The Asterisk War Sucks [Part 12b]: Chivalry of a Failed Knight Doesn’t Suck!

Edited by The Davoo

Text version:

Back when I was talking about the last two arcs of The Asterisk War, I kind of just glossed over episode eight. Funnily enough, episode eight is probably the least offensively terrible episode of the series, in spite of also being an anime-original filler episode. It follows the new partnership of Kirin and Saya as they realize that their teamwork is rather lackluster due to their lack of personal chemistry. After talking to Ayato and Julis about it, they decide to hang out for the rest of the weekend and get in some good old-fashioned bonding. It’s worth mentioning that in this cafeteria scene, we learn that Ayato has developed a sort of fan following as a result of becoming the number-one fighter at school after beating Kirin.

The first half of the episode follows Kirin and Saya on a little shopping excursion, as Saya seeks an illegal weapon to purchase for her father. The second half has the girls visit a pool so that Saya can teach Kirin how to swim, and get into a dumb fanservice battle with some rich girl in a g-string. After all that, the girls have a moment together wherein they briefly share the most meaningful conversation in the entire show, with Saya offering Kirin some reassurance and guidance on how to have more respect for herself. They then talk about Ayato and how cool he is for a little bit before the episode rounds off on showing how their bonding has made them better team fighters.

It’s not difficult to imagine how this episode came about. There probably wasn’t quite enough material to turn the second volume of the novels into a four-episode arc, so they came up with an excuse to make a pool episode and to get Kirin and Saya into swimsuits. Considering the pretty lackluster animation and artwork throughout most of this episode, it was probably made as a way of saving money, as it’s common practice in the industry to save on budget by making an episode out of panning shots of girls in bikinis at the beach or pool.

Chivalry of a Failed Knight contains a similar filler episode–but in a different part of the show, and with a very different function. It is still very much a pool episode, largely existing in the name of getting its main characters naked–and the dip in art and animation quality reflects this. It is also set in-between major arcs, just like the Ass War episode–with the biggest difference being that it’s in episode five, between the first and second arcs, as opposed to the second and third.

Whereas Ass War’s filler episode focused on fleshing out the relationship between its largely irrelevant side characters, Chivalry’s is dedicated to fleshing out the newly-minted official relationship between its main characters; the focus here being on how, in spite of having hooked up more than a week ago, the couple hasn’t actually done anything romantic together yet.

Just like in Ass War, the early part of the episode establishes that Ikki has taken on a bit of a fan following after his previous victory–but the significance of this is vastly different. Considering the way that Ikki was treated by his classmates up till this point, this radical shift in his reputation is pretty important to his character arc. This fanclub becomes an entire subplot wherein Ikki starts training his classmates on how to become better physical fighters–which is what leads the characters to the pool scene in the first place, as he ends up holding a training class there.

All throughout the episode, Ikki and Stella continually fail at communicating with one-another, and we mostly follow along with Stella as the strain of the situation really starts to put a damper on her perspective of their relationship. At the episode’s midpoint, both Stella and Shizuku are paired off with other girls to talk about their feelings towards Ikki. Shizuku’s is possibly the more interesting conversation, as she asks Alice whether she thinks it’s wrong for her to feel attracted to her brother, and Alice provides some surprising reassurance about how she should pursue whatever feelings she finds to be genuine. Meanwhile, Stella, lamenting over the lack of physicality in her relationship, is convinced to confront Ikki about it–and eventually, their paths converge as the director cleverly hides them under a waterfall fountain together.

The conversation which follows is better than The Asterisk War in its entirety. Ikki and Stella continue to misunderstand one-another in ways that only a couple of dumbass teenagers could, and then get into a bit of a spat which almost leads to breaking off their relationship. They argue and argue and get more and more confused, as it becomes apparent that what’s really bothering each of them is that the other’s lack of making a move has caused them to think that they don’t really love them. After a moment’s contemplation, they both agree to just state their true feelings outright–and of course, what both of them really wants is to kiss the other. And they do–twice–as the director brilliantly turns the waterfall into a place not just for cutting the main characters off from the rest of their classmates, but also for brilliantly lighting their first romantic scene together.

Watching the main characters of a light novel adaptation hook up by the end of episode four was pretty satisfying in itself, but this scene is really what clinches it for the experienced viewer. If you’ve been through something like, say, watching Shana confess her feelings before the final battle of the first season of Shakugan no Shana, and then starting off season two with Yuuji not having actually heard what she said, and Shana being too afraid to repeat it, setting their entire relationship back to square one–then you may have been skeptical of just how meaningful it was for the characters to hook up before. After all, episode four of Ass War was pretty suggestive of the main characters hooking up, but the rest of the show never budged an inch on making them a real couple, since it wanted to preserve its harem.

Chivalry of a Failed Knight makes it very clear in this episode that this is a proper otp relationship; and that this is NOT a harem series; but is, indeed, a romance story. And while the characters and their feelings are rather juvenile, they nonetheless come off as genuine–and resolve in a way that, for a kid watching a show like this as a wish-fulfillment fantasy, would probably be incredibly heartwarming. This scene lets us rest assured that the bullshit and misunderstandings are out of the way for now; and instead of having to run the usual gamut of annoying cliche scenarios where the main characters’ relationship doesn’t seem any more significant than the flirtations of the other girls around them, we might actually get to watch this relationship continue to make progress over the course of the show, and to see the romance take on some depth.

All of that out of the way, it’s here that we launch into our second major arc, during which the parallels to The Asterisk War somehow manage to become even more staggeringly evident than ever before. Once again, we are introduced to a shy swordsman girl from a different grade level of the school, who quickly strikes up a bond with the main character over their mutual interest in sword techniques. Said sword girl has found herself in a situation wherein she is regularly being abused by someone as a result of something which happened to her father, and wherein she is trying to fight in the name of absolving her father’s past deeds. Both daughters have learned how to fight from their fathers, and are largely copying their father’s sword techniques. Both girls are at some point touched by the main character, and later compare the feel of his hands to those of her father. Both end up training regularly with the main character, and eventually end up getting him wrapped up in their business. Both shows have scenes wherein the girl ends up fighting the main character in a stadium, and both end with the main character causing the girl to change the way that she lives her life. As usual, though, it’s the details which make all the difference when stacking these shows up against one-another.

In spite of all the similarities which I just mentioned, Ayatsuji Ayase is treated very differently by the narrative in comparison to Kirin. For starters, Ayase is actually an upperclassman in this case, and doesn’t carry any of the little sister/daughteru baggage that Kirin did. She is consistently treated as someone who stands on equal footing with Ikki as a human being; and while Ikki does end up changing the way she thinks in the end and resolving her situation, this never comes as a result of Ayase being a victim, or incapable of making her own decisions.

Whereas Kirin was fighting because of her father’s wrongful imprisonment, and was following the guidance of an abusive figure, Ayase is fighting for revenge on her father’s honor against the guy who put him into a coma and took over his dojo. The biggest difference in how these goals are portrayed, is that Kirin and her father were both presented as victims of circumstance, whereas Ayase and her father are both in their situations because of their own decisions. Ayase’s father lost a battle that he agreed to and, as Ikki causes her to realize, actually enjoyed–and ended up in his coma as a result of his hubris as a fighter. Ayase herself takes to her quest for vengeance in spite of the fact that her father was always telling her to be a protector of the weak, and not not let herself fight in the name of hate, and all kinds of Yoda shit like that.

By far the biggest difference between the arcs of these characters is the fact that Ayase actually betrays Ikki in an effort to beat him during their tournament match. In spite of everything that Ikki did to help her in improving her sword technique, Ayase cheats him by forcing him to use his Ittou Shura power–which he can only use once every three days–on the night before their match, by throwing herself off of a building, knowing that he’d try to catch her. She even cheats during their match by activating invisible traps which she’d set around the stadium the night before using her special abilities. All of this serves to enhance the drama of their match threefold: not only is Ikki fighting against a friend who betrayed him, but he’s been severely hamstrung by the limitation of his powers–something which actually exists in this show. And yeah, of course he wins anyways, because he’s an unstoppable fighting machine–but he does it purely through tactics and his ridiculously superior instincts and reflexes; not pulling a random surplus of power out of his ass.

Back in Ass War episode seven, the whole conceit that fighting against Ayato was Kirin’s way of taking her “first steps” never made much sense to me. I guess the idea was that she was choosing this fight without her uncle’s permission, but I didn’t really understand the significance of the fight itself. It just seemed like an excuse for Ayato to prove that he would’ve won if he’d taken a more tactical approach to their match-up, and for him to take her spot as number one in the school.

Ayase’s take-away from her match with Ikki is a hell of a lot more relevant to her character arc. In spite of all the shit that she does to betray him, Ikki forgives her for everything, and even goes out of his way to allow her to cheat by convincing his teacher to turn a blind eye to it. By beating her without using underhanded tactics and at a huge disadvantage, he makes her realize the gravity of what a shitty person she’s allowed herself to become, and convinces her that it’s time for her to change, and to remember what her father tried to teach her. It’s certainly a more meaningful way to inspire change in his opponent’s mindset than just by telling her that she’s wrong, and being a lot more convincing than the guy who regularly slaps her in the face.

The last episode of the arc revolves around a big fight between Ikki, and the guy who took over Ayase’s family dojo, and who bashed a bottle over Ikki’s head during his introduction a couple of episodes ago. This guy has a pretty stand-out character design that makes a quick impact, and his personality is a bit more unique than that of the last bad guy. He’s a dojo-hunting swordsman who takes sadistic pleasure in getting the chance to bring prideful swordsmen to their knees, but he actually uses more legitimate tactics even than Ayase herself, and is as passionate about the heat of battle as any of the main characters.

There’s a lot of dialog throughout this fight, wherein Ikki realizes how much fun Ayase’s father must have been having while fighting this guy, and how much fun he’s having himself. By the end of it, even the bad guy seems like he might’ve had a slight change of heart towards Ikki, and we’ll be seeing little hints later that he might be relevant again in the long run. More importantly, this fight scene is actually pretty entertaining in its own right, with the enemy once again having a very unique weapon and set of powers, and the animation team kicking things up a notch with their creatively dramatic coloring. All things considered, it’s a pretty okay fight scene.

And that’s the end of the arc. Ayase’s father wakes up, with them now mutually understanding one-another, and her role in the show is over. She doesn’t tag along with the main characters, clinging to light novel guy’s coattails and joining an inevitable spurned women’s club–she’s just done with her part in the show. Both Ayase and Ikki actually made it through this entire three-episode arc without showing any physical attraction to one-another, or flirting at random, or suggesting that Ayase is in love with him. They simply maintain a mutual respect for one-another and develop a normal friendship.

Even though there’s a fanservice-y scene wherein Ikki feels up her legs while teaching her a sword technique, during which she is understandably embarrassed, he apologizes over it afterwards, and neither one seems to take it sexually. That night, Stella even asks Ikki about it, and he reassures her that his affection is for her exclusively, and they have a little romantic moment over it. So yes, the show actually, in complete self-awareness, decided to center an entire arc around a female character with no romantic subtext whatsoever. I’m impressed!

Moving on to the show’s final arc, the parallels between Chivalry of a Failed Knight and The Asterisk War become a bit less intense. A lot of that is because the Asterisk War moves into its big tournament in this arc, whereas Chivalry is still building up towards its own big interhigh battle; and only lets us know which students will be participating in it at the very end of the season. There are still a number of similarities in the way that these arcs are structured, and those similarities are still an excellent lens into how this show does all of the same things better, but a lot of the noteworthy parts of these episodes are pretty unique to this series.

Episode nine is mostly just a bunch of setup for things to come, sprinkled within a lighthearted slice-of-life plot that’s meant to cool us off after the last two episodes of fighting. Ikki and Stella go off to a training camp with the school’s student council, and at some point Stella gets sick, so Ikki has to take care of her. This eventually leads to an amazingly lengthy and detailed fanservice sequence–but one which I honestly don’t have any problems with. I mean, if you’re not into this kind of shit in the first place, then I’m sure it doesn’t have a lot to offer, but I can’t really bemoan too much a kind-of-intimate scene between a pair of lovers who are actually capable of admitting to and talking about their sexual interest in one-another.

And, in fact, that’s actually how this scene progresses. Ikki pops a boner after seeing Stella in her underwear, and Stella asks him if he wants to have sex with her. After giving it some thought, Ikki says that he feels like he can’t have sex with her before getting married, because that’s just what he’s comfortable with. Stella feels a little bit guilty over the fact that she didn’t feel the same level of restraint–and while, in the context of my own beliefs versus those of the show, I do find it kind of upsetting that Stella is made to feel guilty over her own sexuality, I still think that this is an interesting bit of characterization. All throughout the series, Stella has always been pretty forwardly sexual towards Ikki; and in this scene, the show actually admits and addresses it. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel like Stella’s actions all this time have just been the show’s way of forcing fanservice into its character interactions–Stella’s sexuality is actually an important aspect of her character, and the cause of one of her inner conflicts.

Now, I’d be really hard-pressed to say that this show doesn’t use fanservice in some pretty disagreeable ways. There’s plenty of panty shots, that opening scene, the part where Stella was forced to undress, and a scene in episode ten wherein Saikyou Nene grabs Stella’s tits at random. I also think that the show itself promotes a pretty traditionalist mindset when it comes to sex, as one of its main characters wants to wait for marriage, and the other one feels guilty over the fact that she doesn’t–and while I’m going to address the resolution of this conflict at the end of a later episode, I’ll just say for now that traditionalism wins out in the end.

Nevertheless, I think that in this scene, Chivalry of a Failed Knight at least starts to ride the line between being a show which features sexuality, and being a show which comments on sexuality. In this scene, the sexuality becomes more than a way to entice the audience, and becomes a way for the audience to connect with the characters on sexuailty as a topic. And you know, considering how this show is clearly meant for teenagers and is loaded to the brim with moralizing, it’s hardly surprising that its characters are going to have a fairly milquetoast and juvenile relationship. The stuff that I said about how Ayato’s sexuality was governed by what works for the audience could still be applied here; but at least in this case, they made it work for the characters as well.

So while this is all happening, the b-part of this episode has Shizuku taking a trip back to her family’s house, which mostly seems like it was meant to jog our memories about what a bunch of assholes they all are, since one of their underlings is going to be the villain of this arc. The episode ends with Ikki and company getting attacked by a bunch of golem puppets, and the introduction of the student body president–a lightning user so powerful that she can break the show’s aspect ratio. (Y’know, I really can’t decide if that effect is goofy and terrible, or totally kickass.) We also get a quick hint as to who sent these puppets after them, but that won’t be relevant till later.

Episode ten focuses almost entirely on Shizuku–and the way that this episode is structured to fit in with the rest of the arc is actually kind of brilliant. From the beginning, the biggest role of Shizuku in this story has always been to provide insight into Ikki’s home situation. This episode opens with some flashbacks into the siblings’ past, wherein Shizuku recounts how she fell in love with her brother, and became determined to reimburse him with all of the care that her family never gave.

The whole first part of this episode is all about building up Shizuku’s emotions, and having her stake those emotions on this huge battle against the student council president–whom, as we’ve seen in the previous episode, is a total badass. Over the course of this very long and explosive fight scene, filled with all kinds of creative interplay between the characters’ powers, the focus remains on Shizuku almost exclusively. The president barely says a word and mostly just keeps unleashing attacks, while more and more emotions are piled onto Shizuku, and her part in this fight takes on more and more meaning. It turns into this big, long, protracted struggle with everything riding on the line; and at the end of it, Shizuku–loses.

Remember all that shit I said back in part eleven about how The Asterisk War doesn’t understand the concept of jobbing? Well, this is how you do it right. We already knew that the student council president was strong–we were shown as much in the previous episode. Likewise, we’ve been given evidence to the fact that Shizuku is a badass both in the past, and over the course of this incredibly long battle. The match really could’ve gone either way–we had no reason to think that Shizuku was more likely to lose, especially when the whole episode was making it look like this was to be her big moment in the spotlight. Even at the end of the fight, we don’t necessarily yet understand what the purpose of this match was in the context of the arc as a whole. Near as we can tell, this was just a very tragic turnout for a character who wanted to prove herself. It’s only at the end of the arc, when the class president is revealed as the final opponent whom Ikki must overcome to make it to the inter-high battles, that we realize how Shizuku was totally jobbing.

So the setup for the last two episodes is pretty similar to the last two of Ass War. In both cases, there’s a fat businessman trying to get the main character taken out of the running by a trump card fighter, while the fighter herself has a little sob story in episode eleven, befriends the main character, and then fights him in the climax in episode twelve. However, the biggest difference in this case is that Chivalry doesn’t really put any focus on the student council president beyond assuring us that she’s a good person who will totally be friends with the main character in the long run, but for now needs to stand as his big final opponent. Instead, the focus here is pretty squarely on Ikki, as the fat businessman is his father’s second-in-command, who is willing to go to any lengths to get him kicked from this tournament.

The bulk of episode eleven takes a very sudden and dramatic turn, as the business guy manages to snap a photo of Ikki and Stella sharing a kiss, and runs with it to the media, publicizing it as a princess being corrupted into a relationship with some lowly powerless nobody. Through some pretzel logic, he manages to get Ikki incarcerated for weeks on end in a crazy-looking prison cell, wherein they treat him like garbage, but still force him to participate in all of his school battles, leading up to his big final match against the student council president.

This entire scene is presented as a trippy, fucked up fever dream, with really striking and unique color design that many fans referred to as, “pulling a SHAFT;” which is a pretty accurate way of putting it, and leads me to a subject that I feel the need to address: studio Silver Link.

I’ve developed a bit of a reputation over time as a guy with a serious bone to pick against studio A1 Pictures–and I certainly am that guy; but you know, there are some A1 shows that I really like, such as Sora no Woto, Tsuritama, and Welcome to the Space Show. But funnily enough, for a very long time, Silver Link was a studio that just never managed to connect with me. It’s not that I’ve ever really hated any of their shows–they made a lot of stuff that I like about as much as Chivalry of a Failed Knight–acceptable, strong five to light six shows like Baka to Test, Nourin, and Non Non Biyori (which I know everyone else loves, but whatever). I liked Watamote, and, while I haven’t finished it, I’ve liked what I’ve seen of Yuri Kuma Arashi (which is kind of a given since it’s an Ikuhara show), but this studio has never really made anything that I loved.

Silver Link has always come off to me as a little studio that could. They take on pretty middle-of-the-road adaptations that aren’t likely to impress from the get-go, and while they’ve never really had the level of quality or polish in their animation to put them on par with any of the more recognized studios, it always feels like they at least try to make their shows stand out a little.

Almost everything which Silver Link puts out is directed by Shin Oonuma–a director who used to work for SHAFT as an assistant on a ton of Akiyuki Shinbo’s shows, and who made his full directing debut with ef ~a tale of memories in 2007–a show that I loved. Studio SHAFT has always been known for the fact that they make up for their tiny personnel count and animation budget by making their shows as visually striking as possible, with Shinbo’s personal stylistic trappings pervading all of the studio’s output.

In a lot of ways, Shin Oonuma is like Akiyuki Shinbo-lite. Whereas Shinbo’s directing style doesn’t allow for a single frame of normalcy in his shows, and it can take a lot of concentration to parse the dense wall of visual stimuli, Oonuma takes a more reserved approach, and only busts out the insanity when it’s time to make a visual statement. In the same way that Shinbo’s influence is ever-present on the works of SHAFT, Oonuma’s seems to be the same on Silver Link–and while I personally am a much bigger fan of Shinbo and SHAFT’s style of visuals, it’s in moments like these where I really appreciate that Oonuma has continued in the studio’s tradition, and knows how to use this kind of trippy, artful coloring to really make a scene stand out.

Ikki’s incarceration is a hard sell. It comes out of nowhere like halfway through episode eleven, and only lasts up through the start of episode twelve–so for it to have any dramatic impact at all, it had to be portrayed in a way that really makes the drama sink in. And oh man, does it ever sink in. Yes, the hyper-dramatic coloring makes this whole thing come off as heavy-handed; but it had to. If it didn’t, then all of this would’ve come off as a pointless diversion, instead of the grueling, intense trial that it’s intended to be. And it kinda pays off–because even with this relatively mediocre material, and the relatively mediocre talents of the animation staff working on it, the tension which this sequence is meant to convey is easily felt by the viewer–and that’s exactly what it needed to be.

Episode twelve is basically just one gigantic build-up to a few minutes of payoff. Ikki turns the emotional tide after receiving his girlfriend’s encouragement, and, against his father who doesn’t believe in him, the society that’s trying to hold him down, and the weakness which has seeped into his bones from weeks of malnutrition, he stands among the cheers of his allies, and emerges onto the field of battle with his head held high. Just like in Ass War, the opening theme plays over a slow montage of characters powering up and preparing to strike–but in this case, it is coupled with artful visuals in line with the tone of the series, and the entire match is boiled down to just one attack. All of the tension of the last episode and a half is offloaded with needlepoint precision into a single moment–and the victory goes to Ikki. And here’s the payoff–Ikki and Stella legitimately get engaged. Yep, that’s what I meant that tradition would win out in the end; but since we’ve already established marriage as the winstate of this relationship, I’m okay with this as the finale.

Whenever I think about the positive aspects of Chivalry of a Failed Knight, I end up remembering  myself at age thirteen–the age when I first got really, seriously into anime and was watching everything I could get my hands on. Thirteen year-old Digi was not a very critical viewer–he would watch just about anything as long as it had cool action scenes–especially if it involved swords. But while young Digi wouldn’t have been able to explain what made certain shows his favorites, outside of how cool the fights were, he nonetheless did have favorite shows. Out of all the things that he watched and thought that he liked, there were certain ones that stood out in his mind, and which he continually remembered for years to come–whereas other stuff that he read and watched and had no complaints about very quickly disappeared from his mind over the years.

I try to imagine my thirteen year-old self watching both The Asterisk War and Chivalry of a Failed Knight. I’m certain that he would’ve said that he liked them both. I’m sure he’d remember all of the places where there were fights in the Asterisk War, and that he would’ve thought that the swords were pretty cool–but I’m willing to bet he would’ve forgotten the names and faces of all of the characters a week after finishing the show, and resold all his DVDs by the time he was fifteen.

But when I picture my younger self watching Chivalry of a Failed Knight, I think he really would’ve loved it. I think he would’ve loved how all of the characters had really unique and interesting weapons and powers, and he would’ve spent all of his time in math class drawing pictures of swords for the characters to use and coming up with all of their abilities. I think he really would’ve looked up to Ikki for his intelligent strategies and for researching his enemies; and that he would’ve had a huge crush on Stella, and hoped to one day have a relationship just like that of his own; maybe he even would’ve learned something about sexuality from listening to them talk about it. He would’ve thought that the fifteen-minute fight between Shizuku and the student council president was the coolest fucking thing that ever happened; and the trippy visuals of Ikki’s incarceration scene would have blown his mind to shit and convinced him that the series was a masterpiece–at least until he was eighteen and finally sold the DVDs.

The appeal of shows like The Asterisk War and Chivalry of a Failed Knight is not difficult for me to understand. When I was growing up, my favorite characters were always the ones who reminded me of myself. I idolized child geniuses and anyone who was kicking ass while they were still a kid, because that’s the way I saw myself. I thought swords were the coolest thing in the universe, and I wanted to own a katana so badly that it was tearing me apart. By the time I was fourteen and ready to admit to myself that I was into girls, I’d be reading shit like Negima and Chobits and drooling over all the fanservice scenes. I get it. I was a fourteen year-old boy once, and I still remember what it was like to be one, and I can still find it in me to connect with those emotions even now.

The reason that I’ve chosen to break The Asterisk War down in such ridiculously extensive detail, is because I want you to understand that being a show for fourteen year-olds; being a dumb light novel adaptation; being a harem show; none of these are what makes this show bad. You can make a show with all of the same basic elements as this, without insulting the viewer’s intelligence in the process. You can pander to a demographic of preteen boys, while still giving them a show that they’ll actually give a shit about for ten seconds after foolishly dropping all their money on it.

I think that most of the people who watched both The Asterisk War and Chivalry of a Failed Knight would agree that the latter is the better series (as no shortage of comments on my videos can corroborate); and I’m glad to see that the show’s MyAnimeList score was able to pull up pretty far ahead of that of The Asterisk War. But the fact that these shows are still thought of as being around the same caliber, or even that their opening episodes were compared so heavily without many people pointing out Chivalry’s superiority, was a little bit worrying to me.

I don’t think that every anime needs to be a masterpiece, or even that they necessarily need to be good. I understand that every series has its own purpose which it’s intended to fulfill–and that sometimes that purpose is just to kick out some shit that might get a few kids to buy a few books and keep some adults at their jobs. But I don’t want to live in a world where we’re lumping in something cheap that came as a result of being made in a sweatshop with something cheap that came as a result of being made by a small, local business–if that metaphor makes sense.

If shows like the Asterisk War continue to be successful, then it will continue to perpetuate the cycle whereby churning out a constant barrage of cheap, shitty, heartless adaptations of low-tier light novels is a viable business decision. What I hope that I can inspire in people is that they might ask a little bit more from their entertainment. I hope that people start asking for shows to be made with a little bit of care, by staff that actually seems to give a shit and to be good at their jobs; and that we can support companies who do good business and, maybe even take care of their employees. There’s not a lot of money in the anime industry right now–but if we can keep it going to the right places, and into the hands of the right people, then maybe the industry can transform into something better. But that’s all pretty heavy-handed and idealistic.

At the very least, I hope that in watching this series of videos, you’ve started to think about what the lower five numbers of your ten scale really mean. To seriously consider whether all of those kinda generic harem shows are really all just mediocre, or if, on closer inspection, some of them are actually gigantic pieces of shit. If I can convince someone that there’s a meaningful difference between a one-out-of-ten and a two-out-of-ten, then I think I’ve done my job.

Thanks again for watching everyone, and I really hope that you enjoyed this obscenely massive video series. I started writing this under the idea that it was going to be a video which is the size of a book; and at just over fifty-thousand words, I was right on the money. Thank you for all the wonderful support in keeping these videos and my channel running, and for everyone who started donating to my patreon or increased their pledges as a direct result of this video series. One last thanks for watching; and I’ll see you in the next one.

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9 thoughts on “The Asterisk War Sucks [Part 12b]: Chivalry of a Failed Knight Doesn’t Suck!

  1. There will be a 12-episode second half of Asterisk War that will come out this spring, if you’re ready to make more ragehate posts about it, that would suffice.

  2. This video was a great closure for the saga. Congratulations man, you are amazing. This entire saga was truly a masterpiece. I will support you, because I want you to keep doing delivering this kind of products. I had made my decision a while ago, but the last two videos of this saga made me want to do it today, and that’s exactly what I am going to do.

  3. Pingback: The Asterisk War Sucks [Part 12b]: Chivalry of a Failed Knight Doesn’t Suck! | Just my guilty pleasure reblog.

  4. A couple of things:
    1) Ikki didn’t say he wanted to wait till marriage. He said that he wanted to be worthy of dating Stella openly, and to stand proud in front of his and her parents.
    2) Toka Todo’s (the class president) attack was ridiculously awesome.
    3) Could you explain why characters like Kirito, Ayato, and Inaho are bad while other wish fulfilment characters like Sora(No Game No Life), Shiroe (Log Horizon) and Soma(Shokugeki no soma) are better?

    • 1) is an actually important distinction. It feeds to his complexes later in the arc. And with them resolved, they are probably gonna have sex soooon.

  5. Oh. i definitely enjoyed this series a lot. I followed you both on youtube and here on wordpress because of this series and I really think I managed to learn a lot about anime and execution in general as well. Good job and keep ’em coming ! I would definitely like to support you in the future.

  6. And yet, there is one thing that Ass War did do better than Chivalry did: provide a meaningful role for Julis in the tournament arc. Chivalry’s second half increasingly becomes the Ikki show, with Stella sidelined, none of her battles shown. It was nice to have this huge battle with Shizuku and the student council prez and I understand why it made sense in the story, but why not do the same for at least one of Stella’s battles, to showcase how strong she is?

    Julis meanwhile got to fight as an equal throughout the tournament arc, showing much more why she was considered so overpowered in the first place. That made Ass War’s latter half more enjoyable for me than Chivalry, especially because I wasn’t convinced to much by Ikki’s trip to SHAFT prison.

  7. Hey man about the marriage thing, he says he wants to be a man worthy of being reconized by her family first and wining the tournament is his way of doing it

    Second after the big ass tournament that occurs after the anime he goes to the final with a character you wont find very hard to deduce its identity, and then after one of the most amazing fucking big fight he ends up on the infirmary, some time later we discover that Stella is there too, and then BOOM, all the pent up feeling till now explode and they have SEX, YEAH BABY HE GET LAID, and after they fucked basically trough the whole night expending 10 or more condoms in the process(because safety (Y) ) his sister and alice appear and with a sharp joke she discovers the truth from Stella by a slip of the tongue and goes into true yandere mode

    Oh and about the marriage, on the novel and manga he didnt actually ask her to marry him but instead asks her if she wants to be his family(wich considering his background comes of way better than simply marriage) to wich she accepts anyways

    Later on he goes to her country where she is nothing short of a National Idol and a whole lot of crazyness happen XD, you should read it if you already didnt do it

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