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Episode 5 Fly Me to the Moon is an odd little story, full of contrived coincidences that plays to redemption and the rekindling of dreams. Fly Me to the Moon works surprisingly well, but wouldn’t have any earlier in the series.

TRIGGER WARNING: This synopsis contains mentions of attempted suicide.

The Tag

The tag is all about the debris, with some of the episode 1 footage of the Alnair 8 getting another run.

Act One

Fly Me to the Moon opens with a pensive Yuri being left on ISPV-7 as Hachimaki, Fee, and Ai are heading to the moon on holiday. Cheng-Shin is part of the piloting staff on the passenger liner.

I think that should say "Luna Ferry"

I think that should say “Luna Ferry

I usually ignore the Japlish I see in anime, but Luna Felly was too good to pass up.

The character interactions in the opening scene are really well done: Ai is the enthusiastic tourist, Hachimaki the jaded cynic, and Fee the tolerant one. At this point some guy crashes into Ai claiming to be not used to zero-G, very shortly afterwards Ai’s wallet is missing.

This is not a phone. This is a spaceship.

This is not a phone. This is a spaceship.

Once the ship clears the Van Allen belt it opens up into a “normal cruising” mode that makes me think of a mobile phone every time I see it.

In one of the staterooms a couple with a young daughter are fleeing loan sharks, the only ones who would lend them the money to replace gasoline machines at a family factory. The couple are planning to commit suicide.

Hachimaki hears screams coming from the rescue ball room and enters to see a woman being attacked. Hachimaki’s instinctive response is met with a scream of “CUT!” Hachimaki has interrupted the filming of a movie, and having knocked the male lead unconscious gets bullied into standing in for him.

The little girl, Sia [1], is trying to use one of the telescopes in the main lounge and is not getting very far until Ai swipes her ID card to pay for it [2].

Ai and Fee go looking for Hachimaki and stumble on to the filming of the same scene, with similar reactions [3]. It turns out that filming the movie is illegal, and the film crew’s equipment is confiscated [4].

Sia has gone missing, and her parents are looking for her when they run into Hachimaki and Ai.

Ai immediately volunteers to help look for her and Hachimaki goes along somewhat reluctantly. There is a slight case of Idiot Ball at work here: Ai and Hachimaki should simply have reported this to the crew but doing it this way is necessary for the plot to work.

The parents run into the thief from before, with similar results.

In the rescue ball depot, Sia is cheerfully playing with her “little space ships”. Ai and Hachimaki find her there and this is where Hachimaki’s lingering issues over spaceships come to the fore. He isn’t very good with, or kind to, Sia but Ai picks up the slack in this scene.

Sia clearly knows more about her parents problems than they realise. This is when her parents arrive.

Act Two

Back in their cabin the parents are persuading Sia to take “medicine” with them. It isn’t easy, but it works only for the father to find the case with the tablets missing. This is a hard scene to watch, but it is reasonably well handled.

In a rest room the thief is discovering that he has medicine instead of something valuable, and promptly flushes it.

There's no sign of this in the original scene. I checked.

There’s no sign of this in the original scene. I checked.

Lucie [5] is flirting with Cheng-Shin when another crew member reports that there is something to look at on the movie camera. There is footage of Ai being pick pocketed, and Lucie mentions that there have been about half a dozen lost property reports. Cheng-shin orders his arrest immediately, but he gets away initially

Sia and Hachimaki are talking in the lounge whilst the others are getting ice creams. Sia’s innocent dreams clearly get through to Hachimaki here, there’s a sense of him starting to remember his own dreams.

This triggers the final set of coincidences with all the characters in the main lounge and, almost inevitably by this point, Sia taken hostage by the thief.

This scene contains all the melodrama that would be expected from the set up. This includes the realisation by Sia’s parents that no matter how hard things are for them; they have no right to take Sia with them.

The resolution again touches on the long standing friendship between Hachimaki and Cheng-Shin. Cheng-shin is forced to leave the lounge by the thief, but passes his earpiece to Hachimaki. Cheng-shin then relies on Hachimaki’s skills to take advantage of the pilots putting rotation on the ship to create unexpected gravity.

Things to Come

The primary source of energy in Planetes is fusion from Helium-3 that is being mined on the moon. However the transition away from fossil fuels was messy at best. Sia and her parents are the first victims of this transition to be seen in Planetes, there will be others.

Summary

For all that Fly Me to the Moon is an enjoyable episode, it is incredibly contrived. Fly Me to the Moon works at the TV episode length of 23 minutes, but would have failed horribly at any longer length.

The best part of this episode is seeing Sia get past Hachimaki’s shell to The Dream of space that still lurks within.

Other than that, this is an episode best enjoyed with a liberal dose of Bellisario’s Maxim: Don’t examine this too closely.

Day 1: Outside the Atmosphere
Day 2: Like a Dream
Day 3: Return Trajectory
Day 4: Part of the Job
Day 5: Fly Me to the Moon
Day 6: The Lunar Flying Squirrels
Day 7: Sub vs Dub
Day 8: Extraterrestrial Girl
Day 9: A Place To Cling To
Day 10: Regrets
Day 11: A Sky of Stardust
Day 12: Boundary Line
Day 13: A Modest Request
Day 14: Scenery with a Rocket
Day 15: ???
Day 16: Turning Point
Day 17: In Her Case
Day 18: Ignition
Day 19: His Reasons
Day 20: Debris Section, The Last Day
Day 21: Endings are Always…
Day 22: ???
Day 23: Tentative Steps
Day 24: Tandem Mirror
Day 25: Exposure
Day 26: Debris Cluster
Day 27: Love
Day 28: The Lost
Day 29: And the Days we Chance Upon…
Day 30: Looking back at Planetes

Omake: EOS Space Systems

This is an advertisement for an “Australian publicly owned defense and aerospace technology company.”  There is some relevance to Planetes in terms of their activities with Satellite Laser Ranging, but overall this slide gallery scores a “meh” from me.



[1] All of Sia’s clothes look like space suits; Sia is a very cute and very space crazy kid.


[2] Fee’s dialogue in this scene implies that it was Fee’s card that Ai used.


[3] Ai’s punch doesn’t hurt Hachimaki as much as Hachimaki’s boot hurt the other guy.


[4] Most of the equipment is confiscated, and you do not want to know where the director was hiding the mini camera.


[5] Lucie is one of Ai’s friends and is working as a flight attendant.