Lost Chapter of the Stars: Birth
On an exploratory trip as part of his honeymoon, Dubus Abriel, future father of Lafiel, and his wife happen upon a derelict craft that may hold important secrets.
I should note that this special won't be all that accessible to people who aren't already familiar with the universe and background of the Crest / Banner of the Stars series. It does offer a little exposition that could help clarify certain plot points but a viewer without some grounding in the franchise would, for the most part, be lost and somewhat unengaged. Unfortunately, as a big fan of the Stars series who has seen the entirety of the currently available Stars animation, I cannot say I found this special all that interesting or engaging either though it did provide a few more interesting bits of information about both Lafiel's background and Abh history.
The basic premise is interesting enough but due to the short run time and a lack of focus the actual plot didn't end up having much dramatic impact. Since they spend too much time juggling between character work, mystery aspects, and certain expository background elements, the entire work ends up suffering. Unlike other animated offerings from this particular series of works, this story also takes place completely outside the context of a major narrative. Without the back story to help place certain events in a more dramatic context, the actual events of the special end up becoming quickly forgettable.
This isn't to say that every element of Birth is weak. It continues the Stars tradition of strong characterization by providing more insight into the personality of Lafiel's father, Dubus, and her mother (which I can't comment on in more detail on for spoiler reasons). Thus far in the first three series, Dubus has only been given very brief screen time and gaining more insight into the kind of personality he has is somewhat helpful in understanding certain aspects of the way Lafiel was raised.
I suppose in the end I found Lost Chapter of the Stars: Birth to be a bit disappointing because it ended up seeming a far too unconnected a side story to draw me in and I honestly expected a bit more out a title with the Stars names attached to it. Most of the information contained in the special's storyline seemed like something that normally would have been explained in a 90 second Abh voiceover in the beginning of another show (or in some cases that already has been). It would have been a stronger side story if they simply focused a bit more on Lafiel's parents and the kind of people they were instead of trying to fit their honeymoon in with a mysterious ancient wreck. Let's just say this isn't Magnetic Rose.
I would encourage Crest / Banner of the Stars fans to check out this special. Since many fans seemed to enjoy the detailed universe of the shows, I think they would be interesting in seeing this if only for the few additional pieces of Abh history and language (such as the meaning of Lafiel's name) that is contained in Birth. Other viewers may not find this interesting and it would not serve as a good teaser for the rest of the shows.
A far too disconnected side story that tries to do too much in its short running time. Crest / Banner of the Stars fans are likely the only people to find it significantly interesting. People unfamiliar with the franchise probably would want to subtract a star. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: There are a few tense moments and some images of dead bodies but no violence, sexuality, or any other really objectionable elements appear in the special. Relatively safe for older children and above.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Lost Chapter of the Stars: Birth © 2000 Hiroyuki Morioka / Hayakawa Shobou / Sunrise
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