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Phase 26: And the Days We Chance Upon...

 

Review by Scott Richardson

July 8, 2006

 

Summary

 

Six months have passed since Hachi made the crew of the Von Braun. Though most of his time it taken up by training cruses between the Earth and the Moon, he always finds time to keep in touch with Tanabe. On her end, Tanabe has been making steady progress with her physical rehabilitation, and has finally regained the ability to walk unaided. In another month, her doctors might allow her to go back into space, at which point she wants to meet Hachi again. Outside Tycho Crater Prison, Hachi and Cheng-Shin meet for the first time since the first round of Von Braun crew selection tests. After an uncomfortable silence, Hachi begins to apologize, but Cheng-Shin interrupts him, wanting to apologize first. The ensuing argument is refreshingly amicable, and in the end they decide that Hachi can go first--but only after he gets back from Jupiter. Their rift silently mended, they go in together to visit the third member of their old circle. In the visitation room, Hachi and Cheng-Shin wait nervously until Claire is led in. Another uncomfortable silence passes before Cheng-Shin apologizes for not visiting sooner. A surprisingly pleasant Claire understands--it's not easy to get permission to visit a convicted terrorist. Apparently, Hachi used his pull as a Von Braun crew member to get permission, and Claire finds it ironic that she has the Von Braun to thank for being able to see them again. She asks them if they've heard the verdict in her trial, and Hachi comments that 10 years seems a bit much, seeing as how the attack on the Von Braun failed. Claire smiles, but tells them that it was a very light sentence, which she only got because she told them everything. Apparently, neither Fee nor Yuri implicated her in the hijacking of Toy Box 2, but Claire admitted to it just the same, because she wanted to take full responsibility for her crimes. She had always wanted to be seen as someone who belonged up there in space, which is why she worked so hard at Technora. But after working herself too hard, she lost track of where she wanted to be, and then found herself stranded on the Moon with Tanabe where she expected to die. When Tanabe began running out of oxygen Claire was not as unconscious as she let Tanabe believe. But Tanabe didn't take her oxygen tank and shortly collapsed, thrashing around and clawing at her helmet as her lungs burned with carbon dioxide poisoning. Shocked that Tanabe didn't abandon her, Claire nearly took off her own helmet to finish the job herself. But then she saw a shuttle bus in the distance. Though Claire didn't want to be saved, she suddenly couldn't find it in herself to abandon Tanabe, and used her spacesuit's thruster to signal the bus which rescued them. Her story told, Claire wonders why she just couldn't abandon Tanabe. Cheng-Shin suggests that Claire actually liked Tanabe, but Claire laughs it off, saying that she really couldn't stand Tanabe. Undeterred, Cheng-Shin reminds her that the opposite of love isn't hate--it's apathy. If Claire didn't care about what Tanabe thought, she wouldn't have hated her. Claire remains a bit unconvinced, but Hachi chimes in, relating Claire's feelings to his recent revelation about space, that everybody is somehow connected to each other. Cheng-Shin pokes fun at Hachi's sudden stint as a philosopher, but Hachi tells them that he'll be able to make it to Jupiter thanks to that revelation. Thoughtfully, Claire writes a few undecipherable characters with her finger in the shimmering of the barrier that separates them. She tells them that it was El Tanikan, and she was thinking about spending her sentence translating first world books into El Tanikan. What El Tanika needs most during the rebuilding process, she says, is education. Though she can no longer keep her promise to Temara, at least this way she can still do something for their country. Cheng-Shin asks her what it was that she just wrote, and she tells them it was a word that means 'thank you and see you again soon.' In a board room at Technora headquarters, the president of the company and his board meets with Dolf. Thanks to his excellent work at Galileo Development, they've decided to reinstate him at Technora as a vice president. Dolf interrupts, reminding them that when they transferred him from 2nd Division to Galileo Development, they told him that it was a promotion, since he was being moved from director to company president. What they're now offering him, though, is a move from president to vise president, which sounds like a demotion. One of the board members asks Dolf to spare them the sarcasm, reminding him that being the president of a tiny company is nothing compared to being the vice president of a major corporation like Technora. Dolf agrees that there is no comparison between his tiny company and Technora, but wonders aloud if it is better to be a pet dog or a lone wolf. Dolf walks out of the board room with a smile, and officially takes Galileo Development independent. It seems that Dolf had already been in talks with Dr. Locksmith and secured Galileo Development a complete monopoly on Dr. Locksmith's work. With such powerful backing, Technora and all other space corporations will have to play ball with Dolf, or risk falling behind. When Fee catches wind of the news, she simply throws back her head and laughs. Meanwhile, Hachi and Goro visit the grave of Gigalt Gungulgash and watch his last message to Hachi. Hachi and Goro's relationship has never been stronger as they wish their old friend and mentor goodbye. Goro asks Hachi what he's planning on doing with the remainder of his vacation time and Hachi tells him that he's going to meet Tanabe on Seven. Elsewhere, on the lunar surface, a lone figure opens a hidden access panel, but is caught off-guard when a nearby airlock opens to reveal Nono out for one of her secret walks. Noticing the figure, Nono admits to being caught and asks if he's from the hospital. A disfigured Hakim denies being from the hospital and Nono asks him to keep this a secret, and then asks him what he's doing out here. Hakim slowly walks toward her with a wire anchor launcher at his hip and tells her that he was just cleaning. Oblivious to the danger she's in, Nono wonders what he means. Hakim explains that there is a place that everyone has sullied which he plans to make pristine again. 

 

Hakim tells Nono that space has been taken over by a handful of countries as he begins to raise the anchor launcher. It takes Nono a second to digest the term and then she cheerily responds that she learned all about countries and how the Earth was divided up into them in school. This causes Hakim to pause, and Nono explains that she's a Lunarian. And as someone born and raised on the Moon, the term 'country' is nothing more than an abstract concept to her. Nono asks Hakim if he can see his country from here. Hakim turns to look at the Earth. She's right, he realizes--you can't see borders from space. Sadly, after a moment's reflection, Hakim begins to stalk back to his hidden hatch, muttering that even if no one else can see them, he still can. A passenger ship from Earth arrives on ISPV-7 and Tanabe disembarks. Hachi quickly finds her and together they head down to Debris Section. When they enter they find Lavie up to his old stunts, practicing his act on a strange jet pack-like device (which, if you look closely, seems to have been created by Temara's El Tanikian company). Everyone is excited to see Tanabe and they ask if her legs are back to normal. Hachi and Tanabe are surprised to see Myers, whom they thought had retired--unfortunately, it seems the retirement age has been pushed back. News of their arrival has traveled fast, and Edel enters the office to see them. It seems that when her temp contract expired she applied and was hired as a full-time employee working in general affairs section. She is shortly followed by a group of Tanabe and Hachi's friends. Tanabe chats with Lucie, who's apparently making good progress with Colin, and Hachi's friends express amazement that Hachi's finally going to get his own spaceship. Hachi, already in a headlock, protests that the Von Braun isn't his personal property, but his complaint goes unnoticed. Myers asks Hachi for his autograph so they can add it to their Hachimaki plaque. It seems that they stole his old will (with the drawing of his own personal spaceship) and an old EVA license photo to put in a frame to commemorate their old coworker who made it big. Later, Hachi's friends secure permission for Hachi and Tanabe to tag along on Toy Box 2 for Debris Section's latest mission. Though they aren't allowed to collect debris, Fee suggests that they take the opportunity to go outside together one last time. Having taken her up on the offer, Tanabe expresses amazement looking down on the Earth. Hachi reminds her that she's seen it hundreds of times, but she tells him that after all she's experienced out here the sight still moves her. Watching an aurora move across the globe, Tanabe tells Hachi that one day she wants to go back to work as a debris hauler. Hachi tells her that she will some day. Some time passes, and they wind up playing Shiritori (a Japanese word game where a player must say a word that begins with the last character of the last word used, first person unable to come up with something that hasn't been used before loses). Various space-related words are thrown around and then Hachi gets stuck trying to find a word that starts with 'ke,' finally settling on 'kenban haamonika' (keyboard harmonica). Tanabe immediately responds with 'kami no ke' (hair). Stuck with 'ke' again, Hachi pauses to think. Tanabe asks if he's admitting defeat, but Hachi just smiles and says 'kekkon shiyo' (marry me). Tanabe happily replies 'un' (yes). As the sun rises behind them, Hachi informs her that she has lost the game. On Earth, Hachi's brother successfully launch a new rocket in front of a local crowd. At Galileo Development, Mantegna (the man who was exiled to Mars for knocking up Schwimmer's daughter) makes a presentation regarding the findings of his sea cucumber experiment. Locksmith walks in, holding a picture of Saturn and an artist's rendering of the ship that will get them there, as Dolf rejects a business proposal from Technora. On another ship, the unlicensed director tries to shoot a sequel to his space werewolf movie. At the memorial for those killed in the tandem mirror engine melt down, Kogenta the space ninja's ex-wife leaves flowers by his name. Elsewhere, it seems that the surviving ninja has finally managed to find a job. And on Earth, Temara and his teammates move their spacesuit to a safer location. Meanwhile, Lucie prepares to marry Colin and Fee welcomes a few new Debris Section employees before an animal-related mishap reveals that Myers has been wearing a toupee all this time. And finally, the world prepares to bid farewell and good sailing to the Von Braun, as she prepares to launch on her historic mission to Jupiter… Back on Earth, Kyutaro pushes his way through the press to get back to his house in time to watch the launch on TV. Mrs. Hoshino hangs laundry to dry, apparently unconcerned about the press. Kyutaro turns on the television just as the Von Braun's crew prepares to board. He tries to rush both his mother and new sister-in-law, Tanabe, into the room, but neither of them seems to be in much of a hurry. Kyutaro prepares a seat for a rather pregnant Tanabe and then timidly asks her if she's sure that she should let Hachi leave for seven long years so soon after marrying him. Tanabe isn't worried; Hachi gave her his word that he'd be back. Kyutaro lets out an exasperated sigh, declaring that he just doesn't understand these people, as Mrs. Hoshino chuckles and hangs some baby clothes out to dry. 

 

Commentary

 

So ends Planetes, one of the best shows to come out in recent years. With the main storylines wrapped up in the last episode, this episode is more of an epilogue than anything else, cleaning up a few loose threads and giving closure to nearly every character and side character. Not everyone wound up happy--Hakim is still out there plotting, unable to break out of the spiral that Hachi nearly fell into. Claire, on the other hand, has made her peace with the world and even found a new goal in life. Also we find out that, amusingly, Tanabe's love saved them after all. Because she left Claire's oxygen tank alone, Claire was compelled to signal the shuttle bus that saved them. This episode is an extremely satisfying conclusion to a series which will doubtlessly go down as a classic piece of science fiction. If you have the slightest interest in anime, science fiction, or space development you owe it to yourself to check this series out. I simply cannot recommend it enough.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

5 out of 5 stars
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Planetes Episode 26 Planetes Episode 26

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