Born on the virtual pages of the website (and application) Shonen Jump+ of Shueisha, Astra Lost in Space is a sci-fi manga for kids written and directed by Kenta Shinohara. Relatively short work (with a total of 5 volumes, published in tankobon format in Japan), currently it also boasts an anime transposition transmitted in the Rising Sun between 2018 and 2019 and has finally arrived in Italy thanks to Edizioni Star Comics. The Perugia house has published the first register, which we have browsed and analyzed for you: here you are, therefore, our first impressions on a pleasant and promising comic, in the sign of a genre (science fiction) that blends with the typical stylistic features of the target shonen.
A trip ended badly
We are in 2063, in a world that has now colonized the space frontier on a stable basis. Caird high school has organized a special campsite for a small group of students: a picnic like many others that, unbeknownst to the protagonists, is about to turn into a real nightmare. Seven boys embark on a return trip that will take them to the planet MCPA: the small crew is composed of the protagonist Kanata, an energetic boy determined to protect his neighbor and who tries to impose his leadership, and from sweet Aires, a sunny and a little extravagant girl.
Together with the two there are five other companions: the haughty one Quitterie and her 10-year-old adopted sister, the little one Funicia, the intelligent and pragmatic Zack, the shy Yunhua, the enigmatic Charce and the pungent Ulgar. As soon as it arrives at its destination, however, the group finds itself in front of a mysterious luminous globe: the sphere swallows the party, which finds itself on board its own spaceship, dispersed in the most remote corners of the universe.
The simple school trip turns, therefore, into a real survival challenge: Kanata and the others will have to try to return to Earth safely with very few resources available, traveling from planet to planet in search of new wonders and, above all , of nourishment and raw materials to cross the space unscathed. There will be intrigues, as the boys will also have to find out the origin of the trap they fell into, including the identity of those who seem to have intentionally tampered with the controls of their ship.
Their epic will also become an opportunity to get to know each other better, open up to others and overcome their limits: as the story progresses through the chapters that make up the manga, in fact, each character will reveal the background to their past, we will know his plots and his dreams, in a story that weaves effectively story of formation and space odyssey.
Between shonen and science fiction
According to the reading of the first volume it seems to us that Astra Lost in Space is a pleasant and visionary work: the author, far from having given his work characters of particular originality, seems to be building slowly a solid and coherent imagination, with few rules and a subtle mystery vein. The heart of the story remains the characters, with their insecurities and their secrets, but also the determination to move forward: from the first chapters, in fact, we perceive a good job done on the psychological evolution of the protagonists, but also on the development of the bonds inside the small crew.
Relationships emerge, new ones are born, existing relationships are strengthened: Astra Lost in Space is primarily a survival story, in which the human side of its cast is the master in a story that tries to become more and more stratified. The design is also good, although it does not shine in turn in terms of originality, it paints varied and fascinating characters. Kanata, for example, is the classic shonen protagonist, disheveled and athletic, Aries is the usual female co-protagonist with her head in the clouds, Zack is the brain, Yunhua the curvy and insecure girl, and so on.
While storming its protagonists with clichés, sensei Shinohara bases an interesting cast, working very well on the drawing stroke and on the design of armor, creatures and space paraphernalia. In short, Astra Lost in Space is a work to keep an eye on, certainly among the most interesting new Star Comics releases on the winter market.