Planetes, great storytelling?

Always straight to the point.

Well, so much for one post per day. It’s so easy for small things in life to stack up on each other, so much so that I can’t even make short posts on deculture 2 days in a row! That, and all I’ve been watching the last couple of days is Planetes. This isn’t an episodic review, more like my thoughts on the series 3/4 of the way in.

While the series started off quite slow, with seemingly unrelated events occurring in each episode, all of these episodes serve as a nice transition into proper character development. For instance how Hachimaki and Tanabe get close to each other and how Yuri finally found solace after discovering his wife’s lost compass.

Beyond our main cast however, Planetes does an excellent job of fleshing out the side characters and making them an integral part of the story without overshadowing the main guys. Hakim for instance becomes a huge player in the later episodes once we find out what he does. Thankfully the anime takes time to explain the motives behind the significant, and life changing, actions people take. These motives are then tied nicely into the social commentary Planetes makes.

Internal office politics, international world conflicts and terrorism are handled without the series ever feeling overtly conscious of real world issues. Characters don’t mop about, feeling miserable and being helpless about the tough situation they’re in. Shit happens, and people deal with it quickly and in the most realistic way possible. While at the same time they reflect on their actions and how it has affected the lives of others. The most current example of this is the Jupiter project for Von Braun. Hachimaki leaves everyone and everything behind in order to fulfil his dreams. Being at the forefront of humanity’s venture into exploring space and bringing about more resources for the salvation of Earth. Of course, he understands that not every country (especially 3rd world countries) will benefit from this mission, but he doesn’t care. At least not on the surface, though internally he still struggles with himself at times, wondering whether he made the right decision.

The realism of the tests carried out for the selection process of the Von Braun crew were equally gruelling and entertaining to watch. And that’s the best thing about Planetes. You understand the characters, you realise the social issues the anime presents, sometimes in your face, and sometimes providing subtle hints, and then the events that occur tie up everything into a proper narrative flow.

Once again, I can’t stress enough how great this show is. If you liked Ghost in the Shell’s maturity and Gundam’s space exploration, then this is definitely the show for you.


3 Responses to “Planetes, great storytelling?”

  1. May 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I guess I must be one of the view who think of the show as merely good, and I’ve stated it in a previous write-up of mine. I thought Hachimaki was a selfish bastard through and through, and I don’t believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. I think what Hachimaki did was insulting to men everywhere.

    But that’s me and my culture speaking. Other than that, the story and the characters were good.

    • 2 th
      May 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm

      I completely agree about Hachimaki being a bastard, but he’s an ambitious bastard. After his freak accident, the only thing that got him out of that disorder was the desire to go to Jupiter. As such, you can’t blame him for leaving everyone behind in order to peruse his dreams. I mean, up until that point, his life was quite mundane and…pointless.

      So I disagree that what he did was insulting to men everywhere….but he’s still a whiny bitch.

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