This review is of the entire series, both seasons. A-P has them separated, but I saw no reason to review two halves of the same show separately.
My third watch, and the anime is still as great as ever. The fact that it's a mecha anime might turn you away, if it's not your cup of tea, but let me tell you this: I despise mecha in general, but I love Asura Cryin'. It's not often you see an anime with an awesome, complex plot like this. It's a bit confusing at first, on the first watch, but intriguing from the start, thanks to numerous mysteries. The main character is also a bit on the bland side in the first season, but he gets a lot better towards the end of the series.
Main character aside, there are many great characters in Asura Cryin'. Misao, the protagonist's ghost childhood friend, always thinks out-of-the-box and comes up with hilarious observations. There are also a bunch of totally kickass female characters. There are antagonists who really make you hate them, and some who turn out to be decent, even admirable. All of them, however, have depth. Despite the protagonist having a harem, I find the balance of male and female characters good enough. Also no complaints about character development, though I don't consider it among the anime's many strong points. Despite a few mediocre cases, overall the crew is pretty awesome.
The settings are full of great ideas. It's funny how large a part of such a grand-scale adventure is spent in a school, but once you get over the absurdity of it, it's actually rather nice. Asura Cryin' is pretty much the only anime that I consider to be on the heavy side yet enjoy re-watching often, and the reason for that might be how well it blends light school life with epic adventure and fantasy action. The world also has a lot of intriguing mysteries that I enjoyed discovering (I love ruins of lost, advanced civilisations), and the fusion of magic and technology, demons and mecha, gave birth to a very interesting magic system. I really like the fact that many essential aspects of the magic system are more or less explained.
The action is very nice. Lots of explosions (mostly thanks to Shuri, a woman who carries enough weapons in her body to arm a battalion), magic and unusually cool mecha. There's enough variation to the Asura Machina's and demons' abilities to keep me happy. Besides action, the comedy isn't bad at all, and overall I consider the entertainment value of Asura Cryin' to be in the highest class together with Kaze no Stigma and Ookami-san to Shichi-nin no Nakama-tachi.
Then there are some scenes... beautiful and epic, touching scenes. Foremost among them in my mind is the first season finale, ep 13. Even on my third watch, even though I knew exactly what was coming, the emotional impact was just as strong as ever. Made me cry like a baby. Part of its brilliance is in the 11th episode, which seems oddly peaceful in such an action-packed anime at first, but which deepens some characters nicely in preparation for their starring role in the 13th episode. In its most climatic moments, Asura Cryin' usually manages some great dramatisation.
Musics are generally very good. The best BGM's are very atmospheric, and both seasons have amazing OP's and ED's by angela. Character designs are a bit rough, but the Asura Machina look really cool. Also, the magic circles have pretty cool designs. Battle animation isn't bad at all, there are a few lazy stills but mostly it's pretty fluid combat.
But in the end, the plot is the strongest point of this anime. Certainly, there are a few problems with it that could be considered plotholes, but that's pretty much unavoidable considering there are powers in the story capable of manipulating space and time. In return, they enabled the creation of a really complex, screwed up plotline with lots of delicious mysteries, interesting characters and epic world-saving. What's best, by the end almost everything makes sense (though it might take a second watch): all the important mysteries are properly explained and all the plotlines neatly tied up.
As in any epic fantasy story done right, there is tragedy and comedy, life and death, love and hate, humanity and inhumanity, past and future, a beginning and an end... and a whole lot of good ideas. Asura Cryin' is one of the most complete, fulfilling stories of its kind I've ever seen or read. If not for some minor weaknesses, like the protagonist being rather bland at first, and its wisdom lacking just a bit of depth in comparison to my other 10-point anime... *sigh* Well, missing a place among my 10/10 anime by a very small margin, I rate Asura Cryin' 9.5/10.