Spontaneous Saturday 12/19/15: Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 3 (finale)

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This is the third and final part of a three-part review series. Click here to view the first, and click here to view the second.

Two very similar anime have aired this season: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (henceforth referred to as Cavalry and Asterisk, respectively). They both involve schools with weapons and magic and romance and ecchi and stuff, but just how similar are they really? That is what this review series aims to analyze. In this final installment, I hope to finalize my thoughts on these two series, compare and contrast them in a rational manner, and come to a decisive conclusion regarding which of the two series I consider better.

As usual, this review will inevitably contain spoilers. Please proceed with caution.

Newly Introduced Characters

Any characters not mentioned in this section are not introduced yet, don’t need a description because they’re so minor, or cannot be described without spoiling anything.

In Cavalry

  • Touka Toudou – Student council president and one of the top four in the last Battle Festival. She fights using a powerful lightning strike known as Raikiri.

In Asterisk

  • Korona Kashimaru – A mild-mannered student of Le Wolfe whose special talent lies in telling fortunes. She is, therefore, seen by Dirk’s side for most of episodes 9-11.
  • Irene Urzaiz – A formerly imprisoned woman who is discharged by Dirk and hired to take out Ayato. She wields a scythe has the power to intensify gravity at the cost of her blood.
  • Priscilla Urzaiz – Unranked tag partner and sister of Irene. She can heal her own wounds, making her an indispensable blood donor for Irene. She is also the only one who can calm Irene’s feral nature.

All Summaries (old and new alike)

I decided (as of November 26) to relocate these summaries to Google Docs for two reasons: (1) to minimize spoilers, and (2) while I enjoy writing them, I realize that they seem out of place in a review like this, and I wouldn’t blame anyone if they lost interest because of them.

Cavalry 1-4 summary

Cavalry 5-8 summary

Cavalry 9-12 summary (NEW)

Asterisk 1-4 summary

Asterisk 5-8 summary

Asterisk 9-12 summary (NEW)

What has been covered in previous parts (with a few amendments)

For this particular section, most elements pertaining to Cavalry will be in red text, and those pertaining to Asterisk will be in blue text. Also, henceforth, brackets beside a quote indicate from which part I took that particular quote.

Opening and Ending themes

Opening: “Identity (アイデンティティ)” by Mikio Sakai > “Brand-new World” by Shiena Nishizawa

Identity: “Of all four themes between both series, this has to be the best one.” [1] Before, I said Identity was “not really a diamond in the rough” [1], but now that it has been playing in my head more and more lately, I do conclude that it is actually catchier than I gave it credit for, and also motivating in a way. So, I shall bump my rating of the song up to a 9/10.

Brand-new World: “It seems cool at first, but then the vocals come in. Sadly not the first cool-sounding opening theme to be ruined by vocals (here’s looking at you, Rally Go Round). 6/10.” [1]

Ending: “Haramitsu Renka (波羅蜜恋華)” by ALI PROJECT“Waiting for the rain” by Maaya Sakamoto

Haramitsu Renka: “Not my type of song. I’d say about average in terms of quality, and the PV with the slow scrolling and roses and random nudity isn’t doing it any favors. Sure, the slow scrolling in the PV is fitting for what it’s worth, but the relative loudness of the song ruins that impression. 4/10.” [1]

Waiting for the rain: “Definitely not my type of song, but the combination of slowness and softness is a nice change of pace from the craziness that goes on in the anime. 5/10.” [1]

Overall: IdentityBrand-new World > Waiting for the rain > Haramitsu Renka

It’s a sandwich. However, because of the numerical values I assigned to my ratings, Cavalry triumphs in this department.

Main Characters

“The duo of a dark-haired boy for a protagonist and a reddish-haired tsundere girl for a deuteragonist is an obvious common theme between these two anime. In fact, it’s not even a new concept (see also: Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance, Trinity Seven, maybe even more that I haven’t watched). Still, the main two characters are different…in a way.” [1]

Protagonist: Ikki Kurogane > Ayato Amagiri

Now that I think back to what I wrote before, I realize I might have had some difficulty expressing my opinion about these two. So, I’ll try to get it right this time. The main thing is: Ikki actually has to focus his love on one girl (Stella), whereas Ayato‘s connection with Julis is not necessarily romantic, meaning he’s more prone to the intervention of other female characters (such as Claudia, Saya, and Kirin) and also has to pool some of his attention into each of them. Later on, I will elaborate further, but this is all I have to say for now.

Deuteragonist: Stella VermillionJulis-Alexia von Riessfelt

Everything I have mentioned in part 1 applies here: Julis has better looks, a less bothersome personality, a better voice, and a more subtle figure than Stella. That said, Stella does have one key trait going for her: her role as a character, which is far more prominent than that of Julis. This is mostly due to the fact that the relationship between Stella and Ikki is a properly budding one-to-one relationship, whereas Julis and Ayato don’t seem nearly as attached to each other (most likely because “the former two are fortunate enough to be roommates while the latter two are not” [1]).

Overall: Ikki > Julis > Ayato > Stella

Once again, a sandwich. This time, I will say Asterisk comes out on top, because the good traits of Ikki and Stella are not enough to outweigh Stella‘s bad traits (hairstyle, personality, obnoxious breasts).

Other Similarities and Differences

Similarities

Obviously, in all parts, I mention in the first paragraph: “They both involve schools with weapons and magic and romance and ecchi and stuff.” I also note: “These anime series have plenty of similarities: reddish-haired tsundere deuteragonist, protagonist stumbles upon her changing, protagonist and deuteragonist want to get stronger together, magic weapons, and competition.” [1] Also, looking at the block quote below, I suddenly realize something I failed to note earlier: both Ikki and Ayato participate in their respective tournaments due to family matters (Ikki being spurned by his family, and Ayato having lost his sister).

Differences

“The use of weapons outside of school is more strictly enforced in Cavalry than in Asterisk, and the protagonists have different motives: while Ikki’s motive is to rise to the top, Ayato merely wishes to discover the truth about his older sister. Also, Ikki starts off with a weapon and the title ‘Worst One,’ whereas Ayato is more of a blank slate, having just transferred into the school without a title and having to be lent a temporary blade after that unfortunate encounter with Julis.” [1] In this paragraph I just quoted, I cut off the part about the male-to-female ratio, simply because it matters less and less as more and more characters are introduced. However, in terms of the major characters, the statement I omitted is actually untrue; Cavalry has a greater male-to-female ratio than Asterisk. (Cavalry has Ikki, Stella, Shizuku, and Alice—2:2. Asterisk has Ayato, Julis, Claudia, Saya, and Kirin—1:4. Even if Alice were female (which he really isn’t), the ratio of Cavalry would still win out, if only because of the difference in major character quantity.)

Later on, I note that “the fanservice situations in Asterisk seem more oddly forced than those in Cavalry” [2] and “Asterisk has significantly more sci-fi elements.” [2]

Revisiting the Characters – spoilers are inevitable

In this section, I shall talk about all significant characters from both series (even those whom I have mentioned earlier), from start to finish, based on who they are and what they have done throughout all of episodes 1-12, trying to incorporate what I liked and disliked about them (explicitly or implicitly). Then, I will give each character a likability rating between 0% and 100%. Afterwards, I will average out the likability ratings of both series and use a weighted average system (giving major characters twice as much weight as minor characters) to make a determination of which anime I like better in terms of characters.

Cavalry

  • Ikki Kurogane – The protagonist. He started off with the nickname “Worst One”, but his determination and persistence, as well as his “perfect vision” and Itto Shura, allowed him to hold his own in the Battle Festival and eventually have his nickname changed to “Another One.” Good protagonist overall, and I particularly liked his response to seeing Stella half-naked (and the throwback to it in episode 9), as well as the fact that he’s never given up on Stella, even in spite of being incarcerated because of their relationship. I have no complaints about him, but his voice and appearance are not much more than run-of-the-mill to me. Likability: 88%
  • Stella Vermillion – The deuteragonist. The first time she met Ikki was in the middle of her changing, so of course things between them started out rough. After losing a mock duel, however, she softened up to Ikki and eventually became his lover. She has her good points in that she does gutsy things and possesses overwhelming fire powers, but honestly, her hairstyle, her generic tsundere personality, and her annoying breasts prevent me from liking her as much as I should like a deuteragonist. Likability: 33%
  • Shizuku Kurogane – Ikki’s sister. She came across as a sort of brocon during the first half of the anime, doing things to Ikki that lovers would do (i.e., kissing him on the lips and holding his hand) and using the “I’m his sister” argument to justify it, which caused her to butt heads with Stella. However, through the progression of the anime, Shizuku became more and more tolerant of the relationship between Ikki and Stella, not to mention she actually talked some sense into the latter in episode 11. I like how significantly my opinion on Shizuku changed between the first half and the second half, especially during and after her battle with Touka (even though she lost), but she had a slow start. Likability: 67%
  • Nagi “Alice” Arisuin – Shizuku’s trusted roommate who became fast friends with Ikki and Stella. Although he is a man, he has a womanly side to him, and the girls (Stella and Shizuku) never seemed to mind being naked around him. His role in the anime lies in how he would give sage advice, even during a dire situation, and manipulate shadows using a dagger known as Darkness Hermit (notably to move through shadows and pin down others’ shadows). He also served as Shizuku’s primary source of comfort. I like that he’s so chill and uniquely flamboyant, has such a neat weapon, and is voiced by Shintaro Asanuma (the voice behind Izayoi Sakamaki in Mondaiji-tachi). However, his value as a character is slightly offset by the fact that, unlike the other three major characters, his combat experience is not shown (although his weapon was of great help in episode 3, and he managed to successfully move past the selection matches). Likability: 90%
  • Kagami Kusakabe – Representative of the newspaper club. I like how she is one of the only two glasses-wearing characters in the anime, but that’s where the good news ends (no pun intended). She made an annoyingly clingy first impression (in episode 2 when she met Ikki face-to-face), which led me to dislike her personality overall, and her breasts are distracting. Likability: 15%
  • Kurono Shinguuji – The director of the academy. She would intervene in professional matters whenever Ikki needed it. She is mature, and thankfully the anime didn’t stretch that fact to the point of overkill (you know, like Frolaytia from Heavy Object). She never directly participated in any of the fights in the anime, though, so her appearances were relatively uninteresting. Good character otherwise. Likability: 50%
  • Nene Saikyou – An adult-like although somewhat irresponsible loli who wears a loose-fitting kimono. She has the ability to move faster than the human brain can register, which proved to be helpful in episode 10 when she got bored of commentating the match between Shizuku and Touka. I find her to be a comic relief character, and a good—although very minor—one at that. Likability: 60%
  • Yuuri Oriki – The teacher of Ikki’s class. In public, she tries to act enthusiastic, but she frequently coughs up blood and has a restless appearance similar to that of Tomoko Kuroki from WataMote. That said, she has always been willing to cooperate with Ikki when necessary. Not much else to say, since she is a minor character. Likability: 40%
  • Bishou – Leader of a criminal organization that attacked the mall in episode 3 and took a bunch of women and children hostage. His weapon, Judgement Ring, is kinda cool, but he’s a one-off character and…unclean in personality and appearance. Likability: 10%
  • Shizuya Kirihara – Ikki’s first opponent in the Battle Festival. His weapon is cool too, but his personality is rotten; all he’s ever wanted to do is to see Ikki suffer. (When he was put in a tight spot, he claimed that he would play nice, but…too little, too late.) Likability: 5%
  • Renren Tomaru – Athletic student council representative who fights with super speed and a pair of gauntlets. At first, she seemed naught but a stepping stone on Ikki’s way to the top, but her role became more prominent by episode 9. I don’t dislike the tan athlete type of character she is, but she is honestly too minor for me to truly like. Likability: 40%
  • Ikazuchi Saijou – Student council representative who fights using a sword that becomes heavier with every swing. At first, he seemed naught but a stepping stone on Stella’s way to the top, but his role became more prominent by episode 9. That said, much like Renren, Ikazuchi is too minor for me to truly like, maybe even more minor than Renren. Likability: 38%
  • Ayase Ayatsuji – A senior who can use her slashes to create gusts of wind. She started off as shy, but then she turned out to be an honorable swordswoman, until she committed foul play in her fight against Ikki. She seems to have a hard time dealing with pressure, seeing as how she had difficulty approaching Ikki properly and seemed to think independently about taking back her father’s dojo. I’ve said before that she “was not all I’d hoped for” [2], but honestly, what was I thinking? That’s not the way to judge a character; you don’t just set expectations, let alone as high as I did. Ayase is a good character, especially due to her dark hair and relative shyness; her only setback, really, is that she was only prominent in episodes 6-8 and appeared briefly in episodes 5 and 12. Likability: 80%
  • Kuraudo Kurashiki – A troublemaker who took over the Ayatsuji dojo and kicked Ayase out. He fights with quicker-than-average reflexes and an extendable sword-like weapon dubbed “Sword Eater.” The time he met Ikki, Kuraudo called Ikki a coward for remaining peaceful through the ruckus Kuraudo caused at the restaurant where they met. Eventually, however, Ikki defeated Kuraudo, forcing the latter to give up control of the dojo and save any further confrontations until the Battle Festival. Kuraudo may have started out as somewhat of a jerk, but at least his joy is derived from the art of battling and not from watching others suffer. In fact, his fight with Ikki made me realize that both are the same type of crazy in battle and that it is essential to enjoy what you get yourself into. Likability: 45%
  • Utakata Misogi – Student council vice president. He has healing powers, which he used in episode 6 to heal the wound that Ikki sustained because of Kuraudo. He looks similar to Shizuku, but it was never touched upon in the anime whether they are related. (I doubt it; it’s probably just a coincidence.) He seems like the brainiac of the student council, always remaining smug whenever he talks. Like the other student council representatives, though, he’s too minor for me to truly like. Likability: 42%
  • Touka Toudou – Student council president who fights using a powerful lightning strike known as Raikiri. She normally wears glasses, but when she gets serious (like in her battle against Shizuku in episode 10 and Ikki in episode 12), she leaves them off in order to purposely impair her vision and increase her mental concentration. Also, like Nene, she has the ability to move faster than the human brain can register. In episode 11, however, she showed off a bit of a careless side, tripping over Utakata’s manga and leaving her panties exposed in front of Ikki and Stella. She is also relatively friendly for someone of her stature. She has big breasts, but at least they’re not as distracting as those of Stella or Kagami. Great fighter, good looks, okay personality, no complaints. Likability: 70%

Average character likability rating: 52.8%

Asterisk

  • Ayato Amagiri – The protagonist. He apparently has some sort of destructive power bound by his sister that can only be unbound if he wields Ser Veresta, a sword that serves as his trump card. However, he can only sustain this power for a few minutes before he starts to grow weary. He enrolled himself into Seidoukan Academy to find out the truth about his sister. He has had his moments, especially his rematch with Kirin in episode 7 and the times when he proved himself capable of nonchalantly approaching a tough guy like Lester. He never turns a blind eye to conflict, and he does what he can to satisfy every girl he meets. That said, I’ve always referred to him as “generic,” and that’s because there’s not much that really makes him stand out among other protagonists of the same nature. Plus, he says “sorry” (gomen) a lot, which gets pretty annoying when you realize just how often he does. Most importantly, though, the fact that he’s part of a harem story means that he doesn’t seem nearly as devoted to Julis as Ikki is to Stella. Likability: 70%
  • Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt – The deuteragonist. She met Ayato when she lost her precious handkerchief and he caught her changing when he tried to return it. Because of this, there was some tension between them at first, but she eventually warmed up to Ayato and became his partner in the Phoenix Festa. I like her appearance and voice, and she’s certainly more subtle (in multiple facets, most notably her bust) than Stella, which is why I like Julis way more. That said, I’m not too big a fan of the tsundere part of her personality because it bothers me how sometimes she has a hard time being honest. That’s my only complaint, though. Likability: 85%
  • Claudia Enfield – Representative of Seidoukan Academy and ranked #2. She presents herself as an adult-like character who usually remains calm and composed, but she goes crazy when she wields her dual swords because of something to do with experiencing death. She also has a sort of punitive side, which she showed in episode 7 as a way to scare off Kirin’s uncle before he went overboard. This is all well and good, but what annoys me is that she is too flirtatious towards Ayato, which is worsened by how much emphasis is placed on her figure while she does so (especially during the moments when she is scantily clad, like in episodes 3 and 6 with her bathrobe and bikini, respectively). Likability: 25%
  • Haruka Amagiri – Ayato’s elder sister. Not much is known about her because she is only shown in the intro and in flashbacks. What is known so far is that she bound Ayato’s power and, unbeknownst to Ayato, was severely wounded (probably killed) in battle. She also has something to do with Ser Veresta, from what it seems. As mysterious as this character is, from what I’ve seen of her in the intro and flashbacks, she has a likable appearance, especially with her glasses. Likability: 55%
  • Eishirou Yabuki – Ayato’s classmate and roommate. He reminds me of Shuu Maiko from Nisekoi because of his brown hair and meddler-like personality, as well as being (arguably) the second-most prominent male character in the anime. He has lent weapons to Ayato on multiple occasions (episodes 1 and 7) and is apparently part of an organization known as the Shadow Stars, but not much else is portrayed about him. Likability: 40%
  • Lester MacPhail – A buff and stubborn fellow student of Seidoukan Academy who was bent on challenging Julis in episodes 1-3 but ended up getting rejected every time. In episode 4, he was branded a pawn in Silas Norman’s plan and put himself in quite a pinch fighting off the automatons until Ayato came to his rescue. He joined the Phoenix Festa with Randy Hooke as his tag team partner, but they were defeated with relative ease by the Urzaiz sisters. All in all, he’s just a typical tough guy. Not much else to note. Likability: 38%
  • Randy Hooke – Lester’s pudgy friend, who ended up becoming his tag partner. He is so minor that there is nothing else worth noting. Likability: 30%
  • Silas Norman – A student of Seidoukan Academy who pretended to be Lester’s friend. In truth, he accepted a bribe from Allekant to attack Julis with automatons so that she wouldn’t be able to participate in the Phoenix Festa, and he also had the idea of framing Lester for the attacks. Eventually, however, the automatons under Silas’s control were destroyed by Ayato, and Silas fell into an alley, where he was severely wounded by Claudia and taken in by Eishirou for questioning. Silas is also very minor, so all I know about him is that he is impure. Likability: 5%
  • Saya Sasamiya – An old friend of Ayato’s who fights with guns, specifically those created by her father. She joined the Phoenix Festa (with Kirin Toudou as her tag partner) in hopes of making a name for her father and, to a lesser extent, wreaking her vengeance on Camilla Pareto (who insulted her signature weapon). I’ve established already that Saya is my favorite character across both anime series; now I shall explain why. First off, Saya is voiced by Shiori Izawa (the voice of Mega Drive in SeHa Girls), taking second in my list of favorite voices in the anime behind that of Julis. Second, while she is a gunfighter (and the only person in the anime explicitly shown to wield guns), she demonstrated in episode 10 that she can hold her own in close combat (although she admitted that she learned from Ayato to some degree). Third, she’s a kuudere, and I have a soft spot for kuuderes. Fourth, she’s probably the cutest character in the anime, especially due to her sleepy appearance. Fifth, she doesn’t give a crap about being exposed, as shown in episodes 2 and 10. Sixth, she knows just how unjust the world can be. (Now, keep in mind that by “favorite” I don’t mean “most likely to get with Ayato,” because that would be Julis.) Likability: 95%
  • Dirk Eberwein – Representative of Le Wolfe Black Academy. He has a brutish personality with the gall to slander others. In hopes of dealing with Ser Veresta, he freed Irene from prison to let her fight in the Phoenix Festa with her sister. He is an okay character for who he is; that’s all I have to say. Likability: 45%
  • Shuuma Sakon – Representative of Allekant Academy. Because of his polite personality, he accepted a joint agreement with Seidoukan Academy without knowing the full details. Not much else is known about him, since he is a one-off character as it stands. He may seem like a pushover for a representative, but you gotta hand it to him for convincing the other representatives to allow automatons in the Phoenix Festa. Likability: 40%
  • Xinglou Fan – Representative of Jie Long 7th Academy. She may be young for a representative, but she is an excellent mediator of conflict between the representatives. She has not had as much attention as Dirk, so, like Shuuma, she currently stands as a one-off character. That said, I have to say: she is my favorite representative so far. Likability: 55%
  • Ernest Fairclough – Representative of Garrardworth Academy. Although young for a representative (like Xinglou), he is a capable swordsman with a sense of justice that notably responds to Dirk’s slander. Also like Xinglou, he currently stands as a one-off character. As with Dirk, all I have to say is that Ernest is an okay character for who he is. Likability: 50%
  • Ernesta Kuhne – A playful and energetic yet mischievous student of Allekant who is behind the creation of the automatons that were controlled by Silas Norman, as well as the automatons that take part in the Phoenix Festa, AR-D and RM-C. Her mischievousness makes her a good comic relief character, like Nene but less minor and slightly more serious. Likability: 70%
  • Camilla Pareto – A student of Allekant whose stern personality makes her a foil to Ernesta, her close friend (presumably). Camilla made herself a sworn enemy of Saya in episode 5 when the former trash-talked the weapons made by the latter’s father. I generally prefer serious characters over frivolous characters, and Camilla is no exception (although in this case, the difference isn’t much). Likability: 75%
  • Kirin Toudou – Formerly ranked #1 in Seidoukan Academy, constantly being abused by her uncle, until Ayato butted in and beat her to a duel. After her uncle left her to her own devices and she lost the #1 spot, she decided to team up with Saya for the Phoenix Festa. Similarly to Saya, Kirin is enrolled in Seidoukan Academy for the sake of her father, who was imprisoned because he killed someone of lower status than him (albeit out of self-defense). “Iris Freyja 2.0″ [2] is a good summary of this character, but I wish to elaborate upon that. Low-saturation hair color, annoyingly high-pitched voice, relatively timid, and relatively busty. I dislike the second and fourth of these qualities (especially the second), and this leads me to dislike her overall. I said she was “not as dislikable as Claudia” [2], but now, I’m not so sure. I do like Claudia’s scary side, but Kirin has almost nothing going for her. If I had to name any superior points…she’s less minor than Claudia and is partnered with Saya. So, they’re about the same, I say. Likability: 25%
  • Kouichirou Toudou –Kirin’s uncle, who abused her in hopes of claiming a spot on the executive board, or so Claudia says. Most of the abuse was physical, characterized by slaps triggered by Kirin’s refusal to fully comply with his orders. However, once Ayato beat Kirin in a duel and Claudia intimidated Kouichirou to prevent him from taking any further action, he pretty much disappeared for the time being. As a whole, this character makes me think “high expectations Asian father” more than anything (he’s not exactly a father, but eh, details), but I honestly have nothing else to note. Likability: 30%
  • Korona Kashimaru – A mild-mannered student of Le Wolfe who accompanied Dirk during episodes 9-11. In episode 11, she predicted using her fortune-telling ability that the Urzaiz sisters would triumph in their battle against Ayato and Julis. Her prediction was wrong, but that’s to be expected of fortune-telling: a feeble attempt to lower the viewers’ expectations. Although she wears glasses, her high-pitched voice is a bit annoying. Likability: 45%
  • Irene Urzaiz – One of the top students of Le Wolfe, who was once imprisoned but released by Dirk in episode 9. She wields a scythe that can manipulate gravity at the cost of draining her blood and transforming her into a vampire. She may wear skimpy clothes, but her rough-and-tough personality makes her quite a likable character. Likability: 70%
  • Priscilla Urzaiz – Unranked tag partner and sister of Irene. She may seem timid and frail, but she can heal her own wounds, making her an indispensable partner for Irene, and calm Irene’s anger with one quick scolding. She’s a swell character overall, but she’s helpless without her sister…or so it seems, but in episode 12, she promised to become stronger than her sister. Likability: 65%

Average character likability rating: 52.52%

So, Cavalry has better characters overall by a difference of 0.28%.

Plot and “Plot”

Two more evaluation criteria I wish to cover are the plot and the “plot” (another way of saying fanservice). Starting with the latter, I will make a list of notable fanservice moments by episode.

Cavalry

  1. Ikki stumbles upon Stella changing.
  2. Kagami presses her breasts against Ikki’s arm. At the end of the episode, Stella puts on a skimpy bikini and offers to wash Ikki.
  3. Stella strips down to her undergarments as a result of the Bishou incident.
  4. N/A
  5. Swimsuits. Swimsuits everywhere.
  6. When Ayase falls on her rump, her panties are revealed (at least to the viewers). Additionally, Ikki corrects Ayase’s form in a lewd way.
  7. Ayase ends up soaked in her white robe as a result of making Ikki use Itto Shura to save her life.
  8. N/A
  9. Stella has Ikki take her clothes off in a nearby cottage. Of course, Ikki takes his own clothes off as well. The viewers also get a panty shot from Touka in her debut.
  10. Nene gropes Stella’s breasts. Shizuku’s clothes end up tattered after her battle with Touka. (Does the latter count?)
  11. As mentioned in Touka’s character evaluation, her panties are revealed in front of Ikki and Stella.
  12. N/A

Asterisk

  1. Ayato stumbles upon Julis changing. Claudia reveals her midriff to Ayato.
  2. As a result of Saya blowing up the fountain, she and Julis end up soaked and with their shirts open when Ayato comes back to them. The viewers are left with Claudia showering and putting on a revealing bathrobe before her meeting with Ayato.
  3. The bathrobe scene from before continues.
  4. N/A
  5. When Ayato bumps into Kirin, the latter covers her skirt and accentuates her breasts in the process.
  6. Claudia is shown in a skimpy bikini. Saya comments on how unjust it is that Kirin’s breasts are so big.
  7. Ayato and Kirin, after falling into the sewer, hang their clothes to dry. This results in the two sitting back-to-back in their underwear.
  8. Kirin and Saya visit a pool, at which they have a mildly unfortunate encounter with a student of Queenvale wearing a skimpy bikini.
  9. N/A
  10. Saya and Kirin hit the showers after their battle. Again, Saya comments on the unfairness of Kirin’s chest. When Ayato and Julis come by, while Kirin desires for them to wait, Saya immediately lets them in. As a result, Kirin gets embarrassed. (Saya, on the other hand, just doesn’t care.) Also, Priscilla reveals her cleavage while giving blood to Irene.
  11. N/A
  12. Saya, Kirin, and Claudia plant Ayato’s face into their chests.

You can see a distinct pattern in Cavalry (every fourth episode is a break from the fanservice), but in Asterisk, even though this pattern holds true for the first four episodes, things change as the anime goes on. Both series do have the same number of N/A episodes, though. Also, those are just moments; each anime has its share of “walking fanservice” characters, so called due to breast size and/or exposure.

  • Cavalry: Stella, Kagami, Nene
  • Asterisk: Claudia, Kirin, Irene

As a whole, I have to say Asterisk has the better “plot.” The main problem I have with Cavalry is that its deuteragonist is a “walking fanservice” character, which leads me to take her less seriously. While I can’t say that I dislike either of the “plots,” I prefer that of Asterisk, even if it is mostly based around Claudia and Kirin. (Also, to be honest, I preferred Julis’s underwear over Stella’s underwear.)

As for the actual plot, I prefer that of Cavalry, mostly because I dislike the idea of a harem being carried all the way to the end of the story (at least for the season; Ikki has already decided whom to love, but Ayato is still unsure). Also, I have always found Ikki to be a more interesting protagonist than Ayato, regardless how much I like or dislike the deuteragonist.

Summary

Similarities

  • set in a school
  • perverted elements
  • magic and weapons involved
  • dark-haired protagonist and red-haired tsundere deuteragonist
  • protagonist stumbles upon deuteragonist changing, and the latter challenges the former to a duel
  • after the duel, the deuteragonist eventually warms up to the protagonist, and the two wish to get stronger together
  • protagonist participates in a tournament due to family matters
  • competition involved, although with some external conflict here and there
  • battles take place in electronic arenas
  • both leave the viewer wanting a second season

Differences

  • Cavalry is focused on one-to-one romance (Ikki and Stella), while Asterisk is more of a harem
    • by extension, Ikki and Stella are far more passionate than Ayato and Julis
  • Ayato and Julis are partners in battle, while Ikki and Stella fight their own battles (at least for now)
  • the competition of Cavalry only happens within the school, while that of Asterisk involves students from all six schools
  • Ikki fights for the sake of fighting, but Ayato wishes to discover the truth about his sister
  • Ikki starts off with a weapon and the title “Worst One,” while Ayato starts out unranked and is lent a weapon when he is forced to duel with Julis
  • rankings change in Asterisk but are stagnant in Cavalry (Ayato rose in rank when he defeated Kirin, but Ikki remains rank F regardless of what he does)
  • defeat is more serious in Cavalry than in Asterisk (in Asterisk, you simply have to destroy the opponent’s badge, but Cavalry has no holds barred)
  • Cavalry is a lot more bloody (although Asterisk is not without its fair share of wounds)
  • Asterisk is sci-fi
  • while Cavalry involves more swords than anything, Asterisk has all sorts of weapons
  • the happenings of Cavalry make more sense than those of Asterisk (particularly the fanservice moments)
  • supporting characters, obviously
  • the second season of Asterisk is scheduled for Spring 2016; whether Cavalry will have a second season is not yet known

Conclusion

To the overarching question of this review series, “Cavalry vs. Asterisk,” based on the evaluation criteria above, my answer turns out to be Cavalry. That said, I did enjoy both series. Cavalry has a great opening theme, better plot, and better characters on average, but Asterisk has a better deuteragonist, better fanservice, and the best character between both series: Saya Sasamiya.

I also enjoyed writing about both series so in-depth, making the longest piece of writing posted directly on Vouiv-review to date. Sometimes, while or after watching an anime, I find myself thinking, “Just what do I really like/dislike about this anime…?” and this review series was a helpful way to document my thoughts on these particular anime, not just going off of pure bias, but also looking over the facts and explaining the entirety of my thought process behind what I liked and disliked. That’s right; these are my thoughts, cracked open and posted to the public.

Whether I will make a continuation of this review series depends entirely on whether Cavalry will get a second season, but for now, the series has come to a close. I hope this writing was enjoyable and/or informative and, if not, apologies.

 

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

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