Ah, the Seikai trilogy... from all the anime I've ever seen, this anime's impact stood out almost as much as Gurren Lagann's ending to me.
Based off a sci-fi novel, the world of the Seikai trilogy is full of genetic engineering, battleships, and galatic warfare, all in space of course.
However, the reason I watch anime isn't because of the setting, but purely because I enjoy seeing characters develop and grow. Maybe it's just me, but I hate when an anime neglects characters that are given potential but aren't developed (What Tokyo Underground did to Ginnosuke is a good example). That's not the case in Banner
of the Stars II, which is why I enjoyed watching every moment of it.
So the story starts off from where the original Banner of the Stars left off. After focusing on Jinto's and Lafiel's experience in actual space combat, it begins to focus more on them than on the state of the setting they're in.
A few spoilers on the story at this point, continue at your own discretion (though I'll try not to include anything you don't find in the descriptions or the first 5 minutes of the first episode).
The story starts off with Lafiel and Jinto being appointed as 'territorial ambassadors' (basically a representative) for a recently captured planet. Little do they realize that the planet is a prison planet with most of the population being prisoners. So in an attempt to avoid conflicts, they send Jinto down to negotiate, resulting in the decision to evacuate the female prisoners. However, the other prisoners don't like that idea and an internal 'war' breaks out, result in Jinto being taken hostage.
During the first few minutes of the first episode, you see a scene with a weakened Jinto barely whispering what seems like his last will to Lafiel, creating a feeling of suspense, and in some cases, sadness. Though it's not a bad thing, watching the series doesn't change that feeling from the first episode, you continue to feel a sad tone all the way to the last episode. However, saying that's a bad thing would be an outright lie. Sometimes we need a saddening moment to maintain interest in an anime. Sadness leads to suspense and anxiety, both of which are feelings, at the least, I always look forward to in anime.
Banner of the Stars creates a deep connection between the viewer and the characters, but I guess that's to be expected of an anime that was based off a sci-fi novel (how many sci-fi novels are good enough to be converted into anime form anyway?)
Art... well this is the one part I always feel unsure about, since I don't feel myself an art critic. What I can say about the art is that, unlike a lot of newer 'shiny' anime, it doesn't completely blow your mind and give you headaches with horribly interwoven CGs, however, the characters are actually rather a nice refresher, especially the fact that they seem to really express the beauty of the Abh race. Then again, as long as the visuals are bearable I don't really mind what the style of animation is.
Music! When I watch anime, I'm usually too interested on the story to really pay attention to the music, and if I hear music while trying to watch the actual story, I usually find that a nuisance. But there are exceptions, like in the case of this trilogy. I won't say that this music is so great that I'd go and buy the soundtrack, but I won't say it's not good. The music always blends perfectly with the actions of the characters, and ultimately reflects the mood. And then there's the impact of the ending theme on the first episode, it was like a blow to the heart when I heard it and couldn't help but grieve for Jinto even though I should have expected that it wouldn't end that quickly.
The main thing I look for in any anime is character development. If the character is already some sort of super strong invincible guy, then I don't want to watch that anime. But I loved this series for the sole reason that instead of doing some weird ritual in order to gain immeasurable strength, Jinto only increased his ability through going to a training school. Instead, they decided to develop characters (or show their development) through their actions. Jinto's growth from that small child is apparent as he views the destruction of an entire world and has a near-death experience.
Character development is something that makes anime worth watching in my opinion, the fact that it's anime means that it can be done in a manner of ways, which is why I watch it~
Banner of the Stars II continues where Banner of the Stars I left off. With Operation Phantom Flame completed, the Abh empire is now chasing the remnants of The United Mankind fleet with the aim of wiping them out, in Operation Hunter. As the Abh fleet advances, reconquering worlds, it becomes apparent that there is a shortage of bureaucrats and ambassadors to oversee the administration of the re-conquered worlds.
This is where Banner of the Stars II starts off, with Lafiel being appointed Territorial Ambassador of the planet Lobnas II with Jinto as the deputy ambassador. Unfortunately for them, the planet happens to be a prison
planet with 4 distinct factions.
Faction 1 : Prison guards
Faction 2 : West side - women prisoners, fertile
Faction 3 : East side - really bad men
Faction 4 : Central compound, men and sterilized women.
Lafiel and Jinto give territorial governorship to the prison guard's administrator, and Jinto stays behind to oversee the details of the prisoner's immigration, when all hell breaks loose and Lafiel is forced to leave him behind. Will he survive?!?
Banner II is a very good plot driven story. The characters are all well done and act as you would expect them to. The animation is fluid but not of the best quality and there is a lot of reuse of scenes. However, the ending song is one of the best ever. At it's heart, Banner is still a love story featuring star/race-crossed lovers Jinto and Lafiel. Overall I really enjoyed this series and am looking forward to more.
The reason why I say this is better than Banner of the Stars and even the prequel of the series, Crest of The Stars is because of a few reasons. Also here is the reasons why I gave it a perfect score too!
1. This one totally explores the relationship of Jinto and Lafiel. And what I mean by explore, I mean it literally focus on just how much Jinto and Lafiel love each other, and how they would react if anything ever happens to them, Mainly Jinto. I thought Crest of The Stars was a good series, since it shows how Jinto and Lafiel first
met each other. And I thought Banner of The Stars was alright, though it did get kinda boring after a while. But this one totally tops it by exploring more into their relationship and also showing what happens as well as what was going on and etc.
2. You gotta love the ending song. Now the ending song to Banner of the Stars was good (in fact it's my favorite ending song so far), but this one is even better. The ending song shows more emotion and in the end it will leave you feeling remorsed or sad, but at the same time really falling in love with this series like i did. I think this is a very underrated series, and i thought that this was the best out of all of them.
Overall, I say this is a really good series that will have you crying at the end, and also saying "About Time". I thought that this was way better than Banner of The Stars and it's prequel Crest of the Stars, but you might think otherwise. Either way, I recommend this series to anyone, regardless of age. A great series worth watching even if your not fond of space operas.