When people say that an anime is underrated it’s usually due to the lack of viewership it received during its original run on TV. The first time I came across Crest/Banner of the Stars was back on the G4TV anime block late at night. And what I initially thought to be another generic sci-fi anime would turn out to be, in my opinion, the most underrated anime of all time.
The story: Crest of the Stars and Banner of the Stars (series I and II) follow Jinto Lynn, a young count whose world is taken over by the space-dwelling race of the Abh. When Jinto was a young boy, his father, Rock Lynn, under threat of invasion, handed over their world, Martine, to the Abh in exchange for a position within Abh society. Young Jinto is sent off to school to learn the ways of Abh nobility and the story of Crest of the Stars picks up as he meets the young Abh princess, Lafiel as they are about to travel to military school for Jinto’s further training.
As with Major, the enjoyment to be had in watching this show is found in its main characters Jinto and Lafiel. These two, without a doubt, are the most well written characters I have ever come across PERIOD!! I cannot find a single flaw in either of them. There’s not one single common trope that they fit into, and that is a very good thing. It’s easy to instantly sympathize with Jinto when his home planet is taken over by the Abh in the show’s beginning, and it’s equally easy to understand the blunt, matter of fact personality displayed by Lafiel throughout the two series. The creators made the right choice in making this a character driven series as the chemistry between the two is just so wonderfully woven throughout the series. If it sounds like I’m gushing, I am! Words cannot truly describe just how well done these two are.
And it’s not just Jinto and Lafiel that are done well. From the manipulative Baron Febdash to the erratic down right insane Admiral Spoor, I can’t really think of one character that I outright disliked. There are just ones that I liked more than the others.
As awesome as the cast is in Crest/Banner of the Stars is, it IS still a sci-fi, space battle anime as well. And once again the show’s creators shine in presenting well paced, well choreographed spaceship battles. Unlike Gundam and Majestic Prince, strategy plays a huge role in the space battles. Every shot that is fired is measured and calculated to the very last second, with both success and failure being so excellently illustrated. **SPOILER ALERT** The memorable battle of the series comes after Jinto first boards the Basroil that is to transport him to an Abh school. During the trip the ship is assailed by ships from the rival federation, forcing the captain to have Jinto & Lafiel evacuated. The battle then ensues with Basroil taking out several enemy targets before eventually meeting its demise. It’s only after the fight that we find out Lafiel’s mother was the captain of the ship!! I don’t cry much when watching anime, but I definitely shed a tear after that episode.
If there is a fault to be found in this spectacularly made show it would have to be the music. While not horrendous, it does leave something to be desired. A few select tracks do help to create the atmosphere of the intense space battles, but most of the BGM isn’t that memorable. Another thing I find a bit bothersome was the conclusion of Banner of the Stars III. The creator did do a good job of bringing closure to the series, but something about it just felt….off. Those are just minor gripes that do nothing to take away from the overall enjoyment of the series.
Do yourself a favor and find a way to stream this series. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed. And as always, this is Just…My 2 Cents!!!