The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Crest of the Stars

Title: Crest of the Stars aka Seikai no Monsho
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Sunrise/Bandai/WOWOW
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 2 Jan 1999 – 28 Mar 1999

Synopsis: In the far reaches of space, the planet Martine finds itself subjugated by The Humankind Empire of Abh; a vast dominion under the power of a genetically enhanced people. The president Rock Lin quickly surrenders, giving him the title of Count Hyde, a title that would be past down to his son Jinto. For seven years onward Jinto has been educated and groomed to inherit his position and is now ready for the last step. On his way to the imperial capital, he encounters Lafiel, the first Abh he has ever encountered personally, his guide her onward, and princess of the entire empire. They expect their meeting to be short; however, grow close to each other in a short time, a time that will soon lengthen when their ship is attacked by the enemy of the Empire, the United Mankind.

The Highlights
Characters: Multidimensional and genuine.
Setting: Intricate and unique.
Animation: Breathtaking.
Pacing: Slow but covers much ground.

The more I think about it, the more the ’90s seem to slip away. As such a great era for anime becomes more distant, old classics fall into obscurity, the animation gap increases, and I die a little inside. Many things are doomed to become period pieces, but which ones are just as mesmerizing today as they were at debut? Sure, Crest of the Stars hasn’t reached the point to be considered “old” quite yet, but even when it does get such a title, hopefully, it’ll be remembered for much more than just a ’90s showcase.

When I first saw this series, it would have never occurred to me that the show was already five years old if I hadn’t read up any information on it. To put it simply, the animation is beautiful. Each frame maintains a level of quality without a moment of ever dropping. The environments, the ships, and the very composition of space have awe-inspiring detail and composition. Without such an atmosphere, most sci-fi setting fall flat as cheesy and rather stupid; however, Crest captures it appropriately and even goes above and beyond the call of duty to engross the viewer.

Of course, like any great series, the animation is just icing on the cake compared to what else the first installment in the Sekai universe has to offer. During its short 13 episode length, a surprising amount of story is presented, and there is still enough time for some solid back story. The show not only explains the social structure of the Abh, but also the animosities between their race and the United Mankind, the feelings shared by the non enhanced, and the plights of the Empire’s territories. These tidbits of information are not simply presented as random facts, but rather, they are used to immerse the viewer into the show’s universe. It is almost unbelievable how much ground is covered considering that along with being short, but the pacing of the series itself is incredibly slow, especially at the beginning.

While the social insights and unique setting are interesting, the story really shines when it comes to characters. It’s hard to describe the relationship between Jinto and Lafiel because it just feels so natural and real. While some stretches can be made considering the fantastic situations they come from, they remain down to earth and understandable. Most of the drama between them arises from them trying to understand their place in society as well as Jinto learning firsthand from Lafiel what sort of civilization he has been welcomed into. The Social strata and cultural differences may not exactly be everyday conversation; however, the manner they are presented in shows the cast in such a light that it becomes easy there on out to see them not as characters, but rather as human beings.

Having been around for around ten years at this point (more, when you consider the novel), it’s a little sad that Crest of the Stars is not getting the recognition it deserves. It may not decay much as it gets older, but it’s at risk of falling into obscurity. This title does not deserve that. While it still has a chance as a relatively young series, Crest of the Stars is all too deserving of being remembered… not to mention treasured as a timeless classic for years to come.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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