INTRODUCTION OF THE ASTERISK WAR
NOTE: This review was written before watching season two of The Asterisk War.
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk / The Asterisk War is a futuristic sci-fi anime that occurs after a mayor world event that has caused humans to develop superpowers, moving back to the present, Ayato is a new transfer student looking to know more about his now missing sister which previously attended the same school. During this adventure he meets many friends and ends up joining the Phoenix Festa, a battle royal of students that face off against different schools. Ayato, wielding the ser-veresta, an unstoppable sword and having a fierce power within him faces many challenges in the way to finding more about his missing sister.
HOW IT FEELS
Episode one sets the pace quite well by explaining the basic knowledge needed to understand the world and main characters while still keeping it interesting with fighting scenes that include great special effects, it also introduces the initial character very well. This begins the progression between the main characters of this series: Ayato and Julis.
The plot, while it may feel weak through the series, it has a deeper story line hidden withing the comedy. The more you watch and understand the progression the main character is facing the more you realise what kind of person he is. I personally felt the story line could have brought so much to the table but fell short as instead, it preferred short bursts of advancement instead of a stead amount of progression, however season 1 cannot be seen unless you plan on watching season 2 because Gakusen Toshi Asterisk / The Asterisk War ends in a very abrupt way that makes the viewer feel like it was just “another episode” instead of the closer of a season.
HOW IT LOOKS
This animations strong point was character progression for both of the main characters, specifically Julis. She is originally a lone wolf princess that gets close to our other main character, Ayato, but ends up opening up into a great heart felt character. The progression is very slow at the beginning which may even make you feel that this is just another pointless comedy anime, but as you watch it further you realise the characters background starts to add up. This way it makes you feel more in touch with the characters and the reason why they are joining this insane battle royale between students, the more you know about each of them, the more it keeps you guessing about the real plot. On one side, you know Ayato is looking for her sister but the more characters join the wide there plot becomes.
“I want to be there for you, Julis”, This is a line by Ayato felt very corny and is very commonly used in many anime. This was the time Ayato wanted to help Julis. If it was not obvious to you from episode one, he had a special connection with her right from the beginning, what made me feel this quote is more important than it seems was that he was saying it more for himself because this was when he realised what he really wanted to do, after this his sisters disappearance became less important.
Art is the most important factor for me as it portrays the story the author wants to show us, in pictures. Coming from a background of visual novels, i was very surprised, this anime felt like the art style was a very detailed 2D drawing you would see in a visual novel but instead of still, it’s moving.
The art does a great job in individualising the characters as every character is unique and with different proportions, this strongly pushes us on the right direction on how we feel on these characters from the moment they enter the scene. The great character design is followed with outstanding animation that can be felt strongly in the fighting scenes, the fluidity helps keeping track with the movements of the characters as they fight while staying clear for us to know what moves the characters are activating. I feel like the actions scenes are one of its strong point but they are very lacking, when the Phoenix Fiesta begins the anime starts to shine.
I would categorise season one towards the comedy side as for most the season it emphasised a lot on the school life of Ayato and the relationship with his many friends, while the comedy is quite tasteful there are many sexual comedy scenes which feel forced, even though the character taking part of this scenes seems to have a lust towards the character. Meanwhile on every other aspect the comedy is quite normal compared to school life anime and there isn’t much to really point out.
HOW IT SOUNDS
The soundtrack was nothing special but it used the music sparingly which can set the mood perfectly, quiet moments are more common while when music plays it is mostly soft. Completely separate is the action music, it has a very upbeat soundtrack that really prepares you for the overpowered skills Ayato has, this really starts to shine in the Phoenix Festa as its where you start to taste what Gakusen Toshi Asterisk / The Asterisk War is really capable of in the action department. Even thought the music brings nothing special to the table, it still does a great job at portraying the scenes and again, specifically action scenes that are followed up by great “special effects” by the weapons/abilities which really makes the fight feel awesome.
In the end, this anime could have been so much more than it actually is by doing a few things like following the school life with a more consistent character development or a quicker transition to the Phoenix Fiesta, also while the comedy was on point a lot of the time it felt forced in minor areas specially when it was included in sexual scenes. The anime has nothing specific to bring onto the table that hasn’t been done before but instead prefers to stay in the safe zone, while not much other than the action scenes are exciting, it does a good job holding the plot together and it really sets you in a well designed world that is explained from the beginning.
I feel like season two of Gakusen Toshi Asterisk / The Asterisk War is going to have a better tempo than season one, the ending really left a lot to be desired about the plot as it ended very abruptly. I am looking forward to watch the next season and fill all the plot holes and theories that the first season has created.
STORY LINE: 7
CHARACTER PROGRESSION: 7.5
PERSONAL ENJOYMENT: 8
Project kiji has lots to offer in the gaming topics, we cover both new games and old. Head to our home page or a specific category like gaming news!