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Planetes

Planetes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On one level Regrets is overtly about community, about chains of relationships in a small professional world. On another level it is about establishing the flaws in the Planetes community, and leaving clues for what is to come.

The Tag

The tag is a mix of the “Debris is bad” message, some clumsy romance plotting during a debris collection mission, and the arrival of the Orbital Security Agency. This includes the first mention of the Space Defence Front, and the arrival of Hachimaki’s Sensei [1].

Act One

Back on ISPV-7 Gigalt Gungulgash is introducing himself to the Debris Section, but everyone except Ai already seems to know him. Gigalt used to work with the Debris Section, and as mentioned before was Hachimaki’s Sensei. He also has nicknames for everyone, since he finds those easier to remember [2].

The OSA is conducting security training exercises with Technora at the moment.

In the control section Claire is taking on more work than is wise, particularly with respect to the OSA report. There is also a mention of a Tandem Mirror project that Claire is managing the logistics of. Her willingness to volunteer is unwise in another way as it makes one of the managers from A Place To Cling To look bad.

Lucie is trying to get a date with Cheng-Shin but isn’t getting anywhere. Lucie does come right out and ask if Cheng-Shin is interested in Tanabe.

The training sequence is a montage of scenes ranging from inspecting rescue balls for high explosives planted by the Space Defence Front, making Ai suit up faster, EVA practice, dumping huge amounts of vegies on Hachimaki’s plate, and armwrestling.

Hachimaki and Ai are talking about Gigalt on a supply run to the warehouse, and about how Hachimaki looks up to Gigalt. Ai is pleased to point out that she sees Hachimaki as her Sensei, but Hachimaki doesn’t think he’s good enough to be a Sensei. This is when Ai answers Hachimaki’s earlier questions about her romantic status, not realising that Hachimaki was asking on Cheng-Shin’s behalf.

On the way to a farewell party Fee and Gigalt are talking about Harry Roland, and it turns out that Harry was Gigalt’s Sensei. Gigalt is shocked to hear of Harry’s death, and the leukaemia.

The party itself shows that the Debris Section can be fairly heavy drinkers. Gigalt asks about Hachimaki’s relationship with Swan, aka Claire. Ai doesn’t let this drop until Hachimaki admits that they broke up.

Ai is drifting back into her quarters past Lucie. Lucie wants to talk to Tanabe after her next flight, but Ai isn’t really paying attention. This is just as well given the, well, catty overtones to what Lucie is saying [3].

The next morning Ai seems to have recovered from the booze with no signs of a hangover, although there is mention of a sauna and a check of her alcohol levels. This is just as well as the Debris Section is loading up the Toy Box for their next mission under Gigalt’s supervision.

Hachimaki has headed back to get his hachimaki (headband). According to Gigalt, the hachimaki is a switch, something that Hachimaki uses to put himself into the right frame of mind for dealing with space.

Ai also asks about Claire’s nickname of Swan. Gigalt eventually admits that it is the graceful image of a swan gliding through the water hiding the frantic paddling underneath. Even three years ago Gigalt saw the truth of Claire’s nature.

In control section Claire is indeed pushing herself too hard, and with no support.

Act Two

The Toy Box heads out to the debris to find dumpers welding barrels of waste to it like toxic waste or spent atomic fuel.

The Toy Box grabs the other ship, and the dumpers then try to cut the arms off. Gigalt and Hachimaki head out to delay them until the OSA can arrive.

Hachimaki bans Ai from coming with them as she’s not ready for zero-G combat, especially not without a safety line. Hachimaki is right, but demonstrating it inside the Toy Box was a nasty way of proving it. Gigalt has words for Hachimaki over this.

The initial skirmishes between Hachimaki, Gigalt, and the dumpers show just how good Hachimaki and Gigalt are.

Fee starts using the Toy Box’s OMS to drive the dumper towards the OSA.

Hachimaki gets his foot caught in some adhesive that leaves him stuck to the hull. Gigalt fights off some others until one of his arm jets gets jammed in the fight, throwing him away from the ships.

Gigalt eventually destroys the damaged thruster but is drifting away into space, and accepting his fate, when Ai turns up with the fishbone.

The dumpers finally cut the arm, and accelerate away from the Toy Box. The dumpers start moving in on the trapped Hachimaki only to be interrupted by the OSA.

The OSA are heavily armed, and are not messing around.

The most impressive of the OSA EVA crew turns out to be Gigalt’s other apprentice Hakim Ashmead, who does not have a nickname [4]. Gigalt is pleased to see his apprentices working together, and the idea of spacemen only retiring when they die comes up again.

Ai is removing the ruined thruster from Gigalt’s spacesuit. This is when Gigalt bestows the nickname of Angel on Ai before coughing up blood.

Gigalt also has cancer, and is not treatable. He asks Ai to not tell Hachimaki about this.

Things To Come

Planetes is one of the few [5], if not the only, anime to seriously deal with terrorism as a major plot point. Regrets contains the first mention of the Space Defence Front, it won’t be the last.

There are more hints that all is not well in Claire’s world, and that the space community isn’t the utopia that Ai was expecting when she started. It also introduces Hakim Ashmead who will be a recurring character, and occasional rival, to Hachimaki.

Gigalt is the second character to be dealing with cancer from radiation exposure in space, and he will be seen again.

Summary

This is a solid episode about the space community, specifically the connections from Harry Roland to Gigalt Gungulmash to Gigalt’s own apprentices Hachimaki and Hakim. The addition of the OSA, and the debris dumpers, add a lot of depth to the world building with both police and criminals rounding out the space community.

However the romantic subplots circling Ai are frankly annoying, and don’t get any better for a while.

Overall Regrets is a strong return to form from the disappointing A Place To Cling To.

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: Audio Drama 3

The third audio drama is set during Extraterrestial Girl, it is a conversation on a bus between Fee and Ai after visiting Hachimaki in hospital.

Along the way Ai is commenting about aspects of Hachimaki’s character, and Fee points out that there is another person like that in the Debris Section (i.e. Ai).

Naturally Ai is utterly clueless and fingers someone different every time. This audio drama is quite funny, and well worth listening to at least once.



[1] Hachimaki’s sensei was seen, if not introduced, in the tag to Like a Dream.


[2] The nicknames also reflect Gigalt’s shrewd assessment of the person’s character.


[3] Lucie isn’t a bad person, just a little too focussed on Cheng-Shin right now.


[4] That will be important later.


[5] This does occasionally surprise me. I do wonder about the influence of the September 11 attacks on the Planetes storyline (which was produced in 2003/4).