Sunday, September 18, 2011

Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity by Dave Roman

Welcome to Astronaut Academy, a boarding where students learn important skills such as anti-gravity gymnastics, fire throwing, advanced heart studies and Spanish.  It's also where Hakata Soy, former space hero, has been sent by his parents.  Unfortunately, his enemies won't leave him alone!  With the help of his new friend Miyumi San, he'll try to make it through his first semester. 

This was pretty silly.  It was also very tongue and cheek in a way I enjoyed but I think most middle school students, which is who it's written for, wouldn't really understand.  I don't think that would prevent middle school students from enjoying this silly space adventure though.

The story is told by many different characters, from Hakata Soy and Miyumi San, who were the main characters, to Hakata's roommate, who on the outside seems to only care about fireball, but actually has a sensitive side, to Maribelle Mellonbelly, the richest and meanest girl at Astronaut Academy and Miyumi's nemeses, to Cybert, the Hakata look-alike robot that has been sent to Astronaut Academy to eliminate Hakata Soy.  And many, many others.

The main plot is that Hakata is sad and mopey and missing his friends, and he can't contact anyone and no one contacts him!  Little does he know that the bad guys, knows as Gotcha Birds, he previously defeated on Hoppiton (home of bunnies, that look like old-time Disney characters), are jamming his signal!  One of his old fellow heroes, missing Hakata and unable to contact him, makes a robot that looks just like Hakata to keep him company.  But then the Gotcha Birds steal it and reprogram it to sneak into Astronaut Academy and kill Hakata!

Meanwhile, Miyumi , who has enough problems of her own fending off Maribelle Mellonbelly, befriends Hakata and ultimately ends up saving his life with her incredible fireball power!  In between there is much ridiculousness, like dinosaur riding and panda bears who teach Spanish but are really secret agents.

At the end, since Hakata hasn't been able to contact his family, Miyumi invites him over to her place for the semester break where her grandfather will see if he can fix Hakata's communication device.

So cute, silly and fun to read.  It's drawn in a decidedly anime style.  Kind of anime-lite.

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