Astra Lost in Space is a shōnen, science-fiction anime series that I semi-recently completed as part of the community watching event known as #AniTwitWatches. When I suggested this show for the thirteenth season, I did so mostly because I was craving a sci-fi serial that I knew absolutely nothing about, and it fit the episodic requirements we were all going for. What I wasn’t expecting at all that Astra Lost in Space would easily become one of my top five favourites for the genre!
This is one of those anime that I can gush about for pages and pages, and it’s also one that a lot of people have heard of yet have not watched for any number of reasons. Since I thoroughly appreciated the first-time experience of viewing Astra Lost in Space, I wanted to create a write-up of my five favourite attributes with the hopes of swaying others out there to pick this title up sooner rather than later, especially if you’ve been teetering on the edge of “should I” or “shouldn’t I”! If you’d prefer to skip all of this and just check out my first impressions of the extended pilot episode, you can do that here.
The Woes and Wonders of Teamwork
When you take a bunch of scared and confused young adults and toss them into a harrowing situation, such as being lost in space, the tensions can run very high. Everyone’s separate level of panic and anxiety shall set in and it can make it vigorously challenging to think rationally. Fear is a powerfully potent plague of sorts.
What I love about this anime is that despite having those very frightening feelings, these teens still find a way to rely on each other and to use one another’s differences in ways that work towards mutual survival. The contrasts they share become a big source of strength rather than a consistent and constant flaring of discord and hostility. It shows that people from all sorts of backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs can find common ground to work towards a singular goal if they’re willing to look to the larger picture.
Uplifting Messages on Facing Adversity
Daunting situations and regular setbacks can be a gargantuan bummer to one’s mental health and fortitude. When faced with a never-ending stream of hardship, the desire to lay down and give-up can be irresistible. Yet here each tribulation becomes an opportunity for growth and acquiring knowledge. Little bits of life lessons and wisdom that will work to help develop the characters into stronger and more open-minded individuals, and they are messages that work fantastically for audiences who may be needing a small dose of inspiration or motivation themselves, or even just a change of perspective on life.
Symbolism in Cinematography
The virtual cinematography and manner in which everything is “shot” helps to add so many layers of dimension to this series. Because it’s so unexpected and at-times wondrously subtle, when you do realise what’s happening and what scene or shot connects to which theme or plot point, it can feel almost mind-blowing.
Those elements of depth, foreshadowing, and symbolism truly help to emphasise the essence of storytelling within the science-fiction genre, such as the incredible claustrophobia of space, for example. It helped to remind me why I fucking love the genre so bloody much!
Amazing Ambiance of Exploratory Space
The best parts of watching something involving exploring the vastness of space, are the planets that humans must inevitably stop at in order to scavenge for supplies. The distinctiveness of each planet the teens end up “pulling over” at is pretty damn phenomenal.
Each planet has a unique ecosystem with vibrantly varying flora and fauna, including the many ways that life evolves in order to adapt to their environments. Sometimes that includes striking a natural balance where one would never expect for such a thing to be possible. One such example, is having a world where all living creatures only have asexual reproduction (they’re all females). I would honestly love a separate short anime series or even a manga series that only talks about the diversity of planets explored in Astra Lost in Space, I find it that fucking fascinating.
Enjoyable for Non-Sci-Fi Watchers
With all these cool components, my favourite is how accessible and enjoyable this anime can be for just about any kind of anime watcher out there. Whether you’re a casual fan, or on the hardcore side, whether you like slice-of-life, comedy, or action, or even if you just want some sweet romance or a brain-tingling mystery—Astra has you covered.
The anime is also great for folx that don’t typically gravitate towards the science-fiction genre. The in-narrative explanations of the sciencey titbits help to curb the majority of the tediousness that can be off-putting for a lot of newcomers to sci-fi. Rather than be dominated heavily by things like quantum physics, biology, and ecology, it works to complement the circumstances the teens find themselves in and to add further conflict (or resolution) to the obstacles that sprout up, making it more of a colourful characteristic of the setting and situation than a centralised focal point.
Astra Lost in Space is one of my favourite science-fiction anime in recent years. The show has much going for it, and it’s beautifully more intricate than the simple straightforward story trope of “oops, we’re lost, let’s find a way home.”
If you’d like to check out my episodic musings on Astra Lost in Space, just click this link here, or if you want a basic first impressions, then you can find that here as well. You can stream all twelve episodes of Astra Lost in Space over on Funimation, Hulu, and Anime Lab (Aus).