When Kamogawa Asumi was just a baby, her mother was grievously injured when a rocket crashed to the ground. Five years later, having been in a coma all the time, Asumi's mother finally dies, and the little girl struggles to come to terms with the death of a mother she barely remembers. In the midst of her turmoil, she meets "Lion-san," a strange figure wearing a lion mask and claiming to be a ghost. Lion-san helps Asumi to bury her mother's ashes, and finally, Asumi reaches her own decision: "When I grow up, I'm going to be a rocket pilot."
Twin Spica is a pretty good anime for young viewers. I say that because there are alot of morals and good values taught in this show. If you don't mind most of that stuff im sure anyone would enjoy this show. The show evolves a young girl named Asumi Kamogawa whos dream is to become an astronaut. The story starts off as a very young Asumi and then progresses forward from there. Although Asumi is a very engeretic and smart little girl, theres more than enough tragic stories in this show to last a lifetime. Which is another point. Even though you will be convinced
from most anime descriptions as a story about a girl wanting to go to space, the story and ending will eventually reveal itself to be something very diffrernet. Now the question to be asked now would be: "Is it worth watching?"
To start off, the show's character structure purely surrounds Asumi as everything about her life is told throughout the twenty episodes. But from episode one, the viewer gets exposed to a large amount of information about Asumi and her habits. One of the pieces of information is the introduction of Lion-san, a man with a funny looking mask. You'll be wondering why he would be wearing such a silly costume but it all makes sense even before you know it. There are a few other friends that show themselves throught the show but you'll have to watch to figure out who they are. The character types for her friends are pretty standard anime fare and are fairly uninteresting. Their character types may be uninteresting but how they evolve and support Asumi and each other will definitely stick out most out of anything in the show. This is the show's only saving grace is how Asumi and her friends all work off each other. It's actually very believeable and I even can relate to a few of them.
As the story progresses Asumi's friends will be given time to get their backgrounds explained. But like any tragic show like this, Those tragic stories are where most of the show's stories will come from. Of course from every tradgedy there is a lesson to be learned hence my reccomendation to younger viewers. I'm sure some of the stories will definitely tug at your tear ducts because I cried a little more than i would expect from a show about a girl becoming an astronaut. But if you enjoyed this show as much as me you'll start wanting to know what happens next instead wondering about the girls main goals. Its good that they do a decent job on character building because the story isn't all that great and the art work is even worse.
Nothing about the show's artwork will impress you at all. The artwork is below average at best. Background details are weak and generic, no real detail is put into them. Although they are hand drawn and painted which is good i guess. The character artwork is very early 1990's style. Clothing isn't very detailed, school uniforms are generic, even their everyday clothes are very plain. One art point that does bug the hell out of me the most though is Asumi's rosy cheeks. I've never been a fan of the rosy red cheek circles on faces since it reminds me too much of a clown. Its kind of a shame because she would look just fine with out them. Even with that the animations are poorly drawn too you can see some breaks in animation, or the shadows are even just triangles with legs. I could keep knocking on the art and animation, but I should spend an equal time hating on the sound as well.
The music and sound isn't very versitile. Most of the time its guitar or harmonica solo's or the occasional melancholy orchestra breaking out in song when something tragic happens. Voice acting is allright but with all the bad things going for it you can't even say the voice acting is well done (even though it is).
Overall the show has one thing going for it, and thats the character building and its morals. Most viewers will say that its a very bad anime. But to those few people who dont mind the occasional tragic anime or those few people who can relate to some of the things dealt with in this show will find a special place for this anime. The ending isn't where I thought it would end but for what it was worth it was a good place to stop this anime. This anime was like a road trip in a beat up minivan. The whole ride was ugly and bumpy but with good company, it can still be fun.
Twin Spica is about a group of friends that want to become astronauts. However, unlike Stelliva of the Universe, it is more of a slice of life anime and down to earth. For the most part Twin Spica is character driven focusing mainly on Asumi and later on Marika. What differentiates Asumi from other leads in other "HS space dramas" is that she is a very strong willed and determined character despite her diminutive stature. She has gone through a lot and yet has never whined or cried. We are later introduced to her friends when she goes to the
academy. For the most part they're pretty clique/standard. Marika on the other hand may be the "stoic/cold/loner" part of the clique but has an intriguing back story. Its just too bad that we don't get to know more about her. One of the things that worried me about Twin Spica was "lion-san" when I was reading a synopsis. "Lion-san" is a person that wears a lion mask and is a mentor to Asumi. Thankfully Lion-san wasn't distracting, in fact he fits in very well.
As I said before, Twin Spica is character driven. For the first 8 some episodes the focus was mainly on Asumi and flowed perfectly abiet slow paced. After that it loses a bit of focus and at times become too slow paced. I was confused as to where the development and focus was going. You could say that the story became too non-linear. While it was all very interesting and ties together it could have been handled much better. For example, while Asumi may be strong it just that she may be a bit too strong this early. They show how she developed by devoting entire episodes showing her past. Again the flow of the story felt a bit muddled in the middle but gets back on track for the end. As for the ending, it may be a bit too open for some. There are a lot of unanswered questions especially Marika and may seem to be an odd place to stop. However, considering the nature of the anime I felt that it was perfectly fine.
As for the technical aspects, nothing stood out too much. The character designs reminded me Tezuka Osamu and Studio Gibli works. Fantastic Children comes to mind in terms of similar character designs. Animation was standard for tv anime. The music was pretty good and the ED was very fitting. As for the OP.... it was good but it felt odd having something fast paced for such a slow and somber anime.
Twin Spica is a character driven story about a group of friends that want to become astronauts. However, the story losses focus a bit in the middle and the ending maybe a bit too open for most people. Overall Twin Spica is very heartwarming, heartbreaking, and somber piece.
Story: The storyline is simple, sweet, and straight forward. You can not help getting caught up with it. I do wish they had of carried the story on longer, but the end they chose feels right. The bit in there about the clone I did not really understand its significance; but all and all very enjoyable.
Artwork: I actually really liked the art work for this one. The 'washed' out feel of the backgrounds lend to the slow pace of the story. There is not a lot
of back ground animation.. most scene backgrounds are still, except for the story characters (not a lot of Traffic, people, etc, etc). For me, this added to the feel of the story.
Sound: It was ok. Spoken Dialog and the soundtrack/background noise had a nice balance. The music did not grab me, or leave any real impression on me actually. But it did not irritate me either, so all is good.
All in all, It was a great watch. It was refreashing to sit back and just watch a well told story. No real action, violence, fan service, etc. This one carries itself on content alone. Also, the simplicity and concept of the story can be enjoyed by all viewers.
Twin Spica made for a solid watch thanks to its focus on Asumi and the various characters that are a part of her life in the girl's dream of wanting to be an astronaut. The anime appears to take place in the near-future considering Japan's astronautical advances have led it to just start appointing younger astronauts for the journey up in space. In this case, Asumi and a number of students her age have enrolled at a space school that recently started up where they are trained in understanding all that is needed to be known about living in space and dealing with differing situations
that could occur, said training involving regular physical activity, simulated scenarios and understanding how the physics in space are much different from being on Earth. Considering my exposure to Rocket Girls and Space Brothers allowed me to gain familiarity with how astronauts are trained and both were getting backing from NASA and/ or JAXA, it appeared Twin Spica believably depicted the rigid training and knowledge one has to go through and gain in order to be an astronaut, a definite plus for this series.
The anime also has its supernatural elements shown through Asumi's interactions with the ghost of Mr. Lion, an astronaut who fell victim to a horrible space shuttle crash 15 years prior to the present events of Twin Spica. Mr. Lion serves as Asumi's inspiration to wanting to be an astronaut and serves mostly as an observer to many of the major events that effect Asumi throughout the series. One notable episode even features a dark dream where Asumi encounters the spirit of her dead mother on the Sanzu River, Japan's river of the underworld, that serves as a major element to the girl's character.
The supernatural and sci-fi elements to Twin Spica though are mostly secondary though to the title's focus on Asumi. The series quite often switches between past and present time frames in focusing on major events that effected the young girl's life from the loss of her mother from the mentioned space shuttle crash to her enrollment at the space school. Her story mostly serves to be an inspirational one considering the hardships she endured in her past from her father's connection to the shuttle crash and her out-of-place behavior to get a shot at fulfilling her childhood dream of being an astronaut.
Other characters that Marika comes to encounter also get their focus to see how they interact around Asumi and what motivations they have for either wanting to be an astronaut or trying to help or deter Asumi in any way. Notable elements of the show's character focus that got my interest came from how the space shuttle disaster effected characters who experienced its events and Marika's background. The former gets a great amount of focus through different points of the series, past and present, as Twin Spica introduces workers involved in the space shuttle program and civilians who were effected by the tragedy to any degree, including Asumi and her father. Marika's story made for the most interesting character focus I seen in the show as she seemed to have hardships placed upon her from her overprotective father who doesn't consider her to be the "real Marika" and seeming to suffer from some sort of illness as she tries distancing herself from both problems to be her own person. Sadly, both elements to the series never get fully fleshed out as the series was left open-ended following a major arc involving the show's cast.
The visuals to Twin Spica are nothing special as character designs are a bit on the plain side and the animation doesn't stick out too prominently compared to anything noteworthy like Heat Guy J and Last Exile that aired during 2003. Scenery is decently drawn with vivid colors and having a good amount of detail to the show's different settings.
Overall, Twin Spica made for an engaging and worthwhile watch thanks to its solid mix of sci-fi and supernatural elements coming from Asumi's interactions with Mr. Lion and her journey in becoming an astronaut. This is a worthwhile "hidden gem" anime that is worth seeking out if you've already seen plenty of licensed anime titles.