The Asterisk War
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 11 of
The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water ?
In some respects episode 11 is the calm before the storm, as it features no battles from the Phoenix Festa but a big one is coming up next episode. However, that doesn't mean that it entirely lacks for action. It instead means that the focus is much more on the background elements which define the bigger picture.
This time around the emphasis is on the recently-introduced sister duo of Irene and Priscilla. Ayato gets involved with them when he happens across a distressed Priscilla (a group of thugs ticked about something her sister did are pursuing her) while looking for a lost Saya. He rescues her by leaping her out of harm's way, and after a brief misunderstanding with Irene, winds up getting invited to their apartment for dinner. Julis tags along, allowing for a peaceable exchange over Priscilla's good cooking despite some sharp words between Irene and Julis. There they learn why Irene is beholden to Le Wolfe's asshole president (she owes him a lot of money) and that she's been ordered to take out Ayato because of the Le Wolfe president's concern that Ayato's Ogre Lux, Ser=Veresta, is a problem. . . and apparently that's because he's seen it in action before. Meanwhile Irene has a bone to pick with the Le Wolfe president, where we learn that he has some invisible agents called Cats at his disposal. Ayato then learns a little more about Irene's scythe from a late-night visit to Claudia, but he also discovers that Claudia's own twin Ogre Lux has a particularly nasty side to it, too, but she has to put up with it if she wants to achieve her own still-secret objective. In the process of revealing that, she invites Ayato and Julis to be part of her team for the next Festa.
Most of this seems more like set-up for later stories than for the most immediate big event coming up: the Phoenix Festa duel between Ayato/Julis and Irene/Priscilla – and really, is anyone surprised that this was coming? Instead of going into it as bitter enemies, though, the battle will now be in a could-be-friends-if-not-on-opposite-sides context, which likely means that they'll be friendly after it. That's hardly anything novel, though. The side effect of Claudia's Ogre Lux – which shows the wielder her death in her dreams, and always a different way each time – is more interesting and nasty, which speaks to a massively strong personality on Claudia's part, since no one else has been able to wield it for more than three days. What, exactly, motivates her so much that she is willing to put up with something that would break any normal human? Presumably we'll get into that in the series' second half. Just as interesting is the confirmation of something long suspected: that the Ogre Luxes are sentient enough to have their own personalities. This episode also reconfirms that Priscilla can bring Irene down even from her berserk state and that Claudia is still actively trying to both cozy up to Ayato and seduce him; exactly why still has yet to be revealed, though, and I get the sense that this is more than just a “he's the Harem Master” situation.
For the most part the episode flows along well, though it does suffer from one rough and abrupt scene transition between when Ayato is speaking to Irene and Priscilla on the roof and when she goes to confront Le Wolfe's president. And while a lot of it is fairly standard action-harem drivel, it isn't dull. A supposedly-always-accurate precognition predicts that Irene and Priscilla will win, but we all know that supposedly-infallible doesn't actually mean infallible (or can have its meaning twisted), right? We'll have to find out next episode.
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