Project #287: The Asterisk War S2

Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. The Sequel arc moves right along with our next anime The Asterisk War S2. Boy is this an anime I have not been looking forward to reviewing. The Asterisk War was as bad and generic an anime you can get. It was bland, forgetful, had uninteresting characters, boring fight scenes, and just not entertaining as no effort was put into this anime. Yet, despite all of this, the series somehow gained popularity, so much that a second season came out a year later after the first season ended. Once again done by A-1 Pictures (SAO and Magi), the second season picks up where the story left off as we continue with the festa. Grab something to keep you awake folks. This is Asterisk War S2.

Opening and Ending Theme

The opening this time around is “The Asterisk War” by Shiena Nishizawa. It’s okay, just like the first song it took me a few episodes to get into it. It sounds like the singer is just shouting lyrics at the top of her lungs not really understanding what she’s singing and is just singing it this way in order to make the song sound epic. The animation for this opening is however impressive. Dear Lord, where was this animation last season? Seriously, this looks epic.

The ending is “Ai no Uta” by Chisuga Haruka and it’s a beautiful song. Much like the first ending this song just steals the whole show just for how good it is. How does this anime keep getting good endings it doesn’t deserve? Chisuga sounds great here, the animation is again impressive, and the transitions are cool. The whole ending just focuses on our characters and gives us an inside look into their personal lives while also showing us characters who will play a major part later in the story. Between this ending and the first ending it’s hard to say which one I like the most. The first ending put at peace but the second ending carries a cheerful melody that makes you happy.

Episodes 1-4

So after the events of episode 12 from last season everyone pretty much has an idea of Ayato’s time limit (hopefully this doesn’t apply to the bedroom). Their next opponents are students from Jie Long (a Chinese oriented school. So Le Wolfe is German, Jie Long is Chinese, Ayato’s is obviously Japanese, what about the other two? Most likely America and United Kingdom) who are masters of close combat which puts Ayato in a bind since he hasn’t fully recovered yet but Julis has a plan. The match begins where the students for Jie Long target Ayato (go for the weakest link in the chain) but Julis creates a wall of fire separating the two so now it becomes one-on-one fights where Ayato and Julis catch their opponents completely off guard by performing a switcharoo passing through the fire and destroying the badges of their opponents winning the match (barely moved it off). After the match the Jie Long students warn them about their next oppents who are Shenyua and Shenhua the Li twins (male and female). Even though they go to the same school there’s a bit of tension between the factions within the school and the Li twins have been known for using dirty underhanded tactics to win their matches. After that Julis and Ayato receive a visit from Saya and Kirin who are with a new character to the show Flora a maid trainee from the orphanage Julis is trying to help.

Nothing much happens in episode 2. Ayato begins to think about his sister Haruka and starts to wonder what happened to her (took you long enough you insensitive asshole). Seeking answers, he asks Priscilla if she can setup a meeting between him and Dirk the student council president of Lewoulf. The next day Ayato, Julis, and Flora go to a quiet café at the recommendation of Yabuki (scene here: where Dirk shows up ready to talk to Ayato in his neon greenlighted limo (if you wanted to draw attention to yourself the limo already does that for you). Julis comes along and Ayato straight-up asks him when was the last time he saw his sister. Dirk responds by talking about the Eclipse festa an underground festa where illegal battles took place. In this tournament you win by knocking your opponent out or killing them (Seras: I like this festa. (Shizuku): As do I. Where do we sign up?). For some reason Haruka took part in the festa where she lost in a fight but according to Dirk didn’t die. This of course happened a few years back and since then the Eclipse festa has been shut down. After saying his piece, he kicks Ayato and Julis out of his limo with Ayato still in shock at the possibility that his sister could be dead.

In the first half of episode 3 Ayato is still thinking about his sister and can’t concentrate on anything else. He even starts to think that Haruka abandoned him but this changes when Saya comes in to talk to him telling him not to lose faith and that he should rely on his partner more instead of keeping things to himself bottled up (and I’m not gonna lie this was actually a very touching scene between the two childhood friends. Also, Saya actually looked pretty and charming throughout the scene. I might just be falling for her a little). In the second half Ayato and Julis go up against Shenyua and Shenhua who pretty much had a great game plan as they completely own Ayato and Julis throughout the second half (man those two know how to bury people) but despite the onslaught Ayato and Julis are still in the match ready to fight.

Ayato turns things around in episode 4 by journeying into his mind and reaching the next level of his powers. Now, instead of lasting for just 5 minutes he can last a full hour (woah, you are gonna break some girls tonight son). With this new power he goes on a rampage walking through a path of hidden talismans and slicing them with his mind, taking out Shenhua with his sword (an actual sword not the one in his pants although I’m sure that’ll come later), and knocking out Shenyua with a punch that sends him flying (okay, there’s the Saitama punch then there’s the Falcon punch and now there’s the Ayato punch. However, the first two punches are way more believable and plausible). With this win Ayato and Julis move on to the semifinals and the next day the semifinals begin with the first being Saya and Kirin against the mechs from Allekant AR-D and RM-C who just like in their previous matches don’t attack for 1 minute. This 1 minute proves to be their downfall as Kirin actually scares AR-D (did she just scare a robot? I thought those guys didn’t feel anything) by breaking through his defenses. In fact, he was so scared of Kirin that he actually had to defend himself and attack her 4 seconds before the minute was up because Kirin was going to beat him with that one strike (you’re the best Kirin). As for Saya and RM-C, Saya doesn’t attack her for 1 minute but when the minute is up Saya shows her that she better be ready for a fight (team loli is on fire. We should have made the episode about them). Also, Flora got kidnapped by some mysterious person.

Episodes 5-8

In the first half of episode 5 Saya and Kirin continue to push AR-D and RM-C into a corner until they finally have no choice but to fuse with each other ( Saya and Kirin battle valiantly to the bitter end but their badges get destroyed and they lose. After the matchm Ayato and Julis go to visit them where Julis vows to avenge their lost ( Cluadia comes in to console the two and as Julis is wondering where Flora is they receive a call from the unknown assailant who wants Ayato to emergency freeze the Ser Versta and continue in the tournament. This is bad because if he does this he won’t be able to use Ser Versta again (Ser Versta: Dude, you locked me up. Not cool man. Not cool). Wanting to save Flora, Ayato decides to go through with this but Claudia has an idea to save Flora and allow Ayato to keep using the Ser Versta. The plan is quite simple. Ayato will do an emergency freeze on the Ser Versta but Claudia will hold off the actual process until 3 pm tomorrow. During that time Saya and Kirin will be put in charge of finding and rescuing Flora and Ayato will use a different weapon to fight.

In episode 6 Saya and Kirin continue to search and rescue Flora while Ayato and Julis go to their match in the semi-finals to take on Doroteo and Elliot of Galahadworth (who got this whole knight thing going on). Ayato quickly beats Elliot (scene here: You’re good kid, but you lack resolve in your fighting). Julis also beats Doroteo who faints from overheating due to his armor (man compared to their last match and Saya and Kirin’s match this one is kind of a letdown). After winning they head out to search for Flora. Ayato goes to speak to Irene but she’s heard nothing however she does think they’re looking in the wrong area so Ayato goes to a different area where he gets chased around by some goons and a cute girl offers him help. While that’s going we see that AR-D and RM-C are becoming sentient as they’ve learned from their match against Saya and Kirin about growth and being humble (good, because tomorrow you’re about to learn defeat).

In episode 7 we find out that the cute girl who saved Ayato is Sylvia a famous idol as well as the #1 ranked girl at Queenvall Girls Academy and also Strega with the power to find people as long as she has enough information on the person she’s looking for (scene here: Can she find gold? I’m just asking what everyone’s thinking). She finds Flora’s location and gives Ayato her number before he heads out (Sylvia will return in Ayato’s harem). Ayato tells the others about Flora’s location and says they should all raid the place but Saya tells him and Julis to go and get some rest before their match while she, Kirin, and Yabuki go to rescue Flora. They begrudgingly agree with Saya and leave it up to her and the others who raid the place and get attacked by shadow figures just as Ayato and Julis’s match is about to begin.

At the start of episode 8 Ayato and Julis take on AR-D and RM-C where despite singling out AR-D and trying to take him down first they fail, and the robots do their fusion however Ayato does manage to break RM-C’s badge (one down, one overpowered robot to go). Back with Kirin and Saya they take on the shadow assassin where they manage to beat him, rescue Flora and just in time to because Ayato and Julis were about to get rekted by AR-D. Claudia tells them that Flora is safe by entering the announcement booth and grabbing the mic and Ayato finally unleashes Ser Vesta to destroy AR-D’s hammer (this is where the counter attack beings).

Episodes 9-12

So in the first half of episode 9 the fight comes down to Ayato and AR-D where Ayato beats him (obviously). In the second half of the anime everyone congratulates Ayato and Julis, Ayato goes around thanking his harem members for a job well done, and we get a few surprising twists at the end such as Haruka being stuck in a cryogenic chamber by the chairman of the festas who has close connections to Dirk.

In episode 10 Julis invites Ayato, Saya, Kirin, and Claudia back to her home country at the request of her brother who is the king but only in name (why? Because he is a puppet. Julis’ home is a puppet government. I pull the strings and you sing and dance as much as I want you to do). While there Claudia asks everyone to join her team for next year’s festa which is a 5-man team tournament and they all agree to join (the team name will be Ayato and his harem). At a party a strange man approaches Ayato telling him not to join Claudia’s team but he refuses to back down so the strange man has him fight a chimera where Ayato beats it up with just his fists (okay not gonna lie that is legit badass) and it gets destroyed by Julis and Saya.

Episode 11 opens up with us finding out that the man who attacked them last night is an assassin named Gustave who is working with this terrorist group. After that, Julis’ brother asks Ayato to marry Julis (dude, are you trying to start a war within your country? Because let me tell you, it only takes one woman to bring a country to its knees) for her protection. Now that Julis has won the festa her popularity has risen so it’s only a matter of time before the federation that controls her country forces her to marry someone to keep her under control (and under their thumb) so it only makes sense to marry Ayato and keep her safe (of course he’ll have to leave Japan and we all know living anywhere outside Japan sucks according to the Japanese). He also wants Julis to dropout of next year’s festa. She says no to both the marriage and the dropout (and Julis just friend zoned herself for life). She leaves and runs off to the orphanage with Ayato right behind her (you would think this would give us more insight into her past as well as give us a cute moment with the orphans thinking Ayato and Julis are dating but no a wasted opportunity. We just show up there, meet the sisters, and they drop hints that Julis lost a friend in the past who she really cared about). Once they leave the orphanage Julis spots a girl in a limo named Ophelia who has some connection to Julis. She chases after her and arrives in a wasteland where Julis takes on Ophelia and gets owned forcing Ayato to step in and take her on to protect Julis but even he’s no match for her and has to get saved by Gustave and Ophelia’s handler who calls her back. Now Ayato has to fight an Orpheus and Cerberus while carrying an unconscious Julis (while we’re add it lets bind his legs with a ball and chain and put a blindfold over his eyes. If you want to reach Kirito levels of character compensation do it right). He manages to defeat the Orpheus and gets saved by Claudia who takes out the Cerberus herself forcing Gustave to retreat. We end the episode with Ayato falling unconscious.

In the final episode Ayato wakes up in a bed three days later (hard sleeper) to the sight of Kirin and Saya  (fully clothed) resting in his bed (well they still have their clothes on so we know they didn’t rape you in your sleep). Julis comes in and tells him the story about her past with Ophelia. Ophelia came from the orphanage and was Julis’ best friend who hated violence (spread love not war) and loved planting flowers. However, one day Ophelia was adopted by Hilda Jane Rowlands a scientist from Arlequint. The orphanage was in desperate need of money so Ophelia was sold off to be Hilda’s guinea pig for her experiment. She took Ophelia and made her into an artificial Genestella. Because of this she has amazing powers (as seen by the previous episode as she was able to beat Julis and Ayato without breaking a sweat) however she kills any plants she approaches. Julis believes that every time Ophelia uses her powers she slowly keeps losing herself becoming a heartless fighter who cares about no one (not even her well-being). Julis tried to save her in the past by facing her in the Asterisk War but lost. After hearing her story Ayato says she’ll help Julis save Ophelia as well as Saya and Kirin who were pretending to be a sleep all this time. The next day Gustave returns and attacks the city with chimeras and tries to get Julis and Ayato to come out by attacking the orphanage with a hydra (man this guy is on an alchemy craze isn’t he? Creating chimeras and shit). Through the combined effort of Ayato, Julis, and Saya they manage to defeat the hydra and Kirin takes down Gustave (best girl). Later, Claudia goes to confront the man who sent Gustave after them and she finds out it was her father who did this to get Claudia to dropout of the next festa because her wish will put her in serious trouble and make her an enemy of her mother. Claudia says no and bids farewell to her father. After this, they all decide to leave the next day with Julis telling her brother she’s going to win the next festa and use her wish to give her country more power. As for Ayato, he receives a call saying that they found his sister (about time). He returns back with the others only to see that his sister is in a deep meditated state and no one knows what to do. Desperate to help his sister Ayato gets approached by Hilda who offers to operate on Haruka for a price and even though Ayato knows how dangerous she is and what she did to Ophelia he accepts her help. The season wraps up with Ayato and the others saying they’ll join Claudia’s team (Ayato’s and his harem are official) and they begin training.

Final Thoughts

Effort! Oh my God, there was actual put into this season. Now, get me wrong, this series is still generic, bland, and not all that interesting but this season actually tried and succeeded in a few parts. First off, the fights are a lot better. They’re longer, action packed, there are tactics and strategies used in them, and they’re not a letdown except for like one fight. The characters are a little more interesting now. Ayato finally shows some concern for his sister and becomes interesting in trying to save her. Even going as far as making a deal with someone he knows he can’t trust and has evil intentions. The stuff with Julis was good as well. Despite winning the festa her country is still in a dire situation and she now has to deal with saving her friend who is slowly losing herself and who is way too powerful for Julis to beat. While the characters don’t get much development, they do have their moments. The scene of Saya comforting Ayato was great and really showed off Saya’s beauty, maturity, and caring nature. Kirin’s fight with AR-D was hands down my favorite fight in the season. The family situation with Claudia has me intrigued and I’m interested in learning what’s going on in her story. The animation remains to be the same which is sad considering how good the animation was in the opening and ending but the music has gotten better. The technology still remains to be a letdown as nothing really makes this feel like a futuristic setting and they really don’t do much world building which they desperately need to do.

Is it better than the first season

Surprisingly yes. But that’s not saying much. The first season was terrible and while the second season wasn’t as bad as the first season it’s still a pretty bad, bland, and generic anime with the only difference being was that effort was put into this season as opposed to the first season.

Final Score

The Asterisk War S2 earns a 4/10. Still bad but at least effort was put into this season and that’s something I can respect. I have to admit I’m slightly interested in seeing what happens next for everyone and what awaits them in the next festa. A third season hasn’t been announced yet as I think this season didn’t do well enough to warrant a third season, but I’ve learned to never say never. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.

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