Crest of the Stars (Seikai no Monshō) is a 13-episode space opera from 1999. Based on a book by Hiroyuki Morioka it was adapted by Bandai back when they still made shows other than Gundam and directed by Yasuchika Nagaoka, something of a journeyman director in the 90s who’s only other real lead role was directing Wild Cardz.
Jinto Lin is a young nobleman, whose world was taken over by the largest empire in the galaxy: the Abh Empire. Jinto’s father, the president of his home planet, handed their world over to the Abh in exchange for a standing in the Abh Empire. As a result, Jinto became a member of the aristocracy and was shipped off for an Abh education. On his way, he meets a princess of the Abh Empire, Lafiel, whom he quickly befriends despite her cold exterior. The trip is interrupted when the ship stumbles into the vanguard of a secret invasion fleet, forcing Jinto and Lafiel to go ahead on their own to try to warn the Abh capital of what is happening.
This is a space opera through and through, it doesn’t get much more “hard” sci-fi than this, as despite the premise being based around the opening of a galactic war no one even gets killed until 4 episodes in and even then it happens off-screen. Instead Crest of the Stars is more concerned with the politics of the galaxy: with why the Abh are despised moreso than any of the other human factions and with why the Abh themselves don’t care what people think. Even as the war starts to break out the shows focus stays very small on just Jinto and Lafiel’s trip, on how the war affects the common populace of planets being caught in the way, and how people in small positions of power look to adjust to changing authority. It also thoroughly recognizes that not everyone is the great epic hero, the whole goal of their journey is not to win the war themselves or defeat a big bad, its simply to deliver a message. Basically this is a show for people who liked Star Trek but wished it wasn’t quite so action packed. Furthermore, Jinto and Lafiel are just a great couple. He manages to be an audience surrogate for getting things to explained to him without coming off as a fool since he’s not natively Abh and even starts to take initiative when they have to go to a planets surface where Lafiel has never been. She on the other hand runs a balance between aloof coldness and genuine emotion without falling into being a tsundere, shes someone of privileged background who really wants to be treated like everyone else and gets upset when shes given special treatment. Together they play off each other almost as well as Lawrence and Holo do, with each being a great compliment to the others abilities and weaknesses. Plus they’re just too cute together.
Did I mention its slow? It takes multiple episodes just slowly explaining who the Abh are, and whats expected of them before even a hint of the war appears, and then in the middle section there’s a detour which waylays the duo with a jerk baron for like 3 episodes which probably could have been cut down a bit just to keep the audience awake.
Weeb Level: 1/10- More than anything your knowledge of space operas will help you more than any kind of anime knowledge.
Fanservice: 2/10- Most of the series Lafiel is wearing an Abh naval uniform, which looks like this:
Not exactly the sexiest outfit for a girl to wear. Still, in that middle section the baron is quite a bit of a creep who tries to make her wear some more revealing clothes and there’s a very mild bath scene in there.
Quality: 8/10. Really the only reason this loses points is because its not exactly an easy rewatch due to its pacing.
Where to watch: This is actually a tad tricky unfortunately. The DVD is out-of-print though runs for about $45 for the complete set on Amazon and the novels are easily enough acquired. However the license for the show expired a long time ago so no one is streaming it… legally. I can neither confirm nor deny that Googling the show will lead you to at least a couple places hosting it.