Previously on Astra Lost in Space:
The lost teenagers must learn to evaluate a planet and then forage for potential resources that will assist them in their survival as they try to navigate their way back home. In the meantime, mounting evidence of a possible saboteur arises, threatening the well-being and emotional morality of everyone on board.
For more information, you can visit my First Impressions and other episodic musings for the series, which are linked at the end of this post. Moving forward, this write-up shall share spoilers for episodes one to five. Please proceed at your own discretion, thank you.
Episode four kicks off with the optimism that I’ve grown to expect and appreciate from our acting captain. While he acknowledges that they are lost in space and it can be scary, they should also take advantage of their unique situation and use it for valuable life lessons, something that resonates through the entire segment.
I love this message because it’s such a sincere and wise way of looking at living. Tribulations and bullshite will always sprout up in our life, sometimes it shall be inconceivably challenging (like getting lost in space) while at other times, the difficulties will be more minor annoyances than anything else. Regardless of the severity of life’s fluctuating mood swings, each one is an awesome opportunity for growth and acquiring knowledge. It took me many years before I finally learned and truly comprehended the power of this notion.
In the previous episode, we watched as a character realised that she has flaws, which causes issues for everyone on board, especially for herself and her loved one. In this segment, we have another person that due to psychological abuse from her mum, has instilled feelings of inadequacy and incapability that jeopardises her overall strengths. But the crisis that sprouts up to slap everyone in the face becomes the perfect learning ground for her to shove all of those feelings and fears of incompetence aside to help save some serious lives. In the process, she grows so much as in individual.
It can be a bit unrelatable to see a person develop so heavily in such a short amount of time, but that is also the essence of trauma and lived experiences. All it takes is one devastating occurrence to put life into perspective, giving a person the kick in the arse they need to be whom they’ve always either wanted to be or have been without realising it. This whole thematic presence in the piece was heartfelt and I devoured it happily.
Other parts of the episode that I admired included the distinctiveness of each planet that the teens visit. There is a lot of creativity that went into building the ambiance of exploratory space and its multitude of planets, such as the ecosystem and surfeit of ways that life finds a way to survive/strike a natural balance that I found to be immensely fascinating. It truly helps to emphasise the sci-fi and space elements of Astra Lost in Space, and it has me melting into goop with fanhumaning glee.
Episode five begins by showing the audiences how the parents are reacting to their kiddoes going missing and the fallout from that. It was excellent to receive a glimpse of what is going through the parentals’ minds now that their offspring have been gone for over a month, yet everyone’s attitudes and quick-to-accept-death mindsets has arisen a hefty bucket of questions as well.
For example, just about every kid that is on this space campy gig comes from a wealthy or otherwise affluent family. To see these rich ass people sublimely accept that their kids “aren’t coming home” or are “most likely dead and decimated” is difficult to stomach. I would imagine that as a parent, one would try everything they can in order to retrieve their children, alive and well or at the very least to get confirmation of their demises; you know, closure of some sorts. So, this cold-hearted, blatant acceptance of death makes me wonder if these parents (most of them) are in on the apparent assassination attempts that were brought to light in last week’s segments. Are the assassination attempts personal attacks? Is it a cunning political move? A complex revenge scheme of sorts? A mass child murder pact? Or just some twisted, malevolent social experiment?
Only one parent really seemed disturbed and passionately gave a damn about their child being missing; she was the only one to exhibit any realm of emotion that coordinated with an unwillingness to give up. I also believe she’s the only parent that isn’t a rich prick douchebag, which makes the theories listed above even more intriguing.
As the parents all debate and argue with one another on whether their kids are worth the financial investment of rescue (oh yes… literally one of the arguments made), the kids are partaking in the quintessential BEACH EPISODE!!
The paradise planet they find themselves on continued to feed my sci-fi kitty soul. This was probably my favourite environment yet as all of the lifeforms on this planet seem to be parthenogenetic (asexual reproduction / females only), plus the flora and fauna all have really cool designs to them. If there were books, dense fucking sciencey books, on just the ecosystem, biology, and overall environmental factors of this planet, I would read the good god life out of it. The variety of what the teens encounter and how they must go about harvesting (or in this beachy case, flourishing) the goods they come across is bloody brilliant.
The segment ends on a rather serious note, however, as an unexpected situation rises out of the fun-time-in-the-sun-time to give the audiences a first genuine look at a potential saboteur. My two cents on this situation that occurs is that the dude who is being portrayed as the traitor isn’t actually the bad guy. I feel like he has been wronged by a specific character’s family and is seeking retribution for said shady wrongdoings. If I had to take a semi-serious gander at who the actual miscreant is, my pick would be Charce.
All of reasons for accusing Charce tie in to my “there’s an android on board” theory, courtesy of Alien. Charce knows everything and doesn’t really have any flaws or shortcomings, aside from his overwhelming optimistic curiosity. His eagerness and excitement at their predicament feels wholly suspicious to me, and the significant lack of detrimental emotion also makes me feel like he’s an untrustworthy robot out for doom-and-gloom (I really need to stop watching and reading Alien). A close second guess would be the pink-haired girl for similar reasons, and also because of who her mum is. But I’ll save my reasonings for that until next time. 😉
I’m looking forward to whatever segments six and seven shall bring my way. Even with the varying levels of comedy, serious tones, heavy sci-fi, and “let’s enjoy life” moments of Astra Lost in Space, the suspense is the best aspect of it. It weaves all of these traits together in a way that has made for some bitching fantastic storytelling dynamics that has kept me enthusiastically glued to my screen from one week to the next. As it stands, I’d still highly recommend it to any anime watchers out there looking for a good, entertaining show to sink into.
Source: Manga by Kenta Shinohara
Season: Summer 2019
Director: Masaomi Andō
Content Warnings: Theft. Brief violence. Mildly intense paranoia and anxiety. Caution advisory for claustrophobia, kenophobia, acrophobia, and nyctophobia. Mild language. Preparation and consumption of food. Bullying. Psychological child abuse. Mass illness. Animal death and dead bodies.
AniList: Kanata no Astra
Streaming: Funimation, Hulu, Anime Lab (Aus)