Yeah, I’m pretty late with this post. Evidently, writing First Impressions for almost every anime in a given season remains a slow and busy process for me, something I’ll need to work on for Fall 2019. To be completely honest, I don’t even know what to cover in its entirety. There’s a lot of tempting choices this season. So I guess as I crazily play catch-up, I’ll write whatever piques my brain enough and see if it sticks for the blog. Let’s start with this show…
So Episode 2 of Astra Lost in Space falls in line with what I figured the show was mainly going to be. A bunch of teenagers need to go back home and to do so, they need to make pit stops at a myriad of planets. But while they gather resources, they must also deal with whatever each planet is going to dish out at them. As least as far this episode is concerned, I’m definitely liking the Chekhovian use of the planet’s biosphere. As you can expect, the team runs into all sorts of wildlife — flying monsters, parachute-like plants that carry seeds, trampoline-like plants that rise high up in the air, trees sporting sharp spear-like branches. It’s all quirky, there’s no denying that, but to the show’s credit, they all later play a relevant role in some way. Quiterrie’s sister, Funicia (Hina Kino), gets trapped one of the trampoline plants when it raises to skyscraper level. One of the flying monsters flies over to capture her for food. Kanata uses one of spear-like branches to kill it. When he accidentally falls off, Quiterrie sends all the parachute plants up in the air to save him, giving him and Funicia a safe ride back down to the ground. All in all, the way the setting is incorporated into the narrative is really engaging. If the rest of the adventures are like this, I look forward to seeing how the next weird thing the characters encounter will come into play.
In terms of character development, part of me feels this is where Astra regressed a little bit. It’s largely a Quiterrie focused episode, specifically on her issues with opening up to others, including her own sister. I only find it odd as we just saw her open up to Aries and the others by the end of Episode 1. Here, the show acts like there wasn’t progress to begin with and Quiterrie’s character is back to square one — short-tempered and refusing to make connections. Some new details even felt a little odd too. Like apparently, Quiterrie and Zack are childhood friends and that seems like something that should’ve been more obvious in the premiere. Then there’s finding out that Funicia is actually adopted. I mean…really? She looks so similar to Quiterrie! That’s not family resemblance? I feel like the character designers cheated here.
To be fair, I do like what develops in this episode. Quiterrie’s attitude has an entirely sympathetic backbone to it. She never knew her father, barely knows her mother, and being raised by servants (which I guess includes Zack?) made her snobbish and isolated. To suddenly have a new sister in her life would only heighten her frustration. Nevertheless, when she sees Funicia in danger this episode, those sisterly instincts do kick in. Hence her springing to action by helping Kanata with those parachute plants. At the end of the day, it isn’t that Quiterrie doesn’t want a family. It’s that she doesn’t know how to be a part of one because she more or less never had one to begin with. More than anything, this space trip is making her realize that attitude needs to change or else she’ll truly be alone.
Kanata also gets some spotlight here, proving once again that he is deserving of his leadership role. As optimistic and passionate he can get, Kanata is surprisingly modest and reflective about how he does as a leader. Despite succeeding in killing the monster and saving Funicia, he feels he acted too riskily and impulsively. But I’m with the other characters on this, he was still able to make critical decisions under pressure and in a short amount of time. That’s the kind of mindset they need in a leader, especially in a journey involving uncharted territory. He obviously should still learn from the experiences of this episode but that’s part of being in any role really.
There’s a few story threads left in the open in Episode 2. For one, the glowing ball showed up again, chasing some of the characters briefly before disappearing. I already found it an odd catalyst to the story but now I’m really wondering what the deal is with it. Is it sentient? Is it being deliberately controlled by someone? If so, who is controlling it? Then you have Zack revealing that the ship’s communication systems have recently been fried leading him and Kanata to assume there’s a traitor. I don’t have any guess as to who that could be. For all I know, the subsequent episodes that have aired might’ve already revealed it. There’s not enough hints anyway. Hell, we’re still getting to know everyone in the crew. All I can say is that if it’s Aries, I will find that the funniest betrayal and twist ever.
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