Gakusen Toshi Asterisk

March 11, 2017

It’s time for another tournament style anime series. A team tournament. One that has a guy and the rest of his teammates are females. I know the story and setting sound pretty generic as you have high school kids picking up some sort of hi-tech weapons and then taking on each other in a sanctioned tournament. Add some romance and harem factor into it and you have gullible guys like me wanting to watch Gakusen Toshi Asterisk. Why else would I be watching this show if not for that? Every season almost same thing. Heck, even the first episode looks familiar. A guy with good intentions ending up irking a female lead and she challenges him to a duel and ultimately loses. Or couldn’t best him to say the least. Sound familiar? Yeah, Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry sounds like it came out ages ago…

Episode 1
Ayato Amagiri as the new transfer student at Seidoukan Academy tries to be a gentleman as he leaps into the room of Julis-Alexia von Riessfeld to return her dropped handkerchief. If you think what follows next is cliché, then it is. Because he sees her while she is changing. To show her gratitude, she blasts him with her Strega power. Yes, her thanks is for him to die! Apparently there is an unwritten rule where peeping on her means paying with your life. Following the cliché pattern, she challenges him to a duel. If he wins, she’ll accept his excuse. Oh, he has no say whether to participate or not. Attracting a crowd of onlookers, Ayato doesn’t have a sword to fight her so some kind soul from the crowd lends him. Julis didn’t hesitate to use her best move. She is surprised he isn’t defeated. It looked like Ayato might be doing something sneaky when he pushes her down. Actually he was trying to save her from a stray attack. But all that don’t matter since he has her hand on her breast! Thankfully Ayato’s chance to die again is tossed away when student council president, Claudia Enfield uses her authority to stop the duel. She takes him along with her and explains the ground rules of the worldwide Asterisk tournament called Festas that the academy was built to nurture for including the other powerhouse opponents. The reward of winning this tournament will be the ability to grant anything as long it can be realized. Ayato wants to confirm one thing from her. Did his sister, Haruka attend this school? From the corrupted data, there is a girl who enrolled here 5 years ago but suddenly dropped out 6 months later. Ayato has no doubt she is Haruka. However other data aren’t so clear as there are no other records of her competing in Festas. An Ogre Lux sword, Ser Versta, the most powerful and legendary sword in Seidoukan had some suspicious combat data logged in 5 years ago. It could be her. Ayato assures he didn’t enrol in this school to look for her but to find his own destiny. Before Ayato leaves, Claudia hugs him.

The cliché pattern continues as Ayato ends up in the same class with Julis and sits next to her. Yes, she is not too thrilled. Ayato also makes friends with the other guy, Eishiro Yabuki who will also be his roommate. He lets Ayato know a bit more about Julis who is the first princess to some small fictional European country, Lieseltania and her cold demeanour means she keeps everyone at arm’s length. She is also one of the top few Strega among Genestella (humans with improved physical abilities). On their way out, they see Julis being harassed by Lester MacPhail and his subordinates as he keeps bugging her to fight him. Apparently Julis has duelled him many times and the outcome has always been the same. She always wins. So she isn’t really interested in accepting his challenge. Lester just like Julis is on the Named Charts (the rankings) and in the top 12 known as Page One. Lester threatens Julis in all sorts of ways and she still won’t budge. Till he mocks her for doing this for fun (and made her accidentally drop her handkerchief) so in her fiery rage she tells him off that she needs to accomplish something and to do that she needs to win Festas and thus can’t be fooling around in this place.

Episode 2
Lester backed down when Ayato interrupts. Maybe some other time? Ayato talks to her about things. Like how she needs money despite being a princess and she hasn’t found a partner for the tag team Phoenix Festa. Because she has no friends? Oh, so you haven’t found anyone who would meet your absurdly high standards. Well, that knight in shining armour may never come. Julis laughs when Ayato says he is lost on his way to his dorm. She is embarrassed when he notes she could laugh like that. She accepts his suggestion to give him a tour of the academy to repay her debt. Ayato is surprised this sleepy girl next to him in class is Saya Sasamiya, his childhood friend. First smell of cat fight is coming up because Saya claims Julis is reluctant to show Ayato around the grounds so she might as well give that job to her. But you know how stubborn Julis is and won’t back down, right? It might be a 3 way tussle since Claudia thinks of joining in. But she is here to remind him of his Lux compatibility test tomorrow. The best way to solve this school tour? Ayato has both Julis and Saya show him around. Did he just do a big mistake? While Ayato goes to get drunks and leaves the ladies alone, it could have been a showdown had not somebody trying to attack them. Saya’s super extreme grenade launcher blows the perpetrators away (as well as damaging the surrounding). Investigation is being carried out to find the culprit behind this although there are no leads. Claudia tells Ayato that Julis doesn’t want to seek help from others most probably she is trying to protect something she has and doesn’t want to lose it. Ayato prepares for his Lux test and the other participant is Lester. Cocky dude thinks the game is set but the moment he touches Ser Vesta, he didn’t last long and his compatibility rate is only 28%. You’re rejected. Lester is so mad that he keeps trying and trying and each time the rate decreases till it is negative and counting! WTF?! Ser Vesta probably is mad since it has a mind of its own and starts attacking Ayato. After all the dodging, he finally reins it in like a cowboy over a bull. 97% compatibility. Because main character status. Claudia has a favour to ask him. It includes coming into her room as she just got out of the bath and in her bath robe.

Episode 3
Ayato, you’re gay if you don’t take the slightest interest in Claudia giving you hints that she is seducing you!!! Anyway, on to serious business. She explains there have been several students being mysteriously attacked and injured. They all had one thing in common: They are to participate in Phoenix Festa but have to pull out due to injuries. The suspects fall on Lester and his subordinate Randy Hooke as they have no alibi. It is safe to say Julis is the next target as Claudia hints she might not be able to save herself this time. Get the hint, Ayato? Claudia would love to pay for this favour with fanservice (putting his hand on her breast make you feel anything?) but apparently Ayato decides to go with the gay route and escapes this free fanservice. Ayato hangs out with Julis in town. Here comes Lester and his pals to bug her again. He gets mad thinking Ayato is provoking him for being a coward but his pals tell him to back down for now. Ayato and Julis make their way out when they see a gang fight. They realize it is a setup when the gang is trying to indirectly implicate them during the confusion by hurting them as though they get caught in the middle of a gang fight. Of course none are a match for Julis as she makes one of them spill the beans. It seems somebody is paying them to hurt them. Conveniently, the hooded employer is spotted as Julis goes after him. In the forest, there are several accomplices setting traps but she is fast enough and Ayato coming to her aid that prevented any untoward incident. Though, baddie got away.

Like déjà vu, Julis calls him to her room. Tells him to strip! Could she have worded it better that she wants to sew his torn clothes from that fight? Ayato sees a group photo of Julis when she was young. She explains she used to sneak out of the palace and one day got lost in the slums. Cornered by punks, children from the orphanage saved her. She became good friends with them. Because money is needed to run the orphanage and funds are drying out, the reason she needs them. Although she is a princess, the royal welfare is nothing but a puppet as she will never secure approval for projects with no hope of any revenue. That is why all she can do is raise funds by herself and what better way to do it than this tournament that the world is crazy about. The handkerchief is a gift from the orphanage for her birthday, the reason she cherishes it a lot. You’d think that Julis would have been better after opening up. But the next morning after reading a letter, she returns to her cold self. It is believed to be from the perpetrator. Why didn’t she tell Ayato? Does she still not trust him? On the contrary, he might be one of her treasures she wants to protect. Time for Ayato to run like the wind to make it there in time to back her up.

Episode 4
At an abandoned building, Julis faces off with the perpetrator and knows who he is: Silas Norman, one of Lester’s subordinates. From the words he said yesterday after Ayato provoked Lester, she knew there were discrepancies since nobody else would have known about it unless he was there watching it himself. He gives her a chance to withdraw from Phoenix Festa. Of course she won’t. He explains everyone in Asterisk are mutual enemies. Everyone fighting for their own desires so wouldn’t it be wiser to take advantage of that and make money from it? Lester is also here and has heard his true intention. When Lester attacks, Silas’ accomplices jump in to protect him. They are not humans but mechanical dolls. He sends all 128 puppets to defeat them. Lester got owned first. Julis could be next if not for Ayato the hero arriving in typical fashion to free and save her. They even have time for chitchat especially about Ayato wanting to protect her. Just to show how cool Ayato is, he powers up his Ser Vesta and fending off the dolls’ attacks while holding Julis in his arms! At this time he could tell the dolls’ patterns and movements which resembles something like chess. Silas is scared and sends his big mother doll to finish the job. Nope. Cut down in an instant. Funnily, Silas tries to escape on one of his slowpoke doll. Ayato combines with Julis’ power and flies way faster than Silas to send him falling. And the duo have time to even watch the beautiful sunset! Time to end the cheesiness when some painful chain projection binds Ayato. Flashback reveals Haruka put this seal on him to imprison his savage force before she said goodbye. Lucky Ayato wakes up on Julis’ lap pillow. She lets him stay as he is. Now this is the real thanks. She asks about that imprisonment spell so he lets her know his sister had this power to forcibly bind all things. To cut things short on Julis deciding her partner for Phoenix Festa, it would be him. I mean, who else, right? Meanwhile Silas is desperately running away from Claudia. She shows her dark side by slaying him down. She is in cohorts with Yabuki, who is also a member of Kageboshi (Seidoukan’s intelligence division) who will extract information out of him.

Episode 5
Claudia meets the rest of the student council presidents of other schools. Ernest Fairclough (Garrardworth Academy), Dirk Eberweine (Le Wolfe Black Academy), Fan Xinglou (Jie Long) and Shuma Sakon (Allekant Academy). They discuss about Seidoukan’s sneaky move to co-develop a new type of Lux with Allekant. Claudia explains this is an official collaboration since the facilities used will be from Allekant and Seidoukan will be sponsoring 70% of R&D fees. Before Ayato goes to train with Julis, he bumps into petite Kirin Todou. Nothing wrong except he accidentally saw her panties. Saya and Lester join them. The latter is here to apologize to Ayato for what happened. Claudia brings Allekant’s Camilla Pareto and Ernesta Kuhne to them. Cheeky Ernesta can tell Julis and Saya like Ayato so she gives Ayato a kiss on his cheek. You can see what happens next. With them drawing their weapons, Camilla notices Saya’s unique grenade launcher since this is the weapons she specializes in. However she calls it primitive and has flaws. Saya wants her to retract that insult since her father designed this weapon. As she is the daughter of that great professor, the more reason Camilla can’t do so. He views her father as a traitor. They hint they’ll be taking part in Phoenix Festa. Saya wants to partner with Ayato. Julis won’t let. She was here first. The tussle begins. Later Ayato stops Kirin from being slapped again from her uncle, Kouichiro. After checking up on his details, he agrees to not get violent on Kirin provided if Ayato wins a duel with her. Kirin has no say and follows her uncle’s orders. But she isn’t going to throw away her match too. The match begins as both of them are on par with each other. However Ayato knows his time limit and is starting to panic. This allows Kirin to strike and win the duel. Julis quickly takes Ayato away knowing he doesn’t have much time before his limiter sets in. She will hear his explanation later why the hell he was duelling with Seidoukan’s #1 student. Holy cow! That’s their best student?!

Episode 6
Apparently Kouichiro is still not happy with Kirin’s win. Too slow?! WTF?! He reminds her to do his bidding if she wants her wish come true. Suspicious… Meanwhile Julis is scolding Ayato. Just because she can. So she is mad he couldn’t beat Kirin? Since when she is his coach? Anyway she explains that Ayato, Kirin and Claudia are the only people in Seidoukan she cannot defeat. Claudia is Seidoukan’s number 2 and her Pan Dora allows her to see 10 years into the future. But what sets Kirin apart is that her sword is just a traditional Japanese sword. And she is just 13 years old. With that kind of boob?! Oh sh*t! Later Ayato sees Claudia to learn more about Kouichiro. An employee of Seidoukan’s parent company, Integrated Enterprise Foundation (IEF). His job is to scout such talents and his goal is to land on a spot on the executive board, thus the reason he is using Kirin. But that itself is not enough as one must go through some intensive programmes which eventually eliminates one’s personality. Claudia knows about it because her mom was part of it. Later Ayato bumps into Kirin who wants to thank and talk to him. She reveals her only worth is her swordsmanship and is doing this to save her father. As her uncle has shown her the quickest way to achieve her goal, she calls it a fair trade. Noticing Ayato’s fighting stance, she asks how he trains. Ayato is a step ahead because he offers her to train with him. Shortly after Kirin leaves, Saya drops down to almost strangle him! Who is that woman! Anyway she is here to bug him to partner her for Phoenix Festa but he asserts Julis is already his partner. In that case, she continues to bug him about Kirin… That completes Ayato’s meeting with all his potential harem. Oh wait. There is still another meeting with Julis next day. I’m sure they’re talking stuffs I don’t find important and the only thing I remember is their curry exchange since Julis wrongfully ordered the hottest one and the exchange is like well, uhm, deepening their partnership? One early morning when Ayato and Kirin are out jogging, they are attacked by… Mini dragons? Cutting them won’t do since they regenerate. Kirin senses something odd with their Prana flow and cuts one up to bits until its core is revealed. Cutting it stops the regeneration. The other dragons blast a hole in the ground as the duo fall under.

Episode 7
Taking refuge in the sewer, not only Ayato dispels some of Kirin’s low self esteem but fights off a sewer alligator. Since it has the same Prana flow as the dragons, he finds its core and cuts it up. However he is over his limit and gets that chain punishment. While they wait for rescue, Kirin tries to find out if he is dating Julis. No. Thankfully this still means she has a chance, right? She explains her reasons fighting for her father. He is imprisoned as a criminal. When she was young, she was taken as hostage by a ruffian. Dad killed him in the name of self defence but because he is a Genestella, the charges were graver. Kirin could have took on the ruffian herself but she was a coward and froze. So to free him, her only way is to obey her uncle. After the rescue, Kirin talks to Kouichiro if he was worried for her as a person or tool. She refuses to obey him anymore. Despite slapping her, she won’t give in and holds him off when he is about to punch her. She is going to walk her own path and that first order is to request a duel with Ayato. While Kirin is fast and sharp with her numerous sword skills, it is Ayato’s decoy and close quarters that bring her down. So while the friends congratulate each other in the backstage, Kouichiro comes banging on the door. Not too happy about the lost, eh? He is still trying to assert his authority and that is when Ayato butts in to tell him off not to interfere with her business anymore. If Ayato doesn’t change his mind, Claudia might. He reminds him Kirin belongs to Seidoukan and IEF. If he insists on corrupting her with his selfish goals, there is a risk waiting and she is sure her mom will also make the same decision. At this moment you can see Kouichiro defeated. He just simply gave up. Kirin tearfully thanks him for everything but I don’t think he is listening. He just left so dejected. So does this mean Kirin is now free to pursue Ayato?! Later Saya talks to Kirin. Since she finds they are both fighting for their fathers, she proposes they team up.

Episode 8
Ayato must be real famous now that a fan girl is asking him for his autograph. You can bet his harem isn’t pleased but they have a point. That girl put his autograph up for auction! Be careful… Saya-Kirin lost to Ayato-Julis in a practice match. Although they were perfect, Ayato mentions they lack that sync. Thus Saya thinks to deepen their bond they should hang out with each other. However their tastes are different as night and day. Saya then brings Kirin to an underground Lux store to buy some weapons. Kirin then asks Saya a favour: To teach her to swim. While Kirin is practising on her own, she can’t control her speed and collides into Violet Weinberg. This irritated blonde becomes a b*tch as she won’t accept her apology and wants to duel. She backs down upon realizing Kirin is Seidoukan’s number one. But Violet still remains cocky and that is when Saya throws something at her. I guess this is a perfect setup for them to have an unofficial duel. Violet is arrogant as usual but Saya pulls out her cannon and blasts her to the far end of the pool! It ended right even before it began. Saya and Kirin have a heart to heart talk. I guess that bonded them because in the next practice, they do superbly well and it is like their coordination is natural. They beat Ayato-Julis’ record. Meanwhile Claudia and Yabuki discuss the draws for Phoenix Festa. It is going to be a crowded affair with 256 teams. Luckily Ayato-Julis and Saya-Kirin team are kept apart and they won’t meet until the finals. However they are wary of Le Wolfe’s Irene Urzaiz who could mean serious trouble and hope to completely avoid her.

Episode 9
Dirk sees Irene in prison. Upon agreeing to participate in Phoenix Festa, he releases her. He tells her job to eliminate Ayato because of his Ogre Lux. It doesn’t matter if she wins the tournament or not because Ogre Lux is going to be a problem sooner or later. The Phoenix Festa opens with an opening speech by Madiath Mesa, the chairman of this Festa’s committee. His speech contains allowing autonomous weapons to participate because preventing so would only have an effect on the tournament. Since our heroes still have time before their match. It’s time for a harem lunch break. My bad. Nothing much happens. We have a brief narration on how the tournament works. It includes destroying both your opponent’s badge to win. With the massive number of participants, the winners of each group in the preliminaries (a knockout tournament) will progress to the next round and the 32 finalists will be drawn in another knockout tournament but this time they can earn points for their school. We have Ayato-Julis pair up now and we can tell their opponents are there just to make the numbers because Julis leaves it to Ayato to handle them himself and before the match could start, he already ends it! It’s over! Too fast to see! I know it is their tactic to keep their secret techniques for higher opponents but are the audiences getting their money’s worth? The next highlight match pits Le Wolfe’s guys against Allekant’s autonomous weapons AKA robots, AR-D and RM-C. How can a human beat them? Oh, they’re controlled by Camilla and Ernesta. The robots start out as comedians arguing with each other first. Then they give their opponents to do everything they want without fighting back. You know you’re in sh*t when all the super strong moves you pull do not have any effect thanks to their barrier. When time is up, they’re owned big time. Another one-sided match.

Episode 10
Saya gets a call from her dad, Souichi that her new gun has just arrived. It is at customs so she won’t be able to use it for her first match. Meanwhile Julis and Ayato spot Irene beating up punks out for vengeance over her in the crowd. Irene spots Ayato and confronts him. She is about to start trouble but her little sister, Priscilla comes in to stop everything and make her apologize. Apparently she is the only one she is obedient with. Saya and Kirin’s match begins against the Chinese pair. Of course they’ll win, right? At least their match lasts longer than Ayato-Julis. We skip the after-match fanservice whereby Saya is trying to grope Kirin’s boobs, time for Ayato and Julis for their next match. Of course they’ll win, right? It is Julis’ turn to strut her stuff against this cheery idol-like pair. At least this one lasts longer than their first match. After the match, Julis is vexed as she hints she wants a pat on the head from Ayato since he did it to Saya and Kirin. This is nothing but trivial, right? If you’re wondering why we need to watch Lester and Randy’s match, it’s because they are up against Irene and Priscilla. While fat boy is taken out easily, Lester can still hold his ground thanks to his toughness. So if you’re wondering why timid Priscilla has just been standing watching, it’s time to unleash their secret weapon. To replenish ‘fuel’ for Irene’s Ogre Lux, she drinks the blood from Priscilla’s neck! Is she a vampire? And since Priscilla wounds heal quickly, it makes her a very valuable source. Lester might have lost but he was smart enough to give up to avoid further unwanted damage. Only damaged is his ego… I’m sure Ayato is going to need learning something from watching this.

Episode 11
Time for Claudia to hog some time alone with Ayato. Then Kirin called. Saya is missing. Help. Okay. There goes her long awaited quality time. However Ayato saves Priscilla from a bunch of chasing thugs along the way. Irene gets the wrong idea he assaulted her and is going to beat him up. Thankfully she still listens to her sister to stop. Or else. Phew. Another good news: Kirin has found Saya. The problem solved itself. Irene feels awkward now since he owes Ayato for saving her sister and he is her next round’s opponent. Irene goes back to threaten Dirk that her sister was in danger. Where are those supposed bodyguards? That wasn’t part of the deal. He tells her back that some people don’t listen to his orders and since Ayato interfered, those bodyguards can’t act because they can’t be seen. After she leaves, Dirk has his assistant, Korona Kashimaru to do fortune telling. She sees the sisters winning. Julis is not happy after learning Ayato accepted a dinner invitation from Irene. This means she has to come along too, right? Note, she wasn’t invited. Luckily Priscilla is around to prevent any bloody showdown. Irene reveals about Dirk’s plan that he wants her to take out Ayato. She isn’t sure of his intentions, thought. Most probably she saw someone once wielding Ser Vesta and thought it would be a pain in the ass. In a way this confirms about Haruka. Irene is doing this for money. Many years ago she borrowed lots of money from him. Although she can earn money from participating in tournaments. Dirk only allows her to participate in Festas. Oh, she can’t use the prize money to pay him back. Yeah…

When they leave, Ayato calls Claudia as he wants to talk something with her. When he enters her room, she is like in some trance state and is trying to kill her. She returns to normal state when he touches her. Before she explains what happened, she asks him a favour to join her team for next year’s Gryps Festa. Of course. If Julis joins too. But of course. Now she explains about her ‘trance’. She has died more than 1,200 times. She actually counted? Her Ogre Lux wants its users to experience death in exchange for being used. That death is experienced via dreams and she has never experienced the same one twice. So Claudia has got to be a strong girl since nobody can even last 3 days, right? Asking her opinion on Gravisheath (Irene’s Ogre Lux), Claudia explains how each Ogre Lux has their own personalities. Some good, some bad. Ser Vesta is one of the better ones and Pan Dora is one of the worst. Gravisheath? Dangerous enough to change its user’s personality and preference, even going as far as to change the physical appearance to suit its preference. Ayato calls it a night since tomorrow he has a match. Too bad he doesn’t want to sleep with her here. Meanwhile Irene just destroyed those bunch of thugs.

Episode 12
Irene dreams of her past. She came from a war torn country and naturally she believed having power was the only way to go forward. Priscilla was in some testing facility but when their parents try to sell them out for more money, Irene took Priscilla and ran away. That was when they came into Dirk. He gave her Gravisheath and she was compatible the moment she touches it. And now the epic match is about to begin. Of course it is going to last way longer than what we’ve seen so far. All the epic flashy moves are equally countered by epic flashy techniques so there is no short of explosions and booms. Things get even heated up when Irene drinks more blood from Priscilla to the point she passes out. More high level epic battle. Ayato and Julis unleash a powerful blast on her that destroyed part of the arena but Gravisheath protected Irene. This causes her to go even more berserk as she is going to target Priscilla for more power. Ayato’s Ser Vesta at the same time powers up (visions of Haruka?) to give him more power and slam all that energy onto Gravisheath, destroying it and knocking her out. Ayato-Julis pair wins. However as he has gone past his limit, the chain binding thingy activates. Now that the entire world has seen this, those other sneaky schools think they now know Ayato’s weakness and limit. Priscilla wakes up in the hospital bed since she lost too much Prana but is okay now. Irene tells her they have lost and even though Gravisheath was destroyed, she didn’t get a bit scolding from Dirk. He somewhat expected this to happen. The sisters make up as Priscilla mentions her intend to become stronger so she can stand as her equal. Julis is really concerned for Ayato although he is okay. She’s trying to deal with this together with him. Could have kissed if not for the other worried girls coming in to assure his safety. Then they all argue to take care of him. But smothering his face in their boobs? Don’t you dare complain! Just accept it!

Season 2

Episode 13
Even among the students of Jie Long, there are factions. So it is no surprise that the Li twins, Shenyun and Shenhua are asking ‘permission’ to go all out against their fellow Jie Long guys, Song Ran and Luo Kunzhan if they ever get pass their opponents, Ayato and Julis. Fan doesn’t care since her job is to provide them with power and have a good time. Ayato and Julis face off with Song and Luo in their fifth round match. The Chinese duo heard about rumours on Ayato but despite so, they are still going all out on him. So this means teaming up to take him down? Luckily Julis sets a giant fire wall so they can focus on one on one fights. It might seem that they are just holding out but with great timing and trust, Julis opens a small gap in the wall so that both could switch sides and opponents and easily take them out. Because the opponents have been getting accustomed with their fighting styles, the only way to throw them off balance is if they switch quickly. Later, Song and Luo congratulate them for a fine match. However they are here to also warn them about the Li twins. They might go to the same school but it doesn’t mean they get along. They hate each other. Although they won’t tell their weaknesses, they caution them that they are unlike them who view their opponents as equals. The Li twins look down on theirs. Speaking of them, here comes the duo giving their nasty mockery to the losers. They even show off their Seisenjutsu technique. While Ayato and Julis are resting in their room, Julis gets an unexpected visitor: Flora Klemm.

Episode 14
Flora is a trainee maid from the palace and sent by the king who is also Julis’ older brother. She sings a lot of praises for Julis but I think there are some embarrassing ones Julis wouldn’t want Ayato to hear. Back in his room, Ayato contacts Priscilla and Irene. They know he wants to talk to Dirk and that guy also knows Ayato will somehow try to contact him. Irene will try to arrange a meeting with him and warns about Ereshkigal and Grimalkin under Dirk. Later Yabuki explains to Amato about Seisenjutsu which is based on Taoism so it lacks any vulnerabilities. Julis then invites Ayato out for lunch as per Flora’s request since she has something to ask him. We have a little distraction from Flora. She feeds the parfait to Julis, Julis gets embarrassed. She feeds the parfait to Ayato, Julis gets jealousy and mad. WTF. So the big question she wants to ask him is how far Ayato’s relationship has progressed with Julis. Apparently Julis’ big brother is interested seeing Ayato could be his potential brother-in-law! Before Julis can go full blown embarrassment, Korona is here to pick up Ayato to meet with Dirk. If Ayato is going, so is Julis. Inside his limo, Dirk maintains his hostile façade and is not obligated to answer any of their questions although he isn’t closed to Ayato offering something in exchange for information. Ayato asks about Haruka. Dirk saw her once at Eclipse. It is an illegal underground version of Festa. So if you hate all those tight regulations and want more blood and no rules whereby participants could even lose their lives, Eclipse is for you. Dirk remembers seeing Haruka because of Ser Vesta she was wielding. She lost the match but heard she didn’t die. That was the last and only time he saw her. Dirk asks Ayato’s opinion on Mesa. With Ayato’s blank look, Dirk knows he isn’t playing dumb. He drops them off and Ayato continues to be in shock learning his sister’s fate. Korona then tells Dirk about the pretty maid looking like a doll that was with them. She wasn’t in any of the information she had. Dirk seems interested and wants to know more about her.

Episode 15
Ayato is spacing out thinking too much about Haruka. This causes Julis to worry because it affects their teamwork. She knows he has been going out to look for her. He thinks everything will become clear when he reunites with her but he might be scared that she has abandoned him. Later Saya talks to Ayato about this. Saya tells him not to worry because she knows Haruka will never abandon him. They remember they once teamed up to take on Haruka. But she used some secret technique that resembled like a variation of bullet time to take them out. They lost and have never beaten her once. That’s why they have to find her and get the better of her. Ayato and Julis’ quarterfinal match against the twins begin. The twins put up lots of tricks like a giant smoke cloud, Shenhua turning invisible and Shenyun cloning himself. To show how powerful the tricky twins are, our duo take a beating. It might be the twins’ plan to delay since Ayato got sealed when he reaches his time limit. However Ayato feints it and strikes Shenyun. The comeback is futile because that was just a clone. He was invisible all along (the smoke cloud tricked them). Before he could get owned by his talisman bombs, Julis rescues him and nags him about his habit to always do things by himself. She throws back to him his words who is going to protect him then. Her words wake him up and also see some strange vision. He thanks her and this makes her blush. Do we have time for this in the middle of a battle? Ayato has a favour to ask of her.

Episode 16
He wants her to buy him some time as he goes into deep meditation to grab some ball of light which brings him back to the past to refresh some lesson Haruka gave him. Better hurry up because the twins are beating up and mocking Julis. Then it’s like Ayato found what he is looking for: A key to unlock his chains and power up a little! So easy? But that sounds like an understatement. Now that Julis is leaving the rest to him, Ayato can see all hidden traps and even take out Shenhua in stealth mode. Desperate Shenyun uses al his talisman to form a giant flaming explosion ball. And clones it. Literally, great balls of fire! Then he targets Julis. Wrong move. Because it only serves to show how cool Ayato has become. He protects Julis, extends his sword to cut the fireballs, cut the explosions and give a good knockout punch into Shenyun’s face! Game over. They win. Claudia is happy over their victory and wants to reward Ayato by personally inviting him to his room to heal for tomorrow’s match. Well, she should have taken Julis along if she really cared too right but I guess that’s not the point. Ayato becomes their tug of war. We should have more of such scenes. Now we shift focus to Saya and Kirin. The former talks about her father who lost his entire body at work but since his brain is still intact, his mind is hooked up to the mainframe where he continues to do research all he wants. And since all his research involves making guns for Saya and thus this power is created solely for her and not others, she won’t forgive those who rejects that idea. The duo bump into Ernesta and Camilla. The latter still believe Saya’s weapons aren’t suited for combat so the only way to get the other to take back what they said is to win the semi-final match. Saya and Kirin face AR-D and RM-C. Kirin tests her sword on AR-D first and although it seems it doesn’t have any effect, she eventually cuts through his barrier. Because he is machine, he has data on her skills which means he only reads and reacts to her movements unlike swordsmen facing off in the battlefield they get split seconds to read each other. In short, he lacks battle experience. Saya gets ready to shoot down RM-C. Oh, she already fired the first shot.

Episode 17
During this fight, Flora gets kidnapped. Kirin’s sword skills manage to make a little dent on AR-D but it is enough to do any hard damage. Saya and RM-C enter a firing might battle. Saya’s blast is eventually more powerful and deals some damage. RM-C agrees to do AR-D’s suggestion as they combine into a single robot. Needless to say, they power up in speed and power. Kirin takes a direct blow but she is still hanging there. Saya believes AR-D must have some kind of defect since RM-C is channelling part of her power to him. If AR-D was okay, they wouldn’t have combined. Unfortunately they have insufficient data to conclude anything. The duo go all out in their next move. Too bad they lost. Don’t worry. Ayato and Julis will avenge you in the finals. Meanwhile Dirk contacts Ernesta and Camilla. He wants them to team up with him and he will reward them with profits. Julis is waiting for Flora and when she gets a call from her, it turns out to be her kidnapper. To guarantee her safety, he wants Ser Vesta to be cast an emergency seal and they are not to withdraw from the Festa or go to the police. Julis is in a pinch but Claudia has a plan. Knowing the kidnapper is targeting Ayato and Ser Vesta, putting an emergency seal means Ayato will forever can never use it again because it is like he abandoned it. Part of her plan includes hiding Ser Vesta and let Ayato use a different Ogre Lux. In the meantime Kirin and Saya will search and rescue Flora. Claudia believes Dirk is behind this and thus his intelligence organization, Grimalkin will be doing his dirty work. This makes it easier to narrow down their whereabouts and Kirin and Saya must rescue Flora in that time before the closing ceremony tomorrow.

Episode 18
Ayato and Julis will face off with Garrardworth’s duo of Elliott Forster and Doroteo Lemus. Ayato takes on pretty boy and easily defeats him with his countermove?! So fast?! And he did it without Ser Vesta. Meanwhile Julis faces off with Festa veteran who clad himself with armour and even riding an armoured horse. Is this even legal?! Anyway her fire might not burn him but it builds up enough heat to flush him out and win. Yeah, the quick victory is brought to you because they can now focus on saving Flora since Kirin and Saya still have no leads. Yabuki hears from them and will help out as much as he can. Though, don’t count on him too much. Ayato goes off to do his own research as he secretly meets up with Irene in person for information. Unfortunately she has none not because of any gag order. She believes Dirk knows he will contact her and thus did not relay any information. But she can still theorize. She thinks they are looking in the wrong area. Because the redevelopment area is filled with criminals, police often patrol there so it would be hard to move about or stay hidden. It might be a place where Ayato will face lots of trouble, Rotlicht. A place where legal and illegal shops are clustered together and he can’t freely go anywhere like the redevelopment zone. Camilla talks to Ernesta and remembers the time they first met. Camilla’s family was attacked and killed by terrorists. She could have been bombed and blown to bits but was saved when Ernesta constructed half her body as a robot. Although Camilla owes half her life to her, it seems there is a dispute about their engineering goals. Ernesta simply wants to do all it takes to win so her robots will become accepted in schools and people will understand them better. AR-D and RM-C request minor changes as they have ‘learnt’ from their battle with the lolis. Ayato is being chased around by MIBs for snooping around too much. He stumbles into a girl who claims she can help him out.

Episode 19
Ayato wonders if she is a Strega as she takes him to a safe place. When she knows his name, Ayato goes on the defensive. Who is she? She assures him Ayato has become famous after yesterday’s match. Oh, he should work on his bad disguise. When a zombie dude comes looking for Ayato, but upon seeing this girl, he turns his attention to fight her. She knows this guy is formerly from Jie Long before joining the mafia. Easily her ‘soft’ kick sends him flying and crashing into the building! She decides to further help Ayato in looking for kidnapped Flora. Her abilities can somewhat locate a person. After describing Flora, she then turns into her true form and starts singing. It is then Ayato instantly recognizes her as Sylvia Lyyneheym. Who is she? She is the top student of Queenvail Girls’ Academy. She pinpoints the area where Flora is located and could have been more specific if she had more time but her manager is hounding her. Before she parts ways, Ayato asks for her number! OMG! Planning to add more to your harem?! I know his true intentions but that’s my first impression when he asked her that. After Ayato tells the rest, Kirin and Saya do not want them to tag along too. Even if the finals start at noon, they should be resting and shouldn’t go into the tournament in this state. With Yabuki seconding them and that believe-in-me crap, our heroic duo relent. At an old casino, Yabuki hacks his way in. The way he easily does it makes the girls be suspicious and ‘scared’. They are faced with multiple shadow clones. No matter how much you cut them, they regenerate. How do you cut shadow anyway? Since they can’t waste any time, luckily Yabuki has called Lester to come help. More like he blackmailed him to get his ass here. They leave this dude for this menial task while they head on to get done the more important ones. It’s a good thin Ayato and Julis heed their words because the finals is just starting and they’ve heard no news from them. They could have missed it and give the robot duo a free walkover.

Episode 20
Ayato and Julis attack AR-D together instead of also focusing on fighting RM-C. Ayato uses some technique of his to avoid RM-C’s attacks when she does. When the robots fuse, it takes some time so Ayato is able to cut off RM-C’s badge. Although she is out, she manages to fully equip RM-D. We take a detour to Flora’s rescue. You’d think that it would be an obvious trap for Flora to be tied up in the open. It is. Kirin is able to intercept the shadow attack from this ninja dude and with some help from Saya’s sniping, they manage to get Flora to safety. Now Kirin will be able to concentrate on fighting him. However she is injured and her vital spot. You know how final big bosses become stronger the more damage it takes? Well, something of this sort happened to Kirin. In the final decisive sword drawing move, Kirin somehow makes ninja boy see a virtual image of swords, allowing Kirin to cut and disable the use of his arms. Kirin is down but Saya finishes the job by blasting him away. Back to the overpowered match, AR-D is overpowered like a final boss. The kind that you want to use a cheat code to win this damn match. The duo are reduced to just dodging and are even cornered. What tricks do you think they will have to come up to overcome this? Well, something of this sort. Claudia waltzes into the commentators’ room and hijacks the microphone to send a message to her pals. You’d think it is some magic spell, right? Well, she tells them Flora is safe. So go all out. I guess this means technically they have to win, right? With the weight off their shoulders, Ayato is now free to use Ser Vesta and powers it up enough to slice through AR-D’s hammer like a hot knife through butter. Here’s their cheat code.

Episode 21
Apparently with all the hard hitting power, it still isn’t enough to bring down AR-D although he takes some damage. It might look AR-D is going out of control with all the overflowing power but he manages to control it. With both sides taking damage, Julis knows Ayato is their only chance for victory. So she has him channel his Prana into his Ser Vesta while she does something. Ser Vesta turns into an ideal form. To cut short the remainder of the fight, Ayato defeats AR-D and wins the Festa. So while Ayato takes his trophy at the award ceremony, Yabuki confronts ninja boy escaping in the sewers and teaches him a lesson. Later, RM-C and Camilla talks to Saya and wants to fight her again. Although they won, they view her weapon much superior than theirs because it uses a different technology and thus incompatible. They do not consider their win over her in the Festa as proper victory. Ernesta is contacted by Dirk about the offer to team up. She rejects him. She is surprised Dirk knows that she is secretly constructing a third robot. Not even Camilla knows about this. With all the congratulating and thanking, it’s time for Flora to apologize and cry her heart out. Ayato and Julis then see Mesa. Julis is not pleased that despite she reported Dirk behind the kidnapping, Mesa said there were not enough evidence to link him. Thus the police caught the wrong people, some mafias operating in that area. Mesa learns about Ayato’s reason for participating in this Festa to find Haruka. He can only pray for her safe return. Later we see the snake head Mesa is because he is in cohorts with Dirk and warns him to tone down his methods. He had to go out of his way to get him out of this mess. Dirk wonders if Mesa will tell about his relationship with that woman. He has no intention to do so. And here’s the biggest revelation: Haruka is in a comatose state in some test tube chamber.

Episode 22
Before anybody can scream winter vacation, Julis whisks everyone away to her kingdom, Lieseltania. Wow. Everyone is giving them a hero’s welcome. They go to see Jolbert, Julis’ brother and king and Julis is not amused of the forced victory parade. Then there is a short history lesson about the formation of Lieseltania. Basically some meteor crash and a bunch of corporation guys wanting to make a profit from this ‘playground’. Thus Lieseltania is more like a puppet state. Time for Saya to get a bit of the spotlight since she is a bit depressed. She apologizes to Ayato for not being there when he needed the most after Haruka went missing. She hopes he can rely on her from now on. Claudia talks to them about Gryps Festa and hopes they could join her team. Well, Ayato’s answer depends on Julis’ participation. She asks why she is so focused on this Festa when she could have won other Festas easily. On the contrary, her weapon has a very grave weakness and needs the competency of her comrades to pull through. Long story short, everyone agrees to be her teammate. I guess those other big names from other schools don’t really matter, huh? Time for the banquet and everyone to look smart and the ladies to look lovely in their evening dress. Ayato thought Julis is broke. Well, the corporation has money to spend on her but she has no money for herself. There’s a difference. Seeing Jolbert mixing around, Julis explains to Ayato that he is just a puppet. He doesn’t talk politics and isn’t serious about his job. That’s why corporate guys like him. Oh, he also has many lovers by his side that the corporations ‘sent’ him. All airheads too? Time for Kirin to get her screen time too when she gets too as strangers are talking to her. Time for Ayato to whisk her away. Because Kirin clings on to his arm, Saya doesn’t want to lose out and also clings on to his other arm. This is interrupted when an old guy talks to them. He wants them not to join Claudia’s team for Gryps Festa. If they refuse? Well, they’ll have to deal with this monstrous chimera he summons to kill them. Even without a weapon, Ayato can still kick the monster’s ass before Julis-Saya blast combo finishes it. Hey, these are Phoenix Festa winners and not pushovers. You gotta send something more terrifying than this.

Episode 23
That guy is Gustave Malraux, an internationally wanted criminal. He used to be in some international terrorist group but now he takes on jobs for money. So you can bet there is some large conspiracy behind this. Jolbert talks to Ayato and Julis privately. He wants them to get engaged. So that’s what the parade is for? To casually introduce Ayato? Julis protests this joke but Jolbert is serious. Because she has won the Phoenix Festa, her popularity has increased and IEF now views her valuable. But that isn’t the biggest problem yet. Jolbert wants Julis to stop participating in Gryps Festa. If she wins it, she can become more popular thus making Jolbert irrelevant. There’s a reason to this selfish thinking. If that happens, IEF may replace Jolbert with Julis on the throne. You know how Julis is serious in changing the state of her country, right? But when she is there, she will be totally under their control. He doesn’t want her to suffer. He hopes Ayato can convince her but of course he can’t. Ayato finds Julis at the orphanage and meets with Sister Theresa who runs the church. Julis gets uncomfortable and leaves when she talks about her once best friend at the orphanage. Ayato goes after her. He learns she already achieved her goal of saving the orphanage by winning the Phoenix Festa. Her intention is to change her nation by winning the Gryps Festa and free this country on a broken system it was based on. Speaking of her friend, Julis spots her, Orphelia Landlufen. She is Ereshkigal and studying at Le Wolfe. She confronts her at a barren wasteland. Orphelia warns her to drop her goal in changing her because she has accepted her fate. I guess a guy has to stay out when girls fight, right? Julis is no match for Orphelia whose miasmic powers are just reeking. Time for Ayato to jump in. Yeah, he shows us as a hero he can fight with a sword in one hand and hold an unconscious girl in another. He did this before so it’s no sweat. He too can’t best her but they are interrupted by Gustave who hopes Orphelia won’t steal his prey. Plus, Dirk calls Orphelia to get back to the lab as he didn’t give her permission to leave. Gustave summons his beasts to kill them. Ayato might have defeated one but is going to get eaten by the other. Time for Claudia to remind us she kicks ass. Gustave is smart enough not to take on her and escapes. Claudia gets a heart attack when Ayato collapses.

Episode 24
Ayato wakes up after 3 days. Yeah, any longer and I’m not sure if anyone can wait that long. After Julis thanks him, she explains about Orphelia. Remember that handkerchief? It was made by her. That wasteland is actually the remnants of a lab of IEF. A student from Allekant known as Magnum Opus used to do research there to mass produce Genestella. Orphelia was one of the subjects as the orphanage’s debt collateral. Although it is ‘successful’, it is not without a price. Everything she touches around her dies. Julis once tried to challenge her to make her change but lost. Orphelia looks like she has given up on everything. As they are about to focus and discuss about Gustave, the city is under attacked by dragons. Julis knows this is a ploy from Gustave as all the security forces are drawn in fighting them, the orphanage is left unprotected. A bait to draw them out. They take the challenge to fight off the Hydra he summoned. While they wait for Julis to power up, Ayato and Saya combo take down the heads quickly before it has time to regenerate. Of course, the final blow from Julis to destroy it once and for all. Wow. Such a big explosion I hope she didn’t destroy the kingdom. Kirin finds Gustave and easily knocks him out. Old man can’t best a young girl, right? Elsewhere Claudia sees her father whom she has not seen for a while. It seems he is behind this orchestration. He says Ginga isn’t behind this and he did it on his own. He then starts showing his desperation for her not to enter Gryps Festa. Too bad. She doesn’t reciprocate her father’s love.

Next day when Ayato and co leave, Julis tells Jolbert that she will win Gryps Festa to give more power to the royal family. After what happened, she needs to start at something more basic. That is why she needs his help. Seeing she has changed, he agrees to help her and stop playing the fool. Ayato then gets a call from Mesa. He claims he has found Haruka. It seems somebody brought her to this central hospital 5 years ago and has been lying in this state ever since. Ayato believes it is her ability that binds everything and she might have used it on herself. If nothing changes, she might outlive everyone. Well, if you can call that living. Outside, Ayato is met by a crazy woman who claims she can cure Haruka. She is Hilda Jane Rowlands. Or better known as Magnum Opus. Claudia apologizes to her teammates about her father’s doing. She explains he did this to settle things before Ginga makes any serious move. So now you know the risks, will they still join her in Gryps Festa? Because that will mean making enemies out of Ginga too. Hell yeah. Too late to back down, right? Was there any hesitation in the first place? Well, Ayato a bit at first. Because he was in a dilemma if he should really seek Magnum Opus for help. But since he really doesn’t want to, might as well stick with these beautiful babes instead. There’s your answer.

Ass Tricks * Raw!
Hey, wait a minute. Don’t tell me that montage at the end of the final episode is some sort of a fast forward of the events and certain matches that take place during the Gryps Festa?! Don’t tell me they aren’t going to make another season and if they are, they will not be making the Gryps Festa?! I hope not. Assuming if there should be a sequel, I hope they continue from where it left off because it was starting to get interesting. Why do they always have to leave it to the end to make things interesting? So I personally hope that montage was just some sort of a trailer or a sneak peek. Because with so much potential and development, it would be a shame the next part in succession would be skipped. But that would be a blog for another time if they ever make another season.

Seriously, both the entire seasons can be summed up to be focused on the Phoenix Festa. There might be some shady plot moving behind it but they aren’t so obvious and thus personally I find the story boring and hard to maintain my attention even if there are a few (but short) funny moments. Even the international corporation and political conspiracies sound like better stories but it is just sad that they come into light towards the series’ end. It definitely looks like it is setting up itself in case of the need of another sequel but I fear they might focus the entire series on the Gryps Festa and make it uninteresting like they did for Phoenix Festa. I might be jumping the gun but after my experience watching this, I can’t help feel sceptical. I know I did say in my last paragraph to not skip this important team tournament but my point is not to make it draggy like the Phoenix Festa. After all, fighting with more team members could change the tempo of everything. After all, isn’t this series is about the Festa tournaments? And the other shady conspiracy plots beneath it are just to add spice to it all. Lots of other plot potentials like the mysteries behind Ogre Lux and the dark underground Eclipse that can be explored but just only touched upon here.

In view of saying all that, it made me enter into a dilemma whether if I should have wished for more cheesy fanservice and harem cat fight elements. You know, when such genres get uninteresting, I start to wish it should spam more of such factors no matter how cheap it is and no matter how much I will definitely complain about it. Damn if they do, damn if they don’t. The so called harem factor that I was hoping to see is very minimal and only serves as distraction and sometimes a reminder that Ayato still has those girls by his side. Now, if they start spamming the cringe worthy cat fights, it would have diluted the worth of this show even if I should be ‘highly entertained’. I mean, if you watched Masou Gakuen HxH, that entire series is about groping boobs and pleasuring girls, right? Imagine if this series follows that kind of route, not necessarily boobs fondling but girls shamelessly fighting over Ayato instead of focusing on the tournament, I think we would all lose a greater respect and consider this series to be even trashier and crap. Because it didn’t, this series is still respectable in that sense but at a price of me calling it boring and uninteresting. Hey, it is just one otaku’s impression and it won’t change a damn thing, right?

So here am I thinking I could make cheeky and naught puns out of it was to spam and take the fanservice routes. You know how Asterisk War can become… Well, you read my header, right? And of all terms why did they have to pick Genestella because I first misheard it as genitalia! Serious! Maybe it has something to do with the genes but my mind was already in the gutter… And Strega? Uhm… Straight guy? Oh heck, I thought it was some sort of relative for Stegosaurus. I’ve been fooled to think that there was going to be some serious fanservice elements. It’s like they teased us with the first episode of seeing Julis in her undies. Because I can’t remember anything else worthy after that… Except maybe Claudia’s sexy seduction attempts. Anyway, there are quite a number of terms in the series but I didn’t really bother to remember them since the sci-fi sounding-like terms already turned me off.

Sadly, the tournaments fights as the focus of the series didn’t sit with me well. Sorry I have to spam this boring word again because this is ultimately what I feel while watching the matches. Somehow they aren’t interesting enough to make me go “Woah!” even with all the super exaggerated effects (though I can’t help notice that they are mostly hexagon cyber polygons). Plus, they are predictable. Yes, I have 100% predicted the outcome of all the matches that Ayato-Julis and Kirin-Saya participated even before they entered the ring and fight. Including Kirin-Saya’s lost to the robot pair. After all, you can’t have teammates fighting each other in the finals and it would be better to have an opponent that you can go all out. Because we’re going to root for Ayato-Julis pair, right? Having Kirin-Saya in the final would mean splitting fan votes. Yeah… Thank goodness some matches don’t last for episodes unless you’re talking about our main heroes fighting worthy ones. I’m just glad when the matches are over.

There are lots of interesting characters here but at the end of the day, I think I can say that I don’t really understand and know them well enough. Because like for Ayato, we know nothing much about him except that he is looking for his missing sister. It felt kinda rushed that at the end of it, Haruka is suddenly found. At least we don’t have to b*tch about on the plot of finding his sister anymore and can move on to the next step to wake her up. Julis has got the most focus on perhaps the most we know about seeing she is fighting for change for her country. Plus, with her bringing everyone back to her kingdom in the final few episodes, it is only in recent memory that we feel that she has more of her past and circumstances explained. Because there is certainly more than meets the eye to Claudia’s ever smiling face. Same case for Yabuki. He might play an insignificant best friend and idiot in Ayato’s eyes but behind the shadows it is like he takes out antagonist henchmen. When they see Yabuki, it means they’re screwed and it will be the last time we will ever see about them.

Kirin and Saya too have their back story but it looks like they’re side-lined ever since the Phoenix Festa began. If I had to pick my favourite one, it had to be Saya because despite her sleepy look, she has a sharp wit and never give up attitude. Such a waste for these babes in Ayato’s potential harem that I was hoping to see. Everybody likes Ayato, right? From the bold flirty blond to the shy girl and the ‘sleepy’ childhood friend, he’s got almost all the harem tropes covered. But my guts and experience tells me he’ll end up with Julis the tsundere. You know how fiery girls are always the front runners, right? Oh yeah, she’s a princess too. I wanted to add Flora but she’s just f*cking useless and just a ploy to turn her into a damsel in distress so that we can have some sort of variation in the story. Even being a maid can’t save her…

Outside the main characters, the rest of the other characters also feel underdeveloped. Like Ernesta and Camilla feel like they only had their moments just because they are facing with Ayato and Julis. Not that I really understand about what their circumstances have to do with everything and if I have to, I’ll just simply put some sort of government conspiracy behind it all. Irene has become somewhat redundant after her loss to Ayato so to keep her relevant it is like they make her into some sort of information ‘broker’ if Ayato ever needs some sort of warning whatsoever. Then there is Sylvia and Fan and other schools whose presence are just in the waiting. And why do the schools have to be some sort of stereotypical theme. There’s the Chinese school, the all-girls school, the high technology school, the seemingly dark delinquent school Dirk and the supposedly knightly order school. And our Seidoukan is like the melting pot for all types of people including heroes, right? Mesa might look like typical villains with their own ulterior motives but the true bad guys could be from the corporation and all the bureaucrats behind the scenes stringing everyone along like puppets. Like that Ginga group mentioned in the final episode. Suddenly this name pops up. Don’t think I ever heard it. Mustn’t be paying attention…

I don’t really understand and can never remember some of the special moves they make. Therefore I am not sure if they spam the same few ones or if they are all the same moves. I am sure that our main characters have a variety of moves in their arsenal but I wasn’t paying any attention so when the time comes for them to unleash it and get them out of the pinch or turn the tables, I just expect some sort of flashy move. Sometimes I feel that all the participants in the tournament unleash their moves like as though they pull it out from the air. You know, they just made it up. I know, I wasn’t paying attention or rather it is hard to already maintain my focus on the match. So please forgive me in the end that I don’t find the fights interesting on an overall basis since I also predicted who would win and this already reduced the fun greatly. To be fair, at least the final fight of the series with the Hydra looks interesting. Not sure if the restricted tournament arena toned down the excitement or the flashy effects with the snake heads that turned it up.

Art and drawing look pretty decent. The city and the weapons have this sci-fi hi-tech design to them but seeing high school students wielding them feels a bit out of place. I thought they would be wearing some sort of sci-fi gear when they enter the arena but apparently they head in wearing their own school uniform. Not afraid it would get damaged? Don’t worry. No raunchy fanservice elements so no worries about clothes getting ripped to reveal some gorgeous skin. CGI is also employed but minimally used. This is mostly used at the next episode preview where it is hosted by a very stiff CGI Claudia. I don’t know, she just feels lame but because they design her to be pretty, I guess it distracts us from thinking how lame her movements are. Even the CGI animation here is paltry because it’s like a joke when Saya tries to usurp this section by bumping her away but the animation is so bad that it is just comical. On purpose?

Of all the seiyuus, I only recognized Tomokazu Sugita as Dirk and Mai Nakahara as Haruka. The rest of the casts are Atsushi Tamaru as Ayato (Mochizou in Tamako Market), Ai Kakuma as Julis (Kurihara in Momokuri), Nao Touyama as Claudia (Chitoge in Nisekoi), Shiori Izawa as Saya (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works), Ari Ozawa as Kirin (Usami in Kono Bijutsu-bu Ni Wa Mondai Ga Aru), Yuuma Uchida as Yabuki (Kasumi in Qualidea Code), Yumi Uchiyama as Irene (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Juri Nagatsuma as Priscilla (Satone in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Chinatsu Akasaki as Ernesta (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), Mutsumi Tamura as Camilla (Sonya in Kill Me Baby)[Hey, am I seeing a pattern in this Kill Me Baby pair?], Wataru Hatano as AR-D (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Haruka Yoshimura as RM-C (Koharu in Sora No Method), Omi Minami as Fan (Hyatt in Excell Saga), Haruka Chisuga as Sylvia (Tsugumi in Soul Eater NOT!), Kenichi Suzumura as Jolbert (Sougou in Gintama), Hikaru Midorikawa as Mesa (Lancer in Fate series), Maaya Sakamoto as Orphelia (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji) and Takanori Hoshino as Lester (Kugaha in Noragami Aragoto). I also want to note that Flora has the most annoying voice ever. She is so squeaky and high pitch that it gets on your nerves. It’s like somebody trying hard to be cute but ends up annoying instead. Flora is voiced by Chitose Morinaga who did Timothy in Anne Happy. Now I can see why…

Of all the opening and ending themes, the one I liked most is the first ending theme, Waiting For The Rain by Maaya Sakamoto. It is quite a slow and calming song to my liking. The second ending theme is also not bad but it isn’t anything unique but just generic, Ai No Uta –Words Of Love- by Haruka Chisuga. The opening themes are rock based, supposedly to get you into the action tournament grove. The first one is Brand New World by Shiena Nishizawa and the second one is The Asterisk War also sung by the same person.

Overall, too much focus on the tournament and not enough on the other conspiracy plots and characters have bogged down my enjoyment of the series. Not to mention the harem factor I expected are minimal. But I’m still giving its (minimal) due as it is still not a bad anime per se. Just that it could have been better. But how different can it be when the clichés of generic main characters and plots are already everywhere. Then again, if they rushed it instead of developing at this pace, I would have again complained about it. Damn if they do, damn if they don’t. So more seasons are needed to properly flesh out everything and justify my sentiments for this series? All I know is that if I ever wanted to get my own harem, I wouldn’t want to form a fighting team to enter competitions. Those girls would get my ass kicked somehow…