The Asterisk War: Quest for Days Lost

By Yuu Miyazaki and okiura. Released in Japan by Media Factory. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Melissa Tanaka.

Another volume of Asterisk War brings along with it more of the same, and honestly these books are so short I frequently wish that Yen had decided to omnibus them, especially since the plot to this volume is essentially “more tournament arc”. Nothing particularly surprising happens – even the cliffhanger ending is signposted from the moment we meet the sweet innocent girl who’s the victim of it. There is cool fighting by tactics. There is cool fighting by unlocking the next level of abilities. There are also Saya and Kirin, whose fights we don’t see until the final chapter. I have a sneaking suspicion how that will turn out, but it’s also part of the cliffhanger ending. So yes, nothing whatsoever new here, but as always the prose is readable, it’s not too offensive (though there are a few stereotypes), and fans of this sort of thing will eat it up like candy and then move on.

One thing I did like is Julis (who is reminding me more of Rin Tohsaka every volume) managing to get Ayato to have a reason to fight and win that isn’t just “well, I guess I’ll help her achieve her goal”. The drive to succeed, to surpass, to go beyond your limits requires something to strive for in these sorts of stories, and given that Ayato is, if I’m being nice, sot of bland it’s especially important for him to have this. He’s on a quest to find his sister, but there’s always been an undercurrent of “she must have had a good reason” that’s stopped him from really investigating. If the tournament ends next volume (which it looks like ti’s shaping up to do), I expect we’ll get more answers, though whether we get his sister is another matter.

Both major battles in this book are against students from Chinese Stereotype Academy, aka Jie Long Seventh Institute. We get both a noble fighting pair who are simply very good at what they do, and a team of twins who are very good at what they do but are also jerks. They don’t cheat per se, but they hammer on weaknesses and love to break their opponent. Dishonorable is a good word for them. Needless to say, Ayato and Julis fight against them near the end of the book, and the fight is probably the best part of the novel, even if, once again, the lack of surprising things happening is clear. If I were to tell you that the twins have a reaction that’s basically “This… this CANNOT BEEEEEE!” towards the end of the fight, I’m sure you would just sigh and nod.

Kirin and Saya are here as well, and Saya gets a flashback that shows off her childhood with Ayato, but honestly it’s harder to develop these two as their personalities are naturally passive – likely that’s why we didn’t see their fights till the very end. In any case, this volume of Asterisk War may not convince uncertain readers to keep going, but it also won’t make them decide to drop it once and for all. It’s still the equivalent of having a Peppermint Patty for dinner. Tasty, but you really want a lot more.

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