At first, I was a bit hesitant to participate in the Reverse Thieves secret Santa project, but along with the 12 Days of Anime, Secret Santa has always been an aspect of the blogosphere that I really enjoyed both from a reading and writing aspect. In the end, I couldn’t really get away from this exchange, so I decided to join this year as well. I was given a choice from three shows: Planetes, Mobile Suit Gundam 08th MS Team, and Simoun. I ended up watching Planetes. Actually, I’m still watching it as I type this review out. I’m on episode 14, and regardless of what happens by the end of the series, I’m confident that my impression of the show won’t change.
Everything is better in space. It’s a strange little cultural moniker, to add “in space” to the end of any sort of title, yet the novelty of space reinforces the notion into a sort of hard and fast rule. For me, what I love so much about settings in space, science fiction, and genre fiction as a whole, is that no matter how novel a setting or circumstance is, a wonderful story or idea can still be conveyed that allows for people to connect, even though they might not know what it’s exactly like to be in that given circumstance.
What makes Planetes particularly amazing is how it makes this moniker so apparent. This is very much an “X in Space,” but what that X is differs from person to person. It’s environmentalism. It’s romance. It’s diversity. It’s capitalism. It’s everything at once.
And for me, it’s work, and I love Planetes so much because of it. I’ve written before about Space Brothers, and about the career trajectories of their characters. With Planetes, we’re treated to almost the exact same thing, but with a larger, more diverse cast of characters instead of an in-depth look at a singular character like Serika Itou. Amongst the staff of the Debris Section, we’re treated to people in a wide variety of places in life and in their careers; Ai Tanabe is the fledgling rookie and wonderful female protagonist; Hachimaki Hoshino is the reckless dreamer, stuck in the mire of the office environment; Fee Charmichael is the strong, capable manager, steadfast in maintaining a lower position because of her passion for her work; Claire Rondo is the driven career girl, fighting hard against cultural prejudice and patriarchy in the corporate ladder; Edelgard Rivera is the temp worker working to keep her life together after escaping her dark past. There are others as well, just as unique and fleshed out as the rest. No single character is wasted, and what we see from this picture is that of an entire career spectrum.
It reminds me of my own job right now, one that I’ve been working hard at for the years since I wrote about Space Brothers. Watching this show at this point in my life makes me feel even better about where I’m headed. I was once at the cusp, but have since turned the corner and have a whole universe to explore. I have a whole staff of coworkers who span the same sort of career spectrum as those from the Debris Section. It hits so fantastically close to home, but it’s set in space, so that automatically makes everything better.
Happy holidays, and have a happy new year.