Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01B Manga Review (The quest to perform dogeza!)

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

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01B The mecha Shinobu is in with the three-eyed rabbit takes heavy damage from the attacks from the Imperial mecha units. Shinobu flees in panic, realizing that he can’t tell the truth about his involvement with the mecha, lest Shatou get in trouble. The Imperial units tell Shinobu that they’ll listen to him. Shinobu’s flight takes him to Shatou, who’s not pleased. Shinobu asks Shatou what he should do, so Shatou tells him to die. Shatou regrets having stepped in to help Shinobu years earlier and blames Shinobu for Shatou not becoming Betelgeuse.

The Imperial mecha units arrive and inflict more damage on the squat mecha unit Shinobu is in as he starts to cry over Shatou’s betrayal. The rabbit shows a video depicting Shatou admitting to planning a terrorist act and says Shinobu can use this to save himself. Shinobu decides to delete the video, shocking the rabbit. Shinobu’s mecha unit takes more damage and Shinobu is bloodied as a result. However, he still refuses to turn Shatou over and wants to fight to save him, even if he’s betrayed. The rabbit is touched by this and offers to help.

As one mecha unit comes in to make a killing blow, its head gets knocked off. The other mecha units are surprised by this as inside the massively damaged mecha unit, Shinobu turns to the rabbit, only to find its eyes bulging out of its sockets. The rabbits head rips off, revealing a human-looking girl inside, wearing a miko-styled outfit. She has Shinobu move out of the cockpit chair, then after pressing some controls, she blames him for causing her to reveal herself. A voice announces to Patty that the system reconstruction is completed.

Outside, the Imperial units see a reaction to the nearly destroyed mecha, so they move in to destroy the damaged mecha. These units find themselves being destroyed as the damaged mecha unit becomes a clothed, royal-looking Imperial unit with two katanas named Versailles. Versailles destruction of all Imperial mecha units causes a large fire all around. Imperial reinforcements arrive and grab Versailles, demanding Shinobu surrenders, so Patty tells Shinobu that she’s about to make his dream of going to space true. With that, Versailles rockets out of Earth’s atmosphere in a flash, taking the two Imperial mecha units with it. After shaking those two units off, Versailles appears to cast a spell that causes the two mecha units to explode in a bright light.

Shinobu thanks Patty, who reminds him he isn’t saved yet. Now that he’s a wanted criminal, Patty has a suggestion to save his life — he should appeal to the Emperor against Imperial Ordinance 9801 as he is the only one with the power to nullify that ordinance. However, he’s at the center of the galaxy within an impenetrable fortress and guarded by an invincible army. Assuming they survive the journey, Patty tells Shinobu that he’ll have to use the dogeza method of prostrating oneself. Shinobu finds this to be an impossible task, so Patty says that if he doesn’t, he’ll never become Betelgeuse. So he can either choose to be a wanted criminal for life, of move forward. Shinobu chooses to fight, pleasing Patty.

Thoughts/Review:

As expected, the weird, three-eyed rabbit was in fact the miko referenced in the promotional art for Ad Astra per Aspera. I guess her name is Patty since there was a reference to that. However, she never introduced herself to Shinobu, so I could be wrong that.

As to Patty’s mecha unit, as its stone-looking self, it was squat and humorous. However, as Versailles, Hata-sensei shows that he can make a very impressive mecha unit.

Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01B

There’s a majesty to this design, aided by the robes. It is like a shogun mecha with its two katanas. And it looked pretty cool in that it appears that Patty can cast spells through Versailles.

So, who is Patty and why is she on Earth at all? She appears to be in hiding. Considering her powers, it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s a princess or some other very important person within the Empire. If I get to read more chapters, we’ll see where that goes.

It was sad to see Shinobu being betrayed by Shatou. In the end, Shinobu will get to live the dream while Shatou will still be in dreamland.

Like the first part of the chapter, this second half of the chapter is mostly dedicated to action and plot. However, there are a few moments of typical Hata-sensei humor, which work pretty well. I noticed that he is using the dogeza joke again. He used it twice in the early parts of Hayate the Combat Butler. It is still humorous here, more so since Shinobu is going to go through with prostrating himself.

Ad Astra per Aspera Chapter 01B

So what do I think so far?

Well, it really is hard to say. I’ve never been a big mecha fan, but despite that, there are a lot of mecha titles that I’ve really enjoyed over the years. This could easily be one such title since the mecha units look quite nice. If there is a magical element added to it, things will be more interesting for me.

Not that this is the first mecha series I’ve seen with a magic element to it. The Vision of Escaflowne had a somewhat magical element to it, but not really what I’d call a true magical mecha. Lord of Lords Ryu Knight took the fantasy RPG genre and put it into mecha units, so there were true magical mecha units, such as Ryu Mage Magidora. However, I think that Ad Astra Per Aspera is taking a cue from the somewhat mystical Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar (Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari) as the Imperial mecha units reminded me of the Seikijin mecha units in that series.

At this early stage, I am interested in Ad Astra Per Aspera and think there could be something here. We’ll have to wait and see how future chapters play out before I can make any serious call though (assuming we get to read them at all).

In the end, this chapter had the mix of Hata-sensei humor, with a large dose of mecha action, including the merger of magic and mecha elements. So it is an interesting start to the series that I hope I can continue to read.

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