Light Novel / The Asterisk War

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The Asterisk War is a Light Novel series written by Yuu Miyazaki and illustrated by okiura. A manga adaptation written by the same author was released in 2013. A-1 Pictures released an Animated Adaptation in October 2015. The anime is licensed by Aniplex of America for an English-language release. Yen Press licensed the light novels and the manga for an English-language release and began releasing them in late 2016.

In the wake of an extinction-level event known as Invertia, traditional governments around the world fell, the Integrated Enterprise Foundation (IEF) is organized, and many people born after this event discovered they were to tap into reserves of prana, giving them superhuman abilities or even the ability to use magic. These people are known as the Genestella of the "Starpulse Generation." Our hero Ayato Amagiri is one such person who comes to the titular Academy City on water, Rikka, otherwise known as "Asterisk", to attend Seidoukan Academy (and to possibly find out what happened to his sister, Haruka).

Asterisk is a famous city which is home to six educational institutions, which engage in tournaments known as "Festas," in which the super-powered students engage in hand-to-hand combat, which is broadcast around the world for entertainment. The winners of these tournaments are allowed to have any wish they want within reason granted.

Character tropes should be moved to The Asterisk War's Character page.


The Asterisk War contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The student council presidents of each the seven schools have varying degrees of power depending on how they get elected. For example, at one school, the President is elected through a battle tournament, in which case her power over the students is very high. However, at Arlequint, a research institution, the President is typically chosen as a compromise between several powerful factions. However, the Presidents themselves are part of a pan-school council which plays the trope completely straight down to having implausibly broad powers to direct school affairs, answering only to the IEF.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime adapts the first six volumes and condenses them to the important plot elements.
  • All for Nothing: Koichiro Toudou's plan to have Kirin's father Seijiro released proved pointless when Kirin competes in the Gryps Festa with Ayato after she follows her own path instead of serving as his Unwitting Pawn. After that, Seijiro is released.
  • Androids Are People, Too: AI research has advanced to the point where robots can develop human personalities and emotions. Camila Pareto from Arlequint is trying to get robots to be recognized as actual citizens and not just machinery.
  • Anti-Villain: Koichiro Toudou and Nicolas Enfield are of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety. For Koichiro, his motivations in having Seijiro released are somewhat justified, but his actions are unforgivable. Nicolas wanted to keep his daughter Claudia out of the Gryps Festa by using Gustave Marlowe to injure Julis.
  • Apocalypse How: While on the surface, it resembles a Class 1, socially it's a class 2. Society has reverted to a monarchistic system with societies completely subordinate to the IEF.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Each student is ranked by their fighting abilities based on their sportsmanship in Festas.
  • Battle Harem: Every one of Ayato's girls is seriously badass, but when working together, there is very little they can't do. Claudia may have chosen them as her team for the Gryps Festa for this very reason.
  • Benevolent A.I.: Despite their quirks, Ardi and Rimsi are nothing short of helpful to their owners and follow their orders, no strings attached.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ayato rescues Julis from Silas's clutches towards the end of volume 1.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The major characters are not inherently good or evil. On the other hand, the IEF, the current ruler of world politics, is positive that Despotism Justifies the Means as it is to be profitable to them, and that's before getting into the likes of Rewolf and Arlequint. Only a few characters like Ayato, Julis, Saya, Kirin and Sylvia are in the White area of morality, and this is mostly due to situations in their past that gave them stronger senses of morality.
  • Bland-Name Product: Ayato and Julis have lunch at a WcDonald.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Invoked. The higher echelons of the IEF, originally brought together to aid recovery efforts after the Invertia incident, has instituted a program where anyone in, seeking, or being assigned a leadership position is mentally "reprogrammed" in such a way as to lose all human desire, both good and bad, except for what is in the best interest of making the corporation profitable, and spurring the flow of commerce, by whatever means necessary.
  • Breather Episode: Episodes 5, 8 & 11, which were preceded by fairly intense action-packed episodes. Some of them also double as A Day in the Limelight, giving more character development to the supporting characters such as Saya and Kirin.
  • Bullying a Dragon: While the Genestella are several times more powerful than ordinary humans, they are also a very small minority. How this typically plays out is that the general populace is highly distrustful of super-powered individuals and the laws are heavily biased in favor of normal humans. Indeed, if a Genestella hurts a normal human, it is regarded as a Felony Misdemeanor, even if the Genestella acted to protect an unarmed child from a criminal. Just ask Kirin Toudou, whose father was arrested for defending her from an armed robber.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The overall subtext of the series. The primary villains are the IEF, a Mega Corp. that controls the world economy, bringing entire countries to the brink of poverty (Lieseltania included), encouraging the unethical treatment of Genestella for its own purposes, using the Asterisk Festas to extend their political influence and brainwashing its own members to prevent any defiance. For what has been seen so far, its only goal seems to be "profit at any cost."
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Silas Norman tries to assassinate Julis and other Seidoukan students so he can win the Phoenix Festa. Unfortunately for Silas, Ayato rescues Julis and sends him falling to the streets below so Claudia and Eishirou can arrest him.
  • Childhood Friends: There are a few characters who are these:
    • Ayato and Saya were friends when they were young.
    • Julis and Orphelia, before the latter's Face–Heel Turn.
  • The City: The Academy City Rikka, also known as Asterisk City, is where the story revolves around.
  • City of Adventure: Rikka is a city full of <Starpulse Generation> people where duels to compete in ranking take place often.
  • City on the Water: Rikka is an artificial island city based on a crater-lake in North Kanto.
  • The City Narrows: The redevelopment area of the city where gangs and illegal activities are.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: For Ayato, Julis and Kirin. Ayato becomes a top-ranking student at Seidoukan Academy and Julis becomes his girlfriend, while Kirin has to prove her individuality as a swordswoman.
  • Cool Sword: The Four Colored Magic Swords are four sword-type Ogre Luxes, said to be extremely powerful even by Ogre Lux standards. They are:
    • Ser-Veresta (black), wielded by Ayato.
    • Lei-Gleims (white), wielded by Fairclough.
    • Raksha-Nada (red), wielded by Madiath.
    • Wole-Zain (blue), wielded by no one as its compability rate is so high no one as been able to match it.
  • Conspicuous CG: Pretty much any character that does the commentary at the end of the episode, usually Claudia.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Several of the IEF's executive have been involved in conspiracies. Some of these include:
    • Koichiro Toudou, who is all too keen to become a top member of Galaxy, even if it means using Kirin and covering up her father's deeds to have him released.
    • Nicolas Enfield, Claudia's father who wants what's best for her to the point that he attempts to kill Julis to prevent his daughter from competing in the Gryps Festa.
  • Crapsack World: Ooooh, boy. Entire countries have become slums after the Invertia impact event, and the IEF keeps it that way because it's profitable.
  • Crippling the Competition: Silas commits assassination attempts on Seidoukan students to the point that they can't compete because if it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Done regularly in the Phoenix Festa, with some opponents being defeated by a One-Hit Kill.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 8 greatly expands upon Kirin and Saya's interactions.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Mixed in with Dystopia Justifies the Means, the IEF actively keeps the world crapsack as it would be profitable to them.
  • Differently Powered Individual: The <Starpulse Generation> (Genestella) are some people born after the Ember Tears meteor shower that pelted the Earth for three days. They are stronger, faster, and heal quicker than normal humans and can manipulate Mana with their Prana (Star-Power).
    • Even among the Genestella there are even more unique individuals, the Strega (female) and the Dante (male) who can link with mana through flesh and blood, making them like magicians with their abilities, however for some reason they are disliked by Orga Lux to the point that only 10 have managed to use one in all of Asterisk's history.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the beginning of volume 1, Julis challenges Ayato to a duel. The reason? He caught her in a state of undress while returning her handkerchief.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The IEF's persecution of the Genestella as a minority is very similar to what the Nazis did to the minorities, especially the Jews.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Ardi is never safe from Rimsi's abuse. When he questions Ernesta why they were programmed that way, she gives a philosophical excuse that a woman would always dominate a man, which he seems to accept. She then quietly mentions to herself that Rimsi is also his Power Limiter.
  • Double Standard: If a guy sneaks into the female dorms, he's punished harshly as a Felony Misdemeanor. Just ask Ayato, who was forced to duel with Julis upon sneaking into her room. On the other hand, if a girl sneaks into the guy's dorms, the guy whose room she breaks into is the one punished instead, and any complaints he might voice are summarily ignored.
  • Dystopia: The entire world is all but completely controlled by one mega-corp which forced countries back into the system of monarchic rule, and the one place that isn't a crapsack location, Asterisk, is used primarily as a stage for very dangerous martial arts duels and tournaments among the teenage students.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Orga Lux which, unlike regular Lux that are made with Mana Dite, are made with Ulm Mana Dite. They have their own will and personalities. Some can even corrupt their users.
  • Enter Stage Window:
    • Ayato enters Julis's window to return her handkerchief at the beginning of Volume 1, only for her to challenge him to a duel.
    • He subsequently sneaks into Julis's and Claudia's rooms in the girl's dormitory using their windows when he is invited by them to meet.
    • Saya does this to Ayato too, much to his horror due to the Double Standard listed above.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The IEF might be corrupt, but their executives would never use a relative as an Unwitting Pawn. And the idea of killing a princess to keep one of their executives' daughters out of a Festa is bad.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Despite how wrong his actions were, Koichiro Toudou is correct that Kirin would release Seijiro, just not in the way he intended.
  • Felony Misdemeanor:
    • Ayato enters Julis's room to return her handkerchief while she is still changing. She ends up dueling with him as a punishment.
    • Seijiro Toudou, a Genestella, kills a robber to defend Kirin and is arrested for it. An example of how the IEF persecutes the Genestella.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In volume 1, a cloaked robotic assassin attempts to kill Julis during her duel with Ayato, foreshadowing the possibility that Silas is the one who's responsible for the assassination attempts.
    • In volume 2, while Ayato confers with Kirin after being stuck underground, he suggests that choosing her own path will be better for her to release her father. Guess what Kirin does after that?
  • Holographic Interface: They seem to have completely replaced physical cellphones and computers. We never see any device that projects them and they seem to be activated by thought.
  • Human Resources / Super Human Trafficking: Arlequint is notorious for this, and Rewolf has a history of partaking in it as well. The IEF often turns a blind eye to it as long as doing so remains profitable.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In volume 2, Kouichiro points out that Kirin wants Seijiro released and she eventually does so after competing in the Gryps Festa.
  • Kick the Dog: Silas wasn't kidding about what he plans to do at the Phoenix Festa due to him kidnapping Julis.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Claudia's reminder to Koichiro that her mother is part of the school board and his plans to use Kirin as an Unwitting Pawn is meant to be one.
  • Knight Templar: Koichiro Toudou wants to have Kirin's father (and his brother) Seijiro released from prison. His solution drives him into covering up her father's deeds and using her to attain his goals and become a top-ranking member of Galaxy.
  • Lady and Knight: Julis is the beautiful princess and Ayato is her noble knight who has sworn to protect her.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kirin's uncle Koichiro, a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Corrupt Corporate Executive, frequently uses her as an Unwitting Pawn. However, after Ayato shows up in her life, she begins to stand up for herself and even breaks ties with Koichiro. Then after Ayato defeats Kirin, Koichiro reveals that he covered up her father's deeds in order for his niece to come back with him; Claudia threatens to ruin Koichiro's career and the latter stops abusing Kirin.
  • Laser Sword: Many of the Lux and Orga Lux weapons manifest as this (although not all of them). Ser-Veresta plays the trope completely straight as it functions almost identically to a lightsaber and will melt/cut through anything.
  • Lover Tug-of-War: Ayato is caught in this by Julis and Saya in episode 5 when both girls attempt to claim him as their partner for the upcoming tournament. Lester wisely steps out of the room to avoid the incoming drama.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Seidoukan students when Ayato ends up touching Julis's breast after pushing her out of the way from a robotic assassin.
  • Memento MacGuffin: There are several in the story.
  • The Men in Black: Shadow Star serves as the secret police force for Seidoukan.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: One spanning the first volume. Ayato discovers that the assasination attempt on the students at Seidoukan is a plot by Silas Norman to win the Phoenix Festa, who in turn is being used by Arlequint as an Unwitting Pawn.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Only the protagonists and Sylvia are in the White area of morality. Several characters like Claudia are willing to use underhanded means to achieve noble goals. Others like Irene and Orphelia used to be good people until they were forced into villainy by circumstances beyond their control. The IEF is a power-hungry Mega Corp. that keeps entire countries in poverty simply because it's profitable to them.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Koichiro uses Kirin as a pawn to help attain a position in Galaxy for his personal gain. It doesn't last.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ayato's understandable reaction when he accidentally sees Julis getting dressed, when she is about to fry him with Amaryllis and when he accidentally grabs her breast while protecting her from a robotic assassin.
    • Julis when Silas reveals that he is behind the assassination attempts.
    • Lester when he is beaten up by Silas's robots.
    • Silas when Ayato outsmarts him and when Claudia is about to capture him.
    • Koichiro when Kirin decides to leave her uncle behind and when Claudia threatens him to expose his actions towards Kirin to her mother Isabella.
    • Gustave when Kirin defeats him.
    • Nicolas when Claudia refuses to reconsider her participation in the Gryps Festa.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: When Ayato decides to cut loose, he's the Awesome and pretty much everyone else is being overshadowed. His Power Limiter is mostly just a plot convenience to prevent him from constantly overshadowing everyone.
  • Playing with Syringes: Apparently, the Geneva Convention does not exist in this world setting. Again, of the academies in Asterisk, Arlequint is the most notorious for this.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: As opposed to some of IEF's Corrupt Corporate Executives like Koichiro, Nicolas and Isabella Enfield are dutiful and level-headed when they do their work.
  • Punny Name: The City of "Asterisk" is named because the city's design resembles a large asterisk.
  • Random Power Ranking: There is an official ranking system of student battle skills and every participating student's names are recorded in a ranking book. This led to those recorded on the first page as "Page Ones". This is ultimately mocked and deconstructed as its repeatedly mentioned that this is not an accurate representation of the strength of each character since multiple factors can determine your placement in the rankings. Examples:
    • Someone might be stuck in their current placement because the opponent(s) that they must defeat to advance just so happened to perfectly counter their abilities.
    • There are those that do not participate in duels either because they wish to hide their true strength, or because they don't care about it (such as Saya, who is on the same level as Julis, but is completely unranked).
    • There are even various power ranking charts on various fan websites, but it's mostly based entirely on favorites of the week and as shown, the rankings on one fansite are completely different than the rankings on another.
    • Ayato becomes the top-ranking student of Seidoukan after defeating the previous holder of that rank, Kirin, but it's not because he is necessary a superior fight, but ultimately because they refused to take advantage of his time limit and because they were unaware of his true fighting style. Ayato even notes that his tactic would only work once, and he wouldn't stand a chance against her in a rematch. Regardless of the reasons or the actual difference in strength, he is given the superior rank.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When a Genestella hurts a human, even if it was in self-defense, they would be arrested.
    • Whenever a male student walks into a female student's dormitory, the former will be harshly punished. Ayato finds that part out the hard way when he first meets Julis.
    • In volume 1, Julis holds an unauthorized duel with Ayato on the school grounds. What's the end result? Claudia arrives and voids the duel.
    • Even though Kirin decides she wants nothing to do with Koichiro at the end of volume 2, he still attempts to take her back. He only stops when Claudia threatens to destroy his career by revealing his abuse of Kirin to the IEF. Also, no matter what Koichiro had done to cover up the truth about Seijiro, it still comes back to bite him.
  • Returning the Handkerchief: The whole story begins with our protagonist Ayato trying to return a handkerchief he found floating down from the sky. When he returned the handkerchief he met its owner Julis who was in the middle of changing her clothes. Unfortunately for Ayato, it ends up being a Felony Misdemeanor as he is forced to duel with her after that.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Ernesta Kühne created AR-Dnote  and RM-Cnote  to be so and wishes for AIs to be accepted the same as humans. Ironically Ardi, the more robotic-looking one, is more emotional than RM-C the more human looking one who's consciousness is nearer to that of a human's. Justified since AR-D has an Ulm Mana Dite in him thus making him like an Orga Lux and have a personality.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ser-Veresta outright refuses to use her full potential unless Julis and Ayato wield her together, as Lester found out the hard way.
  • Shout-Out: In the anime, the Lux's activation sounds use the lightsaber sound effects from the Star Wars franchise.
  • Supporting Harem: Julis may be clearly in the lead (but she and Ayato are the only ones unaware of it), but Ayato has several other girls vying for him, and their affections are not very subtle. Still, Ayato is in this to protect Julis and none of the other girls have a chance.
  • Tournament Arc: The Phoenix Festa, in which the top schools compete against each other in matches.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Koichiro Toudou correctly believes that Kirin wanted her father Seijiro, who also happens to be Koichiro's brother, released, but it doesn't justify that he has used his niece as an Unwitting Pawn and that he has covered up the truth about Seijiro.
    • Claudia's father Nicolas Enfield, a fellow IEF executive, reveals himself to be one when he gives out his reasons to Claudia. He believed that by sending Gustave Marlowe to attack Julis, she would reconsider her decision to compete in the Gryps Festa. Unfortunately for him, Claudia understandably refuses.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In Volume 1, Julis calls Ayato out on his Unwanted Rescue but Ayato counters it with an Armor-Piercing Question.
    • Near the end of volume 3, Ayato gets attacked by Claudia after visiting her late at night to discuss more about his upcoming fight. Fortunately he's able to snap her out of it, and she goes to explain more about the Cursed with Awesome nature of her Orga-Lux.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Kirin's uncle Koichiro, who seems to be rather abusive to her. Ayato ends up intervening, only for him to be forced into a duel with her to get her uncle to stop hitting her. He ends up losing, then finds out she's the top-ranked fighter at their school, but only because he's still unable to go all out at this point. Eventually, Kirin decides to stand up for herself and breaks ties with Koichiro at the end of Volume 2.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: It is not unusual for the Genestella to have hair colored blue, pink or even white.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Arlequint to Silas at the end of volume 1.


Alternative Title(s): Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, Asterisk War

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