In 2075, space travel is no longer just a dream, but an everyday reality for mankind. Advancements in science and technology have led to the colonization of the moon, the commercialization of outer space, and the formation of large space corporations. Ai Tanabe, an upbeat woman whose interests lie in the cosmos, joins Technora Corporation as a member of their Debris Section, a department dedicated to the removal of dangerous space junk between the orbits of the Earth and Moon.
However, Ai soon discovers how unappreciated her job is. As the laughingstock of Technora, the Debris Section is severely understaffed, poorly funded, and is forced to use a dilapidated spaceship nicknamed the "Toy Box" for debris retrieval. Undeterred, Ai perseveres and gradually becomes acquainted with the strange personalities that make up the Debris Section's staff, such as the bumbling but good-natured chief clerk Philippe Myers; the mysterious and tight-lipped temp worker Edelgard Rivera; and the hotheaded and passionate Hachirota Hoshino, who longs for a spaceship to call his own.
Winner of the Seiun Award in 2005, Planetes is an unconventional sci-fi series that portrays the vastness of space as a backdrop for the personal lives of ordinary people—people who may have been born on Earth, but whose hopes and dreams lie amongst the stars.
First, I feel I need to mention something that I think a lot of people have overlooked with this show. Planetes has romance. Quite of bit of romance in fact. It's packed full of drama and action along with that too. So, drama, action and romance. What more could you ask for (yeah, boobs, I know)?
With that being said, on with the review.
Story: Planetes starts off rather slow. In fact, the "main" story doesn't even really pick up until about episode 10 or so. Before that, you're introduced to character personalities and dreams/motives. This is absolutely necessary though, because without this strong intro, the latter
part of the show wouldn't have had nearly the same kind of effect.
Animation: The animiation is pretty well done. CGI is used in quite a few scenes and I didn't notice any problems. My only beef is that I didn't fall in love with the character designs too much. They're good, but I think a few characters got shafted.
Sound: Probably the most lacking area in the series in my opinion. The intro is decent, but hardly anything special. The background music throughout the show is bland and never really stands out. The only music that ever really caught my attention was the ending theme, and it's not wonderful either. I should mention that the Seiyuu's did an excellent job though.
Character: Characters are definitely the biggest plus to Planetes. Hachimaki and Ai are excellent leading characters. The other crew members are nearly equally as interesting as them too. Everyone, like most shows, has their own problems and own ambitions. Planetes does a great job at detailing each character.
Enjoyment: Took me 4 days to complete the show (could have done it sooner if school wasn't taking my time). 26 eps in 4 days usually constitutes hard core enjoyable watching. :) This is a feel good Anime (well, most of it is at least), so what's not to enjoy?
Overall: This needs to become more popular! It deserves better than only a couple hundreds watchers. Take the time and watch it.
It can be pretty hard to convince people to watch a show about garbage men... IN SPACE. How could a show like that possibly be interesting? Well I'm here today to tell you that this is one of the best anime out there, and something everyone should give a try.
Planetes starts about how you might expect a show with such an odd premise to begin. It's a very quirky show, practically a comedy/sitcom type show. The first 13 episodes or so are all episodic, there's lots of laugh, and the show rarely takes itself too seriously. At this point I would call the show very
good. It was entertaining, but, I never felt compelled to watch the next episode immediately after finishing one. I'd be fine to wait a while before booting up a new episode.
And then, the second half of the show begins. This is where arcs begin to start, the show starts to have more continuity, and basically, it becomes more of a serious space drama show. This is when the show really kicks it up a notch and becomes the masterpiece I think it is. The second half of the show offers some incredibly intense moments, lots of philosophical talk about whether space development is really needed for mankind, and some awesome character development.
In fact, all 26 episodes of Planetes have some amazing character development. All the characters on the space debris crew have at least one episode where they get a decent amount of focus. In fact, pretty much everyone who gets a decent amount of screen time gets fleshed out. It's actually pretty amazing. All the characters are also very real feeling. I think I could see a lot of these characters in real life. And because of that, you see most of the characters good sides and ugly sides. There may be times when you dislike a character that you once liked, especially with the main character, Hachimaki. This as a whole makes the characters feel even more authentic though.
The most interesting thing about Planetes characters isn't just how they develop, but how they interact. Events happen, and over the course of the show, almost all the characters change in some ways. In a lot of shows, despite character development, all the characters seem to interact with each other in mostly the same way, but in Planetes, all the interactions become different as characters change and know each other better. They even realize when someone has changes. It's a cool dynamic and adds a lot to the show.
Planetes is pretty short, and I never thought it got stale at all throughout the whole ride. I think it helped a lot that the show was more of a comedy in the first half. When the switch is made to more of a drama, the change of pace helps things to never get boring.
The best part of Planetes as a whole though is the way it makes you think. You will find yourself thinking a lot about this fictional world, and also about how it applies to the world today. The messages the show sends are kind of "in your face", but they are only in your face when it comes to the world Planetes is set in. It takes some thinking to really apply it to our world today, so I don't think anyone will really be put off by it.
Planetes art and sound are also pretty fantastic. I thought all the animation was pretty crisp and they do a good job crafting characters that look just as unique from each other as their personalities are. The sound is really awesome too, the opening theme is especially cool. The only flaw is that, the ending theme is very happy and perky, which worked perfectly for the first half of the show, however, in the 2nd half of the show, when the show gets serious, it gets flat out awkward. For example, someone will be pointing a gun at someone, the episode ends, and then some of the happiest music you could imagine comes on. It's not a big deal, but it can kind of ruin the intensity that the episode just left you with.
Despite the lack of action, I think this is a show almost anyone can enjoy. It's smart, has great character development, and can be very intense. I highly reccomend it to anyone.
Many of us growing up have stared into the night sky at one time or another. Looking up at the endless abyss with bewilderment. Just the very thought of how encompassing it is can be awe inspiring and intimidating at the same time. But like the Westward expansion in the 1800s and other events before it, humans have always been drawn to the great unknown, like moths to a flame. We constantly seek out the new frontier, may that be within our personal lives or something external. Very few stories are able to encapsulate this very familiar yet unexplored feeling, something like a paradox that
simply can't be put into words. So to say Planetes, a story that essentially started out by following a crew of garbage collectors (IN SPACE!) was able to capture this very intricate feeling is something special in and of itself.
One of the greatest strengths of Planetes is that just like the content it covers, the story is progressive. It doesn't simply try to maintain the status quo but is constantly expanding and going through well foreshadowed stages of change, both in the plot and characters involved.
Upon my initial impression I thought I was going to see a simple tale of the daily lives of garbage collectors (IN SPACE!), and while the 1st handful of episodes fooled me into thinking so, what I walked away with was an grand-scale story that not only met my expectations but exceeded it. The 1st half of the show is dedicated to fleshing out the characters and their interactions while also giving us insight into their motives. These buildup episodes are essential since they make the latter half more impactful and memorable. Touching upon and dealing with themes such as pro-ecology, corporate hierarchy and politics to name a few, the show never limited it's content. It could of easily taken the simple route and just have dealt with the everyday life of living in space but because it bothered to show all sides, both pros and cons, of societal expansion it felt well rounded and also plausible as the next step in humanity's exodus. Seeing that the show dealt with so much themes that involved the human condition it could of easily become preachy about it but thankfully the content and story was handled with finesse. From the macro viewpoint portrayal of how 1st and 3rd world countries are treated, to the individualistic struggles of our characters, everything seem to carry a sense of weigh and purpose.
For any other show this would be enough but to top it all off we're also treated to a potent and heartwarming romance that grows along with the show. And since the core characters are entirely comprised of adults this romance actually goes somewhere, not some silly highschool drama that does a "would or wouldn't they" scenario to only end it with a confession. Of course they could of done more with the romance but since that was never the core focus and the show dealt with more than just that one aspect, what we got was still conclusive and satisfactory, which was more than I could asked for.
This show was simply alot more than I expected, what I thought was going to be a cool timepasser ended up being a rare gem.
The attention to detail was superb. Just the little things like the emphasis placed on the widgets and other devices used helped to better flesh out the setting and gave it a more personal touch. It added to the plausibility of the scenarios we were introduced to and also gave off this feeling that the people behind the show's creation also cared about the project. The color choices were also utilized well, with the monochromatic colors used to emphasis the isolation and vastness of space, to the the vibrant hues used to give off a sense of warmth that radiated from earth. It's little things like this that really brought the show to life. Of course since it was made back in 2003 when animators were still trying to find their niche there were some influxes in quality to be found, like the use of CGI in some scenes and inconsistencies in character designs at times. But overall the title aged quite well and with the attention to detail and color palettes used it's still easy to get immersed into the world of Planetes.
The soundtrack was as grandiose as the show itself. With choirs humming along, atmospheric sounds, percussions, string instruments and classical undertones, it was a real standout and even deserving of a stand alone listen. I can't help but think of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey when I sit back and listen to it (as egotistical as that may sound). It's just a score that grows on you the more you listen to it, made even more memorable given the title it's attached to. But despite it being well made it never oversteps it's boundary during the show. Some may call it being underused but I'd like to think that it's knowing when it's needed and when to show restraint. From the boisterous tracks to the more subdued ones, they were all used to ample effect to set or accompany the mood of the scenes presented. It enhanced the content and went hand in hand with the title. The opening was also catchy and fit the overall feeling the show gave off. Although not as memorable it was still appropriate and one I rarely skipped. The voice actors also did their job well, expressing various types of emotion when the show called for it. They also helped to add personality to the characters where the visuals were not enough.
Characters are the audience's gateway into the universe of any story and can often be what makes or breaks the overall experience. With that being said Planete's cast was nothing short of amazing and arguably the show's greatest highlight. With a show that spans great distances the cast was just as big so I'll only focus on the two leads.
Hachirota Hoshino or Hachimaki as he's known by his peers can best be summed up as an ambitious, and often brash delinquent. When introduced he's made out to be the average schmuck who feels stuck in a dead end job. Of course as the show goes on we get to learn about him as an individual and what formed him to be the person he is today. What makes him so compelling as a character is that he's flawed and as viewers we want to see him achieve his goals and better himself. He isn't simply a Gary Stu that has everything in line but just a regular person who dreams big but often limits himself in fear of not reaching those dreams.
Ai Tanabe is your uber idealistic person who's naivety is apparent from the moment she's introduced. Her bold and often stubborn conviction frequently causes her to butt heads with Hachimaki. Although she's a character we've seen many times before she's properly fleshed out and characterized enough to become likable. And as the series progresses we get to see her grow as a person. But possibly the biggest draw to her as a character is seeing the gradual relationship form between her and Hachimaki. It was often tested by circumstances around them but was a strong one that paid off in the end.
The gradual development of the leads were also well paced and stayed constant with the progressive themes of the anime. It showed that anything worth striving for requires effort. It's a show that bastardizes complacency by demanding the characters to move forward. It can be an external goal like with our protagonist Hachi or an internal one like Ai's challenged conviction.
Some of the other side characters were also given decent screentime, enough so that even stoic ones became sympathetic. Although some weren't as fleshed out as they could of been they were certainly an endearing bunch that meshed well together. Every character introduced helped build the show to what it was.
It's been quit awhile since I found a title this engaging. Everything from the story to the characters were well written and the payout was one that resonated with me on a personal level. My repertoire of what I consider to be masterpiece level titles is quite small and I can count them on one hand. It gives me great pleasure to say that Planetes has become of those titles as well.
Planetes is a title that I feel deserves more exposure and hopefully this review would encourage a few others to give it a try. It's thematically well structured but never overly complicated, it's easy to watch but contains great social commentary, it wraps up everything nicely but the implications leaves you at awe thinking long before the credits roll. Now this title might not be for everyone but even the most jaded of viewers can find something in Planetes. The build up might be a little slow at times but when it gets going it's well worth the investment.
Space, the final frontier, and what a frontier it is. Humans long ago looked up at the stars, and reached out to grasp them. From the words of Captain Kirk, "to boldly go where no man has gone before".
The human race, always moving forward, never looking back. So eager to abandon the cradle of life that raised them. The cause and effect of this ambition are highlighted within the 25 episodes of the show."Planetes" is something truly unique in the Anime scene. This is essentially a SoL (Slice of Life) in space, which alone makes it something different from the norm, but
at its core the deeply rooted themes are one of the biggest factors that set it above the rest. The show is more or less separated into several Arcs that all tie into the overall theme of the show. The one big issue that I saw during the show was near the end. The last Arc felt a little crowded, and I was worried that a train wreck awaited me. Luckily things worked out. Probably not as well as they could of if handled a bit better, but it certainly wasn't bad. Far from it thankfully. Besides this the show also had a few minor pacing issues, but no where near enough to really hurt the overall product. What else can I say. This tale about space garbage men (and women) had more to it than I initially thought.
I had the pleasure of watching "Planetes" BD (Blu-ray) rip, and for a show from 2003 I was impressed. Besides for some dodgy CG here and there "Planetes" delivers quality animation that aged well. When ever the crew heads out into the black reaches of space I found myself there with them. The style the show chose to go with, specially in the space sections, adds to the "atmosphere" (ha I'm funny). Word of caution tho. Art is entirely subjective (plus I only watched the BD). So it is honestly your call in regards to if you find the art appealing.
Very little complaints on this end as well. Voice acting across the board was excellent, and the background music worked for the show. One of the best things about the sound design of this show is when the characters actually go out into space. You never hear noise, but you hear the vibrations of the space suits. This really helps set the mood when they are outside of the ship. Now this isn't all the time, because sometimes they do add background music. Which is disappointing when it happens, but never the less I really appreciate the attention to detail.
Although it isn't the best characterization I've seen in Anime it was still damn good. From the start of the show I instantly identified several "archetypes", and assumed that these players were nothing more than what was on the surface. I was happily surprised as the show progressed, and added several layers onto almost every character. I really appreciate a show when the characters on screen become people that I can see from their point of view. Each person in this story has reasons for what they do. I was impressed at how many layers they could add to each person with such a large cast. Something else that is much appreciated is the fact that these people are adults. After watching show after show about High school teens, some God damn maturity is much welcomed.With that said, I enjoyed my time spent with these people, and I wouldn't mind going back up into space again.
Not the most action packed show around, but dear God was I engaged while watching this. I love space, and just having an Anime centered around it is just what the doctor ordered.
It's been awhile since I have watched something truly great, and make no mistake "Planetes" is just that, great. I know when you first begin "Planetes" it doesn't seem like much, but hold firm. I can really appreciate a slow burn, specially if it pays off. This show I wouldn't say is for everyone. For it does have slow moments, and not a lot of action. So if you are looking for Michael Bay's Armageddon then you will be disappointed, but if you are looking for a realistic take on man kinds journey to the stars then look no further.
We all enjoy looking up at the night sky, and watching the stars. And quite often we wonder what exactly is going on...out there in deep space. Fortunately, there's a ton of excellent space anime which will clue us in and make our imaginations run wild!