Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 03

Asterisk - It sucks when pests ruin your picnic

Man, don’t you hate it when your picnic is ruined by pests?

winter15-highw I have to say that not just for the corniness, but for the story they’re trying to tell, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk is pulling me in a bit.

 

Favors

Asterisk - I'm not distracting you too much, am I

“I’m not distracting you too much, am I?”

So someone seems to be pulling a Tonya Harding on promising candidates for the upcoming Phoenix Festa. The number 1 suspect for playing the role of the ex-husband is Loser MacFail and his goon squad, so Claudia is looking for Ayato’s help in protecting Julis, who seems to be the next target. I actually thought that the scene of Ayato and Claudia talking in her room played very naturally, even with Claudia in her bathrobe. They didn’t try to play up Claudia’s seductiveness, but they didn’t just completely ignore it either, hitting a balance that worked for the scene: not distracting Ayato too much, but keeping him just a little off-kilter, which worked at explaining the reason for Claudia to do it.

Asterisk - Claudia has wants too

“That’s not all I asked you here for…”

Asterisk - A little quid for your quo

“Here’s some quid for your quo”

Claudia did push him at the end, tho, and I even thought that worked, because it was played straight. Combined with Claudia’s greeting hug in their first discussion, her advances on him don’t really come off as manipulative (especially because he’s already agreed to help), and her reaction afterwards reinforces the idea that she’s very interested in Ayato, and disappointed that he’s not paying more attention to her. I’m sure we’ll find out the reason later, and one can only hope that it’s something a bit more substantial than your usual anime reasoning (e.g. “he shared his ice cream with me 10 years ago, and I’ve loved him ever since!”) but I’m rather afraid I’ll be disappointed on that point.

Asterisk - Ahh, too bad

Ahhh, he got away

A Day Trip

Asterisk - Plain but cute

A little plain, but still endearing

Perhaps I won’t be as disappointed as I fear, tho, if the reasoning for Julis’ work at becoming successful is any indication. While there are many insipid reasons for a “princess” to need money, I think that her explanation, that she wants to help a particular orphanage set up by her mother, where her peers showed her kindness and friendship irrespective of her status, could be cast in the ‘cliched’ range, but like the conversation with Claudia, it’s pulled off pretty well. And the bare truth that Julis lays out – more than kindness or thoughts or even donations of goods, what it really takes is money to raise children – is surprisingly down to earth for a show like this. She’s also well aware of the twisted morality behind the whole Asterisk setup. Articulating that helps to set Julis’ character as not just a princess, but someone who is well in tune with the things around her, even if she’s aloof and prickly and has no friends.

Asterisk - Dude, use a door already

Dude, use a door for once

Another example of her being in tune with her surroundings happened earlier in their tour of the city, as she recognizes a fight among some Le Wolfe students as being intended to entrap her. Compared to most shows, where the heroine would run in and need to be saved, her taking control of the situation by recognizing it is a nice touch. That’s diminished a little bit when she takes off after the real target, but overall the scene still works a bit better than usual. And while the reasoning might be a little inexplicable, the fact is that Ayato didn’t need to save Julis in that scene either, since he was the one who was attacked. So again, they’re avoiding some of the too-obvious things. That’s not to say that everything is perfect, tho, since the episode does end with Julis heading out on her own to some secret confrontation, and Ayato jumping off the top of the building to get to her faster.

Asterisk - Julis explains a lot

Julis is happy, in her own way, to help

header-winter15-highw

I think Preview Claudia is right to be a little jealous of Julis getting Ayato to jump off the building for her. I didn’t think the show would be quite as OTP as it has been, although we’re still in the first character’s arc. But so far, Ayato has only had eyes for Julis, despite the attentions of Claudia. I do wish that a character like Claudia would take more initiative in explaining not just the show, but the affairs of the heart, to the main character. I would love to see Claudia sit down with Ayato in that same kind of matter-of-fact way and say “I sincerely like you, and want to spend as much time as possible with you, and this flirting isn’t a joke or being coquettish, it’s trying to appeal to you. And I realize that Julis does as well, no matter what she might say.” I know that that’s not what these shows do, but having an MC who actually realizes ahead of time that the girls sincerely like him might be a bit of a change, something that we haven’t seen since a show like Shuffle! And in that one, Kaede had to almost kill Asa to get Rin to understand how she feels.

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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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18 Responses to “Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 03”

  1. HannoX says:

    Maria is best girl this season, but Claudia is number two. I like the way Claudia has been portrayed so far. She’s open and easy about her sexuality, but so far she hasn’t come across as a femme fatale type.

    • Highway says:

      Well, she’s open about it with Ayato, because she’s got the hots for him for a reason to be named later. Who knows how she is with the rest of everyone.

      Personally, I like how they’re playing Julis. We’re not just supposed to like her because she’s the main character. They’re putting work into making her character have redeeming qualities.

  2. sonicsenryaku says:

    just once id like show like this to surprise me and not make the seemingly obvious OTP the canon pairing. I mean, there’s got to be a reason why claudia seems to get a lot of spotlight verdad? (well at least in the first ep she did). There’s just this mystery around the moment when she hugged him and said “finally, we meet again after so long”

    • Highway says:

      Well, “First Girl Wins” is common enough that it’s the default. Sometimes they can get out of that easily enough, but sometimes they get out of it by being completely WTF?!?!?! (see Mashiroiro Symphony).

      I’m actually guessing that the show is going to back off of AyatoxJulis after we get a little farther perhaps episode 5 or so finishing off Julis’ arc here, and then bring push up either Claudia or the white-haired girl from the ED. I’d also love to see Claudia go on the charm offensive, like I said in the post, and straight-forwardly try to win Ayato.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        that’s my guess as well. Usually when i look at pairings, i root for the pair with the best chemistry and i have to say that the vibes between ayato and claudia grab my attention more than with him and julis. however, julis is not as insufferable as i thought she would be so that’s good. Im not the one to root for a pairing just because the male or female is considered best girl/boy. Yea they can be awesome but they also have to have that exvellent chemistry with their object of affection for me to see any potential

      • akagami says:

        Sometimes they can get out of that easily enough, but sometimes they get out of it by being completely WTF?!?!?! (see Mashiroiro Symphony).

        Although I didn’t prefer that pairing, I did like the series, especially when they went down a specific route instead of waffling along the whole series, with an inconclusive ending. If you’re going to pair, I’d like to see the resulting journey, not have it go “The End” seconds later.

        • Highway says:

          My biggest problem with Mashiroiro Symphony (and I’m actually rewatching it currently) was Show ▼

          The show I like better than Mashiroiro Symphony for how it treated the girls is still Hoshizora e kakaru hashi. In that one, Show ▼

          • akagami says:

            Yeah, that pairing was out of left field. I have a strong preference of blonde hair > everything else, so I was biased towards Airi (also like Claudia here). It’s been a while since I watched the show, Show ▼

            I don’t remember much of Hoshizora e kakaru hashi, as I couldn’t stand Ui’s voice. Funny though, when Nakamura Eriko later played Haruko in [email protected], I was ok with her VAing then.

            Ahh, Shuffle. It’s been so long since I watched that that I’ve forgotten about it. Their dads were pretty awesome.

  3. skylion says:

    I have to say that Julis’ origin sounds real whack-a-mole (it’s what you make when you’re out of guac) on paper. But darn it, they managed to pull it off through sheer force of character. I’m happy this over-looked show can still surprise.

    Now, if Mr. Hates-Stairs-and-Normal-Doors doesn’t get in her way, things should be pretty cool for her, OTP might not even need apply…

    • Highway says:

      That’s a point in the show’s favor, that Julis really feels like she’s getting by on the traits of her character, not on the show’s favoritism. They’ve let her character be, and the bits have felt very authentic.

      Like when she was touring Ayato and Saya around the campus, and they dropped in “This is the club building, where you go to complain about articles the student newspaper writes about you” and “There are 7 cafeterias on the grounds, but I recommend this one because it’s usually less crowded and people don’t bother you.” Just dropped it in. I know that people tuned out during that part because “Oh, it’s a tour, boring”, and the show didn’t do anything overt to draw attention to it, but had Saya nodding along as if she was the one on the tour. It was two lines of jokes, and each one was filling out a different character.

      And you mention force of character. Too many times that’s substituted by “Way too much tsuntsun.” But they don’t take it overboard in this show.

  4. IreneSharda says:

    The world has been destroyed and reborn, society has been broken down and rebuild, life has begun anew with people having powers now, and through it all……Mcdonalds still reigns supreme.

  5. skylion says:

    Endcard #3

    Show ▼

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