning, but where K&M’s strength resides is in its engineering, and I don’t mean figuratively. It’s a weird idea to wrap your head around if you lack the itch, but K&M, ignoring the mecha theme, is an engineer’s unabashed wet dream. Concept, development, testing, refinement, all are featured to some degree or another, although until now we’ve largely seen the concept and development angle. Tzendolg and the thrusters on Toybox (great name) for example are radical departures from previous Silhouette Knight design, the sort of thing that redefines boundaries. For all the wow factor though, these designs, as shown, aren’t all that perfect. While all host of mecha shows liking showing the efficacy of one off wonder weapons, the true success is found in the less known—and infinitely more important—realm of gradual improvement and simplification. Colour me surprised then K&M explored this angle a bit with the discussion of Ernesti’s “diamonds in the rough” and the Lab’s new “rationalization” role, but hell, I won’t turn my nose up at it. After all, when you get to figure out how to reduce costs in distillation processes, anything to validate that career choice is definitely welcome 😛
While usually boring, what probably keeps K&M’s narrative approach interesting is a combination of speed and positivity. Jargoned technobabble is kept to a minimum, otherwise “boring” details never overtly focused on, and the whole thing is patched over with the always appropriate action response. The initial fight this week was case in point, featuring all of Ernesti’s important developments and his methodological differences with the Lab while providing us with arguably K&M’s best choreographed fight thus far. Don’t like the nitty gritty of four legged designs? Here just watch it run over the competition. Literally. Makes it all the better too Ernesti quickly befriends our thoroughly crazy Lab leader out of mutual love for mecha designs. I might have concerns with Ernesti’s wish fulfillment function, but the utter lack of pompous superiority on his part easily improves his base character. Doesn’t hurt Ernesti’s enthusiasm appears to be rubbing off on others either, if that (ex) king and grandson sparring match is anything to go by. K&M may be a one trick pony, but it certainly knows how to make the most out of its mecha porn.
Next week, however, looks like we may she shifting gears slightly as some tasty foreshadowing points towards a return of the demon beasts. Coupled with remarks about sending Ernesti to the Village (whatever that means) and it looks like K&M may be gearing up for an actual story arc. Anything is certainly possible, but at the bare minimum you can bet it will involve another radical mecha design. Anything else at this point would be a letdown.
The prince knows his stuff. The most important things in a mech is Power, POWER and MORE POWER!
The only thing missing is (in Darth Sidious voice) UNLIMITED POWER!
Joking aside, I’m glad to see K&M blazing through the novels. Truth be told, the novels have a lot exposition in terms of fantasy mecha construction. It’s good in novel format, but horrible when adapted into anime.
Props to the director for throwing out a lot of the technical jargon and just went straight for the important bits.
I think the anime’s speed is due to the staff only getting 1 season of episodes, with the aim of adapting up to Vol 5, which provides the best stopping point. (Anime is still in Vol 3 ATM).
Most of the criticism is from LN readers, who feel the speed and resulting technojargon cuts diminish the main engineering/R&D appeal of the source.
That said, some readers feel the anime is doing justice to the battle segments of the LNs.
Personally I don’t mind the changes; the books could get a bit heavy on the techno exposition. It’s like reading a lighter version of Mahouka’s dense magitech lore.
The intelligent adapting and speed is what’s keeping this show on the right side of entertaining. I personally love all the technobabble in these cases, but even for engineers it’s not the sort of thing which makes for good storytelling. You want details, you read the appendix, that’s what it’s there for 😛
Ernesti’s designs exemplify the “Flawed Prototype” and “Awesome but Impractical” tropes: the jet thrusters are cool and all, but the fuel consumption is atrocious.
The Tzendolg’s lack of weapons aside from the lance is a bit disappointing– I was expecting ranged weapons and/or backup close-combat weapons. Despite that, Kid and Addy managed to take down two knights.
Their victories come from unconventional tactics made possible by their eccentric machines. When fighting a more conventional battle, the more experienced knights fought evenly with Edgar and Dietrich until the Telestales ran out of power.
Man the elf elder sounds quite old O_O! Loli Baba
I noticed they switched up some things here vs the LN. Mostly Guair doesn’t get the smaller Magius thrusters till later after the match (Di wanting a set of his own after seeing it work with Toybox) and Earlcumber getting the Lightning Flail that should have been installed in Guair.
Also the Shield arms is a bit weird on Earlcumber, from what I understood from the LN I always though that the Flexible Coat were smaller shield arms that deflected blows that got past the shield.
Definitely agree that the faster pacing is good for the anime, although one thing I would’ve liked to see fleshed out a little further was how the thrusters got refined enough to make it onto the Toybox for the test match. Given that the last we saw of the thrusters was Ernesti almost killing himself with them, it was a bit of a large jump to suddenly have them only suffering from the fuel efficiency issue that usually plagues Ernesti’s designs.
Yeah it definitely would have been nice. For example probably could have replaced the mention of reducing Tzendolg’s crew to one with a quick blurb on the thruster design. Only the latter was important for this episode, the former probably won’t factor in until later.
oh damn i love this episode… too many mecha stuffs that i get a boner. that moment when ernesti flaunt his “jet thrusters” and audience reaction, that’s so much win. anyway, has the king i mean previous king already permitted ernesti to learn the secret of making the ether reactor? i think if ernesti can learn how to make one will solve the fast mana draining problem. — unlimited flight time and magic artillery please?
I’m getting a Vision of Escaflowne vibe that the Ether Reactors may, in fact, be made from the surgically-removed hearts of demon beasts. Right now Ether Reactors are a “black box” and governmental essential secret.
Much like all mecha designs (revamped Transformers notwithstanding) are built around the same protected cockpit center.
Now that would be interesting. Lots of options for plot development based on it, plus it throws a huge wrench into Ernesti’s design miracle working. If the reactors cannot be tuned/improved due to their origins, how will he continue building on his mecha designs? Damn now I’m wanting that to be the explanation, so much room for engineering goodness XD
I really appreciated how this episode doesn’t just give Ernesti the status of unquestionable Mecha God. Yes, he comes forward with some impressive designs but they have some limits and the labs more conservative and pragmatic approach may be more plausible. And this is just a sticking point that I’m glad Knights and Magic avoided but I’m glad the students aren’t just all unbeatable Mecha aces. They’re good but not wiping the floor with seasoned pilots.
Official 1-panel gag manga of each episode.
Scanlations of the mangas for Eps 1-6 (it’s their 1st time scanlating).
It’s the “but” factor that helps ground his acheivements more, I think. Too many authors forego this in favour of making the MC and their contributions as amazing and awesome as possible, to the point it starts straining audience acceptance to the point of logical rejection.
One particular offender that comes to mind is Tatsuya Shiba of Mahouka, who’s not only a powerful mage, but a genius magic engineer (Taurus Silver) and brutally efficient soldier as well.
That is very true. I really liked the series but as more of his activities came to light Tatsuya Shine became ridiculous. I think for the final episode this blog dubbed him Japanese Magical Jesus.
Mahouka is probably the best example of how to do this type of story wrong. You need the genius to have some form of weakness which can be taken advantage of. Ernesti arguably has it as shown this week, while Magical Jesus had none. Sure he lacked magic capability, but lo and behold some other “magic” that oh so conveniently overcomes that limitation.
Then there’s the super serious angle Mahouka had that only added insult to injury. K&M is nice because it knows exactly what it is (wish fulfillment, mecha porn), and embraces it fully.
Agreed completely, I’ve been labelling the kid a Gary Stu tongue in cheek for a while now, but this episode shows he does have weaknesses. His designs may be amazing, but they are (as perfectly described) diamonds in the rough in need of fine tuning.
Ironically this problem exists in real life too. Most genius scientists couldn’t create a simple design of their wild ideas to save their lives, while most engineers couldn’t come up with a radically new concept without first involving hard drugs and a few crazy days out. They’re two sides of the same coin, each reliant on the other for maximum success.
Haha I’m almost hoping the mecha-name will be kinkaku and ginkaku
Can we get Shouji Kawamori to twitch even further the SK’s? I mean, Toybox is litterally a Gundam RX-78GP01Fb painted in blue! Kudos for Ern to have build a Full Burnern in his past life!
I was laughing in the Gold and Silver duel, as it seems more like a sketch from The Grand Tour’s Jeremy Clarkson vs his former (and younger) self. (POWER!!!)
Excuse me! Prodigy at work here. I get one bolt out of place, and this thing falls apart like a jigsaw puzzle. Come back later.
…but since you’re asking me to build TWO robots, I can figure out how to get that one bolt back in place later.
I was hoping that the former king and his grandson would have another go with the new SK’s
I was actually expecting that after Ernesti said they were the same underneath the armour. Probably would’ve have run into problems over who’d spar in the gold one though 😛
The LNs state Fremevilla’s rulers traditionally abdicate once they reach old age. This is to ensure leaders of sound mind and body unburdened by old age and related health.
Emrys is described as being like Ambrosius in his youth. Like grandpa, like grandson. :p
Official 1-panel gag manga of each episode.
Scanlations of the mangas for Eps 1-6 (it’s their 1st time scanlating).
Imagine Ernesti would invent these Foot wheels like in “All hail Britania!!” Anime 🙂
I think he skipped wheels in favor of thrusters and boosters.
Knights will have 13 eps, according to Knights’s JP wiki on the anime Bluray release.
Vol 1 = Ep 1-4,
Vol 2 = Ep 5-8,
Vol 3 = Ep 9-13.