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Manga / Astra Lost in Space

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Astra Lost in Space (Kanata no Astra in Japanese) is an online Shonen manga created by Kenta Shinohara of Sket Dance fame for the online Shonen Jump Plus app. It began serialization in May of 2016, and ended on December 30, 2017 with 49 chapters (5 volumes).

In the year 2063 A.D., eight high school students, along with a 10-year-old girl, embark on a trip to space for what they thought was a school camping trip. They then find themselves mysteriously teleported 5,012 light years away to the depths of space. Fortunately, the group finds an abandoned spaceship nearby, which they dub the Astra. Furthermore, they learn that they can travel along a route of hospitable planets in relatively close proximity to one another in order to "planet-hop" their way back home. They travel their way through all sorts of dangerous environments, only to gradually unravel a bigger conspiracy...

The manga has been licensed by Viz Media for English release and is under their Shonen Jump imprint. The series can be read (The first three chapters for free) on their website.

A 12-episode anime adaptation aired from July 3, 2019 to September 18, 2019, produced by Lerche.

Astra Lost in Space contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Kanata realizes the one thing every person on the B-5 team has in common: their parents never loved them or even saw them as real people, instead grooming their children to become vessels for their minds to take over when the time was right. Given the fact their children are actually their clones, this behavior is saddening but not surprising. The only exception is Aries's mother, who raised her and genuinely loves her, despite not being her biological mother.
  • Alternate History: We're led to believe that the series' world history diverged from ours sometime in the 1960's, with the Cuban Missile Crisis resulting in World War III and wiping out a big chunk of the world's population, leading to massive changes in the structure of the world. Though later revelations seem to suggest that there's something up with that history, given that Polina's time frame would set Earth's destruction a mere six years before the plot kicks off. And indeed there is, given that the entire populace agrees to set back the calendar 100 years and tell an alternate account of their history so that future generations can distance themselves from the horrific deeds of ages past and the tragedy of Earth's destruction.
  • Always Someone Better: A comedic example in the final volume's omake. Quitterie released a moderately successful diary of her experiences in space, only to be beat out by Zack's novel. That is beat out by Charce's lifeform paper, but all of their books' popularity combined can't hold a candle to Yun-hua's gravure magazine.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Seven years after the kids return to planet Astra, an adult Kanata, Zack and Charce embark on a journey to explore the far reaches of space on the new and improved Astra spaceship.
  • Androcles' Lion: The Gruppies were already friendly animals to begin with, but one Gruppie that wasn't poisoned by the tall mushroom tree helps Kanata get back to the Astra. It was Likely the same one Kanata fed a poison-resistant mushroom to.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 6 — Planetary Scale, Total Extinction. A meteorite hit Earth, causing it to wipe out all life on the planet. The debris from that impact shaded sunlight to the point where the planet became completely encased in ice, sometime before the start of the story.
  • Aerith and Bob: Roughly half the names of the cast sound plausible (Kanata, Zack, Luca, Yun-hua), while the others are rather unusual (Aries, Quitterie, Funicia, Ulgar, Charce).
  • Apple of Discord: The Wormhole Technology can be seen as such, when one comprehends its tremendous tactical advantage in warfare and covert assassination.
  • Art Shift: When the kids start eating the candy flowers on Shummoor, Kanata and Luca's faces suddenly turn Western cartoony for comedic effect.
  • Artistic License – Space: Icriss is a tidally-locked planet, such that half is in permanent sunlight and half is in permanent night. While it's true that the terminator between the two halves would be at a survivable temperature, it would be rendered uninhabitable by the titanic winds created by the temperature differential between the two sides of the planet.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The anime is typically presented in a letterbox format, though will go into full-screen shots during either dramatic or space-focused moments.
  • Beach Episode: The crew's trip to Arispade serves as one. As far as planets went by that point, Arispade was the least openly hostile and had resources to spare, letting everyone breathe for a while and the girls to have their fun in swimsuits. At least, until Luca and Ulgar's respective family dramas come into play.
  • Blatant Lies: Despite being nothing more than the King's tool, and despite knowing his purpose as a clone, Charce still follows his every beck and call and was perfectly alright with dying as the king wills it. That's what he says, but he really did like being part of the Astra crew. Kanata sees through the bull pretty quickly.
  • Captain's Log: Not Kanata, who's actually the captain, but Aries. She gives the brief overview of what's been going on as they pass through and explore planets.
  • Cassandra Truth: Thanks to the world government, the mass exodus to Astra is now seen as one. The only people alive that know exactly what happened are over a century old by now, but by this point either no one will believe them or the survivors themselves would have forgotten by that point.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Downplayed. While the series never loses its idealism and ultimately has a happy ending, the more fun-loving, planet-exploring first half is drastically different from the dramatically inclined and conspiratorial second half.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A rather literal one in the form of the gun we see Ulgar take from a cabin in an earlier chapter.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Zack and Quitterie made one when they were kids. Quitterie is shocked to learn that Zack not only still remembers it, but was and still is very serious about it.
  • Clip Show: The second half of Chapter 48 was a walk down memory lane for all of the kids, as they recount their misadventures through the stars before landing back home.
  • Clones Are People, Too: A rare setting example, as apparently the government in the story has laws against cloning specifically so that no one will do things like Group B5's parents.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It's damn lucky that they found the Astra in the beginning of the story, given that it was a leftover ship from the mass exodus of Earth, parked just in Earth's orbit... and the glowing wormhole spheres were made specifically for that exodus, spitting them out right in front of the ship.
  • Crapsaccharine World: While human civilization in the future seems to have progressed to where there's world peace and easy space travel, it's revealed later on that this was only achieved through a massive rewriting of history where the first generation of Astra colonists lied to their children about Earth's existence to cover up their past mistakes.
  • Death World:
    • Icriss. No matter where you go on that planet, you're going to have a tough time there. The half closest to the light is barren and dry, the half farthest away is cold and unrelenting, with the habitable middle plane filled with aliens that evolved to kill each other.
    • Earth, which became a lifeless and barren icy wasteland having been hit by a meteor about a century before the start of the story.
  • Dénouement Episode: The final episode proves to be this in a certain sense. While there are some final revelations about how Astra come to be and the worry over either the originals of the Astra crew or the government killing them for what they know, the last threat turned out to be Charce in the previous episode; once the crew's message is sent to Aries' mother, all of the originals are arrested and the government eventually decides to reveal the truth about the immigration from Earth to Astra. The majority of the episode instead focuses on the crew coming to terms with the end of their journey and how they are as adults in the epilogue (or teenager, in the case of Funi).
  • Determinator: The whole cast could qualify, but Kanata in particular, thanks to surviving a harrowing disaster that included the death of his teacher, has grown averse to hopelessness.
  • Driving Question: Why did the B5 crew get sent into space? Who is the traitor, and are they even among the group?
  • Dwindling Party: Inverted. Not only do all the kids survive but they pick up an extra member, Polina.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all of their physical and emotional trials, the crew of the Astra (plus Polina) are able to all come home alive, reveal the truth about both conspiracies, and find success and happiness in their futures.
  • Earth All Along: That lifeless planet that they get warped over to in the beginning? Yeah, that's the Earth.
  • Earth That Was: Though the existence of Earth has been covered up, rather than become legend. The Astra crew finally reveal the truth in the end.
  • Everyone Can See It: Aries and Quitterie's respective crushes on Kanata and Zack are so obvious that the other girls can see their feelings coming a mile away.
  • Evolving Credits: The intro adapts to Yun-hua's Important Haircut and the introduction of Polina.
  • Extra-Long Episode: The first and last episodes of the anime are double-length episodes instead of the standard 20 minutes.
  • Fantastic Flora: When the Astra crew land on some planets, they check for a planet's flora (and fauna) for edibility. Zack makes this easier by making a hand-held edibility reader to check if they are safe to eat and storage compatible. They were surprised to find the mushroom trees on Shummoor to be edible.
  • Feudal Future: The Kingdom of Vixia is a monarchy that remained after the establishment of the world government.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The crew of the Astra didn't always get along together at the beginning of their trip, but as they hopped from world to world and learned more about each other, they grew to become like a family, especially when they realized most of them didn't have a real family to begin with.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Luca being intersex has a very small visual clue while they are on Arispade. As Charce is explaining how the planet's animals can reproduce without the aid of a male and likely evolved to be sexless, Luca looks on more seriously than anyone else on the ship.
    • After the Astra becomes incapable of space flight on Icriss, Zack tells a distraught Quitterie that there's a possibility that one of them can go into cryostasis and wait for rescue if they can't handle adjusting to life on the planet they're stranded on. Keep in mind, he says this just before he stumbles onto a second ark ship with a single working, and occupied, cryopod.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Aries once says to Charce that they could have been father and daughter in a previous life. If you count their genetic originators as a previous life, then yes they have been—Seira (Aries's originator) is the Vixian King's (Charce's) daughter.
    • While the crew relaxes and hunts on Arispade, Charce wears a "Kingdom of Vixia" t-shirt. That's where he comes from.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the first episode when Zack is explaining that they're 5012 light years from home, for a brief moment one can see a diagram of the unknown planet they're in orbit around — close examination reveals that it's actually Earth.
  • Fungus Humongous: Shummoor has tree-sized mushrooms which feed on the local animals.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: On Arispade, an earthquake causes a tidal wave which threatens to drown the crew. Most of them manage to get to the ship in time, but Luca and Ulgar, having been further away, are caught by the wave, necessitating a dramatic rescue by Kanata.
  • Glacial Apocalypse: Once the characters reach the end of their journey and find the Earth, they find that it was hit by a meteorite that wiped out all life on the planet. The debris from that impact blocked out enough sunlight that the whole planet became completely encased in ice.
  • Government Conspiracy: The government is hiding the fact that humanity moved from Earth to Planet Astra years before the story began, and covered it up by fabricating World War III. The long version is just mind boggling— It took a little while to terraform Astra before the world governments thought it safe to tell everyone about it. The result? Global war, to the tune of billions dead. The survivors going into Astra vowed never to do something like that again by hiding the existence of the wormholes from the general public and rewinding the calendar 100 years.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The Astra, like many other large crafts, comes built with with a Latin phrase "Per Aspera, Ad Astra" ("Through hardships, to the stars"). A description more than fitting for our unlucky heroes.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Icriss, the fourth planet the kids land on, is this. One half of the planet is constantly in the light of the Red Dwarf it orbits around, so there's no moisture and it's a super-hot desert. The other half is all ice due to the lack of light. There does exist a sweet spot where the environment is habitable, which is where the B5 crew lands.
  • He Will Not Cry, so I Cry for Him: Seira acts as the empathizer between her and Charce, and openly weeps for the fate of both him and Aries even though he doesn't quite get why she's so upset.
  • The Homeward Journey: A space trekking road trip across 5 planets and thousands of light years, just to get back home.
  • Hostile Weather: Each planet has its problems, but the third planet Arispade takes the cake for its constant tsunamis. One of which the B5 crew gets stuck in just as they've finished learning about Luca and Ulgar's backstories.
  • Inhibition-Destroying Puppet: Funi's Beego puppet says whatever you're thinking, but in the foul-mouthed character's voice.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: By the time they get home, one of them does, in fact, write about their experiences in space. It becomes a bestseller.
  • Latex Space Suit: The Crust Suits worn by the main cast. They're form-fitting, with a bubble helmet, thrusters, and radios. The kids (smartly) use them when exploring new worlds, as they do protect against many environmental dangers. Later on, when Lina joins the team she's noticeably surprised at how modern and sleek their suits are in contrast to her older, bulkier suit, a subtle hint that she's been asleep a lot longer than twelve years.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Charce is stuck in a rut after he reveals that he plans on taking Aries back to Vixia. On one hand, he does want to give the King his daughter's clone and feels he has to carry out his duty, since he was raised not to defy the Vixian King; on the other hand, he really did like being a part of the Astra crew, and doesn't want any of them to be hurt by his actions. So he decides to kill himself to spare them and himself from the guilt until Kanata defies his death wish.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Luca compares how some of the native life blurs the lines between plant and animal (like how he blurs the lines as an intersex person), he mentions boy/girl, plant/animal, and sci-fi survival thriller/heartwarming gag manga blurs.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Everyone except Charce knows about the plan to lure out who they think is the traitor, and trick them into using the wormhole to expose themselves. This is because they were trying to lure him, and the plan works perfectly.
  • Love Triangle: A seemingly apparent one between Aries, Kanata, and Charce. Aries likes Kanata, but Charce is especially fond of her due to her resemblance to Seira, a childhood friend of his.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • Their being stranded is too much of a coincidence, considering their wealthy backgrounds and the backstory of a couple of the crew hinting at the truth behind their grouping. The truth of it all was that the children's parents wanted to make younger clones of themselves in order to body hop into them at one point. But cloning people is illegal, the clones were considered too young to body hop into at the time, and a paper trail was starting to add up, so they had to arrange things to get all the clones in one place and kill them off so as to not arouse suspicion.
    • Seira's death was designed this way, as her assassin simply pushed her off a cliff and let her die from the fall.
  • The Mole: There's some evidence, such as a cut communications device, that suggests that one of the nine is a traitor. But they were only helping the rest of the group in order to get back home, and then use the wormholes to take everyone else out. Chapter 41 reveals that the traitor is Charce.
  • Multinational Team: Group B5 comes from a variety of nationalities: Yun-hua's Chinese, Luca is Italian, Ulgar is German, Kanata is Japanese, and so on. Although their last names suggest their apparent nationalities, there aren't any such things as countries on their planet.
  • Murder-Suicide: The original plan for the assassin was to round up all of the main characters, use the wormhole to shoot them into space, and die along with them to leave no witnesses.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Oh boy, is it not. The constant struggle to get supplies is an uphill battle from planet to planet, whether it be because they disturbed something that shouldn't be touched, or because the flora and fauna are out for blood.
  • The Namesake: The title of the series comes from the spaceship they're traveling in, dubbed the Astra by Kanata. Astra is also the name of the B5 team's home planet.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Twice over:
    • The group manages to survive and go back home in no small part due Kanata and Zack's exceptional skills and Quitterie being already a good doctor. They have said skills because their originals wanted them at their physical or mental peak at the moment of the transfer.
    • Having caught wind of the impending plot to kill the group, the cousin of the King of Vixia got Aries added to the group. Not only was she the one who came up with a way to get back home in spite of the ship being able to carry supplies for twenty days at a time, her very presence makes Charce less willing to go through with the murder plot.
    • Olive Raffaeli, against the general agreement, makes Funicia for further prevention and safety of herself. Her existance (and her justification as a family friend) end up unveiling two things to the B5 group: that it is an intentional murder plot (from what she overheard at the orphanage) and that the reason they're to be killed is that they're clones (which only comes up because Funi and Quitterie are in the same group to have their DNA checked, and only because they look so much alike despite "being just family friend daughters")
  • No Biochemical Barriers: While the crew of the Astra does have to check food for edibility, the process is treated more as if they were simply unfamiliar Earth plants rather than completely alien ecosystems. Every planet they visit has Earth-compatible chemistry; up to and including toxins that have the same effect on humans as the local wildlife. Justified, as the planets were selected specifically for having compatible food.
  • Oh, Crap!: Plenty of moments throughout the entire series, but the big one goes to when they run into the sphere again, first on Vilavurs, and then on Galem when they're just about to get home.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: The wormholes here are roughly the size of a car and chase people down. And that's just the artificial portable version. The original ones were almost skyscraper sized and stationary.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: In this timeline at least, the Astrans don't have a concept of God anymore after a century passed. It's likely religion was another thing the government delibarately suppressed.
  • Planimal: The plants on Icriss have evolved with animal characteristics like muscles and hearts, but still gather energy through photosynthesis.
  • Plant Aliens: The crew runs into a variety of weird plant life on the various planets they go to, but actually end up mistaking fungal lifeforms for plants at one point.
  • Poison Mushroom: The second planet they go to is a whole planet like this. The apex predators are skyscraper-sized mushrooms, and they periodically release spores that poison and paralyze their prey. They even Bait the Dog by handing out an antidote spore at the base of its nutrient pile, allowing one or two to survive while the rest become food for the mushrooms. You probably should have expected this from a planet dubbed Shummoor.
  • Portal Cut: Kanata loses his arm below the elbow when he dives in front of Charce to stop him from sending himself through a wormhole as a form of suicide. Charce closes the wormhole before it can take Kanata, just not fast enough to save his arm.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: While the anime is fairly faithful to the source material, because of the anime's short length, both in terms of the number of episodes and how long the episodes themselves are, some important details from the manga were inevitably left out, such as Luca being bisexual and the extra details on why the kids' parents had to resort to jutting them into space in order to hide the fact that they're clones.
  • Production Throwback: There are a couple of references to Shinohara's previous work, Sket Dance, including a red haired horned caterpillar (a nickname Himeko gives to Bossun due to his wild hairstyle and his red-horned hat) that is seen as part of the habitat of planet Shummoor, and Ginji Chuma, the son of this universe's Tetsuji "Chu-san" Chuma, a gifted scientist who is responsible of the theory that led to the creation of the artificial wormholes.
  • Raised as a Host: All of Group B5 was raised to be new bodies for the people that they were cloned from.
  • Relationship Upgrade: In becoming a couple, Zack and Quitterie move up from friends all the way to engaged. In the epilogue, it's revealed that Kanata & Aries are engaged as well.
  • Royal Bastard: A variation. The "bastards" Charce and Aries are actually clones of the King and the late Crown Princess, respectively. They are accepted into the line of succession without anybody questioning it, to the point that the man plotting to usurp the throne tracks down and tries to assassinate Aries even though she's been missing and presumed dead for 17 years, lest DNA testing reveal her to have a better claim to the throne than him.
  • Running Gag:
    • Charce's constant Bishie Sparkle, or pairing his peculiar personality with his dashing looks.
    • The extras have Quitterie accidentally stumbling upon certain conversations the boys have with each other, that sound suspiciously like they're checking each other out. They're usually talking about something more mundane.
  • Significant Anagram: Each of the planets that Group B5 visits has a name made from something important from the planet.
    • The original destination planet McPa is an anagram of "Camp".
    • The first planet they visit is Vilavurs, or "Survival".
    • The second planet, Shummoor = "Mushroom", given its status as a spore planet.
    • The third planet, Arispade = "Paradise", which at first seems like the Breather Episode, but really gives them time to restock with all of the resources on it.
    • The fourth planet, Icriss = "Crisis"; though it doesn't just specifically refer to the hostile environment, it also kick starts the Wham Episode and important revelations of the series.
    • The fifth and final planet, Galem = "Gleam", a planet filled with glowing or reflective items.
    • All of the continents on Astra are anagrams of continents from Earth.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Beego and a couple of Charce's gags stop getting used once the major revelations start coming to light.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous over the course of the show and the manga.
    • The very first episode of the show borrows some from Gravity
    • Class B5 is a possible reference to Babylon 5.
    • Some chibified reactions from the group B5 are drawn similarly to the likes of several characters from Motoo Abiko and Hiroshi Fujimoto, the manga artist duo formerly known as Fujiko Fujio, including Manga Michi and Doraemon.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very idealistic, with everybody showing character development thanks to building trust between the crew members, and taking the time to admire the planets they're visiting, and the total death count on this manga is negative one (and an arm)
  • Spanner in the Works: The entire plot is actually kicked off because the parents of group B5 were actually involved in a plot to clone themselves and then transfer their minds into the clones. However, they didn't expect the Genome Control Act to be passed, and the mandatory DNA required by law would out their "children" as illegal clones. With no other choice, they concoct the plan to strand Group B5 in the middle of space so their bodies can never be found.
  • Spoiler Opening:
    • Of all characters, only Aries' name is flipped backwards in the opening sequence. It's a rather unsubtle hint for her namesake, Seira.
    • A brief shot of an unknown woman towards the end of the opening reveals a new character, Polina, will be joining the cast later.
  • Sports Dad: Kanata's father is one. Being a decathlete himself, he wants Kanata to enter in the sports field as well, preying upon Kanata's wish to become strong in order to get the sportsman he wants. His attitude is explained away with the reveal that Kanata is his father's clone, and dear old dad plans on bodyjacking Kanata to relive his glory days as a youthful athlete.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • After Polina gets taken out of the cryo-pod she was in, she talks to the B5 crew about her learned experiences, discovers some shocking information...and immediately goes right back to sleep from the shock. She's been immobile and frozen for quite a while, so it's expected that her motor functions aren't yet what they used to be.
    • This also happens to Kanata after he loses his arm. He gives a rousing speech to the crew that motivates them... and then he immedately falls to the floor due to lack of blood and his stump still hurting.
  • The Theme Park Version: Vixia, the land that Charce comes from, is a distilled and idealized version of European kingdoms, especially those from Fairy Tales. Much of the aristocracy lives there too.
  • Title Drop: The episode "Star of Hope" is the name of the song Yun-hua sings in said episode.
  • Translation Convention: Texts on the screens are in English and an astronaut remarks that they are speaking in English in context of noting that her native language is Russian
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Set in the year 2063, with notably advanced space travel and other technology. Actually set even further into the future than previously thought.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: In order to prove to Uglar that he's not wanted in his family, Luca takes off his top and reveals his breasts to everyone, informing them of his intersex nature.
  • Wall Pin of Love: One of the volume extras has Zack make a pair of robots who do nothing but the popular wall slam, as a result of Zack trying to ease the sugar cravings of the crew.
  • Wham Episode: While many of the series' chapters/episode create new revelations of the world, Chapters 33-37/Episode 9 (fittingly titled "Revelation" in the anime) are the most shocking: The crew of the Astra are all clones of their "parents" designed to be new vessels for their originals' minds, and Polina finds out that they're not from Earth, like she is, but a planet called Astra.
  • Wham Line: In a series built partly on uncovering the mysteries of the situation everyone is in, a lot of these can be expected. But perhaps the biggest one yet comes in chapter 37:
    Kanata: What is "planet Earth?"
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final chapter serves as some minor resolution to the main cast's character arcs, then skips ahead to seven years later. Charce is now king of Vixia, Yun-hua is a professional singer, Funi is now attending the high school where Polina happens to be a teacher, Ulgar became a journalist like he wanted (often crashing at Luca's), and Aries got engaged to Kanata. Meanwhile, Kanata himself is planning a new expedition into space, with Zack and Charce as crew.
  • World War III: Astran history tells of a World War III sprouting from the Cuban Missile Crisis going sour. As it turns out, it is false, but it's based on a very real war that happened a century later in Earth. The world's nations broke out into all out war trying to figure out who and what would be able to get through the wormholes to Astra, and because of their bloodshed billions died and the population was thinned enough to travel to Astra.
  • You Are Not Alone: Luca ends up telling this to Ulgar after the Arispade tsunami, reassuring him that the crew's experiences are more alike than previously thought and making him realize that he has allies.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Said almost word for word by Quitterie when it's revealed that every member of the team was planned to be killed via the wormhole by their "parents", who felt that keeping them alive would risk their dark secret getting out.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Kanata No Astra, Astra Lost In Space


Candy Flowers

When Kanata and friends eat the candy flowers on planet Shummoor, the art style changes into a Western cartoony, super deformed look to empathize how blown away they are by how delicious the flowers are. The shift is present in the manga version as well.

How well does it match the trope?

4.56 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / ArtShift

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