The Asterisk War
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water ?
That satisfaction comes almost entirely from Kirin – or, rather, the writing's willingness to let her stand against her uncle on her own – and that is something unusual but welcome to see in anime. Too often in these kind of stories the protagonist serves as the shield and decision-making force for the girl trying to break out from under authoritarian control, but here Ayato does not specifically encourage her to defy her uncle; he just shows her that she does have other options to accomplish her goals that she might not have considered and lets her come to that resolution herself. When she does finally confront her uncle, she is polite but unwavering in refuting him despite his further abuse and afterwards takes great joy in dueling against Ayato again simply because she wants to rather than because she's being order to do so. When her uncle just won't let it go, she again refutes him on her own, with Ayato only interceding in a fashion which indicates that she won't be standing alone without her uncle's help and Claudia (who is also present at the time) only getting involved when the uncle threatens to escalate ramifications of the rejection to a level which falls within her purview. Nicely bringing closure to the affair is Kirin's sincere acknowledgement to her uncle that, despite how things turned out, she is still grateful for what he did do for her. That opens the door for her to move on and officially become part of Ayato and Julis's training team.
Although that is the most important part of the episode, a few other things do transpire. The fall that Ayato and Kirin took last episode lands them in an underground space which has the mama of the dragon-like creatures from the previous episode in it, which Ayato is eventually able to defeat by proving that the Ogre Lux, unlike a regular Lux, can manage his full power. The Allekant tech girl, who set that all up and apparently has some combat armor up her sleeve, too, also chirpily schemes further and the second duel between Ayato and Kirin is no timid or half-hearted affair, either, as both combatants show that they have more than just strength and speed respectively going for them; Kirin also excels at combo moves, while Ayato is quite proficient at using a mix of weapon styles and even martial arts moves to throw an opponent off-guard. A few more details about the circumstances of Kirin's father also come out (apparently there are strict laws against how much force Genestella can use against non-Genestella even in criminal situations, which sounds bogus), and the open revelation that she's trying to help her father leads to the episode's one true surprise in its epilogue: Saya dropping her efforts to team up with Ayato and instead proposing to be Kirin's teammate, likely because she sympathizes with her goals.
It was also probably inevitable that Kirin would get more seriously involved in the fan service aspect; after all, such a series can only restrain its natural proclivities for so long. Two different occasions – once when she is underground with Ayato and their clothes are drying out and once when she is changing at the end of the episode – find her in only her underwear and showing that she does, indeed, have quite ample curves for her size and age. Neither scene is cast in a particularly salacious light, and the former does also have the well-built Ayato in only his skivvies, so the service is still relatively tame.
Seeing Saya and Kirin team up is the episode's most intriguing prospect and offset's Julis's minimal appearance. Still not a top-level series, but for yet another episode it avoids floundering.
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