It might not be nearly as high in numbers of the various girls vying for the lead male protagonist’s affection, but a harem nonetheless, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry (A Chivalry of the Failed Knight) does something you don’t normally see in harem anime for various reasons: A legitimate loving relationship being formed. And it only took until Episode 5 to be 100% confirmed.
***WARNING: MILD SPOILERS AHEAD***
The anime starts off as one would expect. Ikki (the male lead) is a failed knight who’s barely staying in school (because the lead has to be as low on the totem pole as possible so viewers can sympathize) and somehow manages to get the beautiful princess, Stella as a roommate in their dorm. Their first meeting starts as harem’s usually do as well, he walks in on her changing, thus starting an initial hatred against him. But as time passes on, that hate doesn’t last and it becomes very obvious over time that the uptight princess in Stella is actually falling for Ikki. And instead of her ignoring it or getting trampled by 5+ other girls before she can confess, she admits to herself constantly that she does have feeling for him.
By Episode 4 is when things pick up. Stella in her own way semi-admits she likes him, while at the end Ikki fully admits to her that he likes her. And Episode 5 is where things really get interesting and different compared to other harem anime I’ve watched. Stella states she’s worried cause it’s been 2 weeks since Ikki confessed and they haven’t done anything as lovers, which is the key thing here. Both male and female characters fully admitting they like each other. And by the end of the episode, a kiss seals any doubt we have left.
Rarely in harem anime does a relationship truly form, let alone this early in a series. By the end, generally speaking it’s clear who the one who will get with the main character is, but it’s never 100% guaranteed, there’s no “I love you” uttered, there’s no kiss, nothing. This show has done all that in 5 episodes.
Now granted compared to most harems, Stella realistically has one competitor and it’s Ikki’s younger sister, Shizuku (cause ya gotta have incest innuendos, apparently). There’s been another girl who’s a journalist that has shown interest in Ikki, but hasn’t really put anywhere near the effort as Stella or Shizuku. So currently, Stella isn’t a victim of the usual harem trope of being constantly interfered with by several girls who also want a piece of the main protagonist.
My favourite part of this relationship however is how they speak to each other. They easily come off like a married couple already and there are key things that they say to each other that most harems never use. After arguing over why they haven’t even kissed in the 2 weeks they’ve technically been together for, Ikki admits to her he didn’t want to push things so she wouldn’t view him as a pervert, while Stella admits the same because she didn’t want him to think she was a slut. So Ikki tells Stella that they should at the same time say what they want to do right now and they both say they want to kiss. And the weirdest thing happens: They actually kiss. No interruptions, no shy backing out, nothing.
Generally in harems even at the resolution of a season and even entire series, a relationship never forms and in some, a kiss never even occurs. Every character in the entire anime will have seen each other naked before a kiss will even happen. So for Ikki and Stella to actually share a moment, especially this early on is quite a shock to me.
As a whole, I’ve really enjoyed the series, especially after Episodes 4 and 5. The action’s pretty good, the characters for the most part are all interesting and tolerable and is as cheesy as I like my anime to be.
So when this anime features one of my (so far) favourite pairings, it definitely stands out as one of my favourites from this season of anime. If you can put up with the ecchi scenes throughout this series, it’s actually a pretty decent watch.
I just seriously hope that there isn’t a naked falling on top of each other scene with Ikki and Shizuku. If I wanted to watch excessive incest ecchi anime, I’d just throw on Kiss x Sis. I’ve heard a lot of “things” about that series.