Invertia… an unprecedented disaster that struck the world during the 20th century. Because of this disaster, numerous cities around the world were destroyed. However, within the meteor, an unknown element called mana was discovered, which allowed human technology to make rapid strides. This also gave rise to a new species of human born with unique skills – the Star Pulse Generation. The setting for the world’s greatest comprehensive battle spectacle, the Festas, is an academy city above the water surrounded by six academies called Rikka also commonly known as Asterisk.
Witch of the Resplendent Flames
A Holiday for Two
Lightning Blade Speed
The True Face of the Girl
Decisions and Duels
A Holiday for Two, Part 2
The Phoenix Festa
The Tyrant Vampire Princess
Power and Its Price
Gakusen toshi Asterisk came out in hand with the Rakudai Kishi no Calvary, which is slightly better show. It is yet another unimaginative light-novel adaptation about schools, magic weapons, tournament and weak protagonist who is undefeated badass. Lately this stupid gimmick is so overused. I say stupid, because what is the point of saying about a guy, who never loses a fight that he is "weak". Story itself is quite boring honestly. It is completely open ended for other season or it is the case of read the rest of the source material ending. Not only the end is poor. The very beginning and forgive me for lack of better expression .. It begins as shit. I mean the battle at the beginning, which is never explained. Does make no sense at all. Viewer knows nothing and the show throws at him a battle scene with some generic opponent. The only thing is established is that it is sister of the main protagonist. The fights are not that great either. Except maybe the last episode, where I was mildly interested in the way how the main protagonists are going to win. I knew already they are going to win. I was right about that. However that is just not enough. I didn't care about scheming of various fractions behind the scenes. I didn't care about romance between main protagonist and the "chosen girl" from his harem. I didn't care about friendship of his little sister with the other girl (the "not chosen" girl in love with the main protagonist). Lastly I didn't care for fights with CGI weapons. Especially since there was no balance. Some were clearly OP as hell. Characters usual light-novel stuff with tsundere girl, OP main protagonist, etc. I can't think anything worthy of mentioning about them. Animation was OK, but the CGI weapons were in my opinion slightly off-puting. Soundtrack was ok, but OP and ED forgettable. Overall I would classify this as an average light-novel adaptation. It is easily forgettable, especially because there was other very similar and slightly more interesting anime (Rakudai Kishi no Calvary) released during the same season.
First and foremost, please note that this review is currently for both The Asterisk War and The Asterisk War (2016) with certain ratings being averaged out between the two seasons. Story: 3/10TAW: 4/10TAW (2016): 2/10 The Asterisk War (TAW) is the telling of a very clichéd story set in the future in which humankind suffered a global disaster at the hands of a meteor. Many large cities were completely decimated as a result. However, due to a substance called mana, which came from said meteor, human civilization became greatly advanced into the future. Plus, this “mana” proved to be useful in somehow granting select people with special abilities known as Genestella. They, along with the rapidly advancing technology, are to be the future of humankind, with the epicenter being the city of Rikka, also known as Asterisk. The city of Rikka is home to six academies, all with Genestella students, all who compete against each other in various tournaments in order to claim the right of being number one. People from around the world witness these tournaments for pure entertainment, at the behest of these academies and its students engaging in combat. One of the most renowned tournaments is the Phoenix Festa, which is what the most significant and largest part of the anime revolves around, leading all the way through to the sequel season, The Asterisk War (2016). Now for the critiquing. TAW is very clichéd as previously mentioned. However, it is a decent telling of such a re-hashed plot. The worst part is the huge cliffhanger at the end of season one, which would’ve been awful for any one watching this when it first aired since there is a gap between the seasons; Fall 2015 for TAW and Spring 2016 for the sequel, its direct continuation. That is a poor job by A-1 Pictures, which leads us into season two, or TAW (2016). The first few episodes of TAW (2016) started off relatively good, especially since I had minimal expectations after witnessing TAW. However, it was not meant to last. After the solid start to TAW (2016), it completely imploded after that by the addition of way too many potential mini story arcs and scenarios happening within the main story arc. Everything was all over the place with little to no cohesiveness. To make matters even worse, the damn anime doesn’t end! It leaves the viewers on another large cliffhanger with only the light novels and/or manga left to find out what happens. In all honesty, who would want to though? The story is so broken and incomplete that the potential from the first few episodes of TAW (2016) gets entirely wasted. Season two ends up being horrendous for an anime that only had an “okay” first season to begin with. Animation: 6/10 The animation featured some good fluidity throughout with acceptable CG elements mixed in. In terms of artistic merits, A-1 Pictures succeeded in creating a world full of color, which continues all the way through with the battle scenes. Where the studio failed was in its generic character designs and simplistic backgrounds, which is surprising since they produce some of the highest quality looking anime in the business. Lastly, I was surprised to see the quality, or lack thereof, in the HD streaming. It just looked bad at times, standard definition bad with pixels popping up all over the screen. Whether it was due to the studio’s inconsistencies, or my Wi-Fi or hardwire connection is to be debated. I will say that my internet is above average, that I do know. Sound: 7.5/10TAW: 8/10TAW (2016): 7/10 Season one’s initial ED is wonderfully composed and completely memorable. It’s a beautiful song called “Waiting for the Rain,” sung by Maaya Sakamoto. It is the best part of the entire anime. Outside of that, the remainder of the ED’s and all the OP’s are fine. The sound effects, especially during the battle scenes, are good. When Ayato wields his Orga Lux, the Ser-Veresta, it has a robotic, Star Wars-like light saber sound to it, which is actually pretty cool. Overall, no complaints here. Characters: 4/10 Representing the Seidoukan Academy’s team in the Phoenix Festa is Ayato Amagiri, Julis “Glühen Rose” Riessfield, Saya Sasamiya, and Kirin Toudou. They are a fun bunch to watch between their competitive battles and the overall interaction of their personalities amongst themselves. It is not always the case on an individual scale. Ayato is way to agreeable and shows varying emotion that is often inconsistent and all over the place. He is a badass, but an unremarkable one. Both Tsundere princess Julis and Kirin are two of the better characters. Julis has a spunky attitude and personality that makes up for some of Ayato’s deficiencies in that department. Kirin’s use of a real katana versus an Ogra Lux scores some major awesome points in my book, personally. That said, she can more than hold her own against equally powerful opponents, sometimes flat out kicking their asses. Saya is borderline Stoic, but likeable. Her team partnership with Kirin is strong in technique, but a little on the weaker side in personality. However, they’re more engaging when they are partnered in one of the storyline’s mini arcs. Where the rest of the general cast is concerned, there are some definite issues with poor writing, bad development, and general aggravation. Just to mention a few standouts: Gustave is old, arrogant, and overpowered. He’s a worthless Elderly Genestella who should find himself a coffin and be buried in it. Dirk is another shit bag like the just mentioned old man. It’s too bad we don’t get to see him get knocked off and buried alongside Gustave. The likeable Eishirou Yabuki is the first to last character I’ll specifically mention. He has some uniquely crazy ability that only gets briefly showcased once, and then only slightly hinted at another time prior. His ability is not clearly witness to fully identify it, which would’ve been nice to do so in his character background that never happens. Julis’s childhood friend, Orphelia, is another one whose back story never comes to fruition despite her evident strength and abilities. I’ll stop here because this list could just keep going. That’s poorly executed these characters are in conjunction with the poor storyline. Overall character development was seriously lacking. It didn’t help that A-1 Pictures introduced so many additional characters in TAW (2016), especially mid-point or later into the season. Their introductions were poorly timed, random, and thrown into the mix with little to no understandable purpose, other than to bolster lousy mini story arcs and create unnecessary drama. That’s a nearly unforgiveable job done by the studio. Overall: 46.5/100 points* This anime often gets compared to Chivalry of a Failed Knight, or CFK, and I can certainly see some similarities. The main differences being that CFK is better in storyline, animation, and character development. That’s significant considering that TAW/TAW (2016) had a total of 24 episodes to tell its story, where as CFK only had 12 and it did an overall better job. How this anime rates as high as it does is totally confusing to me. Season two starts off as if it’s going to better than its predecessor before completely crashing into confusion and burning in sub-mediocrity. It gets so bad that another Post-apocalyptic event can’t save this garbage. Clichés are bad enough, but lousy telling of an already mundane concept is the worst. TAW was what I expected. TAW (2016) was hopeful in the beginning but ultimately a huge failure. I cannot remember the last time a hopeful, even promising second season pissed me off this much! It was the inspiration I needed to write what has been the longest review I’ve done on anime-planet. Maybe the third season that will never be can fix this. Oh wait! It probably won’t ever exist. Whether that's a good thing or not is up for debate. Personally, I don't care due to the shear disappointment of TAW (2016). ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (COMBINED AVERAGE): 5.5/10TAW: 6/10TAW (2016): 5/10 1️⃣Weighted Average System Score: (9 + 7 + 7.5 + 12 + 11 = 46.5/100 points) Additional Information: Video Format: HD Streaming Audio Format: English dubbed Publisher: Hulu Equipment Used: LG 60UH6550 4K TV, Vizio 5.1 Sound Bar System SB3651-E6, Sony Blu-ray Player BDP-S5200
Winner 2016 JV Anime Award: Best Opening Song (The Asterisk War) This is a review of all 24 episodes. Positive *To start off my positive section I again have to praise A-1 Pictures for the animation in Asterisk. The animation was on one side again very sharp and detailed which was definitely noticeable in the many battles that we get to see when the Phoenix Festa starts. And the sharpness of the animation was very well combines with the bright coloring. I found the color palette that Asterisk used very enjoyable to look at. The bright and vibrant colors reflected the flow of Asterisk, still being an action based anime. And I find colorfull anime’s still way more enjoyable to watch than anime’s that are based on grayish colors. Now although the animation was sharp most of the time, I must admit that in the later episodes I did notice some irregularities in the animation. Like some facial expressions were animated quite roughly but no anime is without fault. For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page. *The next positive point that I want to address are the characters. For this point I’m going to make some comparisons between Asterisk and its so called brother from Fall 2015: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry. Let’s start with the main characters: Ayato in Asterisk and Ikki in Chivalry. If I had to make a choice between them I would definitely choose Ikki over Ayato. Ayato was a good MC but I found Ikki to be much more interesting and to have a much more layered personality especially when we got to the end of Chivalry. And with Ayato I felt that some things happened out of the blue. I will clarify in the negative section of this review. Now Asterisk did have the better main female character in my opinion. Despite the fact that Julis and Stella are almost completely alike, they both have pink hair, control fire, are princesses and semi-tsundere’s, I found Julis to be a more enjoyable character. I think that that’s also related to the comedy that Chivalry used mostly with Stella that I didn’t really enjoy. And finally we have the side characters. Asterisk did a very good job at creating lovable side characters that were actually important to the main storyline. In Chivalry, if we’re honest, the side characters Shizuku and Nagi weren’t really that important especially Nagi. But the 2 side characters in Asterisk, being Kirin and Saya, were really important to the story and Asterisk rewarded them for that by giving them episodes that focused on them in stead of the main duo Julis-Ayato. And if we’re again honest, both Saya and Kirin were so damn adorable, especially Kirin in my opinion. *A final positive point that I definitely want to mention were the opening and ending songs. The opening songs were so dope, talking about OP’s that get you hyped up for the episode that was the come. To illustrate this and this is a true story: when I was at a tournament a few monthsagi , I actually used the second OP called “The Asterisk War” to prepare myself, to gain focus. That’s how good of a hype-opening I found that to be. Negative Apart from the few small negative points that mentioned earlier, Asterisk was, like almost every anime, not flawless. *As I mentioned before I felt with Ayato that some things happened out of the blue. Best example was the battle between him and the ninja sisters where he suddenly unlocks a new level of his power. And that happened like that, this should have had way more focus on it since Ayato’s power and the seal on it was a very important element for the story of Asterisk. *Another negative point was the semi-final fight between Julis and Ayato and the 2 knights. This was a fight that I expected way more off. This was a semi-final and it gets resolved in halve an episode. Now the reasons for this “rushing” was that 1) at the time of this semi-final something else was happening that was very important for the main storyline. And 2) the other semi-final got more attention for a reason that I mentioned earlier but no further spoilers. But despite these reasons I still found this semi-final to be way too rushed. *My next negative point is the reason that I think Asterisk will have lost quite some viewers after its first few episodes. The main storyline of Asterisk is everything but original. The concept of a guy, who is usually weak as shit, who has to win some kind of tournament to save someone close to him has been used time after time after time in anime. Examples are Chivalry and Taimado Gakuen 35 Shinken Shoutai. And I think some viewers of Asterisk dropped it because of that. That they thought that this was another stereotypical anime, I even know that fellow anime reviewer Chibi dropped Asterisk because of this reason. Now I am happy that I kept on watching Asterisk because although the story wasn’t very original, the execution was splendid. *And my last negative point is an obvious one if you’re familiar with my channel and know what bothers me in anime. It was of course the open ending of Asterisk. This anime is far from finished especially since it opens up new story lines in its final episodes. The Phoenix Festival is finished in episode 20 and in the episodes after that completely new stories about Claudia and Julis get introduced and the anime looks forward to the Gryps Festival. On top of that the story resolving around Ayato’s sister isn’t resolved yet and we also learned that Ernesta is working on a new robot. So lot’s of things that still need resolution. Now I truly hope that this anime wasn’t solely a promotion for the LN’s. I truly hope that A-1 will make a 3rd season when there’s enough content in the LN. The first 2 season now covered 7 volumes of the LN and the last one to be released was the 10th one. So hopefully we will get a new adaption maybe somewhere in 2017. Conclusion So as a conclusion, despite Asterisk being a very typical anime at its core, I really enjoyed the execution of it from the animation and the music to the characters and their personalities. And that’s why I’m going to rate Gakusen Toshi Asterisk at 3,5 stars. This was again a good anime by A-1, not their best I must admit, but I still enjoyed it enough to wish for a 3rd season.
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