image
image
image
imageimage
image

image

 

 

Phase 12: A Modest Request

 

Review by Scott Richardson

May 29, 2006

 

Summary

 

Toy Box is brought to the Moon for an overhaul by Fee, Yuri and Lavie. Lavie haggles with the mechanic as Fee leaves to have a smoke, complaining that she hasn't had one in four days. Unfortunately for Fee, a briefcase bomb explodes, destroying the smoking room and damaging the surrounding area. A member of the clean up crew explains that bombing smoking rooms is the new favorite tactic of the Space Defense Front, a terrorist organization which wants humanity to withdraw from space. Back in Debris Section, Hachi wonders where Tanabe is and is informed that she took the day off to prepare for a date. As Myers begins to make up wild stories as to whom she might be going out with, they are interrupted by Lucie--whom Hachi recognizes as Tanabe's best friend. Lucie asks Hachi to talk to her in private for a minute. Meanwhile, on the Moon, Fee still hasn't been able to find a place to smoke. Due to the bombings, all the smoking rooms in the city are being dismantled. Diving into a restroom to escape an unwanted anti-smoking lecture, Fee decides it won't hurt anybody if she sneaks just one little cigarette in the bathroom. Unfortunately, the second she flicks her lighter, the fire suppression system goes off, soaking the entire room. Back on Seven, Tanabe tries on a new dress for her date with Cheng-Shin, but decides that it would make her seem too enthusiastic. She walks by a cafe and notices Hachi sitting in a booth. She goes in to say hi, but then she notices Lucie is there with him and hears her ask Hachi if he's seeing anyone. Tanabe immediately hides and further hears Lucie say something about 'just being your girlfriend would be enough.' Calling it like she sees it, a somewhat irritated Tanabe rushes out of the cafe and goes to buy that dress--unfortunately missing the part where Lucie explains that she wants Hachi to date Tanabe so Cheng-Shin will be free to go out with her. Hachi reacts angrily, but Lucie further explains that she's also doing this because Tanabe has a thing for him--a revelation that startles Hachi. On the Moon, a very wet Fee wanders back to Toy Box and tells Lavie that she's borrowing the buggy to go smoke in the next city over. Lavie protests, but an angry, nicotine-withdrawn glare from Fee quickly silences him. After a quick trip over the surface, Fee finally arrives at a functional smoking room, running into a trench coat-wearing man on his way out. In high spirits, she greets him as a fellow smoker, but he quickly makes an excuse and leaves. Noticing he left his briefcase, she tries to wave him down--but suddenly realizes what's about to happen and runs for cover. Though she escapes the explosion with no physical injuries, Fee tries one last time to light up, only to once again be soaked by the fire suppression system. Giving in to madness, Fee cackles wildly. 

 

The next day in Debris Section, Hachi asks Tanabe how her big date went. Tanabe ambivalently informs him that she had a great time and asks Hachi if he and Lucie are an item now. A surprised Hachi quickly recovers and--not wanting to admit what Lucie really talked to him about--tries to play himself off as a real lady's man. Tanabe makes a crack about him getting dumped by Claire and the ensuing argument results in Tanabe throwing a bunch of Nora dolls at Hachi. With plenty of ammunition at their disposal, Tanabe and Hachi begin throwing things back and forth, yelling at each other all the way. Unfortunately, Hachi winds up throwing an open bottle of liquid which hits Fee's smoking seat. At that very moment Fee--who had just returned on Toy Box--bursts into the room and declares it "smoking time". Her smoking seat shorts out and begins to bellow smoke, triggering the fire suppression system which soaks the entire office. Later, Toy Box heads out on another mission and deploys both Fishbones. Hachi tells Yuri they really don't need another Fishbone for this job, but Yuri begs him to let him come along, not wanting to stay on the ship with Fee who hasn't had a cigarette in ten days. Their conversation about Fee's growing insanity is cut short when Yuri realizes that the satellite they're approaching is emitting a video signal. The signal is being broadcast on all frequencies and contains a message from the trench coated-man who planted the smoking room bombs. He begins a rant directed at all companies with interests in space. At the end of the 20th century, with the oil running out, people scrabbled to find a new energy source, eventually finding it in the helium-3 deposits on the Moon. Humanity has learned nothing from the mistakes of the last century, merely replacing one limited resource for another. He goes on to say that the Space Defense Front has insured that this day will be remembered as the day humanity withdrew from space. At that point, the satellite launches itself in toward Seven. As Hachi, Tanabe, and Yuri try to figure out what they should do, Fee recognizes only one thing--the terrorists are about to destroy her nearly fixed smoking seat. Losing it completely, she launches Toy Box into a pursuit course. OSA command on Seven tracks the satellite and estimates it will collide with Seven in seven minutes. The commander tells everyone not to worry--Seven can withstand an impact with an object that size--but is informed that due to recent environmental maintenance, oxygen levels are at their absolute maximum. If the satellite hits Seven, the resulting explosion will destroy Seven completely. It seems the Space Defense Front is attempting to cause Kessler Syndrome--debris from Seven would go on to cause other debris at an exponential rate, eventually cutting humanity completely off from space. The OSA scrambles to destroy the satellite, but most of their defensive laser satellites were sent to defend ISPV-9, which was deemed a more likely target. Unable to do anything to avoid the satellite, the OSA commander has just about given up hope when a report comes in regarding another incoming object--the Toy Box. Fee pushes the ship so hard it begins to fall apart around her, but all she cares about now is protecting her cigarettes. Just before impact, Fee violently rams Toy Box into the satellite, causing it to miss Seven completely and break up while entering the atmosphere. Unfortunately, Toy Box--mortally wounded by the collision--also begins falling to Earth. Unable to pull out, Toy Box's emergency reentry pod ejects just as the ship begins to break up... Somewhere on the ocean, a completely calm Fee floats around on an emergency life raft, finally enjoying a smoke. Hachi and the others have contacted her over her emergency communications gear. Hachi tells her that the OSA wants to give her a commendation and then starts lecturing her about her recklessness. Calmly brushing him off, she tells him that it's a wonderful thing to be alive. 

 

Commentary

 

Remember kids, smoking is bad for you--but apparently keeping an addict from them can be even more hazardous to your health. This episode always makes me smile--crazy, nicotine-withdrawn Fee is hilarious to watch. The whole chase sequence with Fee ranting about the terrorists trying to destroy the only place in hundreds of miles where she can smoke while Toy Box falls apart around her was very well done in both animation and characterization. It was also quite a surprise to see them do away with poor Toy Box at the end of the episode, though it was at least sacrificed for a good cause. Kessler Syndrome is a real theory put forth by a NASA consultant, Donald J. Kessler, and is considered a theoretical threat to future space exploration (though currently there is mostly likely too little material in orbit for us to be completely cut off). Though Kessler Syndrome would fade in time, the worst case scenario could have humanity cut off from space for thousands of years. Scary stuff, really. 

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
Spacerimage

 

Planetes Episode 12 Planetes Episode 12

image

image

image

image

image

 

image
image
image
imageimage