In between working on Sundering Stars for NaNo and working on a plethora of papers for the end of my first graduate student semester, I managed to watch a short, little-known, 26-episode anime that seemed to have rave reviews. I mostly watched it while practicing my juggling, which is also coming along nicely. This anime was called Planetes, and it is the best anime I have ever seen, by far, topping even previous-favorite Baccano!
The show, whose name translates to “Wanderers,” is about space debris collectors in the near future. It is very hard science fiction – something unusual in an anime – and takes place in a very plausible future. It deals with complex philosophical and sociological themes, which is probably why I found it so compelling. It also deals with real, concrete problems of space development; namely, orbital debris and its impact on space travel. I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving anything away, but throughout its short, perfect-length 26-episode run, Planetes explores ides of existentialism, cosmic dread, political power relations, morality, terrorism, crime, oppression, monopolization, corporatism, love, friendship, science, and real space problems like radiation poisoning, space debris, lunar colonization in low gravity, being stranded alone in space, and psychological disorders. It is a wondrous work of art, and has beautiful animation as well. I strongly recommend it for anyone who loves science fiction. Watch the trailer here!
Ta-ta for now! Get watching!