If the medium of anime is a restaurant, then Gakusen Toshi Asterisk is reserving the most expensive seats, looking at the menu full of delicious entrees, main dishes, and deserts before getting up, walking to the bin where they throw out the rancid gruel, and stuffing yourself full.
-Self Insert Jesus!
-TWO Token Lolis!
-TWO Large Breasts That Advance The Plot!
-Exposition Spouting Male Friend!
-A Whole Host Of Other Shit That Doesn't Matter And Is Only Brought Up To Advance The Main Character's Cool Meter And Expand His Collection Of Women!
If you're here for the shitty fanservice, just go watch porn instead. The plot's better.
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk is a series which starts off as one of the most uninspiring anime I've ever seen throughout its first few episodes, but past a certain point it starts improving quite rapidly. Granted that doesn't really say very much given how mediocre the opening is, but despite the lackluster start it manages to make a quite impressive comeback and eventually become a pretty enjoyable anime.
First things first though, episodes 1-4 of Asterisk didn't exactly give me a very good first impression because they are *painfully* generic. Like if you've seen any typical action/fantasy/ecchi/harem magic academy anime before, you should know roughly what clichés
to expect, and I'll just say that initially Asterisk has effectively all of them. Our protagonist Ayato transfers into a new school and walks in on the tsundere female lead Julis in her underwear within 3 minutes of the first episode and 'accidentally' grabs her breasts, he meets his new classmates and immediately becomes surrounded by a bunch of girls who fall in love with him for whatever reason, he's given a powerful magic sword which he just so happened to be the 'chosen one' to wield and thus becomes super overpowered... you get the idea. Basically it's all been done countless times before and I'm really getting sick of it at this point. As a side note there's also this one scene which blatantly rips off the light sabers from Star Wars for some reason, even the sound effects were completely the same... well whatever.
Anyway, then starting from episode 5 (what I presume is the beginning of the second volume of the light novel), something happens to this anime which slowly but surely turns it into something different. And it comes with the introduction of a girl named Kirin; a very shy and nervous girl, yet also the top-ranked student in the school in terms of fighting prowess. The story starts putting a surprising amount of focus on her character and backstory, and in the process it downright sneakily goes *away* from the abundance of overused clichés it had in the first few episodes. Suddenly the amount of fanservice and romcom shenanigans is severely toned down, and instead we actually get some real depth and character development. Sure, it only really involves Kirin herself and our protagonist Ayato, but it was still a breath of fresh air compared to just having content I've already seen a hundred times before in other anime. And plot progression aside, I personally found Kirin to be by far and wide the most likeable girl in Asterisk's character cast anyway so I guess it was a win-win scenario in that sense.
Now I haven't read the light novels of Asterisk, but based on the contents of the anime I'm presuming it's covering every volume in 4 episodes each. And thus I was a bit worried that it'd start to get worse again after the anime had finished up on the contents of volume 2 which seemed to be the Kirin-focused one. Fortunately however that didn't turn out to be the case, as starting with episode 9 we finally get into what I guess can be called the 'main' story of this series. Introducing the Festa: a grand series of tournaments where the students of the six different magic academies in the city of Asterisk fight each other to showcase their talent and technological development. The price they're all fighting for is the opportunity to have any one wish of theirs granted. Naturally, Ayato and the girls are competing as well. Normally I'm not a fan of action in ecchi anime since it tends to end up rather incompatible with its own fanservice, but Asterisk does a respectable job at keeping the two sides separate from one another. As a result, the duels in the Festa are actually not that bad, and A-1 Pictures' are not exactly newbies when it comes to creating fancy special effects in shounen battles, so the visuals are pretty decent too.
When Gakusen Toshi Asterisk started airing, I considered it one of my least favorite shows of the season. Not that it's finished however; I'd say it's a perfectly acceptable show. Not anything amazing by any means of course, but if you just want an easily enjoyable way to spend 20 minutes every weekend... then this anime pulls it off very well. Discounting the generic and unimpressive opening, it has pretty decent fight scenes and production value, as well as good characterization for at least part of its cast. Oh and for you pervs out there who are just intending to watch this for the ecchi tag, I'd recommend you to look somewhere else; Asterisk really doesn't have very much of that at all.
I cannot make a proper evaluation of the story as a whole though for the simple reason that... well this is a split-cour. At the time of writing this we've still only gotten to see half of what the anime has to offer, with the second season airing in Spring 2016. However the Festa is a huge event, and there's plenty of action left to showcase on that front, so the second cour might very well be even better than the first. Fingers crossed.
When it comes to Gakusen Toshi Asterisk or the Asterisk War, there are a few things that can go side and side for me. On one hand the show wasn’t so bad as I thought, considering the way the show went wasn’t as terrible as I thought, in fact; I will say that there were actually a few things that I liked about the series and this would include my personal evaluation, some few of the expositions and the way they handled the battle tournament aspect which was really nice. On the other hand however, the show still has some flaws that holds the show
back the scales which is not really a good thing considering having some issues to my standards can cause some difficulty to recommend the show (including someone that’s looking for battle tourney series of this type of genre). So you would have a mind from what I am going up towards this review, but let’s just see if Gakusen Toshi Asterisk of The Asterisk War is considered a show to at least be watchable even with the issues or it’s just considered a bad experience.
To give a thought about the show, let’s get into the synopsis.
In The Academy City on the water (also known as Asterisk) is the world’s biggest battle entertainment, “Star Wars Festival.” The young boys and girls belonging into six different academies made their wishes Shining Armaments in their hands.
Basically in a way, our main protagonist Ayato goes to this said academy by an invitation from the Student Council President Claudia Enfield and suddenly he stumbles upon Julis, the main female protagonist.
In other words as how people call this show “Star Wars: Harem Edition”.
Basically the start of the show goes to the same old generic trope, this usually happens and depending on the person this can go both “let’s go and just wait” or towards “we’ve seen this before”. Of course we’re going to see this every time, this is usually one of the trends actually, however what matters is the execution afterwards that introduction.
To start things off towards the anime, I will say I will give some props towards the show for giving at least enough information without feeling spoon feeding like Mahouka, because it in cooperates enough info without feeling left out for me. It’s something I like about the show because it has a way to not get me bored enough or feel quite lazy about it, just giving at least enough details to know about said mechanics of the world and the aspects of the show so it would give a more decent idea of how it goes. However exposition can depend for people actually, for me I find the way they did the info nice without feeling like I can’t comprehend stuff.
Also the show doesn’t really go and become too dragged out for me to get straight into the main events, it actually goes and build up the training at least for the actual things happening.
To not go into further details on the anime, even if the show goes to a generic way start as the episodes passed by, you would sooner or later notice that it goes to a degree into a different direction, where it mainly focuses on the Ser Veresta the battle tournament, which was the main event that the series has built up from my previous statement.
The show also focuses on the teamwork aspect along in battle tourney trainings and battles, now that’s actually cliché however for my personal eyes the way it’s handled for say the least it was good enough considering the relationship between the two main characters and the other supporting character, but talking about the two main characters' partnerships, the teamwork between them weren’t as bad at first, as the episodes passed by the relationship in terms of that was nice enough however not one of the best to say the least.
Also to keep another note the anime doesn't focus on the romance (since it has a romance tag in) and for my eyes it's kind of saying there's a romance but my previous statements are their main focus of the plot.
Pacing for the show seems rather nice and also perfect and suiting for the show considering for me if it does rush somethings I think it could break and destroy the buildup for the main event the anime has made throughout the anime and it just doesn’t go well for it. Just my personal thought on the matter.
Interactions are not one of the best but they’re not as bad as I thought for the main cast of characters. In all honestly and this comes as rather personal but I liked some of the moments of the anime where I actually giggled upon.
To say the least the anime has some sort of nice things to go across however there are somethings that could become out of place for the show.
For one thing sometimes I personally think some the fights could have been less predictable in a way although there were a few nice surprises along the way, it’s just at times I felt like it could have been done better for me, although the fights aren’t really bad in all honesty, also predictability it’s just depending for my perspective on the viewer.
The second being the couple of clichés being around the show which kind of affects some few things and little aspects of the anime because although it’s not a bad thing it just how its utilizes kind of ticks the viewer off in some way to say the least for my personal eye, and as well with the fan service it just depends on the person as well.
The third issue being the main character, although this all depends on the viewer's eye, Ayato basically beats everyone. Anyone in the case, but I guess not to the point of being on the same level as Tatsuya or Kirito I suppose. I will state why down below in the characters category, and in the end of the day, this comes for different people. For me I felt rather annoyed with it a bit but it's better off than having one person giving a one hit K.O badly.
And the final part being the final episode of the first season. In other words the final fight, while the final episode was very good overall, I can't deny there was something that came out of place and that's actually something buggy and I really don't know if they can explain that later on in it's second cour.
In the end of the day for the story department the show isn't really unique with its story in terms of the whole plot but the episodes made up for it decently enough for me, and to at least have this considered as passable due to the balance of entertainment and the exposition. The series isn't also one of the better written series since the writing of it can be considered either way simple and not everything so special in it's way. It's not also supposed to be a series that it needs a lot of stuff to make it better, in fact adding too much in this case would break the show, so that for me at least the story is passable enough for people to enjoy.
I wouldn’t want to explain much in this department considering when it comes to anime characters in this type of genre they’re not quite special in all honestly. They are your stereotypical archetypes and cast that you have probably seen in the previous shows. If you have seen anything like these of course. However it doesn’t really mean they’re bad either for my eyes unless how they’re really presented. They are just… mediocre to a degree in the overall curriculum of character departments, which is a weak point on the matter.
Ayato being the main male protagonist is shown as your stereotypical dense protagonist with to say the least, copy and paste personality to say the least. However the only thing that makes him a little interesting for me would be his actual backstory that was brought after said episodes, in which he actually has a limit of using his powers due to that flashback being presented in the anime. It’s nothing very unique in all honestly for my opinion but that at least is more interesting to see along. I give him bonus for that.
Julis being your main female character which she acted like a Tsundere girl at the show from the start, I somehow managed to like her in all honestly because that was of course strayed away to a degree for some reason. She also has a motivation in this case in the anime which makes it more reasonable of why she was participating in the events in the first place. Now saying that doesn’t mean it’s nothing special for her but as I would say for Ayato, she gets bonus at the very least.
The other two girls from the main four characters, Kirin and Saya are your stereotypical Loli character and Kuudere, the only thing I would say about them is that for Saya, most of the time she makes me laugh with her commentaries and at the same time for Kirin, she doesn’t really fight in all honesty (if I can say) like how the others’ weapons. The only bonuses I can give is that they work together as a team and that’s something nice.
The other girl Claudia doesn’t really become presented or relevant most of the time in the first season and she only appears in some scenarios, other than that I would say I like how they put her later on in the anime however it’s quite a sort of disappointment.
The supporting cast are quite forgettable with the exception at the moment for Irene since she did got a backstory at the final episodes, while it was kind of a awkward move I found this quite passable enough. Everyone seemed used as some sort of characters just for the sake to be there, unless they make them more relevant in the second season of the anime series which quite frankly I was impressed it got a second cour, which could mean more things would come for the show.
That’s why I said the characters are overall mediocre to be honest. Yeah.
If anything I would say about the art, I would say the art style for this series is not quite one of the best out there, however it does look decent enough for its quality. As well for its background art it looks nice enough that it also fits with the designs of the characters.
The designs are not really original to an extension however the designs looks above average enough and not that much complaining about it to say the least. Each character looks dandy in a way.
For the animation standpoint I will say it’s not one of the most fluid animation out there, but surprisingly enough it’s not anything ground breaking to my eyes. If anything, it has a minor amount of choppy moments where the most it seems rather passable enough. It also can be an eye candy towards the viewer and depending on the person watching if you like battle tourneys you might enjoy this one.
In the angle standpoint they actually do a decent job with the angles and the moments when the characters are fighting against one another, it doesn’t feel off for half time but for me half the time I would say I didn’t liked how it actually looked.
Overall I suppose I could put the animation and art category as being one of those good ones overall because it really doesn’t look that bad, and it has some little decent stuff into it.
I would say the music isn’t one of the most memorable things around, however the music has a mix of techno and a bit of instrumental ost at times at the fights, where it seems really enjoyable and at the times it’s quite catchy when watching. At the same time I would say the few comical osts seem very fitting.
As for the sound I would say nothing stands out from the sound department as in the effects, however they’re put at the right place and time without feeling quite cringey.
For the voice acting tone department (since by the time this review is released it will be reviewed with tone of the Japanese dub) I wouldn’t say the voice acting was bad, however they’re not all that great either in a way. Though I give props to the voice actors to say the least because it fits with its cast of anime characters and it’s rather fine to say the least (despite me hating the voice actor for Ayato but not as the person voicing but for the voice for the character itself)
As for the Opening and Ending songs both are one of my most favorites of the season considering it goes to my personal taste to my eyes. In all honesty music is subjective, let’s say that. For the Opening it gives a catchy J-Pop vibe and the tone of the OP fits with the show, as for the ED it gives a harmonic in a sense feel when hearing it, and the English sounds right.
To be quite honest I liked the show a lot, this is rather a personal income due to the previous points above that the show did benefitted in a way that for me I felt satisfied with the outcome, in the end we’re getting a second cour of the show, so let’s expect for the better or for the worse. Just to say.
Would I recommend this show? This all depends on your taste on anime actually, or the genres in itself. If you want at least a show that buildups the events bit by bit (for this season) you can give the show a shot actually, and maybe you would have fun with this, however I wouldn’t recommend it to people that do not like anything like that from a series, especially for those that hates or dislikes the ecchi/harem battle tourney. To conclude, I will leave it at your hands, you’ll decide.
edit: don't read this review don't upvote it i don't want it to exist it's just a bad digibro impression read another review i am a better writer than this
I'm not mad. I have only myself to blame for this, really. I tend to be more selective with what I watch. Something will be recommended, I'll hear about something popular, or it's just on my mind a lot. I've never watched anything expecting it to be bad; usually I have no expectations at all, but often I at least think it'll be something that's enjoyable enough to pass the time and get a 5 or
The Asterisk War is my first exception.
I didn't watch this because I knew it'd be good. I watched it because I heard it was almost identical to Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, which I'd just finished, and all I wanted to do was see which is worse. Yes, WORSE. Not better. I mean, that's not to say it couldn’t have been surprisingly good, but of course that couldn't happen. Of course, this review won’t be spent comparing the two anime together, but I will give a verdict as to which is better at the end. Because that’s what everyone asked me to do!
Also, so the mods won’t be unhappy, I must inform you that I will spoil the first episode almost entirely, but spoilers will be toned down to a minor level beyond that episode.
Asterisk starts off extremely rocky; honestly just about everything in the first episode is horrible, whether it's immediately evident or not. The opening scene is a fight with awkward choreography and absolutely no context at all, even as the scene comes to a close. It sets the tone, I guess, but the reason why this fight was shown at all just seems unclear after watching the whole season, as way too little is revealed in this opening, and its potential context doesn't have much weight on the following episodes. But I'm sure it'll be explained later... in another season... that I won't watch...
Some exposition is given, which is fine I guess, but one very interesting thing stuck with me. "The people gradually began to alter their sense of morality." This is apparently due to some event called "Invertia", and you really have to give the writer(s) props for making a new term for "shitty writing". It's a shame they couldn't follow up on it, though. There might be some stupid actions, but nothing horrible enough to make you really think that these people are really fucked in the head; these things instead feel forced so that the "story" (read: too little) and fanservice (read: too much) can keep going.
The first example of characters being idiots instead of morally questionable comes quickly. Icky--oh, sorry, wrong review—Ayato (the main character) catches a falling handkerchief, sees and open window (and/or hears someone's voice from it), and sums up the obvious. He jumps into the window to return the handkerchief, only to see a female student only partially dressed. Here's everything wrong with this scene:
1. He acts apologetic, knowing that it was an accident, despite not considering that he would've been obviously invading someone's privacy by jumping through their FUCKING WINDOW, MULTIPLE STORIES HIGH. If some awareness to the obviously horrible idea were present, even if it results in the MC being a massive douchenozzle, it could at least be pinned to people having fucked up morals. Nope, instead he tries playing this off like it’s not just a prank, bro.
2. We get a glimpse of someone’s ass before knowing whose ass it even is. But don’t worry, it’s not that important, this is only the female fucking lead. Where are the Japanese tumblrvists when you need them? If the fanservice wasn’t so forced, this could’ve been an OK scene, but god forbid someone has to go three minutes without popping a boner over their new waifu. By the way, you can stop taking the show seriously at this point.
3. If your handkerchief is so important, why did you carelessly leave it sitting loosely near an open window? How the hell did the wind even suck a cloth out of a room, anyway? Why was Ayato surprised by seeing a girl in the room when he heard her talking? If he didn’t hear her talking, why did WE hear her talking?
This goes into a very laughable fight scene that only exists because Julis’s personality makes absolutely no sense, if she even has one. She thinks Ayato should die or something because he saw her naked (apparently wearing underwear = naked, k), despite being soooo grateful for getting a super-special piece of linen back. Maybe this could be some inverted moral bullshit like the story wants me to believe, but you’ll later see how much of a clusterfuck this character is as the show goes on. The fight itself is full of weird technology and magic we know nothing about, plot armor, and overall poor direction. (Why did Ayato jump through an explosion unharmed? And why did the soundtrack suddenly stop just when a character is thinking, only to go to some mysterious-sounding tune? It’s weird.) It ends with Ayato glomping Julis to avoid some assassination or something, and he later gropes her somehow because fanservice, or awkward comedy, or… I don’t know. Oh, did I say something about an assassination? Who cares? No one else does, so that’s obviously not important. Let’s move on.
I could pick apart every scene, but I’d just retrace the same points and conclusions the above have made, more or less: Characters are incredibly stupid, whether the writer made them do stupid things or the writer leaked his stupidity into the plot’s scenarios at various points, and not because of some global event. The art is pretty generic and obviously tries to compensate by being flashy, the music is mostly uninspiring, and just the overall direction seems to be mediocre. All of this is taken from the first ten minutes of the first episode. That’s all.
In short, the show quickly establishes how fuckin’ bad it is.
So, I’ve been mentioning this “Invertia” thing a few times. It IS pretty important, and you should really pay attention to that scene, because it’s the only time in the whole show that you’ll hear about it! …Wait… oh. Yeah, Invertia is mentioned once, or something. No one talks about it, and there’s no noticeable impact from it (as far as morals go). Why did they bother mentioning this part of it? And you know that fight in the beginning? That kinda hints at some other “major” plot element that gets totally forgotten about after it’s brought up. The first episode is basically spent teaching you things you will never need to know. It’s high school algebra all over again!
Beyond this façade of a setup, there’s some sort of plot, or at least there should be. Basically, Ayato comes to this school to kinda learn about his sister and mostly to find some path for himself, so he starts training for these fighting events, and wow I am REALLY bored right now. Along the way, he meets various girls who do all but tear out their reproductive organs and install them into exuberantly-colored fleshlights for his personal satisfaction. It’s honestly hilarious how frequent the fanservice is, and how few reasons the girls have to each fall in love with the MC. Asterisk’s girls come in different shapes so that everyone’s tastes are satisfied, and they’re exploited so commonly that I wonder if Asterisk is trying to trying to appeal to the hentai artists or if the creators are bragging that they have girls in their series. I’m sure you’re all very satisfied with yourselves.
If you need to be reminded again that the characters are bad, this is your lucky day! The characters are bad! So here’s my favorite part, the character roast section:
Ayato – Things worth saying/making fun of are as follows:
Julis – Independent black woman who don’t need no bodyguard. If you ignore the fact that she’s a figure of royalty, a high-ranking student, and that your IQ is lower than that of an earthworm, then it makes a lot of sense.
Claudia – You know what? This is the best character in the whole show, and all who disagree can fucking fight me. She’s the most direct with her affection for Ayato to the point where she flat-out says she wants to fuck. At least there’s no bullshit about it, other than her having no reason to like Ayato and Ayato being a scrubmaster about it. (Do I need to bring up Cavalry again? WHAT SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD KID IS GOING TO BE EMBARRASSED BY THIS? DON’T LET YOUR DREAMS BE DREAMS, ASSHOLE.) Also, please note that her ending scenes to preview the next episode literally do not exist. Nope.
Saya – Hi, I’m a deadpan loli with no real reason for being in this show other than to be the loli in this harem. If the point of her personality was to match the audience’s evident opinion of her, they nailed it on the fucking head.
Kirin – Kinda younger-looking girl with big tits. Apparently her dad’s in jail, so she and her big tits need to win these festival things or something, and follow the guidance of her uncle who’s abusive as hell for no reason. So, I guess at least this character and her big tits have some sort of conflict??? And then we can waste a couple episodes on her and her big tits?????? No need to thank A-1, I’m sure they do it because they care. And for the record, the anime tells you at every waking moment that this character has big tits because we can’t shove Claudia into every scene.
Lester – I’M A DOUCHEBAG WITH MUSCLES. DISLIKE ME!
Irene – Wincest.
Did I miss anyone? Probably. Do I care? Probably not.
Did I have too much fun with that? Probably. Do I care? Probably not.
Kinda going into my next point, what the fuck is with everyone’s hair in this thing? What sort of insane products are these people using that allow their hair to suspend in midair? Like holy hell, does their lack of personality somehow expel a gravitational field from their heads? It’s insane, dude. They also have that wonderful, classic “spot the major character” look; if their hair is the color of something not really found in nature, they’re important. If not, they might exist, but you won’t remember them. Everyone below this line is some overly-generic CG filler person or something.
Overall, the art might be dazzling to some, but I only see A-1 trying to compensate for their overall weak animation, and no amount of ass shots will redeem it. Even if you don’t agree that the first episode is bad, you can’t possibly tell me that, say, episode 4 looks good. Beyond the animation, the CG is the compensation part, as I couldn’t ever get behind the flashiness and vibrancy of the magic and weapons. I mean, they’re not bad… but they’re certainly nothing special, especially since fights are so reliant on them.
By the way, there’s a lot of this CG technology that’s omnipresent even outside of the fights, so it’s not just a bunch of magic and glowing plastic weapons making lightsaber noises. This might’ve been better to bring up in the setting/plot parts of this review, but whatever. Anyway, what the hell is all of this shit? All this technology and shit is literally omnipresent; everywhere you go, you see holograms of various functions. Where do these things even come from? How do they work? What can you do with this amazing technology besides open doors from across a room and use them as replacements for what we know as computers? Why am I asking questions that I know will NEVER be answered?
Last thing about the art; who the FUCK is responsible for the next episode previews? You know, that shit at the very end of each episode where Claudia looks like she’s in some visual novel but is animated like a 5-year-old edited it? Jesus Christ, I don’t think I’ve ever cringed so hard after watching something in an anime. I only watched one of these before deciding that I’d never do it again, so please watch at your own risk.
Now, the soundtrack is… actually good. Some of it. I believe just one person (Rasmus Faber) did the entire score (my apologies if this is incorrect), and if that’s the case, his electronic pieces are easily his strong point. (Which makes sense; I hear he’s a DJ or something.) The OP and ED are pretty good as well. But unfortunately, the rest is mediocre at best. The more orchestral pieces don’t quite stand out or are as memorable as the electronic pieces, but I don’t want to seem more negative than positive in this section. I’ll actually admit something was good in this anime.
But all those negatives aside, at least it wasn’t as bad as Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry.
…Or was it?
You know, it’s hard to decide on which is worse. I couldn’t take either anime seriously, but Cavalry still made some attempt at being serious at one point. At least there’s some sort of reason for the shit that’s happening. Asterisk has nothing going on at all! But even if Asterisk did nothing, playing it safe worked to its advantage, because Cavalry’s serious moments are heavily weighed down by the sheer awful, cringe-inducing scenes that infest it. I mean, Asterisk is bad, but it never made me uncomfortable. But Cavalry still did a couple things right, such as the art (mostly) and the romance (to a small extent). Asterisk has a few good songs, and that’s about it. So my overall verdict as to which is worse…
Surprising myself a bit, I’m giving that honor to The Asterisk War, mainly based on the fact that it did fuck all to help itself, while Cavalry at least made some legitimate attempt somewhere. And with that settled, I can walk away from this anime with a strange sense of satisfaction: that I was looking for a good match between two terrible anime, and I walked away with an unexpected, but satisfying result. Great job, Asterisk, you actually succeeded in something, by being the Worst One!
And that’s all. Full score is below, thanks for… oh god… I just realized something. Invertia didn’t change the morals of the characters, it changed the morals of the writers! And the producers! And whoever the hell else is responsible for this! Oh man, I think it’s gotten to me as well! I went out of my way to watch a bad anime and I was just thankful for it being so terrible! Holy hell, this show is actually genius!
Story – 1/10
Art – 4/10
Sound – 7/10
Characters – 1/10
Enjoyment – 1/10
Overall – 1/10
Favorite character – Claudia
Favorite episode – none
Recommended to – people who want to lower their MAL average score
Congratulations are in order, for this is my very first 1/10 score. It was originally a 2/10, but after considering things more for this review, I can’t think of any reason to give this anything higher. What did I like? The art was okay but pretty boring, and the soundtrack was pretty nice, but they’re beside me for the most part. If they were actually great and really memorable, like, say, Guilty Crown, then that’d probably let me raise it to a 2 or a 3. But even if GC is a pile of shit beyond the production, at least it made an honest attempt at writing a story and had some legitimately interesting moments. Asterisk has NOTHING that is interesting, whether it’s due to a lack of explanations or just sheer unoriginality. I mean… well, I already wrote the review, so I won’t go back. I guess all that needs to be said is that this anime is pretty ass.
It's totally okay to watch a show with low expectations. Sometimes to balance a great anime, you gotta watch a bad one just to put you back in your place. It's a requirement to have watched poorly done shows so you know where your tastes are and also broaden your horizons. The Asterisk War serves as one of those shows that will give you appreciation of shows like High School of The Dead and other shows that have poorly written stories and brick wall characters. This is a must watch if you need to remember that there are really uninspiring anime.
Storywise, not much to say.
Gary Stu comes to new school, all the ladies fall for him the end. Sounds like the typical harem anime because it IS a typical harem anime. The whole thing is a tease and shows snippets that relate to the protagonist indirectly, but fails to establish a basis for it. What I mean if that sounded pretentious, is the lack of an overarching conflict. We follow young Ayato, but for what? All we see is him turning red at every little female physical contact.
Deus Ex Machina phenomena is arguably always going to break a show. I think it works in this show's favor just because there weren't really any upsides to begin with. It gives a little more excitement in what was a lackluster show. Arguably it isn't phenomena but foreshadowed. Ayato's power makes zero sense considering the circumstances revolved around him and that the whole show seemed to have miss the point was just bad writing on many levels. But hey, what more to look forward to in a show then a guy's head in between breasts?
The chemistry between the characters is awful and blame the story telling for that. None of the characters mesh well and there isn't any positive to get out of observing their actions and motives. They all suck. If gary stu didn't fit the description of the main protagonist, then I don't know what to believe. This guy is the most uninteresting (for lack of a better word) fuckboy. Something that works against the show is that it was really trying to take Ayato's circumstances seriously. The tropes are quite abundant and make all the female characters seem like cut outs of cariactures placed in an anime. And to munch the very uninteresting main protagonist at that. The Asterisk War really is a tease when it comes to scenes of sexualizing the females. Cuz boobs and butts sell right? I'm losing brain cells trying to think of anything to write for this show.
VOICE ACTING IS VERY BAD. My ear was bleeding due too Saya and Kirin's voices oh my goodness. It is awful and to hear baby squeals and "jealous" grumbles is reason enough to AVOID this show. I say it's a must watch because this might set the bar low enough for anything to come after seem like a masterpiece. We're all masochists when it comes to anime though so it's okay. Sound is underwhelming but the EDM is a good twist in action scenes.
As for animation, it is the Irregular of magic high school esque. Flashy colors and CG stuff. Considering how little action there is, animation isn't really great. Lot more exposition than there is fighting and we know how that works out in a harem.
I came into this show knowing it was going to be bad so I didn't really think of it as anything I haven't seen before. It brings nothing new to the table, nothing inspiring, no noteworthy scenes. It's just a letdown in all aspects besides I guess teasing if that has any credibility. I'd surf the internet if I wanted to be uninspired but I guess the one thing the show has going for it is it's opening. Its pretty cool, not that cool but its okay. A typical harem that lacks a resolution is what can best describe The Asterisk War.
It is a great story after all, but something is missing in it. This anime was really great and i can say that there was some missings in the episode that might just would fit in there, but its not much to complain about that. I really did love that he was powerful (i guess not spoil). It does reminds me of SAO (Sword Art Online). Swords there and swords here. There is season 2 now and i expect that he (spoil) will get away that thing that holds him back from using hes true 100% power in
fights and duels. Thats it for now.
Futuristic settings have always been particularly interesting in fiction, seeing as how there are many potential directions that an author can take such a setting. The idea of inverting society's moral principles, as The Asterisk War puts it, is certainly an interesting one as well. Superpowers can be cool too, so that can always be a plus for an entertaining story. Unfortunately, The Asterisk War squanders all of its potential and fails on a completely fundamental level, and is also a prime example of everything wrong with the harem genre.
Firstly, the setting is simply a waste. The city of "Asterisk" just
looks like a modern-day nice looking city. We never get a feel for where everything is, even though Julis takes Ayato on a (halfassed) tour of the place. At one point, she points out the huge arena in the middle of the city and mentions that there are a number of other big and small arenas throughout the city, yet the animators saw fit to have the camera pan across a shot of some skyscrapers instead of said arenas, and all we see every time the camera zooms out for a city-wide shot is the one arena surrounded by skyscrapers. Also, the only advances in technology that we see seem to be the weapons that some of the characters utilize, as well as these hologram internet browsers that everyone can summon at will anytime they want, somehow. One guy produced a hologram and then grabbed onto it like it was an iPad so that he could record a fight; not much thought was put into elements like these, causing them to often break immersion when they should really be used to help pull the audience into the show’s world.
The worldbuilding in general is lacking at its best and awful at its worst. The "Invertia" catastrophe that led to the rise of the Genestella, the superhuman race of this series, as well as the inverted moral principles of society, is never really elaborated on. At one point, attackers hired by a school target a character from another school and it's mentioned that Asterisk has a police force, but its jurisdiction doesn’t extend to the school grounds for no conceivable reason. Later, it's mentioned that Genestella often duel in the city against the rules all the time, which begs the question: exactly how competent is this police force? Little questions like these (not limited to the setting) litter the show. It is worth noting, by the way, that although Julis mentions this fact about the fighting, we never see fights breaking out whenever the characters are out in the city unless a particular fight is relevant to the plot, so the worldbuilding is weak even on this fundamental, directorial level (the show, in general, pays no attention to detail). Generally speaking, there are a lot of things said to try and paint this world as a bit dark and corrupt, but the audience only ever sees a bright and happy city, unless some bad guys need to show up to progress the plot. Also, there are a number of authoritative organizations brought up, such as the higher committee (or something like that; it was glossed over so badly that I don’t even remember what they are) that oversee Seidokan, the protagonist's school, but we never get a feel for what they are or what exactly they're supposed to, despite the characters speaking like we should.
On the subject of school, one has to wonder why we only see high schoolers taking part in the tournaments introduced in the show. Surely it would be fun to watch seasoned adult veterans duke it out as well? These teenagers going to school at all is weird on its own, all things considered. The student council presidents seem more like businessmen or politicians responsible solely for facilitating these tournaments (which they pretty much are). The school aspect likely exists solely for the author to have convenient areas for the characters to talk and dispense exposition.
All that aside, the inverted morals of people seemed like they would be a big point in this series, but they really aren’t. It was just an excuse for people to be okay with reveling in the sight of teenagers fighting to the death. They have no significance otherwise. There are a few offhand comments made by Julis about how greedy the city is and how messed up its capitalist system and obsession with watching teenagers battle to the death is, but it’s nothing no one’s never heard before and it’s not expanded on. The audience doesn’t even get to see much of how this city is apparently corrupt, so there's no chance of taking away anything meaningful there.
The mechanics of the powers in the series are barely touched on and are often nonsensical when they are. The characters shout technique names and chant spells and then boom, the technique happens - for the most part, that's all the audience gets, so there’s no real understanding of how all these powers actually work. A lot of the time, the characters will explain things about their abilities or the enemies’, but the explanations and jargon go over the viewer’s head when s/he doesn’t even have a fundamental understanding of the powers in the show. Julis is mentioned to be a "Strega," which is a very rare type of Genestella, but we never learn what a Strega even is or what any of the other categories are. There are weapons that can only be used if they're compatible with the wielder, but Ayato wielded weapons that weren't his without testing for this several times. Ayato uses a sword style that was probably passed down his family line to fight, but we never learn a thing about it, aside from a comment or two when this fact is acknowledged in the second arc (which, by the way, is the first time anyone even talks about his sword style). Ayato also has this restraint on his immense power for some reason, only it doesn't exactly restrain him - he can still fight using his full power, but he can only do it for about five minutes before the binding spell that was cast on him activates and knocks him out. How the bloody shit is that a restraint? What does that accomplish (aside from attempting to artificially create tension, that is)?
On top of leaving the audience in the dark most of the time or just flat out not making sense, the fights were awful in general - a series of quick cuts and awkward camera angles attempted to mask the weird choreography, and the end result is action that fails to bring the audience to the edge of their seats as it should. Without understanding how most powers work, most fights amount to nothing more than light shows. The action was probably at its worst when it attempted to come off smart, though. At one point, Ayato is battling against over a hundred robots being controlled by a generic villain. Ayato somehow figures out that there are six types of robots (what are the types? we never find out) and that the villain can only have up to sixteen of them attack in a complex manner at a time. There is absolutely nothing to visually demonstrate any of this to the viewer, even as or after Ayato explains the fact; he just says it and we're supposed to be amazed at his intelligence. (I'm not even going to get into how he claimed that the villain was somehow trying to invoke fucking chess...and apparently he wasn't wrong, mind you!)
The plot of the series, if it can even be called one, is a total mess. The story is chock full of inconsistencies, plot convenience, retarded characters, and logical fallacies. Almost everything in the narrative can be broken if given a modicum of thought. The first arc, for instance, deals with a rival school trying to target fighters from Seidokan prior to the tournament (even though Seidokan is the weakest school). For whatever reason, the antagonist of the arc targets four nobodies (for no real reason), and it takes Seidokan’s student council quite a while to put two and two together and even suspect that these cases are connected (read: they’re complete idiots). The primary target of the arc is Julis for some reason, despite the fact that she's not even the strongest at Seidokan. When the arc’s geek antagonist (his name’s Silas, by the way) confronts Julis, he tries to negotiate with Julis to have her withdraw from the tournament, but she refuses and fights. Around this time, another Seidokan student shows up as Silas planned, and he’s like, “I was gonna frame you after I kicked both your asses.” Well, what were you going to do if Julis actually acquiesced to your demands? Moreover, by the end of the arc, it’s revealed that the perpetrators were trying to obtain data on their new weapons, so why give Julis a chance to back away at all?
That’s just the main premise of the arc, by the way. The problems run deeper than just that during this arc and throughout the entire anime. In the first episode, Julis blows up her own dorm room in a moment of dumb tsun anger, but in the subsequent episodes, it’s back like nothing ever happened. At one point, Julis is targeted by some hidden assailant, but everyone is distracted by an accidental boob grope after she gets saved, and no one does a thing about the surprise attack. Later on, the hidden assailants strike again and the good guys fire back; the anime then sees fit to never even show us what happened to the baddies after this. Seriously, the camera doesn’t even pan back to where they were. During the climax of the first arc, when Silas is trying to negotiate with Julis, he threatens Ayato, making it sound like Ayato’s been marked by some hitman at the time, but Julis stupidly remarks that she just has to beat him (Silas). The whole point of a threat like that is to keep Julis from acting in a hostile manner, but surprisingly enough, she’s right. So was Silas talking out of his ass? At one point, there’s this antagonistic figure who’s the abusive uncle of one of the main girls, and he's using her and her performance in the schools’ tournament to advance through the ranks of Seidokan’s committee thing that presides over them or whatever, but how these two things are connected is left a mystery. Also, the student council president, Claudia, is able to exert her authority to stop his abusiveness, but only after the conflict has pretty much been resolved for some reason. The second arc revolves around this conflict, so this makes the whole thing feel a bit pointless. What’s almost impressive is that the show manages to come packaged with all these flaws despite the rampant filler filled with fanservice and girls fighting over Ayato that often feels more like the main "plot" than the actual plot.
If there’s one thing that the plot of the show fails to convey, it’s tension. From the very beginning of the show, it is established that Ayato in his base state with no formal training at Seidokan is far stronger than Julis, who is the fifth strongest student at Seidokan. During the climax of the first arc, Julis is overwhelmed against the antagonist by a tiny graze on her leg, which is supposed to make the audience watch with bated breath as they try figure out how she’s going to get out of this situation (I assume), only it doesn’t work because she got taken out in such a stupid way (people suffer worse than that in this show and are totally fine). It doesn’t help that Ayato immediately shows up and steamrolls the villain like nothing. In the second arc, Ayato’s status as the strongest student at Seidokan is set in stone – the guy is so gifted that it just feels like he’ll never be in danger.
But wait, the big tournament – a.k.a. the “Festa” – is the focus of the third arc, and Seidokan’s the weakest school, so surely we’ll have a tense atmosphere in which the main character actually stands a chance at losing, right? Wrong. It’s not even the case that Ayato is so great that he’s better than all the other schools by himself, really. It’s just that none of the other #1 fighters participate in the Festa. Keep in mind that the city of Asterisk pretty much revolves around giving the masses these gruesome battles (I won’t even get into how the battles aren’t even all that gruesome; consistency be damned). The schools exist for this sole purpose and the main reason that the students even bother going to Asterisk is because they stand to gain something by winning at the Festa. Despite all this, none of the #1 ranked students bother to partake in this shtick, which not only shits all over the entire basis of this anime, but completely sucks the tension out of the arc, which is the most damning thing a writer can do to a tournament arc. The majority of the tournament is spent watching Ayato and other plot relevant characters easily defeating weaklings who are ranked in the 30s through 50s at their respective schools. At one point, the show actively tries to build tension by jobbing out a semi relevant Seidokan student to the primary antagonist of the arc, which seems like a good idea. The only problem is that this guy is only semi relevant because he gets a decent amount of screen time and has otherwise been established to be a complete fucking loser. Shit, the guy’s name is “Lester MacPhail,” fuckin’ A+ name right there for a respectable fighter. He does nothing to elevate the threat that the antagonist embodies - even when it tries, this show can’t do anything right.
So the plot is broken, way more so than the preceding paragraphs made it out to be. Fine. But this is also a harem. In fact, the harem is arguably the whole point of the show. So if you’re into that, then that’s good, right? Wrong. They couldn’t even get the harem right. Aside from Julis, every significant female is automatically assumed to be attracted to Ayato. Let’s take Saya, the blue haired loli, as an example. As soon as she makes her first appearance, she fights with Julis over Ayato the first chance she gets before her attraction to him is even hinted at. The genre-savvy anime viewer will not be surprised, but this is just poor writing. Harem anime are often criticized for having the girls fall in love with the main guy for no reason, except that he’s usually “nice,” but The Asterisk War doesn’t even bother to do that much. Every harem member besides Julis is instantly assumed to harbor feelings of attraction towards Ayato, and even Julis’s transition from “not in love” to “in love” is halfassed and not very clear-cut. This is light-novel-harem pandering on a whole new level. Of course the plot relevant girls desperately want the main character’s dick. Why wouldn’t they? This is likely the mindset that the author had when he created these characters, because there’s no excuse for missing out on such a key point in characterization unless the author knew his audience and decided that his time and effort would be better spent on more fanservice than fleshing out his characters beyond the trope they embody. This harem borders on the line of parody, which makes it all the more disappointing since it doesn’t actually spill over into that territory.
The characters play a big role in fucking with the plot and they’re also the principle reason as to why the harem in this show sucks even by harem standards, so let’s get to that subject. Ayato is one of the worst protagonists I’ve had the displeasure of ever seeing. He is everything that’s wrong with harem and light novel protagonists and he’s also packaged with the “I want to protect everyone” motivation that’s typical of a battle shounen protagonist. He’s a total badass, he’s too cool for school, he’s the nicest guy ever, he’s the strongest guy ever, and he can woo any woman without even trying while also being a virgin who is deathly afraid of a woman’s touch. Throwing all those tropes together makes him not just generic, but a generic mess. The author was so focused on making him as light-novel-harem-shounen-friendly as possible that, when it comes to Ayato as a person, I have no idea who the hell he is. As was already mentioned, he’s immensely over-privileged in terms of power level from the very beginning, as the story doesn’t even build up to the part where he becomes a strong player – he’s established from the start as one of the strongest ever. There is nothing more to his character than wish fulfillment. The guy once stomped a villain while carrying a girl bridal style; it’s fucking ridiculous. Ayato is tied to Seidokan because of his sister who attended the school before but mysteriously disappeared, although this plot point is forgotten about for most of the series. One big point of Ayato’s character early on was how he was looking for a purpose in life, but by the fourth episode he decides out of nowhere (albeit predictably; funny how that works out, huh?) that his purpose is to protect Julis, someone who he’s barely become friends with, so not even that aspect of his character managed to produce something compelling.
Speaking of Julis, she is the “main girl” of this harem, and is therefore a tsundere. She’s probably one of the most flanderized versions of the trope that exists today. In the first episode alone, she flips between tsun and dere at least three times in what feels like two minutes at best. Her deal is that she wants to raise money to help an orphanage in her home country, which is weird because she’s a princess, but they kinda brush that point aside. Her backstory is stupid because a bunch of orphans somehow saved her from full grown thugs, which is why she’s grateful to them, and it’s the only thing that even remotely characterizes her. Besides that, she exists to love Ayato and make him look good, as well as serve her role as a harem girl by providing random fanservice, fighting over Ayato, and being the butt of dumb jokes like “take off your clothes…n-no, I meant take off your coat so I can fix it!” Aside from her, there’s Saya, who is Ayato’s childhood friend, although we have no idea how they were connected back in the day. She has that straight-faced deadpan personality, there are jokes made about her small size for her age, and she wields big weapons. Kirin is the loli with big tits who is insanely shy in an attempt to come off as cute. She uses a sword and her arc revolves around becoming an independent girl who makes her own decisions. She breaks away from the shadow of an abusive figure who told her what to do, sure, but she mostly just follows the main character around after that, which feels unfulfilling. The whole shtick about her carving out her own path is forgotten about after her character arc, despite the fact that she is still somewhat prominently featured throughout the show. Claudia, the student council president, is a big breasted flirt who guides and teases Ayato. She tells the audience what she’s like when she first appears and she’s just a device to dump exposition or move certain portions of the plot forward after that.
The villains all suck. The first arc’s villain, Silas, is supposed to be part of a plot twist reveal, but it’s incredibly underwhelming and he’s impossible to take seriously. He’s too over-the-top in his evilness and it’s impossible to buy that he’s a serious threat. The villain of the second arc hardly even registers as a villain given his screen time, and he exists to be a manipulative dickhead before the main characters call him on his shit and he goes home in classic defeat as the audience presumably laughs at him. In the third arc, Irene, the main antagonist of this season, is introduced. She is a badass sadist on the outside but a good person deep down. She’s given an incredibly rushed backstory that involves this contextless war that the audience never learns anything about and the anime spends too much time on useless filler to properly flesh her character out. She’s supposed to be one of those characters who becomes so dependent on power that it consumes her, which could’ve made for a decent internal conflict in this barren wasteland of a show, only this aspect of her character was also rushed and resolved very quickly, thereby giving the audience no time to care about her.
The art is of the show is A-1’s usual generic shlock. Just looking at promotional art is enough for an anime fan to make the connection between The Asterisk War and the light novel harem tripe that A-1’s been known to churn out since Sword Art Online. The animation, like the fight choreography, is a mess, and as mentioned prior, A-1 attempts to mask this by having the camera jump around rapidly during the light shows that are supposed to be the show’s fights. There's also some really awful CG in some scenes. The soundtrack is pretty decent, but nothing riveting. The show doesn't utilize it very well, though. It felt like the show repeated the more boring tracks way too often throughout the show, and I don't even remember hearing some of the better tracks during my watch.
To put it lightly, The Asterisk War sucks. The setting is worthless. The plot is nonsensical and does not follow even the thinnest string of logic. The mechanics behind the powers and technology are a mystery. Proper immersion in the story is out of the question. The characters are so lacking that these two robots – yes, ROBOTS – have more personality than any of the human (or Genestella) characters. It is everything wrong with what is quickly becoming known as the typical light novel fantasy fanfiction for young teenagers, as well as harems. It’s not even worth examining as a crash course in how not to write a story, because it’s hard to believe that any respectable writer can exhibit incompetence comparable to what we see in The * War.
Back in the fall 2015 season, two shows were aired that ended up being constantly compared for their similar plots and character types, as well as similar premises. One of them is praised for being a breath of fresh air in school battle harems for playing around with tropes, providing some unique scenarios, giving impressive action scenes, and doing it all competently to stand out amongst a crowd of generic school battle harem shows, that show being "Chivalry of a Failed Knight". The other, is Asterisk War, a pile of schlock that fails to capitalize on interesting ideas, and instead delivers awkward action, annoying ass
leads, an insane amount of inconsistencies, and awful presentations of back stories and combat systems, leading to a below average school battle harem show known as The Asterisk War, and the MAL scores on both series reflect how much an interesting spin on tired crap can compare to clunky, poorly realized, generic schlock who's only impressive feat is the amount of plotholes, inconsistencies, and etc. present within. Now, why would such a popular show be such a mess? Well, let's find out, shall we?
Before we start, I dare one of you to make a thread or a blog showcasing the exact amount of problems each episode has. Don't make a drinking game out of it, or you'll die of alcohol poisoning by episode 8. The show literally starts with the main puss ass lead walking into our Tsundere in the middle of undress, under the pretenses that she dropped something important to her, and after she claims to owe him one, she tries to incinerate him, which sets a precedent as to how badly this show will execute almost everything, like giving us horribly presented versions of already cliche back stories, or being low enough to over-sexualize a 13 year old who regularly gets slapped by her uncle in one of the most clichely and embarrassingly done cliche stories known to kids shows. The title is a blatant lie. This show has no grasp on what an asterisk is, showing hexagons instead, and there is no war, and barely any blood or death, let alone injury. Just to not make our OP main OP, they provide flimsy limiters that only work when he uses a specific weapon for too long, despite that he often goes past the time limit of the limiters with no problem until the match finishes, just to add on to the already sloppy writing. There are interesting ideas with some of the weapons, but they don't get capitalized on. The tournament arc has been hinted to be a tournament in which things can get deadly and bloody for competitors, but no one gets remotely injured or killed, aside from that one pointless and awkwardly done flashback scene at the very beginning. It fails at jobbing, or presenting a mystery, and it fails to have any semblance of compitance, and it does annoying things to preserve its harem, as well as give distasteful fan service moments for no good reason. Plus, if students can summon hovering screens with their hands (with no explaination) then why do they need to hold them, and why is there actual paper involved? This is just... ass. Ass writing.
The crux of the problem here is with our harem. Ayato is a puss ass, poor man's Kirito, who isn't even that interesting to begin with, making Ayato one of the worst main characters I've ever seen. Julis is a trash tier Tsundere who plays up that trope to obnoxious degrees, especially when she retardedly blows up her room in an attempt to scorch him alive for the crime of accidentally seeing her in her underwear. Saya is annoyingly possessive of Ayato and is a mediocre deadpan loli with all the tropes you'd expect, Kirin has a poorly done arc, and Claudia is the only semi-interesting character of the 5, but they leave that ambiguous, probably until second season. The other characters are either stupid, meh, or missed potential for otherwise impressive characters, like with Irene, who is actually somewhat similar to Ragna the Bloodedge (protagonist of the Blazblue franchise and one of my favorite characters of all time) and despite stupidly presented backstory, is still the only decent, and dare I say, good character I this show. Nobody even develops much, and few characters can be considered passible. It also advertises a bunch of characters for season 2, but knowing Asterisk War, I doubt they'll be done right. Almost one is interesting or remotely so. They're all cookie cutter and boring.
The artwork of this show is rather nice, and some for the effects can be pretty cool. This is an A-1 Pictures show, so that's a given. Unfortunately, there is some awkward CGI, and the fight scenes are so awkward. Sure, some fights can be borderline passible, but others are just awkward and clumsy, and the highlight of the animation is in the ED. Not the best by A-1 standards, especially given how much better looking Aldnoah.Zero (another A-1 pictures anime, which came before this) is overall.
The OST is a mixed bag of ok regular tracks, bad dubstep, and some conceptually passable yet forgettable emotional pieces that happen to not be the perfect fit. None of them are all that memorable, but it's still a decent OST. The OP is a good OP, in sound only. The ED, is where the sound really shines, being a stellar emotional track (waiting for the rain) by Maaya Sakamoto and Ramsus Faber. It is a great ED theme, and one of the only stand out good things about his show. Hopefully, the dub is an improvement over the sub, because the original voice acting is rather weak, and with many annoying performances.
Nothing impressed me. In fact, the show kinda bored me. I found the action clunky and awkward, and most of the characters bugged me. There were some chuckle worthy moments, but that's not enough to make me like this show. It didn't offend me with its badness, but it did somewhat upset me. It's almost laughably bad at times, but this anime is rather annoying and a bit snooze-including at times. I'm just surprised I didn't flat out hate it.
OVERALL: 3/10 RAW SCORE: 32/100
This show was made for the 12-16 demographic, but there are WAY better shows for my demographic, even SAO and the Shounen Big 3! I can only recommend this show to avid flaw finders, as they'll have a ball with this poorly executed mediocrity. As for everyone else, this isn't worth your time, money, or that of the poorly treated animators forced to work on this trash. After all, spending any modicum of cash or streaming site subscription time on trash like this that's full of generic characters, plot holes that ravage an alreaky generic plot, terrible fight scenes, and etc., isn't worth it. With all that said, I bid you adieu.
WARNING: Review contains minor spoilers, as the show has almost no story and some one off events need to be discussed to get across the show's quality.
Asterisk Wars is a series which has been derided by many and lauded by few, although the most common consensus to this show is likely "average". In my opinion, though, the people who pointed out all of this show's flaws are pretty much perfectly on track: This show has an unlikeable and generic cast set in an ill-concieved setting with no plot to drive it and poor fights.
Lets take it from the top. Our show begins when Ayato Amagiri,
your standard flatbread hero, arrives at one of the six elite fighting schools, Seidoukan Academy, so he can be a fighter, as he is a Genestella which is basically a superhuman. The first action we get to see is him returning a handkerchief to a girl...by leaping through her open window?! What rational person does this, even if they can superjump places? It is a total invasion of privacy and instead of just, say, getting to her door and knocking, or shouting to her, or hell going to the window and saying she dropped it or any number of things, he just leaps into the open window of a total stranger's house. Inside is our female lead, Julis, and naturally since this is a harem series, that means we need to walk in on her dressing. Don't ask why a beautiful princess would decide to undress with an open, undrawn window where anyone can see, take pictures or so on of her.
Unsurprisingly, Julis is upset about this! She is one of the top ranked fighters in the school and so you can guess her reply to this problem. The first few episodes are dedicated to showing off some of the main characters and exposition. Lots and lots of exposition, most of which isn't even true exposition, like Claudia telling the main character a bunch of terms and things about the city that the viewer will have no idea about. Right, on that note, the two other main girls introduced now are Claudia and Saya: Saya is one of Ayato's old friends and therefor has the hots for him, but we don't really get a lot of their history together, and she is your general emotionless girl or "Dandere" type. Claudia is the hot, very forwardly sexual student council president who flatout prepositions Ayato for sex multiple times (the first time, in episode 3, being a hilariously bad scene for Ayato's reply) and liking him for...really no well explained reason, she just kind of shows up to exposit at him and then wants to fuck him after giving him a strong weapon.
A big issue is that all of these characters are pretty generic and have very little chemistry with each other: In fact, they very rarely even interact with people unless Ayato is directly involved and the focus, making them feel like they're just gone from the show when not existing, and we get very little insight to anyone's private lives aside from Claudia. Ayato is your generically overpowered main character, whose power seems to mostly be hitting really hard and his sword cutting things really well, with a cardboard attitude of "I don't really care but I do". I should also note that most shows in this fight involve Ayato aaaaand are boring, with most of the first season's tournament arc ending dedicated to Ayato/Julis and the other MC teams casually curb stomping their opponents in under a minute.
This is NOT how you write an overpowered main character. Overpowered main characters can work fine: For an example of that, Josuke from Part 4 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure would usually be considered pretty OP, with his stand Crazy Diamond being very physically powerful, pretty dang fast and having a potent ability to fix things. In fact, Josuke's stand for most of the Part 4, would be considered a lot stronger than the main antagonist's, but by giving the antagonist actual guile he becomes a menacing threat, and giving minor villains powers which can exploit Crazy Diamond through actual weaknesses, for example its short range, or having specialized abilities, ends up making some pretty great fights. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is practically based around the idea of the heroes being overpowered and weaves it nicely into the plot, taking a weakness and turning it into a plot strength.
Ayato is just...generically overpowered. He can move faster than everyone and hit harder to everyone and generically power himself up with yells and special effects to be even strongerer and then he beats up his opponents! Not once does Ayato display any battlefield tactics, special skills (the special attacks he calls are almost all literally a sword slash that doesn't seem to be any different than normal) or abilities of note to make his fighting interesting. Its the worst way to write an overpowered MC, especially since naturally in a harem series this means things like beating up the highly ranked female harem members because they are generically not as strong as the AMAZING Ayato Amagiri and now they will fall for him or he will carry them in his arm because they totally couldn't do it themselves.
Julis is your generic Tsundere girl who will probably be the harem winner. She has very few motivations and is one of the most blush heavy Tsunderes I have ever seen, even when she is going through the heavy Tsun parts, and her power is to control fire, which is never used beyond "circle of fire trap", "shoot fire" or "fiery explosion", and most of the time she shoots fire at people and they just get owned. Saya is small girl with a huge gun, which is only used to fire generic laser blasts. Claudia actually has some neat powers, dual wielding triangle lightsaber blades with an ability to see the future, but she doesn't actually get any fight scenes so. Kirin's power is "has a sword" and gets paired with Saya for some quite boring fights.
Oh, right, Kirin. She's another main character introduced in a latter pair of episodes, which I hesitate to call a "mini-arc" given its anemic lack of plot or advancement, and is a 13 year old with large boobs which get way too much emphasis for her age and is also somewhat weird to have in Ayato's harem in the first place. She largely comes off as a superflous character who exists to give Saya a partner but since she is a female on this show she MUST also be added to Ayato's harem. Her voice also is very annoying even for the usual archetype and she has the spine of a jellyfish without actually acting abused enough to fit her supposed backstory. Also, she is somehow ranked #1 in the school when Claudia is #2. Kirin wields a normal, non-laser sword, one of the only people to do so in the show. Claudia dual wields lightsabers and can SEE THE FLIPPING FUTURE. The only possible explanation is Claudia does not give a shit.
I also want to talk about a character who you would think is minor but frankly feels like he recurs as much, if not more, than Saya and Kirin: Lester MacPhail, whose name is quite literally pronounced MacFail. MacFail here is one of the most anemic attempts at a "bully" character I have seen in quite some time, being established as a loser who has lost to Julis 3 times but is itching to fight her and lose again. He is never displayed as a competent threat and nearly gets killed by one of the laser swords getting upset at him and flying around trying to murder him in a...hilariously awkward scene. He loses every fight he gets into, although SOMEHOW he is the one who gets the "valiantly fights but loses" fight scene to Irene, which if anything makes Irene look weaker by having to expend any effort on this failure. Its also hilarious because this guy is supposed to be kinda badass, like having built up muscle when Genestella are supposed to have trouble doing so, but he is basically a total loser in the show and one of the most pathetic strong man/bully types I've ever watched. This makes him more endearing than most of the main cast!
Finally for characters, I will mention Irene, the only decent character on the entire show: Pretty generic, sure, but her and her younger sister Priscilla are basically the only characters with actual energy or personality to them which helps makes any scenes in the show feel alive. She wields a laser-scyche (basically every weapon but Kirin's in the show is lightsaber-esque) which can control gravity and turns its user into a vampire because it requires blood to function. Since Priscilla can regenerate herself rapidly, Irene can feast on her blood to power up without worry, while she tries to just stay out of trouble, a somewhat interesting team dynamic. Their backstories are pretty generic and their powers are ill explained, but they are unique enough and Irene is the only character in the show who uses her power in a variety of interesting ways, making her basically the only character to be remotely competently done in this show, although her boss and essentially loan shark Dirk is decently set up, which naturally means she basically is put on a bus to end the season.
Story-wise, there just isn't much to comment on. Ayato gets to the school, acclimates to the school a little, gets into some fights, meets Kirin and has some more random fights, then they go to the tournament and fight some jobbers until Irene shows up for a mini-arc to close the season. Ayato gets some very, very light setup for plot involving his sister, Julis and Saya get some weak motivations (help an orphanage she did stuff in as a kid, she wasn't an orphan she just hung there, and advertise her father's guns respectively) aaaaaaaand that's pretty much it. Backstory for the series is vague, with Apocalyptic Event causing super people to show up and a really terrible Megacorp to take the place of nations, which doesn't really factor into the show at all. The tournaments are supposed to be gladiatorial, blood filled spectacles to satiate the populace, but less people die in them than the infamous "Hallway of Running" from Hunter x Hunter so it reeeally doesn't show up.
Sound-wise, most effects are dull and forgettable, with literal stock lightsaber sounds being used at times, and most background music is entirely forgettable. Not really good sound effects on the powers, either. The OP is fairly bad and that counts for a lot of the sound design, while the ED is okay, although stylistically even slice of life shows like K-On and Miss Kobayashi's Maid Dragon have done this ED style better. Art-wise the show actually usually isn't that bad, but it does suffer from not really having a very discernable style and bad looking effects in fights. The reason it goes down to a 2 is actually because of the horrible, Fates end of support style CGIs that are in the post-credits scene (usually involving Claudia), which already looked awkward in that, but here is done with way worse animation and ends up looking laughable and disturbing. This was so bad it dragged the animation score from a 4-5~ to a 2. Enjoyment is a 2 because it is a good show to talk to friends about the issues with and Irene's part was ever vaguely entertaining, but is a definitive 1 if you're not going to have anyone to go with.
Overall, Asterisk Wars has quite little to get people involved and was a pretty miserable experience, if you want a good harem show there are far better options out there and if you want an action show there are far better options out there. However, it can be worth watching if you want to form your own opinion on it (it has ANYONE who likes it, after all) or because of all the analysis done on it, or simply if you like to ocassionally watch bad shows and see what happens. I'm still going to watch Season Two, after all: I gotta see things through to the end.
Dual Cour Format: An anime meant to be 24 episodes as fitting of Trimmed Format but because of limited TV Slot booking often airs at different points in time. Often announced simultaneously for example:
Shinmai Maou no Testament, Gate
Story 8 / 10
The story begins with Amagiri Ayato a transfer student to the Seidoukan Academy and progresses as ground work for what's to come for the future of a student that does not care about the combat called festas that surely but slowly is getting himself riddled on something darker.
Since this is a dual cour series I won't go into detail until I've seen 2nd cour
but it's well executed giving the serious moments their bubbles and good portrayal of character bonding on an Academy where everyone it's everyone enemy.
Art + Animation 8.5 / 10
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk has great animation and above average art that combined are way more than decent. It's objectively good with no problems.
Sound 8 / 10
I caught myself singing the OP of this series and goes without saying that the choice of BGM and OST are very good. The voice actors are very good as well and the ED does not disappoint.
Characters 8 / 10
On the first cour the character are very well developed and their dynamics are quite entertaining. The chemistry of the female lead Julis-Alexia is reminiscing of normally black haired heroines that are usually portrayed as very confident and proud (Kanzaki Kaori from A Certain Magical Index).
Enjoyment 8 / 10
I thoroughly enjoyed this first cour and I'm looking forward to the second cour. Mostly from the choice of visuals that seem to be a mixture from (Strike the Blood and A Certain Magical Index).
Overall 8 / 10
I recommend this to someone who doesn't get bothered by extended groundwork and light hearted comedy, romance with the bonus of spectacular short battle sequences.
Do not watch if you're illiterate (Using the Term loosely) and couldn't or don't know airing formats nor like Harem oriented anime.
I'd say spoiler alert, but if you've been watching anime for more than a month you already know how plots like these work out.
Kirito ku-- I mean, Ayato, is overpowered generic light novel guy #1239875 with a harem of useless and rejected cute girls. He enrolls in a magical sword school in a city on an island identical to those of previous incarnations of the light novel fantasy genre.
The writer of this series followed his Light Novel Adaptation Guidebook PERFECTLY.
Kirito ku-- Excuse me... Ayato walks in on a tsundere changing on the first day of school. She gets pissed and challenges him to
a fight. She gets her ass spanked in the fight. Harem consisting of Tsundere girl, big boobs girl, childhood friend girl, and loli girl forms between episodes 1-3. Ayato ignores sexual advances of girls, romantic subplot never goes anywhere. He remains an unbeatable god for the duration of the series. THE END.
The plot is pathetic.
The art is pathetic, animators shamelessly use CG figures and flashy colors to make it seem like stuff is happening when really all they're doing is swinging around swords with no choreography whatsoever. On a scale of 1 to Fate Zero, The Ass War earns a √-1. It's so bad, it's UNDEFINED.
The sound is pathetic. Effects sound bad, opening is horrible. The only redeeming quality here is the ending, but that only brings sound up to a 2.
Characters are all pathetic, generic, lifeless, and boring. It's as if their personalities were picked from a hat. It's so static and mind-numbingly bad I wish I could give it less than 0 on MAL, but I can't. There's not a single shred of character development to be had anywhere in this show, and the relationship between characters literally never changes once they are established.
Enjoyment? I actually enjoyed it immensely. It's always fun trashing these kinds of shows! I still rate it a 1 because if I have to base enjoyment off the actual show instead of discussion.
Overall? This show is the worst piece of garbage to have crawled out of the light novel trash heap.
It's pathetic, appalling, and deserves an average score of 1 on this website. I can't possibly fathom how it's "earned" over a 7 on this site.
This anime is terrible.
It's just another one of those SAO lookalikes that A1 is trying to pass as an original anime.
The story is nothing special: Super strong boy meets somewhat strong tsundere hot girl that after only TWO episodes falls completely in love with him. Oh yeah, there's also something about a magical school and a competition. The world in not very well presented.
The characters are simply walking, talking stereotypes. You probably won't even remember their names, only the character tropes. There's the very naive and powerful main character who doesn't get that ALL the girls are in love with him. There's the main
female lead who's a tsundere (not even a good one at that), there is the loli dandere (she is also not very well made cause she looks and sounds like the supercritical dandere, but she's very active and not at all shy nor quiet), there's the big boob loli girl who is completely depended on the main character and etc.
The only reason why i'm not giving this the worst score is because the animation and the look isn't all that bad, even if the fight scenes are terrible. Ah yes, the fight scenes. The genre of this anime is ACTION! But the creators idea of action/fights is apparently flashing colourful lights really, really fast and hoping that you won't notice.
But I must give credit where credit is due: the music isn't all that bad. This actually makes me even more angry because I believe that it's wasted on this terrible anime.
This anime is definitely an interesting one when it comes to my overall enjoyment and whether I think its a quality title so far or not.
Story: 6 - The story is fairly intresting and each episodes make me want to watch the next episode so i'd say it has a good story development. Of all the animes watched I can think of three animes namely Absolute Duo,Freezing and Infinite Stratos which has a similiar story and development. And this season (Fall 2015) an another similiar anime 'Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry' have been airing as well. Although both of them are good and intresting it
makes me wonder if if the money could have been used for a more creative and unique project.
Art: 8 - The art is great. Contains a lot of great scenery and special effects were good , not to mention battle art is cool as well.
Sound: 8 - Opening song is phenomenal, sound track fits well and sounds good. Not much else to say at this point.
Character: 5 - Characters are pretty basic and its nothing new. I have seen same type of character many times.
Enjoyment: 7 - I am without a doubt enjoying the anime, I look forward to the day each episode is released for the fun 22 minutes of each episode.
Overall: 7 - It is a good anime without a DOUBT and have a lot of room for character development so it is one reason to watch it. So overall 'Gakusen Toshi Asterisk' is a good anime pick for the season.
I tried this just to see what a truly terrible anime is. I thought there might be some sort of sick enjoyment out of the complete shittiness.
And there is, but it's buried deep under an extremely thick layer of pure unabated rage.
I'll just say right now that I gave TAW exactly 4 minutes of my time. Because in 4 minutes everything was said. I watched Shinsekai Yori from the same studio, an anime I considered to have an excellent story and good characters but generally terrible production values and design. This is the same. Except the story and characters are shit too.
So why am I
writing a "review" from 4 minutes of observation? Because it was, and I'm not being ironic, enough to be sure of a number of things:
-This anime is godawful stupid
-This anime is godawful lazy
-This anime is just godawful, but with a special taste for mixing pretentious hardcore with stupidly stupid(I would have said lighthearted but come on, it's more stupid than anything)
Story: A bunch of teenagers fight with swords because plot and the hero gets every girl on his penis. Think it's not enough? It's literally the entire plot of season 1. I checked. 1/10
Art: In less than 4 minutes I saw a bunch of random 3D models in a generic blurred background. More than that the art in general is generic and lazy, the characters look nothing fantastic, they have a pink-haired girl with long hair in there and they manage to make her look sort of ugly. Considering that long pink hair is pretty much my exact taste in anime girls, I don't even get how they managed that. 3/10
I was told the soundtrack is good and I want to believe it because less than 3 mins in I heard a super happy theme that was the most misfit and tone-shifting thing I heard in years. At 0:00 you're in a fight, at 0:05 the girl is crying in happiness and thankfulness, at 0:10 she's about to launch a fireball at the protagonist, and at 0:15 you're hearing the happiest theme there is. Was this even made by humans or computer generated by a first version AI attempting to appeal to us? So yeah it's a good soundtrack but if this is how they're going to use it, then 2/10 and holy god will anything about this not be completely lazy and sucky?
Characters: In 3 minutes I met:
-The teenager girl who is into a fight against a masked guy and says "sorry x" after she loses and dies
-The teenager guy who x was, who is the most generic here-to-help-all guy who's also crazy strong and is flustered everytime a boob is even hinted at
-Teenager tsundere girl with pink hair who manages to go from tsun to dere in less than 10 seconds then back to tsun then pulls a magic blast and destroys everything. And who could look a lot less shit.
-The teenager director(?) of the school who's as smily as her tits and sex drive are huge.
I would put 0/10 if possible, but I guess it'll be one. Pathetic is certainly a good definition, there is NO EFFORT at all. I won't even dignify this schlock with the word "characterisation", but at the very least, if your characters are shallow, make them fun. Here the production values are so low, the story is told in such a slingshot way, that even something as simple as a tsundere character comes off as false, and as not fun. I mean come on, could you get any lower for a professional studio? Actually don't answer that, I'm afraid of the answer.
Enjoyment: 10/10 without irony again. If I could swallow this inane schlock for more than a few minutes I would probably find an extremely powerful sick enjoyment out of hating this with every cell of my body. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, I can't, and I have less terrible things to watch.
Overall: I didn't stop 3 minutes in because it was shit. If that was it, I'd have stood it to at least the end of the episode. No. My mind refused to carry along with this tremendous piece of lazy, barely shoved out crap, after two lines:
-After this event(the genostella children), the world was changed and a new order was made by [insert organisation whose name I can't even remember and who controls Asterisk Island]
-Due to the changes, a new morality was born in the world
-And now, panties
WHAT? ARE YOU ACTIVELY TRYING TO FUCK WITH MY REMAINING BRAIN CELLS?
You literally took 3 sentences to go from "a new world order" to "a new morality and set of social values" to "PANTIES"!
Do the people who put this mindless crap on the market even know that you can't throw stuff like "new world order/new morality" without actually showing how or what? That's like saying "and thus the greatest soldier ever was born". But then we don't see the soldier, we don't know how he fights, or even for whom.
I have never seen such a sharp, poorly done storytelling in my entire life. I literally dropped it right then and there, paused the video, tried some more but the damage was done. In less than 4 minutes I was convinced that this wasn't just generic and poor, it was also horribly told and had absolutely no idea of what it was talking about. And lots of shows are generic and mindless, but this one is lazy and veeeeery poorly made to boot.
If I ever want to hate anime, I'll be sure to come back to this.
Ah, harem. The genre that I mostly find myself gravitating towards is the one that has to do with lots of girls and only one guy. (Don't judge me. We all have our favorite genre.) So, with Fall 2015 coming to a close, we have Asterisk, a show that...really isn't much different from the rest of the harem shows out there to be honest.
Story: The age of Genestella came when meteors rained down and sent the world into near extinction, but surprisingly, not as many people as you think died. As a result of the fallout, a new society was
formed, one where people now possessed magical powers and were able to wield weapons made from the stones in these meteors called 'Luxes'. And here, we follow the story of Amagiri Ayato, a boy who enters one of 6 schools (Seidoukan specifically) and enters the Phoenix Festa in order to find out what happened to his missing sister several years back. Then he comes across a girl named Julis who starts to snap at him because of no fault of his own and well, you get the idea.
Asterisk is generic. There's no way around that fact. The show focuses on Ayato as he progresses through his life at Seidoukan, entering the Festa, and coming across various characters along the way. Most notably, harem members. And really, that's about it. He meets someone new (or old, since Saya is childhood friend), helps them, moves on. Even during the fighting festival, he manages to help other girls in that. Because of this, there really isn't much to say about the show. The fact that it's generic makes it so that a lot of the plot points are very predictable, a lot of what happens doesn't really add much tension, and nothing really stands out as extraordinary or noteworthy to talk about. It's not really bad, but at the same time it's not really good. It's rather bland and I really can't express that any more.
- Nothing really noteworthy to say about this show
- This is just filler text. Because there's nothing interesting to really say about Asterisk's story, I thought just add in this little bit so I could have three things in this section of the review.
Characters: The characters in Asterisk reflect its story, by being as uninteresting as they can be. (Because we all love anime tropes, right?)
Amagiri Ayato is...well, what'd you expect in an anime like this. He's a harem protag who's entire purpose in this show is to seek vengeance (or something) and help out any female human he possibly can before converting them to the Ayato religion where they worship his holy D. (Sigh. We've seen this a million times.) As such, he doesn't really have anything unique about him to talk about. Maybe the fact that he's not as OP as other harem protags that fit this category, but I don't think that deserves mention.
I don't think I really need to elaborate more, do I? Ok. Moving on then.
As for other characters, well, they're not really all that important, according to the plot. Most of the characters really serve to be plot-based and move what is happening in this series behind the scenes. Others on the other hand are meant to be the main focus of the show, (aka, the harem girls), and as such are treated with a little bit more screentime. Don't expect a lot from these people. Most of them aren't really that interesting aside from a tiny handful.
- Bland characters
- Most of the side cast is meant to move along the plot
- So, how's your day going? (I ran out of things to talk about again.)
Art: The art for Asterisk is something that I would say has more worth on it than its story and characters combined, and then some. While the artstyle isn't really all that fantastic in terms of originality since it all pretty much looks the same as a lot of anime these days, the fighting scenes and its effects look pretty, so I'll give it that much. Everything else, pretty standard.
+ Nice fight scenes
+/- Pretty standard animation
Sound: The sound for Asterisk is also something that has a little bit more worth to the show as a whole. Its OP "Brave New World" has a very techno and fast-paced feel that actually sounds rather good and fits with the show.
The ED on the other hand is another track that is rather nice to listen to. It's quite somber and has a mellow tone to it that's relaxing and calm to listen to. It's a good set of tracks to a not so very good show.
+ Good tracks
Personal Enjoyment: It's a harem; I tolerated it because of that, so there. I'm not going to do my usual stuff because there really isn't anything good or bad to say about this show. It's generic, and that enough should say enough about it. It's a rather bland experience that doesn't leave too much to think about, and as such, isn't really worth talking about. I don't hate it, I don't love it, I'm just indifferent to it. If you want to watch a generic harem...well, you can watch this one. A lot others are honestly crappier than this one.
Ok, so this anime has ended , so what can I say? Well, one can't make a review of this anime without compering to another anime namely "Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry" or at least on the story (up) side, since it both features the same plot where it involves the female MC who met the male MC in a very awkward situation and plot wise, both partners have to compete in a contest that would pit their skills against another opponent . I mean if one where watching
both animes their is at 70% similarities, where I rather not discuss anymore details and both climaxes where focus on fighting the strongest female contender, which is why I gave this anime's category a 5. About this anime's art(up) thought there where some fanservice involve, it didn't focus much on it to sell, thought they did made Claudia and Violet's bikini fanservice a little bit bitchy, but the good thing was that it only appeared briefly, so that is why I gave it a 6 for this anime's art. Sound (up), actually I just have nothing much to comment on this anime's sound pertaiting to the VA who did the character's voices, but I don't have much love for both the opening and closing themes of this anime, so I just limit it to a 6. Charcter (up) ok, the relationship between Ayato and Julis maybe a bit in the ambiguous side given that Julis was just too pridish to admit that she like Ayato and Ayato was just this garden variety harem guy , it was still good enough to see the two being together and supporting one another so for that this category should be "GOOD enough. Unfortunately this anime has introduced too many support characters that they're not given enough aired time let alone that those from diffrent school weren't that much of climatic when it comes to the competition, but still, it's "Good." Enjoyment (up), since this is the season were I've been watching 3 animes with a harem genre, my enjoyment was just limited as to how it will end and that's as "FAIR as it can be, so overall (up)this anime was decent enough to such level that it didn't rely on the fanservice to sell, but it lacks it's own identity that it can be compared to "Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry" , so season 2??????? Why not?
Well...Gakusen Toshi Asterisk started off pretty good like any other harem-ecchi anime series but went the episode went by, it became garbage and it does have a common plot that can be found in other animes.
Story : 6
Actually I'm not too sure about the plot but I'm sure it revolves around some random Magical Fantasy Schools participating in a competition and the main character finding the truth about his older sister. The competition is about some Magical Fantasy Fighting Competition which up till now I still do not understand their powers and stuff relating to it. With the anime being completed, the ending ends off
with a fight and some unnecessary fan-service. Which I think is a bad ending considering that I did not understand it
Art : 9
That art was pretty good as it shows the vibrant colours and the Art Directors must have spent large amount of time reviewing the art and improving it. And this is one of the good things and maybe its the ONLY GOOD THING about this show.
Sound : 8
The opening and ending was pretty good and the voice actors and actresses have played their roles perfectly.
Character : 3
Just like any other harem shows, there are unnecessary fan-service and annoying characters that always ruin the good moments of the show. It is very disturbing to find that it is also wasting screen-time. Although I'm a Fan of harem animes, the rating of 3 is mainly because of the annoying characters trying to act cute but got rejected by the main characters
Enjoyment : 4
This show was not enjoyable and I'm not even expecting myself to be watching Season 2 which would be airing next year
Overall : 4
Overall, The only good thing about this show is the Art and Sound but the rest is really terrible and horrible.
And Therefore I Warn Everyone Who Is Interested In This Show To Not Watch It.
Well, here is my honest opinion about Gaskusen Toshi Asterisk. It's to short for it's own good. It tries to give a good and a little complicated story and plot, but because of it's short run time (will change when the new season comes out in april 2016 hopefully) the goal of the plot becomes unknow. I mean sure, so far its about a group of magical warriors who fight in a tag team fight tournament and the winner(s? not sure) can make their/his or her wish come true if it is in the power of the current world to fulfilll.
In the end of the
season they teaser that something might have happend to the protagonist his sister and that we might know the villian. I am looking forward to the second season to find out what will happen, but thats also the problem. The first season doesn't make much sense without the storyline yet to come and thats why i can only give it a 6 for now (might review this season again after next season has aired)
(This review has been adapted from my blog/reddit thread. Spoilers ahead!)
When I went to Disney World – that is the one in Florida (the good one) and not the one in California – for the first time, it was around my birthday. If you do not know, at Disney, they pamper you to no end. They make sure that every move you make and every event you experience fills you with nothing but happiness. It is pretty scary how good they are at keeping you smiling.
So there I was, at Disney World, the happiest place on Earth, and it was my birthday. True to Disney
form, they made me happy by giving me a special, green badge to wear. Wearing it around the parks meant skipping the long lines, extra signatures from the characters, and the regular restaurant staff giving me kind words and free desserts. Needless to say, I was a supremely happy kid.
I speak of badges because Gakusen Toshi Asterisk gives badges to its characters, too. (Also, finding a tangentially relevant anecdote was pretty difficult for this one.) But Asterisk could learn a thing or two from Disney about how to make its audience happy.
One of the biggest issues with Asterisk is that the anime does not have an established plot to speak of.
This is a split-cour anime, meaning the second season is realistically the second half, the direct continuation as opposed to a whole new set of ideas. What this means is that a lot of the events revolve around just introducing characters and establishing setting instead of actually having worthwhile events.
For example, Julis gets the first couple of episodes which are shared somewhat with Saya and Claudia. Kirin gets a couple of episodes for herself, too. Then Kirin shares one episode with Saya, and then the last few episodes are (strangely) about two new characters that showed up at the end of the season.
Again, this is all character-oriented material. Nothing that occurs within these separate scenarios – like Julis confronting an evildoer who sent her a letter or Kirin fighting off some monsters with Ayato helping her – affect the larger, overarching narrative.
What is this narrative? A lot of it involves unnecessary sexual, harem-based content. It is almost certain that Julis is the one he will choose in the end, considering their partnership and main character statuses. Meaning, the other characters fawning over Ayato seems rather pointless. Furthermore, any and all advances are met with Ayato being too flustered to do anything or with Ayato too afraid to make a move, highlighting said pointlessness.
The biggest driving force for the narrative is the “Fenix Festa,” a tournament where the best students of the different academies duel one another. The issue here is that the tournament does not start until later on in the season. That is, for roughly three-quarters of the show, the most important driving force is ignored. Yes, the characters are constantly training for the tournament, but it is never a conflict that they have to directly deal with until much later.
Then, once the tournament starts, the anime spends an inordinate amount of time on those aforementioned side characters, Irene and Priscilla. Not only do these side characters come too late into the season but also they divert attention away from Ayato, Julis, and the other characters who are easily more important.
Worse still is the lack of world building. Very little information is given on the different factions throughout the city; only random snippets from conversations or quick rundowns let the audience understand how this society functions. Thus, the different fighters and weapons and groups have no basis and therefore no relevance.
Narrowing the scope, Asterisk still has problems. A number of subplots go unexplained, like the Cat guardians, the backstory about Ayato’s sister, and the behind-the-scenes dealings with Clauida to name a few. The idea is that these separate subplots will be resolved later on in the second half of the anime, but so little was given about them that they feel more like tacked-on inclusions rather than important pieces of the plot.
Even on a thematic level, the anime has trouble. Asterisk focuses on the theme of what it is that motivates people. Or as the characters phrase it, “what it is I’m supposed to do.” Protecting another, upholding tenets, and righting wrongs are all valid motivators, motivators that the different members of the cast hold fast.
However, the extra aspects – namely the comedy and the sex – of Asterisk make it difficult to take its serious thoughts seriously. For example, Ayato (and the audience) seeing Julis and Saya’s undergarments after getting splashed by a fountain is unnecessary. And when Irene sucks blood from Priscilla’s neck, the action can only be described as sensual and thus distracting.
But to be as fair as possible, there is a second half to Asterisk, a half that presumably will sort out all of these narrative conflicts and inherent problems. So even though the show looks rough now, there is still an entire season left to go.
Asterisk’s art and animation is a mixture of both solid and subpar offerings.
The cinematography is often standard, except for rare perspectives such as a shot taken from Ayato’s point-of-view when Julis’s hands are covering his face or when bullets are shown hitting other bullets in slow motion. Lighting likewise remains relatively standard. And the same can be said for the art itself. Locations feel “the same”: an arena for fighting, a nice-looking room, and small parts of the city are as adventurous as the show gets. The lack of diversity can be attributed to the lack of world building – since the anime decided not to flesh out its world, the anime’s art suffers, too.
Asterisk also likes to use CG for many of its effects. The materialization of guns, the smaller particles, and the robots that Ernesta developed are a few examples where CG makes an appearance. The CG is not groundbreaking, but it is used in such a way that the scenes and effects are bolstered, not hampered, by its inclusion.
Bolstering occurs with the actual animation as well, remaining at an above average level throughout the season. Hair swaying and faces contorting are present as well as other nuanced effects such as sparkling eyes and moving limbs. The animation even keeps up during the numerous duels: swords swing, flames bloom, and characters run. Even Ayato’s abilities – which more often than not devolve into a quick cut of him flashing across the screen – have their moments, like when he grapples Kirin or when he uses a massive attack in the final battle.
As for the character designs, their inclusion of color symbolism is nice to see. Julis’s pink symbolizes hotness, Kirin’s lavender symbolizes sweetness, Saya’s blue symbolizes calmness, Claudia’s yellow symbolizes happiness, and Ayato’s purple symbolizes respectfulness.
But the colors are, unfortunately, all that distinguish them. Their hair is not gaudy and their eyes are pretty, yet they each wear more or less the same school outfit. And since they rarely switch out of their school outfits, they look less like their own characters and more like a specific color moving around on the screen.
Asterisk has a fair amount of problems with its cast, problems caused by the anime splitting itself up. Still, the cast partially holds its own.
On a thematic level, they represent the idea that everyone fights for someone. Ayato fights for Julis. Julis fights for the kids in the orphanage. And Kirin and Saya fight for their respective fathers. Claudia may be fighting for Ayato, but technically the audience does not know quite yet where her true thoughts lay. (Hopefully the second season will clear this confusion up.)
Regardless, it is this need to protect another that pushes the characters forward. They take action not for themselves but for the person (or people) they hold dear. This theme is not explored outright, but having this commonality exist between each member of the cast proves that they were given at least a modicum of attention.
Moving to an individual basis, perhaps it is best to start with the best. The strongest character of Asterisk is Kirin and rightly so – she was given three whole episodes to flesh out her character. She starts out in a rough spot: Her menacing uncle physically abuses her and, for some reason unbeknownst to the audience, she accepts said abuse. Ayato fights for her honor, but he surprisingly loses.
But that is not the end for Kirin. She speaks with Ayato afterwards, expressing how grateful she is to have Ayato even attempt to stick up for her. The two quickly become friends (Kirin seems to have a crush on the boy), and their morning practices become a ritual.
It is not until Kirin and Ayato are attacked by a bunch of regenerating dragons (and while half naked) that she recounts her reason for suffering under her uncle. She has been, for years now, fighting to prove the innocence of her father who was accused unjustly. Ayato hears her words, encouraging her to take her own path.
She agrees, confronting her uncle and getting (backhand) slapped in the process. But she does not waver. Instead, she decides to fight Ayato once more, losing but realizing that this new path – her path – is the one that she wants to follow. And when her uncle confronts her again, Kirin sees that just because she has taken a path of her own volition that does not mean that she will be left to fight by her lonesome.
This whole character arc for Kirin is technically small, but she goes from introducing her traits, to dealing with her conflict, and then finally wrapping up said conflict, developing her character as best as the show could with the time constraints and the size of the cast. The rest of the cast, however, is not as lucky as Kirin.
Julis is next on the totem pole. She pushes others away, believing that she can and should fight using only her own strength. When Ayato arrives, she comes to understand the value of camaraderie, placing her trust in the boy who vows to help her. She has a backstory with an orphanage that has yet to be used directly (hopefully in the second season), yet the biggest mistake is the part of her past relating to a girl named Elenshquigall Ophélia (what a name) shown for not even five seconds before it is brushed over. (Again, hopefully the second season addresses this tidbit.)
Next would be Saya. She is aimless to the point of getting lost while out and about, she is evidently in love with Ayato, and she is a fan of saying “Kaboom” nonchalantly. Her listlessness only drops whenever the subject of her father is brought up. He was ostracized by his peers for his unorthodox methods in gun creation. She is mostly there for comedic relief, but she does form a connection with Kirin. For now, as a main-but-really-a-side character, Saya does what she has to; her time will come later on.
At the bottom of the totem pole rests both Ayato and Claudia. Ayato suffers from being a self-insert character: he is incredibly powerful, he is surrounded by beautiful women, and he is just the nicest guy ever. To be fair, his power is more a curse than a blessing since it hurts him and saps his strength. As for why this is, it has yet to be explained (more next-season knowledge). And as such, Ayato’s character remains relatively static throughout the season.
Claudia is, surprisingly, the worst of the bunch. About halfway through the season, she, like Julis, very briefly mentions a trouble she is carrying: Her mother in the Integrated Enterprise Foundation is apparently someone who has no “irrational sense of self-interest” and has no “personal desires.” And, like Julis, this trouble is forgotten about entirely. It is not until the end of the season when she reveals her first important trait: Her weapon, Pan-Dora, forces her to view her “eventual death,” indicating her immense mental fortitude. The rest of the time, Claudia is relegated to sexual relief and not much more.
Collectively, and given that this is a split-cour anime, Asterisk did not create a strong group of characters, but it did not create a weak group of characters either.
The ending track is undoubtedly the best part of the anime. It starts off slow and soft, lulling the listener into a peaceful mood. The piano and violins are gentle and beautiful, boosting the peacefulness further. But the track does not keep this tone for long; the halfway marker transitions the track into techno land. Here, the space-like effects fall more in-line with Asterisk’s futuristic motif. All the while, the vocalist uses nothing but English lyrics, giving the track a unique feel. Overall, the ED is a powerhouse that should not go unheard.
The opening track is nowhere near the strength of the ED, but it does deserve some credit. The OP sticks more to the techno and space-like effects that the ED adopted, and it is certainly more intense, contrasting well with the ED. The track itself is nothing special, however, since it is a lot of beats and instruments crammed together. At the minimum, the vocalist sings wonderfully in terms of range and emotion, keeping the OP from being completely forgettable.
The rest of the original soundtrack is akin to the OP in that many of the tracks are fine for what they are but not much more. Flutes and bongos fill the slice-of-life moments. Dubstep and fast tracks make up the action-heavy moments. And a melancholic and mysterious piano track accompanies the equally sad and ominous moments. This last track is the only one that particularly stands out.
As far as voice acting performances are concerned, they are about average in their execution. Ari Ozawa as Kirin gives the young girl quite the cute voice, but the voice is almost too high-pitched. Ai Kakuma as Julis gives the short-tempered girl a fiery disposition. And Nao Touyama as Claudia provides a mature, sexy voice that is nice on the ears. And a (negative) shout out to Yuuko Gotou for using an annoying voice as an announcer for Kirin and Saya’s duel, hurting their whole scene.
Despite the problems I have with the anime, I still find it pretty fun at times.
Especially all of the romance asides. Kirin sidling closer to Ayato when she realizes she still has a shot. Saya calling Ernesta a “thieving cat” when Ernesta pecked Ayato’s cheek with a kiss. And Julis acting like the stereotypical tsundere on a consistent basis. Then there is Claudia whose sexually aggressive nature is always a treat.
I really do not care for the battles, though. Not too much is at stake and Ayato (inevitably) always wins. I would much rather the anime stick to the previous material: flirting, blushing, and romancing. Even then, there are certain moments – like Ayato and Julis’s first match where he falls on her and grabs her breast (way too overdone by now) and Kirin and Saya taking a shower after their match (not very tactful) – that I can do without.
Thinking on it more, I like all of the members of the cast besides Ayato. The girls are some combination of cute, sexy, and funny. Kirin is beyond adorable, Saya is hilarious in her unemotional responses, and Julis wanting to get her head rubbed because the other girls got the same treatment is amazing. Of course, Claudia in nothing but a bathrobe or a bathing suit is more than welcomed. Ayato, however, is just not interesting. Obviously that is the point, but I wish he had more of a personality besides “that super-nice dude.”
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk is a split-cour anime that stumbles from the get-go. The narrative has major issues, and while the characters, the visuals, and the music avoid similar mistakes, they are not without their own. Disney levels of happiness are impossible to reach, but hopefully the second half of the show can give its audience their very own green, happy-birthday badge.
Story: Bad, lack of a driving force, improper world building, and thematic troubles each harm the narrative, but the knowledge that a second half is on the horizon helps to explain some of the misgivings
Animation: Fine, average art, cinematography, and lighting, with nice CG, above average actual animation, and okay character designs
Characters: Fine, besides Kirin, the rest of the cast is either just primed for the second half or just not focused on enough
Sound: Fine, okay OP, good ED, okay OST, about average VA performances
Enjoyment: Fine, Claudia, Kirin, Saya, and Julis are fun, but Ayato is lame and the battles are lamer