Reviews: various anime

Planetes, or rather, ΠΛΑΝΗΤΕΣ, is not a particularly recent series. A friend shared a few episodes before I left for England, though it was only towards to end of last year that I managed to sit down and watch it.


Planetes
depicts a future within which mankind has colonised the moon. However, instead of focusing on the glamourous side of the business, it looks at the dangers of polluting space. As several space disasters have shown us, even a small piece of debris can have catastrophic effects, hence, debris collectors such as Hachirota “Hachimaki” Hoshino, and newcomer Ai Tanabe, are also important in such a future.

Besides sci-fi, ANN classifies this series as being Comedy, Drama, Slice-of-Life and Shounen. This might help it appeal to people who are looking for more than standard, run-of-the-mill action series. And Planetes has some very important themes which more people should be exposed to. For example, the rich-poor division is still increasing, affecting both individuals and nations; company politics still directs how many lives are lived (a few more are probably mentioned here). These issues are well depicted, and the conflicts resolved in the expected manner (given modern societies). In fact, both manga and anime are apparently both critically acclaimed.

However, with Hachi’s character, it almost seemed like those issues were put aside in the end. I know that ordinary people often cannot make a huge impact on the world, that, if one doesn’t want to be labeled as a terrorist, official channels are the only way to go – and they’re not exactly calculated to make things easy for the strugglers in this capitalist world. And there were so many little side stories and characters to follow – I’ve forgotten most of their names… As for Fee’s problem with the loss of a smoking compartment – funny, but stupid. I guess I mean to say that…because there were several really serious political issues, I could have done without some of those histronics which they seemed to think of as important in developing the characters… I do recommend watching it if political and social issues are of interest to you, but it’s not something I’m going to see again. 7.5/10.

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Gundam SEED C.E. 73 Stargazer is an ONA released about midway through last year. It’s a side story that begins after the Junius 7 drop (the Break the World incident), dealing primarily with another member of the Phantom Pain force (Sven Cal Bayan, Natural) and a female researcher (Selene McGriff, Coordinator) working on the ‘Stargazer’ project for the neutral Deep Space Survey and Development Organization (DSSD). (wiki episode synopsis)

Each episode was only about 15 minutes long (perfect for me to watch whilst having dinner), but the month gap between releases meant that I’d generally forgotten what the story was when it was time to continue. Nevertheless, I feel that this side-story was developed more successfully than GSD. It shows that there were at least some organisations focusing on research in order to improve the entire human race, rather than concerning themselves with politics and power as so many of the other C.E. organisations do. There was a reasonable amount of fighting and an ending which I approve of, sad though it might be. 8/10

For interest: due to his accident, Kamiya Hiroshi had to be replaced by Miyano Mamoru for the third episode and the DVD releases.

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If I chose anime based solely on character design, I would never have sat through Fantastic Children. But this series was licensed even before it was released, so I had to try it. Although I agree with ANN in that it’s for older children, this is one of the best stories I’ve seen in recent times.

Fantastic Children begins in the future, but the past is highly important. For centuries, a mysterious group of white-haired children have been traveling through Europe, disappearing whenever someone comes close to finding them, only to appear again several years later. In 2012, a young boy name Tohma meets Helga, a quiet girl searching for the answers to an image she keeps painting. The meeting of these two parties reveals a history of love and conflict that has been tormenting many individuals for centuries.

I don’t want to reveal any more of the plot. To put it simply, Fantastic Children is an excellent series which one should watch in order to appreciate. I loved the mystery and beauty of its plot, and the pacing is second to none. I can’t think of any stories or episodes that I thought were superfluous. And I really like bittersweet endings for some reason… Although this is a series I would never buy – primarily because of the character design, I highly recommended it. 8.5/10

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Until the ‘ants’ arc of the manga, Hunter x Hunter really was an engrossing series. The same can be said of Hunter x Hunter the anime, which faithfully reproduced the plot and characterisation of its paper counterpart, and, best of all, never subjected us to fillers, opting for discontinuation instead of stupidity. Of course, this doesn’t mean they left it incomplete (unlike Hikago) – the entire Greed Island arc was released on OVA.

Besides the plot, the characters and the seiyuu chosen to represent them were the main reasons I enjoyed it so much. Takahashi Hiroshi’s maniacal laughter as Hisoka; Mitsuhashi Kanako as an incredulous Killua, especially when exposed to things previously unknown to him (oh, and his psycho family – I really want to know a bit more about his sister); Takeuchi Junko as the naive but sensitive Gon (a freak through and through). The main negative, I guess, is that it’s otherwise a pretty typical shounen series – it’s just one of the better ones if this genre is what you subscribe to. (7.5/10)

Unfortunately, since Togashi Yoshihiro became ill, the art and story has deteriorated to the extent that it looks like HxH will never be finished.

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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