Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 08

Asterisk - Saya compensates

So is it compensating when Saya does it?

winter15-highw A lot of times, a change of pace is a good idea for a show. And when it’s a change of pace like this week’s Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, it’s definitely welcome.

And Now For Something Different

Asterisk - not in sync

Teamwork’s not going well

It’s not often that one of these fantasy harem shows takes a whole episode away from the main character. And it’s even more rare that it doesn’t even focus on the lead girl when that happens. So when this week’s episode started off looking at Saya and Kirin, I didn’t really expect them to be the focus for the entire show. But indeed they were, as Saya tries to increase their camaraderie through a day off of training. And they need it, because they’re new friends, and new partners, and really just aren’t working together very well.

Asterisk - had enough of Ayato's stuff

Ayato’s just too darn nice

One thing to note about this episode is that it really didn’t have anything to do with Ayato, or even Julis or Claudia. The day off of training was Saya’s idea, their plan for things to do was all them, and they didn’t even really spend much time talking about Ayato. This truly was an episode of development for the Saya and Kirin relationship, and for the development of each of those characters individually to a lesser degree. And it was good that they didn’t go overboard with any of that. It was more that they each just learned that the other is a normal person to deal with and to just be more comfortable in the presence of each other. They do end up with that milestone of friendship, where they call each other by their given names, but it was less of a “just happening” thing and more of a “I’d like us to use our given names” push by Saya.

Asterisk - You mean you're not going to sell me

Kirin’s just happy that Saya isn’t selling her to the arms dealer

Sometimes Friendship NEEDS a Push

Asterisk - teamwork

Teaming up takes time

That kind of push is kind of what the whole development was, and gave us a bit of a feel on mostly Saya. She sees something that is necessary, so she turns toward that and proceeds directly towards it. Well, she does if she can figure out where it is, being terrible with directions. But emotionally, she’s right on the mark with how she deals with Kirin. And Kirin, for her part, is figuring out how to deal with other people, having been effectively shut away from the world by her Uncle, not that Saya has any more experience at that as she admits at the beginning of their date. But she’s not going to let their inexperience get in the way, as they get right to doing things.

Asterisk - Ridiculous

She’d be more covered with a bansoko mizugi

Probably the biggest factor in their coming together as a pair is when Saya stands up for Kirin, who kind of didn’t know she needed standing up for at the pool. After crossing paths with Queenvale’s Violet Weinberg, Kirin apologizes but still gets lectured by the ridiculously-swimsuited Violet, causing Saya to get her dander up and stick up for Kirin. When Violet won’t back down, having been poked by the “unlisted” Saya, she learns that unlisted doesn’t mean incapable. I don’t know if we’ll see more of Violet later, she seems like someone who’s just not worthy of the rest of the show: not very powerful, not really a match for any of the lead characters, just a lot of bluster that fizzles when she finds out she’s picked on the wrong person.

Asterisk - the start of a beautiful friendship

The start of a beautiful friendship


So actually a pretty good episode this week. See, it CAN work if you don’t just worship the male lead. This was probably the best writing the show has had, and the least amount of thin tropes used, although they might have been running dry on the trope budget after using up almost all of them last week. Plus, even rarer for this kind of show, this episode might have actually passed the Bechdel Test, although the subject of various men (Saya’s father, Ayato, Kirin’s uncle) did come up in a lot of the conversations between Saya and Kirin. But we got to learn more about them, and got a break from Ayato and Julis, and all around, this episode was a win.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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12 Responses to “Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 08”

  1. Foshizzel says:

    This was a really cute and fun episode! I like the team up and friendship between Kirin and Saya <3

  2. zztop says:

    This was probably the best writing the show has had.
    This is an anime-original episode, which is why the writing is so different.
    I guess it proves there are problems with the source material.

    IIRC, Ayato and Julis get more primacy in the next volumes. So it’s a wise move to focus on Saya and Kirin now.

    • Highway says:

      While it was a nice episode, it’s disappointing that it’s not a trend of better writing in the series. I didn’t find it amazingly different, just better. But we’ve discussed this about writers before.

      I’m still surprised this show is so OTP with Ayato and Julis, to be honest. Claudia needs to get over her self-criticism and go after him.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        yea..i always say that it’s much better if good writing lets me feel that two people are mutually attracted to each other. In asterisk’s case, it’s almost like they are force-feeding us ayatoxjulius because, you know…tropes

  3. skylion says:

    Yep, following Team Chibi was a good idea! I think Violet was a one off character, and stood in for the typical hot shot/cold delivery sort of character that Kirin will be running into come tourney time. Doesn’t mean we won’t see more of her.

  4. HannoX says:

    I really enjoyed this episode. It was nice to see the focus on Kirin and Saya and have them move beyond their harem stereotype characters. It was also nice to see there wasn’t a confrontation between them and the punks in the bad part of town, which would have been another trope.

    But I guess they couldn’t avoid some sort of confrontation for the episode. Damn! Saya doesn’t mess around when it comes to dueling! And her sticking up for Kirin really helped cement their partnership and friendship.

    All in all, one of the better episodes for Asterisk.

  5. HannoX says:

    Violet seems pretty proud of her body. She needs to encounter Claudia to get smacked down again.

    • Highway says:

      I don’t know that there’s anything wrong with Violet’s body at all. Seemed fine to me.

      • HannoX says:

        I agree that there’s nothing wrong with Violet’s body. But she seemed to be putting Kirin and Saya down because her boobs are bigger (although we have seen that Kirin’s boobs are bigger than you’d think). So she needs to encounter Claudia to be taken down a couple pegs in that regard.

        • Highway says:

          Ah, I felt like she was just putting Kirin and Saya down because she was #35 at Queenvale, and they were unimportant… except then she found out that Kirin was the former #1, and whooooops, so she backpedaled as much as she could while still being on the attack. I never really got a “my boobs are bigger than yours” feel from her (cause I think Kirin’s are bigger, and she’s all of what, 14?).

          • HannoX says:

            I got the feeling she was putting them down anyway she could, both for being ranked against two who weren’t ranked and for what she thought was having bigger boobs. Kirin’s probably are bigger, but her swimsuit seemed to flatten them while Violet’s showed her as much as the law probably allowed. So I got the feeling she thought hers were bigger, making her “more of a woman” in her mind.

    • zztop says:

      Violet comes from a spinoff novel focusing on the Queenvale girls, IIRC.

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