The Asterisk War Episode 19: Finding Flora and An Old Foe Repurposed
In The Asterisk War episode 19, Battle Song, Amagiri Ayato finds out the stranger he met was way more helpful than he could have hoped. Also, Yabuki Eishirou calls in help from an old foe. Finally, Ayato and Julis Riessfeld meet AR-D and RM-C in the final match.
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What Happened (Spoiler Free)
Ayato meets a stranger who leads him away from his pursuers. He’s suspicious that she knows his name, but she puts his concerns to rest when she points out that his disguise is terrible, and he’s been on television lately because of the Phoenix Festa. One pursuer does catch up with them and, seeing the young girl, decides to attack her first with lewd intent. At first, Ayato thinks he needs to protect her. She quickly disabuses him of that assumption when she handily kicks the man half way through a concrete wall. While he was still in shock, Ayato agreed to let the woman help him find Flora. He discovers her true identity and is even more shocked.
Sasamiya Saya and Toudou Kirin won’t allow Ayato and Julis to go after Flora. Instead, the two of them head to the location with Eishirou in tow. He demonstrates his worth by inviting Lester MacPhail to provide cover fire while Saya and Kirin descend into the building.
Ayato and Julis face off against AR-D and RM-C. AR-D can barely contain his excitement at facing Ayato. The match begins.
The rest of this review may have spoilers, so please be careful!
As we saw at the end of last week’s episode, Ayato was searching for Flora in a part of town controlled by a crime syndicate. A young woman, a stranger to Ayato, asks if he wants help avoiding a confrontation with the gang members. He’s not sure if he can trust her, of course, and he simply says he’d like to avoid confrontation. So, she grabs his hand and leads him away from the gang members. As she runs, she hums, and Ayato recognizes that’s she a Strega and that her music’s releasing power.
After they stop, she asks about why he was running, but Ayato’s still not sure he can trust her. She doesn’t mind but suggests he wait before resuming whatever it was he was doing: because of the Phoenix Festa, the police were paying more attention to the area, and the syndicate was skittish. When she discloses that she knows his name, though, he leaps into a ready stance.
His reaction’s speed delights her. He was a little hurt when she confesses that it was easy to tell who he was: his disguise was terrible! At first, he thought she only helped him because of his celebrity. He didn’t quite know what to think when she said she helped him just because he needed help.
Another Strega, this one working for the syndicate, interrupts them and demands Ayato come with him. The man’s superiors want to know why Ayato was snooping around. When he sees the girl, he chances tactics, and says he’s going to attack her first and she should resist to make it more interesting. Ayato protests that she has nothing to do with this, but she responds that Nguyen of the Twin Snakes, a disgraced former student of Jie Long Seventh Institute now working for the syndicate, won’t listen. Unimpressed, Nguyen attacks, only to have Ayato deflect the knife at the last second. In that instant, Nguyen was right on top of them. He flicks Ayato aside and thrusts another knife right at the girl’s eye.
Ayato and Nguyen were both surprised when she effortlessly slipped past the attack. After dodging several of his attacks, she decides it’s time to end his assault. With a light kick, she blasts him half way through a concrete wall.
The bad guy now incapacitated, the girl asks if he’s looking for someone, based on what Nguyen said. When he admits he is, she offers to help and takes him to the top of a nearby building. She asks for some details about Flora Klemm to aid in visualization. In exchange for her help, she asks just one thing: that he not reveal what he was about to see. He agrees.
She takes off her hat and dons her head gear. Her hair turns a whitish purple, and Ayato finally recognizes her as Sylvia Lyyneheym, one of the most famous idols in the world. She beings to sing, and her power goes out to the area around her until it finds the one Ayato described. As she sang, Ayato remembered that she had attended Queenvail Girls’ Academy. He also remembered her power: omnipotence.
She’s able to point out the location on this map. She has to leave, so Ayato asks for her contact information so he can thank her more properly later. She’s touched that he would so obviously hit on her.
Julis is all for launching an immediate assault on Flora’s location, but Sasamiya Saya and Toudou Kirin nix the idea. Eishirou supports their objection, and reluctantly, Julis and Ayato agree to trust them with the retrieval.
Saya, Kirin, and Eishirou enter the building. Almost immediately, strange shadow creatures based on Setting Magic attack them. The creatures seem to regenerate after being destroyed, and both Saya and Kirin are beginning to worry about how much time they’re spending when Eishirou calls in his ace: he asked Lester MacPhail to help them. Lester attacks the shadow creatures, keeping them busy, while Saya and Kirin search downstairs.
As Ayato and Julis walk to the arena, Julis reflects on how nice it is to have friends she can count on. She also says she now understands how she had been keeping everyone at arm’s length, at an emotion distance, but because of Ayato, Saya, and Kirin, she was able to open up. In fact, she trusts them so much, that she can focus utterly on the final match. They agree to give this match everything they’ve got.
AR-D bursts out laughing. It’s not a derisive laugh. He’s overjoyed to be facing Ayato. He good-naturedly challenges Ayato, who responds that he and Julis fully intend to win the match.
What I Liked
Ayato leapt into a defensive stance when Sylvia revealed that she knew his name. I thought that was an entirely realistic reaction given the situation. Ayato was paying attention!
After Sylvia kicked Nguyen into the wall, I could almost see Ayato thinking that he should apologize for the insult of trying to help her. She clearly could take care of herself!
Sylvia seemed to read Ayato without a lot of effort. She could see that even though he was in trouble, he was still polite to her. She could tell based on his performance in the Phoenix Festa that he had difficulty relying on others, but in the round against the Li twins, he and Julis has performed very well as a team.
I’m convinced Ayato really wanted to thank Sylvia more properly later when he asked her for her contact information. It really did come out like he was hitting on her! But he’s so earnest that I don’t mind his apparent ineptitude. That’s quite a contrast to how much I do mind it other harem shows (I’m looking at you, Ichika Orimura from Infinite Stratos — just how dense can one human male be?).
Ayato kept his promise to Sylvia. He didn’t even tell Julis how he found out where Flora was.
Saya was trying to sound very reassuring and cool by saying that when they found Flora, Ayato could use his Ser-Veresta. When Eishirou points out that only works if they find Flora before the match starts, Saya berates him for being a kill-joy. I’ve always liked Saya’s attitude, and this episode was no different.
Saya and Kirin are both suspicious of Eishirou after he uses his electronic skills to pick the lock. His protests that it wasn’t a big deal, but they treat him like he’s sketchy. They even back away from him!
When they were trying to decide whether to search upstairs or downstairs, Kirin said that no matter the direction, they should stick together. I wish horror film casts would be that smart! Splitting up means you can be picked off more easily!
Lester’s not happy that Eishirou practically black-mailed him into helping. But he doesn’t run away, does he? He’s a blowhard, but he’s not evil. I like ambiguous character like that. No need to be black or white. Gray’s just fine if it’s honestly done!
Hearing Julis talk about how much her friends meant to her — essentially opening up to Ayato — was one of those tender character moments that I love so much about this show. The moment wasn’t flashy or falsely sweet; she was simply communicating her feelings to Ayato.
Gesturing to the scar that Kirin’s blade left on his face, AR-D asks that Ayato give him as much excitement as Kirin did. Ayato, being the humble Ayato, says he’s not sure he can, but that he will give it his best. I’ve never liked trash talk. Not in on-line games (back when I used to play Unreal, then Unreal Tournament), not in sports, and not in business settings. I consider it a waste of time. Why bother when your performance will speak for itself? That’s the attitude Ayato seems to have, and I like it.
What I Liked Less
Nguyen licks his knife in anticipation of attacking Sylvia. Like I’ve never seen that before! What is it with villains and licking? How does that help anything? It’s distracting and I’m pretty sure it’s unhygienic.
This complaint isn’t isolated to The Asterisk War, but while Flora was tied to a pillar for more than a day, did the kidnapper give her bathroom breaks? Water? I guess I’m just tired of the whole “tie the defenseless woman to a pillar” motif.
This episode had several enjoyable moments: Sylvia’s reveal, Saya saying she was going to kick Eishirou’s butt for spoiling her cool moment, Julis quietly sharing her feelings with Ayato, and AR-D’s enthusiasm in particular. It felt like a bridge episode, though. We met Sylvia and discovered where Flora’s being held, but there were no dramatic developments. It looks like we’re set for some action and drama next week!
Other Reviews in the Series
- Season 1, Episode 12: The Gravi-Sheath
- Season 2, Episodes 13 (Divine Revelations) and 14 (Corrupt Ruler)
- Season 2, Episodes 15: Breaking the Memory Barrier
- Season 2, Episode 16: Never Back Down
- Season 2, Episode 17: The Tyrant’s Puppet Strings
- Season 2, Episode 18: Scrambling
- Season 2, Episode 20: The Phoenix Showdown
- Season 2, Episode 21: Clinching Victory
- Season 2, Episode 22: Lieseltania
- Season 2, Episode 23: The Lonely Strega
- Season 2, Episode 24: Reunion