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Banner of the Stars – Anime Legends Complete Collection (A J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 12, 2008 by  



“If you were hooked on ‘Crest of the Stars’, you owe yourself to watch the next chapter in the series known as ‘Banner of the Stars'”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: Banner of the Stars (aka Seikai no Senki)

DURATION: 325 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Animated, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC

COMPANY: Bandai Entertainment

STAFF INFORMATION:

ORIGINAL NOVEL: Morioka Hiroyuki

DIRECTOR: Nagaoka Yasuchika

STORY: Yoshinaga Aya

CHARACTER DESIGN: Watabe Keisuke

ART DIRECTOR: Okada Tomoaki

MUSIC: Hattori Katsuhisa

MECHANICAL DESIGN: Shino Masanori, Tsuneki Shinobu, Moriki Yasuhiro

CAST

Lafiel – Kawasumi Ayako

Jinto Lin – Imai Yuka

Grieda – Uchikawa Ai

Saryush – Suyama Akio

Nantryua – Kurosaki Ayako

Plaxia Lexshue – Takashima Gara

Narrator – Jo Haruhiko

Three years have passed since Jinto and Lafiel’s first encounter and once again Jinto finds himself at Lafiel’s side. Now in command of her own assault ship, the Basroil, with Hinto serving as her supply officer, the two find themselves thrust into the middle of intergalactic conflict. However, will their efforts be enough to bring about peace? Based on the hit series of novels by Hiroyuki Morioka.

I was truly in love with “Crest of the Stars”, a storyline that featured a storyline about war, those who are human or landers who have been occupied by the Ahb Empire now fighting for their independence but in the middle of this war is an Ahb Princess (Lafiel) and a Count (Jinto Lin), who threw thick and thin fight for survival but trying to succeed together.

At the end of the series, the final episode flashed back four years later as Lafiel has now finished training and is a Captain of her own ship and crew.  Jinto finished his training to become a supply officer on Lafiel’s ship.

The second television series “Banner of the Stars” continues where the first series left off.  Where the first series is character driven and pretty much focused on Lafiel and Jinto’s adventures, the adventure does continue in “Banner of the Stars” but now that war has commenced, we are introduced to many more characters.  Especially those who command various starships for the Abh Empire and those who lead the battle against the United Mankind.

There are no adventures in planets or cat and mouse type of storylines.  In fact, “Banner of the Stars” is more like a Star Trek episode as you meet Lafiel’s crew and together, under Lafiel’s command, go into battle.

In a way there is an irony about this series as “Crest of the Stars”, you wonder if your allegiance would be towards the humans because the Abh Empire pretty much takes over other planets and the inhabitants are forced to become part of the Abh.  But with Jinto’s situation of being the son of a traitor (his father gave up his planet to the Abh without a fight to become a leader of the planet), he questions where he belongs.  What he calls home.

But in the end, you stick to it, because you enjoyed both Lafiel and Jinto together and hope there is a budding romance between the two.  Obviously, the two are good for each other but how it works out and how they get even closer is not really focused on in the second series which may bum some viewers out.  Especially, those who enjoyed the character development that was in place for “Crest of the Stars”.

But this series is full of space battles but what people who want some kind of sign that there is hope for romance for the two main characters will have to wait because the focus in this series is between the Abh Empire and how they will go against the forces of the United Mankind.

AUDIO:

I listened to both the English and Japanese audio. I actually enjoy both the Japanese and English voice work in the series and found myself really enjoying the English dub (this is coming from a guy who prefers his anime in Japanese).  One thing I noticed on various online stores are reading people who were upset of the Abh language not being subtitled in the opening sequences.  Same as “Crest of the Stars”, there are no translations but it should ruin it for you because it’s just the opening sequences and that is it.

VIDEO:

“Banner of the Stars” aired in April-June 2000 and considering that this series is eight years old, the animation still looks very good and doesn’t look dated.  Whereas “Crest of the Stars” takes place in various settings, “Banner of the Stars” pretty much features the crew in their ship, their quarters and the same goes for the other commanding officers of the Empire.  So, there are a lot of blues, blacks and grays.  Not as many vibrant colors compared to “Crest of the Stars” but nevertheless, the animation continues to hold up quite fine.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The DVD features trailers, summaries but my favorite part was the creator of the manga series, Morioka Hiroyuki, chiming in on his feeling of each volume titled “Newsletters of the Stars”.  Mainly text on screen, no video but Interesting comments by Morioka wanting to see the characters in a hot springs episode.  That was quite amusing.  Another was his comments made of a fellow voice actor in the series who passed away which was good to read.

I was hooked by the storyline of “Crest of the Stars” and fell in love with the series but “Banner of the Stars” is totally different with the fact that despite Lafiel and Jinto, the two main characters still are the main key characters in this series, the dialogue and banter, character development is held at a minimum since the focus is on the action and battle sequences.  The war between the Abh Empire and United Mankind.

For those hoping to see more of the two get closer in terms of their friendship, you do get something and it’s held late in the final episode after the credits roll.  So, make you sure you don’t miss that.

But all in all, this series is building up to something.  What that something is, I don’t know.  But I did enjoy the series overall for its space wars storyline.  Miss the “Crest of the Stars” style of storyline but I’m staying in for the long run and preparing for the next series “Banner of the Stars II” and looking forward to the progression of the war storyline and of course, whatever happens between Lafiel and Jinto.

+ Characters you care about and a good balance with action!

+  Pretty cool space battles!

+ Well done voice acting on the Japanese dub by Kawasumi Ayako (Lafiel) and Imai Yuka (Jinto), as well as the voice acting in the English dub.

– For those expecting the same type of storyline as of “Crest of the Stars”, you may be disappointed that the series focuses more on strategy and the war itself.

BUY THIS DVD

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