There is a sense of satisfaction when you know that a second season will be coming. There is nothing worse than seeing a show, getting to the ‘coupler point’ and then it fades away, so you never get that complete closure. However, the way things were set up for “Gakusen Toshi Asutarisuku” (“The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water”), you knew there had to be one, to at least bring the main thrust of the show to a conclusion.
As you remember from our last thrilling installment, the Phoenix Festa was in full swing. This is an NCAA, March Madness-style tournament, (although sponsored by the Integrated Enterprise Foundation) where candidates from the six schools battle other candidates from the six schools to claim The Big Nut….I mean…the Grand Trophy and money and fame and glory and trading cards and celebrity endorsements and getting asked onto talk shows and having your Ferrari repossessed because you missed numerous payment. The price of fame. *Ahem* Back to the review.
But that is the problem with the show: it turned into the DragonBall Z Syndrome, so it was just endless fighting amid endless fighting, when they weren’t discussing strategy in regards to the endless fighting. And since I didn’t understand how powerful they really were (except that the team of Ayato and Julis always seemed at a disadvantage), I wasn’t sure how well the tactics worked. Sure, they won, but was this the best approach to winning things? And since the arena was frequently obscured, they could have been playing Canasta for all I know.
Then, at the end, we fling in another false crisis to reveal to us that they are not honestly all that good. They may be able to kick and crush in a tournament, but when it comes to real-life applications of these talents, they fall badly short. You might as well be using one of those foam Minecraft swords. And because of the fluid nature of the ending, there now needs to be a third season to further complicate and further resolve these issues. Besides, when you are the Top Dog, everyone wants to take a bite out of you, even your friends.
I have seen magical and hyper-talented and special abilities shows in anime. Some of them are handled quite well (“Charlotte”); some are kind of iffy (“Sky Wizards Academy”), some flop about with no real end goal (“Maken-Ki”). This could have been more, but I think they were seduced by the logistics of the fight sequences and let things like character development and the end game approach take a back seat to things. I felt they did not play up the ‘romance’ between these two better, whether they are going to be wed or are more welded together towards an end. It would have made for a nice change of pace from all the battles.
Still, if you like big explosions and intense toe-to-toe fights, then you will not be disappointed in this series (except for the very last episode. What a bummer!). I’m one of those types that prefer a better balance of things, thus my dissatisfaction.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Functional but uninspired)
Plot 8 (Holding its own…barely)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently, except at the end)
Effectiveness 7 (Too many fights)
Conclusion 4 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 7 (A bit too pat, too predictable)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. We don’t need any protection.