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« Kanata no Astra – 11

Kanata no Astra – 12 (END)

「FRIEND-SHIP」

Well nothing says bookend like matching your hour long intro with an hour long finale. It may have been a relatively straightforward conclusion for KnA between the peaceful return home and quickly wrapped up clone conspiracy (emphasis on the quickly), but it’s hard faulting the show for actually tying up all loose ends—and no cliffhangers! Sure, there’s plenty here which is either dubious, confusing, or otherwise needing further attention to make better sense—particularly that explanation of war into serene world government, the complicit change of date, or Charce’s rapid change from villain to hero—but at face value KnA kept the fun and games up until the very end.

When it comes to cheesy and simple sci-fi you cannot ask for more than that.

Final Impressions

When the summer season was properly confirmed there’s no denying KnA was one of the heavy hitters. An established, popular, and complete manga being adopted in its entirety is something not easily overlooked, and while doubts certainly existed as to the viability of KnA’s adaptation—i.e. the adaptation chopping/rushing curse—in hindsight those fears were misplaced. This was an adaptation which simply did everything right.

KnA’s success is primarily driven by its story. Besides being fully complete before adapting, it also possessed several twists and turns necessary to keep the audience on their toes and encourage returning week after week. This was a story well-designed both in pacing and message, never deviating far from its central narrative while leaving enough room to explore its more lighthearted sides. The main cast for example was an excellent array of different personalities and passions, each interacting through some well-written chemistry and banter enhanced by the voice acting throughout. The ability of KnA’s cast to transform otherwise superficial “development” episodes into fun moments really helped add some personality to the show and enhance the sense that time was flying by. While there may have been slow moments from time to time (which were relatively rare to begin with), thanks to some captain shenanigans and accompanying humour none ever became too bearable to handle. Couple this with the show’s tight progression and logical developments and we received one impressive sci-fi tale.

Where KnA arguably starts tripping over its feet though is in its details, especially later on in the show. There are plenty of dubious answers and developments for some key story elements (ex. Charce and Astra’s history) which can leave a bad taste if too much thought is poured into them. Charce’s rapid 180 and reasoning for example doesn’t really mesh well with the character as we know him, and when combined with the explanations for KnA’s world state later on it’s hard thinking that some ideas presented here (whether from time or interest) weren’t thought out as well as others. To be fair it’s not as though these defects directly hurt KnA overall (and indeed can be considered as part of the cheesy sci-fi charm), but considering how well the show managed its pacing and reveals it does stick out compared to the rest. This may be one sci-fi anime wonderfully capturing the feel of Star Trek in several ways, but just like its role model it had some rough patches which could have used a bit of elbow grease.

While KnA is not likely to ever reach the heights of anime’s great sci-fis as time goes by, it shows there’s plenty of space (heh) for simple, adventure-based stories just looking to revel in the fun that comes from exploring the stars. Not every sci-fi has to be a space opera, dystopia, or grand philosophical introspection, and those willing to take that plunge need look no further than this for a good example of base adventuring done right. There’s a lot to enjoy about KnA, and I heartily recommend anyone with a love of sci-fi give this one a shot. This one won’t leave you disappointed.

September 19, 2019 at 8:20 pm
24 comments »
  • September 19, 2019 at 10:18 pmPoring

    This was a good series for sure, the end felt weird though, everything went TOO smoothly, with how many twists the show had this was out of the ordinary, felt like it was going to switch to real time any moment to reveal they are in simulation/hallucination/after life.

    • September 20, 2019 at 10:24 pmPancakes

      It’s likely down to the nature of story IMO. If things were stopped at cloning and the related conspiracy it probably would’ve meshed better with the whole survival premise (especially the ending), but adding on the world conspiracy took matters a little too far. The latter is the sort of thing which demands a greater amount of time to make organic and believable alongside everything else.

  • September 19, 2019 at 10:42 pmzztop

    Astra’s mangaka admits the series only became more popular with readers towards the end (around Vols 4-5). He thinks the mystery aspect led to most readers putting Astra on hold until the mystery was revealed. The story had been planned out in advance.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/manga/comments/cy3u9l/news_interview_with_shinohara_kenta_sket_dance/

    Shinohara says he might want to return to doing a gag manga again, but wants to go on a more relaxed pace (for stress avoidance and to raise his new family).

  • September 20, 2019 at 1:26 amAngelus

    I was very disappointed. A big infodump followed by basically nothing. Could it really all have gone that smoothly when a planet’s population realises it has been lied to for a century? I don’t think so, unless the Astra government is putting something in the water supply.

    And although it wasn’t the anime’s fault, we were also deprived of the lyrics to the insert song near the end, which was probably supposed to be the emotional underpinning of the final scenes.

    • September 20, 2019 at 2:25 amLoliHat

      TBF, the current government has also likely been lied to, considering that it probably doesn’t include many geriatrics running things. The nexus of “but this is how it is supposed to be” and “revealed truth” was massaged by the Astra crews’ stories as well as the fact that the populace was basically organized to, for generations, not flip out at revelations that had cause so many to flip out and go all murder-death-kill over 100 years before.

    • September 20, 2019 at 9:08 amworldwidedepp

      Books in Printed form was very rare or not existed, but Books in digital form are easier to manipulate, right?

      So if someone goes there and modify an entry, only in peoples minds it continue to exists until even there it is forgotten

      • September 20, 2019 at 9:09 amworldwidedepp

        what i mean? i give you an simple example… What i mean ask Uncle Google or Aunt Discord

    • September 20, 2019 at 10:27 pmPancakes

      Oh yeah the explanation is very dubious, especially the initial formation of such a world government in the first place—you’re not getting that happening so easily, and willingly to boot. Personally I’m willing to overlook it though because the show managed to pull off the cheesy survival adventure stuff so well.

      • September 21, 2019 at 4:29 pmAnton

        wars dont end with all participants mortified and ashamed. ww1 ended in German defeat. That nuclear blast would have ended with one side winning.. indeed not a huge prob with a lighthearted show..

      • September 21, 2019 at 4:32 pmAnton

        …war in Ukraine will not end with a peaceful treaty either; one side has to win as usual; wars are easy to start but v. hard to end

    • September 21, 2019 at 4:25 pmAnton

      Infodump indeed. The most boring piece of anime is this ep. 12. I liked ep. 1 btw and series overall.

  • September 20, 2019 at 3:30 amLyfe

    At least people have responded to the show and are supporting it well if pre order sales are anything to go by. It’s easily one of the top three anime shows of the Summer season and is beating virtually everything else released.

  • September 20, 2019 at 7:02 amNoted

    >”When the fall season was properly confirmed there’s no denying KnA was one of the heavy hitters. An established”

    Wasn’t it aired on the *summer* season though?

    • September 20, 2019 at 10:28 pmPancakes

      Haha yes it did, I think I had fall preview writing still on mind when doing this post XD

  • September 20, 2019 at 10:06 amPlayer

    I don’t expect a plot as ambitious as this to resolve itself in one cour without half-waving a lot of stuff that realistically wouldn’t be resolved without a lot more conflict. Everything went amazingly well in the last episode, but I was happy with everything I saw so I wouldn’t have traded it away for more suffering.

  • September 20, 2019 at 12:40 pmNick

    So did the one main pairing get married?

  • September 20, 2019 at 1:58 pmalan morris

    almost like lost in space but in anime version by the way awesome anime

  • September 20, 2019 at 4:59 pmewok40k

    loved Pauline’s treaction to the news she ahs been asleep for 112 years…
    (had Flashback of Ripley in Aliens)

    • September 21, 2019 at 4:22 pmAnton

      Indeed!

      Also nice to see her meet the smaller “twin” while we all think its the older one

  • September 21, 2019 at 7:34 amstarss

    *cries*

    Perfect. I would’ve liked to see how Luca’s life would be in the epilogue instead of being “that best friend” and confirm if his art career took off further than it had before he went into space, but otherwise, this ending is everything I wished it had been and more! What started as a cliche Star Trek Lite series turned into an excellent drama with characters who became real!

  • September 22, 2019 at 4:07 amShiranaiHito

    In terms of writing, this is by no means a masterpiece. Many story beats are too convenient.
    But while in form it wasn’t perfect, in spirit it what I think many needed. A feel good story, overcoming and winning against all odds, bonds of friendship. The lack of cynicism is heartwarming, and honestly, I really needed that as a form of escapism.

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