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Manga / Planetes

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Garbage collecting... IN SPACE! Because in space, bolts screw you.

Planetes (derived from the Greek word for Planets, which translates to "Wanderers") is a seinen manga series by Makoto Yukimura that ran in Morning from 1999 to 2004. It 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 bolt-sized piece of debris at orbital velocity (the minimum speed it needs to travel at to remain in orbit) can take down a spacecraft. This is because orbital velocity for an object in Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) is about 7.5 km per second or 27000 km/h, which is more than five times the initial speed of a kinetic penetrator tank round.note  So, our "heroes" (really just blue-collar astronauts and administrators) must collect and salvage this space junk.

The manga is licensed by Dark Horse Comics and available in two omnibus volumes. It was adapted to a 26-episode anime series that aired from 2003 to 2004; it is licensed by Bandai and available on Blu-ray.

Please don't read the examples if you ever plan on watching the show. Just don't.

Provides examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: In effect. At the very beginning, upon first arriving at the ISVP7 station, Tanabe sees a hairy pink creature holding an information sign. But she quickly remembers that it's only Technora's company mascot.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Chapter 9 of the manga.
  • Alliterative Name: Hachirota "Hachimaki" Hoshino.
  • Almost Kiss: Hachimaki and Tanabe nearly have one on the beach in episode 13, until a rocket launched by Hachimaki's brother nearly hits them.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parent:
    • 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.
  • Badass Crew: The crew of the Toybox, with the biggest badass of them all, Fee, as captain.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: One of the heavily debated interpretations of the Space Defense Front: the Obviously Evil genocidal terrorist nations succeed in forcing the industrial nations which invested heavily in space and sacrificed lives to that effort to give up their investments, most likely causing a depression. It's unlikely that the "underdogs" will see a cent of that money, as it will likely go into the pockets of dictators — who just might be inspired by the SDF's success to further acts of terrorism. Ironically summed up by Hakim's rationale for joining the SDF: since fossil fuels are now obsolete, the oil trade that his home country had depended on could no longer provide significant revenue, making them take a back seat to nations that had already invested in alternative energy sources. Acquiescence to the SDF's demands means that the holders of the old hydrocarbon energy monopolies will still be pulling in significant amounts of money, and quite a few of them are not the nicest people ever. So, not only will dictators with ties to terrorism be rewarded, it will probably be the exact same dictators with ties to terrorism that are currently in power. 24 In Space anyone?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Byronic Hero: Werner Locksmith, the man who can only love spaceships.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The story spares no expense at the destructive influence capitalism would have on space development from exacerbating class struggles to the favoring of negligence for the sake of profit among many other things.
  • Character Development: Quite a few characters get episodes that focus on them, and we get to learn more about their past as well as why they act the way they do, such as Hachimaki wearing said headband all the time.
  • 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 an unusual, unemployed black loner in the Deep South, and was feared and ostracized by almost everyone around as a result. After he was suspected of kidnapping a neighbor's daughter, the locals 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 foil another 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.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Moon Ninjas from the anime are eventually mentioned again...
    • Pretty much everyone who shows up in the Anime is mentioned or visited again.
    • Cross-continuity in the manga: when the author made a bonus four-panel comic gag including Claire, an anime-only character, he didn't draw her face because he didn't think he could draw her right.
  • Cooldown Hug: In the manga, Ai to stop Hachi's Unstoppable Rage Tranquil Fury, as the latter is about to kill Hakim. Preceded by a "Shut Up" Kiss just before Hachi pulls the trigger, and followed by a Post-Kiss Catatonia (since the compartment had suffered a hull breach and Ai was already feeling the effects of low air pressure.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Gigalt.
    • Goro as well, though mostly in the manga, where he's much better developed.
  • Cool Ship:
  • Credits Running Sequence: Hachimaki does this in the intro. It starts off as a slow jog, but towards the end he does a full on sprint, stumbling briefly before picking up his pace again.
  • Creepy Child: Of all people, Tanabe's childhood in the manga, when she was also The Voiceless.
  • 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.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: Virtually all the major supporting cast gets an episode focused on them to an extent.
  • 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.
  • Delicate and Sickly: Nono is a rare case of a Genki Girl who is also technically one of these. She's a Lunarian; a human who was born and raised on the moon, and human bodies obviously didn't evolve in 1/6th Earth gravity, which resulted in numerous side effects. Hachimaki is implied to have been developing a crush on her during his stay in the hospital, and has a short-lived BSOD when he realizes that the friendly, attractive woman who's actually a bit taller than him is actually a twelve-year-old girl. She lives in the hospital because she needs constant treatment just to stay alive, and judging by the looks of her room (which is filled with gym equipment) has to exercise constantly so she doesn't get any sicker. If she actually tried to land on Earth, she would be severely handicapped, and even that's assuming her cardiovascular system wouldn't just give out. She's super-cheerful because she's flourished under the constant care and attention, and proud that her life has improved the lives of pretty much every human being alive; the techniques developed to keep her alive have revolutionized medicine, resulting in countless breakthroughs in treating organ failure, radiation sickness, strengthening muscles and bones, etc.
  • 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.
    • The ship that the Toybox crew travel to the Moon aboard during episode 5, looks almost exactly like a gigantic, upside-down, 2000's flip-phone.
  • 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.
  • Emotions Versus Stoicism: You see this debate frequently in the manga among astronauts, arguing over whether it's better to shut yourself off and give in to the competitive nature of being involved in space or to open your heart to others in a world far bigger than the one they left behind.
  • Evolving Credits
  • The Extremist Was Right: The other heavily debated interpretation of the Space Defense Front: the united underdogs of earth succeed in forcing a bunch of fat cats to accept a deal that will prevent the rich nations able to afford space travel from getting dibs on all the solar system's resources while the rest of humanity is left to wither in war and poverty. Sure, they are willing to sacrifice a city of 100,000 in the process, but millions died and will continue dying from the wars and famine that INTO policies caused.
    • The most interesting part? In the manga, the SDF is just a means for industrial saboteurs to use Third World refugees as suicide bombers against rival companies. They're just the B plot of a single chapter - Ai and Hachi's relationship is the A plot. They dissolve in the ending text.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Claire, who joins the Space Defense Front when her life hits one too many speed bumps. It is never stated outright, but Hachimaki dumping her probably started her on her downward spiral
  • Failed Future Forecast: Written at the turn of the millenium, Planetes followed then-current predictions for space at the time, including "regular commercial shuttle flights to the ISS by 2010." The Columbia Disaster and subsequent setback to space development throws off the timeline considerably.
  • Fantastical Social Services: The Debris Section exists because the Technora corporation is legally required to contribute to clearing Earth orbit of dangerous, high-velocity trash. Despite the risks and training required of them, Debris Section astronauts are regarded as orbital garbage collectors and generally respected accordingly.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: 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.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Yuri keeps a kennel for the station's officers' pets, because he's that good with animals.
  • 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."
  • Gratuitous Greek: Well the show is called "Πλανήτες" meaning "wanderers" in Ancient Greek. Planets were seen as "wandering stars" by ancient astronomers.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Twice, between the same two characters. The first time, it works wonderfully on its audience and leads to a massive Heroic 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.
  • Heel Realization: Hakim in the final episode.
  • 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.
  • Hero of Another Story: The show refrains from oversimplifying political motives from the different factions that emerge in the story. These conflicts are resolved by more powerful figures mostly outside of the influence of the main characters.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ai. She survives, but with horrible injuries. Also, what everyone thought Fee was doing.
  • 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.
  • Human Alien: Baron, if we are to believe him.
  • 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.
  • I Was Never Here: There's no official record of Colin ever being on the Toybox, or of the crew helping him recover his camera that he'd forgotten while touring a space wreck. Of course, this also means that there's no official record of Ai socking him in the jaw, either.
  • 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.
  • Inherently Funny Words: "Dlum Mild".
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Never mentioned but inadvertently implied, due to many people in the cast acting in accordance with a few unique Japanese cultural norms on several occasions, regardless of their actual nationality.
    • Probably just on the animation crew part, the manga was more cosmopolitan and all specifically Japanese relationship norms were limited basically just to Hachi and Tanabe, who are both Japanese.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hachirota "Hachimaki" Hoshino
    • All Hoshino males, really: the brothers have clearly taken after their father. Hoshino's mom is basically a saint (and knows it).
  • Karma Houdini: Hakim.
    • The head of the Space Defense Force, and pretty much all of the members not killed or captured from the raid on the von Braun, as not only do they escape punishment they accomplish exactly what they set out to do.
    • Also, arguably. Locksmith, who happens to be delightfully aware of that fact. "I won't get fired even if I blow two or three labs to smithereens".
  • Killed Offscreen: The Moon Ninjas.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: INTO might as well stand for 'Is NATO, Totally Obvious', given that it is a very, very, very thinly-veiled Expy of the real-world NATO.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: In ch. 14 of the manga, Sally gets increasingly fed up with Hachimaki's state of distracted listlessness he's been in since his vision quest on the moon. She finally snaps, drags him back to her room, throws him on the bed, and strips naked in front of him. However, he doesn't respond to her, and admits that he hasn't had an erection since he was on the moon, as he became too mentally overwhelmed by what he experienced. He falls asleep in her arms after she hugs him, and she lets him remain in the bed to sleep beside her.
  • 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.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Lucie likes Cheng-Shin, who likes Tanabe, who likes Hachimaki, who seems to still have feelings for Claire or outright tries to avoid the issue.
  • Love Freak: Tanabe Ai
    • Well her given name; Ai, that is, does mean "Love" in Japanese.
  • 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.
  • Married to the Job: Hachimaki's father, Goro. His mother is extremely specific about how lucky he is to have her as a wife, as, by all rights, she should have gotten into an affair by now. It's also implied that Hachi himself is headed this way.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: As we explore the story, we come across several such Master-Apprentice Chains that were formed between Astronauts starting with Hachimaki having taken on the newcomer Ai Tanabe as his own apprentice. Several episodes later we are introduced to Hachimakis' own mentor Gilgalt Gangaragash who used to work in Debris Section before being moved up into the OSA; and had in that time taken on another apprentice of his own whom Hachi and the others are introduced to: Hakim Ashmead. Later on following an accident on the Moon; Hachimaki and Ai briefly meet with Astronaut Harry Roland who helped to pioneer the voyage to the Asteroid Belt years before, and as it was later revealed was Gilgalts' original mentor.
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: Discussed in episode one, as they're gathering equipment for the next mission.
    Hachimaki: 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)
  • 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. Hachirota's last name, Hoshino, is spelled "星野" and can be read literally as "star field", but phonetically it can sound like the possessive form, making his full name "星の八郎太" or "Hachirota of the stars".
  • Memento MacGuffin: Yuri's wife's compass. Eventually, Yuri decides to send it back into space with a test rocket because he no longer needs it to preserve his wife's memory.
  • 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.
  • 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 long before 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.
  • Must Have Nicotine: The main driver of episode 12, where Space Defense Front bombings deprive Fee of access to smoking rooms for nearly two weeks. She's so desperate for a smoke by the end that she's willing to ram Toy Box into a missile to save her almost-repaired smoking chamber.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Tanabe Ai, new hire and first-time astronaut
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The next episode previews almost always misdirect the viewer on what will be the most dramatic moment.
  • 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.
    • 2 packs a day uses about as much oxygen as an hour of exercise, making this Activists Cannot Do Math, the major danger is fire in the ultimate enclosed space (note the extremely thorough sprinkler system when Fee lights up in the bathroom), and secondarily smoke particles about precision machinery.
  • 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 couldn't care less.
  • Perspective Magic
  • 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...
  • Qurac: Mananga.
  • 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.
  • Recycled In Space: Probably the only literal example. It's a show about recycling... in space... space recycling.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Happens in episode 14 with Hachimaki and Tanabe.
  • 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 at 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.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Lavie's gag device to break the ice with Section 3's Debris department plays Thus Spake Zarathustra.
    • Fee's son adopts a Boston Terrier named Iggy.
  • Shown Their Work: Very much so.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Hachimaki and Kyuutaro. One brother is an astronaut, the other brother wants to build rockets and spaceships. Neither one believes that what the other pursues is a "serious" pursuit of outer-space.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The characters have to work hard for their ideals, and absolutely nothing ever comes easy for anyone, but the world of Planetes earnestly believes in the ultimate good within the soul of humanity.
  • 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 considerably darker 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.
  • Space Is Noisy: Averted, the only sounds that are ever heard in space comes from the POV characters' life-support system or User-Interface, and whenever an object they are connected with collides with anything else in space.
  • Space Plane: Used for both cargo and passengers. Cheng-Shin is a professional pilot for them.
  • Spell My Name With An S: Differences in romanization according to the anime and manga. More particularly, the Tandem-Mirror enginenote  is called the "Tandem Miller", as well as Hakim/Hakimu/Hakeem. Specific to the anime, the Assistant Manager's name is pronounced "Ravi," but spelled "Lavie."
  • The Stinger: A few of the earlier episodes that seem to end a little too close to saccharine 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.
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: Tokyopop's manga release didn't translate a very plot-significant Kenji Miyazawa poem from an astronaut's funeral. Fans were not pleased. Tokyopop released a painfully-literal translation a few volumes later.
  • Welcome Episode: Episode 1 lets the audience follow Tanabe as she arrives at ISVP7, meets everyone down in Debris Section, and is shown the ropes of the job.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Space Defense Force. Which makes it somewhat less terrible when The Bad Guy Wins. Their methods were pretty evil, but their goal that time wasn't.
    • 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.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 16, "Ignition."
  • Wham Line: Hachimaki gives one at the end of episode 18.
    Hachimaki: I'm quitting the Debris Section.
  • What You Are in the Dark: A double whammy in Episode 24.
  • 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.
  • Younger than She Looks: Nono, a girl Hachimaki befriends in a hospital on the moon, is slightly larger than him. In truth, though, she is only twelve: having lived her whole life on the moon, her body had grown taller than normal due to a lack of gravity.

I copy!


Video Example(s):


Cosmic Flame Squirrel

While escaping from a burning building using a handmade parachute made from bedsheets and using the 1/6th Gravity of the Moon to slow their fall, the Ninjas and Hachimaki still end up breaking several bones in the attempt.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / SmashCut

Media sources: