The Best Sci-Fi Manga Ever?!

High space drama and classic shonen spirit meet in Astra Lost in Space.

By Marlene First December 05, 2017

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It’s December 5, and that means today is the day that one of the greatest sci-fi manga of all-time hits the shelves. Astra Lost in Space has been a fan favorite in the Shonen Jump free section since its launch. I remember when it was first published on Jump+ in Japan, and all I could think was “fans here in the U.S. need to read this!” And so, a year and a half after we started publishing chapters for free in the free section, the physical release is now available!

If you’ve been paying attention to the comments section on the free chapters, you already know what the hype is about. The mystery, political intrigue, adventure, disaster, friendship, amazing art and characters...this manga has it all! But if you’re one of the people have haven’t gotten on the hype train yet, here’s everything you need to know when picking up volume one (and binging the rest of the chapters in the free section because I guarantee that’s what you’re going to want to do next!)

Astra 01

Astra Lost in Space takes place in the 2063, and interstellar space travel has become the norm. Students from Caird high school all get to take an extra-planetary field trip as part of their curriculum in school, and now it’s Aries Spring’s turn to go—and she couldn’t be more excited! She, along with seven other students she’s never met before and one child, leave for Planet McPa for a weeklong Planet Camp! Soon after they arrive, however, a mysterious orb appears and transports all the students into the depths of space where they find an empty, floating spaceship waiting for them. From this point in the story, the students are resolved to make it home. But of course, the journey isn’t going to be easy…but you can go pick up the volume to learn what happens!

Astra 01

There are a lot of characters, so I’d like to give you all a brief introduction to who’s who. The students are all really unique in their personalities and interests, and there’s a character for everyone to relate to! First, there’s Kanata Hoshijima. He wants to be a space explorer and is the group’s self-proclaimed captain. Next is Aries Spring, a ditzy girl with a photographic memory. Next is Zack Walker, a scientific genius and pilot. Following him is Charce LaCroix, the pretty boy of the group who loves biology and says a lot of creepy things (he’s my favorite character). Luca Esposito is the son of a politician and an artist. Yun-hua Lu is quiet and shy. Ulgar Zweig is quiet and mysterious, and he keeps his distance from the rest of the group. And finally, Quitterie Rafaeli and Funicia Rafaeli—Quitterie acts as the ship’s doctor and Funicia is her adopted little sister. All of the characters are really interesting and despite their drastically different personalities, they all work together to survive in space!

Astra 03

What sets this manga apart from the rest is the fantastic story and writing. I’ve been a long-time fan of Shinohara Sensei’s work. The anime of his previous series, Sket Dance, ran on crunchyroll so I’m sure that some of you may be familiar with it. Astra Lost in Space maintains the comedy styles of Shinohara Sensei’s previous work, but he uses it to underscore the serious notes in the series. While the story starts off as a happy-go-lucky journey home, it quickly changes gears and presents an incredible mystery and conspiracy that builds on itself like no other manga I’ve ever read.

Astra 03

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I would like to say that this series really is a treat. Volume 1 sets up the conflict and mystery and from there, everything begins to take shape. If you pick up volume 1 and are itching for more, you can read the rest of the series for free at viz.com/shonenjump. The series runs simultaneously with Japan and I guarantee you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat reading this one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Volume 1 is now available, so please grab a copy!