Planetes (2003)

Planetes Review…………………………………………………………………..

Planetes Review

Planetes is a 2003 dramatic science fiction anime show directed by Goro Taniguchi. It is a solid, yet ultimately a disappointing series.

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From up here, you can’t see any borders…

All you can see is the Earth…

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Planetes Review…………………………………………………………………..

The story revolves around the crew of the space debris collection craft in 2075. This is the kind of hard science fiction that I usually love. However, while I admired Planetes, I rarely really enjoyed it as it is too hard. Let me explain. When science is concerned, it definitely should be and is pretty meticulous in detail and serious. But the drama elements here were immensely boring because the show in its second half basically become a series of dull, inconsequential conversations that significantly reduced both the quality and the impact of the overall show.

The characters themselves are never as great as they should have been, but some of them are very well developed. Yuri is one of the most moving characters here and his entire tragic backstory is so well realized and so heartbreaking. Fee is a phenomenal sidekick. Whereas other supporting characters that are supposed to be comedic are really not that funny, she certainly is amusing and watching her smoking obsession proved to be some of the funniest moments on the show.

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Planetes Review…………………………………………………………………..

As for the main duo, Tanabe and Hachimaki, they are very good and their relationship is exceptionally strong and I liked how realistically it developed through many episodes. Tanabe is such a relatable person and I really liked her. In fact, I found the episodes where she was the protagonist instead of Hachimaki much more interesting. He is good, but he can be boring at times. But as a duo, they are both very strong.

What I admired about Planetes is the animation which is polished and so well looking for its age. Technically, this anime is great from the evident attention to detail to meticulous and realistic dialogue to a strong emphasis on realistic science. Sometimes it is even riveting with the lunar episodes being fascinating. But I just wish that the second half of the season wasn’t that boring and that talkative and I really didn’t like that action/crime stuff that was thrown into the mix in its last episodes. The last two episodes were great and the first ten or so episodes are terrific, but the rest of it is pretty dull and uninvolving. And that you get when you have 26 episodes of a story that didn’t really need that many.

What I also admired about the show is how the characters aren’t the usual anime characters. The protagonist is most evidently Asian and that was awesome to witness. Then you’ve got a Russian man and the episodes concerning issues of a fictional poor Latin American country were so politically intriguing and relatable. The show is very diverse and fascinating.

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Planetes Review…………………………………………………………………..

The score is awesome as are the sound effects. The end theme is solid, but the real highlight is the opening number which is so catchy and a great way to start every episode. The supporting characters are very problematic as they are so evidently forgettable. The humor is also pretty weak and rarely is it really funny. And I think that they shouldn’t have put it in the first place as it doesn’t belong in this genre. The emotion is sometimes very strong, but more often than not, it isn’t particularly moving which was a big problem for me as the script needed it. But it ended in a really nice way for sure.

In the end, Planetes is a solid, but such a disappointing anime nonetheless. The dialogue, the main characters, some plot elements as well as the animation are all great, but the supporting characters are dull, half of the show is pretty boring and slow and some story elements work better than the others. It is, as I said, solid and sometimes even admirable, but mostly disappointing and never as great as it could have been.

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Worst Episodes: The Lunar Flying Squirrels, His Reasons, Tentative Steps and Love.

Best Episodes: Like a Dream, Boundary Line, A Model Request and Extraterrestrial Girl.

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My Rating – 3.7

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