Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 01 (First Impressions)

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I claimed this show because its genres included comedy, but what ended up being most comical was how slavishly shows like this hew to an exacting formula of predetermined variables. Dark prologue that sets the stakes, check. Narration full of proprietary jargon like “Invertia” and “Genestella”, check. Drab transfer student who immediately gets into trouble with a stuck-up girl, check. Inadvertent peeping, overkill response, good deeds, boob grabs, checkity check check check.

But hey, this stuff obviously sells, it would be going away anytime soon, and I knew pretty much instantly what I was getting into and still watched through to the end, so let’s table the bigger questions like “should shows like this exist” and dive right in.

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Well, that was an unexpected disrobing! Protag Amagiri Ayato’s introduction to Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt (She’s a real princess, not just a pretend one! Monarchies make a comeback in the future!) is a bit rough, but there are clear transactions that are made.

First, he retrieves her beloved handkerchief in good faith, and when she punishes him for peeping and he proves he can hold his own against the fifth-strongest student at Seidoukan Academy. Then he commits another good deed by saving her from a third-party projectile. It’s understandable Julis would go tsundere on him. He’s helped her out at least twice, but the collateral peeping and touching spoil the goodwill.

Class Prez/Rep Claudia Enfield plays a different game with Ayato than the very direct Julis. She’s more about facades and jokes and lies hiding dark thoughts and schemes, and is very upfront about that. She gets Ayato to reveal he may be here to find out what happened to his big sister Haruka (the bleeding girl in the prologue), but he later sidesteps larger motivations and simply says he’s here to find out what he should do with himself.

He’s clearly a capable fighter judging from his duel with Julis, which makes him a potentially valuable resource for Claudia, whose academy hasn’t been doing well in the interschool competitions of late.

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Finally, Ayato takes his seat beside Julis, in class, and seated just behind him is his roommate and designated friend, Yabuki, whose membership in the newspaper club gives him more leeway in explaining to Ayato what’s going on with Julis, who apparently bears a burden and remains aloof in order to insulate others from that burden.

That doesn’t stop objectively weaker (if physically more imposing) challengers from demanding duels with her, as three-shirt-sizes-too-small Lester MacPhail does. Les is also at Seidoukan for some important reason (I’m guessing family pride or security) but wrongly thinks Julis is just doing this for fun.

So there are a growing number of different dynamics set up here, punctuated with well-tread ecchi elements and told in the almost tiresomely familiar language of Magic Schoolese. It’s serviceably watchable, but offers absolutely nothing new, which means if something more inspiring or creative comes along, then Goodbye Asterisk City.

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Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

4 thoughts on “Gakusen Toshi Asterisk – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. For what it’s worth, LN readers (I’m not among them but I know them) say that it moves a bit out of generic territory as it goes on. Of additional note is that unlike every other magical academy harem, this one is split-cour, with two 13-episode seasons.

    Which is interesting, but also means it’s a commitment?

    My personal top pick for magical academy is 35th Test Platoon, which goes into neat territory as a reader of the LN.

    1. Its kind of ironic how many series this season have incredibly similar troupes and themes. My personal bias is going to Chivalry of a Failed Knight as that’s the one I read. What I am going to be looking at for these three anime is not necessarily originality (since they are treading on well worn out ground), but how well they execute on animation, story telling, and pacing. Unfortunately, if any of these series make a tiny mistake or focus too much on the ecchi, then they’re instantly going to get compared to the other two. So far I’m satisfied with the ratio of world building and action to the ecchi scenes which were kept fairly short in this first episode.

  2. Eh in my opinion Rakudai Kishi is the same as this but better. Toshi is a more futuristic setting though. I don’t like how Toshi goes full harem. It’s more action oriented while Rakudai focus more on the relationships between the characters.

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