Crest of the Stars -

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Crest of the Stars


Crest of the Stars

A space opera from a different perspective—where the invading aliens are the good guys, the main male character is not an action hero, and the main female character is not a busty, vapid airhead. A show about the friendship between two people not only from two entirely different worlds, but from two entirely different species. That is Crest of the Stars.The story starts with the invasion of Martine, a distant planet long held and colonized by humanity. We meet Jinto, the young son of Martine's governor, who watches in awe as strange and powerful ships appear above his planet. Soon, he finds out that his father has betrayed them all, striking a deal with the invaders, the Abh —a beautiful and cold race of almost-humans. This deal elevates his family to Abh nobility, and he is to be shipped away immediately to receive schooling befitting his new status, as well as being kept safe from all the Martine natives unhappy with his father. Jinto doesn't really understand what all this means, except that on that fateful day, his life is changed forever.From there the story zooms forward seven years to Jinto again, as he has finished one Abh language school, and is about to enter a military academy. For this occasion, at last, he is about to meet his first Abh. But Lafiel is no ordinary girl, and while the two don't strike an instantaneous friendship, one could say that each is intrigued by the other. Soon, though, the ship they travel on is attacked by the United Mankind, rivals of the Abh, and here the real story begins. Jinto and Lafiel escape the ship together, and must make their way to the closest outpost of the Abh fleet to warn of the impending war. Many obstacles stand in their way, however, from a small-time Baron to the intricate politics of a planet already captured by the Mankind army. The most important thing here is survival, and the journey of two people as they learn what it is to depend on each other.What makes this show so captivating is the character development. Jinto, at first, strikes one as a very quiet, rather mouse-like boy who cannot stand up for himself. But from the beginning, we can see this trait change. He discovers an inner strength which grows throughout the show. Lafiel is introduced as a girl so proud and unbending that she would seem to sacrifice her life to save her pride. But little by little, she opens up to Jinto, and by the end of the show one has seen every side of her, from the ruthless Abh who will get the job done, to the soft and insecure girl who was forced to grow up too quickly. Crest of the Stars focuses on character development more than anything else, so as an action show it may disappoint. However, the few action scenes it does have are amazing, suspenseful, and incredibly creative. A space battle in the beginning is tense, unpredictable, full of fast decisions and beautiful animation. A chase scene much later on features unlikely locations and an amazing conclusion, with the clash of many different interests finally coming to a climax. So while the show is a bit slow to the action lover, it makes up for it by doing a great job in creativity and visual appeal. If you have never seen a show with a chase scene through a futuristic amusement park, now's your chance.Of course, one can't talk about an anime show without mentioning the character designs and animation itself. In this case, they're wonderful—Crest of the Stars obviously had a very high production budget. The characters are drawn with a simple, elegant style that befits them. The whole show is beautifully animated. Never once does a character turn SD, or is a still shot used during an intense action scene. Landscapes are beautifully detailed, such as individually drawn plants for a corn field. Color is used to powerful effect as well. This show is easily one of the best looking one among recent titles, with gorgeous character designs and wonderful scenery.Another important feature of Crest of the Stars is the music. The opening song is an orchestral piece, carefully setting the serious mood of the show. Background music is very quiet, but effective as well. Composer Kohei Tanaka obviously knows what he's doing: his music amplifies and emphasizes dramatic moments, suspenseful chase scenes, and quiet conversations all. Each episode closes with a quiet ballad sung by a male voice, very appropriate to the subject matter. Altogether, Crest has a very pleasant soundtrack that fits the show well.Cover Vol. 1As for the domestic release of this title, there is much R1 goodness to be had. ^_^ Bandai has put out a solid release here, after some initial troubles with the first volume's misauthoring (a very nice, free trade-in program took care of that.) The only minor complaint possible, really, is a lack of extras. There was some really nice promotional art for this show that could have made a good image gallery. We are given clean opening and endings, and each volume has a small section on the Abh culture and history, that's about it. However, this four disc release is beautifully mastered, with great cover art (from the R2, no less!) and some nice extra information on the inserts. Altogether, a great show, with which one cannot possibly go wrong.Written by "Weyrlady"


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