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Review
Show: Crest of the Stars (1999)  
Review by: Craig Burns
Overview:

This anime is based on a series of novels written by Morioka Hiroyuki.  The Crest of the Stars is a prelude to a deeper story involving the Abh and the war with the United Mankind and their allies.  This series tells the story of how Jinto Lin and Lafiel first meet and their adventures together during that time.

When Jinto was ten years old, his planet Martine was taken by the Humankind Empire Abh.  In a deal with the invaders, Jinto's father cedes their planet in exchange for nobility, thus causing Jinto to become a Count.  In order to learn the Abh ways, Jinto is sent to a school and has been there for seven years.  He's now to continue his studies at Lakfakalle so that he can enter the Star Forces as an administrator, which is required of Abh nobility.

A pilot trainee arrives to pick him up and, when he asks her name, she tells him it is Lafiel.  He later learns that she is in fact related to the Empress and is a Princess.  During their journey the ship that they are on, the Gosroth, it attacked in Plane Space.  Lafiel is charged with taking Jinto in a smaller craft and escaping so that the civilian may be saved.  What happens next is the adventures of Jinto and Lafiel as they try to make their way to Lakfakalle.

This anime is different in many ways from most that I've seen.  It takes itself very seriously, as it should in order to stay true to the novels (at least the two that I've read so far).  It is a prelude to a greater story that centers around the two main characters of Lafiel and Jinto, how they meet, interact and deal with their differences and similarities in culture and upbringing.  True they are trust into a galaxy that is beginning a major war that will in all likelihood span generations but, this is not a war movie as such.  It is about the people involved in the war and their microcosm that they are involved in.  Each episode contains narration at the beginning in Baronh (the Abh language) that explains some of the back history they viewers won't get from the character interaction.  There are also interludes that deal with the some of the political aspects of the war that never really effect Jinto and Lafiel directly but, nevertheless effect the galaxy in general.  This also is necessary for the next installment, Banner of the Stars.  As a viewer we are slowly shown a well designed future history of mankind.

Some drawbacks to the show is heavy dialog.  I especially thought that the episode Surprise Attack, despite it's misleading title, was too heavy on dialog.  After it was over I felt that not much had been accomplished.  I understand the necessity of explaining the Abh roles in the military and their thinking but, some of the explanation goes too far.  That being said, I can't think of a better way to do this outside of a book so it is a necessary evil, so to speak.

The English voice acting is not as good as I would have liked.  I am no expert in Japanese but, when watching it in that language, I didn't feel the haughtiness that Lafiel seems to convey in the English version.  She is a princess but, one of the points of the show is that she doesn't want to be treated a certain way just because of this fact.  That is why she allows Jinto to call her by name, because he didn't originally know who she was.  Additionally, some of the scenes that I thought should have been expressed with a little more feeling just didn't come across as more than low key statements.  Maybe that's the point?

Even with these drawbacks, I thought the show extremely enjoyable.  I watched it before I read the first two novels that are available in English.  It was intriguing enough to make me want more.

Music:

The music is orchestral that is not memorable but is befitting a "space opera" type anime.

Animation:

I thought that the animation was good to a point.  I understand the differences between Plane Space and real space but thought that the grainy effects detracted from the show.  It was almost like watching a static filled television show with poor reception.  Other than that, almost every other aspect of the show was dark, either at night or within the confines of space ships/stations.  This lent to a darker style animation with very few vibrant colors.  Not badly done but not too eye catching either.

Suggestions:

Although a war story, this is also a story about discovering new cultures and getting to understand the people within those cultures.  There are many deaths due to the war aspect but very little in the way of graphic violence.  I would suggest that this should be watched by teens and up simply due to the complexity of the story alone.  Many of the episodes are slow paced but with lots of story information that could also cause someone more accustomed to action flicks to be turned off.

Favorite Scenes:

Lafiel gets mad at Jinto for admitting that she is a burden to him on Sufugnoff for not knowing Lander ways.  I enjoyed his response that, when he was a burden to her, she took control and now she's upset that the roles are reversed - that each has their strengths and weaknesses.

I found the amusement park scene interesting and lent a little "real life" to the situation.

The transformation of Lafiel was a good scene too, showing that the smart young princess was still a little naive when she was reluctant to coloring her hair.

Last Updated: 2/23/2007
Other Reviews by Craig Burns
1) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Updated: 1/25/2007)
2) AD Police (Updated: 2/8/2007)
3) Jubei-chan - Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch (Updated: 1/30/2007)
4) Scrapped Princess (Updated: 2/12/2007)
5) Gunslinger Girl (Updated: 2/19/2007)
6) Crest of the Stars (Updated: 2/23/2007)
7) Banner of the Stars (Updated: 2/26/2007)
8) Boys Be... (Updated: 3/6/2008)
9) Sayonara Jupiter (Updated: 4/17/2007)
10) Reincarnation (Updated: 6/29/2007)
11) Ashura (Updated: 8/10/2007)
12) Transmorphers (Updated: 8/14/2007)
13) Automatons (Updated: 3/3/2008)
14) Kite Liberator (Updated: 4/28/2008)
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