Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 05

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RKC is full of surprises. I never thought I’d be awarding two nines in a row to it, but it showed this week, categorically, that the excellent handling of Stella and Ikki’s confession wasn’t a fluke; that wonderful romance is here to stay, and there’s lots of room to grow.

But there were sure to be bumps in the road, and the first is that they’ve been lovers for two weeks…but haven’t done anything. That seems to bother Stella more than Ikki, but as we eventually find out, that’s not the case at all. It’s another common romantic convention: both lovers waiting for the other to start something and getting frustrated by it. Yet it’s another convention RKC picks up and runs with, showing how potent and relatable idea it can be.

While they’ve been lovers doing nothing for two weeks, Ikki has only risen in school standing, no longer the Worst One, but “Another One” (that’s not really his nickname, is it?). The girls swarm around him wanting lessons in swordsmanship; a group of guys gets jealous, but he beats them so easily they become his loyal students, a nice change of pace from the typical “you’ll regret this!” storming off that even the reporter mentions.

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The group of students he’s teaching keep growing along with his popularity, and while Stella is probably proud of him and admiring of his generosity, there’s no doubt she’s getting nudged out of chunks of time he could be with her.

Also Shizuku, as it turns out, hasn’t quite given up on him, or at least intends to make life difficult for Stella if she fails to assert herself. I particularly liked Shizuku’s ear-to-ear grin as Stella must follow through and chug her two bottles of Pocari Sweat.

Another great moment was when Alice lent Stell a game whose protagonist looks and sounds very similar, if not identical, minus the glasses, to Ikki. Her “illicit” vicarious play hearkens back to that great scene where she can’t help but touch Ikki’s chest while he’s sleeping.

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When Ikki takes his class to the pool, he invites Stella along. When she angrily wonders why he doesn’t want to teach her, he gives a very good explanation that not only appeases but flatters her: her ability is beyond anything can teach her, that his style would undermine her strengths, and he wants her, over any other, to continue to go beyond his imagination.

But the fact of the matter is, nothing continues to happen, and Stella is forced into the background as he teaches the others. The reporter puts two and two together, threatens to ask Ikki out, then gets Stella to let slip they’re lovers going nowhere. The reporter’s advice is simple: be forceful and tell him what you want. But of course, it’s not that simple.

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The reporter’s talk with Stella mirrors Alice’s talk with Shizuku, and in this case Alice has valuable insight into the male mind, since he shares their biology, if not that identity. The episode cleverly cuts between the two discussions, Archer-style. It’s also notable that Alice, hardly a conservative, doesn’t think Shizuku’s love for her brother is necessarily wrong, and that she shouldn’t accept defeat just yet.

Still, that’s because Alice is rooting for her beloved friend and roommate. In reality, Ikki is very much in love with Stella, and vice-versa. When the two come together, Ikki starts to talk in a way that Stella interprets as a break-up. The two have their first lovers’ quarrel, and it’s a damn fine one, with the two of them belting out increasingly reasonable things even as they get unreasonably upset with one another.

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Brass tacks: Ikki didn’t make the first move because he was worried she’d think he was a dirty man; Stella didn’t because she was worried he’d think she was a slut. They’re both wrong; both want the other to make a move. So they agree to say the thing they want to do right there and then, and it’s the same thing: kiss. Ikki makes it clear he wants her to ask him for a kiss when she wants one; Stella lets him know she only likes it when one guy looks at her in a naughty way: him.

Having cleared a common hurdle at the start of relationships when the two parties are still feeling each other’s patterns and ways of doing things out, they confidently hold hands on the bus ride home, each knowing a lot more what the other expects, and likely feeling foolish for ever worrying about it. Some tough battles with the Evil Student Council executives lay ahead for both of these lovers, but they won’t have to worry about what the other wants anymore.

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Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

10 thoughts on “Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 05”

  1. This episode made a lot of small changes from the LN, which I would say kind of improved flow incredibly well. I loved the addition of Alice lending Stella the game, letting Stella monologue about what she wanted from Ikki. I’m also enjoying the freedom the animators have with Stella and her at home wardrobe, especially with her hair let down. The only part that really followed the LN exactly was the argument and kiss scene at the very end which was done soooo well.

  2. This episode was largely anime-original, which expanded some minor content from LN Vol 2. In the book a new character was already introduced at this point, and she was later pivotal in getting Stella to admit her relationship with Ikki, not Kagami the reporter girl.

    Still, better to wait and see how things go first.

  3. That was another very good episode. The Stella and Ikki dynamic is enjoyable to watch and they are fast becoming a favourite couple of mine. But why oh why can’t anime lose it’s obsession with incestuous little sisters? If they want a rival for Stella why make it his little sister? Why couldn’t it be another non-related girl? For me, this is a definite weak point in an otherwise strong and enjoyable series.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Especially since this is actually taking the siscon thing further than any show i can think of except for the ones where it’s the main plot. Usually it’s just hinted at/joked about and not really followed through on.

      Here we’ve got a little sister legitimately trying to become romantically involved with her brother and philosophical discussion of such a relationship. What in the hell are they trying to teach people?

      But, as you said, the stuff regarding Ikki and Stella is great fun and saves pretty much the whole thing.

      1. Yeah, I was far more impressed with how the classmates in Yosuga no Sora treated the sibling love: like something that needed to be ended as soon as possible.

        Then again, Alice is kinda Shizuku’s Big Sis here: she’s in her corner, no matter what (also, stones in glass houses and all that).

    2. Just wanted to say: in the LN, I don’t think they ever ever call Ikki “Another one”. The name “Worst One” pretty much sticks, but he is called “Uncrowned Sword King” a few times. Also, his catch phrase when using Ittou Shura is supposed to be “With my weakest, I will beat your Strongest”

      1. This came up over on RandomC, but that’s not EXACTLY his catchphrase. It’s a wordplay pun using kanji and furigana that the Japanese love so much. The KANJI is ‘weakest’ the furigana (how the kanji is actually read/spoken) however is the word for strongest.

        This of course means that translating it to spoken Japanese is a nightmare because what you’re actually hearing according to the LN is the word saikyo which means strongest, but in this case it’s been given a different kanji/meaning. Absolutely impossible to convey outside of written Japanese and even harder to convey outside of Japanese.

        P.S. With my weakest is the dumbest statement ever. That’s not saying he’s the weakest, that’s saying whatever he IS capable of, he’s using the least amount of it, which makes no sense. The wordplay at least fixes it (makes the meaning something like ‘my strongest, which is still the weakest’) but again, impossible to use in spoken language.

      2. The wordplay itself kind of means that he’ll use the strongest power he can muster, despite having the weakest stats. “With my weakest, I will beat your Strongest” Can also be taken in that way as well. Not in the sense that he’ll use his weakest level of power to beat someone’s strongest power, but rather that he’s considered the weakest and he’ll still beat the opponent’s strongest abilities.

      3. Except that with English, that’s not grammatically what that means at all. My weakest is relative, not absolute. You don’t make it into an absolute comparison simply by wishing real hard.

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