I write my Season Previews to reflect what interests me and where all the hype surrounds before the season begins so some shows get omitted as a result. In the case of this season, Astra Lost in Space was one of those omissions. It just didn’t interest me enough at the time nor did it seem to be hotly anticipated on my go-to anime sites. I did however end up keeping a closer eye on its premiere date after NegativesPrime over at Curiously Dead Cat recommended it in the comments section of my preview. And yeah, I can see why now that I started watching. This show is looking to be pretty darn good!
Set in the year 2063, Astra Lost in Space centers around a group of students who embark on an interplanetary summer camp program. Upon arriving at their destination however, a mysterious orb of light appears and transports everyone into space, light years away from home. After finding an old ship, the group set off to make the journey home by themselves.
The first episode of the show is doubled the usual length and I’d say it makes good use of that extra time. A lot of ground gets covered here, starting with the characters’ introductions, continuing with their initial dealings with their predicament, and ending with them figuring out how and if they can get back home. Had the episode just been normal length, it’d most likely just end with the cast realizing they’re suddenly stranded in space. Although that could make for a good cliffhanger, covering more than that makes the episode feel more complete and it’ll let the actual spacefaring of the plot kick off by Episode 2.
More importantly, characterization benefits greatly from the increased run time as the episode is able to focus on not one but two principal characters. First, there’s Kanata HOshijima (Yoshimasa Hosoya), an adventurous fellow who wants to go to space to honor the memory of his deceased mentor. Second, you have Aries Spring (Inori Minase), a somewhat naive but very upbeat and down to earth girl. Throughout the episode, it becomes clear what roles these two will play. Kanata proves to be quite brave and daring, risking his life to save a stranded Aries and rallying the others to take a similar risk. This results in him becoming the de facto captain of the ship. Aries meanwhile is shaping up to be the group’s conscience, convincing everyone to reconcile when they begin to fight over the assumed hopelessness of their situation.
Subsequent episodes will likely explore everyone else though this premiere does make me interested to learn more about them. The two that really stood out to me are Zach Walker (Shunsuke Takeuichi), a child prodigy whose spacecraft license proves invaluable and Quitterie Raffaelli (Tomoyo Kurosawa), a girl who initially resists Aries’s offer of friendship but gradually opens up after nearly losing the latter to space. The only character I don’t particularly like right now is Luca (Risae Matsuda) but really, that’s just because I’m baffled at her decision to touch that orb of light (what an idiotic thing to do). I have a feeling she’ll have an interesting backstory of her own to share.
There’s some potential with the plot. For one, the group has to make pit stops at various planets so that they’ll have enough supplies for the whole trip. That could lead into some creative environments for the characters to explore. Maybe there’s some eccentric wildlife for them to encounter too. As random as it was for that orb of light to appear and transport everyone into space, it does make for an interesting mystery. What exactly is it and why was it at the planet the characters were meant to camp at? Not to mention, it seems very coincidental that the group happened to be transported near a spaceship they could use. It all seems fishy to me.
I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. I really enjoyed the premiere of Astra Lost in Space so I’m feeling inclined to watch more. Is it a glaring omission from the seasons preview? It’s too early to say it’s at the same level of glare as, say, Yorimoi and Revue Starlight (those I still can’t I initially dismissed). That said, I do feel a little silly right now for not including it.
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3 thoughts on “Astra Lost in Space – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)”
Could have been a tad faster paced in spots, but they mostly made good use of the extra time. My big objection was a bit of overuse with the flashback sequences interrupting the current time action.
As I said on my blog, there’s only one glaring weakness at this point – the *so very obvious* character archetypes.
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The show does feel a little typical, you’re not wrong about that. I think the execution seen so far makes up for it though. We’ll see how it turns out as the series progresses though.
As for the flashbacks, I didn’t mind them and I really like how they fuel Kanata’s mindset in the present but you are probably right that you could cut one or two scenes out and you’d still get the gist just fine.
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I like character focused shows so that definitely has me interested. It’s rare to see a pilot with double time so to see they use that time decently is also great.