Posted by SuperMario on 25 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kanata no Astra

Even with all the worries from manga-readers regarding whether or not Kanata no Astra can wrap things up in 12 episodes, for me from an anime-only perspective the pacing so far is just about right. This week our group arrives at the second planet in their journey, and I enjoy the fact that this planet is vastly different from the first, and increasingly more sinister as well. Each place they visit the ecosystem varies significantly, and that provides a good opportunity for new experience (hello riding strange animals) and how well these kids adapt to the new environment. Of course, Kanata no Astra also knows its medium so it’s never shy on playing up the character tropes, which personally I can live without. I was crying inside when Quitterie’s first reaction when Zack butts into the bathroom was “I understand how you feel. But now is not the time for this” (seriously, who says that in that situation in real life?) and Kanata’s logic of taking off his helmet to find the medicine shiny mushroom still bugs me. But other aspects of this episode are strong enough to compensate for these missteps.

In particular, we learn more about Yun-hua during this trip about her low self-esteem. She has quite a sad backstory in that her mother always regards her as useless, and you know how these psychological verbal attacks leave a big scar to Yun-hua even now. She’s afraid to stand out, she wishes herself to be invisible to the point she’s wearing a fake glasses. It doesn’t help that there are low-key bullying towards her (don’t try to defend here. Bullying remarks start out like that!!). What does Yun-hua really want to do? To be a singer. While it’s a skill that doesn’t fit at all with the current situation, I think it’s a really good characteristic right there. To be able to sing her heart out means that she opens herself more to the group.

In terms of settings, this episode also succeeds. The second planet Shummoor has much drabber look compare to the first planet, and you can immediately sense its dangerous vibe once you see the carcasses lying around the giant tree. This new planet also has many other characteristics that contribute so much to its personality: the yummy fruit that withers quickly at night, these Gruppies and these deadly Pole trees. So far, these adventures are more Man vs Nature affair, but I do suppose in the future the group will encounter the habitant planets where it’s more of a conflict between them and the native’s custom. We shall see.

In a way, I can understand and appreciate the way our characters not behave maturely. Kids their age see everything new as new adventures, at the same time they can act childishly (like Quitterie and Kanata’s bickering few weeks back), or inexperience (like this week when most of them don’t bother wearing helmets. USE PROTECTION EVERYTIME, KIDS). If anything, these first four episodes touches on the conflict between these kids and the adults. Many backstories we hear so far, from Kanata to Ulgar to this week’s Yun-hua, there’s an ongoing dissatisfaction from the kids towards the way the adults treat and handle them. The adults expect them to grow the way they want and our cast turns away as a response. Kanata no Astra’s premise, as a result, can be seen a way where kids can grow and mature by learning and trust from each other without the supervision of the adults. That might sound like a stretch in the long run, but so far I enjoy connecting all the dots. The very fact that it leaves me with this train of thought means that the show might offer something more than just a survival coming-of-age journey.

One Response

  1. Avatar Firechick says:

    “I was crying inside when Quitterie’s first reaction when Zack butts into the bathroom was “I understand how you feel. But now is not the time for this” (seriously, who says that in that situation in real life?)”

    On some level, I agree, but when I first read this in the manga, I thought it was hilarious, mostly because it didn’t go the typical route of Quitterie flipping out at Zack and calling him a perv–or punching him–and Zack’s acknowledgement of his own part in it and lack of reaction only made it funnier to me. As someone who normally absolutely hates the whole “guy walks in on a girl while she’s naked and girl attacks him even if it was an accident” trope, I thought this was a neat spin on it.

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