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ericcarson's Banner of the Stars Tv Review

Banner of the Stars tv Review

The story follows Viscountess Abriel Nei Debrusc Borl Paryun Lafiel and Count Linn Syun-Rock Dreu Haider Jinto and their continuing adventures aboard the Basroil, a new attack ship commanded by Lafiel herself.
During their adventures, the two will encounter old friends and remnants of old foes as well as make new ones in the continuing fight against the United Mankind.

Story & Characters

The follow-up series to Bandai’s science-fiction cult hit Crest of the Stars, which recently aired on TechTV’s “Anime Unleashed� block, Banner of the Stars is, in all aspects of the phrase, more of the same. If you were one of the many who absolutely loved Crest of the Stars, Banner of the Stars will not fail to please. Unfortunately, if you found Crest of the Stars a little on the dry and boring side, Banner of the Stars has absolutely nothing to sway you from that opinion.

Banner of the Stars effectively drops you in to the middle of a storyline that’s already happening. They explain what’s happened to these characters since the first series, but they don’t explain most of the back-story. There’s a segment at the end of the first episode in which Jinto provides a long soliloquy set to footage from the first series, but it doesn't explain anything. The relationship between Jinto and Lafiel is disclosed somewhat; plenty of clues are dropped about the nature of their friendship when Lafiel storms off in a huff and Jinto is asked by the crew to follow and calm her down. It’s not to say that Banner of the Stars is completely unwatchable if you haven’t seen the first season, but it’s fairly accurate to say that those who have seen it will enjoy this second series more than others who have not.

Credit must be given to Banner of the Stars, along with its sequel and predecessor, for having excellent character development. Dialogue between characters consumes most of the series, a focus on developing the relatively small cast. Jinto and Lafiel are fleshed-out, real personalities, and the screenwriter uses every possible opportunity to make their relationship grow and mature. Despite the somewhat dry backdrop and plot, the show is probably worth watching simply because you’re bound to become attached to the characters. The dialogue and the way the dialogue develops the characters is very realistic. It makes it very easy to empathize, aside from the whole space-battleships-run-by-intergalactic-elves angle.

Unfortunately, the overall plot of Banner of the Stars is fairly dry. The series is mostly talking heads, and when there’s a battle, it’s talking heads in front of displays on a starship bridge, shouting technobabble at each other. It’s worse than the average episode of Star Trek. If they’d stuck to the politics and left out the tedious space battles, Banner of the Stars would seem a lot more like Space Elf C-SPAN than an anime series, but it might be a little less repetitive.

Rating: 7

Art

None of the actual artwork is very clean and to top it off, none of it is animated very well, so you’re stuck with talking heads at a low frame rate accompanied by the same few shots of starships zooming past each other and shooting laser beams around. To my disappointment, the numerous space battles of Banner--while larger and more visually impressive--lack the emotional weight of the poignant Battle of Gosroth from the previous series. Epic space conflict has been done before, and it's been done better. Fortunately, war scenes are not the focus of the series, but the amount of time and animation devoted to them makes each a little more difficult to dismiss. The other animated scenes witness a slight improvement over the Crest series, especially in their consistency. Ironically, one of the most significant visual changes drives me absolutely nuts: Sunrise replaced the CG-created star fields with traditionally animated ones. Normally, this would signal a drastic improvement over inferior computer graphics, but the new stars look like snow! It's not mentioned on the box or the included Newsletter of the Stars, but apparently most of the action in Banner of the Stars takes place in the middle of a galactic blizzard.

Rating: 4

Sound

As for the dub, well, it's pretty terrible. Nearly the entire cast is generic males and females, so everyone sounds basically the same. Jinto looks like he's 16 but sounds like he's 30, while Lafiel sounds like the whiniest, most stuck-up 15-year-old princess in the galaxy. The Japanese voice is considerably more regal and dignified. It's not that voice matching is an issue, but the English voice colors Lafiel in a fairly inaccurate light. Jinto's narration through the series winds up sounding a lot like The Wonder Years in the dub, but the Japanese sounds more introspective. I kept waiting for the dub actor to say "It was at that moment, I realized, Lafiel and I would be together forever."

Rating: 4

Presentation

Basically, if you saw the first series, you’ll find a lot to like about Banner of the Stars. The character development and dialogue is top-notch, exceeding the standards set by the science fiction genre. The show has plenty of hardcore fans, and it’s easy to see why. Unfortunately, if hard science fiction isn’t really your thing, the bulk of this series will bore you to tears. The show needs to find a balance between technobabble shouted at monitor screens and heartfelt conversations between the main characters; as it is, each episode typically has too much of one and not enough of the other. The animation isn’t really good enough to provide an extra incentive to watch the show, so the worth of the series is reliant completely on the plotline and characters. The series exceeds nearly all other examples in its genre for the latter but is an unfortunate reminder of how dry the former can be. At its heart, Banner of the Stars is a character-driven story; the ability of strong character development to overshadow its other shortcomings is a judgement best left to viewers, among whom opinions will likely diverge.

Rating: 5

Final Verdict

5.33 (moderate)

Reviewed by ericcarson, Nov 29, 2004

Comments

  1. puu2003 Nov 29, 2004

    The anime seemed interesting, but I only saw a few episodes of the dubbed version, and I couldn't stand the way they were talking. The action seemed a bit slow at times, but that was something I could deal with.
    I have to admit that the creator must have a pretty good imagination to even come up with a new language just for the show.

  2. segral Nov 29, 2004

    i can say this is acutally the best anime i have see. its like more ...original and real thing that the another titles...i dont now really why. anyway if you whant to have full view of the saga watch all 3 series . the first one is just a prequel. is not like its weaker from the 2 or 3 but is still just a prequel. on my opinion really great science-fiction wich good rate of thinking and reflection some times.

  3. Stenbuck Dec 05, 2004

    -_- I liked those shows a lot, I htink that are fun to watch.

  4. fuuiin Aug 04, 2005

    thanx for the honest review. i watched crest of the stars and was debating on the banner of the stars. well i still haven't decided yet but now i have more to go on. as for the overall presentation, could the dubbing quality have really affected your perception of the series? just wondering because i absolutely refuse to watch dubs because they ruin the series for me.

  5. Kienzan Sep 19, 2006

    Realy What do you see in Dubs?
    95% of them are burnable trash.
    Why don't you peaple watch the Jap Dub and stop misjudjing worthy titles O_o?

  6. Lohitaksh Nov 21, 2008

    the character and the story line is really intriguing
    hope it doesnt fail to entice me into it

  7. nainoi Oct 06, 2009

    Thank you for review.

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