The Asterisk War
The Asterisk War was a preview I was a tad pessimistic about, though it seems that my predictions for the show are somewhat true. The show seems to have no qualms about following standard school anime rules and troupes. Potentially overpowered protagonist? Check. Tsundere main girl? Check. Super powered fights with no adult supervision? You know that’s a check. Story exposition that is somewhat hard to follow? Check, check, and check. This show seems to follow right off the heels of “Sky Wizards Academy” in terms of writing, though I’ll give this one credit for above average animation at least. I’ll probably watch this one to the end, but I’m honestly not expecting it to blow my mind anytime soon.
We start The Punctuation-Mark War with a battle between a guy in a mask and a girl, with the girl losing and bleeding out. This is followed by our protagonist (Ayato Amagiri) catching a handkerchief that flew out of a window, and using his powers to jump to the window to return it. In typical anime fashion the tsundere main girl (Julis-Alexia von Riessfeld) is changing as he tries to return her handkerchief. After thanking him for returning her precious handkerchief, Julis then attempts to murder him with a blast of fire. Julis explains that the students of Seidoukan Academy are permitted to duel, and she challenges him using the crest on her uniform. After a brief and undecided duel, the student council president Claudia Enfield breaks it up and leads Ayato into the academy.
It is in the academy that we learn that despite being the student council president, Claudia is only in her first year at the school. She is also quite the pervert who enjoys picking on Ayato. Presumably because he is an overpowered protagonist, Claudia tells Ayato that she wants him to win in the annual duel (Festas) between the six schools of Asterisk. Ayato says he isn’t interested in the Festas, but instead wants to know if his sister attended the school. When Claudia informs him his sister’s files have been deleted, he oddly states that he isn’t in Asterisk to find her. Instead he claims his goal at the school is “to search for what it is he’s supposed to do”. I felt that really undercut a good reason they had for him being at the school, and instead made him seem an aimless and kind of pointless really.
Before Ayato leaves the room, Claudia clings to him an says “at long last we meet”. Ominous though it was, Ayato leaves the room none the wiser (because anime). The final scenes have him meeting his roommate (Eishirou Yabuki), and the two of them witnessing the beginnings of a duel between Julis and another strong student (Lester MacPhail). Eishirou informs Ayato that the school’s students are ranked by dueling ability, and that Lester hasn’t beat Julis once. With the two on the verge of a fight, the show cuts to the ending theme. All in all not a terrible start to the season, but it really doesn’t seem like a standout show of Fall 2015.
If you follow my social media, you’ll know that this show had the first “accidental boob grab” troupe of the season. This was followed by the almost mandatory single group once he realized what his hand was on. This show also has a fairly transparent love triangle set up with Ayato, Julis, and Claudia. I imagine if any of those girls from the ending theme (possibly the future opening theme) get involved we might have a harem on our hands. This is fine with me as I love harems, but I know many people will drop it fairly soon. I’ll just enjoy it for what it is, and not expect it to be the next coming of Madoka. I will however pick at the story a little, if you’ll indulge me.
The story isn’t the worst I’ve ever heard, but that’s as far as my “praise” for it will go. I’d like to show you what I mean when I said the exposition is hard to follow. The following is word-for-word how they explain the world (or how it was translated anyway):
“During the previous century an unprecedented disaster known as the Invertia drastically changed the world as we knew it. The powers of existing nations declined significantly, paving the way for a conglomerate called the Integrated Empire Foundation to seize leadership. The people gradually began to alter their sense of morality. But at the same time, the Invertia also gave the world new potential. Specifically, the birth of a new species of human born with phenomenal physical skills… the Genestella. it is here that young men and women of Genestella vie for supremacy in the Battle Entertainment called Festas. Rikka, the Academy City on the Water. Commonly known as Asterisk.”
Hopefully they plan on explaining what “Invertia” is or was. I would also like to know how it drastically declined the power of EVERY existing nation, and how that somehow changed the nature of morality in all of them as well. It’s not unrealistic to hope that we get some explanation to the backstory, because there’s already a second cour scheduled for Spring 2016. Though I’m not discounting the possibility that it’ll be 12 episodes of love triangle shenanigans, and duels between students. Given the nature of the first episode I’m expecting some laughs from “The Asterisk War”, but nothing earth shattering in the realm of anime. I’ve been wrong before though, so I guess all we can do is watch and see.
Arigatō my fellow BrOtaku!