The Asterisk War Episode 12: Clash of the (Lux) Ogres
Into cosplay and want to go as Ayato? Amazon’s selling a mock-up (not the real thing!) of the Ayato’s Ser-Versta. You can order the Ogre Lux here!
Priscilla and Irene are much younger, and they are trapped in a war zone. Priscilla is utterly crushed by a cave-in. Irene arrives at the hospital just in time to see her stand up without a scratch on her. Men in suits give their parents a suitcase full of cash. Wanting no part of that transaction, Irene escapes with Priscilla, but in a war zone, food and shelter elude them. Dirk Eberwein finds them and confirms Irene can activate the Gravi-Sheath. Then he offers to take them out of there; for a price.
That’s when Irene wakes up on the day of the match against Ayato and Julis. Her dream had been about her first meeting with the student council president of Le Wolfe Black Institute.
Ayato proposes a plan to Julis. She says that as long as she wins and gets closer to her goal, she’s happy to support his plan because she’s his partner. They both take Irene and her Gravi-Sheath very, very seriously.
Unlike a previous battle we saw, Ayato and Julis have no intention of attacking Priscilla. They know their only chance is to pound away at Irene, and pound they do. Their combined attacks are so strong that they force Irene to throw up a shield over her and Pricilla. Irene then proceeds to “refuel” by drinking some of Priscilla’s blood.
The slight pause gives Ayato and Julis time to fine-tune their plan. As soon as Irene drops her shield, Ayato asks Irene if she’s sure this is the way she wants to proceed. The question angers Irene, and she attacks. She hurls a fleet of singularities at Ayato and Julis. The latter focuses on defense; Ayato releases one of his special techniques and slices many of Irene’s attacks in half. He transitions from defense to an attack and drives Irene onto one of Julis’ traps. That trap turns out to be a decoy. The real trap catches Irene and blasts a hole in the center of the arena.
Priscilla’s elated to find her sister survived the attack, until she sees that Irene has changed. The Lux Ogre has taken over. Irene’s body begins to feed on Pricilla’s blood amid waves of gravity attacks radiating out in concentric circles.
Gravity’s pull takes Julis off her feet. Ayato, with his larger pool of prana, is barely able to stagger forward. He knows that Pricilla is in danger, and he’s also focused on winning the battle. He tells Irene not to confuse raw power with what’s precious to her, and he asked her to decide. The contrast in options briefly allowed Irene to regain control, but the Gravi-Sheath reasserted itself after Pricilla was in the clear. Irene emitted even more powerful waves of gravity. In that moment, Ayato’s Ogre Lux, Ser-Versta, showed him rapid scene from his sister’s past as she used the weapon. Taking strength from that vision, he launches his final attack. The first blow knocks the Gravi-Sheath out of Irene’s hands. The second cleaves it in two. The third and last shattered the gemstone’s mounting. The match ends in a victory for Ayato and Julis.
Unfortunately for Ayato, the last attack took him to his limit. On screen, in sight of everyone from Dirk and Fan Xinglou (student council president of Jie Long Seventh Institute) to enemies the series hasn’t introduced yet, Ayato shows that his power has a limit.
Somewhat later, Priscilla awakens in the hospital because Irene drained her prana to dangerous levels. After Irene’s apology, the sisters share a laugh over Ayato’s spirited destruction of the Gravi-Sheath. Priscilla says she wants to become strong so she doesn’t have to stand behind Irene for protection. Instead, she wants to fight along side her.
Ayato, conscious again, tries to reassure Julis that he’ll be able to fight tomorrow. Ayato tells her that he promised he’d have her back, so he’ll find a way. He reflects that it might be time for him to face whatever seal his sister had put on him.
Their quiet moment almost turned into their first kiss as Julis tells him he can rely on her as much as she relies on him. That’s when Sasamiya Saya, Claudia Enfield, and Toudou Kirin burst in to check on Ayato’s health. Saya wastes no time crushing his face against her chest so she can help him heal faster. Kirin pushes Saya aside and takes her place because she wants to help, too. Julis advises them to worry about their own matches and tries to separate them, and Claudia uses that opportunity to assert herself. The last we see of Ayato, he’s trying to sort things out.
The final scene is in the now empty arena where Amagiri Haruka, Ayato’s sister, had fought and (apparently) died in the first episode. A man in a brown suit picks up a pair of bloody glasses. He blames Haruka for delaying his plan, but he’s ready to start anew.
What I Liked
I really like how much Ayato and Julis trust each other now. They operate like a good partnership should: both as equals, both bringing their strengths to the fight. I’ve really enjoyed watching their relationship grow from the first episode to now.
The all-out battle between the two Lux Ogres was exciting to watch. They both looked immensely powerful and deadly. The later elements of the battle, like the radiating gravity waves, were gorgeous.
I loved the name of Ayato’s special skill to slice the singularities in half: Repulsing Crow! Nice to see him choosing such a noble and intelligent creature! I’m sure the name of my site hasn’t influenced my opinion at all!*
In his final strike, Ayato released so much power he broke the lines that drew his face. That’s a lot of power! He kinda reminded me of Bruce Lee in that mode…
Pricilla declared that she wants to fight beside her sister. I have to admit I’m a sucker for characters who acknowledge their weakness and still want to become strong. Plus, I love character development!
When Pricilla said she wanted to train and become even stronger than Irene, Irene’s laugh was so carefree and happy that it made me smile. Their plight resonated with me. I hope things are better for them next season (according to Wikipedia, we should find out starting in April 2016)!
Julis stepped up this episode! She made Ayato acknowledge that as partners, he should let her help him face his sister’s seal. After Julis being embarrassed at almost any sign of affection, seeing her approach Ayato like that was almost a relief.
What I Liked Less
A the beginning, soldiers are running through a rain-soaked, bleak landscape. But, a soldier stepped on a flower? Really? First, I think that’s a bit cliche. Second, given the state of the ground around it, how would the flower have survived that long?
The last scene with Ayato and the women trying to help him heal, while funny, felt more harem-cliche than most of the series that came before it. I’m glad Julis tried to break it up rather than join in. At least one of them was thinking straight!
I was afraid there’d be a lot of talking, hugging, and crying the last battle. I was afraid Ayato would talk to Irene, offer to help her, and convince her to join with him somehow. I was so relieved when that didn’t happen! Instead, we got a fight that was realistic given the rules of this world. Realistic, and hard-fought.
About the last scene with Ayato and his wanna-be nurses: that really bothered me! Claudia had up until that point kept her expressions of affection either private or expressed according to decorum. To me, her shoving Ayato’s face between her breasts seemed a little demeaning. Now, with Saya? That was completely in character. I’m not sure how I feel about Kirin. But Claudia? That just didn’t sit well with me.
Ayato needs to up his game, too. I get the male lead in a harem anime is expected to act a certain way. But The Asterisk War tweaked tropes before. It featured more good characterization that I often see within its genre.
This is how I would have preferred the scene play out: After gently pushing Claudia back, Ayato takes Julis’ hand and maneuvers her to sit beside him. It’s important he reinforce her role as his partner; it’s a bad idea to give her occasion to feel resentful. Ayato tells the other three how happy he feels that they’re concerned for him and that he certainly doesn’t deserve the attention of three such amazing, powerful, and beautiful young women. However, they all saw what happens when he hits his limit, and they all know he and Julis have another match coming up. So Ayato should ask for their help so they’re still involved.
Admittedly, there’s probably a reason no one in the anime industry has solicited scripts from me…
All in all, I enjoyed watching the first season of The Asterisk War. I’m looking forward to April 2016 and the start of its second season!
* Okay. I joke. Yes, the site’s name influenced me.
Reviews of Other Season 1 Episodes
- Episode 1: Witch of the Resplendent Flames
- Episode 2: Ser Versta
- Episode 3: A Holiday for Two
- Episode 4: Unshackled
- Episode 5: Lightning Blade Speed
- Episode 6: The True Face of the Girl
- Episode 7: Decisions and Duels
- Episode 8: A Holiday for Two Part 2
- Episode 9: Phoenix Festa
- Episode 10: The Tyrant Vampire Princess
- Episode 11: Power and Its Prices
You can find the review for season 2, episodes 1 and 2 here.