It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan—a “Golden Age,” if you will. Despite the recent faltering of the Solo film (which was really quite good) and news of planned projects being shelved or in flux, fans have received more new Star Wars films in the last five years than we did the previous thirty-five before that, in addition to all the novels, comics, amusement attractions, figures, and all manner of other items and events that continually crop up, including The Mandalorian, which drops today on Disney Plus. But for those like me, who waver between the otaku side and the sci-fi side of the geekdom force, it’s been a dark time indeed. A desire for animation that looks like our favorite art form, anime, has been barely satiated, and only through fan-made works (as awesome as they may be). And a Star Wars manga, well, that doesn’t even exist, does it?
Actually, it has, and for quite some time. Adaptations of the Star Wars films and Clone Wars series are available, and a new manga series featuring Luke is in the works. But what about something new that’s out right now? Why yes, Star Wars otaku, that, too, exists—genuine, right-to-left, Japanese-produced manga, and translated into English. Oh, and it’s quite good.
What is Lost Stars?
In 2015, a young adult novel by Claudia Gray dropped amidst the ever-growing expanse of Star Wars literature. Entitled Star Wars: Lost Stars, the book traces the journeys of Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, friends who grew up dreaming of joining the Empire, only to find that reality didn’t match the image presented to them in their youth. For fans like myself, who grew up with the novels now called “Legends,” the time period of this one is just right—it’s right smack in the middle of the original trilogy, and though focusing on the newly created characters of Thane and Ciena, Lost Stars heavily features old friends and enemies from Episodes VI through VI, and well as events from those films.
Oh, and it received great acclaim. When the worst note is most reviews is, “I wish there was more,” you know you’re doing something right.
From Book to Manga
Okay, well, that’s great—another novel in the canon. But what does that have to do with manga?
Released in the run up to The Force Awakens, Lost Stars didn’t end with it’s novel adaptation. In 2017, LINE Corporation released the series in manga form online. Although it was in Japanese, the release was exciting for us otaku nonetheless because LUKE LEIA HAN officially drawn in manga form!! Laptop wallpapers across the galaxy were changed to reflect the new awesomeness that was Star Wars manga.
But the patience of the fan base was further rewarded by Yen Press last year when they took Yusaku Komiyama’s adaptation of Gray’s work and put it in manga format, and released it for English-speaking audiences.
And the Ewoks rejoiced.
Worth Trying? Or Try Not?
All three volumes of Star Wars: Lost Stars are now available, with the finale releasing today.
But I can see you’re still skeptical. It’s YA, right? And YA seems to vacillate between the potential to be awesome and awful, and sometimes with large glumps of both extremes within in the same series. So is Lost Stars more “Whiny Luke” YA or “I am a Jedi like my father before me” YA?
Rest assured, this series is very good. The illustrations are nice and crisp, and the story moves well, feeling like a true manga and not at all like an adaptation, which is a good thing. In fact, we’ll be giving more in-depth reviews on each of the three volumes in the coming weeks if you want to check those out before making the purchases, which I think is a good strategy—you don’t necessarily have to go Han and pull the trigger too quickly (poor Greedo). But if you do, I think you’ll enjoy and probably dance like ewoks above, partying like it’s 3281 LY.