「Heaven & Earth」
While a lot happened in other weeks, the finale easily took the cake. Kuschpercha spearheaded straight for the occupied city of Devancul, in an attempt to reclaim their capital and restore their sovereignty. Balls to the walls if you ask me, but what can be more entertaining than recklessly upping the ante?
Barring a technological gap that cannot be bridged, a well-defended fortress is nigh unassailable through a frontal assault. But the covert operation carried out by Dietrich and Nora ensured that the gates came down, allowing Kuschperchan troops to flow in. Although Gustavo put up an admirable last stand, he could only do so much before getting overwhelmed. While it could not have been done without Edgar’s heroic lockdown, Blast Howling secured the fatality.
With Kuschpercha winning the ground battle, all that remained was to determine who ruled the skies. We got a moment of great poetic beauty, as Ernesti and Horatio conversed through the souls of their creations. Maybe it’s just some cheesy Gundam throwback, and the context of Robots vs Levitate Ships was quite silly, but I really appreciated the homage. Anyway, in a battle for aerial control, the Vyvern definitely possessed raw power far exceeding the Ikaruga. However, it could not land a single attack. Ernesti simply used his superior speed to avoid every attack, and chip down the Vyvern from various angles, eventually winning the war of attrition even after the Blood Grail activated. Of course, our protagonist was never going to lose. That said, it’s a shame how such a close battle progressed into a complete curb stomp.
Doroteo still threw a wrench into the works by trying to kamikaze Eleonara with his dying breath. Things looked dire, but Kid stepped up to the occasion magnificently, riding out the Centauri and successfully ending the Vyvern once and for all. The Grand Western Storm drew to a close, as Eleonara became the newly coronated Queen, culminating in the restoration of Kuschpercha.
Take these words from someone who usually dislikes mecha anime. I really enjoyed Knight’s & Magic, because the show was so much fun, and never took itself too seriously. In my final impressions, I will go into detail on certain parts of production, that I felt were worth discussing.
Although I came for the isekai, Ernesti’s characterisation deserves a lot of praise. It’s rare that we get a protagonist who is entirely defined by their interest, and Ernesti’s eccentric obsession with robots makes him a unique nutcase. His enthusiasm was infectious too, and I couldn’t help but feel really excited every time he went on his crazy spiels. Even though Ernesti took the spotlight, every other character played their part, and had their moments to shine as well. In fact, if you think about it, all the other male and female characters could very well have been protagonists in another mecha show. A representation of conventional archetypes came together under a singular banner, in the name of robo justice.
I bet many people were expecting Ernesti to amass a harem. Instead, we got so many unique pairings, that a fleet could be created from the amount of shipping to be had! For example, Edgar vowing to reclaim Helvi’s Trandorkiss, Kid promising to protect Eleonora as her knight, Isadora and Rys-nii, the list simply goes on. And was there some hints at a budding romance between Dietrich and Nora? I certainly hope so. The more the merrier!
Practically or aesthetically, I wouldn’t say the mecha designs were groundbreaking. However, seeing Eru go hands on in researching and developing his Silhouette Knight ended up being a whole load of fun. Though the anime took less of a focus on the engineering aspect, there was enough so that we had a pretty good idea of how things worked.
While the CG action scenes were not the best I’ve ever seen, they were pretty damn good if we go by the industry standard. Any fight involving Gustavo particularly stood out, as they always contained an epic flurry of blades. Watching Ikaruga blaze through the skies was also joyful. On a side note, Blast Howling never failed to leave me in stitches of laughter, with its corny delivery and high quality Engrish.
I would not deny that Knight’s & Magic had various shortcomings. One character never achieved much, and that was Addy. Without the arc where Eru rescued Addy from kidnappers, her obsession with him seems totally one dimensional. Though the adaptation managed to fit everything by a hair, which deserves credit, it was unfortunate to see her suffer the most from cuts made by production.
While I have heard that events wildly depart from the novel, my inner adaptation purist begrudgingly concedes 8bit did an impressive job wrapping up on their own terms. People may be skeptical of how the finale was dramatically overdone, but it kept to the source material’s spirit.
Many people complained about pacing, and rightfully so. But I think 8bit really did the best they could. Their task of adapting a decade’s worth of time into 13 episodes is… no joke. Things went by way too fast, but at least the story ended in a great spot.
And with that, our adventure is finally over. The evil empire is vanquished, and Ernesti’s reward for all his trouble is an exclusive Silhouette Knight Laboratory, giving him freedom to create the greatest mechs to his heart’s content. I’m a little sad that we don’t get to see more beyond this point, but rest happy in the knowledge that our trap mecha otaku lives in his personal paradise. I wish you well Ernesti Echavelier, and hope you live out a happy life on the other side!