We return to Knight’s & Magic for our 5 Point Discussions…
1. It took twelve freaking episodes, but we finally get to see the Order of the Silver Phoenix (and Ernie) properly challenged. Arguably, it’s way too late for this–Ernie’s first time in a robot, he brought down a monster that had basically torn through an experienced cadre of Knights, and did so after having hacked the Knight because he was too small to pilot it normally. The ship has sailed on making the guy seem like he can fail, but I appreciate the effort.
But really it wasn’t even like Ernie was being challenged. Facing a massive mechanical dragon, he manages to avoid all of its fire, cause it severe damage, and in a direct beam battle tie with it three times. Eventually they just left because their mana pool was nearly exhausted. That’s not a challenge, that’s forcing a tie.
2. There is a lot of character growth from other people in this series during this episode, though. Dietrich wins up in a rematch against the sword-obsessed Gustav from episode 9, and eventually finds himself overwhelmed by the superior ether reactor located in Gustav’s ridiculous sword-bot. At the start of the series, facing such sure death, he would have (and did) flee. Here though, he bets on the power of his Knight Runner, and just barely wins out, forcing Gustav to retreat from the battlefield. It’s a nice way to come full circle, forcing Dietrich to succeed in the face of death and showing his growth over the last ten episodes.
Sidenote: in a weird way, he’s kind of the catalyst for all of this, as him running away caused Ernie to pilot his mech and save everyone from the Behemoth demon beast. From that moment, the Fremmevilla royalty had to start taking him seriously. That was cool, as his improvements have been quite helpful to their army…but then that’s also why they’re here, as well.
3. After the Vvyer is forced to retreat due to nearly running out of mana, it’s designer Gojass who gives the mobile armor an upgrade in the form of a new engine that will offer even more power, but if used it can no longer control itself. It’s a little late to be setting up Chekhov’s Engine like that, but it’s still something to watch out for in the next episode.
What’s shocking isn’t that, though. Basically the Vvyer got a huge power-up, but the Ikaruga didn’t get anything at all. Instead Ernie just creates some protection against the anti-air smoke they filled the air with and decides that’ll be enough. They tried to make it seem like they had neither the time nor the resources to give the Ikaruga a worthwhile upgrade to face the Vvyern, but in a series that’s been focused on massive upgrades in unrealistically short periods of time, it feels less like that and more like arrogance on Ernie’s part than anything else. Still, it’s not like the confidence is unwarranted, he’s conquered everything else this season.
4. Speaking of character development, Princess Eleonora has grown almost too fast in the past two episodes. After the initial skirmish with the dragon and Zaloudek, the Silver Phoenix re-groups with the royalty of Kushpercha and discuss strategy. While they fumble around trying to figure out a decent plan, surprisingly its the princess who puts forth the idea to simply take their entire army and attack their conquered capital in a final effort to get it all back, choosing to march with her army to stay under their protection.
Considering just three episodes ago all she could do was run, and two episodes ago she didn’t even consider herself worth saving, much less actually leading her people, she really stepped up for this episode. Sometimes I have to remember this series can cover weeks and months of time in a single episode. The growth she experienced is technically gradual, she just needed to be surrounded by people who believed in her and encouraged her to live up to her role.
5. The best moment of this episode comes near the end. It explains why Ernie wouldn’t respond to the Vyver with his own version. Having remembered what it was like in our world, he knows that a victory using a weapon like that would lead to airships and carrier ships the same way it has here. This would bring the era of giant robots to an end, thus ending any reason he’d have to exist in this world. Faced with that, he’s decided to bring down the Vyver by any means necessary with the Ikaruga, proving the utimate superiority belongs to the giant robot!
It’s such an absurd reason, but it fits perfectly with the character Ernie’s revealed himself to be over twelve episodes. Everything he’s passionate about, every major thing he’s ever accomplished, has been for the love of the ‘bot. It’s the most consistent part of his character, and I appreciate the series for sticking to that.
See you in seven for the last episode, and the reveal of the next anime I’ll be covering!
Knight’s & Magic is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.