The summer season may have officially started a few days ago, but things kicked into high gear today as one of the heftier hits made its presence known. Kanata no Astra may not be the most eagerly awaited show this season, but with a 48 minute opener and some unique (for this season) material on display, it’s certainly one to pay some attention to.
At its core KnA’s premise is dead simple: a small, motley collection of spacefaring students who find their routine 4 light year space journey rudely interrupted must find a way back home through 5000 light years before fear and death make their presence felt. It’s the Japanese version of Star Trek Voyager all things considered, and setting also does little to try and dissuade that fact. We’ve got the warp drive/hyperdrive mechanics, the very pseudoscientific use of near vacuum as a spaceship energy source (why not just call it zero-point energy?), and one funny looking interpretation of a quasi-sentient wormhole. Considering the scanner tech on full display as well this one is going to be a Star Trek inspired scientific love fest through and through, and so far at least I have no problem with the approach. There’s going to be a lot of discovery and exploration of the unknown here, and KnA has all the necessary pieces to really make the most of it.
Of course the Star Trek angle wouldn’t be enough without a good collection of characters, and KnA definitely doesn’t disappoint on this front either. Every major archetype is represented in some fashion here, whether it be the Captain Kirk-esque (sans womanizing) Hoshijima Kanata (Hosoya Yoshimasu), the adorably clutzy (and hilariously dyslexic) Aries Spring (Minase Inori), the stuck up slightly tsundere Quitterie Raffaelli (Kurosawa Tomoyo), or the always necessary
Data super smartie Zack Walker (Takeuchi Shunsuke) and complementary little sister Funicia Raffaelli (Kino Hina). Couple this with some relative unknowns in Yunhua Lu (Hayami Saori) and Charce Lacroix (Shimazaki Nobunaga) and we have ourselves a party. What particularly helps too is how willing these kids are to break from the mold. Quitterie for example could’ve easily been annoying from start to finish with that initially pompous attitude, but lo and behold some respect and caring hiding under the fluff. Likewise Kanata’s (over)eager exterior and happy go lucky personality hides a very troublesome past and personal worries guaranteed to be major factors in upcoming events. KnA’s premise and cast may be relatively simple at face value, but there’s a lot of room for some major development and challenging struggles on the part of these characters, and considering their situation, we’re bound to get it before too long.
We may not know yet exactly what happened to this group of students, but considering they wound up in reach of a fully operational spaceship with an oh-so-convenient path back to humanity, you damn well know this sci-fi story will have a little more to it than simple survival. Best stick around boys and girls, KnA has quite a few cards up its sleeve just waiting to be played.
OP: 「Star*frost」by nonoc