Planetes (TV Series 2003–2004) Poster


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Best Sci-Fi Anime Ever
moonbus6911 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Planetes" is great Anime and great science fiction. It is as if an Arthur C. Clarke or other classic science fiction writer had their work translated to the beautiful art of Anime.

In the story it is the year 2075. Humans have a permanent city on the moon, have been to Mars, and are planning to send the first people to visit Jupiter. The main character 'Hachi-Maki' is a member of the Debris Section -- a group of astronauts that remove space debris near Earth -- and busts his hump to get on the crew of the planned Jupiter mission.

A bonus of the first three DVD's of the series is a bonus disc of interviews with real NASA experts on the logistics and problems of the man-made debris orbiting Earth.

The animation is flawless, the story is filled with humor, and the soundtrack has superb music. This is a very fun and inspiring Anime series. Recommended very highly!!!
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Great Hard Sci-Fi Anime
beeryusa4 October 2008
This is anime for those who liked 'From the Earth to the Moon', 'The Right Stuff' and perhaps 'The Office'. It really is the most realistic and enjoyable sci-fi/comedy/drama film ever, beating out both '2001: a Space Odyssey' and the excellent sci-fi mock-documentary 'Voyage to the Planets' (known in England as 'Space Odyssey') in terms of its devotion to realism.

Although the series is set 70 years in the future, the show uses only the science we use now and that we can be fairly sure will exist at that time. No warp drives or matter transporters here, only good old fashioned rockets and good old Newtonian physics. I think I've learned more about the realities of space exploration from a few minutes of viewing this series than I ever have from years of keen interest in space documentaries and NASA TV. In my view, this show should be required viewing for astronauts in training - yes, it's that realistic and that informative.

This show proves that realism can make for truly great science fiction. We don't need di-lithium crystals when the real story is where it's always been (whether we're talking about Star Trek, Star Wars, 2001 or indeed Planetes itself) - in the interactions of well-written characters.

The show starts off a little over-the-top (more like 'The Office' in space) and there are a couple of episodes in the first few that are more than a little corny, but there are also a couple of episodes that are hilarious - the one where they meet ninjas on the moon is classic! After the first seven or eight episodes it settles into more of a thoughtful and well-written drama with the occasional humorous scene. I enjoyed the dramatic episodes equally as much as the comedy episodes - there's a lot to like in this show, and watching the characters grow is definitely a big part of that.

If I have any criticisms of the show, it's with the English dubbed version that can be found on US DVD releases. In some ways it's better than the Japanese version (e.g. Hachirota "Hachimaki" Hoshino's voice sounds more age appropriate in the English dub), but all the characters speak with an American accent - every single one - and this comes across as very odd, since it's quite obvious that at least two of the characters are Japanese and one is Russian. Now I can understand giving the Japanese characters American accents, since the DVD is intended primarily for an American audience which is meant to identify with the leads, but the choice for the Russian is just strange. But I'm not going to make too big of a deal of it - once we get to know the characters, their accents (or rather the lack of them) kinda fade into the background.

Altogether, Planetes is an excellent show that can be enjoyed by anyone who doesn't have an aversion to cartoons. Some episodes may not be entirely suitable for kids though - not because there's any unpalatable sexual content or violence, but because some of the issues discussed are more serious (i.e. the real effects of poverty, death, disease etc.). Like many Japanese anime movies and shows, this is definitely geared towards for teens and adults.

In my view this is the best show for space fans since HBO's 'From the Earth to the Moon'. Anyone who loves space exploration should take a look at this show.
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a must-see for fans of good science fiction
symbolt25 October 2007
I am truly amazed how great this show turns out to be from a science-fiction fan's point of view, and I do not mean the kind of movie science fiction which relies on CGI as its main asset and suffers from poor unrealistic plot. I mean the kind of literary science fiction that gets awarded with a Hugo award.

Perhaps one should forget that this is an anime, for the simple reason that the stereotype of anime is something like a TV show for kids where a bunch of clichéd, depth-less characters battle supernatural enemies with their superpowers. If that is what anime means for you, think of Planetes as an animated series made in Japan. Removed around eighty years from the times it was made in, it presents quite a believable picture of what space exploration might be like at the end of the 21st century, with a load of detail comparable only to the movie adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is one of the strongest points of the show - the richness of little details, like how rooms have to be adapted to zero G, makes the sci fi elements more believable.

The strongest point, however, would be how great science fiction this is. One definition of science fiction would be that a science fiction story depicts the way more-or-less imaginary technology (or the fruit of some science not directly related to technology, like chemistry) impacts human lives. Apart from the development of the regular characters of the show, every episode contains a story in that vein, with a great deal of insight and care for consistency. It is harder to show something gripping in science fiction with more-or-less realistic technology than in a flashy movie where the technology used is nothing short of magical, yet Planetes achieves that in every episode. Also, since the future gadgetry depicted is so often directly connected with the plot, and at the same time, so believable, Planetes could also be categorized as a cyberpunk show set in Earth's orbit, and I mean cyberpunk like in the later William Gibson stories, not like in, say, Cyber City Oedo 808. As I said, you won't see any technological magic, not even at the "AI virus gaining consciousness" level.

I'm sorry I can't recommend this further without any spoilers, but if you have ever enjoyed good SF literature, be sure to check out this show (at least the first 5 episodes, to see what it's like after we've gotten to know the main characters), and you won't be disappointed.
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New Frontier
hellraiser726 July 2012
As an old sayings go "Shoot for the Moon." or "Tis better to aim high and miss then aim low and hit.", the common human trait is that of the desire to aim high whether it be career or just simply life itself because of our constant belief that things will get better that tomorrow will be a better day. No matter how much time has gone by even if the settings changed desire never will.

This is a criminally underrated and overlooked anime gem that is one of my personal favorite animes but also one of my favorite tomorrows world sci-fi's. This shows is similar in vein to Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi, it shows a believable world of tomorrow that looks possible and plausible. The rich mix of both 3-D computer animation and the usual but sophisticated Japanese anime which makes all the characters and settings look almost real. The music is superb it's a calm orchestra tone to make the scenes in space almost feel like an opera or even fit what the characters are going through. We see how advanced civilization has got but also see how beaten up and exhausted it has became on itself. We witness how despite certain advancements in science they've also paid a severe price by becoming careless in how they treat their enviorment in space. Even the politics involved have put too many barriers on sometimes the smallest things. Nothing always works right, even some of the spaceships some people have look like their days are nu8mbered. There is also a sense of boredom and how space travel has became reduced to nothing but an everyday commodity taken for granted instead of a frontier of endless possibilities.

However its really the characters in the show and the drama involved which make the show truly work. Mainly the duo dynamic between Hachimake and Ai Tanabe whom are another of my favorite anime couples. Hachimaki I think is awesome, he's young, brash, unsmooth, a loner, rebellious where he doesn't just break the rules but he bends and breaks them, and obeys the rules he writes in his book. He's also borderline selfless and selfish, but has a strong ambition of traveling out into space and exploring the untouched frontier. He's also an underdog as he is kinda a blue collar worker struggling to make his dream come true but also some thing that happened in his past which made me respect him even more and angry at those that have abandoned or shunned him for no good reason. Ai Tanabe is also young, pretty, naive, brave, selfless which can make her never very realistic when it comes to certain matters however that turns out to be a strength that Hachimaki very much needs. Both of them have a slightly shaky but close friendship,they both agree or disagree with one another and but both do have one thing in common and that is they deeply love each other as more than just friends whether they know it or not. We feel pathos for both of them from what they go though and their feelings for each other evolve but so does their career.

In a strange way the career their in starts to look bigger and more important; the Debris Haulers aren't janitors in space but are like Firefighters or Emergency Workers doing the best they can to make space safe fore everyone. Indeed it really is the Debris career that matters the most, and personally I think it's a cool job, getting to go out into space and working with lots of technical equipment. Even though the careers below are considered the higher up careers, they start to look smaller and not as important; those careers are a little lame in my book what the heck else do they even do other than just monitor.

The show has ethical themes like enviormental ethics and why science and human politics must learn to act responsibly for human progress. But also deep post modern philosophy on heroism, ambition, love, man's place in the universe, and how much more a person can be.

The universe is vast and big, enough room for dreams and love.

Rating: 4 stars
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A journey through the vast Space and human realization.
malmroes23 July 2009
The protagonist in Planetes is Ai Tanabe a young woman with ideals that seem naive to some, if not many, of the other characters in the series. The series centers around her newly acquired job and all that follows in Debris Section aka. Half Section because it has half the employees it should have. Due to an accident involving space debris and a spacecraft Debris section was formed. Planetes has been described as being one of the most realistic animes science-wise. While this may be true Planetes is so much more than just a science based anime. The series progresses really neatly throughout the 26 episodes it spans and at first the episodes are about general debris retrieval, but later develops into other subjects like the gap between the poor and rich down on Earth due to space exploration etc. and what consequences this may lead to. Furthermore it is a love story between Tanabe and the male protagonist Hachimaki and their struggle to maintain their relationship through hardships since they both (especially Hachimaki) have some existential problems to solve. The animation is great and the mood is even greater, it is a joy to watch a scene when the characters float in zero-G or when they are out in space in total silence. A series that shouldn't be missed if you like love stories and Space or just one of those two. You Copy!
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Very nice anime about space exploration and human hope
siderite28 December 2006
Some Japanese animes have this style of starting silly and happy, then suddenly turning all serious and philosophical. This is one of them, and, if it weren't for those stunts in the very last episodes, when they left the outcome of very tense moments for the next two episodes, I would have marked it with a 9.

Anyway, this is all about humans exploring (finally) space and the people that venture doing it. In the end, it becomes clear that the point of the series was not technology or space, but human nature, the way we all connect to each other, and what we can accomplish together.

All in all it is a cute anime. It starts really silly, but ends very well. And for a 26 episode anime, it certainly kept me on my toes. A word of mention about the soundtrack, which I found good towards very good for an anime, with mostly Japanese songs (even if sprinkled with the now customary English words).

Bottom line: worth seeing.
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Science fiction at it's best.
Ben Walker (trybunt)18 August 2013
There are no aliens here. There are no FTL drives and no giant mech suits. This is Planetes.

Following a small space junk recovery team, Planetes gives insight to what living in space would really be like, gracefully balancing the personal issues of crew members, just living their lives, with the tremendous impact that space colonization would have on human civilization as a whole.

No science fiction has left me more wondrous with the concept of space life, more bewildered at the fact we aren't there yet, or more flattered simply for being the same species as minds that created this fantastic anime.

This is the near future of space travel and it doesn't need action or fantasy to tell the story of humanities first steps into the solar system. This is the greatest science fiction drama ever made.

This is Planetes.
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I freakin' LOVE this series.
baillou222 January 2013
For anyone who loves good story-telling and perhaps most of all SPACE! This show cannot be beat. I was genuinely moved by many episodes, and as a space geek I was VERY impressed by how accurate the science was (not perfect but damn good).

The themes that are explored and the development of the characters is much closer to that of an hour long American drama. In this case it's Firefly in anime.

Indeed I would say that the writer, Makoto Yukimura is the Joss Whedon of Japan. The writing is that good.

Don't pay any attention to people who complain about how well the show was dubbed. This is not important. A good story is a good story. This series is so good that I was able to easily overlook production shortcomings.

It's been a very long time that I've loved a TV series this much. It's smart, funny, genuine and nerdy all at once. This is a show for people with a head and a heart. Most shows require neither to be "enjoyed".

Planetes is exceptional, and I only regret it was so short lived. I love it. I love it. I love it.
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Michael12 April 2007
I just have no words to say how much i liked it! This is exiting! There's a lot of humor but it's a very serious movie! It takes place in the near future but problems with our nature are still the same: love, pride, hope, dreams, hate, anger, moral standards, humanity. Its a really great and BIG epics! Very, very BIG! I think author is very talented and even maybe genius person! Movie shows us problems people will meet in the near future. Garbage in the space. Now we see that it's unreal but in the movie it is happening. And you believe it! As the movie comes to the end you realize that you went through all adventures with characters and you fell in love with them! You just got used to them! Its incredible! Really! You have to watch this! Sometimes its very dramatic but sometimes its very funny. The same in real life. After some good news we have bad ones... Look and enjoy!!
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An excellent science fiction series
Jose Cruz9 December 2012
Anime is a very underground phenomena outside of Japan, but in Japan anime studios make more money than live action studios. This vast industry has produced thousands of TV series, some of which were amazing. This is one of those. Perhaps one of the best Sci-Fi TV series ever made, Planetes is a must see for any science fiction fan and represents one of the most realistic attempts to depict space colonization. It has about the same degree of realism as 2001: A Space Odyssey and indeed many things in the series look like they were taken from 2001, such as the designs of the space stations and of the space planes.

The shows also builds up to a fantastic finale, among the most dramatic and powerful ever to grace television.
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This is not a story about space, it's a story about people
fpoilles30 November 2014
...and often this is exactly what makes good sci-fi.

Focus is heavy on character development, and the debris-hauler protagonists are repeatedly called to ponder on what space is, and what it means to them and to the rest of the people that are far from being astronauts. As the story unfolds, their answers to these particular questions change dramatically along with their psyches - this is something audiences rarely see in such entertainment genres.

The main plot device with the terrorists never manages to take center stage, although it is above average and it does end with a bold twist; an alternative post-9/11 narration made back in 2004, which one rarely sees even 13 years after the actual events.

The writers have tried to keep the whole thing realistic and have been successful at it; one will not see anything out-worldly happening in 26 episodes. Sure, books/pens/motorcycles do look very much out of place in 2076 but such anachronistic elements can easily be dismissed in favor of suspension of disbelief.

Although the mood is starkly uneven, turning from generalized lighthearted-ness in the first half to *very* dark overtones as the series progresses, in the end heroes and viewers alike have made a complete circle and are ready to move forward, only this time they are wiser and more optimistic than in the beginning. Overall this is a must- see for space-loving teens, boys and girls alike. A very welcome change from spaceships blasting each other to bits.
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Indeed Brilliant
john-davis32247 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
It is undoubted that Planetes greatest strength is its plausibility. It adds an excellent twist to the sci-fi genre that differs from the norm in anime and the general sci-fi flick.This series isn't running rampart with fanatical ideas but is instead very down-to-earth.

I don't want to spoil much but I will say that Planetes is about "space janitors"... ... ...

I know, how can a show about Space Janitors possibly be interesting, but towards the later half of the 21st century space junk has become a major problem and that sets the basis off the entire story.

Planetes isn't all about the technicality of rubbish collecting, it is really a reflection of humanities desire to keep moving forward and the press on relationships that people develop and people's determination to achieve their objectives and goals, even if that means hurting the one's closest to you.

Planetes also asks many political questions about "how much is enough?" "Who gets the gold?" "What will become of the resources? Will they be divided or will they remain in the hands of those with authority?"

These are just some of the things that make Planetes shine in all the genre's that it represents.

A thoroughly enjoying watch, recommended for any sci-fi fan.
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rubn027 August 2012
I thought I'd seen and read too many stories and nothing special would move me in this special way anymore. I was wrong!

I'll skip what other reviewers already told and would like to add that in the philosophy- or humanity-part of it all, it's very seldom that left and right, or good and evil, or whatever ying and yang you have are so overlapping, so vague as in this story. The personal goals, experience and decisions from all sides, just make sense. So which side is the good side? This is how reality is. And I won't spoil it, but one highlight to this for me was near the end of it, where the anime has also a very nice resolution* between the dilemma "elite space exploration and solving things on earth first".

* Although I wouldn't really call it an "overall" resolution -are there even ever any, also in real life?-, let's call it "progress" but it sure makes an example to some of the world leaders, rebels, freedom fighters, ego-wolfs, troubled souls and what have you, including to myself.

Thanks to all the people involved in making this unique and motivating space flower!
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One of the Best
Outcast2-30-4603524 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As many reviewers said: The outstanding feature of this this series is realism. Like there are extra Smoking Lounges course open Fire in spaceships is dangerous and oxygen is a rare good. Or the Girl born on Moon. Looking like a 17 year old Teen, but she's only 11. Born and raised on Moon with its lower gravity it has an effect on her growth. Radiation of the Sun, G-Rolls and so on.

The other realistic thing in this series is the picture of the human mind. The poor envy the rich ones. Some of them working their asses of to achieve things the rich ones have, but are held down. Some others say: "If we can't have that now, we just destroy the thing, that we cannot have. To be equal." <- Going the easy way.

This kind of thinking we already have (IS) in our days, and had thousands of years ago (Kartago - Roma). It's just sad that the people who have learned from history are put down by the masses who refuse to learn.

Anyway. Back to the series. It does have everything i need: Heartwarming Characters, some good jokes, but not to much, a atmospheric soundtrack and something to think about.

I really recommend to see this one.
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Absolutely the best Science Fiction of All Time.
joshupetersen5 January 2016
When I first watched this series, I watched it with a group of friends in college. One of these friends was getting his degree in astrophysics. In the middle of one of the episodes, he got up screaming, yelling at the TV, "They got it wrong! Space doesn't work that way!"

He ran out of the room, grabbed his textbook, ran back, slammed it on the coffee table, and started flipping through, finding a recent chapter. He then looked at the chapter, and his shoulders slumped, and he said, "I'm the one who got it wrong."

After that, it became a contest to find something this show did wrong. Astrophysics, psychology, sociology, politics, design process, you name it. All of it. The entire freakin' show got it all right. The people who made this did their homework, and did it well. And not just for an anime. It's the most realistic sci-fiction I've seen out of any sci-fiction ever. And not just science fiction. It's the most realistic fiction I've seen out of any fiction ever. I've seen historical fiction whose characters acted less realistic. (Granted, some of the characters are a bit goofy, but it's just their supervisor encourages them to bring their hobbies to work for stress relief, which is even realistic for his position.)

So when things happen in the show, you laugh harder, because not only is it funny, it's funny because it's true, and it's true so much. And when things happen in this show, you cry harder, because not only because it's a tearjerker, but because it's a tearjerker in a way that reaches much deeper than something fake can. There are still scenes I cry about just thinking about them, years since I last watched it, and I can laugh about the ending of Old Yeller.

This is simply the best there is. If you made me choose between this and Star Wars, I would choose this. If you made me choose between Star Trek and this, I would choose this. If you made me choose between the Matrix and this, I would choose this. If you made me choose between Titanic and this, I would choose this. If you made me choose between Eva and this, I would choose this. If you made me choose between Frozen and this, I would choose this. Whatever you would make me choose between and this, I would choose this.

This can touch you deeper than anything else you've ever seen, and likely will ever see again, if you give it the chance. It's extremely real, and you can look at it, and see our future in their eyes.
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I felt the lack of an anime of this type
Francesco Luchetta18 October 2014
planetes is an anime very particular.

the genus to which it belongs is sometimes referred to as "hard sci- fy " a fiction that has no scientific errors and inconsistencies , and then describes a possible world and in the case of planetes would say even likely. The series is about a near future, after fifty years, the central theme is the colonization of Earth's orbit. some details are very interesting: devices to be able to spin in space taking into account the center of gravity, propulsion with liquid helium, lunar installations etc. ...

I must say that I really do not understand why it is a genre so little explored, for once, you can even do without aliens headless demons of death and time travel. I felt the lack of an anime of this type, I was very impressed 8/10
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