by Bolt Vanderhuge
Attack of the Flying Weeaboos
Hey, how about that? An anime that actually takes itself somewhat seriously and with a budget and production team that actually does it some justice.
As you might guess, Planetes is a hard sci-fi set a few decades from now and which seems to be heavily inspired by the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. And as an added bonus, this series mostly accurately depicts life in zero or low gravity, and even remembers that there’s no sound in space. The story has a good mix of drama, comedy, and slice of life to keep things interesting, and overall I definitely enjoyed watching it, even if it is basically a show about janitors in space.
Planetes follows two main protagonists, Ai Tanabe, a young woman who is a great example of how easy it apparently is to get a job in space in the future, and Hachirota “Hachimaki” Hoshino, a cynical, more experienced member of Debris Section who was the most junior member until Tanabe showed up. Like most janitors, the members of Debris Section catch a lot of crap from everyone else, including the entirety of their parent company, Technora, which likes to call them “Half Section”: half the staff, half the brains… you get the idea. I actually both like and dislike both of these characters Tanabe is likable in the sense that she always has an optimistic outlook on everything with a kind of fresh innocence that any fan of Star Trek can probably relate to. At the same time, she tends to be overly optimistic, thinking that love can literally solve every problem, and she constantly goes on about it at any and all opportunities.
Hachimaki is somewhat more pragmatic, at least at first, having seen plenty in just the three years he’s been on the job to know better. At the same time, he also dreams of owning his own ship, though later on he accepts the fact that his job as a debris hauler makes that an impossibility. On the other hand, his negativity about pretty much everything gets just as grating as Tanabe’s constantly going on about how love will solve everything.
There are also plenty of other characters who are all interesting enough to watch. As for the story itself, just to summarize, it’s about a bunch of debris haulers who pick up junk in order to make space travel safer. Then later it’s about a bunch of terrorists who want to halt and reverse development in space, because only the rich nations are able to exploit its resources. Both somewhat interesting stories, which mostly blend into one another if you consider the first part just an introduction. There are some jarring inconsistencies, though, mostly with the characters and how they act.
Another fun part was seeing this show’s take on American anime fans. As you might guess, it’s less than flattering. Don’t worry, I made sure to include this just for you, you unemployed weeaboos all living in the same crappy apartment.
Anywho, I definitely like this series and think you probably will, too, at least if you have any taste. But if all you go for is the dumbed down dumb action and explosions of something like Michael Bay’s Transformers and Abrams Trek, you’ll probably get bored trying to watch this.
Fuck Yeah look it up:
based on the manga by Makoto Yukimura
Produced by Sunrise, Licenced by Bandai