Anime: Planetes


I know I said I wouldn’t be around for a while, but I JUST finished watching Planetes and I felt that I needed to review it right away! It’s an anime that has really struck a chord with me. Perhaps because I identify so much with Hachimaki, but for some  reason I really connected to this anime and I really enjoyed watching it.

Planetes starts off as a story about space debris collectors. A group of unique individuals with very interesting back stories working together in space picking up debris so as to allow space travel to continue to develop. The setting is realistic and believable, it paints a very real picture of what could happen in the future as space becomes more accessible. The premise of their job is original yet vital to the story and the motivations of the characters for doing the job that they do comes into play fairly often through out the show.

Debris collectors are considered the garbage men of space, it’s not a glamorous job but it is very important. The story begins with a new recruit joining the division and in each episode we learn more about the different characters that make up the team. Along the way we are introduced to even more people that they meet and interact with. The characters are not your typical teenagers, they really are adults, with responsibilities, with dreams, with families. It’s quite a key difference, compared to so much anime that we see normally. Mature adults with flaws, with ambition and with a belief system they have already developed and continue to hold on to. Even as we slowly get to know them, they are changing, we realize the small things that seem different about them. As the plot develops we really do see their reactions to the things that are happening around them. New themes are introduced and the story moves away from just debris collecting to something much bigger and perhaps more relevant.

There are so many things that are good about this anime. I really loved how the plot just grew, it became more, so much more important, so much more relevant and at some point in the anime, it really got me thinking about a range of issues and themes. For me that was part of the beauty of the show. It may seem all far off into the future, but some things are very much nearer than we think. I wouldn’t say that the plot was complex and it definitely wasn’t convoluted, it carried itself well. There was a very good build up, and cause and effect. It was both character driven as well as plot driven. In short, it was brilliant.

I know a lot of the anime I have been reviewing recently have just been getting praise heaped on them, but Planetes really outshines them all. It is perfect to me. The animation is good, the music is good, the setting and premise is unique, the characters are real people and the plot is amazingly well-developed. In the beginning some of the characters may fall into particular stereotypes, but at some point in the anime, they will be shown to completely blow your mind. It’s not so much that they change sometimes, but it could also be that something is revealed about them that changes your perception completely. It gives new meaning to never judge a book by its cover. And I guess the situation that the characters are placed in makes the story interesting, but more so the reactions and the consequences are believable and we see a bit more into their characters.

You might think it’s one of those slow-moving animes with a lot of dialogue that I seem to like, but it’s not. I assure you. It encompasses a variety of genres, I really think there’s something for everyone. At the same time it’s action packed. Space after all is not the safest place to be. It really has a good mix of everything – comedy, drama, action and even romance.

Quite honestly I don’t watch anime purely for entertainment value, there has to be something I get out of it. I like to keep my mind active as I watch, I like to think ahead of what may come next or how the characters might react or even draw parallels to the world around me. And I adore Planetes because it allows me to do all that and still manages to surprise me. I think it just might be Sunrise’s best anime and definitely proves why Sunrise is such a big-name when it comes to all these space animes. I implore you to go watch it, and if you have already, let me know what you think.

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