Posted by Lenlo on 14 December 2018 with categories: Planetes, Throwback Thursday

Hello and welcome to another week of Throwback Thursday, with Planetes! This time Planetes drops it’s greater themes for some character drama, but brings it back with one big hurrah for our team. Lets jump in!

In general, I wasn’t particularly impressed by this week. Every week I am waiting for something definitive to happen. For the series to kick into some final arc. And every week it gives us another character focused piece. Yeah, we moved forward a bit this week, but it just feels slow. The cast at this point is huge, and I just don’t understand why Planetes is still introducing new characters. I feel like it would be better spent focusing on the ones we have. There were glimpses of that, Gigalt has become an important recurring character, and the Ninja’s showed up for a brief moment. We even saw the return of the 3rd Division Chief, who I was sure would be a one off villain. When these instances happen, I love it. I love the callbacks and consistency. But the stream of weekly new characters concerns me.

Now, onto episode 17, His Reasons.This episode is an interesting one and I have changed my opinion on it many times since watching it. First and foremost, it shows us just how paper thin the relationship between Hachimaki and Tanabe really is. The romance has very little place in Planetes in my opinion, and it didn’t need it to succeed. In a way, I find it distracting from the otherwise grand themes of the show. On the other hand though, it allows Planetes to tackle this episodes subject of personal desire and if it’s ok to be selfish. That this comes right on the heels of Hachimaki rediscovering his love of space is a fantastic choice, as that is still fresh in our mind. And our two sides of the same coin for this, Hachi’s dad and the Genius Engineer, make for interesting foils on the subject.

In the beginning we see Hachi’s dad wanting to go home. To spend time with his wife and kid, to finally get away from space. This is such a differing opinion from other astronauts we met, that I was in no way prepared for it. But I completely understood why he changed his mind after the Engineer spoke at the press conference. His single-minded, selfish, fuck everyone and everything else, determination to make that ship. It’s a terrifying level of conviction, and his mic-drop moment on stage just solidified him as a probable antagonist me later on. But seeing that kind of drive, I can understand why it would make him more confident in the project. Why it would make Hachi’s dad want to be a part of it. That this is now something Hachi has to struggle with in regards to his dream vs Tanabe raises some interesting questions.

Those very questions were answered in part in Episode 18, Debris Sections Last Day. For me this was the much stronger episode. It not only gave Ravi some much needed development, but really changed the paradigm of the show. Planetes will not, can not, be the same moving forward. It also touched a bit more on the inevitable greater conflict, by highlighting some of the shady under dealings of Technora, their company, and Intel at large. I thought the whole contention with the mine, their duty as Debris Haulers vs Company Orders and Ravi’s inner struggle was really well done. Every member of the department got a moment to show they are part of the team. To stick together. From the useless Manager “forgetting” his password, to Ravi returning once again to have his Arm handling skills put to the test. I loved that.

In particular, I loved Ravi. Up until now he has mostly been a racial stereotype kiss-ass to the higher ups. The one time we saw behind the curtain was when he was with/talking about his family. It is very clear that everything he does, he does for them. So his desperation to keep his job here makes perfect sense, as they depend on him monetarily. But that his love for his family gets thrown back at him, to war with his desire for their respect? I thought it was a great bit of character writing and made perfect sense for him. Motivating him to stick it out with the team, to be the hero Space needs, just for his kids. For me, this was the strongest plot point of the this weeks two episodes. And it once again hits on a theme of personal bonds vs worldy desires.

The big elephant in the room though, after Episode 17 and touched on slightly before the end in Episode 18, was Tanabe and Hachimaki. I have said before I found their relationship to be… less than stellar in execution, even if it had its moments. So seeing that questionable connection to a head, for me, was great. It meant I wouldn’t have to sit through the romance any longer and could focus on the much more interesting large themes of Planetes. That it got to the point though that Hachi is leaving Technora, that he is happy Debris Section is closing down? To me, this says one thing, and it has been hinted at in the last few episodes. Hachi wants to join the Jupiter mission. And with Gigalt to sick to be an EVA pilot, that means he has an in. Personally, I am very curious where this goes.

So all in all, a decent to well done week of Planetes. Though I am enjoying it, I do feel that Planetes is starting to drag a bit in its story. We have gotten a character focused episode every week. And there is nothing inherently wrong with that. But we are 3 weeks, 6 episodes now, away from the finale. Planetes isn’t a romance where it can end on the first kiss, nor a Slice of Life that doesn’t need a clear ending. It is a character drama at it’s core, and it needs a strong arc to end on to tie it all together. The Van Braun has become the clear through line, the final destination for the series. We have our Sociopathic Engineer, Hachi going for the position and some possible terrorists. Everything is there, ready to be used. We just have to hope Planetes actually… uses them.

But what did you think? Am I just whining here, and would be better served binging it at this point? Or do you also think Planetes is starting to slow. Let me know down below, and I will see you next week! We are gonna finish this series right after the New Year, just in time for another with the Winter Season! So be ready to vote!

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