Knight's & Magic
Episode 7

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Knight's & Magic ?

There are a lot of issues in Knight's & Magic that you can get wrapped up in if you spend enough time thinking about its storytelling. I've gone over the self-serving weapons-development and overt militaristic showmanship, but I must admit that those elements seem comparatively benign and not intentionally malicious. It comes across this way because of how earnest and positive the show is in its other elements. The mecha-development and test battles are treated as enjoyable labors of love, and when that passion is firing on all cylinders, it's hard for the audience not to get swept up in how fun it all seems.

The mock battle between the new mecha developed by the Capital's lab and the Silver Knights illustrates this perfectly. Right from the start, it's just nice to see the opposing team of elite knights excited about the prospect of testing themselves against Ernie, instead of being dismissive or insulting toward him. It would have been easy to make them swaggering jocks that needed to be taken down, but the series' decision not to do that makes the resulting close battle much more pleasant.

Of course, the other point in the battle's favor is that it's just a cool fight. As seen previously, the animators can get the most out of their CG robots, and as their designs are innovated and improved upon, so are the ways they move and fight. Ernesti's new flight-capable mecha (which despite being blue, not red, moves three times faster) is more the star of the show than the special horse-and-rider mech, but everyone gets plenty of chances to shine. Whether it's Edgar's nifty movable shield or Dietrich's swishy dual-sword-wielding moves, the motion on everything is just a cut above what we've already seen. It gives off the genuine aura of passion that not just the characters, but the staff making this series have for mecha anime action.

The upswing in positivity doesn't end once the battle is over, of course. We get to see the lead Knightsmith Geist have his previous bad attitude turned around by Ernie's passionate worldview, and seeing everyone else's reactions to the kindred-spirit mecha-nerds is a fun bit. King Ambrosius also offers some positively measured commentary on Ernie's abilities, explaining how this battle illustrated that the prodigy's ideas are strong and his ambitions take him far, but he needs guidance and refinement to bring their practicality out. The biggest issue of K&M's early episodes was how unstoppably perfect Ernesti's ideas seemed to be, but they seem to be trying to dial that back, reinforcing that he does still have some growing to do. This follows on nicely from his first big failure in the previous episode; between these two, the show's come far in making Ernie an actual character who has room to develop, rather than just being a robot-building force of nature.

The second portion of the episode concerns Ambrosius abdicating the throne, then asking Ernie to build him a custom Silhouette Knight ‘to entertain himself’ and here I go again overthinking this premise more than I probably should. On the one hand, I can almost see the argument for owning personal giant war-robots for fun along the same lines as people who own guns for hunting or sport purposes. On the other hand, it's somewhat outlandish to picture getting the boys together and heading out to the woods in your giant metal death-machines to hunt doves for the weekend. It's a testament both to the culture developed in the series so far and the mindset of the people working on it that they think just owning a giant robot would be a fun, cool, and casual thing to do, and I guess in the end it's actually not much more incongruous than me and my friends playing airsoft. It's an over-the-top idea, but this isn't a series for subtlety.

There's another timeskip as the custom royal robots are built, and with over a year and change passing since the mecha-jacking attack a few episodes ago, it's noticeable that there haven't seemed to be any new antagonistic attempts by the enemy nation. With this long going by, it raises the question of what the point of their attack was, since we haven't seen any sign of progress or development they've made with the Telestale they captured. Obviously, out-of-universe, the incident was just to generate a serious conflict for one episode that could spur the mecha innovation and development that forms the real draw of the show, and kudos to them for introducing layered reasons to the process. However, it's still an element that demands some in-universe explanation, and going this long without so much as mentioning it just calls more attention to it. Hopefully these lingering questions get answered sooner rather than later.

The series ends with one more mock mecha battle, between Ambrosius and his recently-returned grandson, Prince Emrys. (This show really loves to just keep introducing new characters.) It's a more refined duel than the robot free-for-all at the beginning, but still a very entertaining one. Knight's & Magic is very good at putting together fights that aren't one-sided curb-stomps, even in cases where it wouldn't have to. With more mock battles than real battles at this point in the show, there are rarely any major stakes involved, and it's a testament to the staff's abilities then that they're able to make these light affairs entertaining to watch anyway. We learn more about Ambrosius and the prince in the process and even develop some character for them in the end as well, so the whole affair seems balanced in that regard. Knight's & Magic has settled into a light, mostly entertaining groove at this point.

Rating: A-

Knight's & Magic is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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