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 Sequence

OP: 「Star*frost」by nonoc


      1. First impressions often starts with the visual aspect of things, so my Point stands, exploiting on people’s naturally occurring hormones to draw in viewers is pathetic.

        Yeah sup
  1. I found this episode a little hard to watch. The exposition was really kinda wonky here (lots of telling not showing), the characters were defined heavily by their one trait, and they were NOT subtle about them, and just about everybody was a jerk for pretty much no reason at all.

    Now, once the plot started moving, everybody started being way nicer, and much more balanced, and the last few were easily the best minutes of the episode.

    I really like the premise, and I don’t dislike the characters, just want to see them more developed and well rounded, so I’m willing to just chalk this up as episode 0, and give this show another shot once the real setting for the series gets rolling next episode.

  2. Astra will be 12 eps long; 2 Bluray/DVD releases with 6 eps each.

    The good news is that Astra’s source manga ended in 2017, compiled into 5 manga volumes. The question now is if all 5 volumes of content can be covered in 12 eps.

    Astra’s creator, Shinohara Kenta (who also made Sket Dance) tweeted back in Dec 2018 that he’s working on a new compilation bunko-ban edition of Sket’s manga and “planning a new work”. He wants to take it easier in relation to his manga career, owing to “new parenting life” and ongoing “shoulder joint inflammation”.

    1. make it so!
      (my sci-fi fix of ther season has offically arrived)
      also, this reminds me of the AWESOME piece of youth literature that kinda invented the idea of class being lost on a ship somewhere on the high seas (before the space was fashionable)
      Jules Verne, “2 years of vacation”

  3. I quite enjoyed this though it hasn’t bowled me over and at the moment not a must watch but I like the characters and space enough to hang around. There just isn’t enough good space based animes around anymore and this is just sad – sans mecha to be specific.

  4. Do I wanna know the story of why this pilot ep became 45 minutes long?

    I was also expecting it to be a bit …. darker? It’s SPACE, and the main characters are inexperienced youngsters. Have someone die, or have part of the ship broken apart in flight, or something. 😀

    1. it is not their ship… it is a conveniently located abandoned one (damn why no one bothers to check ships log for what happened to the crew?) – worst case scenario they have just stranded some expedition on the ice planet with no chance of survival…

      1. Really? Full Oxygen support, energy and so on. As if it was waiting for them.. Perhaps this here is all an Simulation?

        Anyhow, i bet this is not important for now. But as you wrote it, perhaps they stole this Ship now from some other Crew at they are now stranded and left for dying

      2. I would look if the Crew is still round, perhaps they could help them. because they are perhaps adults and know better to fly this and stuff. Are they not School Kids?

  5. A gang of usual anime stock characters, appealing designs, optimistic themes battling with a live-threatening obstacle, homages to Star Trek and Lost in Space…. you could say I’m “on board”. *rimshot*

  6. This was fairly fun. I was considering lazily dropping it, but then it got more interesting around halfway through with the wormhole’s appearance and trying to solve the problem of bringing everyone to the spaceship. I can understand why they allotted an hour to this premiere, because an hour delivered a satisfying experience that didn’t feel rushed but established the series well. It’s only one cour so I might as well watch the whole thing.

  7. An Spaceship not capable to do the 5.000 Light Years jump, standing there ready for the taken.. oh well, as @ewok40k wrote.. I hope they did not stole this Ship from others and left them now on this Ice Planet without anything behind

    They forgot to check where this present came from.. Oh well

    Perhaps when they finally reach the destination someone ask the right question and fly this Ship back where it came from to save the old Crew.. If there are some Shiplogs of course

    1. 5 Planets so far to jump. let them have 20 Days for each one to reach.. 5*20 = 100 Days.. How this fit with “at max Light-speed we need around Months?”.. Oh well


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