Garbage collecting... IN SPACE! Because in space, bolts screw you.An anime series, based on a manga series of the same name, that provides a realistic and dramatic view of life in space in the near future. The principal cast are the "Debris Section" of the Technora corporation, space trash collectors that are charged with the prevention of deadly orbital collisions with free-floating junk.By 2075, the depletion of oil reserves has caused mankind to turn to space to solve its increasing demand for energy, through the mining of Helium-3 isotope deposits from the moon. With the increase in traffic, the accumulation of debris in Earth orbit has caused a number of spectacular and deadly accidents, as even a tiny piece of debris at orbital velocity (for reference, orbital velocity for an object in LEO*
Hachimaki (as they're gathering equipment for the next mission): "This, this, this... And this too." * Places Hustler magazine in the cart* Tanabe: "Wha... What is that?" Hachimaki: "In this field of work men and women may have to live together in close quarters for several weeks. If we don't take matters into our own hands something ugly might happen. Here, this is yours." * Holds up a porn mag supposedly for women*
Yukari Tanabe, Ai's mom, who is very enthusiastic about Hachimaki and openly nags Ai to marry him. Cue beer fountain (Hachi just had some from Ai's dad).
Goro Hoshino. Given that Hachi is his spitting image, both in looks and in character, you can imagine what a person he is.
Annoying Younger Sibling: Hachimaki's, whose love for space manifests not as a desire to be an astronaut, but as a rocket engineer. They often come to blows as to which one is the more legitimate calling.
Art Evolution: Tanabe's a bit ugly in the first volumes of the manga. Fortunately, this changes.
Babies Ever After : In the animé, the very last shot heavily implies that Tanabe is pregnant with Hachi's child.
The manga devotes several chapters to Tanabe bing pregnant with Hachi's child and the news of her giving birth to his son reaching him with a delay of several minutes (They're in the orbit the Jupiter, after all).
Beard of Sorrow: (Variation, Hachimaki sort of Grows a Beard of Contemplation during his week-long Vision Quest on the moon)
Big Damn Heroes: At the end, several groups of main characters are all rushing towards the von Braun to prevent it from crashing on a moon city. Subverted when none of them succeed and disaster is only averted because INTO gives in to the terrorist's demands and they fire up the engine themselves.
Big Guy: Several, but most surprising one is Kyutaro Hoshino, who had a growth spurt in the last volume, and by the end of the manga stands at 183 cm (6'1"). Hachi and Goro, both being relatively short, were utterly dumbstruck.
Bilingual Bonus: In the manga version, Hachimaki meets the mother of an astronaut whose life he just saved, who speaks to him in Russian. In Yukimura's typical Shown Their Work fashion the words are written using the Cyrillic alphabet and are entirely correct. They still don't understand each other at all. We do.
Bishōnen: Hachi's old friend and spaceship pilot, Kho Cheng-Shin.
Most male characters below fifty in the manga. Which leads to a lot of Ambiguous Gender moments for the reader.
Byronic Hero: Werner Locksmith, the man who can only love spaceships.
Break the Cutie: Heavens above, Ai Tanabe. Physically, by way of her severe nerve damage, and almost mentally, when she begins to consider taking Claire's O2 tank as her own runs out. She gets better, though.
Broken Bird: Claire. Increasingly broken as the series goes on. Edel was one in the past.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Many of the main characters are really good at their jobs, even if they're a bit eccentric. Such as Locksmith, Hachimaki, and Fee.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Tanabe towards Hachimaki, who gets angry or at least suspicious anytime she sees him hanging out with a woman. Lucie towards Cheng-Shin.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Deconstructed with Fee's uncle, Roy Bryant. He was kind and talented, but almost terminally shy and autistic. Not that terrible per se, but he had the misfortune of being the lone, unemployed, and black weirdo in the Deep South. He was feared and ostracized by almost everyone around, until some day, after the locals, suspecting him of kidnapping a neighbor's daughter, burned his shack, and he went off to the woods and was never heard about again. This still weighs on Fee.
Baron is a straight example.
Coincidence Magnet: The cast, in the course of the series, rescue a handful of people from a fire on the Moon, capture a ship dumping illegal waste, foil an elaborate terrorist plot, locate and remove a Kill Sat disguised as debris, and finally encounter and fail to foilanother elaborate terrorist plot. This from people who are, in essence, garbagemen in space. Not to mention Yuri finding his wife's compass.
Not all of that was coincidence. Remember that scene in the car with the guy talking to Dolph.
Cold Equation: During a teamwork assessment exercise for the Jovian mission, oxygen is vented out of the testing chamber during a power failure. The applicants are incommunicado, so have no way of determining whether this is an accident or a test. They could hit the emergency button (and fail if this is a test) or murder one of their team so they'll have enough oxygen until the door opens automatically. Hakim says he's prepared to do this, but he also suggests waiting 30 minutes to see if they can Think Up A Third Option. They end up using cold packs to slow down their metabolism and thus lower their oxygen intake.An aversion occurs when Ai is struggling to carry colleague-turned-terrorist Claire across the Luna surface — when her effort causes her to run out of oxygen early, Ai has to make the decision on whether to steal her companion's air tank. She doesn't, and begins to suffocate. But as Ai is dying, a rover passes within eyeshot and Claire, more than a little amazed at Ai's actions, fires her suit's maneuvering thruster to get its attention: in space, gasses crystallize instantly, catching sunlight, resulting in a rainbow fountain that is even more noticeable than a fireworks display. Ai's partial-pressure survival suit didn't have a thruster, where Claire's terrorist boarding rig did. Ai ends up with severe nerve damage due to carbon dioxide poisoning, but if she had taken Claire's air tank, both of them would have died.
Colony Drop: Late in the series, a rather large spaceship threatens to collide with a city on the moon.
Cultural Cross Reference: In the manga version, a military officer named Colonel Sanders tries to make a deal with Fee to help stop the impending space war. She flatly denies him and tells him to go "sell fried chicken at a gas station." This is made even more hilarious by the fact that his appearance is seemingly based upon a certain other Colonel Sanders.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Space Defense Force, who accurately guesses that INTO and other organizations will be too busy guarding certain places, and make it seem like they'll attack those places, only to then attack another station. It was only because of a really ticked off Fee (who hasn't had a smoke for a while due to air quality reasons and smoking sections on the moon being blown up) saving the space station that saved them.
Later, they learned from that first incident, and this time makes sure to take several extra precautions to ensure neither Fee nor anyone else would be able to stop their second plan.
Dead Pan Snarker: Edel often makes snarky comments around the office of the Debris Section office.
Defictionalisation: While it seems unlikely to take the same form as in the show, scientists have said that cleaning up space debris has become a pressing concern, apparently the ISS has had to dodge dangerous debris several times already.
Description Cut: Cheng-Shin assures a friend that Hachimaki is a lot more subdued now than he was the last time they met. Guess who comes running past them playing space-ninja at that very moment?
Determinator: Deconstructed. Hachi almost alienated Ai and his peers with his fanatical commitment to board the von Braun, and Hakim's desire to liberate the developing countries eventually made him a shell.
Detonation Moon: Although a (relatively) minor one: the Tandem Mirror Engine accident that turns a considerable chunk of the Moon into dust.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The odd imagery during the docking sequence in episode 14, combined with the context of the episode itself makes it pretty clear exactly what the scene is a metaphor of.
Dying Alone: Hachimaki's dark self constantly reminds himself of this fate in the 2nd half of the season. Tanabe on the other hand, feels this trope should be averted, such as when the body of one of the early space pioneers makes its way back to Earth, and she feels he should be buried by his family, rather than sent back into the void of space.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Both Hachi and Tanabe go through a heck of a lot before finally finding happiness at the very end of the anime.
Face Heel Turn: Claire, who joins the Space Defense Front when her life hits one too many speed bumps.
The Federation: What INTO likes to think of themselves as. The Space Defense Front, however, imagines them more like The Empire.
First Kiss: While it's not seen, it's heavily implied at the end of episode 14 with Hachimaki and Tanabe.
Fore Shadowing: That woman we see in the spacecraft in episode 1 when a stray bolt hits it? She's the wife of Yuri, and in episode 10 we get more background on why Yuri was obsessed with looking for space debris and why he joined the Debris Section in the first place.
For Science!: Werner Locksmith "can only love space ships". Treated as realistically and thoughtfully as everything else.
Freeze Frame Bonus: In episode 20, you can pause and read some of Hachimaki's details as Director Locksmith goes over it.
Genre Busting: It's hard sci-fi, with plenty of drama, strong themes on relationship building, and a few comedy bits to relax the audience. Some people just agreed upon it to be a slice-of-life story, but In Space!
Gratuitous English: Some of it is possibly excusable, since high-tech jargon from a lot of countries adds English to the mix.
Then there's the Engrish Surgeon General's warning placed outside of the smoking rooms to explain: "Let's warn that you absorb it too much because your health is likely to be injured." And "Lunar Felly." Oy.
The spring issue of Strike, an adult magazine seen briefly in ep 16, has the rather amusing headline "Hit! Bitch! Sex!" sprawled across the front page. Oy indeed.
Hell, even the Title Sequence has some. If you stop to read its descriptions of important moments in the history of space exploration, you're treated to gems like "The father of modern rocket propulsion is the American. Successfully, the first a liquid fuel rocket."
Hachimaki: There's a reason Hachirota is nicknamed Hachimaki.
Hannibal Lecture: Twice, between the same two characters. The first time, it works wonderfully on its audience and leads to a massiveHeroic BSOD; the second, it doesn't, and the lecturer is almost killed but saved only by outside intervention.
Happily Adopted: Ai. She was left on Kenji and Yukari's doorstep at the age of about one, but that doesn't really bother anyone.
Happily Failed Suicide: In episode 5, a couple were planning to commit suicide with their young daughter due to some extreme financial burdens. But then a thief aboard the spaceship steals the medicine the father planned to use, and later takes the young girl hostage. As the parents try to dissuade the thief from killing her, it dawns on them that they themselves were about to decide her future in a bad way as well. After the girl is saved, she tells her parents about her hopes and dreams of going into space and piloting a spaceship. They seem to reconsider the suicide, and instead promise the little girl that they'll work hard for her as well.
Heroic BSOD: Tanabe suffers from one in episode 10 after finding out in the previous episode that Gigalt, Hachimaki's space teacher has cancer and is dying. What makes it worse is that he asks Tanabe not to reveal this information, which would be devastating to Hachimaki, who idolizes the man.
Hachimaki seems to go through one too in episode 25 of the anime, which takes place shortly after the Von Braun terrorist incident.
He Who Fights Monsters: Hachi gets dangerously close to this when his zeal for the von Braun mission causes him to nearly kill Hakim.
Huge Schoolgirl: Nono, a twelve year-old that is taller than Hachimaki. Having spent her whole life in the Moon's limited gravity, special attention is made to how hard she has to work to keep her dangerously under-stressed (and therefore unusually tall) body working normally.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: Edel, the contracted office employee (see Office Lady below) is the only one in the Debris Section office to ever be seen consistantly doing any office work. The other desk workers either spend all their time planning their impending retirement or trying to suck up to those higher on the corporate ladder.
Ill Girl: Nono is a rare case of a Genki Girl who is also technically one of these. She was born and grew up on the moon, and unfortunately, human bodies aren't designed to grow up in 1/6th Earth gravity. Aside from being freakishly tall, it is implied that she suffers from numerous other health problems as a result. She essentially lives in a hospital (both so that she can get constant treatments and to perform experiments on her body that might help future Lunarians live healthier lives), and judging by the looks of her room (which is filled with gym equipment), she has to train all the time for things not to get any worse. If she actually tried to land on Earth, she would be severely handicapped, and even that's assuming her cardiovascular system doesn't just give out.
Improvised Weapon: Industrial tools are used as instruments of mayhem and/or self defense on more than one occasion. Including two notable instances where the tool in question is a crossbow designed to anchor tow lines in space ship hulls.
It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: Some may want to pronounce the title as "Plan-Eats" or "Pla-Neats", however the name is Greek and ΠΛΑΝΗΤΕΣ is pronounced either "pla-net-es" or "pla-nee-tes" (depending on the dialect).
Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Episode 6 has some out of work guys pretending they're ninjas. Their consistent pursuit of Hachimaki only adds to their Cosplay. And due to the moon's lower gravity, they really are able to jump really high in the air. Even Hachimaki, who's really annoyed with this stunt at first, starts to get into it as well.
Japanese Language: The dub uses a fair number of Japanese words consistently throughout its run without ever translating them, particularly the Japanese Honorifics "sempai" and "sensei", as well as "hachimaki" (which means "headband") as a character's nickname.
Played with in the last episode, where the two Japanese nationals (Ai and Hachi) play a word game which consists of saying a word or term that begins with the last vowel (or syllable) the other person just said. In the English dub, the actors speak the Japanese words (and very well, too) and immediately say the English translation of the term, for clarity.
Love Hotels: Technically, accommodations for transitory visitors, but explained as the only non-work area on the station where a couple can do anything date-like and have privacy from co-workers.
Loads and Loads of Characters: To roughly the same level as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. 7 main characters (Hachimaki, Tanabe, Fee, Yuri, Chief, Ravi, Edel), and a host of well developed and influential secondary (Claire, Hakim, Colin Clifford, Cheng Shin, Goro Hoshino, Werner Locksmith, Gigalt, Dolph) and tertiary (Harry Roland, Kyutaro Hoshino, Nono, The Ninjas, Lucy), characters.
It's even worse in the manga, which doesn't have salarimen and Ninjas, but has a lot of other people.
Loophole Abuse: In episode 4, when Colin Clifford starts insulting the Debris Section, Hachimaki nearly punches his lights out in anger. But before he can, Tanabe does it instead, then berates him for being such a jerk. Colin threatens to punish them for assaulting a non-employee, but then Fee mentions that there were only 5 people aboard the ship, and therefore they never had any non-employees in the area in the first place. Colin whines some more about it, but the director mentions that either Colin let this issue go, or else he could file a full report, and then Colin's father finds out about him being there illegally in the first place.
It's done again in episode 14 when they move a satellite to avoid a meteoroid from destroying it. Lavie says that they're not allowed to destroy a natural body, so Hachimaki instead moves the satellite away to avoid the collison.
Meaningful Name: Yuri Mihairokov shares the name of famous cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who was the first man in space. Werner Locksmith shares the name of Werner von Braun, one of, if not the most important rocket designers who ever lived whose designs include the terrifying V-2 for the Nazis, and the mighty Saturn V, the famous moon rocket. Ai Tanabe's name is also a pun, as 'ai' is the Japanese word for love, which matches with her belief in love's power.
Mid-Season Upgrade: The crew of the Toy Box get a new ship in episode 14, since they sacrificed their ship in order to save the space station they live on.
Mission Control: Literally, the Control section of ISVP 7. Much more prominent in the anime, where it has named characters related to the plot. Also, Fee often plays this role when Hachi, Ai, and Yuri perform EVA operations.
Mistaken for Cheating: In episode 8, the Debris Section suspects Fee is having a secret affair with the Second Division director. Except that she's not, and she's not too happy about that accusation when she hears about it.
Even the Tandem Mirror drive is named after/based on a real magnetic confinement fusion technique, which has been noted to be uniquely suited to application as a space drive.
The Mole: Hakim Ashmead, a top Space Defense Front lieutenant who joined the von Braun mission in order to sabotage it. Played for even greater effect in the anime, where the character is introduced longbefore his arc begins, and is given a sympathetic background as Hachimaki's Big Brother Mentor.
Mood Whiplash: The El Tanika representative in episode 11, who tries really hard to help his country out in whatever way he can, watches his country from above in space. It's a very serene and touching scene. Then they cut to the ground, and there's a war going on down there, and the factory that had the plans and parts for his spacesuit gets destroyed. Unfortunately for him, he is able to see the smoke cloud from space.
Motorcycle On The Coast Road: Hachimaki did this in the past, and does it again in episode 14 when visiting his hometown with Tanabe and Yuri.
Multinational Team: The section, and the company as a whole, are nationally and ethnically diverse (but seem to act unilaterally Japanese in certain cases).
The most egregious example being when the El Tanikan-born, American-bred woman formally introduces herself and bows (in a manner identical to the way Tanabe, who is Japanese, did in the first episode) upon being transferred to a new department. Despite the fact that she's known everyone in that department for at least a year already.
The Nicknamer: Very explicitly, Hachimaki's (anime-only) mentor Gigalt Gangaragash. He even confesses to Ai that he has trouble remembering people's names, so he makes up nicknames for them to keep track of them. In this continuity, he's the one who gave Hachi his nickname, although the latter was already wearing said item long before Gigalt ever met him. However, there was one person for whom Gigalt was never able to figure out a nickname, and only later, when it's much too late, he realizes that it's because he could never figure out who Hakim really was.
Ninja: Actually, a bunch of unemployed workers who pretend to be Ninjas on the moon, where the low gravity makes them the stuff of Martial Art movies.
No Smoking: Of course not, they're on space stations! Oxygen is a precious commodity, which leaves the few smokers (such as Fee, see below) extremely irritated and having to resort to "Smoking Rooms" throughout the station (which become such a security blind spot for terrorist attacks that some places are even getting rid of them) or even custom-built "Smoking Chambers" for individual use. Which then becomes a very pivotal plot point in episode 12.
Office Lady: Edel, the debris section's administrative office temp. Played with a little in regards to her backstory, but otherwise played straight, especially by the end of the series when she's hired as a full-time employee and eases up a little.
Parental Abandonment: Averted with Hachimaki's mother, but played straight with his dad, who is obsessed with getting humanity's place in space established. Quite a few characters are awestruck by his reputation, but Hachimaki could care less.
Pointy-Haired Boss: The Debris Section chief. He's harmless, since he's friendly and he doesn't get to make decisions. The Section 3 director (in charge of all Lunar facilities and operations,) on the other hand...
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Debris Section is where employees are sent when they either don't care where they go, or screw up so bad they can't be sent anywhere else. Of course, since they spend more time in EVA than anyone else, they wind up being the biggest zero-G badasses this side of the Orbital Security Agency.
Ramming Always Works: Also see Awesome.Planetes. Near the end of the series, with the von Braun about to cross the point-of-no-return to crash into Sea Of Tranquility City, Fee and Cheng-Shin decide (separately) that they can at least nudge the ship so it crashes away from the city. But they realize they're too late to make any difference anyway.
Reality Ensues: A few of the earlier episodes that seem to end a little too close to Tastes Like Diabetes territory include a final scene showing some amusing real-life background or consequences. For example, Tanabe finds out Hachimaki didn't delay scutteling a satelite to give the people it was supposed to be dedicated to a nice show, but because he wanted to cash in some overtime pay.
Recycled IN SPACE!: Probably the only literal example. It's a show about recycling...in space...space recycling.
Salaryman: Debris section, though especially the Chief and his assistant.
Due to the franchise's Broken Base, "Salarymen" became a semi-derogatory nickname for the Debris Section office staff in the anime, used mostly by the manga fans. Toybox crew aren't salarymen, they're astronauts!
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: In episode 14, the Toy Box 2 is asked by some researchers to help them to avoid a meteoroid from hitting a satellite with their research in it. The Third Division manager explicitly wants them to back down and allow the satellite to get destroyed, but Hachimaki decides to do it anyway, even more so after he hears about all the protesting of destroying it. When Lavie orders that he's not allowed to destroy a natural object, Hachimaki decides to move the satellite instead. When the Third Division manager talks to the Toy Box crew's boss, he basically supports what his crew did, since they were preventing more debris from being formed.
Lavie himself does something similar in episode 18 when he thinks back to what his kids told him about keeping space safe, and destroys a satellite which was potentially harmful to spaceships. The director threatens to withdraw Lavie's position in another department and tries to disband them right then and there. Lavie destroys the satellite anyway, and later gives a Large Ham news interview discussing how the Debris Section keeps spaceships safe. Due to potential backlash from the public, and in keeping with a good corporate image, the director withdraws his threat to disband the section.
Secret Keeper: Gigalt asks Tanabe to keep his cancer secret from Hachimaki in episode 9. Then he finds this out anyway in episode 22.
Secret Test of Character: The von Braun crew candidate selection tests in episode 19. More specifically, while Hachimaki is taking the test with 3 other candidates in a pool repairing a pod to simulate a system going down on Jupiter, one of the other candidates accidentally cuts her air hose. The other two students taking the test at the time go to help her, while Hachimaki continues to work. When one of the candidates later complains that it was unfair to disqualify them for helping her, the director simply states that were this a real life situation, not repairing the broken system would've killed the entire ship's crew while they were busy saving her, and he wanted to have people who could minimize the amount of potential deaths, even if they seemed cruel and harsh at the time.
Sempai Kohai: Tanabe does this with Hachimaki, even in the English dub.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: Hachimaki uses this several times when either confronted with his past relationship with Claire, and anytime Tanabe sees him with another woman, and questions him about it.
Shipper on Deck: Lucie tries to do this with Tanabe and Hachimaki, in an attempt to get closer to Cheng-Shin.
Smoking Is Cool: Fee Carmichael and to a certain extent Hachirota "Hachimaki" Hoshino. In fact, in one episode, Fee saves outer space without knowing it because she is that desperate for a smoke.
Sociopathic Hero: Locksmith, although the degree of his detachment from humanity varies from manga to anime. The graveside scene in the former had him damn near emotional, which is devastating to the reader, let me tell you.
I feel sad.
Soundtrack Dissonance: As the series gets considerablydarker in later episodes, the contrast between an episode's closing scene and the upbeat closing credits music can be quite jarring. Sometimes this even occurs between an opening scene and the title music. The original score playing during these scenes, however, is always appropriate.
Spell My Name with an S: Differences in romanization according to the anime and manga. More particularly, the Tandem-Mirror/Tandem Miller engine, as well as Hakim/Hakimu/Hakeem. Specific to the anime, the Assistant Manager's name is pronounced "Ravi," but spelled "Lavie."
Seriously why would it be Tandem Miller? There was never any Miller involved!
Square/Cube Law: Deconstructed by Nono. She grew up on the moon, whose lower gravity made her taller than the average human, but as a result, Earth's gravity could easily crush her.
Take A Third Option: Hachimaki's decision regarding the von Braun Mission and Ai. He marries her just before he leaves, trusting that she, like his mother, will be happy as a spacer's wife; which slightly implies Space Is An Ocean, at least in respect to temporary widows waiting for sailors to come home.
Take My Hand: Hachi to Yuri when the latter nearly falls into the atmosphere saving his wife's compass.
Three Amigos: What Hachi, Cheng-Shin, and Claire used to be. A lot of unresolved baggage with Hachi and her own quick climb up the corporate ladder has distanced Claire from the others, who remain close friends.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hachimaki gives one to his friend Cheng-Shin when the latter mentioned about how he didn't expect to pass the Von Braun tests. Hachimaki yells at his friend for not going all out to make the cut, and how he used his pilot job as a safety net in case.
The Extremist Was Right is a bit of a recurring theme, seen in the admiration Hachimaki's father has for Locksmith's public For Science! attitude right after a fatal accident in his project. And then there's the intro's quick visual overview of the history of space flight which, unlike a similar intro of Star Trek: Enterprise, prominently includes V2 rockets over a burning city.
Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Played with, Edel works full time in the Debris Section as a contract worker, but also has a part time job as a nurse. The characters are surprised when they see her during their physical exam.
Wise Beyond Their Years: Nono, the 12 year-old Lunar girl whose words can disarm even the most bitter and jaded cynic with a well-aimed (but perfectly innocent) critical hit to the heart.
You Are Not Alone: Hachimaki's dark self tells him that being alone is pretty much the fate of everyone, no matter what they say. It doesn't stop Tanabe however, from trying to invoke this trope on him.