The Asterisk War: Struggle for Supremacy

By Yuu Miyazaki and okiura. Released in Japan by MF Bunko J. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Haydn Trowell.

Ooof. We are deep into “tournament arc” here, folks, which means that a) the books are really not doing anything aside from showing off some cool fights, which means I have very little to write about, and b) it is fairly easy to guess who is going to be winning each of those fights. Ayato and Julis are not going to be losing at this point in time. Heck, even the “trying to figure out what the bad guys are doing” plot takes a back seat here, though it does lead to one of the funnier not-really-a-gag moments in the book when Orphelia straight up tells the other villains “oh yeah, I told Julis our plan six months ago.” After basically being absent from the last book, Julis gets more to do here, including what ends up being the best fight, but I suspect she is going to continue to be very unhappy for the next few volumes. Fortunately, the book has a secret weapon: Saya, aka Best Girl.

Claudia is on the cover, but barely in the book itself at all. Though she fares better than Kirin, who is totally absent. We get a series of fights, after briefly seeing Julis win her Round Four battle. First we see Ayato take on Rodolfo Zoppo, an arrogant ass who we dearly want to see get the shit beaten out of. Sadly, all of Ayato’s fights in this series have involved him barely winning, and that’s what happens here. Lester fights the Black Knight, and wins, but unfortunately is too injured to continue, so Julis gets a bye in Round 6. Speaking of Julis, as stated, she gets the best fight, taking on Xiaohui, who has returned from his Vision Quest and gotten stronger thanks to an old man on a mountain who doesn’t train him but lets him watch his everyday life. It’s a good reminder that Asterisk War runs on cliches. Saya takes on a girl who’s too amusing to take seriously. We get Robot vs. Robot, and the more evil robot wins. Silvia wins her match, which amounts to song vs. dance. And Orphelia manages to not only take out Hilda, but Hilda may in fact be permanently removed from the stage – her ending is ominous.

Apologies for the spoilers, but again, none of this is a surprise. You knew most of these people were going to win. Aside from Julis, as I noted, Saya gets the best moments, as she has the 2nd best fight, but more importantly is there to deliver a pep talk to Claudia and Rimcy, who are both feeling depressed and useless. Saya points out that she is an Unlucky Childhood Friend who spends every day handing around a hot tsundere princess and a meek sword prodigy, and also has to deal with the world’s top idol singer. They are all probably better fighters than her. They are all more likely to get Ayato’s love than her. But, as Saya wonderfully puts it, “so what?”. She refuses to simply stop trying. It’s not quite the end of the book, but it makes for a great emotional climax.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to make up for 170 pages or so of fight after fight after fight. And I suspect we’ll get more of the same next time, though the cliffhanger does at least promise some emotional torture of Julis as well. Good times!

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