Another episode of Knight’s & Magic that felt more like a technical manual and less like a story. More self-contained than the rest, but oblivious of the plot points that make a narrative interesting, Episode 6 brought us even more technobabble, new characters who look weird, and novel robots that looked cool, as always.
If there is any kind of development in this series, it doesn’t have anything to do with the story. It has to do with robots, and their actual development. In that sense, this was the most developmental episode of Knight’s & Magic so far. We got the two new mecha we have been waiting for, albeit it took 10 months in anime time and only 24 minutes in real time. The time skip was well received because I had enough technobabble (I think I am using this word a lot for this series) for a lifetime. The narrator and the little story bits, like the scene where the duke and the king discuss the attack from beyond their border, do add to the story but, if I have to be perfectly honest, these bits do nothing to bring depth to the series. The protagonist is as uninteresting as ever. A genius, yes. A fluffy pillow for the fangirly in the cast, yes. Other than that, he is as flat as the robots he is building.
We had a new mini suit, two new mechas, a failed experiment that lent the title to this episode, and Ernie for the first time in a while does something wrong. But having him with the attitude ‘I AM GOING TO LEARN FROM THIS BECAUSE I AM AWESOME AND IT’S A GOOD MESSAGE TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION’ failed to impress me.
Director Olver and Chief Gaizka: Putting the weird names aside, this is a peculiar duo. First, the director looks like a deformed Roswell alien who happened to resemble a human, and the chief looks like an evil fairytale witch that decided to grow a beard and cross-dress. And does anyone care that the chief wants to be famous? Or that the director is not interested in fame?
Before-After: Perhaps the only bit of info dump that was interesting enough to see. For an anime that relies a lot on narrating, it doesn’t take advantage of different scene types (chibi, comic-style, uncommon backgrounds) to bring forth all that technobabble. The scene with the Knightsmiths was a good example of how these scenes could have worked out.
Centaur: That was one cool robot. We know that it can carry up to 3 mechas in that carriage, but I wonder if it can be ridden.
Key: How can we prevent people from stealing our cars? Well, let them have a keyhole and a dedicated dagger key, of course. Not a bad idea, and it covers just another trope of robot anime.
Themes & Trivia
Fan Service: The river scene felt so forced that even the anime itself didn’t like it. It was short, uneventful, not particularly sexy, and it screamed something along the lines of ‘Here, some nudity. Can we go back to robots, now?’ I don’t know if there is any kind of sexual perversion concerning giant humanoid machines, but this anime is certainly advocating for one. Ernie is the spearhead of that advocating, being 100% asexual and all.
You can’t bathe with a guy
Reactor: Most science fiction works that include robots feature a unique power source or central processing unit (or both). In Knight’s & Magic, we have two reactors, the Ether and the Magius Engine. The second is the budget model with the first being a state secret. What we do learn in this episode is that its outer shell looks like a brain. Maybe the secret that the kingdom wants to protect has something to do with the shape of the engine. Monster brains?
Sales Boost: Knight’s & Magic was not a big hit before being adapted into an anime. Its adaptation, I guess, had more to do with its theme and less with its success as a light novel. After broadcast, the sales of the primary source were boosted significantly. This is why adaptations are made.
Isekai: Ernie’s visions of Gundam models is the only isekai bit we had for most of the episodes. We still don’t know who Ernie really is and why he acts the way he does. We have seen him with his family, his friends, his colleagues, but we have had no indication that he is more than what he seems to be: a psychopathic child that was born and raised in this world.
I feel like there is no reason to argue about the format of the series anymore. That doesn’t mean that I won’t bitch about the lack of any interesting plot in the episodes to come. I will just accept the fact that this is going to be happening until the end. Knight’s and Magic is about making cool robots. It is about talking cool robotics. It is about fighting cool battles. It is not about characters. It is not about intrigue of political conflict. It is not about mystery. Build a Robot -> Make it Fight -> Build Another Robot -> Make it Fight. That’s the sequence and I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon.
There’s an interesting dichotomy at work between the mecha-development and mecha-battle portions of Knight’s & Magic. The show has a focused goal of ‘make cool robots, make those cool robots fight’, but a lot of its priorities in getting there are more skewed than necessary, leading to the uneven series we’ve gotten so far.
I don’t know if Centaur has offensive capabilities, but at least our team now has its personal chauffer. I don’t think there is a doubt on which team is going to win the fight in the next episode. The real question is: Is there going to be a fight in the next episode? The events of the anime are scattered and while the timeline is linear, we do have big skips of time where nothing really happens. Is this just a big technical manual full of terminology for the robot crazies? I hope not.