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Review
Show: Banner of the Stars (2000)  
Review by: Craig Burns
Overview:
Banner of the Stars takes place three years after Crest of the Star and sees Lafiel captaining her first ship, the assault ship Basroil, and Jinto is aboard as the supply officer.  What we've found out is that the taking of Sufugnoff in Crest was only a decoy as they rest of the United Mankind's fleets attacked Lakfakalle in order to attempt to wipe out the Abh.  Both sides of the battle took heavy losses and, since then, an unofficial cease-fire has been on while both side rebuild.

The Abh have lost a lot of territory in Plane Space to the enemy and now they are ready to start taking it back.  They have a plan to allow them to forge a route through Plane Space in order to re-link with their territories and for a supply line.  The Abh take the Aptic gate and use this as a launching point with Admiral Spoor in charge of the main push into enemy territory.  Other fleets are assigned to keep the lines open in her wake.

Lafiel and her crew are assigned to the Aptic Gate under Atosuryua, the sister of the Baron Febdash whom Lafiel killed.  Of course this causes some stress initially for her and Jinto but things are worked out and they finally enter their first conflict.  They are thrust into the real world of battle on a recon mission that puts all of their skills to the test.  Later, they must take part in a major battle to hold the Aptic Gate for the Abh Empire.  Outnumbered nearly 15 to 1, they must hold the enemy until reinforcements arrive.

This series is different from Crest in the fact that it takes place in the middle of a war.  Holding true to the first series though, it is still a character driven show involving Jinto and Lafiel as well as mixing in a few new faces.  The series deals with a small aspect of the war centered on Lafiel's ship and her squadron commanded by Atosuryua.  We see the big picture through the eyes of the Admirals as they make battle plans and issue orders to the fleets but this never directly involved Lafiel and her crew.  They are simply cogs in the greater war machine.

We get to see the interactions of the bridge crew together as they fight and as they relax off duty.  We see how a crew of genetic Abh and Abh citizens work together and their differences in cultures.  It's a little more apparent in this series, because of the diverse crew members, how the Abh run their territories.  As stated briefly in Crest of the Stars, they don't really care how each planet's government is run, as long as they are not anti-Abh in nature and a percentage of trade profits goes to the Empire.  This is the major difference between the Abh and the forces against them.

Another point in this series is that we get more into the techniques and strategies for battling in Plane Space.  A little more is explained about the dynamics of this two dimensional arena.  It is interesting to note that the mass inside the space-time bubbles is proportional to the speed in which they can travel.  This is similar to cars and trucks on a highway, it takes more horse power to move a loaded semi at the same speed as it does a small car.

As opposed to the first series where we see the enemy in their takeover of Sufugnoff system and through their diplomats at Lakfakalle, this series does not show the enemy at all (other than their ships).  This dehumanizes them in a way but also lends to the mystery involved in the battle plans for the Abh.  We as viewers are as unaware of their movements as they are.

This is a great continuation of the series and I am looking forward to the English translations of the books to come out soon.

Music:
The same opening theme is used here as was in the Crest of the Stars.  I really liked the ending theme "Pink" by YUAMU.  It's a nice, non-instrumental, wrap up for each episode.

Animation:
The animation in Banner of the Stars is an improvement over Crest of the Stars.  Everything is a little more crisp, even the Plane Space scenes.  The mood of the animation is similar since most scenes are in space and aboard spaceships.

Suggestions:
As with Crest of the Stars, I would suggest that this should be watched by teens and up simply due to the complexity of the story alone.  There are many deaths due to the war aspect but very little in the way of graphic violence.  It does show people dying and being blown into space.  It also deals with the losses felt by others when this happens.

Favorite Scenes:
In Spectacular Insanity is enjoyed the tension between Lafiel and Jinto after she sees him with Ekuryua.

I enjoyed seeing more of the Plane Space physics in the episode Escape in the Dark.  This episode had a submarine feel to it when their Plane Space radar is trashed.  I also thought that the choices between the two ships cooperating together brought a little bit of the realities of the war to light.

I liked the episode (The Eve of the Decisive Battle) that takes place before the Basroil is deployed to the Battle for Aptic Gate.  I like the idea of knowing when a battle is going to take place and having the time beforehand to prepare, in whatever ways the crew wishes...

Although similar to the ending of Crest of the Stars, I enjoyed the conversation between Jinto and Lafiel in the final episode.  It further solidifies their friendship and still leaves it open for further developments.
Last Updated: 2/26/2007
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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