Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 08

Rakudai Kishi - Come at me bro

“Come at me, bro!”

winter15-highw Sometimes the benefit of the fight doesn’t go to the person who wins. And sometimes the benefit isn’t even something that’s on the line in the fight.

Catching Up on the Background Story

Rakudai Kishi - Looking in the past

Looking through the past

One of the things that I think the Silver Link / Nexus combination producing this show has done very well is use unusual storytelling methods to cover for the fact that they don’t have a huge budget to spend on this show. The differences between this production and A1’s efforts on Asterisk this week were obvious if you looked, in things like Asterisk’s water surface modeling when Kirin and Saya were in the pool. Lots of movement, lots of detail, adds up to a rich visual experience. In contrast, this week’s Cavalry was much more understated, but still presented a moving story in an effective manner.

Rakudai Kishi - clever

Good use of the visual device

Starting off the cold open, it tells the story of how Ayase’s father Kaito trained her, and ultimately fought Kuraudo and lost the dojo. But it uses still frames and subtitles, presenting it as a series of photos, filtered and bordered. Using Yuu Kobayashi’s breathy voice, it conveys a story of urgency, of struggle, and of striving. Ayase working hard to learn her father’s Itto-ryu style, even if she’s not physically mature enough for it. Kaito struggling to stay healthy enough to continue teaching her, even after he’s ‘retired’ from swordsmanship. And ultimately, relaying the feeling that Ayase feels that each of them have failed. When we get to the part after the OP and they’re showing the fight between Kaito and Kuraudo, the feeling is obviously of an old and infirm man overmatched and suffering at the hands of a bully. And in the moment of truth, as Kaito is making his signature move, his body fails him, never allowing him to finish. The school is lost, Kaito is lost, and Ayase’s vision of her future is completely obscured by her feelings that she’s let her father down.

Rakudai Kishi - Kaito Enjoys it

What was Kaito really thinking, tho?

Regaining What was Lost

Rakudai Kishi - Two guys having fun

Just between bros

So when Ikki, Stella, and Ayase return to the Ayatsuji dojo, Ayase thinks she’s trying to win back her father’s property. And while that’s one of Ikki’s goals, as he fights Kuraudo it becomes clear that what he really is in it for isn’t Ayase’s dojo or even his own pride after being picked on in the family restaurant. What he’s after is the experience of fighting someone strong: analyzing their strength, countering their best, and cracking their defense. And as the fight continues we see that Kuraudo is reacting the same way. This isn’t about bullying, terrorizing, or threatening. This is about the thrill of the fight, of pitting yourself against the unwinnable, and, through doing your best, prevailing.

Rakudai Kishi - Final Slice

Nice recall of the OP style here

And as those two are enjoying themselves while fighting to their utmost, Stella is helping Ayase learn the true lesson of the fight, and of her father’s circumstances. Her father’s retirement wasn’t a happy time of relaxation with his daughter, it was a chafing restriction on a man no longer able to do what he loved to do. Seeing that love of the struggle in the other swordsman, Ayase finally realizes the quality she’s missing as a swordsman, the perspective that she’s lost in her anger and pain at her father’s loss. And while she feels she is unworthy to be the successor to her father’s school, Ikki reassures her that she’s learned his style completely and faithfully, and is certainly the person who should take that role. She has just needed to get her head right, and learn the true desire of the swordsman.

Rakudai Kishi - well well well

Well well well… (that’s just what this reminded me of)


Less an exploration of a particular character, this episode was an exploration of the soul of a swordsman. Not really focusing on the fight between Ikki and Kuraudo, nor on Kaito Ayatsuji, it uses all three of them to show Ayase what she lacked and where it comes from. The restoration of the dojo to her family ends up being just the icing on the cake, and her conviction to make things right and restore her pride continues through admitting to cheating against Ikki in their selection match. A very nice episode, this, and I sure wouldn’t mind seeing more like this.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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7 Responses to “Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 08”

  1. zztop says:

    And as the fight continues we see that Kuraudo is reacting the same way. This isn’t about bullying, terrorizing, or threatening. This is about the thrill of the fight.

    Kuraudo’s interesting in that he’s essentially both a bully and idealistic warrior. He could have left the dojo at once like his gang would have, but he ends up staying around for 2 years in the hope that Kaito or Ayase could return for a rematch. The novel emphasises this further by having Kuraudo not understanding why his gang members are satisfied to be mere delinquents instead of being something more.

    Kuraudo appears in Vol 6 Show ▼

  2. Rathje says:

    I loved how they used Stella to explain the insight into both Ikki and Ayase’s father. Usually in shounen shows, when the MC is looking cool for his hot girl, they make the hot girl into the one who doesn’t understand the MC and then make a big deal out of her being surprised at learning something new about him.

    Not here though. Stella already understands her man. I just loved that when she says “I’d like to stop them myself, but I just can’t bring myself to do it when Ikki is having so much fun.”

    I liked how they didn’t make Kuraudo one of those people who is a jerk for the sake of being a jerk – like bow-and-arrow guy. He’s just focused on being the best, even at the expense of being nice.

    One thing the manga fleshes out better than the anime, like zztop says above about the light novel, is how Kuraudo actually respects Ikki from their first meeting.

    When he smashed the bottle over Ikki’s head, it wasn’t a heated moment of aggression, it was actually cold and calculating. He had already sized up Ikki as someone interesting just by looking at him. His attack on him was actually probing – seeing how Ikki would react. He was actually highly impressed by how Ikki deliberately held his cool and took control of the situation. After they left the restaurant, Kuraodo was muttering “the bastard deliberately took my blow to minimize the impact, but make it look real.”

    Ever since that point Kuraodo was thinking about Ikki and hoping for the chance to meet him again, and when his punk friends are bad-mouthing Ikki he actually gets annoyed with them and implies that they are hugely underestimating him. Kuraodo was genuinely pleased that Ikki showed up for a formal match. You can see it when he delightedly yells “this is why swordsmen are the best” – he really respects those who have genuine physical fighting talent and don’t just rely on their supernatural abilities to win.

    It’s a situation of mutual respect between opponents who immediately understand each other perfectly – similar to when Ikki fought Stella in episode one.

    And how they tied in Ayase’s father apologizing – not to his daughter – but to his opponent. A young man whom he considered a worthy opponent, and regret that he couldn’t show such a rising star his best moves.

    The series so far, is doing a really good job of sticking with its main moral theme of “what makes a person truly strong” and is using its main and side characters to good effect to convey that simple narrative.

    • Highway says:

      They really are able to add a lot of depth to the characters in the show, and a lot of that is because they have conditioned us to expect depth in these characters, which I think is a great thing.

      And I like to see that kind of understanding between Stella and Ikki. I would actually like to see them have a bit more progress in both their physical and public relationships, because as time goes on, it gets a bit unrealistic that they keep holding those parts back. Shizuku and Alice are really not impediments, and it’s one of those things where everyone knows, and it’s not like they’ve said there’s some rule against dating your assigned roommate (which would be one of the cruelest rules ever). They’ve shown that Stella wants to, and Ikki wants to, and maybe they are really cuddly back at the apartment, but it sure doesn’t seem like it, with how hesitant they are in public. But really, my main point here is that human relationships progress that way, and keeping that from happening as the show goes on feels more and more unnatural, which is out of step with how the show has dealt with all of the characters in very good ways.

      • Rathje says:

        Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think by this point in the manga, Stella has already called Ikki on why he doesn’t get more cuddly at the apartment.

        His explanation to her was that he has to hold back, otherwise he probably wouldn’t be able to control himself, and things would get out of hand.

        • Highway says:

          If that’s the case, I won’t fault the show for not using that. It’s a message I just don’t like. I have heard that it’s a Japanese thing, but it’s a crummy message: “Oh, If I get excited I lose control”, like they’re some sort of sex Hulk, it’s not your fault. How about the message of “We both want to go as far as both of us are comfortable with”? And when someone says “that’s the limit for now” then you stop. That was something I liked from Ui in Okusama ga Seitokaichou, although it pulled the same stuff with the boy in that show (he was getting better as the show went on, tho).

          So a lot of the messages in this show are good, but sounds like some could be not as good.

          • Rathje says:

            Hmm, I don’t know about that. I don’t think he’s saying “If we start cuddling and making out, I’m going to sexually assault you.” I think he’s saying that if they start doing that somewhere private like a room, it’s going to be a MUTUAL temptation to take it all the way to sex, and he doesn’t want the relationship to go there at this stage, because he’s worried about her reputation, etc.

  3. skylion says:

    Episode 08 Endcard

    Show ▼

    This episode goes quite a long way in proving that a character doesn’t have to physically fight to win a battle and receive the resolution they need.

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