When it comes to anime boys, I have a Type. All you have to do is stick an earnest knight guy into your story and I am suddenly incredibly invested. The reason I’m called “Frog-kun” online is because I love the frog knight character in Chrono Trigger. For years, Suzaku from Code Geass was one of my favourite anime characters ever. I was (and still am) obsessed with Eugeo in Sword Art Online, Reinhard from Re:Zero, Flynn from Tales of Vesperia, and like half the cast in any given Fire Emblem game.
So when I saw a light novel with the title Safe & Sound in the Arms of an Elite Knight, I was like, “The target audience is me.” I had to read it.
Unfortunately, it didn’t pander to me hard enough 🙁
Safe & Sound in the Arms of an Elite Knight follows a basic Cinderella story template. The heroine Chloe starts the story in an abusive household. After her mother tries to murder her with a knife (subtle this story ain’t), she escapes into the royal capital. The knight guy Lloyd spots her getting attacked by ruffians and promptly swoops in to save her.
As far as his character type goes, Lloyd is pretty standard. He responds to everything very seriously and literally—when asked what he dislikes (the implication is that it’s about food), he just replies, “I dislike injustice, untruths, and the irrational.” He is good with a sword and has a strong sense of duty. At the same time, he is empathetic enough not to turn the heroine in to the authorities, understanding without being told that she does not want to return to her abusive family.
On paper, he’s my type. But I think that knight guys are fun primarily because of their foils. For example, they pair well with cheerful and mischievous characters, or perhaps a snarky and cynical type.
The two leads in Safe & Sound don’t have much chemistry because they are both wet blankets. Chloe is too docile and sweet to challenge Lloyd whenever he says anything ridiculous, so they mostly have very boring conversations where they thank each other constantly. There is a side character who does banter with Lloyd somewhat, but it’s hardly the focus of the story.
I should mention that the appeal of the story is the sweet and wholesome romance; it’s meant to be cathartic after the trauma both characters have been through. Chloe, for instance, struggles with using knives again because she was attacked with one, so Lloyd helps her cut vegetables from time to time. Lloyd has his own dark backstory about being forced into becoming a child soldier. Plus, it’s just nice to see a relationship built on mutual kindness and respect for boundaries.
But there is a fine line between “sweet” and “dull”, and the novel uses some cookie-cutter storytelling at times to make the relationships develop. For example, the ruffians at the start of the novel return at the end just to create a situation where Lloyd has to draw his sword for Chloe’s sake. In a story that’s primarily about the characters dealing with emotional baggage, it’s just hacky to rely so heavily on external conflicts for drama.
There is not much to say about this novel in general, because nothing much happens.
Safe & Sound was a bit of a missed opportunity, so I’ll take this chance to recommend a different shoujo-esque novel with a knight guy. Hello, I am a Witch and my Crush Wants me to Make a Love Potion is a fantastic romance novel that delivers all the cozy vibes with a more interesting set of characters.
The knight guy in this story is great because his personality is balanced out with flaws. He’s unconsciously arrogant and gets impatient when dealing with things and people outside of his comfort zone. He is never actually mean, but there is a push and pull between him and the heroine.
The Apothecary Witch Turned Divorce Agent is also a fun read because of the banter between the heroine and the knight guy. This time, the knight guy is portrayed as a very uptight sort of guy, while the heroine is more of a free spirit. They have a bickering relationship.
While writing this post, I remembered that my favourite light novel ever about knight guys is 12-gatsu no Veronica. This one is old and was never translated into English, but it has all the pining, angst, and tragedy that I crave from stories about knight guys. You can read my summary of the story here.
So, yeah, there are plenty of light novels with good knight boys to go around. Feel free to ask me for recommendations or drop some of your own into the comments!