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Phase 14: Turning Point

 

Review by Scott Richardson

June 8, 2006

 

Summary

 

Hachi excitedly rips the plastic off the command chair of Debris Section's brand new spaceship as Tanabe looks on, love struck. They are interrupted by the sudden appearance of Lucie, who angrily calls Tanabe out for a private chat. Dragging her down to the materials room, Lucie asks Tanabe if she's fallen for "him," to which Tanabe replies in the affirmative. Tanabe goes on to softly gush about his good qualities and then wonders when she started feeling that way about him. A surprised Lucie suddenly realizes that Tanabe is talking about Hachi--rather than Cheng-Shin--and offers her wholehearted support. Meanwhile, Hachi is excitedly describing the new Toy Box's capabilities to Cheng-Shin. Uninterested, Cheng-Shin asks Hachi how Tanabe has been lately--mentioning that Tanabe hasn't been paying much attention to him since the Space Defense Front incident. Hachi says he hasn't noticed anything unusual, but then remembers his and Tanabe's near-kiss on Earth. Back on the job, Hachi decides that, as the man, he has to be the one to take care of this situation. After a bit of fumbling, he asks Tanabe if she wants to get something to eat with him after work. Just as she's about to agree, Lavie bursts into the room with an important announcement. As of that moment, all office dating is banned. It seems that over in Third Division, the daughter of the Division manager was secretly dating a rank-and-file employee and has become pregnant. The Division manager is furious and the employee is being reassigned to a mining operation on Mars along with his supervisor. Thus, in order to prevent the same fate from befalling himself and Myers, Lavie is banning office romances in Debris Section. Myers lends his support and throws in an extra warning for Hachi, since he used to go out with someone in Control Section. Losing his temper, Hachi yells that he isn't interested in anyone and all Technora women have ugly personalities anyway. Angered by Hachi's outburst, Tanabe storms off. In Control Section, it seems that Claire's self-inflicted work load is finally getting the better of her. She's messed up the shipping of the Von Braun's tandem mirror engine and is currently at the OSA office fixing a filing error. On her way out, she sees Hakim, and asks him about Temara. Hakim reassures her that Temara is being held under extremely humane conditions, though all his spacesuit data was confiscated. Meanwhile, Hachi attempts to smooth things over with Tanabe, telling her he only said that stuff because he was angry about the ban. An extremely annoyed Tanabe tells him that it's probably better this way, as now he doesn't have to make due with what's on-hand. Elsewhere, Lucie tries to flirt with Cheng-Shin, but he's busy reading up on the Von Braun--a new ship being built to take the first humans to Jupiter. Lucie asks him if he's planning on trying to join the crew--worried because the entire trip will last seven years. Cheng-Shin replies that he plans to try out, at least. Later on, Toy Box 2 launches for its trial flight to the moon with Lavie, Fee, Yuri, Hachi and Tanabe onboard. Lavie asks Yuri what happened between Hachi and Tanabe, but Yuri writes it off as one of their usual fights. Lavie isn't convinced though, saying that it seems different this time. 

 

Having made it to Lagrange One, Fee sends out the Fishbones to test the communications system. Hachi once again tries to smooth things over with Tanabe, saying that he should take her to Apollo Park when they get to the Moon. Tanabe tersely suggests he go on his own to cruise for chicks. Hachi wishes she would just let it go, but Tanabe replies that not letting something go is better than just forgetting about what almost happened on Earth. Their argument is cut short by a meteoroid collision warning, and Fee orders them to abort the test. Tanabe turns her Fishbone to return to the ship, but further snappy comments are interrupted by a distress call. A man over the com-link hails the DS-12 specifically and asks them to save their experiment--currently in the path of the incoming meteoroid. The man introduces himself as Mantegna, a name Lavie instantly recognizes as the name of the guy who knocked up 3rd Division's manager's daughter. An embarrassed Mantegna's coworkers cheer him up by reminding him that it wasn't his fault, but the fault of the manager for not giving his blessing. It seems that their unmanned research probe is only two days away from producing results, but their team is about to be split up--making this their last change to finish their project. Lavie is ready to turn him down, but Hachi silently fires his Fishbone's engine and heads out push the probe out of harm's way. Mantegna thanks Hachi, who replies that he's doing this because he wants to, and Mantegna should do what he wants, parents or company standing be damned. As Hachi approaches the probe, a new voice comes in over the com link. Norman Schwimmer, 3rd Division's manager, orders Debris Section to pull out, as lunar orbit is 3rd Division's territory. Mantegna begs him to allow them to save the probe, but Schwimmer thinks it would be more profitable to allow the meteoroid to hit the probe so they can collect the insurance money. Seeing this as a personal attack, Mantegna tries to tell Schwimmer that what happened to his daughter was Mantegna's fault alone, and he shouldn't punish the whole team for it, but Schwimmer has his transmission cut off. Lavie completely folds to pressure from Schwimmer and tells Hachi to return, but Hachi says that they are a part of 2nd Division and as such, Schwimmer has no authority over them. Schwimmer begins ranting about how rank-and-file employees should know their place, but Hachi tells him to shove it. Docking with the probe, Hachi realizes that the Fishbone doesn't have enough thrust to move the probe in time, but just then Tanabe approaches with her Fishbone to help. Lavie attempt to stop them from Toy Box 2's cockpit, but Yuri pulls him away from the controls, reminding him that only the ship's captain is allowed to do that. Fee sends orbital data to Hachi and Schwimmer reminds her that he's the one in charge around this orbit. Fee tells him to shove it--if the meteoroid hits the probe it will just create more debris, so she's not going to just sit around and do nothing. Hachi and Tanabe push the probe out of the way and a furious Schwimmer demands to be put through to 2nd Division's manager. Mantegna manages to reestablish contact with Toy Box 2 and thanks them, telling them he and his team can now go to Mars with no regrets. Lavie is in tears wondering what will happen to him, but Fee laughs off his fears, telling him that if there is one thing Dolf hates, it's being ordered around by someone else. Sure enough, Dolf reminds Schwimmer that preventing creation of more debris is Debris Section's job and further asks that if Schwimmer wants to make a complaint he should do it through official channels--complete with concrete examples of how they breached company regulations. With the probe out of harm's way, Tanabe and Hachi finish running through the airlock cycle on Toy Box 2 and take of their helmets to talk. Tanabe asks a very satisfied Hachi if he thinks they'll be okay after disobeying a division manager. Reflecting on the fact that whenever he's told not to do something it makes him want to do it more, Hachi notes that office romances are prohibited and clumsily tries to ask Tanabe out again. Choosing the wrong words, Tanabe scolds him for being tactless, loud, and wearing diapers all the time. Hachi points out that all astronauts wear diapers--including her. Tanabe still thinks he's tactless, but calms down. Hachi nervously asks her what her answer is. As Hachi fidgets in the spacesuit rack, Tanabe ejects from her rack and floats over to kiss him. 

 

Commentary

 

Starting with this episode, the opening sequence has been slightly tweaked. Whereas throughout the first half of the show, the spots introducing the four main characters featured a background with a diagram of Toy Box, now they all feature something specific to the character, such as Hachi's notebook or Tanabe's friends and coworkers. It's not much but it's a nice touch for an already excellent opening sequence. This episode features a fairly standard 'everyman debris haulers versus the Man' plot which isn't much to write home about. But the real story in this one is the start of Hachi and Tanabe's new relationship, which is kicked off in an extremely well done scene at the very end of the episode. Rather than actually seeing Tanabe kiss Hachi, as she floats over the scene switches to show the back of Hachi's head and the floating tails of his headband, which float forward as Hachi's head moves back slightly as if to accept her kiss. Sappy? Perhaps, but it makes for a rather tender and very memorable scene.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Planetes Episode 14 Planetes Episode 14

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