Posted by Lenlo on 1 November 2018 with categories: Planetes, Throwback Thursday

Ah Throwback Thursday, quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. Welcome to another 2 episodes of Planetes! This time we have suicide pacts, space ninja’s and incredible technological feats! Lets jump in!

So non-spoilers out of the way first, Planetes continues to impress me with it’s use of technology and physics. Really, every time it does it I love the series just a little bit more. Rotating a spaceship quickly to generate G-Force’s was brilliant. The detail of having a phone call from the moon be delayed because of distance? Fantastic. It’s the touches like these that really drive home how the series is in space. Without these details, the focus on technology, our characters could be anywhere. They could be in some random ship, or any other futuristic slum indistinguishable from all others. This is how you build a believable Science Fiction world. No info dumps, just repeated usage of the technology in the story. Leave it to the guy who writes Vinland Saga to be a stickler for the details I suppose.

Now onto episode 5, “Fly Me to the Moon”. Planetes tried something unique here, focusing very little on our leads. Instead Planetes tries to tell 3 competing stories, how they interact and resolve each other. Our leads being lightly involved in each, but only being central figures in one. It works because this episode was entirely a travel episode, giving us a sense of distance between Earth and the Moon. It would be dull to focus on our leads for an entire 4 day trip where they just laze about and get into shenanigans on what is effectively a plane ride. Instead Planetes lets us watch other passengers and their problems, interweaving and only lightly brushing with our main cast, who are largely unchanged by it all. Personally, I think it is a brilliant way to frame an episode that is effectively “And they went to the moon”.

My personal favorite part of it was how our leads didn’t actually resolve any of the core issues themselves. Though book ending the episode with Tanabe’s wallet, once again providing a clear start and finish to the episode, was nice. Instead the suicidal parents realized their own mistakes in a crisis situation involving their daughter. The movie crew got better footage for a news agency, and the thief got caught because of the pilots clever moves. All our cast really did was float around, before aiding in the capture of the thief. To top it all off, Planetes even got a decent message about not writing off your future and how Suicide is a bad, permanent choice and how it affects others in your life. I have no idea why Planetes isn’t more well known, because this is just phenomenal.

However as good as Episode 5 was, I loved 6 even more. Planetes started this episode as a goofy, fun time comedy and ended it as a meaningful, goofy fun time comedy. Simply unbelievable, right? Seriously though, Planetes managed to turn a bunch of Ninja’s on the moon into a story of foreign workers and Visa’s. It justified their ridiculous escapism as a means of coping and enjoying their time being stuck on the moon. The whole setup with a shady businessman handling their Visa’s and work on the moon, only to split with their paychecks is depressingly real. As is the fact that they can’t afford to get home without money, but can’t work with their now probably out of date Visa. Its a depressingly real and grounded problem, taking place in a fantastical setting.

It doesn’t hurt that the Ninja’s were genuinely funny in places. I love grounded absurdist comedy and Planetes did that well here. Using the Moon’s low gravity to allow for this kind of play, while still being grounded in realism was inspired. Planetes also used all of this opening gag to establish the physics of the Moon, so that the second half in the burning building didn’t come from nowhere. Then it even manages to end on one last gag, as even under Moon gravity, falling still hurts. Is this what good direction and story planning feels like? Because Planetes makes better use of Science and Physics than most anime do of their own invented magic systems. Throwing people like stars, lifting “heavy” objects and rollerblading on walls. These Ninja’s were just fun to watch, and kept to their character.

What surprised me about Planetes this week though is that it is being consistent, while not having an overarching plot. What I mean by that is I expected the series to be an episode, week by week thing, until they find something they shouldn’t have in the debris. That will still probably happen. But the week by week episodic nature is still being consistent. Tanabe is more experienced with 0-G and that is referenced. Our cast spends an episode going to the moon, and now it looks like we are going to be here for awhile because of Tanabe’s apartment. Hachimaki is more well adjusted and focused on his goal of a personal spaceship, as seen when talking to the child. Planetes executes these stories, and then remembers the development the characters had instead of hitting the reset button every episode. I like it.

 

So all in all, another good week for Planetes. I am still waiting for the shoe to drop and a central conflict to crop up. But until then, I am enjoying our time with our leads. Planetes is really building them. This way, when the conflict inevitably comes, it doesn’t have to develop the leads much. We will already know who they are. Because it will happen in the 2nd Half, it also doesn’t need to slow down that conflict. It can run through it at it’s own pace instead of trying to fill 26 episodes with a single story arc. If I had to raise a single complaint, just so I do more than praise it, I do think some of the dialogue is ham-fisted at times and Tanabe is still a bit to moralizing for my tastes. But even those are a stretch.

But what did you think? Planetes still hold your attention, or are you waiting for it to be done so we can move on to our next Throwback Thursday series? Let me know below!

One Response

  1. Avatar Jimmy Timmy says:

    Terra formars? Lmao just messing around. I think you should pick the series you go with next. I just hope it’s one I’ve seen recently because it’s always nice to see a different perspective.

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