Posted by Lenlo on 21 December 2018 with categories: Planetes, Throwback Thursday

Hello one and all, welcome to another week of Planetes. This time Planetes continues Hachi’s quest for the Van Braun, Tanabe holds out hope and Pilot Boi lets me down. Let’s dive in!

Net, I really enjoyed this week. Planetes is back in form. The romance was placed on the back burner in favor of another worldly theme, making the viewer ask questions. Maybe it’s just that Tanabe has gotten old, having remained a largely static character, at least when compared to Hachimaki, Claire and Hakim. Each of them have had arcs, have made major changes in their lives or had them thrust upon them. Meanwhile Tanabe is still in the exact same position, an EVA Debris Hauler. She is more of a bouncing board for other, more interesting, characters. So with them off on their own, her role is largely useless. Meanwhile Hachimaki is the most interesting he has ever been. With themes of sacrifice, giving your all and being selfish for the sake of your dreams. To be quite honest, I am loving it.

Now, onto episode 19 of Planetes, Endings Are Always… Like I said, these were good episodes, and 19 starts us off with last weeks follow up. Naturally our team didn’t get disbanded after disarming a mine in space. They aren’t the interesting part of this episode though, that goes to Pilot Boi and our tests. First off, the fact that these tests are open to the public both makes sense and doesn’t to me. There are better ways to find good applicants. But how they are proctored makes complete sense to me. I love how throughout we see other competitors talking about other topics, or not being concerned. Taking it easy so to speak. And that when the time comes, they put the mission 2nd to their morals or their personal lives. I love how this follows up to the previous focus on selfishness.

What is most interesting to me though, are the connections between Locksmith, Hakim and Hachimaki. Each of them are going through this with no fallback plan. 2 quit their jobs while Locksmith produced my favorite quote of the episode, “There are no safety divers in Jupiter’s Orbit”. Compare this to the distracted celebrity or Pilot Boi’s carefree attitude. To him this was a trial run, he still has his job and he is taking this test just to prepare for the next one. Throughout the episode he is more concerned with Tanabe and getting Hachi to repair their relationship. Double this up with the Reporter pushing how the budget of this project could feed so many homeless, and your hitting it from two sides. Personal sacrifice and societal sacrifice, all for the same of a selfish dream. What makes it great, is both are valid arguments.

Episode 20, Tentative Steps, further pushes this idea of selfishness. Of just how far you are willing to go to attain your dream. It was obvious from the beginning that the test wouldn’t be as simple as presented. Locksmith is to twisted for that. Shutting off the oxygen and such was a good idea, but I liked most the science behind how they solved it. I am not a Physicist or Biologist myself, so I have no idea if the ideas would work, but I appreciated the math and effort behind it. Lowering your body temperature so that you use less energy and oxygen is an interesting idea. And it goes to show just how far they were willing to go, both to complete the test, and not have to murder someone.

The low point for me of this episode was of course our time back in Debris Section. I thought the use of Pilot Boi was… disappointing to say the least. He has been a constant good friend throughout the series. Almost a little to perfect. I didn’t mind his argument with Hachi last episode because of this. It was good seeing him finally crack a bit. But the scene with Tanabe just felt a little far. Like Planetes is still really trying to push this uninteresting romance angle. That isn’t to say it was all bad on this end. I like how, rather than introducing a new character, Planetes stuck with Claire’s downward spiral. It will give us more time to interact with her, and since Tanabe is nothing but a character sounding board, it will be good for her.

As I have said though, the much more interesting development is back with our testing group. Specifically, Hakim, Hachimaki and Locksmith. I have gushed about it a lot, I know, but I always love it when Planetes goes for these big questions. These philosophical statements. In this instance, its clear of them has no safety net, they are giving everything to this. Whether it be quitting their job, setting their career on the line or placing their life in the hands of a ship the designed. If it fails for any of them, its game over. Those kinds of stakes, where death isn’t the final outcome, are much more relatable. We, the viewers, probably don’t face death every day, but a lost career? Livelihood? Those are things we can understand and I think that’s why, even though the stakes are technically lower, they work better.

So all in all, I quite enjoyed this week’s double dose of Planetes. The farther the romance gets from the main plot, the better off the series is in my opinion. The central relationship was never Hachi and Tanabe, but rather with people and Space and their dreams. It’s the one common through line for almost every episode, even ones where Hachi isn’t the main character. So it is my hope that Tanabe and Hachi’s relationship isn’t the central conflict in the coming episodes. Yes, it can exist and influence them, that’s fine. But I don’t want it to be the driving force. For Hachi to suddenly get second thoughts and back out. I think a much better ending would be more along the lines of he goes to Jupiter, and Tanabe is back waiting for him. But their relationship is far to new to make that work.

Really, I am not how Planetes is going to end, so let me know what you think down below. There are a lot of options for where it can go afterall. See you next week!

 

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