- Awesome Music:
- The opening, Identity by Mikio Sakai, is an absolutely fantastic and uplifting theme about beating back the jeering crowd and making a name for yourself. The OP itself is also done in a minimalistic art style that primarily uses only black, white, and red, and is beautifully animated as well.
- Another example is Ikki's leitmotif Worst One, is a beautiful melody that fits so well Ikki's character, not to mention that makes the scenes wher he kicks some ass more awesome.
- Fandom Rivalry: With The Asterisk War because of their similarities to the plot and characters, and that they're also light novel adaptations that aired during the same season, even though Asterisk was first published in 2012 before Chivalry was published one year later. However, Chivalry after episode 4 proved itself to be more than just a generic light novel adaptation while Asterisk was exactly what people expected it to be. Considering how surprisingly unique Chivalry ended up being it should come as no surprise that most of its fans don't like Asterisk. Adding more fuel to this fire is the fact Asterisk managed to get a second season while Chivalry sits with just one. In addition, the light novels of Asterisk are localized in English by Yen Press while the light novels of Chivalry remain as No Export for You. Fans of Chivalry feel cheated that Asterisk is getting more attention despite its more obvious flaws and mixed reception.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Itsuki's abusive treatment of Ikki becomes even worse when you realize that Itsuki himself was abused by his own father as a child.
- Iron Woobie:
- Ikki comes from the prestigious clan of White Mage Knights known as the Kurogane clan. He is called the "Worst One" due to his F-Rank. In his childhood, he was horribly abused by other people, especially the power-hungry Mamoru Akaza. Ignored by his father, Ikki runs away from home but even then, he was encountered by his great-grandfather which resulted in Ikki regain confidence. He also studies on an academy known as Hagun Academy as a repeater due to his low rank due to his weak Blazer skills despite their great power. But even then, Ikki was actually mocked by some of the people in school due to his inferior rank. But that's just a tip of the iceberg. When he fought against one of the top students in Hagun Academy, Kirihara Shizuya, Ikki was constantly tortured several times thanks to Shizuya shooting arrows to give him a painful death. later Akaza tried many ways to torment or even murder Ikki such as sending a mercenary to murder him or scandalize his relationship between him and Stella. The latter succeeding in Ikki getting falsely imprisoned and was tortured for days by forcing him to fight the selection matches which resulted in Ikki having sleep deprivation. Not helping matter is that his stepfather, Itsuki Kurogane, didn't acknowledge him and said to Ikki that it's better on to do nothing because of Ikki's lack of talent which resulted in him losing any hope. But even then, he suddenly regains the hope thanks to Stella and his friends at the end of the day and then manages to win the festival.
- Y(u)uri Oreki was born with a weak constitution and vomited a liter of blood each day since childhood, requiring her to keep spare liters of blood for transfusion. She cares a lot about her students and wants them to try their hardest in the matches to qualify for the Seven Star Sword Art Festival; even at the cost of her overworking herself to the point of spitting up blood or experiencing seizures. During his admission into Hagun Academy, Yuuri was able to fight against Ikki wielding her cutlass and using her innate power, which lets her share her own pain with others. Her illness, combined with her lack of administrative clout, kept her from doing anything about the teachers that mistreated him.
- Ayase Ayatsuji is the daughter of her family dojo's owner. He trained her from childhood until he became ill. One day, a blazer nicknamed the Sword Eater defeated her father, hospitalizing him and taking over the dojo. Wanting to reclaim it, she sparred against Ikki in swordsmanship. Ikki fixed her stance as she was mimicking her father, making her slashes faster than before. Ayase also has the power to worsen the wounds that she opens, and a technique that leaves scars in the atmosphere, letting her create a vacuum blade as soon as the person comes close. Upon learning that Ikki's her next opponent, she faked attempting suicide to get Ikki to save her by using Ittou Shura, which he can only use once daily, while also setting traps before the match, all out of desperation to fight the Sword Eater. But, in the end, she lost to Ikki who forgave her and won back her families' dojo for them.
- Jerkass Woobie: Yui Tatara. Since Social Services Does Not Exist in the world setting, there is no way on Earth she could have become a decent person. Her family "tradition" going back three generations has its children raised to be assassins by putting their lives in constant peril starting at the age of three. It's so bad, she doesn't see anything "good or evil" about it. It's just something to do.
- Memetic Mutation: Many fans refer to Ikki and Stella's sex scene in Vol 9 as "Ittou Shura of the Night", which is a reference to the "Demon King of the Night" meme from Bladedance of Elementalers. One fan translator actually used this meme directly in their translation when Shizuku finds out about their sex.
- Moe: Stella is downright adorable.
- Moral Event Horizon:
- The Kurogane household has done way too many crimes to poor Ikki to even list where they began. But for the reader, their resurgence into the plot by trying to publicly shame him, brutally beat down on his determination and will to continue with a prolonged Kangaroo Court over and over, poison his food to further weaken him, and then send him out to a fight against the best student in his school where he's intended to get ousted from the school, die from being unable to take anymore, or have his Jerkass handler finish the job in the aftermath basically spell out that pretty much everyone from the family that isn't part of the main cast needs to go die in a fire.
- Yui Takara's family waved their arms and yelled "woohoo" at least three generations ago by founding a "tradition" to raise their children as psychotic assassins through constant threats to their lives, starting at age three.
- Reisen Hiraga and by proxy his puppeteer turns Mikoto Tsuruya into a puppet by attaching his device to her brain, and then gleefully threatens to turn her into a vegetable if Stella continues struggling.
- Nightmare Retardant:
- When Stella gets angry with Ikki about the earlier incident regarding the room, she proceeds to attack him with his fire magic. Fortunately for Ikki, he complements her beauty, causing her to get red-faced and (in the anime) set off the fire sprinklers.
- Shizuku gives off frightening Yandere vibes in her very first appearance, only for her and Stella to throw childish insults at each other and destroy the classroom (or in the anime, the hallway) as a result of their quarrel. Afterwards, they're both anti-climatically put under house arrest in the light novel and manga. In the anime, they have to clean all 27 of the female restrooms in the school. Once Kurono is out of earshot, they immediately go back to insulting each other.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
- Judging people based on talent alone is really toxic, as shown by how Stella feels like her hard work is unappreciated, how Amane felt that people only saw him for his luck-based abilities, and how Ikki is constantly ostracized and obstructed by others who don't want him to prove them wrong.
- Additionally, talent alone doesn't always result in immediate success, as shown by how many Blazers suffer from Logical Weaknesses that require hard work and thinking to overcome. Without hard work and attention to one's weaknesses, even talented people will hit a wall when faced with a problem outside their area of expertise, as shown by how Shizuya and Amane are put in situations where their normally powerful Noble Arts are useless. Additionally, some talents won't work without hard work, such as Stella's hard-to-control fire magic.
- Likewise, Ikki is an example of how hard work alone isn't always sufficient without other factors. Many of his battles show that against talented opponents who also work hard, he needs to be willing to take risks that they would never resort to, like using Ittou Shura or trying out techniques that were learned on the fly. Additionally, hard work isn't enough to overcome extreme mental stress, as shown by how he needed the Power of Love and the Power of Friendship in Volumes 1 and 3 to break out of his Heroic BSoD.
- Values Dissonance: If this was elsewhere, the Kurogane household would have been sentenced for child abuse.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Pretty much everyone in a political position of power is a Jerkass in some fashion or another, especially the Kuroganes. It reaches the point that the Prime Minister of Japan is a Well-Intentioned Extremist funding terrorists to attack his own country so they'd be primed and ready for the next World War. The fact that everyone in charge of Japan in-universe is antagonistic in some fashion or another likely doesn't paint a positive image of the author's views.
- The Woobie: Poor Ikki. He was ignored by his family to the point that he ran away from them to follow his dream of becoming a magical knight. And when he manages to become one, they immediately turn their attention towards destroying his life and reputation that he worked so hard for, as well as poisoning him in hopes that he'd die in combat and be a load off of their backs. And things just try their hardest to get worse after that. One character outright considers him to be targeted by the heavens for seemingly no reason at all.
YMMV / Chivalry of a Failed Knight