Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk review

If I had to choose which is the worst fantasy school battle anime for this season, it's probably this one. Generic, confusing story, mediocre character with no clear goals, makes this anime fall behind despite its great art and sound quality. The good news is that it serve more as an opening and build up for the upcoming second season.

Long, long ago, an epic catastrophe, known as Invertia, caused a complete change in the world's power balance. In the years following this disaster, a group known as the Integrated Enterprise Foundation rose to power. In addition to this massive change, a new breed of humans born with amazing physical skills known as Genestella also emerged and joined the ranks of humanity. Gakusen Toshi Asterisk follows the story of Ayato Amagiri, a student who has just transferred into one of the six most elite schools for Genestella students in the world—Seidoukan Academy—where students learn to control their powers and duel against each other in entertainment battles known as festas. Unfortunately, Ayato gets off to a rough start. When trying to return a lost handkerchief to a female classmate, he accidentally sees her changing which leads to her challenging him to a duel. What most people don't realize however, is that Ayato has no real interest in festas and instead has an alternative motive for joining this prestigious school. What is Ayato's big secret? Will he be able to keep up his act when surrounded by some of the greatest Genestella in the world? (Source: MyAnimeList)

The story start of as generic as one would expect; the main protagonist transfers into a new school and walks in on the tsundere female lead in her underwear within 3 minutes of the first episode and 'accidentally' grabs her breasts afterward. He then meets his new classmates and immediately becomes surrounded by a bunch of girls who fall in love with him for whatever reason while given a powerful magic sword which he just so happened to be the 'chosen one' to wield and thus becomes super overpowered. The first few episode is so generic that it becomes really painful to watch. There is not so much motivation or backstory on how and why each character entered the school and later on the tournament. The anime does pick up afterward, right before the start of the tournament when they introduced characters like Kirin which fortunately have some backstory on her. And after about 9 episodes or so, they finally begin the tournament arc, with one major battle for the main protagonist before they ended the first cour. In term of pacing, it is between super rushed and extremely slow; fast as in little or no explanation on the world setting or backstory for most characters, and slow in term of the overall story, where they took their time to slowly develop the main school fighting arc and serve mostly as an opening course before the real story on the second cour, hopefully. There is no actual goal indicated by the main protagonist himself, except for winning the tournament but to what extent is unknown to the viewer. Considering the number of heroines this anime had to offer, there is only 1 or 2 that has an actual backstory like mentioned earlier, while the other got left out for most of the part. As for fanservice, it is not too excessive but neither relevant or necessary. The way the protagonist treat them however, makes it really annoying and makes viewers ask the question if he is indeed a homosexual? The way this anime shine however, is the way they execute the duels, with fancy special effect and decent visuals. While it is not the best, it is satisfying to say the least.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk features your usual familiar characters with the same copy paste formula; plain main character with hidden latent power, tsundere red-haired princess, loli deadpan childhood friend, busty attractive 'ara ara' blond senpai and shy cute little kouhai. Ayato, the main character is as boring as a main character you could get. He is too nice, entered the school for find someone, have super hidden power that he could use for a short time just to serve as a plot armour and end most duels and have every single girls head over hell for him. There is nothing much to say for him other than being bland protagonist. The girls however, have some varieties that is all but recognizable. Julis being your main female character which she acted like a tsundere at the show from the start. She shows some motivation as of why she was participating in the events in the first place, but a rather cliche and ridiculous one; to gain money to save an orphanage considering she herself is a princess? Her relationship with the main character is hit and miss. It only got developed once and remain static for the rest of the anime. Saya is an interesting character. Despite being a kuudere with mostly deadpan face and serve mostly as a walking advertisement for her father weapons, she does spout out hilarious comment from time to time which I found really enjoyable to watch. Kirin are your stereotypical busty shy loli character. She is really powerful individually and had an actual, interesting backstory that was told in the anime. The other girl Claudia doesn’t really become presented or relevant most of the time in the first season and she only appears in some scenarios (mostly as fanservice); it’s quite a sort of disappointment. The supporting cast are quite forgettable with the exception at the moment for Irene since she did got a backstory at the final episodes and which was kind of an awkward move. Everyone seemed used as some sort of characters just for the sake to be there, unless they make them more relevant in the second cour of the anime series. all in all the characters are overall mediocre to be honest. 

The art and animation are actually really decent. The colour palette used are bright and have a futuristic, glowing neon feeling on it. For its background art it looks nice enough that it also fits with the designs of the characters. Also, hexagons, and lots of it. The animation are also mostly fluid, with dynamic camera angle for fast paced battle scene. As for the sounds, the anime features great OP and ED. For the Opening it gives a catchy J-Pop vibe and the tone of the OP fits with the show, as for the ED it gives a harmonic in a sense feel when hearing it, and the English sounds right. The OST has a mix of techno and a bit of instrumental at times at the fights, where it seems really enjoyable and catchy at time. Both the art and sound could be said to be the strongest part of the show itself in all honesty.

Would I recommend this show? This all depends on your taste on anime actually, or the genres in itself. If you want at least a show that buildups the events bit by bit without caring too much on the details you can give the show a shot.  However I wouldn’t recommend it to people that do not like anything related with fantasy battle school series with a slice of harem and ecchi on it.It is enjoyable at time, but the story as for now barely make sense and the range of characters are just mediocre at best. Until the second cour, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk.

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