The Asterisk War
Episode 6

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 6 of
The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water ?

Episode 6 features the lowest action quotient of any episode to date, and yet it is still a pretty solid one overall. That's because it takes a measured, smoothly-flowing approach to furthering its character and setting development and lays out the particulars of some of its new characters and plot thrusts.

The most welcome development is seeing that Julis is not entirely a slave to her role as the series' resident tsundere character. Oh, to be sure, she still is one – it would probably be too much to ask of the writing to entirely disassociate her from that after painstakingly setting her up as one in the opening episodes – but over the last couple of episodes she has proven to be more reasonable than most such characters. The surest sign of that comes early in this episode when she surprises the audience by revealing that, despite her insistence in the previous episode about Ayato not getting into meaningless fights where he might reveal his ability, she actually isn't upset with him for intervening against Kirin's uncle on Kirin's behalf; in fact, she would have been disappointed in him if he hadn't intervened, as she has no tolerance for the uncle's behavior, either. No, she's angry with him because he lost, as she was hoping that Ayato could beat one of the handful of people at the school who was still above her level. But she takes even that in stride and only comments that they now need to revise their strategy. A later scene involving her accidently ordering spicier curry than she intended puts her more back in true tsundere form, but she is at least showing some capability for growing beyond her role.

On other fronts additional interaction with Claudia about Kirin and with Kirin directly lead to some other interesting reveals. The purpose that the uncle had for pushing Kirin last episode is here suggested to be something rather ordinary: the uncle sees promoting her as his ticket up the corporate ladder in the megacorporation which oversees Asterisk. Kirin is aware of that and doesn't necessarily have a problem with it, as she feels that she is getting what she wants out of it, too (i.e., to help her father for as-yet-unspecified reasons), but Claudia offers that the uncle's approach is not likely to work because people do not rise to the top ranks of this megacorp without having their personal ambitions washed out of them through some kind of psychological conditioning; in other words, it's the traditional view on the “soulless corporation” made manifest. Frankly, that's scary, but Claudia also lets drop that she knows this because her mother is one such person. Doubtless this will come up again. This all does lead to Ayato agreeing to train with Kirin in a non-combative respect, since Kirin has, until this point, been training entirely on her own to also maintain Julis's strategy of not revealing her hand prematurely. The two ladies from Allekant from last episode have a special treat cooked up for them, though, in some velociraptor-like critters who turn to goo and then can reform when lethally damaged. Kirin does figure out how to fight them, but the battle (and the episode) ends with Ayato and Kirin both plummeting into a deep hole.

Compared to everything else which plays out (including a short scene where Ayato formally tells Saya that Julis is going to be his Feste partner), the fight at the end is actually the weakest aspect; it seems a little too relaxed for as tense a situation as it should be. The camera also ogles Kirin's chest a little too much, but less objectionable on the fan service front is Claudia flaunting her gorgeous curves in a sexy bikini, one cut in such a way that it is fairly obvious that she shaves “down there.” Given what she showed of her combat form back in episode 4, the revelation the she is the school's #2-ranked combatant is hardly a surprise.

While it still is not doing anything stellar, The Asterisk War is nonetheless chugging along satisfying well at its halfway point for a series of its type. It has enough character development and plot threads in play to sustain it for now.

Rating: B

The Asterisk War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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