The Asterisk War
Episode 17

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 17 of
The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water (TV 2) ?

Last episode ended just as the Kirin/Saya semifinal against the Arlequint robots was kicking into high gear, and the first two-thirds of this episode showcases that high gear. The battle does not disappoint, with both sides putting on a satisfying display of back-and-forth one-upmanship. Honestly, I actually thought that the outcome might be in doubt until the male robot revealed that they had a heretofore-unseen trump card. At that point, the outcome became inevitable, as the classic tournament battle pattern is to have an ally of the heroes put up a good enough fight that it forces the antagonist to reveal his secret move, which is then used to defeat that ally. That's exactly what ultimately happens here.

Even though it had to happen for dramatic effect, it's still a shame to see the Shorty Duo go down. But did Saya put up a good enough fight to prove her point to the Arlequint girl? She certainly seemed to be getting the upper hand on the female robot, to the point that they had to pull out their ace: some kind of weird combining technique where the female robot sheds all of her equipment, which is then used by the male robot to power up. Saya does speculate that there must be some limiting factor involved, as otherwise they would have resorted to that as a standard battle set, but that doesn't get revealed here. (It could also be a case where the equipment was split between two robots because the entrants had to be a team, but the other case makes better dramatic sense.) Either way, their trick is now exposed for Julis and Ayato to take advantage of in the finals – because really, who actually thinks that they aren't going to win in the semis even if they initially have to play with a handicap?

That handicap goes back to the apparent kidnapping of Flora at the end of last episode. All indications are that one of the Tyrant's flunkies is indeed responsible, though the writing leaves just enough wiggle room that Dirk could have been talking about something else to the Arlequint girls. Either way, she is being used as leverage to force Ayato to put Ser-Versta into lockdown for the upcoming match, but Claudia helps them arrange a stunt to keep up appearances while Kirin and Saya go on a rescue mission. The expectation now is that they will rescue her just in the nick of time, allowing Ayato to pull out Ser-Versta as the match gets desperate, thus avoiding Julis being put in the situation of having to give up on her dream because, as she puts it, “there's no point in protecting something if you have to sacrifice what you're protecting.” That also allows Kirin and Saya to stay in the action, and that isn't a bad thing at all.

What makes me curious at this point is the pacing. We have five episodes down for the season, and I'm only seeing three, maybe four episodes left to the tournament. So what is the series going to do for the rest of the time? We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

Rating: B+

The Asterisk War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.


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