I swear to Anime God; if the last scene of this episode is not the start of a coherent plot, I’m going to regret the moment I put Knight’s & Magic in my anime list for this season. Episode 3 was not as bad as the previous two, but so many things happened and with no good reason. This feels more like the Silmarillion of this world than its Lord of the Rings. And until that spoiled brat gets a real reason to fight, the robots are the only thing that’s good about this series.
Who is that king? BRING BACK THE THREATENING KING. In the last scene of Episode 2, the king seemed like he was going to have someone kill Ernesti in a back alley or something, and yet, in Episode 3, we welcomes him with a broad smile and a generous laugh. I want to believe that he is faking it but I doubt that the series has such deep storytelling skills. After some unnecessary dialogue for which Japanese anime are notorious for, he responds to Ernesti’s wish to learn how to build an Ether Reactor by giving him a school project: if he builds his own robot frame, he will give Ernesti access to the secret of the Ether Reactor. This is a good time to mention that the episode is not heavy on mechanical jargon. Appreciated, but all the LETS SPEAK ROBOT scenes were mostly unnecessary except for that approving nod of other robot otaku.
I found it strange that the twins’ father had them spy on their friends. Even stranger was their lack of reluctance to do so. ‘Will this help Ernie?’ asks Adeltrud only for her father to utter a few reassuring lines that really meant, ‘Oh my god, you are so stupid, this is going to be easy.’
The rest of the episode was one huge Ernesti fanboyism extravaganza. Even if they tried to put huge-boobs on the forefront as the rider of the new mecha, she is nothing more than a side character. With the spotlight on the brat, everyone seems like a side character. Ernesti that and Ernesti this and Ernesti is so clever and Ernesti found a new weapon and Ernesti is liked by ALL THE GIRLS but he has no interest in them because he is a robot-loving psychopath who exists only to amaze people with his awe-inspiring intelligence. What I am trying to say is that everyone in this show exists for Ernesti’s benefit. And that sucks.
Animation: I know I am bitching a lot about the storytelling in this anime. I can’t deny, though, that the production is very good. The animation is solid and the action is really good. The mecha duel was fluent and the robot movements really felt like robot movement. Not that I’ve seen a real robot but if giant robots existed, this is how they would move. I think. And don’t forget the weird programming sequences in Episode 2 and the gunblade he created. If nothing else, Knight’s & Magic is visually beautiful.
Narrator: The narrator gives me a feeling of things that have come to pass. I wonder if we are just being told a story that has already happened from the point of view of someone that I assumed was his mother in this world. If used just for the episodes where they put the light novels into fast forward, it would make sense to have someone narrate a few pieces. But for now, she just seems like a weak link in a weak story.
Antagonists: AT LAST. Of course, they went over to the ‘the real enemies are humans’ a bit too fast, and, to be honest, we still don’t a lot about them. And if Ernesti, who is the protagonists, doesn’t care, why should we? The problem is that I do care because an enemy could actually bring a sliver of interest in this show. Come on; raise the stakes.
Themes & Trivia
Protagonist: Three episodes and we still don’t know who our main protagonist is. In every story that matters, the protagonist(s) is the main focus of the narrative. He sets the mood and gives purpose to the events. In Knights & Magic, we don’t even know who Ernesti really is. I have touched on this in my previous reviews. Is Ernesti a robot otaku that was reincarnated in a different body? Is the programmer (Kurata?) we met in the first episode Ernesti? No, he couldn’t be. We have no indications that he remembers anything from his past life except some vague references to programming. Is he Ernesti, a child born and raised in this world who was imbued with Kurata’s spirit and for that reason has some recollection of his past life? Whichever of the two is true, we can all agree that Ernesti is just too good to be true. He is more ambitious than 90% of the people I know and he also has the skills of a seasoned mechanic. He dares take risks and upset the status quo. He brings unprecedented progress to robot-making. And he cares about nothing else but the robots. That makes him a one-dimensional protagonist with whom we find it difficult to empathize. Who is Ernesti?
Three episodes into the anime and I still feel like the anime is a placeholder for something that could have been but its hollow story doesn’t let it. Like Ernesti, we are expected to just be amazed by the cool robots and the joints and the weapons. That many work for some diehard mecha otaku (like Ernesti) but some of us are expecting to hear a story. Gunpla enthusiasts and robot aficionados may find a show they will love here, but I find it difficult to believe that the whole series will be about a brat who just knows better because his memories are affected by a robot otaku from another world.
That Tiny Thorn
I hope that tiny redhead thorn gets to be a massive thorn wall like the one in Sleeping Beauty. Three episodes of tensai madness by the little trap boy that seems to be enthralled by cold machines and uninterested by anything real flesh and blood are enough. He needs to put a little blood on his cheeks unless he wants to become one of those knights.