Posted by Lenlo on 26 October 2018 with categories: Planetes, Throwback Thursday

Hello one and all and welcome to another week of Throwback Thursday, with Planetes! This week I am trying something a bit new, running 2 episodes instead of 1, to try and cover more ground. Let me know what you think, and lets jump in!

So far, my favorite aspect of Planetes is its singular focus each week. Instead of marginally moving forward some greater plot every episode, Planetes has a singular theme each episode. The themes for these two weeks were clearly Mortality/Death and Privilege, financial privilege at least. Naturally, I am gonna talk about these episodes in order so don’t worry, we will get to both. Planetes also continues it’s trend fantastic visual representation of space. This time we got liquids! Little balls of soda floating in the air, waiting to be picked. I love fluid dynamics, it’s always visually interesting, and space just makes it more so. For an example of how good looking water can affect a series, just go watch Garden of Words. I swear Makoto Shinkai has a fetish for it. That done, onto specifics!

Now, episode three had a focus on wills and the sanctity of death, and I thought it was brilliant. Living and working in space is dangerous, one single crack or loose screw and boom, everyone is dead. That plus the constant insurance sales really drove it home. I thought the question of the dead astronauts final fate was interesting, and personally sided with Hachimaki. I would want his wishes respected and launch him back into space. That this not only informed us of the world more, but also about our characters and their views on life, was phenomenal as well. There were some issues, like Tanabe which I will get to in a moment, but overall I feel I know Hachimaki better after this. When a series manages to make me ask questions about my own life, like my own will, I count it as a success.

In the last paragraph I mentioned problems, specifically Tanabe. Well it’s time to get into that. I hated Tanabe this week. Not in the sense that I think she should be removed from the show, but that I hated her character. She was headstrong, self-righteous ass this week, putting her opinion over everyone else’s. I could understand her position, her love of life and the connections you make during it. Tanabe has a valid point. But instead of trying to convince people, Tanabe forced her morales on everyone else like some arbiter on high. The fact that Planetes seemed to end on her being correct bothered me. With the family siding with her in the end, it’s like Planetes is endorsing her attitude. I’m not a fan, and would have much prefered it had Planetes at least ended on neutrality. Either way, a good episode soured by Tanabe.

Episode 4 seemed a lot more like a dash of fun, instead of a somber tale like episode 3. To me, it’s main purpose was to introduce us more to the people at Central and their relationships with our cast. Rather than talk about what was pretty obvious hints at Hachimaki’s Ex and the ass that is Collin, I wanna talk about management. Specifically Rabi, the Indian(?) guy. Planetes perk of having a show on an International Space Station is in full force here, with all these other nationalities. Rabi however is hilarious. His voice, both dub and sub, is great without being racist and the dude just seems like a fun time. He’s not an idiot, he can clearly do his job based on how he helps Trump run the office. Yet at the same time he does it with an endearing flair. Beautiful.

The aspect of the episode is Tanabe apparently finally finding her place in the Section. I wish there was more carry over between episodes personally, some comments about the 3rd episode, but I still enjoyed it. Planetes did this a little bit by letting Tanabe start taking on some responsibilities, like helping Connor and such. Demonstrating that she has in fact earned some respect for her work. Sure the two managers might resent her a bit for punching Collin, but they don’t seem the kind to care for long. The important one is Hachimaki and seeing if he actually keeps up calling her by her name as the series goes on. If he does that, then at the very least this episode progressed their relationship.

The last thing worth mentioning was the comedy. Planetes is consistently finding clever ways to work comedy into the story, so it’s not just slapstick crap. Dropping the soda cup, the bombardment of insurance people or cute sales lady. It’s all very natural comedy. Fitting into the office setting. Take for instance the see, hear, speak no evil plan of the two. There is the initial layer of that joke. Then they both are trying to talk to each other while they can’t hear. Layer onto that the Temp Worker trying to get them to do their work and sign papers. Only for it all to fall apart the moment one of them caves even a little bit. That, to me, is the kind of subversive consistent comedy that the Simpsons used to have. Back when it was good.

So all in all, another pair of good episodes from Planetes. We have seen some cracks in Tanabe’s character, straddling the line between likable and good. The comedy works, art is great and the world is getting established. I feel bad just praising Planetes every week, but the fact is I enjoy this show. I think it’s good and would love to watch it regardless of this Thursday post series. What about you though? Getting tired of my constant love for this piece? Think 2 episodes a week is better than 1? Let me know below so I can plan it out and do next week how you want.

See you then!

6 Responses

  1. Avatar SuperWooper says:

    Two episodes per week is a terrific idea. If you intend to continue this column beyond Planetes, it lets you move from series to series twice as quickly. If not, it still helps you find common themes between episodes, allows you to take a longer view of how characters are developing, etc.

    I’d totally be watching this along with you – Planetes was one of my first anime series, so it’s due for a rewatch – but I’m trying to cram a bunch of 2018 stuff before the awards in a couple months. =_=

  2. Avatar jimmytimmy says:

    +1 for two episodes a week. Tanabe putting you off is funny but I think that’s her character, an idealist.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      It was only the one episode she put me off. Rest of the time, she is fine, and I get her idealism. It clashes with me when she forces that idealism on everyone else.

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