Book like Ender’s Game and anime series like Stellvia of the Universe had a younger me dreaming of an alternate reality where I, too, could enroll in a student space program and head out into the stars. Unfortunately, the settings in those two specific works were products of alien invasions threatening the very existence of humanity. Then I was exposed to works like Star Trek and Cowboy Bebop, where exploration for the sake of exploration drove the directions of their stories. I loved both styles, and continued to dream of a future where travel between planets was as normal as a flight to another country. ASTRA fills that craving with its colorful cast and varied environments, mixing an exhilarating sense of adventure with a persistent feeling of danger.
Of the many praises I have to give to this show, near the top is my admiration for the presentation which excelled right from the beginning. The show’s seeming protagonist burst onto the screen with bubbles and light, giving the immediate impression that this was going to be a lighthearted show reminiscent of Bodacious Space Pirates. As more characters stepped up to join the crew, I realized this was anything but. Their extreme differences in personalities with the addition of a trip had all the makings for the perfect disaster, which is exactly what happened. Their space camp turned into a fight for survival as they found themselves transported into an unknown sector with no way to contact home.
The story took no hesitation in throwing its characters and viewers straight into character building and development, with the constantly changing environments and pressure to survive and uncover the culprit behind their predicament. We moved quickly from one planet to another while also zeroing in on each of the crew members for backstory and team bonding. Just when I thought I might figure out the person who betrayed them all, the show would prove me wrong.
This underlying concern about the true reason for their journey was another layer providing depth to this otherwise short story slotted for only a single cours. As we learned of their origins–the families that raised them, the lives they led prior to heading into space–we became more suspicious of the loved ones they left behind.
With all of these promising plot lines winding together, I wasn’t sure the story would properly conclude by the end of the summer season. Yet somehow, IT DID. Some might consider the final push and reveal rushed, but given the overall pace of the show I thought the timing more than appropriate. The show even went beyond immediate satisfaction by providing viewers with a glimpse into the future. I cannot recommend ASTRA LOST IN SPACE enough to those of you with adventurous and just spirits.