Posted by Lenlo on 18 October 2018 with categories: Planetes, Throwback Thursday

Welcome to week 2 of Throwback Thursday, as we continue our dive into Planetes! This week we have a focused character story, some fun humor and lots of beautiful scenery. Lets jump in!

So starting off, Planetes continues to look fantastic. From the motion of the characters, to the colors and details in every scene. Even the lighting out in space is on point, with just their helmets to light the way. The sound design also adds to scenes. For example, the “Workin on a Railroad” whistle at the start of the episode. It’s a memorable tune, one that immediately sets how casual an event this is for them. Yet them being in space takes what is normal for us, just going to work, and makes it amazing. I think the blase attitude that Planetes character’s often take toward spell really help sell it. In other series it would be played up, “Ooo were in space”. But like Cowboy Bebop before it, to these characters it’s their day to day so why would it be amazing? Speaking of characters, a lot went on.

Planetes through a good amount of humor in this week, most of which I enjoyed. Humor based in the characters and their actions or personalities is far better to me than random gag or eechi humor. In particular I prefer humor that subverts expectations. For example, Planetes ended a whole segment of dancing and body humor with a single, unplanned yet cinematically coordinated, pen drop. For some reason, this shared disappointment of all the characters worked for me. Planetes also managed to bookend the episode with a joke about another apology letter for almost crashing a satellite into a rocket, referencing the first. It’s not the laugh out loud, mile a minute humor of Honda-San or the attempt by Grand Blue. It’s a more subtle kind of humor, meant purely to add to a scene and isn’t the singular purpose of said scene.

The technology of the series so far has also been astounding. Someone pointed it out in the comments of the last episode, but the dedication is phenomenal. Planetes also manages to make use of the terminology, such as retrograde, correctly in its scenes. That and the orbital graphs, such as seeing the point of collision between the satellite and the rocket, or detail on into on the Satellites auto-pilot systems, really draw you in. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this however is the construction of the technology. The rocket folding out to prepare for a collision. The rotating arm of the Satellite and the crumple of the material as it’s hit. I’m sorry, but as a Software Engineer, I have a thing for well portrayed tech in my shows and movies. And Planetes is doing very well on this front.

As far as the actual story this week, Planetes chooses to focus on Hachimaki, his dreams and dawning depression. It was a really good choice, a self contained story that lets us learn more about our other lead. The slow fall, as he gets teased by his department, meets his now pilot friend, and eventually gets into a fight. Planetes did it so well that there really isn’t much to say on the subject. It just works. Everything about it works together. Take his pilot friend for instance, I expected him to be an antagonist this week. A handsome pilot man to woo our lead Tanabe, who eventually learns he is an ass or something. Instead Hachimaki spends the entire episode happy for him and his success. Eventually proving his own mastery as he pulls off a one in a million timed boost to dodge the rocket. Just amazing.

Then there was the opening segment with the satellite, which I expected to set the scene for the episode. I figured that it was some other team who botched it and our department would have a time crunch to save the day. Instead Planetes pulls a bait and switch, with the rookie being Hachimaki, and the Satellite being the metaphor for his own internal struggle. Beyond that, Planetes manages to connect it all around back to Tanage and her first days. She screws up just like Hachimaki did back in the day. But unlike then, Hachimaki has grown as a person and an astronaut, and manages to save the day. Ending with words of advice gained through years of personal failures, of taking little steps and having patience. The very advice he himself needed at the start of the episode.

What this episode of Planetes showed me is that the author really knows his stuff. Should be obvious really, considering he is as someone pointed out, also the author of Vinland Saga. I can see it in the series as well. Vinland Saga also has this incredibly detailed, nuanced look into the era. Borrowing from history while changing it just enough to express himself in the work. I can see that influence all over Planetes. Yet here, since it takes place in the future, he isn’t constrained by known history. He can take this detailed knowledge and apply it freely. Still, he doesn’t go over the top like some series, doing his best to stay grounded. That is one of Planetes greatest assets. If it can maintain this believability, this grounded world, then the story will be all the better for it.

So all in all, another fantastic episode of Planetes. It showed us more of who Hachimaki is as a character, while also showing us more of the world and those who live on the station and his department. Simply put, I love it. I won’t even waste your time, so instead I have a question for you all. At 26 episodes, it will take us half a year to get through Planetes. Seeing the response to Throwback Thursday, I can see a lot of you have a number of series you want covered. So let me put to you a question. For shows beyond 13 episodes like Planetes, should I move to 2 episodes a week, so we can finish it in a timely manner?

Let me know down below! I am enjoying this series as well and want to get to all of the anime you suggest! See you next week!

5 Responses

  1. Avatar Jimmy timmy says:

    Nice episode review. I’m kinda getting through urge to rewatch it. But on the other hand planetes had such a profound impact on me (it was a funky time) that I don’t want to change my nostalgia. So reading your reviews is super fun. Look forward to your next review. I think you it’s a good idea to switch to two a week for longer series if you can manage it.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Im glad you like it, and I will keep the 2 a week in mind! Might try it next week just to see how people like it. Still experimenting with the whole format.

  2. Avatar Tayo Jones says:

    I cannot wait until you get to the smoking episode. That episode is hilarious!

  3. Avatar Giuseppe Beppestella says:

    I really love that Indian guy. He is such a corporate wimp and yet he is such a lovable character.

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