I'm gonna start this review saying that I'm a casual anime viewer. Big series like Naruto or Dragon Ball no longer appeal to me. My tastes in anime, and fiction in general, have changed and The Asterisk War seemed like a good place to start to get acquainted to the new shonen series.
Since I haven't read the novels, this review is exclusively for the anime version.
This is series combines some of my favorite things in anime: meaningful character development, great action setpieces and amazing visuals. This show started with great promise and is able to hold it till the end.
The story is simple: after his sister mysteriously vanishes, the protagonist goes to the school she used to attend to and find her. There, he becomes the school's best fighter and earns a harem of beautiful, competent girls.
Something you don't see very often today's harem shows is that the protagonist is this affable, compassionate human being and the show offers a pretty good reason as to why that many girls would develop feelings for him: he loves them, sees them as equals, lays out a helping hand when no else did.
What also amazed me is that by that point in the series is that the protagonist chooses right from the beginning his favorite: the obligatory tsundere. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as this girl is a good-natured, bold and determined person; being a tsundere is just a secondary factor in her personality.
The other girls are not that bad either, but it's clear from the get-go they have no chance with the protagonist and whenever they have intimate moments with him, it only makes the heartbreak harder for them. I didn't like that the show kept introducing love interests for Ayato even when his mind was made up. That's the one aspect that kept dragging the show down.
Anyway, The Asterisk War is set in a world dominated by a huge multinational corporation that uses fighting tournaments between teenage superhumans in order to extend their influence and the protagonists constantly winning puts a major dent in their plans. You can expect a lot of under-the-table dealing and political intrigue from this setup.
In general, this manages to be an entertaining story. There is drama, fun, action and a huge potential for world building.
A very good series for those interested in anime, manga and light novels.