Lance N’ Masques
Yet another show that I missed in the preview circuit makes an appearance. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of story, but I wasn’t disappointed with what I found. A fairly light hearted story about an unwilling boy knight, and a rich little girl might be a fun reprieve this season. The number of characters and the way they interact tells me that the majority of this show will be comedy with dramatic elements as they uncover more about the two main character’s families. There is a small point of worry in the age gap of the two main characters, and the implied romance with that age gap. Still it isn’t enough of a problem yet to sound the “pedo alarm”, so for now we watch and enjoy a strange story about a boy with chivalrous muscle memory.
We begin with Makio Kidoin, a very young girl, running an obstal course in the fading hours of the day. A hungry young knight (Yotaro Hanabusa) walks nearby, and hears the scream of Kidoin as she falls from a mountain on her course. Jumping into knight mode Yotaro saves the girl, and kisses her hand as a flourish to the deed. Flash back to the past, and we see Yotaro being knighted into the Knights of the World, an international sovereign organization that helps those in need. Yotaro apparently doesn’t want to be a knight, but his absentee father had him trained from infancy in the ways of chivalry. Now whenever someone (especially a girl) is in trouble he flies into white knight mode, always adding a kiss on the hand to seal the deal.
Here we see, in one of his attempts to rescue a girl from thugs, that Yotaro’s efforts are seen as strange by girls in today’s day and age. Flash forward to Yotaro’s rescue in the beginning, and we see that Makio is different from other girls as she is smitten with the knight she calls Knight Lancer. Yotaro runs from the scene, and Makio thinks that Yotaro and the Knight are different people. Seeing that Yotaro is hungry, Makio invites him to her estate. Her head maid (Lui Yuhua) is perplexed to see a stranger, but prepares him food and a room despite her misgivings. The next morning Yotaro is alarmed to find Mikio in his bed, as is Lui when she discoveres them together.
Lui informs Yotaro that Makio is the sole daughter of the Kidoin estate, and that the maids of the mansion she lives in have been ordered not to form familial bonds with their young mistress. As such Makio lives in solitute and draws pictures of her ideal heroes, including of course “Knight Lancer”. When a group of hired goons comes to kidnap Makio, Yotaro rescues the young heiress with his usual flair for the dramatic and leaves. Of course this is done in a way that doesn’t break her illusion of the hero “Knight Lancer”, and Yotaro recuperates near the mansion. During the episode a blond (Alice), a transforming horse-girl (Shirohime), and a maid (Yoriko) are searching for young Yotaro. They find him at the mansion right before the end of the episode. What fate lies in store for our stalwart, if unwilling, hero?
What fate is indeed the question, as the first episode leaves up pondering the direction the show will take. Taking the opening theme at face value, it’s safe to assume Yotaro and Makio are the main characters, so it will be interesting to see where the two of the end up during the course of the show. It seems fairly clear that Makio is the “princess” to Yotaro’s “white knight”, but given Makio’s age the romance option feels a little… wrong. Hopefully they plan a fast forward the plot by a few years in the future, or keep the romance strictly innocent during the rest of the season. Yotaro does seem to have other love interests in Alice, Shirohime, and possibly Yoriko, so maybe the relationship between the two main characters will be more of a friendship.
In terms of backstory there is quite a bit that is left on the plate with the absentee parents alone. Yotaro’s dad is apparently a bad-ass knight that’s always away, and Makio’s whole family lives away from her for no discernible reason. Then there is the story of Lui Yuhua who is uncommonly loyal to Makio, and the three girls tracking down Yotaro for an unknown reason. I have a feeling the next few episodes will be more set-up than action sequences. It wouldn’t surprise me if the writers did sneak in an action scene or two though, as they seem to enjoy showing off “white knight” Yotaro to the audience. I can see that becoming slightly annoying if done too often as well.
There isn’t enough in this first episode for me to say I’m wholly committed to the full eleven episodes, but then I definitely wont be dropping it anytime soon either. The key art and animation sequences are decent, but nothing spectacular. I’ll admit that the opening theme was surprisingly well animated, and equally surprising in the seriousness of its tone. With the reasonable start to the season “Lances N’ Masques” had in its first episode, I’m fairly confident it will at least a decent if forgettable show of Fall 2015. Keep up with this slightly odd show through its stream on Crunchyroll, or check in on my social media every week for a TLDR synopsis of the week’s episode.
Arigatō my fellow BrOtaku!