Here comes the 3rd anime review!! This time the anime that I will be reviewing is Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (学戦都市アスタリスク), aka The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water. I will take account of both season 1 and season 2.
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk is an anime adapted from the light novel by the author Miyazaki Yuu. Its illustration is done by Okiura. The anime was handled by A-1 Pictures, the same anime studio who did Sword Art Online. Season 1 was aired in November 2015, and season 2 in April 2016.
This anime is poorly rated. A lot of YouTube users are criticizing it badly, like this anime shouldn’t exist, the fighting scenes don’t make any sense, the poor animation quality, harem anime etc. Some even commented that it plagirised Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, the anime that was aired at the same time as this. Well I will describe its pros and cons below.
The story revolves around the new transfer student of Seidoukan Academy, Amagiri Ayato on his journey of
acquiring harems finding his elder sister, who went missing since 5 years ago. Then he met another student, Julis Riessfeld, and their adventures on competitions against other schools started when they partnered up to take part in Phoenix Festa.
Initially when I watched this anime without any bad feedbacks, out of just curiousity (maybe the character design attracted me), this anime wasn’t that bad. However after I watched their review and watched Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, and looked at their published dates of the first volumes of light novels, my review will be kinda biased against this anime.
So I start with pros first !!SPOILERS ALERT!!:
- Nice opening and ending theme. Featuring Sakamoto Maaya (I lover her voice and her songs), who sang the opening theme of Cardcaptor Sakura “Platinum” and ending theme of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle “Loop”, “Waiting for the Rain” is a emotional-filled ending song of season 1 anime. Plus I like it featuring Julis Riessfeld, who was initially lost, confused and unwilling to accept herself till she met and trust Ayato. Chisuga Haruka, the voice actor of Sylvia (season 2) also did a good job for the endings in season 2 too. “Ai no Uta-Words of Love” has a light, relaxing melody of it, featuring various main characters in their free time. Nishizawa Shiena, despite being a debut singer, she did a very good job in the openings for season 1 and season 2. “Brand New World” and “The Asterisk War” are pretty upbeat and with the epic opening animations, I would say the openings left a pretty good impression for me.
- Good concepts used. Instead of typical daily high school life, the students actually fight using their combat abilities to determine their ranking. Means it’s possible for a newbie to scrap the top of the ranking if he/she beats the no.1. Plus it uses school badges for dueling. They incorporated certain new concepts like Ogre Lux, Prana, Festas and etc.
Here comes the cons. Usually I talk about cons first, but only this time, pros comes first.
- Harem concepts. Most of the story are filled with harem scenes, it’s not to exaggerated to say that only 10% of the anime is from the original storyline in light novel. Turning this into a harem anime doesn’t help in booming the popularity of the anime, in fact it backfired. Maybe some anime fans like it, but for me it’s pretty disgusting when after 5-7 minutes of main storyline, a random girl just cuddled onto Ayato’s arm and asking for “warmth” and “care”. UGH. I just don’t like it. I feel like this anime can be better if less attention was given to the harem scenes.
- It plagiarized another anime. Yes you got it right, it’s Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry. The first episode of both animes are basically the same. A youtuber actually compared the similarities between this anime and Rakudai Kishi. Meeting with a girl in their half naked form, fight with them, and making friends, partnering up, then an acquaintance of the main character appears later in the series, then the main character defeats the strongest one etc. What made me furious is Rakudai Kishi was actually published earlier than Gakusen Toshi no Asterisk. This has became an obvious copying, or I would say is “using a typical model of storyline”.
- The beginning part of the anime was very boring until the end of season 1 and beginning of season 2.
- Diverging of the main purposes. I am not too sure on the light novels, but in episode 1, Ayato mentioned that he came to Asterisk is because he wants to find his missing elder sister, but since then they story focuses on how he get a lot of girls surrounding him and his purpose seems forgotten. Furthermore the future events like Festa and visiting Julis’ country are irrelevant to his main purposes too..
Maybe this anime looks amazing with its opening and concepts, but I would say it’s pretty rotten inside. Like a Chinese proverb “Nice outside, rotten inside”.