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Manga: 2001 Nights
aka: To
Is the universe filled with lives? Is this empty space we seek to conquer truly a sea of fertility?

Just beyond that light! The final rendevous... Man, the Universe— A higher order!

2001 Nights: A Space Fantasy by Yukinobu Hoshino is a love-letter to the classic hard sci-fi stories of yesteryear, especially the works of Arthur C. Clarke. It utilizes the themes and style of Arabian Nights to tell a fantastic history of manned space flight from the dawn of the 21st Century to the twilight of humanity. Tear jerkers abound.

The manga was published between 1984 and 1986. There have been two anime OVA adaptations of selected chapters: the one-shot Space Fantasia 2001 Nights in 1987, and TO, a two-episode CGI production from 2009.


Tropes:

  • Absent Aliens: Played with. The reader is clearly shown there are other human-like species in the universe, but none of the characters know this.
    • This is also the cause of the Bittersweet Ending where the governments of Earth choose to give up space exploration because no one has found any human-like life outside our planet.
  • African Terrorists: Combined with a little Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters in "Elliptical Orbit".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with KARC 9000, he just has a bizarre sense of humor.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Referenced quite philosophically: "The human male -- it would seem -- is never satisfied unless he is busy conquering virginity. Be it women, or planets, it's all the same to men..."
  • All Planets Are Earthlike: Ozma was actually terraformed.
  • Artistic License - Physics: Although Hoshino's work aspires to be hard science fiction, his treatment of science is sometimes inaccurate.
    • In "Lucifer Rising", a ship uses its radar transmitter to pass through a cloud of antimatter dust, the idea being that the electrons in the radio waves will annihilate the antimatter. However, radio waves are made of photons, and they don't annihilate antimatter because photons are their own antiparticle.
    • In "Medusa's Gaze", a team of astronauts are trapped when the soles of their spacesuit boots become vacuum-welded to a perfectly flat plain of ice. Vacuum welding is only supposed to happen between metals.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lots of them. Big one is at the very end: Earth has given up space exploration because the money is running out and few hospitable planets have been found. It's left to a new generation of explorers acting independently to explore the universe.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Completely subverted. He and three others are the only people that survive to the end of 'Lucifer Rising.'
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Scientific terms and the like are usually translated properly, but the wording of some lines is awkward, and some jokes are missed. (KARC was supposed to be KIRK.)
  • Captain's Log: SHIP'S LOG, STARDATE 04-2725. NOTHING UNUSUAL TO REPORT. CAPTAIN KARK OUT.
  • Expy: KARC 9000, a combination of HAL 9000 and Captain Kirk. Also expies of real life people, such as Frank C. Borman, who is based on Frank Borman of Apollo 8 fame.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel
  • Fun with Acronyms: The title TO was intended to be an abbreviation for "Two thousand One", and also to evoke a sense of humanity's progression to the future. It is, however, extremely difficult to Google for.
  • Kissing Cousins: Or rather, Kissing Twins It comes out of left field and is never explained.
  • Living Gasbag: In the second episode of TO, "Symbiotic Planet", one of the colonists has been studying some floating spheres, and feels he may have made friends with some. This is later proven to be true when a group of them sacrifice themselves to protect his colony from incoming missiles.
  • May-December Romance: What at first appears to be this in "Elliptical Orbit" turns out to be a twin paradox.
  • Sapient Ship: MY NAME IS-- ROCKET. I AM ROCKET...
  • Settling the Frontier: The second episode of TO, "Symbiotic Planet", deals with two sets of colonists on the planet Beta Hydra V, from two different factions back on Earth, and the dangers they face from each other as well as from the new, untamed planet.
  • Shout-Out: In addition to the characters named after real and fictional people (see Expy), the concepts of a planet made of antimatter, a quantum black hole swallowing a planet, trees that serve as organic rockets, and the word "starseed" are all borrowed from stories by Larry Niven.
  • Standard Sci-Fi History
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The American biologist and Russian interpreter in "Symbiotic Planet".
  • Time Dilation
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dr. Cleaver has a great one in 'Lucifer Rising.'
    So farewell, hope!... Farewell, remorse! As good to me is lost; evil, be thou my good!

This Ugly Yet Beautiful WorldMadmanEntertainment/Anime & MangaTokko
20th Century BoysManga33 Eyes
11/22/63Science Fiction Literature2001: A Space Odyssey

alternative title(s): TO; Two Thousand One Nights; Ptitlelu4jiach; TO
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