Kanata no Astra – Review – Episodes 1 & 2

As I said in my what to watch this summer intro blurb a few days ago, this looked like it had all the right ingredients to be a great anime series except the premise.  After watching the first couple of episodes, my first impression of this new Anime summer season sci fi show is still the same but the story sort of makes up for it.

Not very articulate I guess, let me explain:

This is a great show, the graphics are great, it’s set in space and space sure feels vast and intimidating.  The character design is good with clear personalities capable of displaying a broad range of emotions and reactions all acted by excellent voice actors. There are elements of drama, comedy and suspense.  The pacing is pretty good too (although it was never going to be perfect – getting the introductory parts to the series wouldn’t happen in one episode and two episodes made it a little too slow in parts).

However, overall I thought this show was pretty good, I’m not sure it’s good enough to keep watching because overall there wasn’t much to keep me entertained as an adult.  I guess I’ll know after 3 or 4 episodes.

The show opens with the introduction to the main characters, and two in particular.  The first is a ditzy, fun loving warm character called Aries Spring

Astra Main Character Aires Spring

Aries is warm hearted, forgetful and has a habit of mispronouncing her words.  The other main character is also slightly ditzy but in a different way.

Captain Kanata of the Astra

Kanata is also warm hearted, caring and a little too extrovert.  He also likes to issue orders which winds up his comrades.

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We soon learn that Kanata and Aries are part of a school trip to another planet, a sort of outward bounds class to help them develop as young people. We get the usual character development antics that show how ditzy Aries and Kanata are, how withdrawn, intelligent, aloof and frightened others are before they all get onto the spaceship and head out.  It’s a fairly uneventful trip.

Once they arrive, they all marvel at the countryside and just as they start to head for their camp a large translucent ball appears.  One of the crew thinks it’s part of the ‘camp experience’ in some way and she attempts to touch it.  She is sucked into what looks like an event horizon (yeah, it really did look realistic too, I have seen a few nerdy comments on forums about how impressed people were about the science).

Aires is sucked into the event horizon

Kanata immediately asks that all the crew make sure their helmet is secure and they try to run away.

The ball chases the others and catches all of them and they soon find themselves floating in space.  Aries’ suit is slightly damaged and she has no communications with the rest of the team. She is on her own. The rest of the crew have found a spaceship in orbit nearby and managed to get in and secure themselves.  Later, they notice that Aries is missing and fabricate a plan to get her back.

An ingenious and heart-warming plan is executed. it had a couple of problems but these were overcome by each of the crew all pulling together and winning through.  I thought this bit was nicely done and well scripted.

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Astra Crew hold hands to save Aires

They recover Aries (and Kanata who had jumped out to save her) and all assemble on the main deck of the ship.

One of the crew (I forgot his name but he has an IQ of 200!) manages to fire up the ships computer and tells everyone that the ship is 5012 light years away from their original destination!

The good news is that the ship can get them back easily!  The bad news is that it will take three months!  Worse still they only have a couple of days food left.  And yet even worse, the ship can only carry 20 days of food and water resources (presumably air too because it looked like a pretty big ship to me!).

Astra team decide what to do

After some discussions, they are able to work out that there are a number of planets that can provide food and water on the way and that if they can plan it right, they will manage to get back home after only five stops.  Better still, there is a planet quite close by.  Everyone is happy about it and while they are in good spirits, they name Kanata the captain (because of the heroic way he helped save Aries and his previous experience in being stranded on a school trip – lol, seems like a seriously unlucky dude to be naming as Captain!) and they also notice an inscription on the ships bridge and, based on that, name the ship, the Astra.

End Cridits for the Astra first episode

Then they all zoom off into next weeks episode.

Overall I couldn’t fault the production of this show it was fun and easy to watch although a little predictable and sometimes a litle boring. Staring me in the face however, is the idea that each pair of shows is going to be about a trip to a planet, about them running into a problem and overcomming it as a ‘team’  dispite their differences and then heading off to the next planet.  The proverbial team of tean Star Trekies! 

But, I have to say, the manga quickly deviates from that formula and throws a few curveballs.  I suspect we will see the story liven up considerably in the next few epsiodes.   Indeed, this may be one of those shows that doesn’t find it’s feet until 4 or 5 episodes into the series. I guess we’ll see.  Would I keep watching this based on todays show?  Yes, for the next two episodes anyway.

I’d rate this a pretty darned good 8.3.  Well worth watching and continuing (at least for the next two epsiodes).  What did you think?

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The story, characters pictures and everything else to do with the show are ©Shinohara Kenta/Shueisha, ASTRA LOST IN SPACE COMMITTEE Licensed by Funimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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