Homeschooling Teen

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Planetes

An Anime Review by Xbolt.

Planetes

WOOHOOO!! Garbagemennnn…Innn….SPAAACE!!! And there you have the basic setting for Planetes.

The year is 2075. It has been over a century since mankind first ventured out into space, and in that time, we have established permanent bases on the Moon, and we have set foot on Mars. Unfortunately, we have also created a lot of trash out there. Broken satellites, spent rockets, lost tools, all of that. This is extremely hazardous to spaceflight, as a piece the size of a bolt traveling thousands of miles an hour can cripple an entire spacecraft. This is what debris haulers are for. They clean up in order to make space safe to travel in.

Technologically, the show is incredible. Not since 2001 have I seen a show that painted a realistic picture of spaceflight. (Thankfully, Planetes doesn’t have any Mysterious Alien Black Boxes of Doom in it.) In Planetes, it is stated that a planned mission to Jupiter will take seven years. Sorry, Star Wars. You can’t just go zipping halfway across the galaxy in a couple hours. In addition, exterior shots of the spacecraft are silent. You can’t hear the engines firing. Heck, you can’t even hear it when two objects crash into each other! As someone who likes science, this impressed me greatly.

Storyline-wise, the show isn’t too bad either. It tells the story of the Debris Section of Technora Corporation. Overworked and underpaid, the Debris Section nevertheless works hard to keep space safe.

Hachirota Hoshino is one of the guys who does the EVA work when collecting debris. His nickname is Hachimaki, or Hachi, because he always wears one. (A hachimaki is a type of headband, worn as a symbol of perseverance or effort by the wearer.) He is loud and brash, and has difficulty expressing himself adequately.

Ai Tanabe is the newest member of the team, and she learns the ropes from everyone else, especially Hachimaki. She is bright and earnest, yet mostly unsure of herself. She is willing to do almost anything to help others.

Fee Carmichael is the pilot of the debris-collecting ship, the Toy Box. She is even more loud and brash than Hachi, and can get violent when others get on her nerves. She is a heavy smoker, which leads to trouble, since smoking is a strain on life support systems. She has to go into designated smoking rooms, and will fly into a fit of rage if they are out of order for an extended period.

Yuri Mihairokov is calm, kind, and compassionate, and often acts as the most level-headed member of the group. He is in charge of taking care of the animals that live on ISPV 7, the space station the Debris Section operates from.

Philippe Myers is the manager of the Debris Section. He is overweight and jolly, and is near retirement, but something always happens to stop that.

Arvind Ravi is the assistant manager. He is a bit of a trickster, and a prop comedian, which he enjoys very much.

Edelgard Rivera is a temporary worker, and she is in charge of secretarial and clerical duties. She always has a quiet and professional demeanor.

Despite it being awesome, Planetes is not nearly as well-known as it should be. So I’m doing my part to spread the word.

Watch the opening sequence here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ol0Cw0FCowg

View the series trailer here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m3NM912ZK4PYK1

Purchase Planetes: Complete Collection on DVD at Amazon.

Visit Xbolt’s blog at: http://blog.xboltz.net

P.S. The Japanese anime “Planetes” is an award-winning science fiction story that pays tribute to Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in its opening scene. In a later episode, one of the characters quotes Tsiolkovsky: “Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot remain in the cradle forever.” Tsiolkovsky was entirely self-educated. “Besides books I had no other teachers,” he wrote. You can read his biography here: http://www.famoushomeschoolers.net/bio_tsiolkovsky.html

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