Rakudai Kisihi no Calvary is a show that does a hell of a lot more wrong than it does right, manages to fall into all the typical LN tropes, and still manages to have an incredibly fervent fanbase which thinks that somehow it is an original show which averts many tropes used in LN-adaptations. While I admit that the show manages more right than wrong in one or two aspects, it still manages to be an incredibly bland and generic LN adaptation in the eyes of almost anyone who is experienced enough anime. This review involves spoilers, but honestly no one should care about spoilers in a show this bad. Still, you have been warned.
The story is basically that Japan won WWII, a hierarchical society of magic users (where magical aptitude is superior to all) exists, and the main character is someone who apparently sucks at magic and yet somehow can conveniently fight on an equal level to some of the best students in an academy that apparently is renown for training magicians.
No, I did not describe Mahouka to you just now. That is Rakudai.
Let me continue, our female main character is a girl with reddish pinkish hair, who conveniently forgets to lock her door while dressing up (in the very first episode) while the main character walks in. Our main character responds by stripping in exchange to her baring her unmentionables accidentally (something no human being does and is done only for the sake of comedy) and then establishes himself as a fairly reasonable person, complaining because the girl didn't lock the door and that it was an accident.
So basically, it's attempting to be witty and breaks any chance of me taking this guy seriously.
That's without mentioning a character's ability at copying movements (Kakashi from Naruto says hi), the girl using a fire sword (because Shana), our main character having the same conflict as Tatsuya from Mahouka (though he's a lot better than that abomination of a "character") and even an Accelerator like character who is randomly and maniacally doing crazy things. That's without mentioning just how absurd some of the powers are (your pupil losing color gives you a power up, really). Like seriously, that's just plain stupid.
This show may legit be the most uninspired thing I've ever seen in terms of story.
If only it was just that, but the characters aren't better either. Stella is a generic tsundere, Kurogane is the blank MC with the occasional moment, he has a sister that is in love with him, some side kick that's kinda cool and...do you see where I'm getting at here?
So. Finally we come here. What is the show's selling point, that drove its fans insane and say that it's so original and distinct from all those other LN adaptations?
The main duo get into a relationship.
Nah, I'm not pulling your leg here. They legitimately get into a relationship, and it's actually handled alright. By alright, I mean that I'm not cringing every time they interact, and it's actually kinda cute on a superficial level...until you realize it's just that, superficial.
Every single time they interact, the show feels like it's trying to force you to recognize that it's in a relationship like "OH GOD THEY KISSED" or "OH GOD GIRL IS ASKING GUY TO HAVE SEX" and so on, and it just doesn't feel natural. No one is legitimately this pushy when in a relationship, and people don't endlessly shove their love lives down people's throats. I will admit that there are a few scenes that are legitimately alright (the cabin scene was nice...then the ending blew it) and that it honestly is nowhere near the worst relationship I've seen in anime, but I'm genuinely surprised that this is considered by its fanbase to be the best relationship between two characters in an LN. Toradora? Hyouka? Oregairu? Spice and Wolf? Seriously, this is the best relationship in an LN-adaptation you guys have seen? The characters aren't even that interesting, you honestly can't describe or think of these guys as people (and let's face it, getting them into a relationship quickly may be a nice idea on a basic level, but makes no sense chemistry-wise, we hardly see them get along as friends and boom they're in a relationship).
Animation is drop dead gorgeous, especially during the fight scenes. The backgrounds look pretty nice, and there are actually some pretty nice scenery shots throughout the show. I just with they were better spent on some other show, because I honestly don't think this show deserves it.
I can't remember any particular track from the OST, though I guess the opening was alright.
And I honestly can't say I enjoyed the show all too much, honestly. It's too cliche for its own good, has only one aspect to remember done in an extremely superficial manner, and is just too much of the same as a whole to enjoy. Like sure, I may be repeating myself here, but it's hard not to feel that when you watch this show.
If you like this show, fine. I hold no grudge against you (unless it turns into another Mahouka) and can totally understand why you'd like it. Hell, I may have liked it if I watched it when I was 14. But honestly, if you're sick of more of the same and just heard that it's unique or original or any other absurd claim, please avoid it. It's not worth your time.