Light Novel / Chivalry of a Failed Knight

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Chivalry of a Failed Knight (落第騎士の英雄譚(キャバルリィ) Rakudai Kishi no Chivalry) is an ongoing 2013 light novel written by Riku Misora and illustrated by Won, published by SB Creative under the "GA Bunko" imprint. It is also adopted into an ongoing 2014 manga series illustrated by Megumi Soramichi for Square Enix's Gangan Online anthology, as well as an anime directed by Shin Oonuma and Jin Tamamura under Silver Link. as part of the Fall 2015 Anime season, with available overseas viewing in some countries such as the United States on Hulu.

In a time and place where one's soul can be morphed into a weapon, there are modern-day magicians called mage-knights. Although our hero Ikki Kurogane is a student at one such training institute, Hagun Academy, he has no particular talent in magic and is labeled the "Worst One". Getting way less-than-average marks, he was forced to repeat a year. But with the arrival of a new director, Kurono Shinguji, a new rule was also 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 tap into their potential. It is a rule to implement the absolute verdict of ability.

Ikki's roommate, Stella Vermillion, turns out to be a princess of a European country, as well as 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 loser is eternal submission to the winner.

Forced to live in the same room and practice magic together throughout all their school years, how will Stella and Ikki's relationship evolve?

All Character tropes must be moved to the proper character page.


Chivalry of a Failed Knight contains examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Ikki first meets Stella when he walks into her changing. Then he uses Insane Troll Logic and takes off his shirt to even the slate. Turns out because Kurono purposefully made them roommates and the whole thing was an understandable misunderstanding.
  • Adapted Out: Reisen Hiraga, the Akatsuki puppeteer who attacked Ikki and Stella in Volume 3, is replaced by a nameless blazer in the anime. This applies to the rest of Akatsuki, who didn't show up in the season at all.
  • All for Nothing: The Kurogane clan's smear campaign to discredit Ikki proved pointless when Sirius Vermillion discovers their actions.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Ikki usually creates counters by watching and understanding his enemies tactics in seconds!
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening of the series features Stella fighting against Ayase and Kuraudo fighting against Toka. None of those two battles happens in the actual series.
  • Big "NO!": Stella gives an impressive one at the beginning of volume 1 when Ikki attempts to take off his clothes after accidentally barging in on her changing. In his room, nonetheless.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Stella and Ikki yell one in unison when Kurono tells them that they are roommates.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Shizuku, Ikki's younger sister is interested in this. Ikki, to his credit, finds this highly disturbing and other characters note that her behavior is taboo. Her behavior is due to the neglect and abuse Ikki suffered at the hands of the Kurogane family, so she decides to love him enough to make up for every other member of their family, which is confirmed in volume eight. That said, Shizuku's behavior clearly cross the line of normal brother-sister relations, causing quite a few raised eyebrows around campus.
  • Blatant Lies: In Volume 3, Ikki and Stella's relationship is exposed to the public, and the Kurogane family supplies multiple false testimonies decrying Ikki as a philandering thug.
  • Bland-Name Product: Ikki and Stella visit a McRonalds restaurant in volume 4, at the invitation of a student from another school.
  • Bridal Carry: In the manga adaptation, Stella gives one to Ikki after this fight with Toka Todo.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper:
    • The ruffian known as Shizuya Kirihara attempts to cripple Ikki Kurogane in their duel using his invisibility, only for the latter to gain a Heroic Second Wind and then attacks Kirihara in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • When Ayase Ayatsuji is scheduled to have a tournament sword fight with Ikki, she first tricks Ikki into using his Ittou Shura (a technique he can only use once a day due to Heroic R.R.O.D.) before the match, then litters the battlefield with dozens of magical traps (you're allowed to use traps, but you have to set them up during the match, not before it). Ikki actually reports her cheating before the match, but persuades them to let the match continue as he wanted to prove a point. Ayase ultimately loses because her guilt dulled her reflexes and skills.
    • The Kurogane clan repeatedly tried to sabotage Ikki's matches with tactics like imprisoning and poisoning him shortly before the matches, but he would overcome this and win anyway.
    • Shizuku tries this immediately before her match with Amane due to the nature of the latter's Noble Arts. The result: Amane proceeds to torture her and give the mental equivalent of rape, by outing Shizuku's sexual feelings for Ikki in the worst possible light... publicly. Shizuku's LIFE is only saved by a timely Big Damn Heroes moment on the part of her rival.
  • Chuunibyou: Rinna Kazamatsuri is a member of the Shinigami, a C-Range Blazer... and a chuunibyou, who even referenced Rikka Takanashi having an Eyepatch of Power to "seal her powers".
  • Coming-of-Age Story: For Ikki and Shizuku. Ikki Kurogane has to prove himself his worth as a Blazer and Stella Vermillion travels to Japan to become a top-ranking Blazer.
  • Crapsaccharine World: A world of magical fighters might seem cool at first glance, but with blatant cases of child abuse, political corruption and terrorism all made possible by the systematization and classification of those very same magical fighters, it becomes clear the world of Chivalry of a Failed Knight is not a happy one. Worse yet, the two major powers, the League and the Union, are itching to start a new world war the moment the Rebellion terrorists weaken enough.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ikki is on the receiving end of one by Kirihara during their round. However, after Stella gives him some encouragement, he manages to figure out the latter's weaknesses, and exploits them to dish one out to the latter.
  • Death Glare: Stella to Ikki when she is about to attack the latter in Kurono's office.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Kirihara is more than willing to take time to handicap other Blazers in his duels. At least until he tries to pull it on Ikki in Volume 1, which gives Ikki a Heroic Second Wind and defeat him in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • The terrorist Blazer Supremacist group tried to kill a child for getting the clothes of a single member dirty with an ice cream cone, after that member pistol whipped his mother. Ikki showed the leader of that cell how it feels on the receiving end by chopping off his hands as punishment for making Stella walk around in her underwear, using the child's life "as an incentive." Granted, chopping off his hands was the only way available to Ikki to prevent the leader's Attack Reflector from activating, but given a choice, Ikki would have gone much further to avenge Stella's humiliation.
    • Ikki goes against his father's orders and attends Hagun Academy in order to become a Blazer. The Kurogane clan's response is to pressure the school into not letting him take classes and have Shizuya Kirihara ridicule him. When Kurono becomes the academy's director and makes the system fairer for Ikki, the clan then starts a smear campaign against Ikki, puts him through a torturous hearing, and poisons him so he'll die in his duel with Toka, but it doesn't work out. Itsuki claims that this is all for the sake of preventing Ikki's underdog victories from giving low rank Blazers false hope in the Hard Work Fallacy, but actively sabotaging Ikki is going too far considering that the latter isn't actually doing anything wrong.
  • Elemental Powers: What many Blazer abilities conform to.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Blazer powers can be oriented around elements, such as with Stella and Shizuku. Shizuku surpasses her weakness to lightning-oriented Blazers in an early battle with pure water, but still loses to the lightning-using student council president Toka for other reasons.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening changes who Ikki is fighting to a new fighter after he beats them. It starts with Kirihara to Kuraudo and then Toka.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Deploying Devices outside of specified areas inside or outside Hagun Academy will result in a suspension or, in the case of Stella and Shizuku, cleaning the restrooms for a week.
  • First Girl Wins: Following Ikki's first battle at the end of the first arc, while he's recovering in the hospital, he and Stella decide to become a couple.
  • Freudian Excuse: Shizuku rationalizes her affections towards Ikki as showing off the love of family members that have been abusing and neglecting him all this time. However, Stella doesn't seem to buy that, as a blood-related brother and sister do not normally kiss each other so passionately. Subverted in volume eight, where Ikki confirms that Shizuku really does love him in all of these ways, and then some, and Stella evidently agrees.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Stella manages to combine this with a Big "SHUT UP!", Rousing Speech, and Anguished Declaration of Love, screaming at the top of her lungs so loudly that it silences the entire stadium when Ikki is in the middle of his Heroic B.S.O.D. against Kirihara after hearing one insult too many.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Ikki and Stella finally have sweet tender sex on volume 9 of the Light Novel.
  • Hate at First Sight:
    • Shizuku and Stella start off on the wrong foot, mostly due to the former kissing her brother Ikki rather passionately in front of the latter. The fact that Shizuku has no qualms about the Squick value of what she just did only seems to irritate Stella some more.
    • Surprisingly, Ikki of all people feels hatred towards Amane upon their first meeting, despite the latter's seemingly innocent nature. Though once he sees Amane's true nature, his apprehension is a lot more justified.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Played with when it comes to both protagonists.
    • While Ikki works extremely hard in swordsmanship and reading his opponent, his attacks can be tanked by a lot of higher ranked Blazers and those Blazers will also train hard. He has to use Ittou Shura to stand a chance, which most Blazers would never use due to the extreme fatigue. In this case, Ikki has to make up the difference with hard work, risks no one else would take, and determination.
    • Despite appearing to be a genius to everyone, Stella actually had a difficult time becoming a Blazer due to her initially poor control of her power, to the point where training was always physically harmful. Despite that, she trained her control stat to B+ and trained her swordsmanship to the point where even Ikki is impressed. So while she was indeed born with a lot of power, she still needed more training than most people to even make use of it.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Ikki goes through one during his match with Kirihara until Stella snaps him out of it.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Stella provides a few of these. At first her denials are of the typical kind, but later on is just a cover for the fact that their relationship being exposed would present significant problems for both of them, on an international scale. This comes true in volume three but is resolved in the same.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: The Kurogane family leaders shun Ikki for being an F-rank and are out to keep him from being recognized as a Blazer because they fear he will bring shame to the family.
  • Hostage Situation: One occurs in episode 3 after some terrorists take over a mall.
  • Hypocrite: The Kurogane family acts like Ikki is the bad guy and claims his underdog successes will ruin the stability of Japan's Mage Knight system. Despite that, they're willing to screw the rules and perform illegal or borderline illegal actions, such as poisoning Ikki and secretly helping Akatsuki for the sake of political power. Once their actions are revealed to the public, they end up damaging the credibility of the order that they claim to protect. Ironically, their boogeyman is far better at following the rules, including the ones they created to obstruct him.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Kurogane family wants to destroy Ikki's chances at being a magic knight because they think an F-rank knight with the Kurogane name will shame the family. To this end, they will use any method regardless of the cost, even if it will shame the family in the process. Of course, they completely ignore Ouma Kurogane's membership in Akatsuki, a front for Rebellion, because they're in on Prime Minister Tsukikage's plans to increase their own influence. Despite having supposedly well-intentioned reasons for doing this, their actions still come off as paranoid.
  • Ironic Echo: Kirihara, when he was on the giving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle towards Ikki, seems quite arrogant, mocks him constantly, and eagerly talks about killing him to end his misery. Once Ikki manages to counter him completely however, he then turns into a complete coward, and begs for his life. Ikki stops his blade in front of Kirihara's nose, just enough to cause light bleeding, but Kirihara passes out in fright, and loses the fight to him.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Rebellion certainly qualifies due to their ruthlessness, to the point where even children are fair game to them. Not to mention that they managed to gain a foothold in Japan's government by working with the Prime Minister.
    • Inverted with Toka and Yudai, who are both a lot nicer than the end-of-volume rivals of the first two volumes.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: The heavily armored guy Stella faces off against in the first round of the tournament appears as though he'll give her a rather tough time. However, he immediately forfeits the fight rather than have to take her own, knowing that despite the way it looks, he's clearly outmatched against her.
  • Let's Wait a While: Ikki invokes this during the cabin scene, wanting to wait until he's got the approval of Stella's family before they take things that far.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: This is referenced in volume 2. Ikki states many students do not train physically as its much easier to get stronger by training with their noble art instead. In practice, the strongest Blazers tend to practice in both martial arts and Noble Arts.
    • In comparison to Ikki, Stella is the Quadratic Wizard. Although she was born with a powerful ability, it took a considerable amount of training to master it. However, the ability alone makes her one of the most powerful characters in the setting, coupled with her own improving swordsmanship skill. While Ikki's swordsmanship ability makes him formidable, his lack of magic power makes it difficult to keep up in other areas. Therefore, he struggles in areas that would be easier for Stella.
    • Shizuku is noted to have avoided martial arts in defiance of her family's abusing Ikki, instead training her mana control to rank-A proportions. This proves to be something of a double-edged sword.
  • Magic Knight: Blazers, and by extension most of the characters, are these.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Ikki's class is shocked when Shizuku kisses her brother and they eventually run in a panic when Stella and Shizuku are about to fight.
  • Master of Your Domain:
    • Ikki figures out how to control his body to a fine degree. He can do things like manipulate the muscles of his heart to make it beat again after it was stopped in a fight with Amane and count the number of dust grains on his skin by feel.
    • Edelweiss's technique of instantly swinging at top speed requires extreme control of one's muscles and nerve signals, to the point where Ikki had difficulty grasping it.
  • Micro Monarchy: The Vermillion Empire, of which Stella is a princess.
  • Multi-Part Episode: The anime has the four-part "The Worst One", the three-part "Sword Eater" and the two-part finale "Another One: The Uncrowned Sword King."
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Ikki's family put pressure on Hagun Academy to keep him from graduating. This resulted in new rules that require students to have a certain ranking in order to take classes, keeping Ikki from getting units and passing his first year. Luckily, Kurono Shinguji became director and fired the obstructive staff. Turns out to be the real reason they are trying to stop Ikki. They want Ikki to fail as an example. They don't want other F-Ranked to try to succeed as unlike Ikki, they will fail causing unrest in the mage-knight system.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: In volume one, Stella gives ridiculous demands to Ikki if he wants to live in the front of their room, such as not breathing. They end up fighting a duel.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Stella's reaction when Ikki sees her changing clothes after entering their room.
    • Ikki when he upsets Stella by calling the earlier apartment issue a minor incident.
    • Stella when Ikki outsmarts her during their mock duel.
    • Stella when she sees Shizuku kissing Ikki.
    • Ikki when he realizes that Shizuku and Stella are about to fight in their classroom.
    • Bisho when Ikki cuts off his arm.
    • Kirihara when Ikki has his Heroic Second Wind.
    • Ayase when she is quickly discovered following Ikki.
  • Peace & Love, Incorporated: Volume 3 has the "Ethics Committee," a government organization that is supposed to ensure that Blazers behave ethically. Unfortunately, they're controlled by the Kurogane Clan and are out to revoke Ikki Kurogane's right to be a Blazer for being The Unfavorite and for undermining the Blazer ranking system. To accomplish this, the committee resorts to all kinds of unethical means, such as creating false charges, poisoning Ikki, wearing down his stamina with a prolonged Kangaroo Court, and setting him up to fight the strongest student in his school when he's already near death.
  • Random Power Ranking: Blazers are given letter ranks for multiple attributes along with an overall rank. However, due to the uniqueness and applications of everyone's Noble Arts, these rankings don't automatically decide the outcome of a fight, and indeed, often mislead characters to believe they are better matched to another person in combat. While Ikki managed to beat A-ranked Stella fairly easily, some lower ranked foes gave him more trouble due to how their abilities matched up better against his pure melee style.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When Ikki enters his room to find Stella changing and he attempts to take off his shirt in response, he gets summoned to Kurono's office.
    • Once Shizuku kisses Stella in front of the entire school, Stella and Shizuku illegally deploy their devices in their duel and Kurono has them clean the women's restrooms for a week.
    • When Kurono became the director of Hagun Academy, she did away with the old administration because of their corruption and developed a fairer ranking system for Ikki.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • A rich and well connected family using their power and influence to cover mistreatment of their own or covering up criminal wrongdoings of their children happens often enough in Japanese media that this sort of thing might have actually happened a few times in real life. The Japanese do have a reputation for covering up things like this to protect their image to the point of absurdity, if you know your World War II history.
    • Yui Tatara's entire family would be in maximum security prison, possibly in solitary confinement, for felonious child abuse and endangerment because their "family tradition" requires their children to be raised as psychotic assassins by having their lives under constant threat since the age of three. Like the Kurogane family, they have enough connections to cover up their actions.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Kurono is a honest woman who is determined to keep Hagun Academy at the top of the Seven Stars Sword Art Festival.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!:
    • Combined with Screw the Rules, I Make Them! in the Kurogane family's case. They pressure Hagun to implement rules that keep lower-ranked knights like Ikki from taking any classes, since they believe Ikki's potential success could damage their reputation and upset the ranking system. When Kurono becomes director and overturns those rules, they use the Ethics Committee to start a smear campaign against Ikki and poison him.
    • Ikki usually follows rules regardless if they put him at a disadvantage, but he has one instance of this combined with Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!, especially when he screws a rule that would have given him an advantage for once. He asked his teacher, Oreki, to overlook Ayase's illegal strategy of placing traps in the arena before the match starts, since he wants to teach her why her mindset is wrong rather than simply reporting her and letting her learn nothing.
  • Sensei-chan: Yuri Oreki, who won't answer her students unless they address her as "Yuri-chan".
  • Shameful Strip: Stella Vermillion is subjected to this by a bunch of criminals who threaten to kill their hostages if she does not comply. She complies only to save the hostages, and the distraction allows her friends enough time to come to the rescue.
  • Shout-Out: An odd one in episode 11 of the anime, the walls of the room Ikki is kept in when in custody of the Ethics Committee are an exact copy of those in the rooms in Cube 2: Hypercube. Luckily for Ikki, it's purely aesthetic.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: In Volume 3, Ikki is unable to drag out the fight and observe Toka's combat style like with other opponents, due to the Ethics committee poisoning him. Instead, he had to immediately initiate this trope with Toka to win.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: First, there's Ikki's story. The extreme neglect Ikki faced (not to mention the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown when he censured Shizuku for ridiculing others) would have gotten him transferred to a foster home and the Kurogane family sent to jail, with the exception of Shizaku who is both a minor dependent, and actually cares for Ikki. Then there's the story of Yui Karata, one of the "student" assassins of Rebellion/Akatsuki. To raise her into an assassin, her family's been actively trying to kill her since the age of three.
  • Spit Take: Two in rapid succession with Yuri and Stella in episode 7. Yuri, amusingly, spits her blood.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening for the anime shows glimpses of several major battles that Ikki has to face over the course of the story. Most notable are "The Hunter" and "The Sword Eater."
  • Supporting Harem: Ikki and Stella become an Official Couple by the end of the first volume of the light novel / first arc of the anime adaptation. While he still cares about the other girls who happen to be in love with him, their feelings remain unrequited.
  • Tournament Arc: The Seven Stars Sword Art Festival, which is also Ikki's main means of graduating from school. Though the stakes increase when the Prime Minister organizes Akatsuki and allows them to participate, which is all part of his plan to push his political agenda.
  • Tranquil Fury: Ikki has shades of this, such as when he manages to learn Kirihara's method of making himself invisible. He's so calm that it even freaks out the latter as he either dodges, catches, or cuts his arrows down.
  • Twice Shy: Ikki and Stella. Even after confessing their feelings for one another early on, they both are still too nervous to make the first move out of fear of the other thinking they are too lewd.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: This trope is actually discussed by Kurono Shinguuji and Itsuki Kurogane. The former is fine with this trope because she believes that as long as a Blazer performs well, they'll be a boon to the academy and country regardless of their rank. The latter tries to deconstruct this tropes with his belief that underdog victories will give false hope to low ranking Blazers, who will disrupt the order of the Blazer system with their useless effort.
  • Visual Innuendo: In the first episode, after Ikki disarms Stella by complementing on her beauty in Shinguji's office, she literally gets wet when her flames set off the sprinklers.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Ikki. He lacks the overwhelming offensive power of Blazers such as Stella, but compensates with extraordinary skill and control over his own body. Explanation  To a lesser extent, there are also D and C ranked Blazers who can still fight effectively due to clever use of their Noble Art.
  • The Worf Effect: The Hagun students get hit with this in Vol 4 thanks to Akatsuki and Edelweiss.
  • Would Hit a Girl / Would Hurt a Child: The terrorist leader Bishou hits a woman and her child because the child threw ice cream at him over hurting his mother.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Stella does a variation of this towards Ikki when he's fighting Kirihara and being mocked by the other students. Ikki manages to get a Heroic Second Wind from her encouragement after punching himself in the face, then proceeds to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Kurono does away with the old establishment, and heading the academy, develops a new ranking system for students.


Alternative Title(s): Rakudai Kishi No Eiyuutan, Chivalry Of A Failed Knight

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