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 Post subject: Planetes
PostPosted: June 19th, 2010, 3:48 pm 
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Synopsis

It’s the year 2074, about a century after the moon landing of the Apollo. Humankind has finally gone out into space; the lacking of resources has made us go out there to find new possibilities, open new horizons, all for a brighter future and for the sake of survival. But as in the present time, the economic and technological gaps between nations still exist, and technologic advances and globalization have made it possible for this gap to widen even more.

Space has become industrialized, the moon colonized, with almost a population of a hundred thousand. Several satellites and stations host hundreds of people’s homes and jobs. Big companies rule these places where they develop and control new technological advances in communication, medicine, spacecraft, engineering and many more. Space tourism is also now a reality, thousands fly everyday to the Moon and other satellites, by public transportation means. These space ships that fly from space stations to the moon or to the earth are very reliable and secure.

But after a century of space travel debris spread in different orbits around the earth, becoming a menace to ships and even communication satellites. For this reason, they have recorded a list with all those fragments that go around the Earth. In Technora, one of the most important companies in space, there is a work division dedicated to collect space debris, they are looked down by most of the people in Technora and even called mockingly the “Half Section”.

Tanabe Ai is a young graduate who applies for a job as an astronaut and lands a position in the Half Section. She has high expectations but upon arrival she realizes that the debris section is home to some of the most unique and strange people in the station. She is welcomed by the loud and crazy supervisor and a co-supervisor who is dancing dressed in a weird costume, on the back she sees the pilot and captain of the debris picking ship “Toy Box”, a woman who is smoking inside a weird robot looking box, on the side a Russian guy is attending a couple of dozen animals in their cages. There is also a not very friendly looking secretary who doesn’t bother to take away her eyes from the paperwork; and to top it all a guy walks into the room wearing part of his spacesuit, and diapers, diapers? Yes, life in the Debris section looks pretty strange at first hand.

A good part of the series revolves around the life in this Debris Section: heated discussions, jokes, pranks, dinners, promotions, desire for better salaries, sometimes fights, maybe accidents, just average daily life; but as the story goes on it slowly shifts towards a more serious plot involving activist groups, space terrorism and the constant struggle to reach one dreams.

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Review

Planetes, Greek for "Wanderers", is an anime series that completely changed the way I looked at anime. This is the kind of stuff that we should bother to watch, because is meaningful and is top quality. This is material for those exigent watchers that enjoy the “good stuff”. It is, simply put, a masterpiece. The story is so simple yet so convincing and realistic. The setting of the story is the future, but in this future there isn’t anything that we could say won’t happen in our near future. Everything is so well done that you know this might be reality in 50 years. People act as people and they look as people as well. Everything follows the law of logic and science too.

As I said the plot may seem simple, but from simplicity an incredibly interesting and deep story develops at a perfect pace with an extraordinary character development, it almost makes you cry to see such excellent quality in the storyline and the characters. Besides the note of the story progresses as it advances, and by the end we have some of the most thrilling episodes I’ve watched; those were real cliffhangers. And the way the anime presents every single issue in each episode is just superb, from debris to smoking habits, from a simple debate about goals in life to life insurance, from trips to the moon to terrorism and political affairs, everything is just magnificently done.

There are scenes that will make you cry, wonder about your future, your dreams, and even laugh once in a while. For example, imagine what would it be like to live in the moon, with a much lower gravity than the earth, which allows you to move around and jump more freely; you might even attempt to do some ninja moves ala Naruto. An anime that can picture this kind of stuff and still make it seem believable is definitely worth watching. Something else I really loved in this series was how they included stuff like mechanics, space engineering, fuels, chemistry, radiation, electrolysis, among many others… Things that you can actually find useful as knowledge; I know a learned a lot from this anime.

Another admirable thing from this series is how little things can always be used later to complement the story, you should always pay a lot of attention, remembering names and faces, everything happens for a reason, and things always change. There are hints in the opening, if you look at it with attention you’ll see things in the series connected to it, which later are revealed in the story and become very big and powerful plot twists.

The character development was excellent. Every single character left a very deep print on the series. Hachimaki (the diaper guy) and Tanabe were excellent protagonists, but probably the episodes that shined the most (besides the last 5 episodes) were the ones where starred some other characters like Yuri, the Russian guy mentioned in the synopsis; Claire, an strict looking girl from the elite in Technora; and Fee, the cigarette loving Toy Box’s pilot. Not to mention many others like Hakim, a character introduced later on the story. They all were portrayed with incredible depth. The way all characters were presented and developed was amazing. And at the end we even get some huge surprises when their dreams and goals either crash down or begin to become a reality. There are also dramatic changes on their personalities; some of them take off their masks to reveal their true selves and plans. Others are changed or scarred by events in the story and change consequently. They were all a very interesting bunch.

The music is quite good too, having very fitting and nice opening and ending themes. I like the opening and ending sequences almost as much as Last Exiles’. The opening in Planetes is considered to be one of the most amazing ones in anime. It shows a chronological list of events of space travel and aeronautics; satellites, rockets, specifications on them, date when they were launched, and stuff like that; at the same time they show the characters of the series. It is very meaningful, it shows how the human race has followed his dreams for space conquering, the idea of expanding his limits, colonizing the space. And the ending is a mirror image of the opening. While the opening focuses in man as a whole, the humanity, the ending focuses on the dreams of a single person, Hachimaki, we see him as he grows up from a kid to the adult he is now, running towards his goal.

My view on the animation is no much different from that of the story and the characters, really well done. Realism with colorful, smooth, crisp and bright animation made this series a very enjoyable one. I love the down to earth character designs, the mechanical designs in the space stations, the ships, and pretty much everything. The space looked really awesome too, the moon, the earth, everything looks very realistic.

Planetes is almost like a quick glance at what it’s to come and very importantly it touches present global issues that we should all be aware of and begin to solve. This is a great series and well worth anyone's time.
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Note: Heh, that came out a little longer than expected...

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 Post subject: Re: Planetes
PostPosted: July 21st, 2010, 3:31 pm 
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Joined: May 13th, 2007, 7:57 am
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We didn't have a Planetes thread? Amazing...
Well, great job writing that review, Wolfwood.
I'd counter with my own opinion on the title, but I definitely lack the time (and motivation) to write something deeper than smalltalk right now. There's another (THE final) exam in three weeks, so I'll have to excuse myself for the moment. :sweat:

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