Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

8 October 2015: The low-hanging fruit of autumn 2015 anime blog posts

On the plus side, Kakuma Ai sounds pretty good as Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt.

Conveniently, there are two shows this season with similar premises and comparable first episodes. Both feature high school boys who meet half-naked tsundere pink-haired girls and duel them for unnecessary reasons putatively related to their magic school's magic business. The first of these, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water) aired first to, well, not acclaim, but at least without outrage. It looks suitably pretty with shiny cityscapes and bright colors sort of similar to the Toaru Majutsu no Index and Toaru Kagaku no Railgun bullshit academy cities. The second show, for reasons I'm too weary to pursue, has a number of different titles. It's sometimes known as Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, or alternatively A Tale of Worst One. Yeah, I'm just gonna use Asterisk and Cavalry respectively.

Stella's decision to use SWORD ARTS instead of
100% magic mumbo jumbo is a plot point.

It may seem I'm not particularly enamored with these shows, but in actuality my reticence results from an internal conflict. I'm driven by a desire to churn out regular compare-and-contrast blog post layups, but also eager to avoid watching any more Asterisk. I acknowledge it is unfair to judge shows entirely by their first episodes, but my considerable research (i.e., scrolling through the Twitter) suggests viewers are nearly unanimous in agreeing Asterisk is "not good enough to defend" whereas Cavalry fans indignantly insist their horse is at least less lame than Asterisk.

This is actually the second time Potato-kun has shielded
his eyes from lethal girl beams this episode.

I agree with this view. I can't claim Cavalry is capital-G good, but I did like it more than Asterisk which I found to be dreadful. Asterisk begins when Ayato finds a capital-S special handkerchief that blew out of a fourth-floor window (a magic school would have magic wind, okay) and promptly returns it by magic-leaping (trespassing, really) into the bedroom. Naturally, Potato-kun encounters Julis-Alexia von Riessfelt there in a state of undress. Alarmed at his sudden breach of the Otaku Virtues, Ayato partakes of the sacrament of penance by groping her left breast (symbolically the sinister one). No, wait, that part was later. That was after Jules flew into a tsundere rage and challenged Ayato to a duel to—well, not to the death—just until one of their little brooches gets broken.

Stella and Ikki
Sweet. Girl roomie.

Cavalry begins when Ikki encounters Stella Vermillion in a state of undress in his dorm room. Although his response to this unexpected encounter was certainly less than ideal, it was at least different from the conventional response (i.e., shrieking hysterically and futilely shielding one's enormous all-seeing eyes). Stella challenges Ikki to a duel—no, not to the death either, but at least to the pain—with a lifetime of enslavement on the line. This probably isn't as preposterous a notion as it sounds, since he'll probably only live for another 90 years or so, based on the age of his great-grandfather. You know, the one who help Japan win World War II.1

Ayato and Julis
In case you missed her panty line in the last
ass shot, we'll show it a couple more times.

I already know Cavalry turns into a series of tournament battles against a chuuni menagerie of opponents, and I expect Asterisk to do the same. I'm counting on the mere fact that I've already sought out or otherwise absorbed additional information about Cavalry while remaining largely ignorant about Asterisk to mean the former is better than the latter. This makes Cavalry an easy choice if I'm only going to watch one of the two shows. Watching both? I'll at least need some sort of assurance that there won't be any more proselytizing about the Otaku Virtues.

Note 1: I cheated a little. That part wasn't revealed in the anime yet, but it's in the light novel. Just sort of casually, you know. I guess it doesn't change the story much, unless the bit about winning World War II is critical to underscoring the importance of Ikki's great-grandfather.

P.S. Spoilers

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