Review – ASTRA: LOST IN SPACE

Overview

Directing Masaomi Andou

Writing Kenta Shinohara (manga)

Starring Yoshimasa Hosoyo (sub) and Josh Grelle (dub)
Genre Sci-fi, adventure, comedy

Length 28 min per ep. 12 ep. *complete ending*

Release Date July 3, 2019 - September 18, 2019

(The subbed and dubbed versions may slightly differ in translation. I watched the subbed version.)

In the distant future, eight high school students (and a tag-along little sister) are headed on their first solo field trip… in space. Within the first five minutes on planet McPa, some sort of energy orb appears and sends all of them off-planet! Through quick thinking and good fortune, they take refuge on an old, abandoned spaceship. Now they have to figure out how to work together to find out where they are, what happened, and how to get back home.

I have no idea why they’re freaking out.

Content Guide

Violence/Scary Images:

 Characters are frequently in peril. Animal skeletons are shown several times and an arm is cut off, there is blood, and the dismembered arm shown. In the first moments of the first episode, a character begins to panic floating alone in space. Several characters have tragic pasts involving the deaths of loved ones. They occasionally kill animals for food. One character uses a gun (outlawed in this world) to threaten another.

Language/Crude Humor:

Very mild language, words like stupid and idiot are used as petty insults. Some rude comments like calling someone “big,” or “annoying,” or “useless.” In flashbacks, several characters were verbally abused by family, and we hear them say cruel things as well. There are three instances of “Da**it,” And one use of the word “God” as an exclamation (by the same person who prayed, so it’s unclear if that was meant as a swear or a prayer).

Drug/Alcohol References:

One adult character compares her feeling to a hangover.

Sexual Content:

Everyone wears fairly tight bodysuits. Zero-gravity boobs do exist in this show, but they aren’t a focal point. Despite the plot, they still manage to have the standard beach episode and some of the girls do wear string bikinis. The girls compare breast sizes briefly and comment on how “spicy” the swimsuits are.

One girl is shown in the shower and we see a bit of side-boob as well as her back, but not butt… I think. It’s hard to tell in .25 seconds or less. A guy walks in on her as she’s wrapping in a towel but completely ignores her and washes his hands as usual. She initially makes some conceited comment about how “it’s not the right time,” but then feels a bit snubbed so they argue about whether he should be embarrassed. They’re childhood friends so he says he’s seen her naked before, but that is when they were little.

[Moderate spoiler] One character is physically both male and female. He shows his friends that he has breasts to explain it, (shown as a silhouette) but tells them he identifies as male. This guy also says that they didn’t figure it out until puberty, so he must be mostly male anyway. He teases the other guys with it occasionally by making them feel awkward. 

Spiritual Content:

Someone mentions “maybe we were mother and child in a past life.” One character folds her hands and looks at the sky saying “Lord.” [Spoiler] Saying that they were the cause of war, the futuristic government eradicated both countries and religion.

Other Negative Content:

Although the kids aren’t totally innocent, most of the adults are evil. Nearly all the characters have problems with their parents. Lying, assassination, and political corruption are involved.

Positive Content:

The kids work very hard to keep from panicking or turning on each other. Even when there is plenty of evidence supporting a traitor, they decide it’s in everyone’s best interests to continue to work together as usual since the traitor will die too if they fail. Everyone grows and heals emotionally through the experiences they share and deal with their family issues. Without spoiling, one parent is absolutely awesome. People risk and sacrifice their lives for others regularly.

They can’t exactly eat fruit and vegetables the whole time.

Review

I didn’t expect much from Astra: lost in space, and yet, it was better than I expected. It’s mostly a space adventure story, but there is an underlying mystery to the situation. Astra presents itself as predictable and clique, so I fell easily for all the red herrings. There is something of a murder mystery going on throughout. But, unlike other movies in the category, (or Among Us for that matter) things don’t fall into anarchy. Instead, someone brings up a good point. If the imposter were to sabotage the ship, then they would all die, including the imposter.

This decision changes the tone of the entire show, making everyone work together and keep a positive attitude. When the going is tough, they encourage each other, and when someone is sad, they are sad together. When the imposter is found they opt against any form of punishment, and when the imposter attempts suicide (via non-graphic means), they do everything in their power to make him/her stop.  

There’s plenty of cheesy comedy mixed in with sad backstories and perilous moments. I certainly never found the show too dark or depressing. I was particularly impressed with how neatly the coincidences were explained by the end, rather than saying it was all luck.

Give it up Zack, they’re never going to stop acting like hooligans.

The characters aren’t particularly unique, but they grew on me. Everyone has some sort of special skill, though I felt bad for the girl who’s only skill was singing. They made her singing out to be the only thing that saved them at one point, and I just didn’t buy it.

Sometimes I felt like there was too much exposition. Everything could be solved in a conversation. But I did not see the common problem of shy characters being ‘cured’ by the end. The reclusive characters became more vocal and friendly, but they didn’t change in personality, they just got more comfortable with expressing themselves.

[Spoilers from here on]

Once the kids find out about their heritage, they aren’t happy, but they also start to think about what makes them themselves. No two people are exactly the same, even clones. They had to find and adopt an identity and purpose outside of the ones their originals set for them. I found it very similar to the process everyone goes through at some point. Up until High School graduation, your path is set for you, but then it’s up to you. What will you do with the rest of your life? Where do you place your identity? Will you be able to keep a positive attitude when things don’t go as planned?

 

The Bottom Line

 

If you want a work of art, watch something else. If you want decent, clean entertainment, Astra will do the trick.

 

7

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Celeste Greven

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