Banner of the Stars III anime review

Banner of the Stars III anime review
Jinto and Lafiel were riding on a light-armed transport ship "Bokbrusue" and navigating at the planar space of the Hyde System. This was for Jinto to govern the Hyde System, which returned to Empirial rule after the Union retreated, officially as an Earl. However, the government of Martin, Jinto`s motherland, resisted obstinately against the Empirial rule. On the other side, "Daiichi Jyuurin Sentai" (the First Devastation Fleet), formed with the new ship type "Attack Vessel", travelled to the Hyde System for drilling practices, but...

Banner of the Stars III in many ways is a return to what made Crest of the Stars such an enjoyable series. Despite being only a sub-hour OAV, it is, thus far, the most enjoyable of the entire Banner of the Stars series.

Those familiar with the Crest/Banner of the Stars series will have no complaints when watching this OAV. The plot and characters continues to be a strong point of the series, and Banner 3 is no exception. Admittedly, due to the drastically shorter length, a lot of the extras are gone. the story is pretty much entirely focused on our two leads. The plot of Banner 3 is Jinto's return to Martine, his home planet. The plot is fairly thin, but it is thusfar, the type of plot in the banner series, that allows us to see the perspectives of the main characters without being constrained due to environmental or circumstantial situation (ie. military, diplomacy, stuck in a prison colony, etc.). We receive a lot of Jinto's inner thoughts as he tries to struggle with his role as part of the Abh nobility and his persona as a common lander. Although this is something that we have seen throughout the Crest/Banner series, it is thrust into the forefront here, and we are finally able to see Jinto take a stand in his conflict.

As mentioned before, this installment is heavily focused on Jinto and Lafiel. They both remain the great characters they were in the past, and this installment is especially good as we see how Jinto and Lafiel interact when in casual settings. Their interaction is surprisingly open, especially considering the closed nature of most other relationships of this type in other animes. They are open and upfront about their emotions and how they feel about one another. This is partially due to the to-the-point, no-nonsense nature of Lafiel's character. Jinto is definitely at his most mature stage and it is very good to see how he's grown due to the events around him. We are also privy to a flip in Lafiel's character. The situation is the reverse of that in Crest, where Lafiel is teaching Jinto on the ways of Abh culture. Now we see Lafiel trying to deal with the quirks and nuances of Jinto's lander life. It is definitely a change in her character, but she still continues to exhibit the strength and resolve of prior installments.

Unfortunately, most of the supporting characters take an even greater back-seat role than they did in Banner II. We get some nice banter between Jinto and Ekuruya, but for the most part, we rarely ever get to see any of the older cast do anything of significance. The loss of Sporh is hard to take.

One thing that has to be commented on is the artwork. For some, this is a drastic step up in terms of the quality of the art, while for others, it is actually a step back. I'm kind of in between. It is certainly brighter. The colours used are softer, and do not have the harsh dark tones used in prior installments. There is definitely a change in how the characters were drawn. It is very noticeable in terms of head shape. In prior series, the heads were very angled, and had noticeable contours in the cheeks, and chin area. In Banner 3, the heads are significantly rounder, making some of the characters look a little odd at times. The use of CG for the ships is also (in my opinion) a negative point. One of the great things about the prior series is that the dark colours added to the darkness and dirtiness of space. With the CG ships, they look too clean, and a little out of place. Overall, the new artwork is an improvement, and the issues I brought up are minor when compared to the overall facelift the series received. For the most part, the art stays true to prior episodes, and to be perfectly frank, it would have looked horribly dated had they not improved the art.

Overall, an excellent addition to the already great Crest/Banner of the Stars series. A fourth novel in the Banner series has already been written so here's hoping that a Banner IV will be released sometime in the future. At this point in time, Banner of the Stars III sits as my personal pick for best release of 2005.

Good: New situations for Jinto and Lafiel, lots of Jinto/Lafiel development both individually and as a couple, revamped artwork
Bad: New art is a little jarring, supporting characters fall into less important roles, too short

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Banner of the Stars III. Watch it now:
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