DVD Review: The Asterisk War – Part 1

It has been two years since Bandai Namco Entertainment released A.W. Phoenix Fiesta, a PlayStation Vita game which allowed fans to experience the ‘Phoenix Fiesta’ portion of The Asterisk War through their own user generated character; and now MVM Entertainment are bringing us the anime series on both Blu-ray and DVD within the UK starting with this first cour instalment of the series. What can one expect? Well let’s take a look and find out!

Synopsis:

Invertia–The astral catastrophe that annihilated many cities in the 20th century also gave birth to a new human race with special powers called the “Genestella.” At the same time, the special element found within the meteors of Invertia facilitated humanity’s technological advancement.

At the academic-city above water Rikka, also known as “Asterisk,” students from each of the six schools at Asterisk prepare for the ultimate battle tournament — known as “Festa.”

Seidoukan Academy’s Ayato Amagiri takes up the challenge along with his partner Julis, a.k.a. Glühen Rose, the Witch of the Resplendent Flames. Ayato learns Julis has a big dream to achieve and decides to protect her to the end.

Our View:

Adapted from the light novel franchise of the same name by Yū Miyazaki comes the animated series of The Asterisk War; a story which sees students of neighbouring academies doing battle amongst each to become the best at what they are; that is super powered humans known as Genestella. One such student, and in turn is the protagonist of this ‘harem-filled-story’, is Ayato Amagiri who travels to the campus of Seidoukan in order to learn more about the disappearance of his older sister; Haruka Amagiri.

This story initially begins with Ayato Amagiri arriving on campus at Seidoukan and encountering Julis-Alexia von Riessfeld, a top-ranking student within the academy, after her handkerchief falls in front of Ayato. This chance encounter leads Ayato and Julis to do battle amongst each other which eventually leads them to both becoming friendly with one another in a way that sees Ayato want to protect Julis from the enemy threats that lie within the campus.

This story of protection spirals from a simple objective, to head-pats to eventually a team-based-actvity whereby they train with each other in order to prepare for the Phoenix Fiesta.

Taking place at the same time as this “tip-toed” approach to a developing harem are new character introductions in the form of Ayato’s childhooded friend Saya, who instantly gets jealous whenever she sees Ayato and Julis together, as well as Kirin; who is the strongest fighter within the academy.

The introductions of these two characters spark new developing plot points that overlap and intertwine with the main story of training for the Phoenix Fiesta. In this case Saya’s childhooded desire to be with Ayato and her father’s ability to create weapons as well as Kirin and her step-father using her for his own personal gain.

Each storyline is unique in its own right; but of course the main story mostly revolves around Ayato and Julis training for the Phoenix Fiesta while attempting to survive the onslaught of attacks from other students from all academies involved.

The first cour of this series begins to wrap up with the ending of the Pheonix Fiesta and some new storyline elements teased for the second cour of the series; such as the true motives of Claudia Enfield and the darker undertones of the city they reside within.

Truth be told The Asterisk War does not prove to be a memorable experience and while it has interesting characters, such as Julis, Saya and Kirin, the story it is trying to present is rather forgetful and the action rather disappointing; but it will be interesting to see where the second cour takes us.

Extras:

When it comes to bonus features then this DVD release, which has been mastered by Madman Entertainment, features a reasonable selection of content with Japanese Promotional materials in addition to textless opening and closing variation of songs used within the series.

The bonus content is separated across both discs and is presented on the – rather simplistic – main menu of each disc. In this case the first disc features the opening portion of the anime in textless form in addition to trailers for other anime releases distributed by Madman Entertainment in Australia.

The second DVD disc meanwhile, of which uses the same simplistic menu design, features Japanese promotional material in addition to the textless opening and closing songs. It’s not an extensive amount of bonus features by any means; but it is more than one would expect to receive a simplistic DVD release such as this.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:20:36 (Disc 1), 2:20:51 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 30 fps

Overall:

This first instalment of The Asterisk War is a mediocre story with relatively straightforward pacing and progression that spirals into a more darker and sinister storyline. It begins with the arrival of Ayato at the Seidoukan whereby he begins to learn more about being a Genestella with the support of newly recruited friends Julis and Kirin as well as long time friend Saya. As the episodes contained within this release move forward we learn more about Julis, Saya and Kirin as well as the ‘harem’ that surrounds Ayato as a result of this mostly female cast.

The storyline expands a little by covering the Phoenix Fiesta, of which sees a relatively powerful Genestella enter the tournament in order to destroy Julis and Ayato as a result of commands from a ‘higher up’ source; but naturally it’s all shrouded in mystery – and that’s before you consider the student council president who seems to have her own twisted agenda.

Secrets, Lies and Mystery is what the first tweleve episodes of The Asterisk War bring to the table; but despite some interesting characters and tame fan-service (in the form of petting) it’s all abit mediocre and forgetful although it does have a few interesting scenarios and fights.

This DVD release of The Asterisk War – Part 1, of which has been mastered for MVM Entertainment on behalf of Madman Entertainment in Australia, is just as mediocre with a very simplistic, almost amateurish, menu design.

Fortunately the unprofessional presentation isn’t transcended into the visual and audio quality of this release as everything remains complacent with clearly readable English Subtitles as well as English and Japanese audio languages that are enjoyable regardless of the option you choose – although the English Dub is strongly recommended.

As a DVD release The Asterisk War – Part 1 is ‘as good as it is going to get’ with the exception of the DVD Menu that is; but overall the episodes contained within seemed mediocre at best that eventually build-up to an interesting second cour.

Score: review-stars-3

The Asterisk War – Part 1 is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray within the UK via MVM Entertainment.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: