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Phase 5: Fly Me to the Moon

 

Review by Scott Richardson

May 17, 2006

 

Summary

 

Having gotten a vacation from work, Hachi, Tanabe and Fee are on board a passenger ship bound for the Moon. Tanabe is busily planning a visit to Armstrong Park when another passenger--floating out of control--collides with her and hastily apologizes, explaining he's not used to zero-G yet. Tanabe goes to buy a souvenir, but notices she doesn't have her wallet on her. In one of the private cabins, a husband and wife argue about their recently bankrupt business. After the world began switching to resources easily found in space, they could no longer afford gasoline to run their equipment and eventually resorted to getting money from loan sharks. Considering the near hysterical state of the wife, things did not go well from there. They plan to commit suicide in space, along with their young daughter, Sia. Meanwhile, Hachi is roaming the ship when he hears a woman's scream from a nearby storage room. Hachi easily dispatches her attacker but quickly discovers that he's wandered on to the set of an extremely low-budget amateur horror movie. Hachi is forced to fill in for the 'werewolf' he knocked unconscious, but as he gets into the role, Tanabe and Fee stumble in. Tanabe immediately misjudges the situation and attacks Hachi. In short order, Tanabe and Fee are filled in on the situation and Fee slyly asks if they've gotten a permit for this movie. Of course, they don't and security is called in to confiscate their equipment for the duration of the flight. Undaunted, the director produces a tiny backup camera prepared for just such an eventuality. The next day, the suicide couple find that they have lost track of Sia. The wife expresses newfound doubt about including Sia in their plans, but the husband reminds her that the loan sharks have even tried extorting money from their friends and relatives, so they have no one to leave her with. After this conversation they run into Tanabe and Hachi, who are more than willing to join in on the search (or at least Tanabe is and is more than willing to drag Hachi along with her). Shortly, Tanabe and Hachi find Sia playing in the Rescue Ball depot, playing spaceship. In the ensuing conversation, Hachi tries to explain to the little girl that a rescue ball is not a spaceship. Sia refuses to listen to him and demands to know if Hachi has a spaceship of his own if he knows so much. Tanabe explains that Hachi can't afford one. Sia relates that her family is poor too. 

 

Later, with the family reunited once more, the husband and wife emotionally attempt to get Sia to take some "medicine" with them. Fortunately, the husband realizes that he has been pickpocketed and no longer has the pills in question. The next day, Lucie (who's working as a flight attendant on this flight) makes a pass at Cheng-Shin (the co-pilot of this flight). Her plans are interrupted by a security officer who needs to show something they found on the confiscated video to Cheng-Shin. Turns out the cameraman accidentally captured Tanabe's run in with the out-of-control guy earlier, and from that angle it is clear that the guy was putting on an act so he could steal her wallet. Cheng-Shin leaves to track the perpetrator down. In the observation lounge, Tanabe tries to get an ice cream out of Hachi when they are interrupted by Sia who asks if Hachi's managed to buy himself a spaceship yet. As fellow hopeful spaceship owners and space nuts, Hachi and Sia are starting to get along pretty well. Unfortunately, their conversation is broken up when the pickpocket is chased into the main lounge by Cheng-Shin and a couple security officers. Catching them by surprise, the pickpocket quickly takes Sia hostage with a pen and demands that everyone stay back. The movie director volunteers his female lead as a replacement hostage in order to get some good footage for his movie, but is immediately chewed out by Tanabe. Cheng-Shin uses the diversion to pass a communicator to Hachi before the pickpocket orders him and the guards out of the room. Cheng-Shin goes back to the bridge and suggests they perform and emergency roll, explaining that Debris Section personnel are in the lounge with the pickpocket. Back in the lounge, Hachi, Tanabe, Fee, the movie people and Sia's parents remain with the pickpocket, despite his demands that the lounge be cleared. Sia's parents make an ironically impassioned plea for their daughter's life and Hachi uses the moment to get instructions from Cheng-Shin. Shortly, the emergency roll is initiated, temporarily providing gravity. Having already been warned, Hachi manages to catch the pickpocket off guard, knocking Sia into Fee's waiting hands. Later, as the pickpocket is taken away, Sia and her parents have an emotional reunion and the parents decide not to commit suicide after all. 

 

Commentary

 

The one bad thing about Planetes (especially in the first half of the series) is a tendency to overdo subplot drama. It reared it's ugly head in episode three: Tanabe and the Space Corpse, and it appears again in this episode with crazy family bent on suicide and a petty thief willing to add decades to his sentence by taking a young girl hostage with a pen. Even worse, the main characters of the show are almost relegated to side character status, as they never find out about the episode's main conflict (the suicide family). What we're left with is zero character development and a rather filler-ish plot. Though the episode does have some amusing bits, this is pretty obviously the most useless episode of the series.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

1.5 out of 5 stars
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Planetes Episode 5 Planetes Episode 5

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