In a time and place where one's soul can be morphed into a weapon, there are modern-day magicians called Mage-Knights. Although Kurogane Ikki is a student at an institution that trains Mage-Knights, he has no particular talent in magic and is labeled the "Failure Knight" or "Worst One." Getting way less than average marks in the scorings, he was forced to repeat a year. But with the arrival of a new head of the institution, a new rule was created: knights whose abilities are compatible, as decided by the board, must share rooms and attend practice and training together throughout their school years to bring up their abilities to the max. It is a rule to implement the absolute verdict of ability.
Ikki's roommate, Stella Vermillion, turns out to be a princess of another foreign country. Stella is a Rank A knight: the type of genius in magic who only appears once a decade. When Ikki walked in on her while she was changing her clothes, it caused a huge misunderstanding, which eventually ended up in a duel between the two of them. The punishment for the losing side is Eternal Submission to the winning side.
Forced to live the same room and practice magic together throughout all their school years, how will Stella and Ikki's relationship evolve?
School Life battle style storyline revolving around the schools ‘weakest’ mage knight and his efforts to find a means to rise to the top of his class and achieve a win at school tourney which would allow him to graduate after much difficulty.
Couple this with a well-paced romance angle and we have an interesting take on a common theme.
The story here is nothing too complicated but it is well paced, well-built and interesting. We basically follow our hero Ikki Kurogane as he finally is given an opportunity to perform and compete to achieve Mage Knight status despite the resistance and interference of his
family and class mates. In tandem we explore the first time love between Ikki and Stella, a princess from a small territory who is the Ace of the First Year class due to her immense Fire Abilities.
Insert some interesting supporting cast and some interesting confrontations and it makes for an interesting casual read.
Although Ikki is an honorable and noble individual don’t expect a ton of depth in the storyline as he faces and attempts to overcome all the issues his life and education throw his way.
Overall the art for Rakudai kishi no cavalry is good. The characters have distinctive features making identification easy and the action segments are very well done and easy to follow. Some of the line work is a little loose from time to time and proportion occasionally seems off but honestly no complaints. The character designs are interesting and attractive and the settings and backgrounds are also detailed and support the panels well.
Aside from Ikki the supporting cast is slow to gain much definition and it typically only comes when it’s necessary to explain the present situation which Ikki is attempting to overcome, or help someone close to him overcome. That said the characters are each interesting and have their own quirks that make them likable but also with flaws which make them believable individuals.
Ikki is a well designed main, nothing exceptionally unique but strong, confident in himself and unwilling to back down as well as not being the type to run from relationship confusion. He confronts his problems head on and overcomes them through careful contemplation and implementing his many talents. I love that he doesn’t back down and run from relationship confusion or conflicts but faces them head on and avoids those annoying delays in development that occurs so frequently in romance/slice of life manga.
All in all I find this series well executed, interesting and look forward to new chapters as the pacing is excellent and the story direction rarely drags no matter if they are exploring action, romance or drama.