Planetes Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A+

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 240
  • ISBN: 1-59182-510-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Planetes Vol. #03

By Jarred Pine     October 06, 2005
Release Date: June 01, 2004

Planetes Vol.#03

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Makoto Yukimura
Translated by:Yuki Nakamura
Adapted by:

What They Say
After an excruciating selection process, Hachimaki is accepted into the Mars Development Project, his lifelong dream. However, feelings of elation are soon sucked up by a black hole of despair ... Hachimaki's space odyssey forces him to face the void as he contemplates the meaning to his existence and the nature of his life in space.

The Review
One can feel quite insignificant while exploring the vastness of space, and the relationships that one maintains while millions of miles away from their partner can be quite complex. Yukimura delivers quite a poetic and touching volume here about two lost souls coming together in a futuristic hard sci-fi universe.

The cover uses the same illustration from the Japanese tankubon, which looks amazing on the matte finish, especially this volume which is rich with bright colors on the cover. There are no color pages inside this time, and I’m not sure if the original tankubon release contained any. The print reproduction looks very sharp and clean. There is one extra which is a couple pages of a 4 panel comic inserted in the book that is quite humorous.

Yukimura’s artwork continues to be quite solid. Character designs are very strong with a realistic style. I was especially impressed with how Yukimura was able to show how much weight Hachimaki had lost, and the stress he was under, through his change in facial features. The panels are also rich with exquisite detail and background artwork.

SFX are not translated. I appreciate not touching the great artwork, but I did find myself needing to know the SFX on a couple of occasions, so a glossary would have been appreciated. There are subbed editor’s notes and signs in the margins.

The translation is finally looking error free in this volume, and as a nice gesture the translation of the poem from the previous volume is included. There continues to be a few honorifics left intact when they are necessary, Tanabe still uses the honorific “senpai” when referring to Hachimaki. The dialogue is also filled with a lot of hard sci-fi terminology, which comes through very clear.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
It is now the year 2077, and Hachimaki has begun his Jupiter training simulations. He has made it to his goal of becoming an EVA Specialist on the Von Braun mission, but something is still empty inside of him. To make matters worse, he spaced out for an entire week while camping on the moon’s surface and is now having hallucinations of a dead cat. He has lost 10kg of weight, displays big bags under his eyes on his unshaven face, and has not had an erection in god knows how long. Even the porno magazine and video temptations from his father have no effect. Hachimaki has for all intents and purposes become a zombie. After he receives some “motherly” help from his crewmate Sally, he realizes that he must make one more trip back to Earth to see someone who has entered his thoughts, Ai Tanabe.

Yukimura does an excellent job at the beginning of this volume with making sure the reader feels how hard Hachimaki has hit the wall. For so long, Hachimaki has kept his fears, anger, pain, loneliness, everything all inside of him using it as fuel to get him to his goal. Now that he has arrived, all that fuel is gone, and he feels calm yet empty. He also is beginning to feel the weight of his insignificance in this universe, and the despair of exploring it alone. Through a great change his Hachimaki’s character design to show off his weight loss and stressed face, along with the surreal dream moments of his consciousness, Yukimura made me feel how hard Hachimaki had hit that wall. The moment he realized that Tanabe was the person he needed to seek out, I knew I was in for a emotional volume as these two begin their relationship together.

I really enjoyed seeing how Yukimura brought these two together as well. There is a chapter fully devoted to Tanabe’s growing up as an adopted child who was abandoned on the doorstep of a naturalist couple, a late-bloomer who would not speak to anyone. It is clear why Tanabe feels so strongly about love and not being alone, she herself has been searching for that person to fill that void that her birth mother left when Tanabe was abandoned. She was even unable to fill out her will, quite an emotional scene for her that has tears running down my face no matter how times I read it. The story in this volume unites two lost souls in this giant universe to fill that void or emptiness inside of each other. It’s quite a touching moment, and is the type of romance that I much more prefer over the angst-filled romances that are more common in manga titles.

There is an extra chapter at the end of this volume that I found to be quite an enjoyable little one-off about Goro Hoshino and his time spent on Mars during the birth of Hachimaki. Yukimura does a great job in this volume exploring these complex relationships that happen in a world where partners can be separated by 80 million kilometers. It’s a pretty simple chapter, but it has a very poetic feel. And I of course love seeing the baseball being played on Mars!

It is pretty hard to discuss this volume without spoiling anything. The development that Yukimura scripts with both Hachimaki and Tanabe is quite a treat to read, two lost souls finding what they need to fill that emptiness inside of themselves. Relationships can be a very complicated thing, especially in a universe where a spouse could be traveling millions of miles away from home. Lacking the action and drama that was present in previous volumes, Yukimura slows down the pace and creates quite a poetic mood here that is emotional on many different levels. Don’t miss out on this title. Highly Recommended.


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