Sort-of finales: Cavalry and Asterisk

This time I’ll say goodbye to our spiritual sister shows … for now.

First, Rkudai Kishi no Cavalry wraps up the way we figured it would.
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It looked like the show had a major dilemma on its hands.  Ikki was in no condition to fight, and Touka was damn near unbeatable.  While they are friendly with each other, she would not back down or go easy on him.  Both of them knew it, and so did we.  And any attempt to game the system, or give Ikki the rest he needed before the match would be considered cheating no matter how unfair the situation was now.  So we start with Ikki having to run to the arena, in slow motion, with his moment of self-doubt, until he remembers his promise to Stella.  We get an inspiring moment after that as all the side characters he’s inspired cheer him on the rest of the way, all predictable and not changing the central problem.

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If Cavalry has an edge over that other show, Asterisk, it’s with the visuals.  Ikki decides to go with one strike, squeeze everything out, go beyond himself, and other metaphors, so of course it takes a long time to actually do it with all these words to say, but it’s all right because it’s a great visual moment.  The colors get washed out; only streaks or red (Ikki’s blood) and yellow (er, Touka’s hair).  Everything else is either simple lines or a mottling where the fans are sitting, all black or white.  Though the shot a second after, of the other characters gaping, was an anticlimax.  The proposal, however, was not, more like icing on the cake.

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The winnahs!

At least for now apparently that’s it for this series.  They didn’t even get to the big tournament so the show has plenty more it can do if it comes back.  I’m not sure I want any more.  I’ve pointed out the differences between it and Asterisk many times.  The only big difference between them is Cavalry is a little darker.  A high school where kids do magical battles to advance to a big tournament, lowly hero embarrasing and then impressing a tsundere redhead, harems, buddies, it’s more or less the same, nothing new at all.  If two shows can be so similar do we really NEED more of each?  If there is a second season, I’ll decide then.

Asterisk had a couple of good visual bits too.
Asterisk had a couple of good visual bits too.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk has more to go, too, but they’re stopping for a season before resuming in April.  The finale, therefore, doesn’t have the same emotional punch as the Cavalry does.  Ironically, the battle goes longer.

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This episode starts with Irene and Priscilla’s already-known backstory, maybe thrown in to emphasize the love and affections feel for each other.  But we knew that, too.  I guess they were trying to set a mood.  Then both teams go to the floor and we have a back-and-forth affair for a while.  Ayato has a sneaky trick he wants to pull; everytime he and Julis do something clever I shouted “Was that the sneaky trick?!”  Well, not really.  But it’s a pretty good fight nonetheless.  Both sides coming up with tricks, surprising the other, occasionally stopping to explain what they or the other side is doing, an anime tradition.

Irene (or her sword) goes nuts.
Irene (or her sword) goes nuts.

The sneaky trick didn’t work, but by now Irene has gone to priscilla’s blood-well twice, and the added effort to protect herself, or her weapon, is too much for her, and her weapon takes over and makes her even nastier.  Meanwhile, Ayato’s time is running out.  Time for one more strike!  So the good guys win, the not-really-bad guys lose but pick up the pieces, and the only change is that now everyone knows about Ayato’s time limit.  Whoops!  The future opponents are already making plans, and Ayato says he has to confront this problem sooner or later anyway … Actually not a bad way to begin a hiatus.  Ayato has a new problem (not to mention his sister, who they tease is coming back), opponents are licking their chops, and his harem is still intact.  I seen no reason not to watch this when it returns.

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