Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Asterisk War Vol. #04 Manga Review

Good things come in small packages.

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

What They Say:
Kirin Toudou is one of the top fighters at Seidoukan Academy despite her young age, but there's one enemy she cannot face--her controlling, abusive uncle! When Ayato steps in to help, has he only caused more damage!? And does he really have time for this as the Festa draws ever closer?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Kirin fans rejoice -- your time has finally come. The fourth installment of Asterisk War's manga adaptation centers almost entirely around Kirin Toudou, the first-ranked student at Seidoukan. We first encounter Kirin as she is dragged along by her uncle as if she is a dog on a leash. Ayato Amagiri, being the protagonist of an action-harem, refuses to let this slide and steps between them. Instead of this ending with the girl falling unrequitedly in love with him, however, it ends with them engaging in a duel because that's just how you handle things at Seidoukan. Can't decide who's making dinner? Duel. Someone taking too long in the bathroom? Duel. It sort of directly mimics the preconceived image I have of the wild west in my head. Regardless, Ayato now has to fight who is presumably the strongest student in the entire academy without revealing his true power and- would you look at that? He reveals his true power.

Despite being the protagonist, Kirin manages to cut Ayato down and remove his crest, signifying the end of the battle. Kirin's uncle throws out some stereotypical bad guy phrases like, "You'll never be as strong as my niece!" and, "Get off of my lawn, you rascal!" before grabbing Kirin by the arm and hauling her off again. Don't worry, though, as things get better several pages later. The day after the duel, Kirin approaches Ayato and thanks him for being weak or something. The two then decide that the best course of action is to go out for a jog together because, despite being sort of enemies (?), they're still pretty cool with one another. This jog gives Ayato the opportunity to tell Kirin something she's apparently been overlooking for the last thirteen years (Yup- only thirteen), that she can actually make decisions for herself.

Boom! Everything changes in an instant. The only thing we have to worry about now is the...random swarm of dragon-monsters that show up and try to kill them? Oh, right, I forgot this series is also part fantasy. At the end of the day, the dragon things are vanquished and the Ayato x Kirin ship sets sail. In the following chapter, Kirin stands up to her uncle and tells him that she will no longer be a tool for him to use in order to gain a seat in some rich-person committee because she needs to get her father out of jail (Also a thing that's happening) and she's going to do it her own way. Hooray! Everyone is happy. Well, everyone except Julis as she is the main heroine and only had four lines in this entire book.

I don't know what it is about the manga but, even after four volumes, it feels like we haven't gotten anywhere. Like, I could have sworn all of this stuff happened in just the first three episodes of the anime. Combine that with the fact that there is only one volume left (Surprise!) and you have a series that seems rather...pointless. So far, and I can't imagine this changing with just one more volume, this adaptation has been nothing more than yet another unnecessary supplementary read for pre-existing fans of the series. But even then, why bother going through the same things we've already seen?

In Summary:
If you're not a fan of Kirin, you probably won't care for this volume. While her character does get essentially the entire book to herself, her interactions with Ayato come off as typical and overall unsurprising. And while her backstory may be interesting on paper, the way it's presented make it feel like something straight out of...well, an anime- but in a bad way. And with only one volume left to spare, this one is wasted shining light on a subplot that will presumably never show up again. But, like I said, if you're into Kirin as a character, you'll probably be fine with this. And if not, there's always the fan service. 

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: June 20, 2017
MSRP: $12.99

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