The Asterisk War is one of this season’s newest shows, with its first episode being streamed on Crunchyroll starting today for premium users, and next week for free users.
A cataclysmic event known as the Invertia simultaneously destroyed most modern civilizations and provided dramatic strides in technology, leading to the rise of a race known as the “Genestella”.
Ayato arrives to Seidoukan as a new transfer looking for his older sister who seemingly went missing 5 years earlier. Coming across a handkerchief that seemingly blew down from an open window above him, it only makes sense that he should demonstrate that he too is a Genestella by leaping up to the window. Unfortunately (though with this genre who would be surprised) he comes across a young woman half naked who at first offers her sincere gratitude for retrieving such a “dear item”, and then in the next breath launches a gigantic fireball and introduces him to Seidoukan’s system of inter-student duels. This very familiar opening scene introduces us to the world of The Asterisk War.
His opponent and apparent early foil is Julis von Riessfeld, a princess who also happens to be a highly ranked student at Seidoukan. She is surprised at Ayato’s prowess during their duel, and is ultimately indebted to him yet again as he saves her from a mysterious arrow of light, while simultaneously putting himself in yet another precarious situation involving his hands in the wrong places. Their sparring match is disrupted by Claudia, the student council president of Seidoukan. She takes Ayato aside and explains how the system works. The Genestella attend 6 different prestigious schools: Garrardworth, Allekant, Jie Long, Le Wolfe, Queen Vale and finally Seidoukan. These schools do battle once a year in a massively popular and televised event known as the “Festas”. The winner of the Festas is entitled to a wish of their choosing, granted it is something that can be realized in the world (i.e. no bringing people back from the dead). It is against this backdrop that Ayato finds himself, no doubt fighting to discover the truth of what happened to his sister while developing his skills and nurturing friendships with his future comrades at Seidoukan.
As others have pointed out, we’ve heard this story before. It certainly doesn’t earn points in originality, but damn it sure is pretty to look at. Our protagonist, Ayato, is also one of the more likable when it comes to generic super-powered high schooler fantasy series. The fight scenes so far (though they were fairly brief) seem fluid and engaging, and while the motivations for our main characters so far are either vague or seem to be easily explained, there is still too much potential to write the show off completely. It may not break your top 5 of the season, but something tells me if you’re looking for some reliable entertainment this season, The Asterisk War won’t let you down.