Human brains have difficulty comprehending just how large space is. For instance, our sun, which doesn’t seem that big floating in the sky, can fit roughly 1,300,000 Earths in it. And the sun, in turn, is one of hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy. Then there are an estimated 100 billion galaxies in the universe, many much larger than ours. So Space is big—really, really big. And the teenage crew of the Astra has been lost in it!
What started as a fun space camp quickly turned to terror as a strange ball of energy transported the kids into outer space—thousands of light-years from home with only their wits and an old spaceship to get them back. They set out on a perilous journey warping between planets, trying to maintain enough food and water to survive. As if that’s not tricky enough, they’ve also got to figure out which one of them is a saboteur before they all end up dead!
Astra Lost in Space is truly a stand out manga series and one of the best science fiction manga, period. It also puts the science in science fiction. Mangaka Kento Shinohara knows his stuff and has an excellent imagination that’s grounded by science, thus making the tale all the more believable. There’s special attention to the different kind of life they find on the various planets. It’s not just crazy space aliens for fun. The creatures and plants are well thought out in an evolutionary way. This makes them a lot more interesting than say random rock monsters or some other sci-fi trope.
The series has memorable characters, slick art, intelligence, humor, action and more, but the thing that truly stands out in this series are the insane cliffhangers. There are numerous “dropped your manga” moments that will stun readers. In terms of storytelling, mangaka Kento Shinohara has done an incredible job of setting readers up for big shocking reveals.
The series can be easily collected in just five volumes. But don't worry, the fourth volume is big and number five is a CHUNK. While it’s a short series by comparison to other Shonen Jump titles, the story is so dense and full of twists and turns it feels substantial.
This is a great gift for manga fans, or for fans of science fiction, even if they’re not into manga!
Astra Lost in Space Vols. 1–5 are available here.
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