is a Japanese science fiction manga series by Kō Yaginuma. It began serialization in the seinen magazine Comic Flapper in January 2001. Twin Spica tells the story of a group of Japanese high school students training to become astronauts.
The manga has been adapted by Group TAC as a 20-episode anime television series that first aired on NHK's BS-2 satellite service between 1 November 2003 and 27 March 2004. The anime has been translated into English and other languages by the anime television network Animax, which has broadcast the series on its networks in several regions, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Latin America.
The series title comes from the binary star system Spica. It is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo and one of the brightest stars in the sky. Spica is really two stars that circle each other, though from a distance they appear as one, which parallels the series' running theme of friendship.
The primary setting of Twin Spica
in the near future at the Tokyo Space Academy, where high school students train to become astronauts. has dreamed of going to space since she was a child. Her experiences in school and her relationships with her friends, family and teachers are the central themes of the story. The manga and anime series both have a relaxed, slice of life
Several chapters of the manga and episodes of the anime are flashbacks and explore the childhood of Asumi and some of the other characters. When she was a baby, Japan's first manned rocket (called "Lion") crashed into Asumi's hometown of Yuigahama, killing many people and critically injuring her mother, who finally died after many years in a coma. While trying to accept her mother's death, six year old Asumi met , the ghost of a young astronaut who had been on board the rocket. Inspired by Lion-san's stories of space, Asumi made it her goal to become an astronaut herself.
The early storylines of the manga and the anime adaptation are very close to each other, but later they diverge as the anime sets up an original ending. The anime covers most of the manga's story from volumes 1-3 and takes bits and pieces from later volumes.
- The story's main character. After her mother died when she was young, she grew up with her father. She is the only one who can see Lion-san, whom she met soon after her mother's death. After meeting Lion-san, she becomes determined to become an astronaut. When her name is written in kanji (her name is in katakana), asu means "tomorrow" (or in this case "future") and mi means "look".
- Lion-san meets Asumi when she is young and introduces himself as a ghost. He wears a large lion mask that covers his entire head. He comforts Asumi during the difficult time after her mother's death, and fosters her interest in space. He had a relationship with Asumi's elementary teacher, Yuuko Suzunari and gave her a small lion doll with a wedding ring inside before he died. His real name is Takano.
- A classmate of Asumi's, she is a loner and generally treats her peers coldly. She justifies her attitude by reflecting on the difficult childhood she endured, which comprised mostly of studying in isolation. Marika's backstory is unusual, but is only touched upon in the anime.
- Asumi's childhood friend, whose ends up following her to take the astronaut course. He likes Asumi and always looks after her but hasn't really revealed his feelings to her. He is nicknamed by Kei.
- The first girl Asumi meets during the Space School entrance exam. Sociable, gregarious and frank, she is Asumi's first female friend in the astronaut course.
- The top student of their course, Shū is often depicted as a laid-back, easy going guy. Despite the facade, he tries his best to reach for his dream—to become an astronaut.
- Asumi's father
- Asumi's mother
- Ringo is the dorm manager for the Kamome dorms.
- Kasane, a survivor of the Shishigou incident, is Asumi's childhood friend. Because of the crash, she has a horrible burn mark on her left arm. In the present, Kasane goes to an all-girls school. In the manga, her first reappearance shows her sleeping in Asumi's dorm room, which is a few volumes after her reappearance in the anime.
- Sano is one of the teachers in the space school. Sano attempts to sabotage Asumi because he falsely believes her father was partially responsible for the Shishgou disaster. He gets in trouble for this and resigns. He resurfaces in the manga with insights on the Shishigou incident and, once again, gets in trouble for it. However, he eventually becomes reconciled with Asumi's father.
- Takashi is a classmate of Asumi in junior high school. He was also her classmate in elementary school but he was too sickly to regularly attend school. His story is mainly shown in the flashback episode/chapter, "Asumi's Sakura".
- Kiriu is an orphan and is initially shown as activist against space exploration. He closely resembles Takashi Shimizu, Asumi's junior high friend. He first meets Asumi on a rally against a rocket launch and gets mad at her. Their relationship, which is not in the anime, develops in the manga. In the end, however, Kiriu leaves to do volunteer work elsewhere.
- Mikan is Asumi's underclasswoman in the space school.
- Lyrics by: Haruichi Shindō
- Composition and arrangement by: Akimitsu Honma
- Performed by: Buzy
- Lyrics by: Rokusuke Ei
- Composition by: Taku Izumi
- Arrangement and performed by: BEGIN
Original Soundtrack performance: Kazunori Miyake
Twin Spica is published by Media Factory in the magazine Comic Flapper, and collected in 14 tankōbon volumes as of March 2008.
In addition, an illustration book (ISBN 978-4-8401-1380-9, published March 2006) and an official guide to the anime (ISBN 978-4-8401-1041-9, published April 2004) have been published.