It’s been about two months since this anime finished airing, and a review of the second season has been on my mind for about that long, but I had a hard time bringing myself to do so. That said, now is the time to come clean about my thoughts.
To start, I shall restate my thoughts on the first season. Gakusen Toshi Asterisk can simply be described as a sci-fi harem with some perverted elements. Perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for some of these perverted elements that I became interested in the first place…particularly the scene in the beginning where Ayato (the protagonist) accidentally sees Julis (the deuteragonist) changing. Then I was drawn into the lore and all that jazz about superpowers, rankings, six different schools, some tournament, and the mystery behind Ayato’s sister Haruka. Over the course of the anime, the one character that I really came to like was Saya Sasamiya.
Admittedly, though, the problems that I had at the end of the first season were as follows:
- Most of the perverted moments were centered around Claudia or Kirin, both of whom were two of my least favorite characters at the time (and I have reasons for that).
- The harem stuck around until the end, which made me hope that such would be resolved by the airing of the second season.
- The opening and ending theme songs were nothing special.
- There were still loose ends to tie with regards to the rest of the tournament and Haruka. In particular, Saya didn’t get to exact her revenge on Camilla Pareto, who insulted the legacy of her father.
I suppose that about covers everything for the first season.
Second Season Thoughts
In a nutshell, the second season of Gakusen Toshi Asterisk involves toning down the perverted elements (although not completely) in favor of the continuation and finishing of the tournament (Phoenix Festa), further progress towards uncovering the mystery behind Haruka, and the introduction of new characters and new conflict.
The theme songs are a little more upbeat (and I would argue better) than those of the first season but still not to my liking.
In regards to character likability, I would say that pretty much all of the character evaluations that I made in Cavalry vs. Asterisk part 3 remain unchanged…except that of Kirin. Because of her valiant efforts in fighting AR-D and Wernher in episodes 4-5 and 8 respectively, I’ve warmed up to her enough to assign her a likability percentage of 33% instead of 25%. In other words, now that I think about it, in spite of her annoying character traits, her combat style is appealing to watch.
More than that, they actually managed to introduce a character even worse than Claudia: Flora Klemm. Her voice is the actual most annoying I’ve ever heard, and her contribution to the plot boils down to being someone from Julis’s past and becoming a damsel in distress. If I had to assign to her a likability percentage, it would actually be 2%, and the sole reason for it not being 0% is because…well, she’s a character. What can I say? No character deserves a 0% rating, no matter how trash.
By the way, like I used to in my former anime reviews, I feel like naming off my top three favorite characters:
- Saya Sasamiya. She’s been my favorite since the second half of the first season, and I’ve already explained why. To summarize what I’ve said before: great voice, one of few firearm users, kuudere, cute sleepy appearance, indifferent about nudity, and perceptive to injustice. In the second season, she doesn’t seem to have changed much as a whole, but she revealed an amazing trump card near the end of episode 4:
…Yeah. A jetpack with dual cannons. That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.
- Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt. She has the best voice in the anime and is definitely the one most likely candidate for Ayato among the harem that has developed around him…if only because she’s the first girl that he met when he transferred to Seidoukan. Aside from her voice, her primary distinction amongst the other characters is that her figure is just the right combination of subtle and sexy in that it’s not too flat but not too distracting. Also, she’s pretty cool in general, even if the reason for that is because of the “tsun” part of her tsundere personality. Speaking of which, she never really expresses the “dere” part of her personality except towards what she holds dear, mainly the orphanage from which she was raised. Still a pretty good character all in all.
- AR-D. It may seem odd to include a non-human character in my top 3, but AR-D is sentient enough for that to be justified. A bulky automaton built by Ernesta Kühne that not only wields a hefty sledgehammer-like weapon and knows how to use it, but also adapts to the combat styles of others, as evidenced in its duel with Kirin. AR-D, made to fight alongside RM-C in the Phoenix Festa, would normally grant a one-minute grace period to their opponents before commencing their attack, but once its protection was breached by Kirin, they knew that they had to take their gloves off eventually. Speaking of their duel against Saya and Kirin, AR-D and RM-C even had to reveal their special technique involving AR-D using RM-C’s armor to increase its mobility. As a character, AR-D usually puts on a bravado but sometimes ends up becoming the butt of a tsukkomi comment by RM-C. In a nutshell: funny character, strong combatant. (Likability percentages: 80% for AR-D, 75% for RM-C)
Aside from all the characters and whatnot, the conclusion of the anime wasn’t too conclusive, considering there are still some loose ends to tie up, namely: When does Ophelia end up having her curse undone or whatever? When will Haruka regain consciousness if at all? What about the “Gryps Festa” mentioned throughout the season? The Shadow Stars are also not very well explained; all I can really gather about them is that Eishirou Yabuki is a part of them.
That’s to be expected of light novel adaptations, though. The time allotted in regards to episode duration just can’t contain enough to completely explain every little component of the plot, and the only way to get a complete grasp of what’s happening is to…well, read the light novel. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but there are some words that pictures fail to precisely explain. This is why I usually find action scenes in manga hard to follow.
The philosophy as a whole comes from the fact that I watched the Mondaiji anime (my personal favorite) and read the first two volumes of the light novel (from which the anime was adapted), and the light novel told so much that I felt like either I forgot or the anime omitted…not to mention there are even more volumes of the light novel from which to discover so much more of the story that it’s ridiculous.
In summary, not much has changed from season 1 to season 2 of Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, only my thoughts on a select few characters and the gravity of my honest disappointment at the loose ends that remain untied.
All in all, I would have to give this series an overall rating of 8/10. It’s not bad, but there’s nothing particularly notable about it except for Saya Sasamiya and the sort of futuristic stuff such as her weaponry and the automatons of Arlequint (which is apparently the actual name of “Allekant”).
À la prochaine! (Until next time!)