Based on a science fiction novel series, Crest of the Stars (Seikai no Monsho) is the first installment in this sci-fi saga. The story follows Jinto, whose world was taken over by the largest empire in the galaxy: the Abh. Jinto's father, the planet's prime minister, handed their world over to the Abh in exchange for a standing in the Abh Empire. As a result, Jinto became a prince and was shipped off for an Abh Education. There he meets a princess of the Abh Empire, Lafiel, whom he quickly befriends despite her cold exterior. The Abh Empire is plunged into war soon after and the story continues from there...
While it was by far not magnificent in terms of its appearance or in terms of a number of those other elements that we greatly take for advantage from the more recent anime with improved graphics and sound, this older "space drama" drew me in from the first episode, beguiling me with its interesting story and interesting cinematography and storytelling. It's hard-pressed to find an anime like Seikai no Monshou, with its same blend of both serious and entertaining drama and dialogue, and its very intense space battle action scenes.
Seikai no Monshou has a story that was both pure in its innocence and compelling in
its complexity, featuring a not-so-simple delving into the politics of humankind and interstellar relations, as well as the genetically-enhanced race of the Abh, something just as interesting in its own right. Following closely, none of the episodes (as few as there were with only 13) failed to entertain me and none of them seemed off-key at all, blending into a story that was wrapped up without fail with the final episode, transitioning gently and with ease into the next "season" or series of the saga.
Like I said earlier, however, the art was lacking, but even then I was surprised by how much it fit and how little I was distracted by it. It's not something that I would entirely dock many points off for. Too, the cinematography and interesting angles used to portray the story would also help buoy this particular area up. The sound too was fairly "old", but still managed to fit with the show quite well; the voices, on the other hand, were done magnificently (in the subbed version, definitely not the dubbed).
The characters in this show, while not completely original, did progress and were developed well, the main two characters and their relationship even more entertaining to watch and feel how well they manage to grow into each other and balance each other out so nicely. They definitely did not feel flat, which I always hate.
Overall, this show is one I recommend to anyone who'd like to watch an intellectual sci-fi space show (with no mechas) that brings together politics and drama well enough to both entertain your adrenalin and give some practice for your brain. A great show that I really enjoyed!
A rating of 1/10 is way too low to be left unjustifed and that is why I wrote this review.
One of the oldest tricks in the trade is to create an overly intricate setting to try and mask the bias and deceit in an artwork. In my opinion, Seikai no Monshou does this and worse. I will try to explain why I came to this conclusion and I hope to do so in a way that will not seem offensive to anyone.
"Crest of the Stars" takes place in an imaginary future where a race, formerly engineered by humans, has created a feudal empire which
has become the greatest force in the galaxy. Opposing this empire are different human groups whose leaders are elected democratically. The Abhs are the genetically modified humans who rule the afore mentionned empire and the show focuses on a young human called Ghintec as he is escorted by the Abh princess Lamhirh. The story basically revolves around this duo and the evolution of their relationship as they are caught in a galactic war between the Empire and an alliance of democratic groups. I believe I can say this much without spoiling the show.
Throughout the 13 episodes, we see the Abhs portrayed as galant, prideful and beautiful beings (well people seem to think they are in the show) who are both impulsive and martial but also reasonable and compassionate (yes, it seems the author doesn't realise that the former are the opposite of the latter). We learn about their reproductive habits : basically they can reproduce with just about anything in any way imaginable. We also learn about their strength and their longevity: they are very long-lived and almost eternally young - yes, pretty creepy when your progenitor - can't really say parent - looks as young as you. Finally, we are told of their social structure which, on a private level, is just about non-existent and on a national level is exactly that of any monarchy of our past. We also learn that their violent campaign of colonization of the galaxy is justifed by saying that it is for the good of humankind and that it is carried out with the intention of bringing peace and development. That will sound familiar to any history students as basically all former colonial empires have justified the horror of their actions in that same way. The only (willingly) negative portrait of an Abh, is that of a noble from a recently created barony who basically loathes humans because his father was one and suffers from an inferiority complex. It really seems as if the author showed him to convince us that he wasn't completely partial but it's the exact opposite that transpires. He doesn't criticize in any way the Abhs or their society but only tries to convince us that only pure Abhs can make it work and that lowly humans can tag along as long they admiringly obey every command.
The democratic alliance on the other hand is portrayed as a rag-tag team of envious and imperfect (meaning normal humans) beings who stage an attack to create a conflict. All members of this alliance are shown as rather ugly people both of mind and body (one of the ambassadors actually has a scar and eyepatch...). Their reasons for going to war against the colonial empire ruled by another species are shown to be greed, cowardice and envy. Their words are shown as being those of hypocrites and all their speeches and annoucements sound like propaganda. The author tries to convince us that only despicable beings can fight against a colonial empire that plans to rule by destroying all existing social structures and imposing its culture and values and denying the human race its basic right to have a voice in the organisation of society.
Throughout the show, humans of the democratic alliance are portrayed in a very unflattering manner and the main protagonists are put into situations that further imply the "greatness" of the Abhs and the inferiority of the humans. The pure Abhs are never made to look bad and all their strange behaviors are passed off as the delightful quirks of rightful lords and ladies. The author went so far as to create a new language for this race in what seems like an obvious attempt to make this show seem awe-inspiring in its form so people would accept the content more easily. Indeed, a person is likely to be astonished by the effort taken to create such a detailed fictional world and not realise that it was done to push through some very twisted ideas and concepts.
It seems obvious to me that the author is a nostalgic of imperialism and this imaginary galaxy and its imaginary genetically superior race was his way of trying to make something so fundamentaly wrong as a feudal and colonial system seem to work just fine. Unlike in shows like "Legend of the Galactic Heroes", there is no debate here, only a mockery of one. Had the Abhs really existed, this anime would have made great propaganda for them. Furthermore, the fact that the Abhs are a GENETICALLY superior race of rulers reminds one of rather unpleasant memories of the past...
The work on these was rather pitiful in my opinion but still very much in accord with the purpose of the show. All Abhs (except for a black sheep) are grand beings and all humans are either dying of envy and hatred or are in unabashed admiration before the greatness of the Abhs... Ghintec would be one of the admiring ones. Lamhirh is a typical member of the ruling class of a colonial empire, sure of the righteousness of her purpose and unquestioning of the principles that govern her life.
I cannot comment on the animation as I have too little knowledge to do so. I very much disliked the art of the show. The exaggerated ugliness of the "inferior" humans was pretty annoying. The Abhs looked pretty freakish to me but I think it quite possible that perveted humans might create such beings to serve them.
Can't really says much about it except it didn't strike me in any way. I don't have much knowledge of music and the show was so annoying to me, no music could have salvaged it.
I have rarely ever been so annoyed by a show as this one. All that it tried to convey was in complete opposition to the values and principles I care for and defend.
One of the things I appreciate most in any work of art, even if the opinions conveyed are not ones I share, is honesty. To me "Seikai no Monshou" is a very dishonest work.
I believe that if you like intricately designed imaginary worlds then you might like this show. I also believe that if you value human freedom and the right to democratically elect your representatives and leaders, if you hate propaganda and dishonesty, if you hate being taken for a fool or when someone tries to fool you then you probably should not watch this anime.
Overview: Crest of the Stars is by far one of my all time favorite anime. That said it is not for everyone. The show is set far into the future were humans have colonized the entire galaxy. The two main characters Jinto and Lafiel are well developed and entertaining to watch. If there is a down side to this show it is that it is rather slow paced, and involves a great deal of dialog. Although there are action scenes in the show, this is not for people with short attention spans.
Story: There are two stories taking place in crest
of the stars, both of which are connected and continue into the squeals. The first story is that of Jinto and Lafiel, without giving to much away, suffice to say that a good deal of the show focuses on there journey as they are tossed around by the events around them. The second story is that of galactic politics. Both stories are well told, and they intertwine throughout the show.
Art: Although it is a bit dated by todays standards the visuals are still as stunning as when i first saw the show several years ago. This is a prime example of aged excellence.
Sound: Crest of the stars simply would not be as good a show if not for the amazing orchestra in the background. The opening theme song does get old after a while, but the music during the show is some of the best iv herd in an anime. This is not to say the music in and of itself is superb, but rather the fusion of art, sound and context of what is happening on screen at the moment is masterfully executed. (But the music is the strongest part hear because it invokes powerful emotion in various parts).
Charecters: All of the characters in crest of the stars are well portrayed and developed. The show even hints at cast members back ground just to give you more feel for the world. Also Jino and Lafiel are two of my favorite characters out of any anime.
Enjoyment: The reason why enjoyment is lower than the other areas is simply because crest of the stars is a slow anime. It can in certain places drag on a bit, when a more modern adaptation would be paced a bit quicker. Despite this all of the other elements that make up the show more than compensate for it. (once again though if you have a short attention span you will probably get board before any of the really intersecting things happen).
People often have vastly different upbringings. While there are obviously certain positive or preferred ways in which to flourish, occasionally, given the situation, such luxuries cannot be granted. Sometimes it's entirely based off of financial standing or the location where one lives. Other times it's based off of racial or ethnic disparity. But no matter the case, it is almost always outside of one's control. And so it becomes less about how the world sees you, and more about how you see yourself. Such is the anime Crest of the Stars, a simple beginning to a galactic journey.
of the Stars places Jinto, a young male Terran-turned-Abh nobleman, into the spotlight. Before making his way to the capital of the Humankind Empire Abh, he is greeted by the heir to the jade throne, Lafiel. But before they can make it home, an unexpected event occurs.
The anime purports itself to be one about romance and space. But it becomes quickly apparent that the ideas and focus regarding the universe take precedence over the development of Jinto and Lafiel's relationship. In this way, the show is often aptly described as "Spice and Wolf, in space." And that's a compliment; while the character dynamics between our hero and heroine are looked at less than the world-building (galaxy-building), what is given is not to be scoffed at. Their adventure sees them come together, with protecting, quarreling, helping, annoying, caring, bickering, and understanding being rampant throughout. While it isn't actually romance, it's a start, for before a couple can be lovers, they must first become friends.
Hearkening back to the galaxy-building, this is perhaps Crest of the Stars's strongest point outside of the relationship between Jinto and Lafiel. There are a ton of different pieces of information given throughout the show. For example, there is an entire language specifically crafted for the Abh; factoids about the Four Nations Alliance and their tense relationship with the "Kin of the Stars;" scientific offerings in terms of measurements, space-travel, and technology; exploration into the Abh's culture and way of life; and minor yet intriguing pieces that round out the experience. It's done adequately enough, not feeling too overwhelming while still maintaining its own, unique identity.
Where the anime begins to misstep is in the events that take place, or more specifically, their importance. The show is roughly sectioned into two parts: a quarter of which deal with large-scale war skirmishes and the remaining focusing on Jinto and Lafiel's escapades. But where the macro instances hold both literal and figurative weight, the micro ones do not. That is, the main couple's actions never feel as if they mean anything, in any regard. Whether it's fighting their way out of a Baron's domain or hijacking a vehicle to make it to the nearest city, their mark on everything that is going on around them is significantly smaller. Now, the purpose of placing so much emphasis on the two makes sense; the idea is to establish, explore, and eventually enact the relationship between Jinto and Lafiel. And while their relationship was done nicely, the events around them were not.
Crest of the Stars also misaligned itself in regard to its overall focus. Here, the show at first plays with the idea of our characters being "birds trapped in cages." That is to say, their free but restricted in what they are capable of doing. Despite winning the hierarchical lottery, what the anime depicts are two young adults struggling to deal with a universe that looks at them for what they are, as opposed to who they are. And that's vastly interesting...but is sadly dropped. The show goes from showcasing Lafiel's interracial distance and Jinto's unfair discrimination to more action-oriented scenes and having Jinto "find his place." It's an awkward transition, mostly because the former thematic direction was well-crafted but is suddenly forgotten and replaced with a more general message.
The best way to describe Crest of the Stars's art and animation would be a "mixed bag."
The art for the anime can be rather pleasant at times. The battleships, the star systems, the surface of planets; there are a multitude of different areas that are explored, each providing an appropriate mood for the given situation. The inside of the ships match the blue-hair of the Abh; outer space is dotted with stations and stars; and amusement parks, city streets, and forests are interspersed throughout the planets. At times, though, the anime uses this strange filter to give the effect of light or brightness that deters from the visuals rather than supports them.
The character designs follow a similar trend. The Abh are beautiful and regal, with their pale skin, sharp eyes, and distinctly blue hair. Lafiel fits this description, but always sporting her military outfit. Unless, of course, the situation demands a change. Jinto dons similar attire, with a white-and-red cloak, brown, parted hair, and various costume changes when appropriate. The largest issue comes from their often irregularly shaped heads and jaws. It can, like the filtering, be wholly distracting.
Actual animation is normally average to above-average. While there is a lot of talking and sitting -- at dinner tables, in a shuttle, or within a strategy room -- characters are usually moving or reacting to the words and sentences being said. Furthermore, the aforementioned battles demonstrate their prowess, with huge explosions, lasers, missiles, cruisers, and gunfire going off at all times.
Crest of the Stars, while involving space and war, is still an anime about our main duo: Jinto the Terran and Lafiel the Abh.
As a descendant of the Abh, and especially of the royal family line, Lafiel finds herself in a precarious position. Direct yet respectful, she can normally be quite ignorant of the emotions and customs of non-Abh people. This is easily attributed to her race; they are taught to "move forward" when making decisions, are usually apathetic towards other species, and keep themselves away from non-Abh prevalent areas. But due to her logical reasoning and knowledge of the rest of the galaxy, she is able to support Jinto through the first half of their perilous adventure. And while she finds that completing one's mission is admirable, she wishes she could do more. That is, she looks at herself as being "useless" in the grand scheme of things. The attack on Gosroth, fleeing from ships encircling the planet of Sufugnoff, getting exhausted from an absurd amount of running; despite demonstrating her prowess as a capable woman and an amazing friend, she still believes herself to be bringing those around her down, or at the minimum, not contributing enough to the efforts at hand. However, Jinto believes otherwise.
Jinto was born and raised, for a time, as human. However, following a betrayal by his father towards their home planet, Jinto technically became a nobleman in the Humankind Abh Empire. Extremely caring to those around him and rather witty, he often finds himself being "useless" as well. More so than anything else, he feels useless alongside Lafiel. Not being able to console her during times of grief, taken hostage, unable to man spacecraft; he's described as nothing more than a "commodity" that needs to be transported from one area to the next. But he moves from being the helped to the helper come the second half of the anime. This movement, where the roles are switched between Jinto and Lafiel, also occurs with a shift in location. They go from Abh-controlled territory to United Mankind dominion, and subsequently Jinto becomes the leader. And after having been the one in reliance and the one relied upon, he discovers that everyone goes through what he has. That people hold "strengths and weaknesses," that everyone is a "bird in a cage." Everyone needs aid from time to time, whether you're a noble count or a royal princess. It makes no difference, for when one's weaknesses are at play, he or she must lean on someone's strengths. In other words, someone else will bring the key, open that birdcage door, and set that bird free.
Looking at both Jinto and Lafiel, both here and within the anime, it becomes evident: they're "the same, but different." It's not just about him being a Terran and her being an Abh, it's in the way they carry themselves, how they're perceived, and what they know of their counterpart's culture. In short, they learn from each other over the course of the show. Jinto realizes the difference between killing and protecting, and that there are times when one has to face danger head on. For Lafiel, she comes to understand that the logical choice isn't always the correct path; sometimes you have to do what's right instead of what's right. Beyond learning from each other, they learn about each other, too. Their various customs, lore, and upbringings allow them to connect with one another more so than with anyone else they have known their entire lives. And that's what Crest of the Stars accomplishes: creating the start of a dichotomous, trusting, and loving relationship.
The OP is quite orchestral in its composition. The track begins with hard drums and violins, leading into a fantastical arrangement with that strange feeling of space permeating it. With more trumpets, violins, and high and low points, the piece ends in mysterious fashion, making it a nice fit for the show at hand.
The ED is one of the most 90's songs I've listened to in quite a while. The slow piano and simple acoustic guitar playing fill the background initially. The vocalist is "by himself" for the first half, but when the second half kicks in, a common drum-and-cymbal beat appears alongside the, "I wanna fly away!" lyric. Coupled with the "oh-ohhh-oh" singing and its general slowness, it can actually be quite catchy to listen to.
The rest of the soundtrack mostly follows in the OP's footsteps. More space-like pieces filled with trickling instrumental effects and violins; flute and low-keyed piano ones during more tense situations; chimes, flutes, and violins in unison follow the more thoughtful moments; and guitar and drums when battles are underway. Each track fits well during the scenes in which they are played, but sadly, none are impressive on their own.
Voice-acting-wise, everyone involved performs in or around average. There are no special shout-outs to be had.
With romance as my favorite genre, I went into this one expecting to see a good amount of it. But as it went on, and as was already detailed somewhat, it was not about romance; it was about leading up to romance. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It was great to see Jinto and Lafiel risking their lives to save one another on numerous occasions, despite having only met a few days prior. And honestly, anything beyond what they gave near the ending of the season would have been too much, and would have betrayed what the goal of the anime was. Which, reiterating once more, is starting their relationship. In the following seasons, I'll be awaiting to see their blossoming romance unfold.
The war and the fights, both in space and on land, were fun to watch at times, but not nearly as interesting as Jinto and Lafiel's dynamic. There, it would be funny at times, with Jinto making jokes with Lafiel and her being rather fun herself, despite her background.
As a final note, Dorin Ku, Jinto's only friend back on his planet of Delktoe, had a surprisingly well done segment; from his ten minutes of screen time alone, he was able to personify the epitome of "best friend." Which made it a shame to see him leave as quickly as he appeared. But as a final negative, there were too many "100 vs 2" moments, breaking some of the "reality" of the situations that took place.
Crest of the Stars is an anime featuring racial disparity, space wars, and an interesting couple. While the story and animation are lacking, the characters and music help to alleviate some of its shortcomings. But this is just the beginning of Jinto and Lafiel's relationship, and subsequently the beginning of the series. Hopefully, what is left in store will be able to pick up the slack.
Story: Fine, "Spice and Wolf, in space," adequate world-building, weightless events, thematically lost
Animation: Fine, nice art style, weird filter, okay character designs, good actual animation
Characters: Good, Jinto and Lafiel begin their dichotomous, trusting, and loving relationship
Sound: Good, good OP, nice ED, good soundtrack, average VA work
Enjoyment: Fine, not enough romance to my liking, some fun writing here and there, they win too many clearly stacked battles
Park the Enterprise and power down the X-Wing because our anime spaceships are coming in for a landing. These ships may not be blowing up Death Stars or battling the Borg Cube but they are each taking mankind (and sometimes also aliens) where they have never gone before.