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Phase 2: Like a Dream

 

Review by Scott Richardson

May 1, 2006

 

Summary

 

Three years ago, Hachi and his senior approach a derelict satellite. Failing to heed audio warnings, Hachi thrusts toward the satellite and promptly finds himself spinning out of control. As he regains his balance, he realizes that he has put himself directly in the path of the satellite's large spinning arm. Panicking, he thrusts out of the way and winds up crashing into one of the satellite's solar panels, which activates the satellite's auto-avoidance system. Due to Hachi's inexperience, an important piece of debris escaped. Back in 2075, Hachi, Lavie and Myers perform a special 'luck dance' in an attempt to ensure Hachi's lottery numbers come up. Tanabe half-heartedly joins in for the last number, but sadly, Hachi will remain poor this day--just like his last one hundred seventy two attempts. Tanabe asks Hachi why he's playing the lottery, and is promptly brushed off. Fee tells her that Hachi's dream is to buy a spaceship and attempts to show Tanabe Hachi's notebook, which is filled with various ideas Hachi thinks will help him get his spaceship. Hachi dejectedly admits that the lottery isn't the only way to get the money, but most of his ideas are promptly shot down by the other Debris Section employees. In an effort to change the subject, he asks Tanabe why she's in the office on her day off. Tanabe wants to practice EVA maneuvering with the forearm thrusters on her spacesuit, and asks Hachi to coach her. On her first attempt, Tanabe sends herself into a wild spin. Hachi explains that she needs to thrust against her center of gravity--something an EVA worker must be able to find in an instant. Tanabe--still spinning--is saved by Cheng-Shin, a commercial spacecraft pilot and friend of Hachi's. Later, as Seven enters nighttime mode, Hachi and Cheng-Shin talk over dinner. Hachi complains about Tanabe's lack of talent, but Cheng-Shin brushes it off as inexperience and says he thinks she's cute. Another of Hachi's friends wanders over and teasingly asks Hachi if he's gotten his spaceship yet. Hachi quips back, but is interrupted by another friend's betting scheme. A montage of Hachi finding new ways to lose money and Tanabe practicing maneuvering follows and the days fly by. Tanabe finally manages to fly down the corridor without losing balance and Hachi falls just short of congratulating her. Meanwhile, Cheng-Shin receives a promotion to co-pilot of a passenger ship, the GO-S27. Hachi and friends throw a party in celebration, but privately Hachi is jealous of his friend's success. The next day, Hachi despondently watches over Tanabe as she continues her maneuvering practices in a cargo bay. Misunderstanding his mood, Tanabe timidly tells him that she's made enough progress that he probably doesn't have to be down here watching her if he doesn't want to. At that point, a group of workers float by and berate Hachi's dream of owning a spaceship. Hachi's lethargy turns to anger as he launches himself at the workers demanding to know just what is wrong with having dreams. Being vastly outnumbered, Hachi loses the ensuing brawl.

 

Hachi dreams of the satellite incident three years ago, and remembers his old mentor telling him not to just take things slow--to not rush. He wakes up in his 'room' (which, like most others on Seven, is merely a padded hole in the wall) and is greeted by Yuri. Yuri tells him that Tanabe had felt responsible for his injuries and wanted to stay with him until he woke up, but--as Hachi's room is in the men's dorm--Yuri took over for her. Annoyed, Hachi sees an old photo of himself, Cheng-Shin, and Claire Rondo when they were all just starting out in the company together and wonders what he's doing with his life. Later, Debris Section is given a new assignment--a rather familiar looking satellite. Apparently, Hachi wasn't the only one it had gotten away from over the years. Still depressed, Hachi zones out during the briefing and is promptly chewed out by Fee, who reminds him that Tanabe will be directly participating in their missions from now on and needs his guidance as her senior. On their way to the ship, Lavie offers Hachi another lottery ticket, but Hachi turns it down, saying he'll never play the lottery again. As Toy Box approaches the satellite, Tanabe attempts to break Hachi out of his self-loathing by offering to go buy a lottery ticket with him. When that doesn't work she scoldingly reminds him that buying a spaceship is his dream and he's got to work hard to achieve it. Hachi shoots back that a debris collector could work for decades and still not be able to afford a spaceship--he's finally accepted that his dream is a hopeless one. As Toy Box approaches the satellite, Hachi and Tanabe exit on a Fishbone--a small exposed craft used by debris collectors to haul debris back to their mothership. Hachi dejectedly comments that neither he nor the satellite has changed at all in these three years. As they get started, Tanabe accidentally flies into the path of the spinning arm and winds up activating the auto-avoidance system when she dodges, much as Hachi did three years ago. Fortunately, Hachi had already made it to the control panel and manages to cut the engine before the satellite manages to get too far. Not wanting to abandon the mission, Hachi decides to use the Fishbone to decelerate the satellite and get it back to a useful orbit. All goes according to plan until the cable connecting the Fishbone and the satellite snaps, impacting Hachi's face visor and causing the satellite to go into a wild spin. To make matters worse, they discover the satellite is now on a collision course with Cheng-Shin's ship, the GO-S27. Tanabe pleads with Hachi to abandon the satellite, but Hachi knows that the GO-S27's debris bumpers will not be able to protect it against such a large mass and begins working feverishly to get the extra thruster working. With this accomplished--and the GO-S27 only seconds away--Hachi realizes he'll have to manually time the engine burn to thrust at the spinning satellite's center of gravity. Hachi exclaims that he can't afford to screw up as he hasn't even gotten his spaceship yet. At the last second, Hachi initiates the burn and successfully pushes the satellite into a higher orbit, narrowly avoiding the GO-S27. The crisis averted, Tanabe and the others come out to retrieve Hachi and the satellite. In her excitement, Tanabe goes into another wild spin and Hachi echoes the words of his senior, telling her not to rush, and that he'll have her whipped into shape in three years time. Or five... No, better make that ten.

 

Commentary

 

While the first episode focused on Tanabe, this episode lets us have a look at what makes Hachi tick. Despite the realist front he puts up, he has naive dreams of his own which he takes very seriously. This adds an interesting dimension to his relationship with Tanabe, who flaunts the kind of naive dreams that he's on the verge of losing faith in. Also, the action sequence at the end was extremely well done-- the animation, music, and Hachi's monologue really heap on the tension.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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