Semi-Essentials: Crest of the Stars

What Is It?

Crest of the Stars is a spacefaring drama based on a series of novels of the same name. The series was animated by Sunrise, and directed by Yasuchika Nagaoka (New Cutey Honey, Wild Cardz).

The show’s plot is set in a future where humanity escaped the surly bonds of Earth, to colonize the universe. Human colonies dot planets across the universe and interstellar travel is not only affordable, but common. Humanity’s future, at a glance, seems incredibly bright. However, all is not well in the universe. An alien race known as the Abh has been expanding its empire, and consolidating its power one planet at a time. Young Jinto Lin, son of planet Martine’s leader Rock Lin, was forced to endure a life under the rule of the Abh, as his father surrendered to the empire under threat of invasion. In exchange, Rock and his family were granted a position of nobility among the empire’s ranks. While Jinto was shunned by his peers, and rejected by Martine’s society due to his father’s actions, all was not terrible. He was sent to school to learn the ways of the Abh, and granted the opportunity to train under the empire’s military might, like all other Abh nobles.

In his travels to the military academy, Jinto encounters Lafiel – princess of the Abh, and fellow military cadet. The two are stationed on the same vessel, as they begin their trek to the academy. Misfortune hits the two, as they are caught in the middle of an uprising by the Four Nations Alliance of Humankind – an alliance of planets that are united in their efforts to subdue the Abh. Jinto and Lafiel’s vessel is attacked, and the two are forced to evacuate, even though the cost of the lives of the crew and fellow passengers is great. They crash land on an unfriendly planet, with little chance of finding help. So, the two must rely on one another to get to safety, and return to the Abh Empire that they refer to as “home.”

Why Was It Passed Up?

Crest of the Stars was actually received very well initially. The show rated highly among fans and critics alike, and is a staple among sci-fi lovers. TechTV even went as far as to push the show as part of its initial Anime Unleashed lineup.

Unfortunately, Crest, and its two sequels, Banner of the Stars and Banner of the Stars II are victims of obscurity by age. The show hit Japanese airwaves on January 2, 1999, and western DVD in 2001. The show has been around for roughly a decade, which places it out of the mindset of many fans.

Why This Show?

Frankly speaking, there isn’t much like quite it on the market. Crest of the Stars delves deeply into the mindset of war and oppression, both on the political and the ever-important human level. As Lafiel and Jinto struggle to survive and reach safety on a strange world, the war continues to unfold, and diplomacy breaks down to fierce violence. The duality between perspectives is handled with care, and executed effectively.

The show was produced with heavy involvement by creator Hiroyuki Morioka, and adheres strictly to the author’s vision of the world. The show went as far as to use the actual Abh language, which Morioka created strictly for the novels. For reference, it’s similar to how Star Trek always adhered to Roddenberry’s Klingon language. The adherence to the source offers a more believable, more lively world, which is simply a joy to experience.

Closing Thoughts

Crest of the Stars is one of the most enjoyable sci-fi shows to hit the market in ages. The wonderful blend of the political theater and the rigors of war provides an almost “newsreel-like” quality to the show. With incredible writing, gorgeous animation, and a plot that spans galaxies, Crest is an epic that would entertain science-fiction fans and anime fans alike.

Those who don’t allow the political theater to intimidate them will be treated to one of the most satisfying, most incredible shows to hit the airwaves. Crest of the Stars is a truly timeless classic that should be remembered, and enjoyed for many years to come.


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About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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