The Asterisk War Episode 5: A Victorious Loss

November 17, 2015

In “Lightning Blade Speed,” the fifth episode of The Asterisk War, Ayato loses to the number one fighter at Seidoukan — and wins an ally at the same time.

Amazon is selling an attractive Asterisk War wall scroll. You can buy it here!

What Happened

The episode starts with Claudia Enfield representing Seidoukan at a meeting with the other schools. Those academies include Le Wolfe, Allekant, Jie Long, and Garrardworth. At that meeting, we find out a little bit about what Claudia was hoping to achieve in the last episode: cooperation on a new weapon between Seidoukan and Allekant. We also see how polished she is compared to some of the other school representatives, particularly Dirk Eberweine of Le Wolfe.

Claudia could threaten to destroy the world, and with her demeanor, few would complain. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Claudia could threaten to destroy the world, and with her demeanor, few would complain. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The scene shifts to Ayato Amagiri, who’s rushing because he’s late for a meeting with Julis-Alexia van Riessfeld, his partner for the upcoming Festa. In his rush, he runs into — literally — Toudou Kirin (if you read the comments after this episode on Crunchyroll, you’ll see this comment from a user named schnitting: “A wild loli appears!…in the most intense hallway collision ever seen.” — I laughed so hard I had to share). A mean man interrupts their resulting pleasant conversion, and she immediately apologizes to the mean one and runs off with him.

If Julis was angry that Ayato was a little late, she decided to channel that anger into their practice. She almost beat him, but he withstood a withering attack in the last second of the mock fight. After they discuss their strategy for the upcoming strategy for the Festa, she warns him not to get involved in any unnecessary duels. She doesn’t want anyone to see what kind of moves he has.

Claudia arrives with Ernesta Kuhne* and Camilla Pareto from Allekant, who are the engineers from Allekant who will work on the new weapon with Seidoukan. Ernesta lets slip that the puppets Ayato destroyed, and that almost killed Lester MacPhail and Julis, were her creation. She whispers to him that he won’t be so lucky next time, then flirtatiously kisses him on the cheek. Julis, of course, is not amused.

Later, Ayato is discussing Allekant’s research teams with his friend Yabuki Eishirou when he hears a slap. Toudou Kouichiro, Kirin’s uncle, slapped her for disagreeing with him. When she tried to protest, Ayato intervened. The uncle promised never to get violent with Kirin again — if Ayato beat her in a duel. She tells him to decline the duel and walk away, but he can’t because he’s worried about her dignity.

Ayato tries to fight for Kirin's dignity -- against Kirin herself. Her uncle's a piece of work. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Ayato tries to fight for Kirin’s dignity — against Kirin herself. Her uncle’s a piece of work. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

As they watch the duel, Eishirou tells Julis that Ayato is fighting the “Lightning Speed Blade.” The time limit expires, and Ayato loses, only to find out that he just fought the number 1 ranked student in Seidoukan.

* Am I the only one who thinks that Ernesta acts a lot like Tabane Shinonono from Infinite Stratos (you can buy the BluRay here from Amazon — great series!) — except a little shorter and a lot meaner?

What I Liked

Claudia’s demeanor at the council meeting is classic. She’s smiling the whole time, even when she says, “All right, I think that’s enough of this topic.” And nobody seriously argues with her.

Julis is piqued, but not angry or self-defeating in her reaction to losing the practice match. At the same time, Ayato honestly complimented her range of attacks. I really enjoy the rapport the two of them are building.

When Ayato ran into Kirin, they both tried to use their abilities to avoid the collision — but they both chose the same evasion route. The animation made it clear he could briefly see up her skirt but didn’t show the audience. I thought that was classy. Such a shot would have been inconsistent with the direction the series has taken. The lack of exploitation made Ayato and Kirin’s reaction charming instead of lewd.**

Ayato tried to be a gentleman after he collided with Kirin. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Ayato tried to be a gentleman after he collided with Kirin. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Ayato couldn’t let Kirin’s uncle continue to slap her. He knew it was none of his business, and he knew as a Genestella, she would not be seriously injured; but he decided to help anyway. He even engaged in the duel knowing Julis would be angry (but hoping, I think, that she would understand).

Julis did not hide her anger at the end, but she made it clear she wanted to hear his side of the story. Again, I really like how their relationship is developing.

** This is not to say I don’t think fan service has a place. High School DxD (available here from Amazon) is full of nudity, but for that series, it works. It would not work for The Asterisk War.

What I Liked Less

Nothing really jumped out at me as unenjoyable in this episode.

Thoughts

The narrative has gone to great lengths to show that Ayato has a way of looking at the world, and if someone acts in a way that violates his world view, he’ll take action. So, when he grabbed uncle Kouichiro’s wrist to stop him from slapping Kirin, I was ready to accept it as both consistent with his character and reasonable to the plot.

For being ranked number 1, Kirin seems unfulfilled and lonely. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

For being ranked number 1, Kirin seems unfulfilled and lonely. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Julis warned him not to duel unnecessarily, but Ayato felt compelled to try to help Kirin. Was it because she’s girl? Is that sexist? Or did he just object to unnecessary violence against someone who was like himself? I tend to think it was because he felt akin to her and didn’t want her to feel alone. I think his resolve to help Julis remains; I think him wanting to help others is consistent with his commitment to Julis. I think — okay, I hope! — that she’ll understand and not feel slighted that he helped Kirin!

Should I look at The Asterisk War as just another harem action adventure/comedy? Or does it offer something more? On one hand, Ayato doesn’t run around with nose bleeds and he’s not completely inept at interacting with the women around him. On the other hand, he does seem to be amassing a following of all women (Eishirou being the exception), all of whom seem favorably disposed toward him.

Well, maybe it is “just” a harem show. I still like it!

Reviews of Other Season 1 Episodes

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