Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01A Manga Review (100 years into the future…)

Ad Astra per Aspera chapter 01A
アド アストラ ペル アスペラ ch 01A

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01AAn alien force invades Earth and wins, taking control of Earth and while solving all of Earth’s problems, Earth has stagnated for the last 100 years of alien rule. HAZUKI Shinobu is a 15 year old, earnest but loser orphan guy who’s mother died when he was one, leading him to be raised by an A.I. robot, who instructed him to be someone who’d do anything for another person. In elementary school, Shinobu fixed a female classmate’s Aibo robot dog toy, but when asked how he know how to fix it, he lets out that he fixes his “mom” all the time. Since no one else apparently has an A.I. service robot, and certainly not one they’d address as their mom, Shinobu finds himself being bullied and called an Aibo.

During one bullying session, another boy named Shatou comes to his defense. However, Shatou was as weak as Shinobu, so both boys get beaten badly. The two become the targets of beatings by bullies, but they become best friends. At night, they’d look at the stars, where Shatou would express his displeasure at the current state of the world, likening Earth to a fish tank. Although the aliens have brought a kind of paradise to Earth, humans have no ambition and just act like fish in an aquarium, waiting to be fed. He wants to be something special, like the star Betelgeuse, which went supernova. He can’t stand the stagnation imposed on them by the aliens.

In the present, Shinobu is heading home alone at night when he sees what he thinks is a shooting star come in low and apparently hit nearby. Shinobu goes home, where he’s surprised there are no news reports on what he saw. The next day at school, Shatou isn’t there. Shatou sends a text to Shinobu to meet him at the Betelgeuse Forest, which is where they used to look at the stars. Shinobu goes there to find Shatou in a cape and mask, calling himself Betelgeuse, Knight of the Revolution. Shatou reveals why he’s changed, a giant, squat mecha unit that’s he’s found, meaning he now has power to liberate the world.

Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01ASince this mecha unit likely belongs to the alien empire, Shinobu thinks they should return it to them. Shatou rejects this, deciding that he’s going to attack the empire. Even if he dies, he figures a bullied kid won’t be missed. As such, his first attack will be on the tower that the Empire built, the only advanced structure of the last 100 years.

Shatou leaves to get a tool to achieve his victory, so Shinobu decides he’ll save Shatou by getting into the mecha unit and returning it to the Empire. Using his knowledge of robotics, Shinobu figures out how to open the cockpit, where he discovers a large, three-eyed, intelligent rabbit inside. After getting over his shock, Shinobu explains his motives for trying to get into the unit, but when he asks the rabbit to move the mecha, the rabbit can’t because it has paws. Again using his skills, Shinobu figures out how to activate the mecha and with the rabbit alongside, gets it to moving.

In response, the Empire sends several warrior mech units to stop him. Shinobu opens the hatch and lets the Imperial troops know his motives. In response, one of the Imperial mecha’s attacks. Shinobu asks why and is told that he’s in violation of Imperial decree on weapons and as such, he is to be executed.

Thoughts/Review:

With Hata-sensei having promoted the heck out of Ad Astra per Aspera in the last chapter of Hayate the Combat Butler, I figured I better check this out.

Unlike his start with Hayate the Combat Butler, which seemed to only have a thin plot just to carry a comedy gag premise for a comedy gag series, Ad Astra per Aspera comes out with what appears to be a real plot. Considering that we only got half of the first chapter (42 pages, if you count the 2-page color spread), Hata-sensei did a pretty good job of table setting.

Hata-sensei appears to be drawing from a number of sources for this manga. The Imperial ships that fill the sky reminded me of Dalek warships from Doctor Who, though the ships are likely an amalgam of alien invasion UFOs from sci-fi movies/shows of the past.

The mecha units from the military reminded me of the mecha units from Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar. There too, I suspect that Hata-sensei is using a number of influences to create his design, and it is quite good.

The crashed, stone-looking, squat mecha seemed familiar. I need to go back to the Hayate the Combat Butler manga, but I think he’s done it there before (or it was done in the anime).

Shinobu’s abilities reminded me of Shirou from the Fate/stay night franchise with a touch of Kenshi from War on Geminar.

The comedy elements were here too. Hata-sensei took a comedic jab at long running manga titles that go on hiatus a lot such as Hunter x Hunter, Berserk, and Glass Mask.

Some of the gag humor Hata-sensei is known for is here, such as when Shinobu opened up the hatch to the squat mecha and finds a human-sized, 3-eyed rabbit inside.

Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01A

I’ve noticed a bit of a trend to explore bullying in Japan, and Hata-sensei does this as well. He doesn’t get overly dark or anything in depicting the bullying, but he does depict it, and it can be a little disturbing. Fortunately, the characters don’t get all angst-filled, but it clearly has an impact on their lives, especially Shatou.

Hata-sensei also takes a serious look at the gilded cage that the Earth is currently in after the aliens took over. On one hand, you have Shinobu, who looks at things and says that the aliens brought peace, solved Earth’s problems (except bullying), and made folks happy. On the other hand, you have Shatou’s argument, which is that Earth has become a fishbowl and humans no longer strive to do anything. Instead, humanity are NEETs living off the Empire, thus they no longer create or do anything to get ahead, thus 100 years of stagnation. I found this to be an interesting topic.

The miko girl depicted in the promotional art hasn’t shown up for this first half of the manga, but I kind of suspect that the 3-eyed rabbit is the girl in disguise.

Hata-sensei again has one of his lead characters be an orphan. I’m not sure what role the robot “mother” will play to the overall plot (other than being the cause of Shinobu getting bullied), and I do wonder how Shinobu got his gifts with robots and electronics. What do you want to bet his father is one of the aliens from the Empire.

It will be a month (supposedly) before we get the second half of the chapter. I do plan to keep reading this because so far, the plot has me interested and the manga is garnished with Hata-sensei’s humor.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01A Manga Review (100 years into the future…)”

  1. cold_menthol says:

    I don’t know, it reminds me more of a dystopia rather than a NEET society. Or maybe I just took the meaning of NEET too literally here..

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’ve had the idea (without being Japanese) that NEETs are not looked upon favorably. A NEET is a parasite leech on society is the impression I have. But this version of future Japan is not what I’d call dystopia. Humans have stopped advancing, but they aren’t slaves and are well taken care of to make sure they don’t revolt. They are under totalitarian rule, but when the “masters” put the slaves in gilded cages, the slaves can’t be bothered to revolt and most don’t even think of themselves as slaves, even though they are.

  2. mattcgw says:

    If you’re taking recommendations, may I give mine of which is a series I hold in quite high regard. Freezing, the series just got licensed into a 2-in-1 omnibus format, and frequently allows for worth while speculation and theorising, as well as a proper long term storyline.

  3. NT says:

    considering that I already have my hands full with various manga, as interesting as thus one sounds I’ll just be holding off on this one till maybe the tenth chapter.

    So far it looks like it’ll be interesting to read. And for some reason these aliens are going to end up recruiting him and that there is a valid reason why the aliens are on earth to begin with anyway.

    Or a rebellion comes and saves him from his predicament. Thats two things I can see happen in this manga. Given to who the author is.

Want to comment? Leave a Reply! Some HTML (for bold, italics, etc.) permitted. Use [spoiler][/spoiler] to hide spoiler content. Block quotes are <blockquote>Text you want to quote goes here.</blockquote>. No personal attacks on other comenters, please. Spirited debate is OK though. ^_^

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress