Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 09

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In addition to getting a win and advancing due to Ayase’s forfeiture, Ikki also gets a week off with Stella at a mountain hotel. Thankfully, we’re well past the point that one or the other must use this golden opportunity to confess their love—they’re already lovers. Rather, it’s more an opportunity for the two to see just how much trouble they can get into, and find out what kind of lovers they’re going to be.

Alas, it also turns out the director tricked them; at least part of their “vacation” consists of helping the Student Council clean the hotel. I maintain the Student Council are all a bunch of shallow cliches with silly exaggerated designs, but it’s good to know they’re not really evil, and as a group bouncing off one another, they’re fun enough.

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…Just not as fun as watching Stella and Ikki when no one else is around. Stella wants to go see a gorgeous waterfall an hour’s walk away, but she didn’t eat enough in the morning, gets tired and weak, and eventually shows symptoms of a cold. Then it starts to rain, and Ikki postpones the waterfall trip and seeks out shelter. Almost too conveniently, they find a clean, unoccupied cabin with a hearth.

Soaking wet and coming down with a fever, the best thing for Stella is to get her clothes off so she can get warm and dry. Ikki knows it’s probably embarassing, so he strips first. It’s a kind and very Ikki gesture, and reminds Stella how they met, with him seeing “everything” right from the start. She doesn’t look on that day with scorn, but with a smile.

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In the firelight, with Stella sweating and breathing heavily, there’s no way to make this situation not incredibly sexy for both parties. Ikki attempts to keep things “businesslike”, but after unclasping her stockings and bra, Ikki pitches a tent; one that Stella not only notices, but is happy she excites him so, especially when he’s exciting her so much. After a pause that lasts seemingly forever during which only the fire snaps and pops, Stella finally puts the question to Ikki: “Do you wanna do it with me?”

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But that doesn’t lead to any slow dissolves, tasteful panning, or overdramatic score drowning out sex noises. In fact, Ikki is taken aback, asking if she’s sure what she’s saying. Without skipping a beat, Stella looks seriously and calmly at Ikki and says she does; she wants him, he wants her, and if he wants, they can have each other right here and now. Stella may be the instigator by posing the question, but she understands the choice of whether to proceed belongs to both of them.

Ikki says no, but it’s not because he doesn’t want to. For one thing, she’s exhausted and needs to rest, but beyond that, Ikki is thinking about their future—both their futures, not just his. Even if you don’t quite agree with Ikki’s somewhat conservative views on the matter, you can still understand his decision as part in parcel of the careful life he has to lead, whether it’s not getting into useless fights, or not risking getting the girl he loves pregnant in a fit of passion just because all the circumstances align.

It’s not that Stella isn’t being clear-headed, or Ikki is being a prude. It’s somewhere in between, which makes it a far more interesting situation. Stella isn’t just disappointed Ikki turned her down this time; she’s also happy he’s so serious about their relationship. This isn’t just a fling for him. She also surprises herself again with her “naughtiness”, though I sensed more acceptance of, rather than shame about, that side of her.

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In any case, they got as close as you could physically and emotionally get to going all the way, and you have to tip your hat to RKC for going there and not giving us easy or one-dimensional answers or resolutions. And from a practical perspective, it’s good they didn’t get into it, because they would have been rudely (and probably painfully) interrupted by a giant stone golem smashing the cabin.

Again, RKC and Asterisk echo one another when this attacking monster splits into several smaller versions of itself when Ikki cuts it, meaning a central controlling element must be taken out to stop it from reviving. Ikki isn’t able to find it, and nearly loses Stella while fighting when the Student Council shows up to rescue them. A very discreet Student Council that doesn’t ask too many questions about why Stella is in such as state of undress and whatnot!

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Even the council finds their backs up against the wall, until their long-talked-about but previously unseen president arrives and takes the golem—and his controller, many miles away—down with authority. The glasses-wearing, twin-braid redhead is named Toudou Touka (not to be confused with Asterisk’s Toudou Kirin), and she makes an immediate impression as a capable badass who naturally was one of the final four in the last Seven Star. Heck, her attacks even dissolve the letterboxingin a subtle visual breaking of the fourth wall.

As for the gangster-type guy who arranged the golem attack, I don’t much care for him at all, but wonder if he’s specifically after Ikki on behalf of the Kuroganes, or more interesting working against them (and the Kurogane clan having to put on a front of loathing to protect Ikki all this time)

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Mercifully, Shizuku isn’t quite obsessive enough to have snuck on the bus with Stella and Ikki and stalked them on their trip (though it would have been somewhat interesting if she had been the one to save them from the golem, I don’t think she could have handled peeking through the window as the lovers stripped and sweated). Instead, she goes home to her big, cold sad room in the big, cold, sad Kurogane Manor, where she’s summoned by her big, cold, sad father.

Her dad claims to want to know how Shizuku is doing, so had her mother write a letter to her on his behalf. In addition to being insulted by being tricked into coming, Shizuku is pissed that her father won’t even speak of Ikki, even though like her he’s won twelve matches in a row without a loss.

He’s quick to express his pride in her, but not Ikki, so she rejects his pride, along with whatever excuses he has for treating her brother like garbage for so long. (Of course, if there is a good reason Ikki’s family does that, which Shizuku isn’t aware of, it would be nice to hear about it.)

This is actually Shizuku at her best, “behind enemy lines”, where the enemy is the entire rest of her family who treat Ikki like an inconvenient eyesore, and taking the fight to that enemy. If they’re not going to treat Ikki like they treat her, she’d rather they treat her like Ikki, and go to the devil while they’re at it. Going home made Shizuku mad, which is why its such perfect timing that her next match will be against Toudou Touka, in a battle of water vs. lighting.

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Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

15 thoughts on “Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry – 09”

  1. This episode adapted Chp 2 of Vol 3, but in a different context from the LN.

    -Stella and Ikki meet Touka much earlier. They go to Okutama at the behest of the Student Council, who want help to investigate some strange disturbances happening there, which were caused by the golems.

    -Shizuku returning to the Kurogane mansion is anime-original. I think this was a smart move because it gives her more characterisation, shows the real reason for her brother love, and foreshadows Kurogane family dynamics.

    -The golems were not sent by the sinister fat man to harm Ikki. In the novels, they were sent by another person to test the strength of Touka’s powers. This person’s debut foreshadows the plot of Vol 4, which introduces the recurring villain group for the next arc covering the 7-Star Games. The person is a member of said group.

  2. Lmao that scene was so lewd, but there was a refreshing amount of seriousness to it. I approve! I also like how the op changed again to show this arcs final boss.

  3. Solid conversion, but AGAIN they’re cutting a Stella action scene – this is beginning to irritate me quite a bit. In the LN, it was _her_ whose mad DPS was saving Ikki who is having a hard time with the regenerating stone golems. The student council arrives afterwards only.

    Really makes me wonder if this is only sloppiness or machoism from the scriptwriters. Strange.

    1. I agree. I feel like this fight was supposed to showcase that Ikki weakness is that his fighting style specializes on 1v1 against living things that don’t regenerate. Stella was supposed to wipe out most of the golems with her wide AoE which showcased her strength. Would have been nice to have kept the scene where Stella saves Ikki.

      On a small note, if you watch the badminton match carefully, theres a few short frames of a Stella and a Renren chibi when they do their smashes

    2. While she showed agency in the cabin despite her apparent illness, it was kinda troubling in general how weak and helpless Stella was for most of the episode; “not eating enough” was a pretty weak explanation, as was catching a cold before the rain.

      In future I’d prefer a better balance of Stella and Ikki saving each other, rather than here, with Ikki fighting for Stella. Though in the end, he and the council did need Touka, another woman, to defeat the golem.

      1. I don’t think it was explained as well in the anime, but Stella’s cold was supposed to be really bad and she still took out a large number of golems. Stella not eating enough was actually supposed to be a sign that she was getting sick. If I remember correctly, Stella was sick even during her badminton match against Renren, but since she has never been suck before, she ignored it and overworked herself to the point you saw her at in the cabin.

  4. sorry but i kinda think ikki refusing is the narrative’s way of coping out. Sex is the next step in a relationship as intimate as theirs. Stella’s provocation was very natural and normal, however, it feels like the narrative wants to tease the possibility of sex to the end of the story, as if stella and ikki’s relationship still cant be interesting if they already have sex; there’s plenty of character dynamics that can make their relationship resonate in a very strong way. Im a bit disappointed in these turn of events

    1. Well, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed: the lead up to his “no” was, after all, one of the better romantic scenes I’ve seen, and I too believe they could have remained compelling—or be more compelling—after they’ve done the deed.

  5. Great episode and well worth the nine you gave it. The cabin scene was very well done but of course they were never going to do it. Still that scene was handled in a way that avoided most of the cliches and told us more about Stella and Ikki, so I was happy with that. Kurogane family issues were finally brought to the fore which was good – here is another possibility – what if Ikki isn’t really a Kurogane but is in fact an adopted child or the child of a distant family member or the like? (Please do not post spoilers as to the answer). If that was the case that would solve the imouto tension also. Animes have done that plenty of times before so its possible I guess. No doubt the motivations of the Yakuza style villain will be explained next week accompanied by the usual sneering and evil laughter. :)

  6. Frankly, I think it would have been weird for them to have sex in that situation. I just don’t like the reason they used to get out of it.

    Ikki being kind of a prude and spouting some fairly damaging cultural ideas (that a sexual relationship is somehow not something they could be proud of) was not necessary. The very simple reason that could and should have been used is that Stella was apparently so sick that she could not walk, move, or undress herself (it was not played as her trying to get him hot and bothered save MAYBE the bra). That is not the time to do the deed.

    And as was mentioned above, the fact that Stella, who is supposedly one of the strongest blazers in the school, is continuously shown to be weak and incapable is a huge mark against this adaptation, which is otherwise very good.

    1. “The very simple reason that could and should have been used is that Stella was apparently so sick that she could not walk, move, or undress herself”

      My first thought about the refusal as well. He didn’t have to go into pride at all.

      1. In the LN, they do mention that Stella is a princess, and Ikki is currently not on good terms with his family, which could cause a scandal if they had sex. Ikki wanted to win the 7 star word festival to raise his standing before talking to the king.

      2. I don’t remember if they actually mentioned it earlier in the anime, and perhaps I was just mixing her status up with Julis, but I’ve been operating under the assumption Stella is a princess, as in a real princess, not merely a/the “princess” of the school.

        So yeah, royal scandals would factor into Ikki’s decision, along with his not-so-great status among the Kuroganes.

        That begs the question: if these were just two “ordinary middle class” Japanese kids in this situation, would Ikki have been okay with it? That’s obviously a loaded rhetorical question, but your point about Ikki thinking it’s just too soon would likely still apply regardless of their statuses.

        I stick by my opinion in the review that while it would have certainly been more immediately satisfying for them to have done the deed, Ikki’s reasons for refusing are both valid and true to his character. Frankly this show has surprised me enough so far that I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt on this.

        (This is, after all, also the episode that made care about Shizuku again!)

        Ikki, it seems, wants to at least try the “by-the-book” path, wherein both his family and Stella’s are okay with the match, even if that looks unlikely right now. It’s important to him that he make that attempt. If that path doesn’t work, they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it.

    2. I don’t understand what you mean by “fairly damaging cultural ideas”. Leaving the interpretation of Ikki’s opinion aside, in the scene, Stella asked Ikki if he wanted to have sex, and Ikki said no due to his beliefs (that right now is not the right time). He did not condemn Stella for suggesting sex and Stella also agreed with Ikki after. Therefore, I don’t think either of them held their beliefs as “better” nor did either of them force their beliefs on each other so I don’t think you meant damaging in this regard.

      If you meant damaging with respect to what his beliefs actually are, then I think it would be better to say that you do not share the same beliefs as him seeing as neither your beliefs nor his beliefs cause any harm. With regards to Ikki’s actual beliefs, I don’t think that meeting with your partner’s family before having sex is a belief that is limited to a single culture nor do I believe that it is uncommon (especially if one of those families is nobility). I don’t think Ikki was completely against the idea of having sex. He simply stated that their relationship was at an early stage where they haven’t even told other people about it and that they should hold off until later.

      TL;DR: I don’t think Ikki’s opinion is damaging nor associated to any one culture, though you disagreeing with him is still a valid opinion.

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