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Manga / 2001 Nights

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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.


  • 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.)
  • Dirty Commies: Eurasian Union in Night 11 and 12 is an Expy of Soviet Union with European Common Council playing as NATO counterpart. While Grey-and-Gray Morality is at play, they are portrayed as more bellicose on securing their resources (one of the two stories had ground troops destroying a colony based on their assumption of a freak lightning storm that damaged their ship as an enemy attack), and disregarding concerns for the environment of their colonized planets in their Five-Years Plan-style economic management. Though they do become Chummy Commies once euphoria inducing spores "infected" both theirs and their European-counterpart colonies.
  • 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.
  • Failed Future Forecast: The Soviet Union not only existed in the comics but also evolved into Eurasian Union by the time of Night 11.
  • 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.
  • Generation Ship: Tachyonian is piloted by a group of 5000 independent explorers, which majority of them are The New Generation, who will be venturing on an eternal voyage.
  • 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.
  • Space People: The New Generation is a new strain of humans who were born in space and skilled in handling spaceships but shown to have discomfort in staying on a planet (gravity, sea smell, etc). They are also the only people to keep on exploring the galaxy in the final chapter, which they have been collecting DNA from older planet-born generations to prevent rampant mutations due to their limited genepool of their small populace onboard Tachyonian.
  • Stalker with a Test Tube: In many chapter, a group of New Generation have sexual intercourse with older males and generations to collect genetic materials. The final chapter also had them attempting to use children, who were clones from 400 years old couple, which their old DNA samples were needed to prevent inbreeding resulting from their small populace in an eternal journey into the stars. Luckily, they were spared in exchange for Igor, a partner of the clones' donors' descendents.
  • Standard Sci-Fi History
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The American biologist and Russian interpreter in "Symbiotic Planet".
  • Time Dilation: One of the stories involved an astronaut who became trapped in a wormhole, leaving his wife and his children behind. In the end, the elderly wife joined him again in the wormhole once it was open and the husband turned out to be alive..
  • Twincest: The twin sisters in "Lucifer Rising" had mutual affections that comes out of left field and is never explained.
  • 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!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The crew of Tachyonian plan to harvest DNA Material from the children, who were part of the Seed Ship from first chapter, which their primeval genes would lengthen the genetic survival of their small populace. Fortunately, they were spared in exchange for Igor to join with them.