The Wandering Witch Faces Knight’s & Magic

Posted on Sep 28 2017


Welcome, all, again. This month’s subject anime is Knight’s [sic] & Magic, a fast-and-loose genre-hopping fantasy that pits a young prodigy against his world. Because Ernesti “Ernie” Echevalier is not only a prodigy, but also the reincarnated soul of Tsubasa Kurata, a Japanese computer programmer and otaku who at least partially remembers his former life. Wait, you say, this all sounds so familiar! Maybe so, but that won’t matter for long–this is a rolicking, fast-paced adventure that sucks the viewer right in! We follow Ernie as he pursues his dream of building and piloting the giant fighting robots that protect his country, the Kingdom of Fremmevilla. But this new world which he now inhabits possesses both its primitive technology and magic, each of which our protagonist must master in order to succeed. Now, please understand on the front end that this show does not get bogged down in details. For example, those of you who are fans of the Gundam franchise will be accustomed to long, copious exposition of technological and mechanical detail, quite similar to a Tom Clancy novel. That does not describe this show. Instead, consider this series more akin to a Michael Crichton novel, which so often hints at explanation moreso than closely examines it, preferring to briefly explore theory rather than minutely detail mechanics. Such choice indeed seems appropriate here, particularly with magic in play.


Ernie is the son of a noble family, the patriarch of which (his grandfather) runs the academy which trains Knight Runners, those who pilot Fremmevilla’s seemingly steampunk mecha Silhouette Knights. Growing up in such close proximity to these brave warriors and their mechanical partners, it seems only natural that Ernie would be infatuated with them. But he is young and small even for his age, so giant robots will need to wait until he has a few years of schooling under his belt. Perhaps tempered by the maturity of the man he was before, Ernie throws himself into his studies and becomes especially adept at magic. His great skill therein begins to garner attention, which others find rewarded by a friendly (if not exactly outgoing) personality. These qualities–dedication, skill & ability, and friendliness–help Ernie build a support network who loyally help him advance himself and his goals. Probably his first friends are Adeltrud and Archid Olter, called Addy and Kid, illegitimate children of Marquis Serrati to whom he teaches magic. All three eventually enroll in Laihiala Academy, his grandfather’s school, wherein Ernie quickly joins his two older friends by creating a new weapon with which he casts master spells, thus convincing the faculty to allow him to advance straight into middle school classes. This with the help of that previously mentioned support network; Dwarf craftsmen befriend Ernie and give physical form to his idea for the Gunblade-like weapon he then uses to impress his teachers.


And it is from this point that the story really takes off, having first allowed Ernie to establish himself as a force to be recognized and eventually either reckoned with or killed-off. (This is likewise when we viewers really begin to notice the lean towards the Crichton-esque as opposed to Clancy’s minutiae.) Having demonstrated his academic and creative prowess, Ernie next shows his courage when the school’s students are attacked by demon beasts during a training exercise. But it is upon realizing that those beasts are themselves fleeing in fear that he really comes into his own–a Knight Runner’s panic in battle leads to an act of cowardice that allows Ernie to commandeer a Silhouette Knight and race into battle against a giant space turtle. Well, a giant crystal-powered tortoise. But how? He inserts his Gunblades into the robot’s arm controls and magically “programs” (a la his former job) the robot to respond to his mental commands. Got all that? Good, because he defeats the behemoth and gets sent to see the king, which audience becomes one of the most compelling incidents in the series as Kurata’s understanding of politics and social protocol wrestle with Ernie’s youthful ambition and honesty. And so Ernie finds himself another step closer to achieving his dream.


I like this show, with its misspelled title and intentional vagueness on certain key plot points. And I especially love that The Big O look with the retro, almost steampunk design of the robots. Meanwhile, Ernie himself proves an engaging protagonist, leading his nascent knightly order both bravely and fashionably while wearing what appears to be a mini-skirted dress complete with off-the-shoulder sleeves (fierce!). Knight’s & Magic goes not just boldly, but brashly where so many others have already gone before. And it’s probably that easy familiarity that allows its audience to enjoy its absurdities so completely and unreservedly. Lastly, I just happen to prefer the Crichton model, which elevates storytelling over fact-checking.

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