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Manga / Moonlight Mile

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The distance between a hero and his destiny is only a moonlight mile.

Moonlight Mile is a manga by Yasuo Ohtagaki, which began serialization in Big Comic Superior in 2000 and is still ongoing. It concerns two mountain climbers, Gorou Saruwatari and Lostman, who decide to become astronauts. Each takes a different route: Gorou becomes a construction worker to gain multiple operating licenses, whilst Lostman becomes a pilot for the US Navy.

Whilst NASA, Russia, Europe, Japan and a few other countries have integrated their space agencies, the second season sees a secret divison of the US seeking military buildup as well as a rival emerging in China, all building towards a new cold war in space.

The series takes a very realistic viewpoint on space travel, and yet manages to make the vehicles, robots and building designs impressive and distinctive.


  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Fusion power and moon bases by 2015.
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The vehicles and larger mechanical objects.
  • Area 51: The US military launches from here to their secret space station. Personnel are shown flying from Las Vegas on Janet Airlines.
  • Brain/Computer Interface: Some robots secretly developed by the US military use this for operations. Maggy has to use one to rescue astronauts after a space debris disaster. The interface almost ends up overloading their brain and killing them.
  • Censor Steam: The shower scenes in season 1 episode 5.
  • Colony Drop: Somewhat smaller-scale version - a pilot has to be rescued from a malfunctioning cylindrical German spacecraft called the Doner Kebab and the ship's trajectory redirected before it is expected to fall on Sydney, Australia like in the original Mobile Suit Gundam.
  • Cool Spaceship: Most of the spacecraft we see, ranging from spaceplanes to craft designed to operate in a vacuum.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: One turns out to be the culprit behind the defects in the Moon Walker mecha which caused it to fall over and kill a diver during underwater testing.
  • Flechette Storm: A fast-moving cloud of space debris strikes the International Space Station, crippling many of its life support systems.
  • Flipping the Bird: Miguel upon Goro's suggestion to let Maggies camera-robot film how he faceplanted on the moon.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Captain Brian, Lostman's superior in the Navy, is repeatedly shown up by Lostman - and everyone knows that NASA wants Lostman for the shuttle program due to his superior skills. The instant Lostman receives his transfer papers, he's off to space. However, Brian simply physically takes the envelope containing the orders, refusing to hand them to Lostman until he flies one last mission for him, claiming that while flying the Shuttle is more honorable than flying fighter jets, Lostman is still a soldier, and a soldier's highest duty is to risk his life for his country. Then he lets Lostman get shot down. Lostman's lost behind enemy lines for over a year before he comes back, during which Brian entered NASA in Lostman's place... but they have not forgotten how he attempted to deny them an ace pilot out of jealousy. So they make Lostman HIS superior.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Achmed lures an tank on a landmine to save his son and Lostman.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Moon Walker mech is tested underwater first to simulate lunar gravity (1/6th of Earth's) by manipulating buoyancy. It is lampshaded that bipedal mecha are relatively inefficient designs.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: The idol Maggy was complaining about sudden script changes and threatened to fire her manager because of it and didn't notice, that the camera was still on.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Malik's middle name was misspelled as "Ari" ("Ali" would've been correct).
  • Leave No Witnesses: The two paparazzi spying on Area 51, where they built the spaceplane for the secret US military space project, were killed after they tried to escape the Area 51 guards after they were spotted at the perimeter of the base.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: Malik suffers from racism based on anti-Arab stereotypes when all he wants to do is build model rockets as a hobby.
  • Moon Base: "Moon Base 1" of the International Space Association is constructed with pre-positioned building materials. And there is the American military base on the far side of the Moon.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Maggy lightly clad hovering in zero g.
  • Nipple and Dimed:
    • Tanya the stripper in season 1 episode 5.
    • Riyoko, too, especially, when Goro was boinking her.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the The Teaser for the first episode, when the female astronaut Fatma Toure Gutto sees unknown battle robots and military spacecraft on the moon and thinks, that they'll kill her for seeing them (they won't, but they take her prisoner).
  • The Pornomancer: Gorou and Lostman, who's first scene is them having sex with a pair of women as a "good luck ritual" before climbing Mt. Everest by themselves. This trend continues throughout the series.
  • Remote Body: The US military has secretly developed "Bigfoot" robots which are operated remotely using a Brain/Computer Interface and a version for orbital operations called "Guardian."
  • Robot Buddy: A camera robot shows up in season 2.
  • Shown Their Work: There is a tradition amongst Russian cosmonauts to urinate on the back tires of their transport shuttle before the flight , started by Gagarin himself and they actually depicted that tradition in this very anime.
  • Solar Flare Disaster: One hits the Galileo transport before it leaves for the Moon. The crewmembers of the first lunar expedition have to hide behind the Orion space shuttle and food and water supplies to shield themselves from the radiation.
  • Space Fighter: The US military has the X-77 Star Fighter, and the Chinese military has the Yǎolóng (咬龍). They are more realistic depictions, using reaction control system thrusters in a vacuum for rotation and movement instead of assuming Space Is Air. Thus, they don't need to be aerodynamic.
  • Space Plane: There is a single-stage to orbit spaceplane secretly developed by the US military called the X-68 Nightmare, which is used for transport to their clandestine space station. Other than that, there is the Russian space shuttle Gagarin, the American shuttles as they are in real life, and their next-gen shuttle Orion, which aren't SSTOs.
  • Space Station: An expanded version of the International Space Station is shown, with more modules and solar panels. The Galileo is essentially a mobile space station that travels between Earth and the Moon. The US military secretly has an even larger space station called "Enterprise," and China launches its own smaller station late in Season 2.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening of the anime shows events like space battles that occur later in the season and events even further into the future (possibly based on the manga) that the show never got to before getting cancelled, but were animated anyway.
  • Unobtainium: The main goal of the Nexus lunar colonization project is to extract helium-3 to power fusion reactors and beam the energy to Earth using microwaves. However, it is actually acknowledged that it is only found in very low concentrations, with only a few kilograms per hundreds of tonnes of lunar regolith.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Miguel turning around and vomiting into a vomit bag due to space sickness. Maggy the idol had that, too.