The Asterisk War Episode 6: A Morning Jog Interrupted — by Dragons!
In the sixth episode, “The True Face of the Girl,” we learn more about Kirin and the skills and perceptivity that make her so powerful.
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Next we see Julis-Alexia van Riessfeld fling a washcloth onto Amagiri Ayato’s head. It seems that she is, in fact, mad at him for fighting Kirin in the previous episode. Then she tells him that she would have done the same if she had seen the evil uncle slap Kirin. She goes one to say she would have been disappointed in him if he had acted differently. Both of them realize that since he’s now fought in public, they have to change their plans for the Festa.
Since his loss to Kirin destroyed his student badge, Ayato needs to meet with Claudia Enfield to get a replacement. She tells him that the evil uncle is a big shot recruiter for their Seidoukan Academy. He’s not an executive yet, but he’s using Kirin to propel himself onto the board. Julis then reveals something that I found interesting: having a highly energetic sense of self-interest is self defeating at Integrated Enterprise Foundation. Their executives have been through numerous psychological adjustments to ensure they are selfless, good leaders. She knows so much about it because her mom was one of the executives.
As he’s returning to his dorm, Ayato is surprised to see Kirin. She wants to thank him for trying to help her. As he walks her back to her dorm, they begin talking about different sword techniques and, unsurprising (given then backgrounds), they find they share a common interest. As she becomes more comfortable with him, Kirin tells Ayato that she’s fighting to redeem her father’s name. They decide to train together, though Kirin couldn’t agree to train with Julis and Ayato because her evil uncle had warned her to show her skills to as few people as possible.
Ayato drops Kirin off at the gate to her dorm just as Sasamiya Saya drops out of a tree and almost strangles him. She asks him again to be her partner, but he says he can’t abandon Julis.
Speaking of Julis, she confronts him at lunch to find out why he’s been training with Kirin. She’s relieved that he seems to view it as no more than basic practice — and nothing more.
The scene shifts to Ernesta Kuhne and Camilla Pareto, the Allekant engineers working with Seidoukan, as they watch the Tenorio faction, a research faction from Allekant, make a move to test new weapons against Ayato. As the two of them use remote cameras to watch, they notice that Kirin is training with him. While she’s interested to see results, Kuhne muses that if the attack fails, she’ll be able to politically suppress the Tenorio factor for the foreseeable future.
As they’re on their morning run, miniature dragons attack Kirin and Ayato. They repel the attack and find that the dragons regenerate severed limbs. And they shoot fire. And attack in packs. Fortunately, Kirin discovered that if they cut the dragons into small enough pieces, they can find the core, which, when destroyed, finally kills the beats. The remaining dragons scurry. Ayato realizes that because Kirin found a core, the beasts are synthetic — and are therefore from Allekant.
The dragons regroup and counter attack. As he’s dodging, Ayato feels the pavement cave in beneath him. Kirin manages to grab his wrist before he disappears, but the edge collapses, and they both plunge into he darkness.
What I Liked
The Asterisk War knows how to paint a villain that I despise: Kirin’s evil uncle (I think I’ll call him, “He who should not be named because he doesn’t deserve the publicity”). Sure, he has a realistic drive to further his agenda, but using Kirin to do it is just despicable.
Yep — just as I expected, Julis was mad at Ayato for dueling. And at the same time, she was proud of him, too. I thought that emotional dichotomy was a great realistic touch for Julis’ character.
Julis and Ayato have to change their plans because folks have seen him fight. In other words, they have to react to plot developments. I like that bit of realism. Too often plot points just fly by without any effect on the characters. This was a welcome change.
Having to go through psychological adjustments in order to be a good leader is an interesting concept. This society has realized that the unbridled drive for personal gain was too destructive, and they took action. The effect on society may be positive, but judging from Claudia’s sadness, there’s a personal price the leaders have to pay.
It was heart-warming to see Kirin laugh and be at ease with Ayato, especially in contrast to her demeanor around “he who should not be named because he doesn’t deserve the publicity.” I hope we see him get what he deserves soon. Kirin too sweet to have to deal with someone like that.
“The world abounds with injustice,” Saya says. She wasn’t talking about society, either.
Julis tries to eat the super hot curry after accidentally making Ayato order it — but it doesn’t go so well for her. Ayato has to argue her out of trying to finish it. He plays the “tag partners” trump card to finally convince her. The scene ended with his screams of pain. I probably shouldn’t laugh at a character’s suffering, but I did.
Kirin thinks that the attacking dragons are cute. Well, until they start spitting fire. Then I think she thought them less cute.
The fight scenes are energetic and clear. For example, I get a real sense that Ayato or Kirin have a strategy to their attacks and defense. I get a sense that each move has meaning.
What I Liked Less
I wonder why “he who should not be named because he doesn’t deserve the publicity” wasn’t aware that he needed to be a more unselfish leader? Were the psychological adjustments that Claudia’s mom endured a secret program that only a handful, including Claudia, knew about? Otherwise, wouldn’t the evil one have taken steps to at least appear less evil?
The series has some poignant moments in animation. Some of my favorite from this episode include:
- Claudia’s sad, sweet smile as she tells Ayato that her mom underwent the psychological training needed to be a leader
- Julis’ embarrassment as she’s wrestling with being mad at Ayato and being proud of him at the same time
- Kirin’s stumbling acceptance of Ayato’s offer to train with her
- Kirin’s expression when she says that the dragons are cute
Little details like a sad smile or well-placed sword thrust makes a big difference to me. The Asterisk War has been delivering them all along, and I only now realized that this was one of the things I really like about this show. Those moments by themselves would be lost without a good plot and interesting characters. Fortunately, The Asterisk Was has those, too.
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 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
- Episode 12: The Gravi-Sheath