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.
Until the second cour, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk.