When I reviewed the first season of The Asterisk War, I commented on the show’s unique art style but somewhat lackluster character visuals, and cliché characters. I also commented that the show’s action and soundtrack had me very excited to see more.
Now, I don’t often do second season reviews – it takes either something truly spectacular or a drastic change of pace to get me to do a second season review. So which are we dealing with here? Is Asterisk War that much better than the first season that I just had to talk about it?? Or did it change something fundamental about the formula…?
The truth is actually both. I enjoyed season 1, but I loved Asterisk War’s second season. Everything that I loved about the first season was still present. The soundtrack was still fantastic, featuring in-show music that suited the tone perfectly. The show’s opening sequence was one of the best I’ve ever seen, well-animated, unique, and fitting. The writers maintained Asterisk War’s humour throughout the second season and especially during Saya and Claudia’s little snippets at the end of each episode.
And they even managed to amp the action up a notch. The amazing action sequences seen during the final few episodes of season 1 kept getting better as the opponents got more and more powerful. And, unlike so many shows, it wasn’t just our leading duo who got their time to shine. Saya, Kirin, Claudia, and even our old friend MacPhail (yes, that’s actually his name) had a big share of the show’s best scenes. The battles were more than just eye-candy, featuring just enough strategy and mystery to keep things interesting but not so much that it bogs down the action.
What really impressed me this season was the depth they managed to build into the show’s cast. While the characters were never completely shallow, in season 2 they became truly memorable. Saya, in particular, has become far more than just the tagalong ‘childhood friend’ type… and has become almost unquestionably my favourite character in the series. She’s just so cute with her giant guns and her sense of humour.
During my previous review I mentioned a number of story threads that were left trailing… well season 2 picked up most of them and led them in directions that made sense without quite revealing everything. While the harem story is still pretty central to the show, they built a very interesting narrative that really drives home the complicated nature of this strange alternate Earth.