April 21, 2008

Planetes - Aftermath

This is an old draft (4/9/08) that's been sitting in the list waiting for me to finish it up. The problem is that I still feel exactly like I did when I wrote it, and I don't have any interest in going back to give the show a second chance.

It must be the novelty of "hard" sci-fi. That's the only explanation that makes sense for the praise this show receives. (Or the socialist prosthelytizing going on constantly throughout the second half.)

The management of the Debris Section are a couple of screw-ups that would never be let within sight of a functional rocket in the real world.

The ending felt tepid. Maybe all the glowing reviews inflated my expectations. Maybe moving in the middle of working through the show colored my experience. Maybe the show's the greatest thing since sliced bread, when viewed in the right place, time, and frame of mind. None of that does me any good right now, because I have no interest in re-watching the show at all right now.

Maybe in a decade.

Posted in Anime by: Will at 12:39 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 182 words, total size 1 kb.

1 I think that the people who love the show are enchanted by the situation more than by the characters or the story.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 21, 2008 11:17 PM (+rSRq)

2 The setting is at least mildly interesting for me on its own, but it would be far more compelling with a cast that weren't a bunch of losers and a story that lived up to the hype.

Posted by: Will at April 22, 2008 08:30 AM (WnBa/)

3 In the end there is no substitute for interesting characters and a compelling story.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 22, 2008 10:10 AM (+rSRq)

4

That's why I'll be curious to see your take on Lucky Star. If I had to break it down...

Setting: 5 - High school slice of life. We've been here before. We'll be here again.

Characters: 8.5 - The series' strong point. They all occupy the far reaches of their particular archetype/stereotype. The show's really about having fun bouncing these moe-modes off one-another.

Story: 3 - Not that it's bad, just that it's non-existent. No villains, no struggle, little character growth. Almost entirely static.

Posted by: Will at April 22, 2008 11:47 AM (WnBa/)

5

I'll admit my bias up front.  I liked the show.  I liked it a lot, in fact.  I'll be the first to admit that the biggest draw is probably what Steven calls the "gadget fetish."  Hard SF is very rare in anime, and I'd bet the success of Planetes is part of what's behind the recent rash of what might be best described as "space-pr0n."  Rocket Girls, Freedom and Moonlight Mile, especially (caveat: I haven't seen any of those, but I've read the reviews at The Space Review and other places, and seen plenty of screencaps).  Basically, Planetes is to these shows what the original Gundam is to the "real" subgenre of mecha shows.

The Leftism is something I've basically resigned myself to in anime these days.  At least it wasn't as egregiously anti-US as the manga was.  But what gets me is the notion that there was no story development, that the characters were static, and that the characters are losers (management aside; my God those two twits were annoying.  I'll put up with the Leftism of the manga to avoid Lavie and the boss).  Hachi grows up and starts to work toward his goal instead of just sitting there and talking about it.  The company manager he had been friends with has the same story, but in reverse.  She had it all, career-wise, and basically throws it all away after losing a rigged contest - as opposed to sticking with the company and changing it from the inside.  For grins, the writers doubled up on both of them in one character with Chen-Shin, the pilot who manages to recognize the trouble he's getting into and bootstraps himself back out of it.  Fee was already a pretty level character, underused in the show maybe (agian the manga is different), but she didn't need much growth.  She's the show's 'perfect spacer,' the measuring stick for the rest of the cast.  Even the space-cop who'd been Hachi's mentor is simply Fee to the Nth.  Yuri came to terms with his loss that started the show in the first place - and gains a mission in life, helping to prevent it from happening again.  And Ai?  She ends the story where she belongs, back on Earth and hopefully never going back up to space (except maybe as a tourist) ever again.  She's the human who can operate in space, but probably shouldn't, and loves it anyway.  Like Hachi's mom, she lives space through her loved ones.

Posted by: Rich at April 22, 2008 07:29 PM (kfccJ)

6 Most of that probably should have been inside a spoiler tag.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 22, 2008 10:25 PM (+rSRq)

7

And if I could, I would.

Rich, don't confuse my comments on Lucky Star above with my thoughts on Planetes. Some characters do change in Planetes, the problem is they just couldn't seem to make me care. 

Hachimaki is the one character who really underwent serious changes. The problem is he went from a listless self-centered jerk to an ambitious self-centered jerk, only to finally become something resembling a sociable human being in the last couple episodes. I hated his character for 24 episodes, so I'm quite dubious about how genuine and permanent his transformation will turn out. Was I supposed to empathize with this guy?

Those ninja-cosplaying clowns on the moon drove me nuts as well. I was supposed to feel sad when they died in the engine expolsion, but I help feeling happy I'd never have to see them again.

That's not a failure on my part to "get it." That's a failure of the writers to give me a cast I give a damn about. I didn't like the principals. The secondaries were mostly stereotypes, and there are better ways to lighten the mood than filling your tertiary cast with Excel Saga rejects. It completely destroyed the mood of the show.

 

 

Posted by: Will at April 23, 2008 09:29 AM (WnBa/)

8

Ahh, I see your meaning, Will.  I did confuse your comments on Lucky-Star with what you meant about Planetes, mixing your comments 2 and 4 with Steven's #3 into an extended multi-blog group whine about the story not being what you guys would have made it.  Which is still no excuse for my own whining thereafter.  Your opinons are your own, and this is your blog.  Regardless of guest opinions, those of the host are the correct ones in his own home, and I'm sorry for forgetting that.

(Aside: we're in complete agreement on the tertiary cast in any case; I so completely blocked the "clowns" out that I forgot they were ever there.  Those scenes were downright painful to watch.)

About spoiler tags, I don't see a button for those on the control panel at the top...is it some form of 'special character,' or something else?  I'll tag the rant appropriately if I can edit.

Posted by: Rich at April 23, 2008 09:07 PM (kfccJ)

9

The open tag is the word spoiler inside of square brackets. The end tag is /spoiler inside of square brackets.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 23, 2008 10:08 PM (+rSRq)

10 I'm certainly not one to turn into a despot over differing opinions. There's no sense getting wound up with somebody over fiction. Non-fiction is a whole 'nother story.

And that spoiler tag format Steven mentions works at any mee.nu blog (mu.nu I'm not so sure of).


Posted by: Will at April 23, 2008 10:20 PM (ZhN+Z)

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