Welcome all he’s, she’s, and them’s to another anime rant! Well, to be more precise, it’s an anime review this time. Let’s talk about Kanata no Astra. The actual meaning is Beyond Astra, but it’s a pun because the main character’s name is Kanata — so it could also mean Kanata of Astra. The English title for the anime is Astra Lost in Space. (I don’t understand why English titles always completely eff up or change the meaning.) Anyway, this is an adventure, sci-fi, and comedy anime aired in Summer 2019 with production handled by studio Lerche. Now, onward to the review!
The art and animation for Kanata no Astra were rarely especially captivating to me as I watched the episodes air. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. There’s that, but also, I’m not used to the art-style, and for a while, I wasn’t sure that I liked it. But no matter how I look at it, now, the visual quality in this anime seems excellent.
Overall, things looked detailed, well-drawn, and polished. Though I’m still not sure I like the art-style all that much, there were things about it that did impress me. For example, I like the way the characters’ eyes are drawn and colored. As for character designs, they were good but not great, in my opinion. Kanata and Aries especially have kind of boring, overused looks overall. However, others, like Quitterie and Luca, looked much more original. The animation of movement and action effects were again perfectly adequate, but didn’t stand out to me as special.
Most of the time, the face expressions are fine. Colors used are delightful. The lighting and shading are well done. Backgrounds and scenery look great, though the “camera” hardly ever focuses on them. The visuals could have used some more creativity in shots, camera angles, and character designs; and adding a few more action sequences would have been beneficial. None the less, the quality is solid.
Music and Voice Acting: 7/10
I tend to geek out over seiyuu, but here I’ll be as brief as I can. Extremely talented and well-known seiyuu appeared in the cast — including Yoshimasa Hosoya (Kanata) and Saori Hayami (Yunhua) in the main cast, along with several others among the parents characters. (Sugita Tomokazu, most famous for voicing Gintoki in Gintama, voices Zack’s “father.”) Another notable seiyuu and singer is Inori Minase (Aries), whose popularity recently exploded after she played Rem in Re:Zero. All of them performed well.
I’m very familiar with the voice-actors for Ulgar and Charce — Kouki Uchiyama and Nobunaga Shimazaki, respectively. They did excellent jobs with their roles, as did the seiyuu that I didn’t mention. I wasn’t familiar with the voices of Quitterie (Tomoyo Kurosawa) or Luca (Risae Matsuda), but they impressed me significantly with their acting.
Neither the opening nor the ending songs were memorable to me. They didn’t seem like anything special. The instrumental music didn’t leave an impression at all.
By and large, the story of Kanata no Astra is entertaining and well-crafted. The series structure seemed jerky to me, and by that I mean the way the episodes and events were ordered and presented. It’s nothing that seriously takes away from enjoyment, though. One element came up which wasn’t necessarily an example of poor story, but which completely threw me off and disappointed me. That would be the ending, or the final double-length episode. (I won’t spoil it though.)
There were several mysteries and plot twists in this anime, and the way they were executed was great. I did guess most of the main mystery before it was revealed, but only because I spent ample time thinking about the clues in each episode. It was by no means easily predictable. No major plot-holes come to mind when I consider Kanata no Astra. The comedy parts were usually genuinely funny, the suspenseful parts created some excitement and anticipation, and the relatively few cute or touching scenes were, well, adorable and heartwarming. So the story succeeded in covering all bases.
If I was trying to please everyone who enjoyed this series, I’d give the story 9/10. However, 9s are mostly reserved for stories that strongly speak to me or stand out to me in a personal and powerful way. Unfortunately, Kanata no Astra wasn’t a series that accomplished this. However, its story still deserves a rating of 8/10.
There is a good diversity of characters in Kanata no Astra and by that I mean you’re bound to see some of them as relatable, or funny, or likable, memorable, interesting, or inspiring. You start out not knowing the characters, but by the middle of the series, you have a fairly good understanding of their basic personalities. Their backstories, struggles, and personalities are revealed, developed, and strengthened through the rest of the series. Character information is established by various means, such as conversations with each other, flashbacks, and reactions to events. This is excellent character development.
Personal Enjoyment: 7/10
I definitely enjoyed Kanata no Astra. However, it wasn’t one of the summer 2019 anime that I loved most when compared to Dr. Stone, Given, and Granbelm. 7/10 represents my overall level of enjoyment, meaning there were some episodes or moments where it much higher than that or much lower. But still, anything in the 7s range is good, entertaining, and/or enjoyable. It’s just not excellent/great/amazing like the 8s range. I’m quite glad that I watched Kanata no Astra and I plan to rewatch it soon (I might have done so by the time this review is posted). When that happens, it’s possible my scores for this series will rise.
Some of my favorite parts in this anime were when Luca told his story to Ulgar at gunpoint, when Yunhua sang to help soothe everyone’s pain, and when Kanata and company discussed Earth with Polina. I had fun guessing and theorizing over what would happen next, and it was highly entertaining and impressive seeing the story play out and the characters as they grew. Scenes with Zack and Quitterie in episodes 8-11 were hilarious. My favorite character is Luca, and I enjoyed all his scenes and lines. Luca and his story are what I’m most likely to remember from this anime for a long time to come.
Now as for scoring the series. Art = 8/10. Sound = 7/10. Story = 8/10. Characters = 8/10. Enjoyment = 7/10. The average of these numbers is my score for the series. Thus,
Overall Series Score = 7.6/10.0 (Good/Entertaining)
Thank you for reading my series review, and please have a safe and happy day!
(Images from: Kanata no Astra. Dir. M Andou. Lerche. 2019.)