Astra Lost in Space was one of my favorite shows that aired last season. I liked it so much that since its manga form is on the shonen jump app, I couldn’t help but read it as soon as I could. I didn’t read it quickly, just jumped onto as soon as I could. In my head, this post was going to be a comparison between the manga and the anime adaptation, but you can’t really do a major analysis like that when the anime is astonishing close to it’s source material. Like seriously, there is almost no difference besides some things here and there. Instead, I will just be talking about Astra Lost in Space in more detail then I did in my Summer 2019 season ending posts. I don’t talk about seasonal anime enough honestly, so let’s do this. I’m already excited about it and I haven’t written anything else yet.
Our story starts in a spaceport. Areis Spring is a ditzy girl that almost didn’t pack correctly or make it on time to her camping trip with other high school students. At the space port itself, her bag was almost stolen until it was saved by a guy named Kanata who was promptly taken away by space port police for a while. With the group together named B5 after Kanata makes his heroic return, they all head off into a space ship to head to the planet McPa for five days. Unfortunately, not everything works out as planned. The teenagers were instantly taken in by a wormhole outside of a mysterious ice planet who knows where with a ship hanging around it. Using that ship, B5 heads back home not knowing what is waiting for them.
This manga and anime’s trip is about these kids returning home and that’s it on a small level. Yes, the ship B5 named the Astra does make stops on different planets with quickly established yet wonderful environments and such. While surviving the environments of these planets to find resources for their next stop with some space time in between is how the story is structured, that’s not all there is. I do have to mention that I liked a lot of the locations they were at. Astra Lost in Space is what I would call a journey of self discovery. These teenagers have a lot of parental issues holding them back. Because of that, I wouldn’t call them a complete group in the beginning. Every kid is help back in some form from their bad parenting which leads to some socializing problems. This show is what would happen if you put social outcasts out in space to figure out their problems. Perhaps this is the breakfast club in space where our characters find themselves and literally escape the confines their parents forced them in. Don’t see a problem with that honestly.
I can’t help but like learning about these characters and seeing them become themselves. They aren’t the most complicated journeys, but powerful and meaningful ones regardless. Long and complicated arcs aren’t necessary for them to feel real. Quitteries journey of learning how to socialize with other people and her sister Funicia, since she’s always been tossed aside from her mother, is a rather satisfying one. Seeing her and Aries interact with each other normally is solid stuff. Yunhua learning to have confidence in herself and her singing was simple yet meaningful too. Ulgar arc pushing past his angst to slowly become better and Luca letting people know that he/she/they are intersex was also pretty there fore unloved was great too.
In this journey, Kanata, Zach, Funicia, and Aries Spring are characters that don’t change that much. Honestly, that’s find because everyone needs a solid creep to keep the others together during their time of need. That doesn’t make these characters bad either because their presence is strong through out the series. Plus, everyone has parental issues because each person was pushed aside or kept away from their parents for one reason or another. B5 is made out of teenagers that act like teenagers. Aries is the one who has a loving mom, but there is a reveal that her mom isn’t her genetic mom. With all those parental issues and such starts the explanation for the conspiracy for why they were thrown out in the first place AND other galactic conspiracy for why wormholes exist. That needs to exist right? Not to me really. Astra Lost in Space almost jumped a shark with that unnecessary reveal. Everything else is still gold though.
From a production stand point, Astra Lost in Space is incredibly solid. Solid enough that it seemed to do victory laps over other series by having two one hour special episodes. One for the first episode and one for the last. How is that for show boating? All the characters are given unique character designs and space suits, all the different planetary backgrounds are vibrant and full of life, and the insides of the Astra feel very homey after a while. I loved how all the characters moved in their distinct way like Kanata running around like the gymnast he is as an example. Same thing for all the plants and animals that appeared on distance planets. For the small amount of time that the crew were on planets, each planet felt alive thanks to the effort put into Astra’s production. The only issue I had was the cg Astra because it always felt a little off compared to everything else.
The manga and anime of Astra Lost in Space have a small amount of differences but there is enough to at least talk about a little bit. You know, besides the animation and color that the anime has. The manga or original version is incredibly stream lined. As an example, in the opening scene you can see Kanata instantly out in space rescuing Aries instead of a quick shot of the crew working together to get Aries back. This was in the first episode, so it’s ok to spoil I think. The anime gives a small amount of time for these character actions to happen so you see the crew finding a space rope and doing other actions to make sure Kanata is tied to the ship in some way so he can come back. There are a lot of moments like that expand on manga material in the anime like that which I find pretty charming. Well, all except for the DNA testing scene that the anime version of Astra Lost in Space didn’t have. The manga also had some fun 4 komas. Here are a few to make you smile a little bit.
You all know how I felt about Astra Lost in Space already right? I wrote about it before hand on a separate post here and now I outright said that I liked it. Reading the manga didn’t change my mind from this aspect, only enhanced it. If there is a problem with the series it’s either too long or too short. Why? Because Astra Lost in Space decided that just the lore behind it’s characters wasn’t enough and sought to create an overly elaborate lore based around the worm hole technology that appeared every so often. Elaborate enough that the entire universe itself needed to be pulled apart. But hey, we got a fun character from the exchange so I think that’s ok. Generally. Otherwise, I think that the experience was pretty much as perfect of execution as it could be even if it is too long or too short. Do watch if you have the time and get the chance though. Astra Lost in Space is that beginning level of science fiction anime that should be able to draw everyone into it. Even science fiction fan veterans.