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.
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.