Original Run: July 3, 2019 - September 18, 2019 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Science Fiction Based on the Series Created By: Kenta Shinohara
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Astra Lost in Space. Reader discretion is advised.***
In the future, space travel is commonplace. The next generation of aspiring explorers of mankind must be the very best of the best, and those top candidates attend Caird High School. Every student of the academy must undergo a rigorous but controlled interplanetary mission. This year’s team includes the following:
- Kanata Hoshijima (voiced by Yoshimasa Hosoya)
- Aries Spring (voiced by Inori Minase)
- Quitterie Raffaeli (voiced by Tomoyo Kurosawa)
- Funicia Raffaeli (voiced by Hina Kino)
- Zack Walker (voiced by Shunsuke Takeuchi)
- Charce Lacroix (voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki)
- Ulgar Zweig (voiced by Kouki Uchiyama)
- Luca Esposito (voiced by Risae Matsuda)
- Yunhua Lu (voiced by Saori Hayami)
These nine adventurers blast off, and their assignment seems simple enough. However, they run into a strange sphere-like object. To their horror, the group is sucked into the mysterious orb, and they wake up in the dead of space, thousands of light-years away from home.
Although all seems hopeless, the team refuses to give up. Calling up every ounce of determination they possess, they decide to defy the odds and return. Along the way, though, they discover what happened to them was no accident.
Well, I’ll be damned. This show…this show was pretty freakin’ excellent. No joke, Astra Lost in Space is up there with some of the best anime of 2019. To its core, there was a uniqueness which allowed this series to truly set itself apart.
Astra Lost in Space proved to be a thrilling adventure story, a fun sci-fi epic, and a gripping mystery tale. It was a full package that I would encourage everyone to check out.
For those first two points – adventure and sci-fi – this show made one thing perfectly clear. Space is massive, and that alone is terrifying. Here was a story that didn’t rely on overly sophisticated science-jargon to get across the idea of how complicated interstellar travel is. At its heart, Astra Lost in Space was about survival, and you don’t need to be a rocket engineer to know that traveling five months with only three days’ worth of food can put you in a tough spot. How faster-than-light space travel works isn’t much of a priority. Just the fact a ship can do it is good enough for the situation at hand.
To bring the issue a little closer to home, replace outer space with the middle of the ocean, and you run into the same types of dilemmas. The fantastical science fiction merely served as the shell for a classic tale of human perseverance. Since Astra Lost in Space understood that, it didn’t overburden itself with nonsensical technical mumbo-jumbo to sound advanced and futuristic.
But while all that was nice, what put this series over the edge in terms of enjoyability was its mysteries.
I have no intention of exploring the details of the show because that would only serve to ruin the fun. However, this was an integral part of Astra Lost in Space, so much so that I can’t simply stay silent on the subject.
To narrow it down, this series had three primary mysteries (all of which revealed themselves in the first episode):
- Why did someone want to kill the crew of the Astra? (Question 1)
- Who was the traitor among the crew? (Question 2)
- What was the strange sphere that brought the crew to the edges of space? (Question 3)
Questions 1 and 2 were solid in their executions. Both answers made sense, they weren’t particularly complex, and specifically in the case of Question 2, they were solvable before their revelation. The best mystery stories follow logical paths and require little to no leaps of faith. Questions 1 and 2 of Astra Lost in Space did precisely that. Thus, two out of three is nothing to sneeze at, especially since Question 3 (albeit problematic, more on that later) wasn’t bad either.
Lastly, what put this series over the edge in terms of memorability – besides its imaginative worlds, quality writing, and beautiful visuals – were the characters. And I’m not talking just individuals. Astra Lost in Space was the crew of the Astra.
Given the amount of background, character development, and growth there was in this show, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought it was twenty-plus episodes instead of twelve. Granted, episodes one and twelve were forty minutes (so, basically, this was a fourteen-episode anime). Regardless, Astra Lost in Space had so much personality in its cast, it makes you wonder how much time other, longer series are wasting.
Throughout Astra Lost in Space, the crew, who began their journey as standoffish strangers, transformed into an unbreakable team. When you consider everything they had to go through, and that’s not including the time spent traveling between planets, they might as well have spent multiple lifetimes together.
There are some shows which throw around the term “family” without earning such a classification. This series was different. “Family” is the only way to describe the crew of the Astra.
On top of that, every single member of the crew found ways to be useful. No one was dead weight, and everyone had a job to do. In the beginning, it was rough going, and egos did clash from time to time. Near the end, though, the crew of the Astra was a well-oiled machine that knew what they had to do even in the most stressful of circumstances.
And despite the undoubtedly bleak nature of this series, Astra Lost in Space found opportunities to have humor and be lighthearted. This show could be quite hilarious when it wanted to be. In five minutes, you could go from laughing to the edge of your seat with no awkward transition in between. This series respected the balance there should be between comedy and drama. When done right, like it was done in this show, these two extremes can be complimentary instead of conflicting.
Since this is a non-spoiler review, I am running out of topics I can speak freely on. There were several twists and turns I didn’t see coming while watching, and I want you to have the chance to have the same experience. Therefore, I will finish this section by saying:
Astra Lost in Space was utterly satisfying from beginning to end. It didn’t leave anything unanswered, and at no point did boredom creep its ugly head into my brain.
As a word of warning, this section will be much vaguer than the last. The reason for that has to do with the previously mention Question 3: What was the mysterious sphere?
If I really wanted to better articulate why this was the most problematic aspect of the show, I would have to discuss the details of what exactly happened. However, since this was, arguably, the most critical mystery of the entire series, I am, naturally, not going to do that.
What I will do instead is tell you the three barebone reasons why Question 3 wasn’t as strong as Questions 1 and 2.
First, the explanation given involved a lot of the pseudo-science terminology I said Astra Lost in Space was good at avoiding. That pseudo-science terminology also used a lot of time manipulation. Not time travel, which, thank god, but this series did throw out a bunch of dates, and even the characters themselves commented on how little sense the presented timeline made.
Second, Question 3 relied on a massive leap of faith, one that I was, personally, unable to get behind. To make what this series said happened work, it required a scale of corporation and coordination that was, frankly, more unbelievable than a group of teenagers getting lost in space.
Thirdly, Question 3 could have been significantly more straightforward. There was one detail added late into the series that forced this story’s hand. Take away that detail, and a far simpler explanation could have occurred. Unfortunately, I can’t say what that detail was because it was sort of a huge reveal.
Did Question 3 ruin this series? Not at all. It was a poorly constructed mystery, yes. But it wasn’t a broken mystery. The story, as a whole, still functioned, and this show never entered the realm of ridiculous BS. Astra Lost in Space ran into some trouble, but it pushed through, and that was what was important.
Wow, this series was a lot of fun.
There is something positive that needs to be acknowledged about of story saying everything it wants to say. In this case, it would be the ultimate insult if there were ever a season two. This show got it right the first time.
With plenty of adventure and mystery to keep you thrilled, this was great. With endless amounts of personality and humor to keep you entertained, this was outstanding. With an out of this world cast – pardon the phrasing – to latch on to, this was truly a highlight of 2019.
Astra Lost in Space has earned a colossal recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Astra Lost in Space? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
If you liked what you have read, be sure to follow Anime Hajime on our social media sights so that you never miss a post or update. Also, please share this review across the internet to help add to the discussion.
For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.