Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Asterisk War Vol. #05 Manga Review (Series Finale)

Burst into bloom.

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

What They Say: 
After a string of dominant wins, Ayato and Julis find themselves up against sisters Irene and Priscilla Urzaiz! Irene is the wielder of the Gravisheath, an Orga Lux that has the power to manipulate gravity, but its user must pay a high price: their life energy! Once the battle begins, it quickly becomes two-on-one -- and Priscilla's on the sidelines! What sort of secret power could she be hiding?...

The Review: 
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Welp, it's been a decent run but, unfortunately, Asterisk War's manga has reached its end. Actually, I wouldn't go as far as saying 'unfortunately,' if we're going to be totally honest. I mean, the fact that the creators decided to bid farewell to this adaptation in pretty much the strangest spot possible is pretty indicative of their affinity for it. Regardless, it's not like the journey was entirely unenjoyable. In fact, there were actually several pretty enjoyable moments throughout the series. This final installment is no different.

When we last left off, Julis and Ayato had decided to team up for the Phoenix Fest. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series (Or just need a refresher), the Phoenix Festa is pretty much the biggest competition in all of Asterisk War. Something crazy like 100 teams or something are placed into a bracket, with only 32 of them reaching the final round. In addition to Ayato and Julis, Saya and Kirin have also decided to team up- and we spend a small portion of this finale learning a bit more about them. 

While it may seem like Saya and Kirin were paired up simply due to the fact that they are two largest supporting characters the series has to offer, the 'real' reason lies in the fact that Saya appreciated Kirin's sword skills. According to her, her combat style is very similar to Ayato's and, considering she's spent her whole damn life admiring him, she knows how to work with that. The only thing this duo lacks is a proper rapport. So, with that in mind, they decide to go out shopping- you know, exactly what every other team of fierce combatants does. At the end of the day, they advance the final 32 teams. Ayato and Julis follow soon after.

The main problem here is that a new duo has been introduced, and they're pretty darn terrifying. The face of this new team is the incredibly badass Irene Urzaiz- an orphan who fled her home with her sister and has been protecting her sense. Irene possesses a Lux called the Gravisheath, which seems like a pretty big deal at first. But considering she only had a few panels to show it off before Ayato smashes it into pieces, I'd say that it didn't really live up to the hype. The book comes to a close shortly after, with Ayato and Julis heading into the final 16 teams with Team Saya's next match to follow suit.

The only thing is, the series ends right here. There are no prior mentions or even foreshadowings of any true finale. In fact, this book didn't even close out the first half of the anime's second season. It just stops in the middle of nowhere in what is probably the least natural ending to a manga I've ever read. It turns the entire five-book series into nothing more than an excuse to buy the light novels. Something like this is a slap in the face to any reader who was actually enjoying the manga. And, to be fair, it really wasn't bad. It's a loyal adaptation that just falls into nonexistence before any sort of payoff.

In Summary:
While The Asterisk War may be a solid five-book series in terms of content and characters, its sporadic abandonment after this particular volume really downplays the rest of the series. With no update in the foreseeable future or even an explanation as to why publication was halted, Asterisk War's final installment leaves readers unsatisfied and without closure. If you're able to see past this, the five books that did reach the light of day are easily accessible to fans of shonen action-harems. For readers who aren't into this genre, however, the series leaves much to be desired.

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: September 19, 2017
MSRP: $12.99

No comments:

Post a Comment