Kanata no Astra Final Episode (12): Home life

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Kanata recovers from the previous episode's events

This series sure did a great job of keeping its quality up despite having two double-length episodes. Overall, I think the show has an intriguing mystery along with some solid characters. But given the explanation we finally get in this final episode, I can’t help but feel disappointed with how disjointed the two major twists in this episode were. Maybe it could have been more effective if the series had done more to establish its setting, but this episode is effectively introducing the home planet of Astra for the first time.

Charce tells everyone the truth

I think the reveal about Astra’s “true” history could have benefited from some form of give-and-take between Charce and Polina. Polina is meant to arrive with knowledge from the past, but she has no understanding of modern civilization. I think it would have been cool if Charce only knew part of the story, and Polina had to fill in the rest with what she experienced firsthand in the past. Instead, Charce just ends up knowing everything, which makes me feel justified in saying that Polina didn’t really need to exist.

The government hides the truth

The main sticking point for me in this episode is how hard it to believe that this “master plan” succeeds. I know it’s fun to fantasize about grand government conspiracies, but the reality is these kinds of secrets are incredibly difficult to keep. Given enough generations, I can believe that the truth eventually gets buried, but the series establishes that all of history is rewritten in a matter of 100 years. That’s only around three generations, which doesn’t seem like enough time.

Polina will attempt to spread what she knows

The problem with grand conspiracies is that they require nearly full compliance to be effective. If the entire B5 Camp group can agree that hiding the truth is a mistake, it’s hard to buy that the government could successfully convince everyone across 100 years. I know I might be harping on this a bit too much, but it truly does stick with me when I evaluate the overall story.

Mark Vix's plan works

I don’t have a problem with everything working out for the kids after their long journey, but part of me feels like things go too well. Charce basically ends the trip by vowing to get revenge on Mark Vix for killing Seira, but that entire subplot is resolved before he even steps foot back on Astra. Let the man do his thing…

Ulgar visits his father

Past that, the rest of the episode is basically an extended epilogue, catching up with the characters as they return to their normal lives. I tend to like these kinds of epilogues, so I was happy to see this. It’s great to see how the characters have made off after their adventures, and I think this episode does a great job of putting them on reasonable paths.

Kanata sets off for more adventures

When a show puts so much effort into making strong character arcs, I think that seeing how those characters end up is an incredibly satisfying payoff. For me, I think this is what this series does the best.

Final Score: 7/10

Kanata no Astra Episode 11: Purposeful

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Charce reminisces

Surprisingly enough, I found this week’s episode entertaining. I think that the way Charce’s story was told could have been better, but I felt that his overall characterization worked well. He’s not necessarily relatable, but he seems to be illustrating a concept that I think about a lot. But anyway, I’m curious to see how the series will resolve the remaining plot threads in next week’s finale. I’ve heard that it might be a double-length episode, so that might help things out.

Charce takes pride in his life

Charce’s story really gets at the idea of purpose, and how we live our lives. He takes pride in life because he lives with a singular goal in mind while others wander aimlessly searching for something of their own. I actually loved this moment, because I’m the type of person who grew up with no clear goal. I’m very familiar with Charce’s form of pride, because I spent much of my youth thinking about how people could figure it all out.

Seira is cloned against her will

When all is said and done, we can clearly see as the audience that Charce is just living his life as a drone. To be fair, he ends up coming off as someone who’s just trying to please his father, which isn’t the most uncommon thing in the world. However, it makes his character pitiable in a sense.

Emma agrees to raise Aries

I liked the story behind Aries and her mother, though. I think it’s great that Aries truly was loved as she thought she was and that there was a legitimate reason behind it. I just wished the series could have come up with a better reason to put Aries on the trip than “well, it must be a secret assassination plot again”. The explanation feels like such a hand wave.

Seira is assassinated

Speaking of which, Seira’s own death was pretty random. I can understand why the king wasn’t a great culprit, given that he went so far as to force her to create a clone as a countermeasure against death. However, the nature of her actual death feels completely artificial. I guess we still have an episode left for a more satisfying explanation, but yeesh.

Kanata tries to save Charce

I do like how proactive Kanata tends to be in this show. I get that this is supposed to be a callback to the first episode, but I think it might have been more cool if Kanata ran straight through the sphere and came back out on the other side. I guess the sphere is a one-way trip, but I think it would have been a cool way to think with portals.

Kanata no Astra Episode 10: Finding the enemy

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Zack tries to figure out the current situation

This series is just full of reveals, isn’t it? Part of me is okay with this, because the story has been fairly interesting so far. But another part of me questions whether this timing makes sense. It’s almost like all of this stuff is being crammed in for the last planet before Astra, and it’s just trying to be as wild as possible. Maybe I’m over-thinking it.

Polina tries to reconcile the two historical accounts

I wonder if it was just too subtle for me to notice, but I think the series could have done a better job of setting up the idea that the world of this series had lost its sense for history. I know Charce’s kingdom was supposed to be more traditional or something, but this feels like the sort of thing that would have larger societal impact. It could just be a consequence of spending the entirety of the series far from home.

Polina is shocked to hear about more wars

Given the current options, I’m more inclined to believe Polina’s version of history. I wonder if it’s overly obvious because of the kids’ obvious disregard for history, but it seems like the best resolution. While I think the idea of parallel timelines is interesting, I get the feeling it’s a bit much.

Yunhua wonders about the time passed

The time dilation is the part that I’m having the most trouble reconciling. You can explain away most of the inconsistencies in the kids’ recounting of history by saying that adults doctored history. The timer on Polina’s hibernation pod doesn’t quite add up in that situation, though. She was supposed to be in stasis for 12 years. Did she actually travel to the future?

Kanata replays the scene

Seeing Kanata replay the first episode’s events to come to his conclusion about the traitor was cool. He seems to have a lot of surprisingly bright moments in this series. I guess he makes a good captain after all.

Kanata comes up with a plan to trap Ulgar

As I stated in an earlier episode, Ulgar seemed like the obvious candidate for the traitor. But that’s not really the reason I didn’t believe this scene. Kanata approaches Charce and Zack with the conclusion that Ulgar was the traitor all along, but he never explains why. Charce ends up just accepting it, but I would have a hard time taking “I know who the killer is” at face value.

Charce reveals himself

I think the piece of this episode that surprised me the most was the fact that Charce was in control of the sphere. It’s admittedly an oversight on my part, though. I mean, how else could the sphere follow everyone to other planets? I just liked the idea that the traitor was working independently from whoever was trying to kill everyone. I guess it makes more sense for it to be linked.

Kanata no Astra Episode 9: The big secret

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Kanata's father trains a strong body

I feel like this week’s episode was a surprisingly casual reveal for how big the conspiracy was. I guess when you really think about it, the majority of the episode was the crew reacting to the news, but it was arguably front-loaded. I’m not sure how I feel about the episode as a whole, though. It seems very much like the story is giving us the “villains revealing their master plan” scene, but I do like how the cloning angle explains a lot of the show.

Zack's father tries to swap the conspirators into younger bodies

The motivation behind the cloning scheme makes sense, I guess. I also like how it makes the parents’ earlier line so much creepier. When we were first introduced to them, they often mentioned that losing their children felt like their bodies were being torn apart. Given how they talk about their children now, it certainly does have a renewed meaning.

The plan is revealed

As I mentioned before, this reveal feels a bit forced. Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but it feels like the plan is laid out in too much detail. It’s almost like they’re feeding the information to me.

Aries has a nice mother

Aries’s mother was the adult that confused me at first, so I’m interested in this theory that she’s not part of the plot. I’m curious to see how Aries factors into things. However, part of me is afraid that the kids accidentally get it exactly right, and Aries is a clone of someone else entirely who was lovingly raised by her foster mother. The best candidate at the moment is probably Seira.

Luca is okay with things

I also liked that Luca was the person who was most okay with being a clone, having already been primed by his experiences with his gender. As I mentioned before, much of the episode involves watching the characters react to learning about their origins, but this was an interesting moment.

Quitterie has an announcement

This scene about the marriage was hilarious. It was a great way to improve the mood, and it leveraged a scene that I already liked from a previous episode. Zack and Quitterie’s relationship is awesome.

Polina finds out about her planet

Well, I certainly wonder what’s left for this show. It feels like the main reveal was in this episode. I’m starting to get worried that Polina only exists to add some extra time with her personal drama. I look forward to seeing what her story is, since she currently feels tacked on.

Kanata no Astra Episode 8: Astronaut friend

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Kanata revives the hibernating woman

Well, I feel like that comment I made about the situation resolving itself quickly is becoming strangely relevant. That being said, this episode was still a lot of fun. The introduction of Polina as the adult in the group might add a new dynamic to the group. The series also seems to be toying with the idea of time dilation in a cool way. It could very well end up as a red herring, which is why I think it adds to the mystery well.

Polina wishes to return home

I’m sure this was mentioned briefly in the first episode somewhere, but I’m guessing the main characters don’t come from Earth. I’m really curious to see where this goes…

Kanata admits the crew's current situation

It was a tough scene, but I liked seeing Polina overreact to her rescue. She concludes that she would only be awakened if a rescue party had arrived, and Kanata basically dashes that hope. In fact, Polina’s full of interesting assumptions. She also assumes that the crew is taking her back to Earth, after all.

Zack beats himself up a bit

I liked how Zack was characterized in this episode. He’s generally stoic, but he feels personally responsible for crashing the ship. Any other member of the crew would probably had a much harder time as a pilot, but Zack takes his shortcomings seriously. In addition to that, his scenes with Quitterie in this episode are awesome. That marriage proposal is probably the greatest thing ever.

Polina reacts to the year

Curse you! Don’t give me hope for a time travel mechanic! But in all honesty, this wasn’t a hard one to guess. Polina acted like she was one of the pioneers of space travel, so it’s impossible to believe that she was only in stasis for 12 years. The main characters live in a world where interstellar travel is commonplace.

Quitterie finds something weird

And to add one last wrinkle into the episode, it looks like Quitterie and Funi are exact clones. Given the earlier comment about cloning with Luca’s father and the strained relationships the characters have with their parents, I feel like I have to conclude that this doesn’t just extend to Quitterie and Funi. Zack also mentioned something about memory transfer, so I really want to see this play out.

Kanata no Astra Episode 7: Suddenly marooned

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Charce is asked to explain his situation

Well, Charce seems to have wormed himself out of the situation from last week’s episode, but the crisis is only escalating. This series is getting a lot more intriguing, even if I think the drama feels more heavy-handed than I’d like. I like to see the mystery in this series building. I also appreciate that the adventure is starting to get harder. The lighthearted air to the series wasn’t bad, but it’s not really what I signed up for.

Charce tells his story

I believe Charce’s story to an extent, but I still find him suspicious. That being said, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s thinking that the Seira in his story is Aries, right? I feel like their names are evidence enough. I guess part of me is hoping there’s something more to that story, since my current suspicions would mean a fairly standard amnesia route.

The Astra crashes

Things sure did go from bad to worse in a hurry. Part of me feels like it might have been too fast, but what can you do? Honestly, I’m surprised that Zack gives up so quickly. The group goes from casually flying through the sky to resigning themselves to life on the planet without much effort. I guess what I’m getting at is that it’s hard for me to believe them?

Zack mentions the hibernation device

I actually don’t mind that Zack brings up the hibernation device at this specific moment. I get that the story is bringing up a plot device right as it’s about to become relevant, but I think it works well with the reveal of an identical ship. And I think this scene doubles as a character scene for Quitterie as well. She was the selfish character in the beginning, but she refuses to die alone when given the opportunity.

The team finds another ship

In contrast, we’re about to meet the person who made the decision that Quitterie wouldn’t, so I’m curious to see how that goes. I was honestly expecting the girl who came out of the hibernation pod to look like Quitterie to make things even more interesting, but I guess that’s not where this story is going. I do think it would be cool if the people on this other ship went through the exact same journey as the main characters. It might explain why they were able to find the route through the planets back to their home. Maybe it’s intentional.

Kanata no Astra Episode 6: Parental guidance

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Ulgar mysteriously has a gun

Wow, I forgot that this series had an opening theme. It’s been so long. Ulgar’s character progression went about where I expected, but this episode still managed to raise some interesting plot threads. It seems like there’s something going on with the situation back at home. It’s way too suspicious at this point. I’m also curious to see how Charce is handled in the next episode. He seems too strange to be another red herring.

Ulgar's brother acts as an inspiration

I don’t know why I expected Ulgar to come from a hunting family. The journalist thing threw me for a loop, but I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised after seeing his father. Also, I thought it was heartwarming to see Ulgar’s motivations stemming from his brother overall.

Luca reveals his true nature

Well, I was never going to guess this one. But that aside, Kanata’s thought process in this scene intrigues me. I had the same idea that the characters seemed to have a rough relationship with their parents. Are they all castaways that their parents are trying to eliminate? I’m sad that Kanata doesn’t follow this line of thinking too far.

Luca and Ulgar are caught up in the water

Oh hey, it’s the plot device from Interstellar. Good times…

The group discusses Ulgar's brother

Part of me thinks that it would be funny if Ulgar’s brother turns out to be a sketchy journalist who was killed for doing something unsavory, but I also think that it wouldn’t be a satisfying conclusion. It would definitely be interesting if Ulgar was killed for discovering the plot to kill Ulgar. Who knows?

Aries doesn't remember Charce

I didn’t think this would be the reason that Aries was given photographic memory, but I’ll take it. I like the idea of Charce being called out on an innocent lie if this truly does stick. I think it would be cool if the crew figures out that Charce is a problem and just has to deal with it for the rest of the journey.

Kanata no Astra Episode 5: The beach will always find you

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The group praises Yunhua

I was going to say that this series feels a lot less intense than I expected, but this episode turned it around right at the end. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel like this journey is going much more smoothly than I expected. I’m not opposed to a beach episode or anything, but it’s still crazy how carefree this show can be. That being said, this week’s episode finally gives us a glimpse of what’s going on back at home, so I’m curious to see what trouble is lurking around.

The group resupplies

Well, I guess I feel silly for what I said last week about having a survival leg in the upcoming space travel. The main characters sure seemed to blow through that restriction quickly. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but the reason I advocate for that kind of hardship is that it’s more of a battle of attrition rather than solving the problem at hand.

The parents meet to make a plan

As I mentioned before, I do like that the episode addressed the situation back on the group’s home planet. I was curious to see how their parents were handling things, and it surprisingly adds a weird layer to the story. For whatever reason, the parents don’t seem as shaken up as they probably should be (except for Aries’s mother).

Marco is feeling torn up

There’s also a weird scene where two of the parents use an identical phrasing to describe their emotional state. I like what it adds to the story, since it makes them come off as more creepy. Am I supposed to conclude that the parents are somehow behind the assassination attempt? From what we’ve seen so far, it seemed like most of the kids have a strained relationship with their parents.

The kids enjoy some beach time

For the record, I do like that Yunhua has changed her personality after the previous episode. I honestly can’t find myself agreeing with how the series treats Yunhua overall. The fact that her mother is a famous singer makes her feel less sympathetic to me. But that aside, I really wasn’t expecting a beach episode.

Ulgar threatens Luca

It looks like we’re ending on another cliffhanger. I’ve said before that I find Ulgar to be too obvious to be the traitor in the group. The fact that he reacted to learning Luca’s full name also makes me think that he just has some personal problem with Luca’s dad that’s unrelated to the rest of the group.

Kanata no Astra Episode 4: Mushroom kingdom

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Zack chats with Quitterie

I feel like this series is getting the point of being hit-or-miss. This episode was fun, with character development that I appreciated. But the resolution for the main conflict felt unsatisfying to me, seeming to come out of nowhere. In addition, the scientist in me wants to call out the leaps of logic that the characters are making as well. To put it another way, I’m all for character focus, but also I want to be able to take the characters seriously.

Kanata proposes team cohesion

I can somewhat understand what Kanata was going for here, but this line about not investigating the traitor in the group makes me curious. Immediately after saying this, Kanata comments about wanting to know who the traitor is, which makes the line come off as a joke. Is this rule meant to be taken seriously? I wonder if this scene is meant to be an acknowledgment that ignoring the problem will be impossible.

Zack examines the plants

This planet seems to add the dynamic I was curious to see in this series. I’m not sure if this will end up being solved next week, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the crew handles the next leg of the journey. I think the series would have benefited from making resource management a more omnipresent issue, but I feel like I’m satisfied with at least the idea of it put forth.

Yunhua wants to contribute

It might be because I sympathize with Yunhua’s self-deprecating behavior, but I got the sense that the episode didn’t give her the best treatment. Her attitude made sense given her mother’s treatment of her, but I think her character shift is undercut slightly by Kanata saving the day yet again. I appreciate that Yunhua is able to find her voice (literally). I guess I just would have liked to see her do more than just guess that the mushroom she found was an antidote.

Charce figures out how the mushrooms work

I’m all for the concept of a mushroom planet. I think the idea is quite interesting, and the world itself looked cool. However, I think that the characters in the show come off as being too sure of themselves for the new environments they’re exploring. I’m all for coming up with an educated guess, but I felt like Charce’s conclusions in this episode take some heavy logical liberties. Maybe that’s just me.

Kanata draws a conclusion

This is a weird gamble for Kanata to make. Typically, predators in nature are kept in balance by decreasing numbers. Since their prey is a limited resource, they can’t proliferate as easily as them. This idea that the Pole Trees can somehow sense a poisoned animal feels like a weird take on keeping an ecological equilibrium. I almost want to think that it’s a better ending if Yunhua’s singing played out from Kanata’s suit and caused the mushrooms to bloom.

Kanata no Astra Episode 3: Suspect everyone

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Kanata ponders the situation

The plot continues to thicken, and it’s pretty fun to watch. This week’s episode puts the group into yet another dire situation as it continues to introduce its characters. I didn’t expect for the communicator sabotage to be revealed to the entire group so quickly, but it certainly makes things interesting. That being said, it was also cool to watch Kanata stew in his own suspicions for a while.

The next planet is done

To be completely honest, I’m still a little disappointed that this series skips through the travel time between planets so easily. It makes me feel like there’s going to be one particular time when it’s going to be important, meaning that the uncertainty between planets will just be background noise for most situations.

Kanata figures something out

I thought that Funicia’s “encoded” hint went over pretty well. It wasn’t hard to put two and two together after being introduced to her quirk for messing up words, so it seemed like a natural development. I’m definitely curious after hearing that someone apparently wants everyone dead. As Zack mentions later, it’s easy to come up with reasons to want one person dead, but it’s strange that the entire group is being targeted.

Aries draws a conclusion

This comment doesn’t get all too much attention, but it’s strangely insightful coming from Aries. What if the communicator sabotage and the general assassination are two different situations? If the traitor is also a target, they could very easily camouflage within the group because they would be genuinely trying to survive. Meanwhile, they can continue to work in the shadows for their own goals.

The ship is hit by debris

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be suspicious of this or not, but I like that the incident in this episode is seemingly another natural accident. As we saw with Quitterie’s panic attack earlier in the episode, the group could easily fall apart in its current state if more evidence of sabotage were to come up at critical moments. So, forcing the crew to act together to solve a natural problem feels more impactful.

Kanata gives up

I’m a bit surprised that Kanata gives up so quickly. I’m guessing that this episode was meant to prop Aries up as his supportive co-leader, but it felt weird to see him immediately quit when Zack told him the numbers. That being said, I think that Aries and Kanata work well together, so it was interesting to see how things evolved.

The ship's safety mechanism

I get that this scene needs more drama, but this “safety system” feels like something I need to nitpick at. If the gravity system is simply detecting floating objects, then it sounds like it’s overly sensitive. Additionally, the bird creature was still in the air when it turned back on, so the series contradicts itself.