The Asterisk War Episode 8: Socializing as a Weapon
Amazon’s selling an attractive T-shirt with Ayato and Julis, along with the show’s logo. You can buy it here!
At the end of the last episode, Sasamiya Saya asked Toudou Kirin to partner for the upcoming Festa. Kirin apparently agreed, because they’re practicing at the start of this episode. Individually, they’re great. As a team, though, they literally stumble over each other. At lunch, they discuss their situation with Amagiri Ayato and Julis-Alexia van Riessfeld. With Ayato’s help, Saya and Kirin realize they need to focus on their teamwork, especially since the both of them had been strong solo players for so long. Saya decides she and Kirin will socialize tomorrow.
Unfortunately, when they meet, neither has any idea of how to do that. After trying to come up with ideas, Saya suggests shopping so she can find a present for her dad’s birthday. No matter what they see at the mall, they can’t find anything they think he’ll like.
Saya realizes that since he had given her a gun for each of her birthdays, she could do something similar. She asks Kirin to help her find a gun shop that’s in a bad part of town (remember that Saya is “directionally challenged”). Saya chooses a weapon that’s a piece of junk. She tells Kirin that even though it’s trashed, the generator is similar to what her father invented, and having it will further his research. Then she asks Kirin what she’d like to do.
Kirin asks Saya to teach her to swim.
They head to a public pool. As she’s learning to kick, Kirin confesses that she wants to learn to swim so she will improve the chances Ayato will see her in a “somewhat favorable light.” Saya applauds her gumption, and, as she goes to get them something to drink, suggests that Kirin continue to practice.
Unfortunately, Kirin can’t steer yet, and she crashes into another student. Kirin apologizes all over herself, but the other student refuses to accept the apology. That is, until she recognizes Kirin as the previous #1 at Seidoukan Academy. Then she tries to back pedal until she finds out that Kirin can’t swim, at which time the student taunts her. Saya reached the end of her patience and, from the edge of the pool, throws a floatation device at her. “Please stop mocking my partner,” Saya says.
The student finds out Saya is unranked, so after introducing herself as Violet Weinberg of Queenvail Girl’s Academy, she challenges Saya to a duel. Violet tries to make a showy start, but Saya just summons her weapon and fires. The duel is over about a second after it started.
At the end of the day, as the sun sets, they sit by the pool and reflect on the day. Saya tells Kirin to stick up for herself more. Kirin suggests the treatment she received from her evil uncle is the cause, and Saya takes the opportunity to tell Kirin about her good qualities. She also tells Kirin the reason she asked to be partners: Kirin uses the same kind of sword technique that Ayato uses, which involves being “true of aim, quietly determined, and dignified.” They decide to call each other by their first names.
The next day, during practice, they are completely in sync. The trust they built during their day out translates directly into team performance. Julis and Ayato decide they might fall behind if they don’t practice.
What I Liked
Just after Saya and Kirin saying they were Ayato’s fans, Julis asks what they’ll do if their team has to fight her. Saya says, “Needless to say, we’ll be returning fire with everything we’ve got.” I love her combination of openness and confidence. Since they’re all there to compete, they realize they can be friends and yet fight ferociously with teach other in the arena.
The show has set up Saya and Kirin as being strong, focused individuals. So when they’re stumped when it comes to ideas for socializing, it was both believable and endearing. It’s not like I knew what they’re going through, since I’m so cosmopolitan and sophisticated when it comes to socializing.* I just found it endearing. I felt no kinship whatsoever.
Saya confesses that she’s directionally challenged to the point where even following a GPS’ instructions doesn’t work.
The gun shop owner told Saya that the pistol she picked was junk. He even asked if she was sure she wanted it. I liked the touch of the man being rough, but still honest. It would have been easy for the story to rely on cliche to present him. I’m glad the writers didn’t take an easy way out.
Violet was all flowery and elaborate as she started her attack. Saya just aimed and fired. No frills; no bragging; no airs. Just performance. I admire that in a character. Saya’s rapidly becoming my favorite character in the whole series.
I also noticed that as she became more and more comfortable with Kirin, Saya seemed to smile more. I thought that was a nice touch!
I loved Saya’s reasons for choosing Kirin as her partner. Again, the writers could have relied on cliche, but Saya presented solid reasons that honestly flattered Kirin. I like to think that honesty will help Kirin become more self confident. It’s certainly quite a difference from how her evil uncle, “he who must not be named because he doesn’t deserve the publicity,” treated her.
* Okay. I’m neither cosmopolitan nor sophisticated. Quite the contrary. Please don’t tell anyone; I have a reputation to maintain.
What I Liked Less
Another episode where nothing stood out in a negative way. This series is going to spoil me!
I like the idea of this episode being the second part of Episode 3. There, Julis and Ayato bonded and became trusting partners; the same happened here with Saya and Kirin. The Asterisk War has done a great job of building characters who are sympathetic in and of themselves, and yet are also building friendships realistic friendships based on their character. In other words, Ayato seems like he really wants to help Julis; he’s not just helping her because he thinks she’s a pretty princess. Saya felt drawn to Kirin for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was a cause they both share: helping their fathers. Now that I’m pulling for these characters, the show’s about to start the Phoenix Festa, where their skills, hopes, and dreams will be severely tested. That’s a great way to build dramatic tension!
Hard to believe we’re already 8 episodes in!
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 9: Phoenix Festa
- Episode 10: The Tyrant Vampire Princess
- Episode 11: Power and Its Prices
- Episode 12: The Gravi-Sheath