Not as captivating as "Crest of the Stars" but nevertheless,
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 09/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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.
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.
"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.
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."
More of the Same
Jonathan Lane | Crestview Florida U.S.A | 03/11/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Banner of the Stars, the sequel to Crest of the Stars - Complete Series Set, is a mixed bag to say the least. On the one hand it's slow, tiresome, badly paced, and boring; on the other it boasts some of the best space combat I've seen since Star Wars. Hailed by some as one of the best anime series ever (Crest of the Stars, Banner of the Stars, and the next in the series Banner of the Stars II) this show certainly has its strong points, but ultimately its flaws hold it back considerably to the point where I found it very hard to enjoy the story or sympathize with the characters.
Set three years after Crest of the Stars (which you'll have to see before tackling this series) Jinto is a supply officer on the quick attack ship Basriol, and Lafiel is the caption. the war between the Abh and the United Mankind has reached a stalemate, with both sides taking heavy looses in a failed UM attempt to take the Abh's capitol. For three years these opposing forces have been building up their strength, preparing for the day when the fragile cease fire will end and they can resume their conflict. Now, that day has come as the Abh launch a devastating attack called "Operation Phantom Flame" against the UM. Jinto and Lafiel, along with their loyal crew, are thrust into the midst of battle to fight for their lives and their nation.
The series never really seems to know what it wants to do with its scenes, one minute there's an enormous space battle involving hundreds of ships all firing their pulse cannons and space mines, the next you see the commanders sitting calmly in their flag ships, talking endlessly about completely random things which have absolutely nothing to do with the battle outside. Its these interruptions in the action that spell doom for the series; the transition from the frantic pace of battle to the slow, dull, boring pace of the conference room is done so often, so abruptly- often at the worst possible moments- that the grand scale of the war is lost. You'd think that a show like this, which is really all about one huge battle, would have focused on, well, the battle. The endless politics, the mood swings of the commanders, the twenty minute conversations, the characters taking brakes in the middle of battle to fix themselves a drink (no kidding), it all wore down on what should have been the series main focus.
Although not perfect, the soundtrack for this series is very fitting and nice. When I first heard it, it reminded me of ET and some old 70's sci fi music, but I also heard a lot of similarities to Star Wars and Now and Then, Here and There. Very nice music, with woodwinds and strings being the most present instruments. Unfortunately, if also suffers from repetition. Although I really enjoyed listening to it, I didn't enjoy it so much that I wanted to hear the same exact songs every single episode. I suppose that's to be expected, but still I would have liked to hear a little more variation with the song selection. the opening has a very old fashioned sc-fi sound to it, which makes it seem like an old classic as opposed to a futuristic tale, while the closing delivers yet another mediocre song to go along with a whole host of mediocre anime closers like Cowboy Bebop, and EVA, but that, too, is to be expected.
As for animation it's a notch above average, nothing great mind you, but the space battles are really memorable, even though they do recycle a lot of their scenes. You'll see the same UM ship blow up about twenty times in this series; just try to ignore it.
The three stars this show gets are for the music, animation, and the space battles which were nothing sort of incredible. The Stars series isn't amazing, certainly not up to par with a lot of anime I've seen, but it's still a show worth giving a look. If you can find it cheap then go for it.
Replay Value; Low."