Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Asterisk Wars


The Asterisk War was a bit disappointing. It's not that this anime was terrible so much as it was unmemorable. Even though I only finished watching it about a week ago, I can't remember the names of any of the characters; what they were like, what they wanted to accomplish, or why they were even in this anime to begin with. I think the biggest problem for me was that another anime had come out with almost the exact same theme - magical high school - but the other anime was better, which made my enjoyment of this anime wan.

The anime starts off stereotypically enough: New boy comes on campus, a napkin flies from a window, boy finds napkin and uses magic to fly up to the window, where he discovers the half-naked tsundere love interest in the process of changing. The beginning of this anime is so similar to Chivalry of a Failed Knight that I'm astonished they were made at the same time. However, where Chivalry distinguishes itself within the first episode, Asterisk pulls a cliche. Yes, the main character decides to do the Blush & Stutter (patent pending), then the half-naked tsundere decides to do the tsun act. From the moment this anime began to the moment it ended, I could predict everything that would happen with at least 75% accuracy. The only reason my accuracy wasn't 100% was because several side characters were introduced, and even then, most of the side characters were completely predictable after their introduction.

What's more, all of the harem members - sorry, I mean, all of the female characters - are so static and boring that I couldn't root for any of them. There was only one character that I liked, and she wasn't introduced until the halfway point. I could pretty much pick out which trope these characters were, too. It's not like the director did anything to distinguish characters in this anime from every other anime of this genre. You've got the tsundere love interest, the kuudere loli who happens to be the harem protagonist's best friend, the himedere, and the flirty blond with hair drills. This is pretty much how I remember these characters, not by their names, but by their tropes. And while I don't normally compare anime in my reviews, I really have to. Compared to Chivalry, where I can remember the names of all the main characters, Asterisk's characters are completely flat and uninteresting.

Following what starts off as a typical high school magical harem, we're given more cliche's in the form of an overpowered main character whose power has been sealed so he doesn't seem so overpowered. Supposedly, his sister sealed his power for... reasons. I don't know what those reasons are, as they are never explained in the anime, but I'm guessing they're plot reasons. His sister must have realized that having an overpowered main character would make for an uninteresting story, and so she decided to seal his powers away. What's his face main protagonist can only use his powers for five minutes before he falls unconscious, which happens to be another overpowered character cliche. Yes, I'm being serious. Every overpowered character falls unconscious at the end of every battle so they don't seem as overpowered, like having them fall unconscious afterwards makes the battle seem like it was oh-so-difficult. It's a standard cliche that's done to death in anime like this.

Now, while there was a lot that disappointed me in this anime, there are some things that I did like. First, the artwork is very colorful and clean. In terms of art style, I think this is fairly top notch. The animation is also smooth. I never saw any real problems aside from the special effects used for spells. Those seemed a bit out of place, and I could tell they were CG, but I can forgive that. Also, while I think the battles in Chivalry were way better, I don't have any complaints about the fight scenes here. With how fluid the animation was, the sword fights in Asterisk were great fun to watch. It was actually the art and animation that kept me watching this. All that being said, this anime wasn't terrible. I think if it had come out before Chivalry of a Failed Knight did, I would have enjoyed it for what it was. Anyone who's into this genre will certainly enjoy watching it, and I hope that anyone who watches it finds it entertaining.

Artwork: 9/10
Animation: 9.5/10
Sound: 10/10
Characters: 4/10
Story: 5/10
Personal Enjoyment: 5/10
Total: 7/10