Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Asterisk War Vol. #03 Manga Review

We're all enemies here. Every last one of us.

Creative Staff:
Art: Ningen
Original Story: Yuu Miyazaki
Character Design: okiura
Translation: Melissa Tanaka
Lettering: Phil Christie

What They Say:
The one behind the recent "accidents" has finally been unmasked but Julis alone isn't strong enough to beat him! It'll take a team of unlikely allies to bring this fiend to justice. Those in the shadows know this is only the first of many threats to come. Things will heat up even more as the Festa draws near!

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
After the last volume of Asterisk War ended on the cliffhanger of Julis setting off to find her attacker, volume three thrusts us right back into action as we immediately discover the man behind all of the assassination attempts. Remember that one dude with the Beatles' haircut that always hung out with Lester and that one other guy that no one remembers? Well, his name is Silas and he is apparently evil. The lesson we learn from this is to never trust anyone with a bowl cut.

Soon after, Lester shows up and Silas spouts some crazy monologue about how he and Julis are not all that different from one another. Enraged at the idea that someone close to him has been secretly attempting to assassinate a fellow student, Lester busts into battle mode, only to be suppressed by the hidden abilities Silas possesses. Apparently, Silas knows more than just telekinesis (Which was previously believed to be his only power), he can control and manipulate mechanical dolls to fight for him. From this point on, we're greeted with an all-out battle as Julis and Lester try desperately to cut down the growing number of homunculi. But just as the fight is about to end in the name of evil, Ayato shows up and saves the day because he is the protagonist and that's what protagonists do. Backed by his new orga lux, the Ser Veresta, Ayato unleashes his true potential for the first time and swiftly ends the battle, sending Silas running directly into Claudia and her reinforcements (Which she definitely didn't need).

Ayato's hidden power isn't as amazing as you may expect, though. As it turns out, he can only use it in short bursts. When that timer runs out, he's essentially paralyzed until he can regain the mana used to activate it. Luckily, Ayato doesn't collapse until the battle is over and winds up receiving the gift of a lap pillow from Julis. So, yeah, totally worth risking his life. At this point, Ayato declares that he is now dedicating his life to protecting Julis. Must have been one hell of a lap pillow.

There are a few things that happen after this, but it's really all just one big falling action. Ayato and Julis decide to team up for the Phoenix Festa, Kirin Toudou finally makes an appearance (Albeit an incredibly brief one), and there's a quick sparring matchup between Ayato/Julis and Saya/Lester. Before the volume comes to a close, however, we're introduced to two of the girls from Allekant -- the same school that created the puppets Silas used to fight Julis and company. Of course, Julis immediately gets pissed off when she sees these girls, but that doesn't even compare to how pissed off she gets when one of them KISSES AYATO. BOOM -- volume end. It's just like that one episode of Infinite Stratos when Laura Bodewig does the same exact thing to Ichika (Who can also be referred to as the discounted version of Ayato).

In Summary:
In terms of content, volume three brings a lot less to the table than the former ones. Considering that about half of this book is just one long fight scene, you'd imagine at least that half would be entertaining, right? Unfortunately, Silas is an incredibly underwhelming and unoriginal villain who, despite having an awesome hidden ability on paper, is cut down so easily that it's almost laughable. In fact, Silas is so unmemorable that, even after watching both seasons of the anime, I forgot he was a character. However, I guess the only reason he was introduced in the first place was to provide a means for uniting Ayato and Julis as partners. And now that these two are finally joined up, we can finally begin to witness the true glory of Asterisk Wars and the Phoenix Festa and- wait, there are only two volumes left? How is that going to work?

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: March 21, 2017
MSRP: $12.99

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