The Merits of Astra: Lost in Space’s Mystery

Astra is good, y’all.

Y’know how I said I wasn’t keeping track of where this season was going? I guess the only real way to drive it home was to watch the first and the final episodes back to back, a bit of suffering specifically conferred upon me by the anime club (because somehow, I was the only non-committee member there that week and there weren’t any bookings after them, so they broke their usual “no double-length first episodes rule”).

Now that I’ve been through the intro a 3rd time, it’s almost scary to see what you can notice – from Aries’s eyes to the fact Lucy Lum seems to be on most of the electronic billboards in the spaceport. It makes me wonder exactly whether the manga was as thorough as the anime was, especially near the middle and end (which I haven’t seen in manga form) since the manga couldn’t indicate Aries’s heterochromia without explicitly pointing it out.

Just as a follow-up to the first post I made on this series (yes, I’m going on a tangent – deal with it), as it turns out…Shinohara didn’t plan for the series to be in Shonen Jump Plus at all! It was apparently meant to be for Weekly Shonen Jump, possibly may have only lasted one volume and may have had 15 characters rather than 9.

In hindsight, I guess I really was right when I said “…[Astra] may have been slain by the Jump popularity machine”…just not in the way I originally meant. So, in essence, it was a huge coincidence that Astra happened to work with the metaphor…so was it a coincidence that there was a book that had a similar setup (see the mid-season check-in for more details on that)??? I dunno, really.

The stats on the fact Astra is a mystery and so people didn’t really want to pick the series up until the big reveal was also an interesting insight. Mystery is all about paying attention to the clues, so it’s hard to have many successful series like Detective Conan without having dedicated fans who can compile lists of clues towards who could be the boss of the Black Organisation (for instance).

Then again, while a short series is good for a self-contained mystery like Astra, it sucks for both web reception (as less people will pick up the series as it’s running unless it has print volumes – we’re lucky Astra did get that treatment!) and the intended Weekly Shonen Jump treatment (because again, word of mouth and the pride of being able to say, “I first saw this series in the magazine” isn’t there as much as it does with Weekly Shonen Jump’s usual long-running battle shonen). One of the big complaints about Detective Conan is the fact it’s so drawn-out. Those complainers are right though in a sense – Detective Conan would’ve run for 2 volumes, had it not been for a certain Hajime Kindaichi (I forget where I originally heard this from – I haven’t been in the Detective Conan fandom loop in a while, after all – so maybe don’t quote me on this).

So, how’d you guys like Astra: Lost in Space this summer season? Was it thrilling or was it too contrived for your tastes?

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