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EP. REVIEW: Knight's & Magic


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Blanchimont



Joined: 25 Feb 2012
Posts: 1345
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Fun facts; The Capital is named Kankkunen which is the Finnish word for hangover, and the Academic City is named Laihiala which is a major stable in Finnish jokes about stingy people (like the Scotch are sometimes used, more or less...).
Also, some of the names appear to be very Finnish, Ernesti and Lauri (Raul as translated, but hear the pronunciation).
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VampireNaomi



Joined: 30 Aug 2010
Posts: 64
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:25 pm Reply with quote
I'm enjoying this show more than I expected. Maybe it's because the main character is a kid, so his enthusiasm comes off as cute, and he's in no way arrogant. I doubt I'd like this half as much with an older protagonist.
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zrnzle500



Joined: 04 Oct 2014
Posts: 2502
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:50 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
As implied in the first episode, the main incredulity is the idea that the government and military has owned these robots for generations and regularly repaired them, but never thought to upgrade them in any way.


Considering they mention there being a latest model of the Silhouette Knights, they were in fact upgraded from time to time but more like the newest model of a car versus Ernesti's more ground breaking innovations which were akin to inventing a self driving car. Given the rate of innovation in the Middle Ages, it seems reasonable that centuries might go by without major innovations especially considering state control of knowledge of the key component, its magic engine.

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In the case of the female characters, they exist especially to fawn over Ernesti romantically.


Adel does go on about how cute he is but more in the sense that a small animal or small child is cute, which to be fair to her, he is the latter to one degree or another in the show. When has Stefania (her noble half-sister) or Helvi (the female test pilot) ever expressed romantic interest in Ernie?

I have a feeling that this review could be a slog considering Chris doesn't seem to be in the target audience.
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zztop



Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Posts: 298
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:48 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Is Ernesti literally the adult programmer Kurata from the intro, fully aware of his situation? Has he only inherited some vague understanding of his talents and passions that drive him? The show never makes it especially clear, which consequently makes Ernesti a difficult character to get a handle on. He's not a very forthcoming in personality, simply being ambitious in his goals and supernaturally skilled enough to achieve them ...we still don't really know who our main character is, and that's a major storytelling problem.


Yes, Ernesti is literally Kurata with all his adult talents and passions.
Being an ambitious, extremely driven robosexual IS his personality.
If you're looking for any deep character growth and evolution in your anime, this is not your show.

Quote:

The main problem with this approach is that it undercuts the substance that would be possible in the larger story.


I don't think the author ever aimed to write anything super deep or substantial with Knights or to overturn any isekai webnovel cliches, but just to write a fun story about mecha development and action in a fantasy world (using isekai as the entry point). The story technically IS wish fulfillment for mecha lovers. Granted a little more depth would be welcome, but the story is what it is.
The Twitter profile of Knights's author states he " loves works with giant humanoid weapons, and will live and die for mecha", which gives a good indicator of his thematic priorities when he wrote Knights.

兼業小説家のような何か。 巨大人型兵器をテーマとした作品を好む。メックと共に生き、メックと共に死ぬが定め。
https://twitter.com/Amazake_Write

On the plus side, its slightly better when compared to isekai webnovels of its kind. There's no forced sexual fanservice (only robot fanservice!), the author's self aware enough of his themes to give Ernesti ambition to pursue all things mecha, and it doesn't baldly use JRPG game mechanics like certain recent isekai webnovels.
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ultimatehaki



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
Posts: 418
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:26 pm Reply with quote
There is one things I'll give this show credit for and that's not making the character OP in terms of fighting capability. With the twins with him it clearly shows anyone can do what he does as long as they're taught properly and the only thing he's really doing is just making them see new aspects or ways to use they're magic and robots.

Also yeah, that narration at the end of episode when she explains how he killed the turtle was completely unnecessary, like we couldn't figure that out for ourselves.
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encrypted12345



Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 359
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:59 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, it's really vague in this adaptation how much he remembers. It's a bit better in the source material, but since he comes to terms to having reincarnated early on, he never angsts about his past life or anything thing like that, which means all we know is that Kurata was a programmer who loved mecha above all.

The isekai elements are mostly their to justify why he has ideas that defy the common sense of the world. The main reason that modifying Silhoutte Knights was a slow process was because the base structure was too dependent on the structure of a human. Any method of modifying the knight was thought of terms of how to modify a human rather than a machine. It's like how technological progress before the scientific revolution was at a crawl at best, and that was assuming barbarians didn't destroy all of that technological progress, and humanity wasn't set back a few hundred years.

As for why the students are so willing to modify the mechs on a whim, they are not beholden to any bureaucracy that would normally impede such rampant experimentation and are more focused on the demon beast threat. Said bureacracy becomes a bit of an issue in future episodes. Also, I don't really think it's too weird for the students to listen to the crazy pilot who almost singlehandedly killed one of the biggest threats to the country, but maybe that is me. In the source material, their hesitation is made more obvious at least, but their curiosity wins out.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Posts: 1720
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:52 pm Reply with quote
Yeah I have the same problem with the show that the review does, it's really just one giant Gary Stu vehicle, it's practically masturbatory. They even have the narrator come in and explain how absolutely amazing the MC is. By the end of the season he'll probably have cure all disease (in a mech related way) and will be building spaceship or something.

I already have my standard really low when it come to mech show cause I love them so much (I watched most of the gundam show but I'd say less than 1/5 are good outside of the mech porn) but this is just too far below even for me.
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Squidslinger



Joined: 01 Jul 2017
Posts: 12
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:30 am Reply with quote
Do like the mechs. This show feels like Broken Blade with more of a magic element.
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Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 7248
Location: Wales
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:44 am Reply with quote
Quote:
The mechanics of this rebirth are so vague and obtuse, even by the standards of the genre

I don't know about the LN, but the manga is much the same - there's a sharp cut between an otaku dying and a kid yelling "robotto!" in hiragana and his mum scratching her head over the unfamiliar word.

Quote:
Is Ernesti literally the adult programmer Kurata from the intro, fully aware of his situation? Has he only inherited some vague understanding of his talents and passions that drive him?

I would say the fact that he calls the mecha "robots" which is a word that doesn't exist in this world and that he relates magic to programming (he even says something like "let me show you the skills of a programmer" in one episode) makes it clear to me that he has retained all his memories.

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The way the world bends to his successes throughout the story makes the audience-embracing concept apparent on its face.

Maybe this isn't really another world, but in actuality his own personalised slice of heaven ^^;

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Characters like the Knight Runner that Ernesti rescues/hijacks in episode two are only there to give our hero a chance to get in a robot and show up the other mecha pilot characters.

I do hope that Dietrich jumping into the Eru camp was something that was given at least a little more time in the source material since in the anime he literally went from moping in the corner to running around in a mini-mecha in seconds.

Quote:
The most awkward part of the storytelling is an occasional narrator who explains things that happened over montages or outlines some of the worldbuilding.

This is my main complaint after the rushed pacing. I assume the narrator is taking the place of expository dialog, but I can't say that it is an improvement (it is one of the things that drove me screaming away from Terraformars).
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tehhead



Joined: 11 Apr 2013
Posts: 15
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:57 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
Yeah I have the same problem with the show that the review does, it's really just one giant Gary Stu vehicle, it's practically masturbatory. They even have the narrator come in and explain how absolutely amazing the MC is. By the end of the season he'll probably have cure all disease (in a mech related way) and will be building spaceship or something.

I already have my standard really low when it come to mech show cause I love them so much (I watched most of the gundam show but I'd say less than 1/5 are good outside of the mech porn) but this is just too far below even for me.


that actually happen, if you watch the ED you'll see those
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encrypted12345



Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 359
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:53 pm Reply with quote
Nah, he doesn't make anything that can make escape velocity within the timespan of the anime.

spoiler[Though it really wouldn't surprise me if Eru's personal mech in the OP actually was suited for space with all of the insane stuff it can do relatively speaking]
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Desa



Joined: 07 Mar 2015
Posts: 249
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:03 am Reply with quote
KnM, given its subject matter of programming + mecha + magic, speaks to me on a deeper level, and yet I still find it very puzzling whenever phrases like "pandering escapism" and "wish-fulfillment" get thrown around like they're somehow demerits and not at all one of the main reasons why FICTION exists in the first place, y'know, since the dawn of man and storytelling. But more importantly it doesn't hold much weight if anyone actually thought about it on more than a superficial level.

First off, whose wishes? What, concretely, are those wishes?

Certainly I can relate to Ernesti's desire to advance his craft, to reach the peak of his field, because to experience success after numerous failures on the path of progress is a reward in and of itself, but do I literally wish I was in Ernesti's place? Are my wishes being fulfilled through Ernesti? No. While being given a second life after death may seem appealing, if I had a wish, it would be to not die in the first place. When I think of all the things I'd have to give up in this life to live in Ernesti's world, I can only see that life as a downgrade. I am already privileged enough to pursue my own ambitions in this world. What would being Ernesti give me that I don't already have?

Again, I am clearly the audience this show was made for. I like everything about it, except for how Ernesti looks too girly and anime-y. And still I cannot see how KnM is particularly "escapist" or "wish-fulfilling", at least not more so than any other good fiction.

As far as being a focal point is concerned, having the world revolve around your existence is a staple of the isekai genre, but I find it is often the wrong approach to understanding how events unfold from a natural standpoint factoring in otherworldly knowledge and experience. It was established that Ernesti's world is a fairly stable one, with things having been the way they are for quite a while now, in other words technology was stagnating. The current mechs are based off ancient designs and it is implied early on that knowledge of their underlying fundamentals had been lost over the ages. One does not simply improve upon something they don't fully understand. The most important knowledge pertaining to the Ether core is a closely guarded national secret which few even have access to let alone try to improve upon. Their situation is similar to ours after the fall of the ancient Greeks, there was an extremely long period of technological regression and relative stagnation. Ernesti acts as the "spark" akin to igniting a new Industrial Revolution. Like a glacier that crashed into a quiet lake, the huge rippling effects would make it very strange if Ernesti WASN"T the center of attention. Aside from that, to criticize a world for being tailor-made for someone being reborn into it is akin to lampooning the very premise of the isekai genre as a whole. Fundamentally isekai stories are about upsetting the status quo, and those who disturb the status quo rarely ever go unnoticed.

As for the other characters having "almost no agency at all" I don't see much evidence for this. Nearly all the characters are simply doing what they would be doing if Ernesti wasn't around and they do it with decent proficiency as far as the world's current standards are. Like during the Behemoth attack, the people didn't just sit around waiting for a miracle to happen. They knew they didn't have the forces to counter a Behemoth level disaster but they still did the best they could with what they had. Now that Ernesti is influencing mech designs clearly people wouldn't just keep doing what they've always done now that something much better is available. Rather than a lack of agency it just seems like natural cause and effect to me, relating to what I was saying about upsetting the status quo.

And then there's the technical merits. Episode 1 is the first time in anime where I've seen code that looks like actual programming code as seen in a typical IDE. The amount of little details in that episode was simply amazing. Episode 2 had the best action sequence of the entire season thus far (and yes I'm including Fate/Apocrypha in that lineup). For that alone, a cumulative score of C+ seems a tad too low.

My rankings would be:

Ep1: B+
Ep2: A-
Ep3: A- (Dietrich FTW!)
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Xavon



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 143
Location: Minnesota
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:57 pm Reply with quote
Oddly (or not), most of the complaints and questions here do not exist in the LN or manga versions.
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encrypted12345



Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 359
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:22 am Reply with quote
@Desa I agree with most of what you said, though I would say that the anime is wish-fulfilling for mecha fans. It doesn't do it excessively though, and it's not that bad of an example of pandering. It helps that the isekai elements are minimized, and that the main character became OP because of hard work and determination rather than being given some gift. The existence of the twins and the gap between them and the average person further shows that Eru's level is reachable by such means rather than lucky genetics.

Anyways, my rating
Episode 1 - C (They did a half decent job of trying to condense everything into a salvagable episode, but it's breakneck pacing is overly jarring)
Episode 2 - A (An utterly fantastic episode, only real blatant flaw was the narrator telling us the brain was fried instead of animation showing that it was fried)
Episode 3 - A- (A little rushed, but the pacing doesn't jar too much, and the battle was great)

Xavon wrote:
Oddly (or not), most of the complaints and questions here do not exist in the LN or manga versions.

The anime had to condense and skip a lot of the less important details. The first episode outright skipped an arc (which didn't involve mech action, so skipping it was justified at least), and the mech building antics were more elaborated on in the source material. Also, while in the anime, the school seems focused on mecha only, it's actually supposed to be a multipurpose school. They ignored the capacity frame stuff, though they might bring it up later when the Telestarle is upgraded.

The creators seem to be doubling down on the arguable biggest advantage of the anime medium: showing action scenes better than manga or LNs. The CG is the best I have seen in a TV mecha anime (that isn't a high bar) and meshes with the 2D animation really well. The weathering on the mechs is a really nice touch. The action feels nice and weighty when it's supposed to be, and the common short-cuts that CG anime normally use are minimized.
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zztop



Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Posts: 298
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:58 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Addy and Kid actually point out that their kingdom currently has no enemies to use Ernie's new weapons to defend themselves from. 


The statement's both wrong and right- the kingdom has no (as yet) visible human enemies to defend themselves from, but it has the ongoing threat of demon beast incursions to use the weapons on.

The LN also establishes that the kingdom spoiler[considers demon beasts a greater threat to its national security than waging war with its western neighbours, and presents itself as a defensive buffer state protecting the west from the demons.]
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