Makoto Yukimura's Planetes got my attention near the start of the "cheap and fast manga paperbacks" era, and its science fiction tale of orbital garbagemen, collecting space debris and delving through layers of "resolve to exist beyond normal limits" to simple human connections in the end, left me with a "will anything else measure up to it soon?" sort of feeling. While his following work Vinland Saga has got through some risk-of-being-discontinued spots over here, it did get my attention again when I heard Planetes had been licensed once more, now by Dark Horse Comics. I did my best to buy both of the enlarged new volumes as soon as they were released, but it did take a bit longer to get around to reading them, specifically the Christmas holidays. Once I'd started reading them, though, I got through them with the speed of fresh interest.
There were plenty of colour plates in this new release, but I realized on getting to the end of the first volume that one thing hadn't changed from the old Tokyopop days in that there were no translations offered of the sound effects, not even a table in the back. It didn't quite seem like a matter of "there's no sound in space," either. Still, I could push on, and the latter half of the second volume perhaps felt unexpectedly fresh. I'd recalled a certain amount of "debris getting out of control" bleakness to it before even as the central character Hachimaki, his own personal plot arc more or less complete, is heading off to Jupiter. This time, though, I was taking more note of how the late plot arc featuring the debris-collecting ship captain Fee, managed to touch on racial issues in a way that avoided "it's always easy to pick up on someone else's unexamined assumptions" and got to a sort of "bad stuff bigger than any one person has happened, but there's still something that can be done" place.
All of this, though, did get me thinking again of the Planetes anime, which diverges a good bit from the manga from the beginning yet has seemed at times to be one of the more successful anime doing that. As I've already said, it's just a bit easier to find the conviction to return to an anime series, and now I've got one in mind.
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