Around a Hundred years down the line from now, we might have human colonies on habitable far away planets and space travel might be common place. It may seem farfetched right now, but then again, who could’ve imagined the progress in technology humankind has made in the last half a century? While learning about the different planets and galaxies, almost every kid might have had a fleeting dream about going into space and experience what it may be.
Kanata no Astra (Kanata: Lost in Space) is set in a time when the aforementioned things have become possible. Science has advanced so much that teenagers are
going to other planets simply as a mundane school trip. A group of high-schoolers from such a futuristic world are visiting a nearby planet called McPa as a camp. Of course though, after arriving on planet McPa, things don’t go as planned for them as they’re sucked into a mysterious black orb that transports them into space but luckily for them, they somehow manage to find an abandoned spaceship in the middle of outer space. The spaceship would then become their means of travel as they jump from one planet to another in hopes of surviving and getting back to their home planet together.
What Kanata no Astra excels at is showing us the raw emotions of teenagers as they battle their way through the harsh conditions of the various planets that they stop by on their way. The feelings of hopelessness, betrayal, anger, joy and relief are portrayed extremely realistically amongst the characters. Add in a bit of drama around the circumstances surrounding their situation and you’ve got a highly entertaining anime that’s so underrated that it hurts.
The endless depths of space can be daunting and that’s exactly what Kanata no Astra tries to present to its viewers. As the characters begin to overcome this fear, new predicaments emerge. The mystery about the black orb that got them there, the lack of trust between them as well as the different problems that they face through their journey binds the characters and develops them into a team capable of surviving in space on their own.
One of the best things that Kanata no Astra has done is developed each and every one of the crew. They’ve all gotten mini-arcs of sorts where they’re faced with problems of their own and begin to realize what they truly are and their reason for existing. The execution of this is impressive because these arcs don't just start and end in an episode or two; they have their time to take shape. The face of the show is most certainly Kanata Hoshijima, the titular character however. He’s first introduced as a cheerful character who’ll do almost anything to help others even if they might not want it. This is a reason of annoyance for a few, but as they get to know him and his past better, they begin to support him for what he’s done for them. Then we have Aries Spring, the secondary protagonist and a girl whose stolen purse is retrieved by Kanata in the first episode. They instantly strike up as they’re both caring and cheerful as well as selfless.
Next we have Quitterie Raffaeli, the irritable blonde whose outspoken nature doesn’t allow her to make too many friends, and Zack Walker, one of Quitterie’s only friends at the beginning who’s a genius at almost everything he does. His calm demeanor in the face of hopelessness manages to save the crew more times than one. The rest of the cast includes Charce Lacroix, the charismatic and dependable guy, Ulgar Zweig, the quiet one who’s at odds with everyone else because of his ill-tempered nature, Yunhua Lu, an extremely shy girl who thinks she’s the source of everyone’s problems, Luca Esposito and Quitterie’s adopted younger sister, Funicia Raffaeli. The way all these youngsters deal with their personal problems and change in order to work together is the central narrative of the show.
Now, having spoken so positively about the show, there are a couple elements that do cause an issue. Firstly, the pacing in the second half of the show feels rushed. I wasn't aware that the source was completed so I didn't actually think that this series would reach its conclusion in just 12 episodes. Granted, it's more akin to 14 episodes since the first and the last episode both are an hour long. Still though, the part towards the end did feel slightly rushed as even until episode 9, I still felt that there could be a lot of content remaining. The second issue could be a sort of spoiler so I'll only say that this series won't make you "sad".
The art and animation of the show are both impressive. The characters have pretty distinctive designs and the scenes with outer space and the different planets are all drawn beautifully. The animation is fairly fluid, and I didn’t find myself complaining about it in any of the 12 episodes. The soundtrack is pretty unremarkable to be honest although the voice acting is on point. As I’ve mentioned a few times in this review, this show depends upon character emotions and their interactions, and the Voice Actors do a pretty good job in both of these aspects.
I’d certainly recommend this show and would encourage you to give it a try. It’s got an extended first episode of 48 minutes and that’d probably be enough for you to check if you’d like it or not. For me, I immensely enjoyed Kanata no Astra and certainly would’ve liked for it to have a few more episodes.
*I’m going to spoil the entire plot (in a marked section) to detail why watching this trainwreck drove me crazy, the rest will be spoiler-free.*
The first two minutes of Astra: Lost in Space are by far the best in the entire show.
A girl floats helplessly in deep space, spinning in circles at a nauseating speed. Nothing is in sight aside for hundreds upon thousands of blinding stars streaming across endless space. The execution is amazing; it is tense, the fear written across the girl’s face makes you feel a genuine sense of danger. Those two minutes hooked me. Suddenly, a hand reaches out from
dizzying light. Then the only exceptional scene in the show ended. Astra could have been a great sci-fi thriller, if only they hadn't made every mistake possible when writing science fiction. It’s surprising that so few people have pointed out the obvious plot holes, leaps in logic, retcons, contrivances, and lazy writing. I’m going to spoil the entire plot (in a marked section) to detail why watching this trainwreck drove me crazy, the rest will be spoiler-free.
Kanata no Astra could have been written in one of two ways: They could have made it a realistic survival story and focused on the characters’ struggle to work together as a team. Or it could have been a fun comedy/slice-of-life with hints of romance. Both could work together with moderation—but unfortunately, the writers did not know this. Instead, the story is a hackneyed blend of each with disastrous tonal issues and stupidly hamfisted writing. My hopes for a tense survival story were crushed within an episode; NO ONE IS EVER IN DANGER. Everyone has plot armor, everyone. At the start, all of the characters are sent to deep space by a wormhole, yet they are all unharmed. Friendship and plot conveniences are all these kids need to survive alone in deep space. There’s always an implication of danger, whether it be a group member getting separated, or a heated argument—but Astra never takes it too far. It is always clear that everyone will always be safe, draining all tension from the show. There is only ONE time when someone is physically harmed, but it only happens because of their stupidity, undercutting the potential shock factor the scene wanted to have.
Astra knows how to raise the stakes, and it’s so frustrating because it chooses not to. At the start, the crew is worried about starving to death due to limited food/storage space. The premise is great, they need to fly to each planet to collect resources. Somehow food shortage is never an issue for the crew, they always seem to have an abundance of food or just enough. Establishing that the ship has limited space leads us to think there might be a shortage, causing conflict later on, however this never happens. Why did the writers point this out? To make you think there would be stakes when in truth they were never there. There are other avenues for tension in the show, all of which are written horribly. Whenever the group becomes suspicious of a traitor in their midst, they fight for about a minute at most. Aries just suggests they have a snacktime to forget about any issues the group is facing at the moment, and everyone always goes along with it. Afraid that one of your friends might kill you in your sleep? Snacktime~! Occasionally I appreciated how braindead Aries was; she added some levity among the awful writing, but I won't confuse so-bad-it's-good for truly good entertainment.
Nearly every episode begins with a major tonal shift. They all have a very similar formula: a life-threatening crisis in the previous episode followed by a drastic shift to the crew being excited to explore a new planet. As if they forgot the last one they explored ‘nearly’ killed them, they always make the same naive mistake. They have a fun time on each new planet (at first). It’s all so goddamn predictable. You know if they have fun on an alien planet, they’re more likely to be in danger. The comedy is very trite and unfunny because the whole cast is very archetypal, they have next to no chemistry with each other. Rinse, repeat. In an attempt to fix the monotonous planet-of-the-week plot, traitors are added at random with increasingly baffling reasons. From the second episode, the cracks were already showing; everyone who knew this train was about to derail prepared themselves, and it never stopped flying off the rails (I will analyze the downward spiral later on). Making the awful plotting worse is the adaptation’s rushed pacing, each episode has at least on montage to bridge each chapter. Sometimes (especially in the second half) the chapter will change mid-episode; rather than developing their friendships they skip straight to the part when everyone is friends.
The character designs are so generic, as are all of their archetypal personalities. Even Kanata, the character with the most development can be summed up with two words, hero complex. For the female characters, after they get a development episode, they’re relegated to fanservice vehicles. Surprisingly there is a boatload of fanservice; the girls have pretty huge tits and the directing suffers from what I call "talking boob syndrome". The camera awkwardly fixates on a girl's breasts as she speaks, then it slowly pans up to her face. It's bizarre seeing so much blatant pandering in a supposed space exploration story. Fanservice first, humanized character second. With colorful art but lackluster design, it’s understandable why people weren’t all that interested in Astra initially. The CGI spaceship that looks hilariously stupid without the whooshing plane take stock sound effects. Now and then, there is one truly song that builds tension excellently, until you realize what you’re seeing play out is pretty dumb. Otherwise, the production offers nothing noteworthy, no sakuga, forgettable OP/ED, decent voice work, boring directing.
If you like being treated like an idiot, Astra will not disappoint you. Letterboxing during scenes taking place in the past, name tags used to introduce the cast. Astra takes place in a futuristic society because that’s when the writers decided kids can go to space camp commercially. All of the world-building comes from lazy exposition dumps too. And that lazy writing extends to the dialogue as well. Rather than giving dialogue relevant to each character, one or two are picked at random to narrate exactly what is happening. We have eyes, we can see for ourselves. It’s an excuse Astra frequently to give characters lines so that we don’t forget about them. Along with this, characters get to make really bad jokes and say pointless comments to let us know they still exist. Individually these seem like minor issues, but to me when there are so many of them I can’t ignore it. This show is targeted at the same age range as the cast of kids, however, kids are young, not morons.
There is a lot of mystery baiting in this show. They kept piling one mystery onto the next as if they forgot about the previous one right away. It worked to keep me interested. First, they don’t know where the wormhole came from, then there’s a traitor! I’ll give credit where it’s due, Astra always escalates its twists. The mysteries become increasingly illogical, making the rest of the story seem stupider in retrospect, but at least it wasn’t boring. Before getting into the spoilers, this is your only chance to learn the singular defining trait of the nine characters.
Kanata: He can get his way out of any situation. He is a decathlete, or in other words a superhero, dark past and all. Like I said before, hero complex the character.
Aries: Braindead. I hoped there was some twist to explain why she was so stupid, but there isn't. She really is that dumb. She needs to be told that she is in love before she realizes it herself. But she has a photographic memory so it’s ok. That'll probably be a relevant detail in at least one scene.
Zack: 200 IQ Genius… or so he says. Other than that his personality is equivalent to a box of rocks. I’m going to mention him a ton because he’s essentially a walking plot device.
Quitterie: Her character arc peaks in episode 3, afterward she… offers some supportive comments and occupy space in the background. Rather than passively commenting on things, she yells and screams annoyingly.
Ulgar: He’s edgy, antisocial, and he’s got a gun.
Charce: A man with secrets… He’s a traitor, no a double agent, no! A triple agent!!
Yunhua: “Um I’m not good at anything, sorry.” *Cuts hair* “My depression is cured!”
Funicia: Cinnamon roll that does nothing. Who needs character development when you can emotionally manipulate the audience? She has a creepy hand puppet for some reason… Quitterie’s adopted sister.
Luca: A man who looks like a girl, but secretly has tits.
*Analysis of each episode*
1st Episode: Group of nine kids go to space camp, then they are eaten by a wormhole and sent into deep space! The whole plot is predicated wormholes that can appear at the press of a button. Somehow the first wormhole just stays still until everyone begins panicking. Even if we believe wormholes can appear anywhere, it shouldn’t be able to change speed as if it can think. Once they get to space, they find a spaceship! This is never explained, ever! Somehow Zack knows they are 5,000 miles away. No one questions this because haven't you heard? This kid has 200 IQ!
2nd Episode: Funicia (the toddler on the team) is separated from the group because of her stupidity, then Kanata has to save her with superhuman strength. We have no reason to care, so we get some development moments before the drama. The kid was an orphan rejected by her sister, how sad, but this adds nothing to her character. She loves her sister anyways, all sugar and no spice. Then she’s suddenly in danger! A little girl in danger is what evokes shock and fear in the viewer, no development necessary! Emotional manipulation at its finest. Later on Zack makes a food flavor measuring device at some point, I don’t think I need to explain how stupid this is. At the end of the second episode, it was revealed that someone destroyed the communication device that already didn’t work, and so now there is kind of a witch hunt for the traitor.
3rd Episode: "So one of us is a traitor? Let's have snacks!!" Then everyone miraculously forgets about the traitor mystery, and just like that, we're all back to normal. Except! A bird comes out of absolutely nowhere, and if they don’t stop it they will all die! This is the tension this episode hinges on, caused by an unexplained plot contrivance, and it resolves anticlimactically. Ultimately, Zack didn’t realize he was flying too close to the planet, which led to the danger in the first place. Zack is a supergenius, and with his big brain, he managed to put the ship into a planet’s orbit while enjoying snacks and fighting with the crew. By the time he realized this idiotic mistake the ship only had nine minutes before it would crash land on the planet’s surface. THIS GUY IS A TRAINED SPACE PILOT. How the hell does anyone believe this crap?
4th Episode: On the next planet-of-the-week, the group had fun riding chocobos and shitting on Yunhua, the emo girl. She is fat-shamed, called ugly, useless, and she contributes nothing but brooding angst. Then she runs away, leaving a scribbled goodbye note, which forced everyone to go look for her. Suddenly a giant plant releases spores that cause a slow death. Thankfully they're all wearing their spacesuits—except they aren’t. Even though they wore protection the first time they explored the planet, all of them chose to go out onto outside totally vulnerable. Genius.
Kanata discovers that the poisoning can be cured by magic mushrooms. So to find them he comes up with a brilliant plan. He takes off his helmet and poisons himself. Of course, the plant only reveals itself to those who need it… At this point, I was far past the point where I could take this show seriously. I couldn’t tell if Astra was trying to be Sci-Fi or some kind of spiritual fantasy. Eventually, the whole cast almost died, but Yunhua saved them… by singing? Well, not really, Kanata saved the day again. So Yunhua nearly got them all killed than did nothing but sit around and sing… I would have sung too if the show ended right there. This is the last time she is ‘relevant’ in the plot—if you can even call it that.
5th Episode: Beach episode, IN SPACE! Rom-com shenanigans start here to fill time, it goes nowhere interesting, at least this episode shows us what’s happening back on their home planet. Under two months and a majority of the parents (including a politician) agreed to declare their kids as deceased. Even Aries’ mother who’s against their plan just gives in easily. It takes 10 years for missing people to be declared dead in the US. It is baffling to think this didn’t raise red flags with anyone on their home planet. 50 days people!
“If there’s a traitor I don’t know who it could be!” -Luca
*Ulgar points a gun at his head*
6th Episode: Luca revealed he is intersex to prevent Ulgar from killing him, alrighty then. This twist got me interested in Luca, you don’t see representation like this every day. Unfortunately, like any character development, it is surface level and forgotten immediately after the episode. Ulgar reveals his backstory, which makes the adult characters seem even more like cartoon villains. Right after he’s done, a tsunami hits, it’s so blatantly contrived to strengthen their bonds. They (of course) survive, cue montage with rom-com shenanigans between Ulgar and Luca, ok I’m tired of this episode already.
7th Episode: Charce confesses his true identity, which we later find out is entirely fabricated. The only purpose of the flashback to Charce’s (fake) past was to fill half the episode runtime and make it extra shocking when he reveals his true identity. The second half sees the cast crash land on a desolate planet, they bitch and moan about being trapped forever. Aboard the ship is only one cryosleep pod per spaceship containing a woman. Even though the spaceships accommodate ten or so people, all of them only have one cryosleep chamber... Yep, makes sense to me.
8th Episode: Nothing noteworthy happened in this episode, lots of filler. At the end of the episode, it’s revealed Funicia and Quitterie are clones because luckily the ship has a DNA testing mechanism. Quitterie and Funicia look identical! But no one has commented on it up until now. Not even Quitterie considered they might be related.
9th Episode: This is where Astra jumps the shark. It is revealed that all of the kids are clones of their parents. There is this genome something law passed on their planet to prevent cloning, so the parents sent the kids to space to die. Everyone agrees that they’re clones of their parents, due to the anti-clone law they were sent to die in space. This explains a few things, like why they were sent to deep space and the evilness of the parents, but it creates more questions. If this planet has such a large clone problem that they need a law for it, this shouldn't be the first time we're hearing the word clone. Did you want to think about the implications of this twist? Too bad! Here’s another one! The kids are not from Earth, apparently, but another planet called Astra. This is also the name of their spaceship, yet no one commented on it beforehand.
10th Episode: The woman who they coincidentally found alive on a random planet (god knows how she got there) happened to be an info dispenser! She revealed that the artificial wormhole was created to emigrate from Earth to Astra after it had been struck by a meteor. Thousands of wormholes were used to safely move the entire population to a new planet... but this brings up an important question. If Earth had this kind of technological capability, why couldn't they just open one big wormhole to send the meteor into deep space? She offhandedly mentioned that this was probably the reason why they found a spaceship. It is never explained why the kids appeared right next to the ship, the Earth’s circumference is 25 thousand miles, there is no logical explanation for this coincidence, it’s just another gaping plot hole. Moreover, guns were banned and religion was abolished. As long as there is pain, suffering, and death, religion and the belief in God will never disappear, to think otherwise is unbelievably braindead. God, I hate this show.
Later on, Kanata discusses who the traitor is with Aries (offscreen), she uses her photographic memory to see Charce was the one who activated the first wormhole. Then the entire group does a bait and switch, trapping Charce into a confession. It would have been a clever twist, but we were shown none of the buildups. Somehow all of them knew Charce was the traitor. The show left out tons of information for no reason other than surprising us.
11th Episode: Charce recounted his life as a clone of a king and his destiny, emotionally abused all his life. Once the anti-clone law was created, he was sent to kill all of the space camp clones and die with them. Why did he choose to carry out the king’s orders? How did the king become involved with the evil parents? Why does a medieval kingdom exist in a communist futuristic society? The king forced his daughter Seria to be cloned too, she refused but he did so against her will. She named her clone Aries because of course, she did. After Aries escaped with a surrogate mother, Seria refused again to be cloned. For some reason, the king just didn’t clone her again. I have no fucking clue why Charce made up the story that Seria was his childhood friend in episode seven, there was no reason whatsoever. Charce said that he only kept everyone alive to save Aries, yet he let her get absorbed by the wormhole on the first planet...
*Kanata raises his arm towards wormhole to protect Charce*
“Stay back or else!”
*Wormhole eats arm*
“AHH, MY ARM!!”
12th Episode: At the end, the kids spend a lot of time crying and then they go back home. There is a very long montage of mostly Kanata getting awards, a new arm, and another spaceship. The ending is everything you expect, overly optimistic and anticlimactic. The kids becomes celebrities; billboard models, commercial actors, world renowned preformers, heroes to be interviews by News channels. Everyone gets a Hollywood style logic bending happy ending shown in rushed as hell with montages. Finale done. Roll credits. Cue the applause and tears. Thank you and goodnight.
Kanata no Astra falls victim to one big misconception I’ve noticed, the belief that anime made for a younger audience must be dumbed down. Kids are young, not stupid. Unless you want to raise a stupid kid, stay the hell away from this anime. This is show is incredibly cliched, generic, and filled with lazy writing. Any ‘development’ the characters had was predictable, simplistic, and all of it was contrived. All of them were defined by candy-colored hair and their struggle to be edgier, stupider, or louder than each other. Initially, I was excited to see what direction it would take... at least I can’t say I wasn’t entertained. Astra: Lost in Space is like watching a garbage truck crash and burn, the awful stench will linger as it lowers the community’s expectations for what a good Sci-fi mystery is.
If you played an open world exploration game with survival themes, there’s a solid chance you’ll get a familiar vibe from this anime known as “Kanata no Astra”. (English title, Astra Lost in Space) Taking a page out of the sci-fi genre brings together a story of space travel. It takes place in the 2063, a time period where technology has evolved and is a revolution of growth.
It’s not too often these days when we get an anime adaptation based on a manga that have already been completed. Mangaka Kenta Shinohara (best known for his work with Sket Dance) began the series in 2016
as part of the Shounen Jump+ lineup. The series itself was not very popular but did eventually win the price of the 12th Manga Tashiou award. Consisting of 5 volumes, it seems a single cour adaptation of 12 episodes would make this run smooth. Or does it?
Actually, the first episode premiere is a 1 hour long special and makes a strong impression to showcase the premise of the story. We meet a group of students from Caird High School before they soon get caught by a mysterious entity. The conflict evolves as these students are tossed into an unknown orbit and they resolve to return home. Along the way, you can expect this journey to bring together a lot of survival themes, character bonding, and startling revelations. But from the beginning, it’s also important to establish the principal cast. That’s why we have Kanata Hoshijima, the main male protagonist and captain of the Astra vessel. With a strong head attitude and determination, he stands as a capable leader with a dream of exploring the universe. What draws audience into his character also relies on how he can command his crew and achieve his goal. It seems every episode, the show tests the crew to tackle new challenges like an open world game. In essence, the show itself deals with space exploration while getting the audience to understand its characters.
The remaining crew members consists of a balanced range of personalities. Among them is Aries Spring, the airheaded pinkhead who brings in a peculiar curiosity. Now, you’d think a show like this may feel depressing at times because of the premise. However, Aries brings together a sense of cherry energy and hope for the crew. She’s essentially the type that anyone can get along with. This is contrast to cooler and more levelheaded characters such as Ulgar Zweig or Zack Walker. Others such as Charce Lacroix and Yun-Hua Lu sparks a great interest in their characters because of their background stories and origins. The only characters that feels less exciting are the Raffaelli siblings. You can be the judge but to me, both of these girls brings little value to the overall story. If you remove either one, there’s little loss to brood over. That being said, I do think the cast is well balanced. As the space adventure venture deeper into the depths of the universe, there’s evident character bonding with great importance.
In fact, character bonds is one of the most important elements in this show. In later episodes, Kanata realizes what the crew has in common about their parents. It’s a sad revelation and in truth, there’s many other secrets hidden from the crew and audience. While the show is not a mystery, it definitely sparks curiosity for the audience to see what will be discovered. Each planet they encounter puts their lives at risk as they venture into the unknown. Thankfully, the show keeps its space adventure refreshing as the crew encounters a colorful amount of planets. There are planets with strange wildlife such as Vilavurs, Shummoor with its otherworldly plants, or even a paradise with beaches such as Arispade. Hell, the show is very open to its exploration content that it sometimes feels like playing a video game. It feels immersive as if you're there with the crew. If you played games like No Man’s Sky before, this may trigger some familiarity.
Thankfully, the anime has its own main story that runs much deeper than just the crew returning to their home. A word of warning though. Be prepared for character drama. There’s an unsettling amount of them that builds more and more with each episode. Some characters even begins to show their true colors. An elephant in the room also remains with the fact the true gender of Luca Esposito. It may not a big deal for some people but I can easily bet that the character can be somewhat a source of controversy. And finally, do be aware that the show retains a degree of realism despite all the sci-fi elements. When we meet Paulina Levinskaya later in the story, she reveals how fragile lives can be as the only survivor of her crew. It brings together the question if these students may or may not end up in her situation. I mean, the chances of death in this show is quite real considering all the factors. But unlike a video game, these characters only have one life and there’s no chance to restart over.
Lerche as a studio takes on Kanata no Astra as their first project with major sci-fi elements. Combining with the story about space exploration, there’s actually a lot to expect when you see the facts. One of the more noticeable visual context is the letterbox format that makes each episode run like a mini-movie. This is especially true for the first episode that feels more like watching a movie than your standard television. Visually, it works for this particular show as it highlights the videographic imagery of the backgrounds. There’s a lot of open world planets and this format makes them stand out with stunning effects. The alien planets shows a great deal of colorful variety and I applaud the staff for giving each of them a form of uniqueness. Character designs are also molded with care similar to the manga. Finally, I’m surprised at how much human expressions are shown throughout the show. With the harsh and dangerous journey, there’s many signs of character struggles that are shown in the faces of the cast.
Kanata no Astra is a show that I believe can be described as a ‘dark horse’ of the year. It didn’t get mainstream attention compared to some other anime but manages to capture what science fiction is about. With its sci-fi elements and odyssey of obstacles, every episode brings something new to the table. Even if you’re not a big fan of character drama, the show still works together as a fictional adventure. Did I mention, it’s one that is complete without worrying about a ‘what if’ ending? See, that’s the beauty of a show based on a complete manga. And as a space adventure, you can believe this anime is the real deal.
Kanata no Astra could be an anime that surprised several viewers. In my case, I was bewitched by some episodes until I noticed that the show is mediocre science fiction with several plot flaws and unfinished ideas.
The scenario is good at the beginning; A group of students is drifting in the dark space with only one goal in mind, returning home. I was surprised to the point that I ignored the strange CGI moments when the characters looked like dead puppets in the first episode. I ignored the device created in a few hours that could diagnose if the food is good or bad with
a "delicious" sound that seems ridiculous. I ignored the luck these students have during their trip with some minor risks for space travel. Everything is conveniently configured and ready for their survival. I even ignored a significant detail in the middle of the story I find hilarious. I asked myself "why people cannot fix their cars that simple, there are many cars nearby," but this group doesn't have a spaceship nearby, so ... you will understand if you watch this anime. However, I cannot ignore a plot that is not consistent, a scenario that ignores the details and uses strange ideas to create a secondary storyline. That new story is far from the survival goal placed at the beginning. The real risk is not space. In this story, space is not as dangerous as it seems, the real threat is humans, and that is very unfortunate. Also, all those "extra" additions created a strange story that I cannot stand because it is silly, stupid, the name "Astra Lost in Space" does not fit anymore.
As the plot progresses, observe that the story is full of coincidences plotted by a mastermind who leaves more questions and few answers. Those coincidences created several unfinished stories that affected the behavior of the characters. For example, they are not worried about space and all the surrounding dangers, and they do not care if they cannot find food, they are concerned by a human inside their ship that could turn against them or a conspiracy group, that is ridiculous. The highlight of each episode is a mixture of dramatic events like "my father never loved me," some actions like "hey, the device found good food, this animal tastes delicious." Then, the authors added some conspiracy events "Someone is an enemy, say nothing, we have a great meal tonight" and some real survival events but with a stupid outcome like "the spaceship is failing but don't worry, it will solve somehow. " Unfortunately, the storyline is a mixture of useful elements without proper development and conclusion.
Although I liked the first part, the plot, the writing, and the dialogues are very average. All these lead to unusual character behavior. They are afraid about their life and the next minute they are singing kumbaya. The characters are average. Do not come to tell me that they are stunning with a fantastic background because they are not. If you pay attention, all the characters have the same context and have the same problems, except Aries. In other words, all characters are generic like clones. The characters fill a convenient spacecraft crew: it has a hero, an expert in phytology, a genius/pilot, an expert in weapons, an expert in crafts, a medic, a singer, a villain, a survivor and a girl. The most normal character is Aries, but the plot affects her directly, sadly.
The animation and art are adequate. There are some bad parts, but not so remarkable. The colors are very vivid and created a pleasant atmosphere from planet to planet. The camera angles and the speed between the scenes are acceptable and, combined with a good score, create an impressive visual wasted by a mediocre plot.
The sound is good; it fills the scenes and is used intelligently. The songs are acceptable.
Finally, I liked the first part, but I did not like the conclusion. I think the ending is ridiculous and affects all the characters directly in the wrong way. Here we have a good animation with a good idea but developed poorly with many coincidences that can bore the audience because it makes the anime silly and empty.
Okay, my first ever review. Simple yet effective introduction, Kanata no Astra throws you into the survival styled environment straight away. Art is consistent and the story's pacing varies, which is good as it helps important scenes stand out more. You could argue that some of the characters are very cliche such as the tanned girl or the girl with glasses, but it helps balance the cast as the other characters are very complex, mainly Aries as she is quite meticulous. Oh yeah, MC is also very likeable even though he looks like Yo Shindo (earthquake guy from MHA) with a scar on his nose.
We get to experience a survival show following a cast of unique characters full of entertaining interactions, even a hint of romance which is always a bonus. The sound is pretty average, OP is decent but the soundtrack is nothing spectacular, however it never feels out of place. Since the setting is in space, there are lots to explore and learn about, so each episode is pretty exciting. I think the show shines because of its unpredictable nature. There are many unknowns that we need to figure out as well as characters we need to learn more about before being able to read them. It even starts off on a 40 min episode, so bonus points there too. Overall, its a 9/10 for me so far, I hope it gets even better from now on.
*Okay so, the review before was written when I had only watched 4 episodes. Now after watching 10 out of 12, I can confirm that this is a bloody masterpiece. IT'S JUST SO ENTERTAINING. Each episode is full of great additions to plot and I love how it all just unfolds as we learn more about the characters and the world they live in. Its balanced perfectly and not rushed. Timing is key, and I think they have nailed it. Small spoiler, there is a traitor in the group, yet unlike most shounen where they are exposed in the coming episode, the mystery spans over almost the entire show, making it so fun to watch as you analyse all the characters looking for hints. I just hope the ending is fulfilling but this one has to be a 10 out of 10.
Now, This will be my first ever review so please bear with me here.
Kanata no Astra is anime that has been overshadowed by the typical cliche seasonal isekai anime that get churned out every season like butter. which, in turn, has made it go unnoticed by most viewers this term. But, I must admit, that isn't the only reason why it might go unnoticed. when I had originally seen the trailer for this anime I was slightly interested in it but had no strong desire to watch it. The concept seemed interesting but not enough for me to be pulled in.
However, when I
began watching it, it caught off guard with its phenomenal camera/Artwork and well-executed story. Albeit, there are some times when the artwork could have been better but it is generally well-done for the most part.
Despite my aforementioned feelings toward the show, the story is compelling and completely ensnared me by its first episode. It is well thought out and not overly complex and leaves you just enough room for you to formulate your own hypothesis on the going ons of the show. furthermore, The studio does a wonderful job of transitioning the comedic and serious segments keeping the overall flow of show constant and well connected.
The soundtrack thus far has been outstanding and it and fits well with the tone of the show. Despite the setting being space and some unknown planets, the soundtrack is truly befitting of the unpredictability of the story and the environments these characters are thrown into and does a good job of easing us into the emotional bits of the show after a serious conflict.
Now, onto the characters. So far, this cast is well-balanced(i guess) and each is as mysterious as the others and each has their own backstory which will inevitably be revealed slowly each episode and will divulge why each character acts the way they do. As such, there are some who may see these characters as cliched but it is negligible in my opinion.
Overall, This anime is truly refreshing and is a ray of hope for the industry that has been polluted with the usual cash and grab anime that has been produced as of late and I hope this show does not betray my trust and remains a phenomenal anime to the end.
I hope this review has redressed any qualms you've had with the show and I hope you consider giving this a watch
A great story doesn't come around so often, sure you could find a great anime every season but the greatness of it rarely comes from the story, some become great for the characters and their development while others become great for comedy or any other genre. I think this is the first anime that I can call great just for the story since 3 or 4 seasons ago when Sora Yori was airing.
What makes me think that Kanata No Astra is great are 2 reasons: The story and the characters.
The story is great because of many things but I think the thing that made it
stand out the most was how it dealt with plot twists. Lots anime/movies do this a lot but rarely do I find someone that can actually pull it off and it was done here perfectly, I never expected them when they started and how the mangaka made every plot twist much better than the one before it in such an astonishing way is amazing. The best thing also is that despite the plot twists being that great already yet the characters and the general plot moves smoothly with it to a much better story and greater scenes. 10/10.
The characters were great, each one has his own ideologies and secrets that he hides from the others but they all have one thing in common, they aren't loved by their parents. The best thing about them is that they interact with each other in a way that feels genuine, they fight, laugh and sympathise with one another without it ever feeling like a fake relationship. Every character has his own morals and characterstics that make each one unique and different from the others. 9/10.
Now to move onto the bad things that made me give this a 9 instead of a 10 which is the comedy, the comedy in Kanata No Astra is horrible, not bad but horrible. I laughed once (I think) out of a 40 or so scenes that were supposed to be funny, I cringed in most of them and I really wanted the scene to end sooner if it would continue like this specially in a scene in ep 9 I think and if you are reading this review after finishing the anime then I'm sure you know which scene I'm talking about :"D, 1/10.
The art and overall direction are outstanding, the sound is great as well as the OSTs/ED/OP.
Overall I would give this anime a 9/10, would have been a 10/10 but the comedy was just that bad. I really enjoyed it from start to finish.
Would recommend it to anyone that wants a great ride full of twists.
Astra Lost in Space is the perfect example of a series with earnest intentions that cannot help but undermine itself at every turn. It claims to take its story seriously but plasters it with candy-coated visuals and drawn out comedy. It wants us to buy into the survival of these kids, but refuses to give them hardship. It wants to be cinematic, but never warrants it. It wants to have cliffhangers, but fails to generate tension. It wants to develop its characters, but instead fabricates their plots out of thin air only to still drop or homogenize their stories despite that. It works passably as
lighthearted entertainment, but any ambitions beyond that fall staggeringly low for the most part.
To start with, the actual concept of characters being stranded in space, or being on some sort of traitor hunt isn’t original even to anime, with material such as They Were Eleven, Infinite Ryvius and Rokka no Yuusha already present. The execution could’ve made up for the unoriginal concept, being a successful blend of wonder, danger, adventure and sci-fi with character driven proceedings to make each cast member deservedly memorable in their own right. Sadly, Astra’s tendency to have its cake and eat it too undermine every one of these by forcing those aspects to take turns.
For a show with “Lost in Space” in its title, it never throughout its entire run (beyond perhaps, Episode 1) communicates ANY genuine sense of danger. The colorful visuals lack any sort of grit to make situations tense, the planetary dangers are never more than minor inconveniences, and it will refer to either a forced, sappy character moment or a forced, sappy comedy moment any time you think it will get serious. The use of blood is nearly non-existent beyond a total empty consequence, and there is no visible death or even could-be threatening pursuers on their tail. Instead, Astra decides to have a beach episode on what should’ve been a hostile alien planet. Complete with forced fanservice.
One episode though does seem like it would actually be about survival when the ship crashes with a broken engine. This lasts for all of.......10 minutes, before just so happening to find another ship that just so happened to land on the same planet, be the same model as theirs, AND have a detachable portion to get the ship up and running again. This did everything possible to trivialize a potential dangerous situation. It nonetheless tries to make moments feel intense by tagging nearly every episode with a cliffhanger, but most of the follow ups are either not worth it or straight up fakeouts. One twist, involving an unexpected character, has basically nothing to do with the actual point of the show and feels like it was just there to have another twist, or shatter the show’s gradually poorly conceived main setting. The one attempt to add consequence as the series nears conclusion fails to actually create a major ripple as a series about survival should make. So, yeah, the survival aspects of the plot are a complete bust, but hey, maybe all that time was really focused on enjoyably investing character drama to make this cast one of the most charming and memorable ensembles as of recent. Well, not exactly......
In my review of Persona 4 The Animation, I mentioned how the series managed to effectively juggle lighthearted, distinct character moments with a serious plot, presenting strong personalities to the entire cast with unique personal conflicts that were properly built before their prominence and still touched on after their climaxes. It even managed to effectively lead into scenes that were more serious without feeling out of touch.
Sadly, Astra’s character moments, however they may be, can’t even come close to poignant. In this show, character handling is present, particularly in the first 2/3 but done in the laziest way possible. Generally, a character will have basically nothing on them at the beginning, then randomly, some event will happen that forces them to dump their entire backstory out, a “survival” event happens that said character supposedly helped with even if they do nothing for it, and then the character is instantaneously forgotten about otherwise for the entire series. This is the case with Yunhua, Quitterie, Luca and Ulgar. And the worst part about these moments is that it never feels like the characters have personal conflicts and relatable doubts they want to overcome like the Persona 4 characters. Instead, it comes across as them wanting to just not have to deal with shitty parents. Nearly every backstory is working along the exact same motif and the series only becomes more plot driven overtime, so there’s nothing interesting to really learn about them for viewers. And then other characters like Aries or Zack don’t have this attempted depth at all but instead are purely driven by the plot without any real attempts at actual change. It’s incredibly disheartening all around that this is what the show focused on so much, yet it’s so predictable, boring and lacks both interesting issues at play and palpable story effect for far too much of the show. Kanata’s the one exception to this rule since for once he feels consistently driven overtime, and that’s cool, but I still think that there was more the series could’ve done with his character arc in regards to genuine survival stakes we currently don’t have.
All of these aspects are made ever more detrimental by a certain plot turn in the last third of the series. At this point, all character proceedings are dropped for a plot driven focus featuring extremely poorly thought out sci-fi and a traitor reveal that questions why the character even needs to exist and makes the character in question look like an absolute idiot for not capitalizing on opportunities way earlier that the show decided to section off for “antics” that needed to exist unnecessarily. When a series like this wants to make a plot twist that completely changes the direction of the series, don’t do it when you only have four episodes left to do it in! Doing so will make the conflict feel unearned and lacking the proper fleshed out focus. A show like Madoka Magica heavily hinting at the plot turn early on and giving it 80% of the run to be fleshed out did far more for its thematic heft than what little attention Astra gives it. It’s genuinely disappointing given the topic it attempts to cover with this is actually pretty interesting if it had any time to make impact or didn’t make those outside the field look like complete morons, but that’s what you’re given as flat as it is.
Speaking of flat, there’s also the animation. While certainly having color and showing potential early on, it’s stiff to an almost painful degree. Characters barely feel like they’re moving at all most of the time, as it swaps between manga frame to manga frame at an incredibly frequent rate. Having more animation would certainly liven up affairs because there isn’t anything interesting done with the shot composition once the first episode’s space scene is over. It also would help the space setting look far more distinctive. Shows like Space Dandy are light years ahead of it, and even older series like Outlaw Star and hell, Sonic X Season 3 managed to make their space settings more interesting to look at, as well as more tense. And yet despite having color and a few semi-interesting planets early on, the animation never properly conveys grit over Crayola colors, which for a series like this riding on the survival of its characters should be required. But nope, this lack of effort contributes to the emptiness of the entire Astra experience.
As for the music, it’s passable, nothing less and nothing more, which it should be better given the scale thousands of other space based projects do with their scores.
Astra Lost in Space in general could be seen decently as simple lighthearted entertainment that starts semi-well and ends better than what most of the middle comprises as, but it really shouldn’t have been. It SHOULD have been an investing space survival character drama that could have time to explore its lategame plot twist to a more thorough level, but instead, it barely touches on this with otherwise useless plot twists, empty cliffhangers, flat characters and no real backbone to anything it’s attempting. I can only really feel ashamed by the show for how many balls it tried to juggle with the simultaneous effort to throw them up incredibly slowly and drop all of them to the ground in very soulcrushing fashion.
It is something that easily goes under the radar because of the dull poster, unattractive plot with generic shounen characters that has personalities that everyone can deduce. However, it exceeds bar of expectations and shoot to the top.
It has a simple beginning. Everyone is lost in space, with only a deserted spaceship. Seeds are subtly planted throughout 10 episodes, waiting to be reaped and the studio excels in showing this. Blending shivering tracks and chocking atmosphere, a thriller sub-genre is slipped in that could send chills down your spine. The events unfold, the conflict rises, the twists emerge one
by one to get us and them closer to the truth. The setup of ambience is elevated accordingly with it as the camera rolls back to present the very core of the show – they are all alone. They have no one they can truly trust, no one to rely on, they only have each other.
Just when all the hope seems lost, teamwork joined the room.
With trust on short demand, it was not pure friendship. They have to aid each other regardless of their true intention to survive. With that, the diverse quirks of the characters are no longer just eccentricities, but the vital skills they need to survive in various unprecedented events, all while complementing each other’s weakness and utilizing combined advantages. It was a captivating portrayal of unity amidst all the uneasiness in store, and it was delivered well.
In this sci-fi adventure, Kanata is the athletic leader that can PUNCH realization into others, with a bit of recklessness and playfulness. Charce, is the right-hand-man with exceptional knowledges on biology. Air-headed ArieS is the one who always seems clueless, yet serve as an important link between the members. Zack, the tech and mathematics prodigy. Ulgar, the quiet and mysterious boy with seemingly ulterior motive. The list goes on and on, with insights on the characters being revealed one by one.
They are seemingly not connected, but they don’t know it yet, that they are brought together for a reason. A reason that has enclosed themselves in a frame for so long, that they would not have found their purpose and their identity in life if they weren’t together in that spaceship. And it's thrilling to deduce and see how it all tie together.
The animation is handled by Lerche.
This studio once handled ‘Assasination Classroom’ with its colorful characters and ‘Classroom of Elite’ with its psychological outlook. As such, facial expression and character design spells out the characteristics of each character. The characters are given a subtle clue on their expression of what they are planning to do next and a glimpse of how dead serious they can be with each of their act. It is this element that gives us, the audience a chance to do our guesses on the mystery unraveled, analyzing the extent of their action that gives away their thoughts.
Overall, I really enjoy the style of the direction of the show and the story only gets better as it goes on. In the end, it connects everything from the beginning to shape the bonds created and to end the story with a perfect closure that befits their whole journey. With that, they begin their new journey.
The only thing left to do now is to experience it all unfolds before your eyes.
I can't recall the last time I saw an anime with as inconsistent writing quality as Kanata no Astra. I swear, this anime flip-flops between being really cool and being downright stupid every five minutes. It makes for a very strange viewer experience but if nothing else it sure keeps you curious.
I'll put it this way: the actual premise and setting of Kanata no Astra is really intriguing. Space anime that aren't mecha are rare enough to begin with, but to on top of that make it a sort of survival story with a great deal of exploration of the unknown celestial bodies of space
is a great combination. You can also definitely tell that the author had a clear idea of how the story would finish before he started writing it, and as a result the overarching main mysteries of it all are quite interesting and a bit surprising as well. You'll be able to guess some of it but certainly not all of it, and those surprises might just be all you need to make it a worthwhile viewer experience.
But on the other hand, where Kanata no Astra really suffers is more in the details of it all. Anyone that actually pays attention will notice lots and lots of minor things throughout the story that either just plain don't make sense or feel way too dependent on random coincidences. For starters there are the planets that the characters end up visiting throughout the series which somehow all end up feeling about as one-dimensional as the procedurally generated ones in No Man's Sky. It's all one big biome with an ecosystem that is seemingly very small but still filled with nothing but over-the-top fantastical organisms, not to mention they're still conveniently edible for humans (not to mention the device that measures the level of organism edibility). Then there's the pacing which feels very jumpy considering that there are several weeks in-between every planetary stop for our main characters, yet they seem to always pass by in a breeze as if nothing of note happened meanwhile, even if some massive plot point had just been brought up in the past episode. It's not like the travel time is the same as going through a loading screen in a video game but it often feels like the plot treats it as one. It just doesn't really make much sense.
Sometimes the author does try to come up with an explanation to make an otherwise one-in-a-million coincidence plausible, but it still often ends up feeling rather forced. For example there's one episode where he clearly wanted the main characters to randomly come across a certain object on a planet they were visiting, so thus naturally on this particular planet it just so happened that only a very thin strip of land around the equator was actually habitable, and it just so happened that on a certain part of that strip there was a bunch of hazards which could cause you to crash your ship, and it just so happened that the characters not only do so but then also end up disembarking and walking to the exact they needed to find the object in question... etcetera. Like it's not illogical but it's just layered coincidences upon coincidences to force the plot in a specific direction rather than feeling like an organic universe and as a result it just doesn't come across as natural at all. Now the mysteries in Astra that are more closely tied to the main plot are eventually explained further down the line, albeit some in more satisfactory ways than others, but again it's the details along the road that are not really properly addressed.
The characters themselves are also a bit of a strange bunch. Some of them are supposed to be geniuses but sometimes they end up doing some really stupid decisions anyway. But either way I still consider them an enjoyable group in the context they're presented, and when all is said and done and you know the truth behind their respective pasts, it definitely gives them a better outlook than it does at first.
At the end of the day, the idea of exploring the unknown in space has always excited me and honestly that's still the main reason why I enjoyed this anime despite everything. For the most part, Kanata no Astra doesn't have the best writing and there's no way around that fact, but it still has its moments where it shines. More importantly though, in the end I'm not sure it really matters. Yes, it could potentially have been a really great anime if it had been better researched and polished, but it is still an enjoyable anime in a very unusual setting and that also has a proper conclusion. That's a lot more than can be said for most anime. I think the best thing you can do is to simply try to not take it more seriously than necessary because if you can look past all the triggering little details spread out throughout it then you should have a much better viewing experience.
I have no idea how this anime got so many good reviews. Every episode is in your face telling you not showing you "Hey I'm an awesome anime. Hey, I'm dramatic. Hey, you should be sad." Simply put, it is obnoxious, but it doesn't know it's obnoxious or make fun of itself so it isn't trying to be funny. The plot isn't bad. It isn't great either, but that and the music are probably the best thing about it. The characters, however, are awful. Particularly the dialogue and interactions are so forced that they sound idiotic.
Rather than dramatic this anime is cheesy. I feel like the nonsense vs sense level of this anime has been turned down from adult to child level and ended up something slightly more adult than Teletubbies but less adult than the Muppet Show.
Kanata no Astra was one of the few anime that caught my interest this season, I thought it would be an exciting space survival anime with Mass Effect and Mission to Mars vibes, unfortunately, it ends up turning into something way worse.
It had such a strong start, how on Earth did it end up being so terrible? (There are some spoilers ahead that addresses certain issues, but nothing really major that would spoil this masterpiece for you)
Lets start by addressing the main issue, there is barely ANY danger in this anime. Sure, there are some situations where our main characters go through several dangerous situations,
but after a while, each situation ends easily resolved, killing any tension as there is little to no consequences for the characters to the point of making some situations feel way too convenient. Worst part of it comes when they arrived to a paradise planet which is a single inland on a planet filled with water... Guess what? Its the typical beach episode cliché that serves no purpose whatsoever but to show us how thicc the girls are while they talk casually on which boy they like trying to add romance to makes things interesting. The worst part of this comes at the planet "Icriss" which is an anagram of Crisis (how original) where a really dangerous situation finally happens, only to be ruined by one of the most convenient asspulls to ever happen, the amount of bullshit thrown at your face in this episode was insulting. This was the point where I started to lose all my faith on this anime.
Beyond this point, this anime starts to fill itself with many asspulls, plot conveniences and a plot hole, the latter being the one that makes things feel way more convenient than they already are. It makes it look like this story was created by someone who had no idea what he was trying to do and was running out of time so he had to come up with random shit. It's clear when you consider the amount of twists this anime pulls after the second half. Having a lot of twists doesn't make your story good, no matter if they end up being random and unpredictable (Even tho some of the revelations ends up being obvious). This only shows how the autor was running out of ideas and tried to fix his mess by adding random twists that doesn't add anything to the plot.
This anime also throws comedy at your screen in an attempt to balance serious moments with comedy and most of the times this doesn't work, specially when most of these gags are derived from crucial revelations. For Example: One of the characters gets an emotional revelation considering his gender and minutes after that, we see EVERYONE making fun of him like if it was nothing, the pacing in this anime is that bad that they have to do cheap fake cliffhangers to maintain tension, only to be killed by the next episode's explanation that ends up getting forgotten easily by adding a random comic relief right after and then proceeds to build up the next twist into another cheap fake cliffhanger.
Most of this anime's issues lies on the characters, as half of them doesn't really add anything to the plot which means that some of them will be set aside and be forgotten from time to time until they're required again to try to explain conveniences or to open the door to the next twist. Also, having so many characters in only 12 episodes will make some of them feel underdeveloped making them look like filler characters (Luca, Qutterie and Yunhua for example)
This anime tries to add a 'fucked up' failed cloning subplot that crumbles easily when you realize how one dimensional the "masterminds" behind this situation are and how incompetent they were when they tried to kill these kids without leaving any trace, even worse when the brightest idea they could come up with was to send them into space in an attempt to make it look like an "accident" involving wormhole technology without actually leaving someone behind that could confirm that they were gone for good, or, you know, actually try to get them killed by not giving them any chance of surviving. This only makes the "traitor" look like an idiot since he had several chances to kill them all but couldn't because reasons.
Let's address the plot hole. Supposedly, a FTL civilization was able to create wormholes, but for some stupid reason, they didn't have enough technology to stop a freaking Asteroid from crashing into Earth. Are you kidding me? Then, there's this space ship that managed to remain undamaged after so many, MANY years without being hit by meteors (from said Asteroid) or getting pulled by Earth's gravity or any other thing that could've rendered this ship useless.
***End of Spoiler Section*** ***End of Spoiler Section*** ***End of Spoiler Section***
Aside from plot conveniences, asspulls, plotholes, generic characterization, terribly timed jokes, terrible pacing, constant plot twists and fake cheap cliffhangers, there is nothing else worth mentioning that could redeem this show. Its just plain bad, you'll end up wasting your time watching this unless you enjoy turning your brain off while being surprised by 'unpredictable' plot twists with over the top characters that will make a fuss whenever they can (This includes awkward cringe inducing love confessions). As a Sci-fi, this anime is an insult to the genre.
Remember when Ergo Proxy aired and it instantly became a cult classic as the go to anime for the sci-fi genre? Well this show does the exact opposite. Not only does it shit on every fan of the sci fi genre but it gives the community a reason to hate sci-fi animes. Anyways, let's get on to my review/rant.
*minor spoilers ahead (not that it matters)*
Oh boy where do I even start? This anime definitely doesn't take itself seriously. Imagine if you're stranded in space and running out of food and water, surely you'd be panicking and desperately looking for a way to survive or get
help. This is where the show really struggled. The characters are seemingly tense in one scene and in a subsequent scene everyone turns carefree and seemingly enjoying being lost in space. This makes the show really incoherent and it's frustrating to follow. None of the characters are relatable or likable. In one of the episodes you'd get to see them toying around with alien fucking plants without a hint of fear or caution. In another episode they are for god knows why, incredibly cautious of a giant stalk of mushroom. This style of storytelling is unbelievably off-putting.
Another issue I had with the show is how they foreshadowed events. This is done in such a poor way that every time our group gets out of a sticky situation it'd always feel ex-machinasy. Everything just seemed to be conveniently ready to save our heros and heroines because the story would have given you enough exposition literally seconds before a predicament befalls our group to justify them overcoming some sort of obstacle. This undermines anything the group has been doing up to the climax of the episode. Clearly the writers don't understand the concept of show don't tell.
What really made me snap was the ending scene for the 4th episode where they pulled a 'power of friendship card' out of their ex-machina asses and thinking we'd be emotionally engaged with the so far most useless character in the show. I'd be emotionally engaged if it wasn't for the cancerous comic-relief moments littered everywhere throughout the entire episode and the characters just making really dumb decisions. (reminiscent of a particular Alien movie)
TL;DR: Characters are as likable as mould on your ceiling; storytelling that can only be appreciated by the most amateur anime viewers and dialogues as rough and cheesy as the smegma you've stored for a ritual to summon a decent cleaner to scrub your brain clean after finishing 4 episodes of this anime. If you're looking for a decent sci-fi anime, look elsewhere... this one is too overrated.
First of I want to say I haven’t been this invested and looking forward to every episode of a show since Death note and Steins Gate.
At first like most of you I looked at the cover art and was immediately put off by the bland suits of our protagonists and the idea of watching a sci-fi anime.(I dislike sci-fi in general). I kept ignoring it until one day I gave it a chance and boy was I blown away by the art, and most importantly the complex story.
I was initially thinking this would be generic as most of the main characters follow a particular anime
trope but in time through each episode you start to care for all of them. I won’t delve much into the story but I will say this show is a slow build with multiple twists. Not only will you not see them coming but it will bring sense to the initial episodes and why they were necessary. The art is clean and it has black borders around which makes the entire show feel like a cinematic experience. The op is solid, but it’s the songs with the action sequences that will get a spot in my playlist.
Overall enjoyment is 10/10, and if your a fan of mystery anime with twists that make sense I urge you to give it a try.
P.S Don't take any reviewer that gave this a low rating without watching till episode 8 and 9 seriously, thank you.
First of all I am 27 years old. THIS ANIME IS UNDERRATED
I fell in love with this anime, I have seen a lot of different anime. It is easy to expect that most of anime will be mediocore.
I signed up to just give my review for this anime.
I think that story is truly amazing, it is heartwarming with cliffhangers and keeps suspense. Story suprises with its extent of authors imagination, which is truly exceptional.
Characters are developed really well. There is no cliche. There is almost no fanservice, no obsession with big boobs. I consider talk to be witty and truly reminding of fun
group and friendship.
Japanese voiceover again is exceptional, I really like Japanese language and the way , how they make us to imagine characters. Truly sweet.
Among my favourite anime are Code geass, Mirai nikki,
Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, Jormungand, Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan - Tsuioku-hen.
I must say that I struggled to give something, really comprehensive I could write, because of course English is not my native language.
I had to drop this, the story line is more or less a cluster of random plots with very little tying them together with the rest of the over arcing story or lack there of. Every plot is predictable, every twist is mute and the mystery is null as the characters themselves are going off of a hunch off of what someone misheard.
The art is it's only saving grace, it has great art direction, much like AoT, but like AoT the story and overall plot falls flat. I can't say I enjoyed this. It's one of the poorest attempts I've seen with a decently high
budget to give it that good art direction.
As for the characters, they all fit their trope perfectly. You got the silent girl who isn't very silent once she comes out of her shell. The annoying tsundere girl. Over reactive jock. Edgy cool Guy, cool Guy. Silent Nerdy Guy. Cute sister girl who gets into trouble randomly. A it he/she thing, and lastly the memory loss girl who's too cheerful because reasons.
Yah, can say this is a great train wreck to watch, but if you're looking for a story and decent plot, look elsewhere.
Until the most recent episode (#5) I felt like the show was picking up the pace at a very organic pace, character's were developing in a organic way and the plot was thickening. However my low score (that would have been a high by the end of the show had things kept on the track they were) comes from the most recent episode that has caused me to have serious doubt for the rest of the show.
All of the characters for the show had interesting back stories that we learned about. These stories helped shape each and every one of them and their behavior up
to this point matched their back story. However...
Then comes in Luca, who we've had no real interactions with save for a few and have been given no glimpse into them as a character until now. That's been a side-kick up until this point.
During a scene in EP5, they told their group they are non-binary (for the sake of this review, I don't want to say too much and remain in the guidelines). Be what your bias or personal opinions are on the current gender, sex and identity political climate in 2019, there is a fine line in story telling where your character is either naturally and organically developed or shoehorned in as a form of pandering. Luca's review is disappointingly the latter. He's been given almost no screen-time, we have no real idea about their personality and the anime dropping this on the view the way it did is clearly a way to pander to the current climate such discussions are being had in the real world.
While I have not read the Manga, I will say this reveal is jarring, immersion breaking and entirely unneeded with the setup and lead up to it.
Organic Story telling is a must to tell a enjoyable and coherent tale for others to listen, watch or read and really get into. Kanata no Astra has utterly dropped this most basic concept to push a political narrative and is flat out pandering.
If you don't like or want politics (of any kind) in your anime, you can safely pass Kanata no Astra at this point. Otherwise be ready to stomach one of the most out of touch and out of place reveals in recent years that utterly breaks the enjoyment and immersion in this anime.
Outside of that the story has been okay. Sound design is pretty nice, as well as the sound track. Art is pretty gorgeous without a doubt and I did fine the interesting designs of the other worlds they visit to be really interesting and attention grabbing. They really hit a home run with the creatures and vegetation of the other worlds and I do love how they handled that.
However you don't come to watch anime simply for the visuals or sound, you come to watch to get invested in the story and characters. As such, Kanata no Astra is a pass for anyone who is against real world politics being dragged into their anime. Real bummer too because until this point, everything had been organic, fun and natural in story and character development.
Anime is often criticized for how underwritten their stories can feel. Unfortunately for Kanata no Astra, it has the exact opposite problem.
Kanata no Astra is now the sophomore effort of SKET Dance mangaka and Gintama alum, Kenta Shinohara. I remember when Kanata no Astra first began publishing, it didn’t cause as many heads to turn as it has now, nearly 2 years after it's finished its run in Shonen Jump+. At the time, it didn’t really seem like anything other than an attempt to fulfill shonen manga’s need to reinvent itself with different settings and concepts. To my surprise, when I finally decided to
dip my toes into its 40-minute pilot, I was greeted with a solidly entertaining introductory episode that more or less defied my expectations while also showing quite a bit of promise...and by its halfway point, all of that potential was lost in space.
Most of the positives I have to mention about Astra start and end with its technical aspects. Even when Lerche can’t seem to catch a break as far as the material they choose to take on, they’ve managed to consistently polish and stylize their shows to the point that they’ve become one of the more exciting studios putting out projects. Astra isn’t an exception to that. Besides some recycled CG shots of the ship darting through hyperspace, overall I’d say the look of the show is pretty good. The design of the planets and their denizens is decent although the character models fall short of standard with typical faces and bodies down to the spikey-haired athletic shonen protagonist and busty love interest. The direction isn’t anything special and as far as action goes there are really no stand-out sequences of key-animation, however on that note, it never significantly dips under its average, at least to the untrained eye. The music is decent, I guess, but not really anything I’d go out of my way to listen to on its own. I won’t hang my hat on this show’s presentation though because there are far more interesting details to divulge.
Clearly, when Kenta Shinohara penned the idea for Astra, he had a very specific end-goal in sight. That’s perpetuated by the finite amount of planets that needed to be circumnavigated as well as the flippant pace in which the characters managed to best these planets with an eerie amount of ease. This makes me question as to whether or not Shinohara was actually all that interested in the adventure aspect of the series which drew me to it initially. I played around with the idea that perhaps his superiors rushed him to the finish-line as so many mangaka are nowadays, but Shinohara isn’t exactly wet behind the ears by any means. SKET Dance was popular enough at its apex that it ran for nearly 300 chapters and he also worked alongside Hideaki Sorachi of Gintama fame which was a commercial and critical darling.
Had the story been given just a little more room to breathe, I feel like Shinohara could’ve sown together a masterpiece. I really enjoyed those first few episodes of Astra, ironically, for the lack of chemistry between the group. It was almost like watching The Breakfast Club but in a sci-fi context. These characters had no connection on the surface (until an inevitable plot twist forces one between them) and all of them had wildly different personalities and niches to fulfill as part of a singular unit. Shinohara did a good job of clearly defining their personalities and setting them up to believably pace out a codependence and comradery between them. Had Shinohara doubled-down on the adventure and the urgency/intensity, this easily could’ve been the next One Piece or Made in Abyss but in a science-fiction setting (granted very soft sci-fi), and how awesome does that sound?
Unfortunately, as the series continued, it became increasingly evident that the adventure was heavily manufactured in service of a (if you could believe it) faux political thriller (with plot twists on top of plot twists). The minute that this show started to play around with the potential of the inciting incident being intentionally perpetrated, I started to check out. Shinohara plays with heavy concepts like cloning, eugenics, and even suicide with about as deft a touch as a Hiro Mashima. And after a point, I felt like I was watching something adapted from a Hiro Mashima manga except with not nearly enough fan-service or camp to keep me sane. All of these incessant plot-twists that Shinohara feels the need to include about these characters and the situation revolving around the circumstances of their adventure are needless and contrived, they’re so out of left-field and jarring that they compromise the simple but effective formula it had carved out for itself. I’d go so far as to say the series would’ve been saved had all that obfuscatory plotting been cut in favor of focusing more on the adventure/world-building.
These plot twists are used as a crutch to squeeze pathos and force development out of these characters. At best, they served to momentarily play up the histrionics, as if that was needed. Your characters are on a friggin space adventure, why is any of this needed? You’re in friggin space dude, space is cool! Show more of that! I could care less about the needlessly convoluted political subterfuge pulling the strings of this ship to its destination, your focus should lie squarely with the adventure not the cause of the adventure! Every time Shinohara further explores the backstory of the plot he’s crafted, I’m left mouth agape wondering how exactly any of this got green-lit. It’s so poorly plotted that it almost crosses into kitsch territory, and frankly, that’s the only context I would be able to imagine myself enjoying this show ever again if need be.
It’s a shame that I can’t really go into specifics because most of my criticisms are rooted in the plot and I’d rather not have to spoil to get a point across. Garden-variety anime nowadays have such dime-a-dozen cockamamie plots that I typically have no trepidation about spoiling. That really just goes to show how solid of a concept Astra had to work with to where I couldn’t really predict in what direction the story was going in. And to be fair, even after the story continued to pull back the veil on what was REALLY going on, I still had no sense of what the hell Shinohara was doing with this story.
Even if you like this show, you just can’t overlook the messy plotting. I could suspend my disbelief when the characters were conveniently teleported into the dark abyss of space within the vicinity of a derelict spaceship with no casualties. I can suspend my disbelief that these kids are prodigious enough to basically fulfill every essential function required of their journey, like they’re friggin Starfleet. And I can even suspend my disbelief about a conveniently placed ship of the same model with the EXACT same parts that they needed to fix their original ship when it inevitably breaks down on just the right planet where that ship was placed (what are the odds right?)...okay, maybe that one was a bit too far. By the end, I just felt beaten senseless by all these asinine and unnecessary plot twists, plot conveniences, and plot devices. They say “the plot thickens”, well, the plot was certainly “thick” and probably not in the way it was intended. To me, the beauty of shonen has always been its puerile simplicity. Shows like Demon Slayer and Haikyuu!! work with such rudimentary concepts but make do with what they’re given to cobble together compelling stories. And with the way the industry is nowadays, higher concepts have a place to flourish, shows like Dr. Stone and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure are the foam that rises to the top of the seasonal anime microcosm. Astra...isn’t really either of those things but desperately tries to be both.
Astra sabotaged its own plot with its need to pull boneheaded plot twists out of its hat to the point of becoming a campy shadow of what it probably intended to come out as. With the added caveat that comes with writing a mostly negative opinion-piece on anything mildly popular, I don’t think this is the worst show you could choose to sit through, even from this season. But for me personally, Kanata no Astra was an enjoyable oddity that quickly derailed into a Jackson Pollock of several different ideas that never really fully formed. Maybe part of this denigration comes from a place of self-imposed expectations and the reality of what I got out of them, but I truly believe that this show’s flaws are being heavily overlooked. I’m earnestly flabbergasted by Kanata no Astra and the perfectly good concept it managed to botch. Watching Kanata no Astra was like watching a series of increasingly intricate shark jumps.
“What’s Earth?” I have a need to ask myself that every day.
Worth a watch. I won't expound upon that much, as others have described before in beautiful detail why the writing and dynamic between these characters is so noteworthy. It's a bit of a slow burn, but I highly recommend you stick with it. It's a wonderful story of friendship and overcoming adversity that will at times make you want to run through a brick wall.
Every person in this show is unique in some fantastic way, and they all have completely different (yet believable) personalities. Some are a bit cliche, but what you might think in the first few episodes is some stereotypical anime archetype,
eventually is fleshed out.
Highly bingeable (for those who aren't watching week to week). I highly recommend this show.
There's this episode in an anime from 2012 titled Humanity has Declined where the characters are trapped inside a manga, and they have to act out the panels in order to progress through the pages, rise in the ranks full of other people in the same situation and hopefully finally break free from their predicament. Why am I telling you this? Well a certain character gets the genius idea to keep adding twist after twist at the end of each panel so the readers keep interested in what's happening. It does work for a while, but eventually people get sick of it once they realize
there's nothing of substance beyond those twists and their rank quickly drops as a result
Coincidentally, that can also be used as a perfect description for the space faring adventure, Kanata no Astra. It starts out well enough with an interesting premise as the characters have to scramble for survival, living together for months in this little ship with an ever increasing psychological toll while also exploring unknown worlds, but it quickly devolves into twist after twist each episode until it barely makes sense anymore and all we get when it's finished is a half baked ending that just immediately solves all the mess of a plot at that point and everybody lives happily ever after, since they clearly didn't have the time to deal with even one of the fifty can of worms they decided to open, most of which could be central plot lines for a single show themselves were they in more capable hands
Some say that a good hook alone doesn't make for an overall well rounded story unless it's competently written and the same principle can be applied to twists too, and their overuse as a crutch for an actual story instead of tying all the lose plot threads is a recipe for disaster. One of the worst offenders of this was probably when a certain episode ended with a big twist about their destination, with one character utterly shocked and dumbfounded, seemingly knowing as much about it as everybody else considering their dialogue, but then they proceeded to give everybody a nice expository history lesson for the crew and the audience at the start of the following episode
This could've been a very nice survival show, the habitable planet hoping was a nice idea which also doubled as a means to give some nice variety of environments and scenarios but there's no point in dwelling in what ifs, we have to work with what we got. And what did we get? An average at best anime depending on your tastes, even the planets themselves start to get real boring after the focus shifts to the "twist of the week" style of writing. The characters are a mixed bag with some having simple but consistent and relatively enjoyable personalities and others having many issues and changing at a near moment's notice because there either wasn't any time to develop them or they got hit with the twist + flashbacks treatment which I'm sure is bound to get people at the edge of their seats when it happens for the Nth time