In the year 2063, space travel is feasible and commercially available. As the cheerful Aries Spring arrives at the spaceport to attend a camp on the distant planet McPa, her purse is suddenly snatched by a reckless thief. Luckily, the athletic Kanata Hoshijima is able to retrieve it for her, and Aries soon discovers that he is among the group of teenagers who will be travelling with her on the excursion as team B-5.
Upon arriving at their campsite, the group's trip takes a turn for the worse when a strange sphere of black light sucks them into the vast reaches of outer space. Stranded with seemingly no hope, they find an abandoned ship nearby that provides them with the means to return home. However, they soon discover that they are not as close to their campsite as they initially thought, but are in fact thousands of light-years away from home.
With this realization, the nine members must cautiously manage their resources, maintain their strength, and unite as one to conquer the darkness of space together. While the reason behind their trip's sudden obstruction remains unknown, they nevertheless embark on the treacherous voyage back home aboard their new ship, the Astra.
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.