When I first read about Walkure Romanze I was intrigued by the idea of an anime where the male lead actually coaches and helps the main girl to improve herself at something, and if this first episode is any indicator it seems like they just might take that premise seriously. Call me crazy, but I think this might actually have a fair shot of being something a the serious womens sports anime that I’ve been wanting to see a modern anime of, where the sport is actually used for more than just fanservice or comedy. Of course, this show still contains plenty of fanservice and comedy, but beneath there’s an actual serious plot driving things.
It’s cool how the episode mostly follows Mio as the heroine, which is a bit unusual considering that this is adapted from a harem VN. Considering that the whole series is going to be about her getting better at jousting, I wonder if she counts as just the main protagonist, and the male lead is just the point of view character? That’d be quite an interesting structure for a harem romance romance. Also, Mio is dimwitted, clumsy and all around “moe,” but the moe seems to be more of a way to establish her as an underdog rather than give the audience something to wank off to. Which is coincidentally is also a point I made about Mirai in my first impression post for Kyoukai no Kanata. She’s also moe in a way which actually gives her a personality, which thus far makes her much more likable than the currently shallow male lead.
Not counting the OP there’s only really a few instances of titillation, both of which involve a horse ripping off one of the heroine’s skirts or somehow causing their jacket to unbutton and reveal they’ll massive cleavage. So firstly it’s nice that these moments of fanservice are being used sparingly, since it provides a healthy amount of quality cheesecake without getting in the way of the plot too much. Concerning the fanservice itself, it’s commendable that Walkure Romanze is striving to be more original than the usual cliche fanservice tropes, since the jousting training has potential for plenty of unique fanservice opportunities. Which I’m cool with so long as it strikes a balance and doesn’t get too excessive.
The setting for the series is quite anachronistic, with an academy which focuses on jousting with bits of modern Japanese culture thrown in here and there (like a maid cafe and bento.) Anachronistic settings can be pretty neat and interesting, though they only really work if it’s used for a comedy or simply as purely a background the main story; once you actually try to explain why the setting is the way it is it’s going to fall apart pretty quickly. The fact that this is a jousting academy is already a bit weird, but as long as the show doesn’t try too hard to explain anything it should be fine.
One hopefully minor issue is how the chest plates for the female knights is being molded around their breasts. This is a problem with a lot of character designs throughout visual media, but it’s especially irritating here since the curve of the breasts would direct the force of the lance inward, towards the center of the riders chest. Sports animes are usually stylized somewhat anyways so maybe it’s not that big of an issue, though I would hope it’s no indicator to how much the creators actually know about jousting.
I’m actually a little surprised myself at just how much I’m looking forward to this as an anime about jousting. I mean, just look at the second image I used for this post! But really this was a surprisingly strong first episode and I’m looking forward to more.