The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water: The Chivalry of a Simp Knight

I really wished I had been around and blogging in 2015 when this show came out. What it must have been like watching both this and Chivalry of a Failed Knight at the same time. The jokes, the memes, the discussion. Two shows that are both so similar, and yet so different in terms of quality. I’ve now watched both of them, and it’s time to give my thoughts. After the cut let’s take a dive into the anime The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water.

With apologies to Crow

Watching this show’s first twelve episodes (in order to make it fair to judge this next to Failed Knight, which only got one season), it made me feel that I owed the ladder a huge apology. While I stand by everything I said in regards to Failed Knight: A show that runs away from its premise almost instantly, saved only by an absolutely stellar romance and chemistry from its two main leads, I found myself missing a lot of what I saw from that show. Because The Asterisk War, despite looking better at times, and having a phenomenal ending song, commits the gravest sin of all time: it’s boring.

This is literally the exact same opening of Failed Knight. The exact same.

And not just boring, but bland. It may very well be the blandest show I’ve seen in years. Having the almost exact same opening act as Failed Knight (guy walks in on a red-pink hair girl changing, and then gets into a fight with fire based attacks), everything I saw in Asterisk felt so boilerplate. A school? Check? A tournament? Check. Characters who start off as baddies, but then become allies? Check. A tsundere who falls in love with the main character? Check. A bunch of other female characters vastly more interesting than the lead one? Check, check, and check. There is nothing special, nothing new, and nothing that even attempts to try and be out of the box. Failed Knight, despite being very much the same thing, at least made a true effort in one area. Ikki and Stella’s romance remains to this day one of the best I’ve seen for the genre that it is, respecting the viewers time and treating the two characters like real people, instead of having it driven by plot contrivances. 

Ayato and Julis? The exact opposite. I was wondering just what they saw in each other, and if Ayato, who looks as if he walked out of the light novel main character factory, had anything else going for him except for being a simp. Julis meanwhile feels like the cheapest and laziest tsundere character. No effort, no attempt to do anything cool or unique, just a collection of tropes welded together and shoved out into the world. “Off the rack” as it can be and in the worst way possible. I’ve seen shows that are able to take what was done before, give it a fresh spin, or at the very least do it extremely well. Ayato and Julis are not that by a long shot, and I struggled to even care anytime they were on the screen.

AMV] Ayato x Julis || Asterisk War || The Script - Hall of Fame - YouTube
Julis and Ayato have zero chemistry, either as friends or as a would-be couple. They both are dull as ditch-water.

But, in the interest of fairness it is not all bad. The animation again is very nice, nothing spectacular, but it is pretty and consistent. The variety of weapons keeps things fresh, instead of a focus only on swords, and like any good tournament arc, it is fun to see different characters clash in battles. The secondary cast remains the show’s strongest suit, giving not one, but two lolis, in Saya and Kirin who are always fun to see. Claudia meanwhile is ‘ara-ara’ in all the best ways, and oozes sexiness and confidence every second she is on the screen. The show is also fanservice-lite, and the girls are all pretty to look at, with one character rocking a string-bikini on what would have easily been my sexiest character of 2015. The music and soundtrack are enjoyable and again, “Waiting for the Rain” by Maaya Sakamoto may be one of my favorite ending themes of all time.

This song is the best part of the series. Absolutely fantastic.

The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water, in a different time, might have actually made me stop watching anime. It is bland, uninteresting and by the numbers storytelling that doesn’t attempt to do anything new with what it has. When people discuss the cynical and overload of light novels, they shouldn’t be complaining about Isekai, and instead look at something like this. Never bad, but never ever worth looking at either. I know there are some who really like this show and more power to ya, but unless you absolutely love this kind of show, not even stringkinis can make you get through this.

Hello best body of 2015.

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