Crest of the Stars

I think we can see where the designs for the Otome uniforms originally came from.

When Jinto was just a boy, his father handed his world to the Abh Empire, a mighty stellar force of genetically modified human who believe their empire is the best buffer against instellar war. Flash forward a few years, and Jinto is now an honorary Abh being given the same off-world education as any noble in the Empire. On his way to military college, however, he not only undergoes a fateful meeting with the beautiful and proud Abh Lafiel, but becomes embroiled in the forefront of events when the so-called United Mankind decides to declare war on the Abh…

Sometimes, hearing too many good things about a series can become counterproductive- the more you read about how great it is, the more you become sceptical of its merits. By the time I came to watch Crest of the Stars, I was beginning to feel that it couldn’t possibly be as good as it was cracked up to be, but fortunately for me, it was better than I had dared hope- in fact, it was one of those rare series where each twenty-five minute episode seemed to pass by in a flash.

A sci-fi series set in the far future, Crest of the Stars effectively interweaves two connected tales- in close up, we see the character drama of Jinto and Lafiel’s adventures, whilst on a larger scale a more complex story of galactic politics and impending interstellar war is slowly fleshed out. The result is an absorbing combination of the best of both worlds, but unfortunately, it is one that a mere thirteen episodes cannot do justice to. Thankfully, having whetted the appetite, the franchise isn’t about the leave its viewers hanging- the story is continued in the three Banner of the Stars series.

Integral to this world is its varied selection of characters, with Jinto and Lafiel heading up the roster. Almost everyone we meet proves to be an interesting and well defined personality, but unfortunately, time restrictions once again come into play, with some of the more appealing supporting characters pushed to one side in favour of following the leads.

Since the series was made in 1999, the animation is beginning to show its age a little, but it nonetheless remains generally strong. As far as character designs go, most normal humans are on the generic and uninspiring side, but in contrast the blue and purple-haired Abh are always aesthetically pleasing, with a surprising degree of variation on their defining racial characteristics. Background music is solid, with a well-suited grandiose ‘space opera’ theme for the OP, and a gentler ballad covering the ED.

Final Thoughts
An intriguing peek into a well-plotted sci-fi universe, Crest of the Stars not only draws the viewer into its world, but whets the appetite for more. If you haven’t picked it up already, be sure to add it to your viewing list.

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6 Responses to Crest of the Stars

  1. Neriya says:

    Something looks strangely familiar about those pictures…

    Ah got it! When I started out trying to draw manga style characters I always made the heads far too big for the bodies as well! 🙄

  2. Martin says:

    I have to say that this is one of my favourite science fiction series. It doesn’t seem to get the widespread attention it deserves though, which is probably surprising for those of us who have seen it through to the end.

    The relationship between the two leads was a refreshing change for a start: there’s no sickly-sweet romance taking over and they’re both likable and easy to relate to. The background to their story impressed me as well: the Abh have a political system, distinctive customs and even their own language! Not everyone will notice these details at first glance but the effort that has gone into the writing and characterisation is really quite something.

    I haven’t heard of any UK DVD release for Banner of the Stars though so chances are I’ll get impatient and import them. Believe me, once you’ve seen the first series, you’ll want to see the rest!

  3. This wasa great series! Was Banner of the Stars III ever dubbed in English?

  4. Karura says:

    abyssalleviathin: last time I checked it was still unlicensed, but I can’t see why Bandai wouldn’t pick it up eventually.

    Martin: Banner of the Stars will probably be my next DVD purchase. I’m quite interested in reading the novels too.

  5. Lighthawk Demon says:

    Karura said:
    “abyssalleviathin: last time I checked it was still unlicensed, but I can’t see why Bandai wouldn’t pick it up eventually.

    Martin: Banner of the Stars will probably be my next DVD purchase. I’m quite interested in reading the novels too.”

    God, I hope someone licenses it AND gives it a decent dub!!!

    I’ve been without far too long and am dying for the anime story to continue.

    Unfortunately, I’ve heard that there aren’t enough novels to warrant another anime. Hiroyuki Morioka supposedly said in the interview on the Banner of the Stars III R2 DVD that there would be more anime created for the story. Unfortunately again, Mr. Morioka is one of these authors that takes quite a long time between the novels in his continuing story arc of the series.

    So for us to get more Banner of the Stars, HE has to finish the novels first. So far I think there’s only Seikai no Senki IV. Seikai no Senki V is no where to be seen yet, and I have no idea how many novels Mr. Morioka plans on taking his story to.

    Here in the States they only translated the Crest of the Stars story arc and according to various web sites it didn’t sell too well. That leaves the probability of the rest of the novels being translated very slim at best.

    We fans can only hope and pray for more. It’s out of our hands.

    Though I do think that the fans should at least write and let the creators of the anime know that we’re here and waiting for more. For all they know there is no fan base outside of Japan. Perhaps we need to make them aware of our existance?

    Anyone know to whom we should at least write and send a friendly letter to?

  6. lelangir says:

    Like Martin said, I enjoyed watching the relation between Lafiel and Jinto develop and such.

    The only thing I didn’t like about this series was the sound. I thought there was too much music, and all the loud explosions in space when, well, there’s no air and everything. Although I guess a lack of music would have made it too Kubrick-ish.

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