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Phase 25: The Lost

 

Review by Scott Richardson

July 8, 2006

 

Summary

 

At a press conference, Dr. Locksmith introduces the world to the 18 member crew of the Von Braun; including Leonov, Sally and an extremely unfocused Hachi. A reporter attempts to ask Hachi a question, but he can't seem to pull himself together enough to answer; instead Leonov quickly plays his distraction off as a joke. It's been six months since the Space Defense Front's attack on the Von Braun and the new crew is being given a vacation before their final training begins. At the lunar dock, Goro looks for Hachi, but is told that Hachi arrived on an earlier flight. In the Von Braun control room, the technicians are surprised to receive a low oxygen warning from one of their spacesuits. It seems that two days ago Hachi took one of the spacesuits for a walk on the lunar surface. When a rescue ship reaches the increasingly disoriented Hachi, they try to make him understand how close he just came to suffocation and tell Hachi that when they get back he's going to be sent in for a complete medical check up. Hachi merely dwells on the phrase 'get back,' wondering where there is to get back to. Later, Goro arranges to have Hachi forcefully sent back to Earth with him for some desperately needed R&R. Their flight from the Moon to Seven is being co-piloted by the recently re-promoted Cheng-Shin, who seems to have gotten his life back together. They arrive at Seven for an hour-long layover as Goro tries and fails to engage in conversation with his utterly detached son. When Goro's back is turned, Hachi finds himself heading down to the lowest levels to the Debris Section office. With nobody around at the moment, Hachi notices Tanabe's desk, the contents of which have been packed into a cardboard box with the exception of the envelope containing her last will. Hachi absentmindedly picks up the will and tries to remember what he wrote in his. Suddenly, the door opens and Myers and Lavie pop in, causing a surprised Hachi to slip the will into his jacket pocket. Excited to see their old friend, Lavie wants to call the others, but is reminded that they're currently at a Union meeting. Lavie mentions that they've been really shorthanded since they lost Claire and Tanabe. Noting Hachi's surprise, Myers explains that Tanabe went through a lot after the terrorist attack, and wound up resigning to go back down to Earth. Lavie gives Hachi a copy of Tanabe's address and asks him to please go and see her before he leaves for Jupiter. 

 

Back on Earth, at the Hoshino residence, Goro expresses amazement at Kyutaro's growth spurt, which has suddenly made him the tallest member of the family. Goro and Kyutaro fight over Mrs. Hoshino's famous pork cutlets, but Hachi just can't seem to care either way. Later Mrs. Hoshino asks Goro if something happened to Hachi. But Goro can only wonder. As Hachi prepares for bed, he realizes that he still has Tanabe's will in his pocket. Letting his curiosity get the better of him, he opens the envelope, expecting to find a bunch of junk about love. However, to his shock, he finds her will is mostly empty, with only a single scratched out character to suggest that this time she was unable to find any feelings to fill it with. Hachi breaks out his old motorcycle and heads out along the coast road with Tanabe's will and address, remembering Tanabe's boundless enthusiasm back when he first met her and the time she lectured him about writing something meaningful his own will. Night passes into day and day back into night and Hachi's inner demon floats back into his mind, asking him if he's having second thoughts. His demon tries to remind him that in the end all humans are alone. Hachi reflects on this and agrees, but suddenly, fatigue causes Hachi to lose control of his bike and crash into the railing. Hachi is thrown off the cliff and into the sea. Things go black for Hachi and he wonders if he's still alive. He quickly decides that he definitely is, but laments that there's absolutely nothing here in this void of the soul. He realizes that this is exactly what he wanted, but not like this. He yells for help, and sees a Von Braun-style spacesuit fade into view. He excitedly reaches for the suit, but when its faceplate lifts, Hakim stares back at him. Hachi withdraws as the spacesuit and the area around it crumbles and Hachi finds himself back on the Von Braun pointing a gun at Hakim's head. It seems that, when Hachi pulled the trigger nothing happened--the gun was empty. Seizing the opportunity, Hakim lunged at Hachi, but their remaining fight was cut short when an explosion ripped through the hallway. Hachi was protected by a fortunately angled piece of debris, but he lost track of Hakim and never saw him again. Back in the void, Hachi tells the spacesuit that he really did intend to kill Hakim. But the gun was empty, so it wasn't his fault. Hachi wonders whose fault it was, then. But then he revises his statement, wondering who he has to thank for not having to shoot Hakim. The spacesuit fades away and is replaced with a vision of Tanabe. The colors warm and Tanabe suggests that they go home. Hachi's friends from Debris Section, Gigalt, Nono and others appear around him, telling him it's time to go. As the space fills with everyone Hachi has met throughout his life, they begin to form a huge spiral which gives way to a vision of the galaxy and finally the expanding universe. Hachi pulls himself out of the water and onto the pier, wondering if what he saw was space. And if it was space, than what has he been looking up to all this time? He stares into the starry night sky when a familiar voice yells to him from the road, asking if he's alright. The dark shape of a person in a wheelchair rolls into the light, revealing herself as Tanabe... Hachi pushes Tanabe in her wheelchair along the road and Tanabe tells him that she'll get her father to come back for Hachi's motorcycle later. Upbeat as always, she tells him that she had gone all the way to the Von Braun to see him. Surprised, Hachi asks Tanabe if her legs were hurt during the attack. Tanabe tells him that they weren't and that she escaped almost immediately, but unfortunately landed too far from a manned facility. Her hands begin to shake as she relates her tale. Without any other choice, she started walking, but her oxygen ran out before she made it to safety. It seems that she was rescued shortly after by a passing shuttle bus, but suffered nerve damage from the oxygen deprivation. After a tricky surgery, she was told that with hard work and a strict rehabilitation regime, one day she might make a full recovery. Tanabe tries to remain upbeat, telling Hachi that Claire, on the other hand, was released from the hospital fairly quickly, having been using much less oxygen than Tanabe. Since Tanabe wasn't sure how long it would take for her to recover, she resigned from Technora. A quiet moment passes, and Hachi stops pushing and tells Tanabe that he needs to apologize for something as he hands back her opened last will. He apologizes for reading it as Tanabe takes it back. Staring at the will, she begins to tear up. She explains that she wrote out a proper one last year, but when she was supposed to write a new one after a year of experiences in space, she just couldn't write anything. Tanabe begins to cry, and Hachi puts his hand on her shoulder. Hachi tells her that before she found him tonight he figured something out--his idea of space was too small, but now he knows that there's nothing in this world that isn't a part of space. The connections he and others make between each other actually make up space, and Hachi realizes that he's ok with that. That's what Tanabe was always trying to tell him, that all people are connected and bound together by... Tanabe takes his hand and holds it as they happily stare at each other. 

 

Commentary

 

After waiting an entire week ready to gnaw my own arm off wondering what happened to Tanabe, those jerks had the stones to completely ignore her until nearly the end of the episode. Ichiro Okouchi is truly an evil, evil man. Or just brilliant; I can't decide which. At any rate, the episode picks up a full six months after the events of the previous episode, and nothing seems right to Hachi. Despite achieving his dream of making it on the crew of the Von Braun, he feels empty and lost. When he is finally spurred into action by the thought of iron-willed Tanabe losing her way, he finds that his dreams are meaningless without other people to share it with. Tanabe on the other hand, managed to stay true to her convictions to the bitter end, refusing to kill Claire to keep herself alive. But despite that, her love didn't save her as she's now in a wheelchair undergoing painful rehabilitation. Shaken, she has retired to Earth to recovering physically and mentally. But now it seems quite likely that they'll both be able to get on with their lives--together this time.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

5 out of 5 stars
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Planetes Episode 25 Planetes Episode 25

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