Was gonna save this for tomorrow, but when you’re hyped on jelly beans and insomnia, you go and make an effort!
I’ll also make this post rather to the point. There’s a lot I could say about this title, but I feel it’s best to leave it to the imaginations of the readers. Some of the things detailed in this story are pretty imaginative. I don’t want to burst any bubbles beforehand.
Kanata no Astra is a manga by the dude behind Sket Dance. While I have no experience with the latter title, I know it’s a pretty popular manga and anime in the eyes of the anime community, so I felt it was worth noting. Learning this, I went in with the expectation that it wouldn’t be complete garbage. And it wasn’t! How much more so is something of a vague incoming ramble.
So lovely are the characters… after some time for development. Initially they all reeked of one-shot personalities to better complement the humor, which, for the most part, wasn’t funny. As the series continued, the process of development and likability attributed to these characters increased through the earnestness of their priorities and bond with one another. Their one-shot temperaments became highlights to a more detailed inner complexion, something I appreciated in the face of a number of different moods throughout. Said characters are by far the best part of the manga, which is really saying something as I typically detest at least half the characters in any given manga. I can’t say I even disliked any character here, though not without some rough patches dictated by the story.
Because the story, well, is pretty fucking wild. Even with the swears and slang, my words should be taken with the utmost seriousness, as Kanata no Astra is a really imaginative work of sci-fi proportions; and when one has sci-fi, the possibilities are akin to opening the gates of Hell. Because of this, I can’t help but feel the story does way, way too much with itself. So many plot twists and jaw-dropping moments that I can’t understand whether I’m reading a space adventure or a daytime soap. That on its own isn’t so much of a harsh criticism, but the way it manages to try and sculpt all that it presents logically is what makes it so borderline hilarious. The claims the story makes about the history it presents, in light of real world consequences, are so laughably overblown that it’s hard to take it all seriously—maybe you shouldn’t! With all the crying and the heartbreak, I expect the mangaka wanted the reader to take this somewhat seriously… I sure didn’t. Lots of preachy monologues by the straightforward and heroic lead didn’t help, either.
Lastly, art was fairly solid. Lots of different things presented over the course of the manga that truly made me think “Oh, this world looks pretty sci-fi-y.” Exploring alien planets and tinkering with giant, futuristic ships was well presented by the art style, with the characters being wonderfully diverse in appearance, as well. Again, I’m not super familiar with Sket Dance, but I’ve seen enough on it to slightly recognize the mangaka’s style, and it’s nice to see that not just the style, but the detail is also pretty well done, too. If there’s any complaint I can make, it’s that it didn’t really show enough of the planets.
This went on longer than I thought. Ah well. I’ll let the ending paragraph crash land into an abrupt pit of fire. Read if you like goofy space adventures that eventually take themselves way too seriously. Characters are enough to have it be recommended regardless. It also features one of my favorite reactions to a confession ever.
Final Score: 6/10
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.
To see the ratings for all entries in this Summer and all others, check out the Summer of Anime Archive!