Summary: Tsubasa Kurata was a programming genius with a major love of all things mecha, until he was hit by a car and killed. Reincarnated into a new world as Ernesti Echevalier, Kurata is amazed to discover that in his new world, mecha exist! He swears to become a pilot in this world–a Knight Runner–but his genius-level intellect gradually starts to revolutionize not only the world’s robotics, but magic as well.
Hi everyone, welcome to another installment of “5 Point Discussion”, where I do commentary on a weekly anime or television series. Knight’s and Magic is a series that premiered earlier this summer, and while it’s about to end soon, I couldn’t let it go by without covering the finale as its easily one of my favorites of the Summer Season.
1. This episode starts out with a surprisingly dark turn for what’s thus far been a fairly light-hearted series. One of the biggest complaints about Knight’s and Magic is that it’s been a rapidly paced adaptation, moving at a clip probably twice as fast as it should have. I was never really sure where I stood on the subject, but this episode made up my mind in believing this was exactly the pace they should have moved.
Early on in the series, Ernie’s genius tech helped upgrade a fairly “realistic”, low level mecha into something substantially more powerful. Due to the intervention of spies, they nearly lost all of those tweaked mecha to a different nation. Fortunately, after a fierce battle they manage to recover all but one—which escaped to parts unknown. If things had moved at a slower pace, that would have been a late episode plot point that would’ve gone forgotten as K&M joins the other light novel series desperately waiting for a second season. Instead, we’ve now learned exactly what happened to that missing robot.
It went to the war-loving nation of Zaloudek, a group of people who remember when the entire continent was one nation, and believe they have the right to re-conquer those lands and restore things to how they were. Obtaining Ernie’s re-design, they managed to reverse-engineer it and improve on it in their own labs…and that leads us to the start of this episode, where Zaloudek slaughters the army of a neighboring nation in a single night. Ridiculous as it sounds, it makes sense: it’s comparing the Iron Age to an army that recently discovered and mastered the usage of guns.
Knight’s and Magic is no stranger to violence or death, but the normally idyllic nation of Fremmevilla usually only deals with magical monsters that frequently more a nuisance than a threat. This episode features the most human on human murder we’ve seen all season, and the difference is immediately noticeable.
2. Of course, this episode doesn’t take place in Fremmevilla, either. Instead it features the Black Knights of Zaloudek invading the nearby kingdom of Kuschpercha. I did a bit of research into this earlier into the season, and Fremmevilla is typically able to avoid conflicts with other nations like the one in this episode due to their closeness to the magical beasts. Used as a shield between the other nations and the monsters, everyone just leaves them alone so long as they’re doing their job.
Unfortunately, one of our side characters, Princess Eleonora, just happened to return to her home nation this episode and what she has to face is not pretty. Not only does she lose her father, but she gets captured as well and forced into an arranged marriage with the prince of Zaloudek. A pretty terrible fate all around…or it would be, if it wasn’t obvious Ernie and the others were going to steamroll over Zaloudek like they have with literally everyone else.
3. Speaking of steamrolling…how a series tends to handle murder can go a long way towards explaining how the series views itself in terms of character motivations and how serious it takes itself and it’s plot.
Having said that, I’m not sure if it was the best look to have Ernie arrive at a recently conquered checkpoint and proceed to gleefully murder everyone in a robot. Or maybe it was–from the very beginning Ernie’s been described as this perfect Mary Sue, a genius, sweet kid who just wants to be allowed to work on his hobby of creating more and more impressive giant robots. Maybe K&M is trying to balance that out by making him mentally unbalanced–though they definitely attack first. Ernie hops into his latest mecha the Ikaruga, and slices through five robots without so much as a second thought. Now either they retcon this and say he avoided the cockpit (even though his blades definitely went through at least two), or he just killed five people with the same energy that he customized Fremmevilla’s army. Maybe his character flaw is that he simply doesn’t carry that much respect for human life.
4. The one thing that makes K&M stand out is its specific rhythm. We see a mech or several mecha in a battle, Ernie takes notes on their capabilities, then later we watch as he and his team make improvements. Sure series in the mecha genre introduce new robots all the time, but they usually gloss over what’s changed or how–you won’t see another series indulge in actual design talk outside of Gundam Build Fighters. And since last episode was kind of heavy on design stuff, this episode cranked up the combat. There’s three fights in all, with the last standing out the most: our heroes run into an idiot officer in the Zaloudek army named Gustav Mardonnes. Piloting a customized mech covered in swords, Gustav gives one of Ernie’s soldiers a brief run for his money…until the sheer numbers of Ernie’s companies overwhelm him and force him to retreat.
If there’s any major flaw in K&M this episode, it’s that this new direction has provided the series with some worthy opponents in the Kingdom of Zaloudek to match up to Ernie and the Order of the Silver Phoenix. But with only four episodes left, there’s nowhere near enough time to develop them or give their stories a satisfying end. I’m desperately hoping for a season two, but given how rapidly they burned through the source material, it seems unlikely.
5. What’s gone unmentioned here, amidst stories about an adorable, robot-obsessed teenager and his quest to make his own giant robot…is that technically Ernie is at fault for all of what happened this episode. The kingdom of Zaloudek had the same stick figure mecha every other nation did, and war was as big a risk for them as everyone else…until Ernie came along. Combining his new world’s magic with his old world’s coding intelligence has provided massive changes to the entire face of war–they’ve gone from having semi-realistic robots to bots capable of high-speed movement and beam spam.
And we’re not even done! Zaloudek somehow came up with floating fortresses to hold their robots, so obviously Ernie’s going to have to top that. It’s only a matter of time before he makes their world look even more advanced than ours at this rate. But will the show (or even the novel source material) have the stones to make him face up to his responsibilities in this war? …Probably not, honestly.
Knight’s and Magic is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.