Episode 5 of mecha anime Knight’s and Magic confirmed for another 24 minutes what we were already suspecting from Episode 2 onward: the series has one strong point and that’s the mecha CG visuals. If only it could stop pretending to have a story and instead focus on the battles. Then we may have had something of essence to talk about.
So many shows lately are following the bad cliffhanger trope. Last episode, we had a bunch of demon beasts attacking the village, but this episode deemed good to let the action be resolved behind the scenes. In my eyes, not giving screen time to the one incident you use to incite your viewer’s interest for the next episode is a disadvantage. It also means that the series doesn’t have a coherent plot and fails to recognize what matters and what doesn’t in its narrative. What was presented as the number one enemy in the beginning is now reduced to still shots and mere mentions. There is a hint of progression there, as robots are becoming gradually more powerful, but for anime’s sake, each one of these incidents could have been an anime season of its own. I don’t know if the creator wants to break free from the common anime tropes, but until now, this seems more like the story of a psychopathic brat and a kingdom that builds more and more weapons.
At least we had a proper enemy and extended battles in this episode. Not that I don’t like Ernie doing his usual let’s-build-a-robot scenes (I don’t, actually), but this is what this show is good at: robot battles. The enemy spies we have encountered a couple of times have their eyes on the new mecha and manage to enter their hangar with a Trojan horse plan. The CG was as good as it has always been, with every clash being a visual delight. Each battle was choreographed in a way that felt fresh. No stock animations were repeated and the fights were each resolved in a unique way that created a sense of excitement. The Silhouette gear proved its worth as a back-up unit, even if our tensai prick had to go the extra mile and use them as an offensive weapon capable of bringing down a few Telestales.
Other than that, the episode had little to show in terms of character or story development. I’ve always thought that when you have to talk about these things, then it means that something is going wrong with them. Good stories don’t have people talking about why the story is good. It’s only the bad stories that attract that kind of criticism. And this is a bad story.
Silver Phoenix: Because Ernie needs his own knightly order to command. He is a cocky genius who is an expert in mechanics and strategy. And he is annoying.
Themes & Trivia
Narrator: It’s now evident that the story is taking place in the past. The narrator comes from an age when all these battles have names of their own as if they belong in the history books. I’m afraid to speculate here, as the narrator can be so many things. She could be a future mother telling the story of Ernie the Super Awesome kid as a bedtime story. She could be the mother of Ernie’s programmer half, as she tells him one fantasy story he likes and then he proceeds in going to that world in a twisted time loop. Maybe all this story is the dream of a hospitalized mecha otaku who has written a story and now his mother is reading it to him and he imagines it in his head. So many possibilities and none of them hinted by the series. For all that matters, this series had no reason to be an isekai anime.
At least we are going somewhere. Karhilt (that the narrator knows her name reinforces my theory that this is just a story) is an interesting enemy who needs more background information to feel more menacing. We know that the guerilla group is from the neighboring nation and that a war is probably going to break out, but if we are to care about it we need to know more about the other side. Are they evil? Are they good? Do they like strawberries? Do they have more mecha like that ninja assassin they used to steal their Trojan horse? Give us something, anything. Even if it’s just to make the fights a little more interesting.
The Order of…
Ok, it’s really cool that we have a new order. It’s not cool that the little prick gets to be the leader of such a team. I know. He is awesome and the protagonist and the needs to be in the spotlight, but this is getting out of hand. I am curious. Do you like Ernie? Let me know in the comments!