Astra Lost in Space – 02 – Not Here to Make Space Friends

The Astra lands on the planet Valvrave Vilavurs, a lush planet teeming with flora, fauna, and water to stock up for the twenty-day journey to the next stepping stone in space. Kanata distributes tasks to the crew, but encounters immediate resistance from Quitterie, who doesn’t seem interested in doing anything dangerous. As if being lost in space wasn’t already dangerous…

After encountering a giant dragon-like flying beast with a turtle-like head (hence the name “tur-gon”), most of the crew heads into the forest to forage amongst all manner of alien critter and trampoline tree, while Ulgar and Yunhua, the quietest of the group so far, fill the Astra’s water tanks from a nearby stream.

What had been a jolly good time turns into a nightmare when the singularity reappears, with space staring at them from the other end. This time, however, everyone manages to get away, thanks in part to Aries’ photographic memory…and because the sphere may well have “given up”, if it’s capable of that kind of thought.

Back on the ship, Quitterie reiterates her desire to make friends with precisely no one, then makes it that much harder on herself by telling her sister Funicia she’s not really even her sister, then running off, requiring everyone to head back out to look for her. Zack, her childhood friend, explains that she’s always found it hard dealing with people or making friends since she was basically raised by dutiful servants.

Funi, who was later adopted by Quitterie’s absentee doctor mother (and not welcomed by Quitterie) gets separated and ends up on a trampoline tree as it stretches up vertically towards the setting sun (neat tree, that). This puts her in prime position to be snatched up and eaten by a tur-gon.

To stop that from happening, Kanata takes action when no one else will, finding the tree closest to the cliff and using his decathlete skills to run and jump from tree to tree until he’s close to Funi. Unfortunately, a tur-gon grabs her, but he uses Luca’s javelin to injure it, and it drops Funi harmlessly back to the treetop.

Kanata manages to reach her, but loses his footing and falls backwards over the edge. Like Funi when she was captured, or Aries and Kanata’s troubles in open space last week, this show loves almost killing off members of its large cast, and since I’m still new to this show, it hasn’t yet been clear that it won’t actually follow through and do it for real at some point.

But not this time, as Quitterie makes herself useful and launches a series of parachute plants (also neat, those), one of which catches Kanata, who gently drifts down to solid ground. Quitterie thanks Kanata and apologizes for her behavior thus far, and Kanata’s quick-thinking and heroism cements his role as the consensus captain, with Charce as his second-in-command.

With Kanata now in a place of leadership, his hard work finally paying off, and Quitterie finally being honest about actually wanting friends and family, not to mention everyone having more than their share of delicious tur-gon meat, the crew is sitting pretty after the first completed leg of their 5,000 light year-plus interstellar odyssey.

But Zack informs Kanata of a disturbing discovery he’s made: the communications system was sabotaged…recently. That means it was either done just before they boarded the ship…or there’s a traitor in their midst. Absent any evidence, I suspect Ulgar the most, since he’s so quiet and standoffish, but I’m not sleeping on it being Yunhua, or Charce, or heck, even Zack himself, trying to cast away suspicion on himself by reporting it.

One thing’s for (mostly) sure…it’s not Kanata or Aries. But who ever it is (if it indeed is one of them), the mystery adds a measure of looming peril to what has otherwise been an bloodless quest. The crew has been extremely lucky to survive their trials so far. That luck can’t hold out forever.

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How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift? – 02 – Protein Punch

Hibiki is mortified to learn that even after getting into a routine of training, she’s actually gained weight, but she makes a common fitness rookie mistake: weight is not always a good indicator of health. What percentage of your weight is muscle as opposed to fat is far more useful, and muscle is denser and weighs more than fat.

After some lat pulldowns that work her back (she’s still too green for deadlifting), Hibiki heads to the gym’s fully-equipped protein bar, where a dickie-sporting Machio serves up delicious shakes during the 30-minute “golden time” after a workout. Still, that’s not enough for Hibiki, who wants more protein and so drags a weary Akemi to a steakhouse. Old habits die hard!

That said, Hibiki seems to be making mostly good decisions about her body, including taking a rest day when her body is telling her (through soreness) that she should. But she doesn’t want to just laze around the house either, so she and Akemi head to the pool. Hibiki stares with envy at Akemi’s figure, while Detective Akemi points out all the muscular people’s sports by the muscle groups they’ve defined.

Hibiki starts static stretching before activity, but Akemi stops her, citing a University of Zagreb study that indicates such stretching actually decreases performance, not to mention is bad for joints and tendons that haven’t warmed up. She suggests a series of dynamic stretching exercises instead, not too dissimilar from radio calisthenics. Unfortunately, an overeager Hibiki rips her too-tight swimsuit.

Hibiki spends the next day by visiting her best friend Uehara Ayaka’s house for the first time—the two became friends through mutual love of film, and only ever hung out in theaters up to now. Suddenly, Ayaka’s sister needs her help, and Hibiki learns the Uehara family business: an elite boxing gym!

The sisters’ dad was a champion boxer, and trained his daughters; Ayaka has the abs and muscle memory to show for it, but she still prefers movies. After successfully holding a planking pose for 30 seconds, Ayaka’s sister suggests Hibiki have a go at the heavy bag. Hibiki gingerly approaches it, then delivers a devastating right hook that breaks the bag, shocking everyone assembled. Looks like she had a hidden talent!

Dumbbell remains zanily good fun with some useful advice about weight training mixed in. Hibiki remains an utterly charming protagonist. It even eased off the ecchi fanservice this week. Guilty pleasure or no, the show just works—much like Hibiki’s punch. And then there’s that infinitely catchy OP. Keep it up!