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Phase 9: Regrets

 

Review by Scott Richardson

May 24, 2006

 

Summary

 

While out collecting debris, Hachi motions for Tanabe to move to a private radio frequency. Once connected, a somewhat embarrassed Hachi asks Tanabe if she's seeing anyone right now. Before Tanabe can inquire as to what Hachi is trying to get at, they are interrupted by an intercepting Orbital Security Agency (OSA) patrol ship. Hachi instructs Tanabe to keep still and cooperate--the OSA is rather jumpy these days thanks to the Space Defense Front. A lone astronaut exits the patrol ship and shows an impressive amount of EVA control while flying out to meet them. The astronaut turns out to be Gigalt Gungulgash--Hachi's former teacher. Later, back on Seven, Gigalt formally introduces himself to the Debris Section team and announces that for the next five days he will be conducting security training exercises with them. Tanabe responds formally, but is surprised to find that the rest of Debris Section already knows Gigalt quite well--even the ever-quiet Edel. Turns out Gigalt is a former Debris Section employee with a habit of giving people playful nicknames (including Fee as 'Turbo Lighter' and Lavie as 'Sunflower'). He happens to be the one who first started calling Hachi 'Hachimaki'. Elsewhere, Lucie asks Cheng-Shin out, but is rejected, as Cheng-Shin is interested in Tanabe. Back in Debris Section, the days fly by as Gigalt puts everyone through their paces. But when Tanabe and Hachi are off on their own collecting supplies, Hachi can do nothing but gush about his old teacher. Gigalt taught him everything he knows about space, and there doesn't seem to be anyone he respects more. Tanabe listens intently and requests that Hachi try to do the same for her--a request that Hachi quickly rebuffs--obviously not feeling up to that kind of challenge. After a bit of silence, Tanabe seems to muster up some courage and brings up what Hachi asked her earlier, telling him that she's not currently seeing anyone. After an uncomfortable pause, Hachi indifferently responds "oh, I see," Later, Debris Section throws a party in honor of their old friend. By the end of it, only Hachi, Tanabe, and Gigalt remain conscious (and only Tanabe seems sober). Gigalt drunkenly asks Hachi how he and 'Swan' are doing--which immediately causes Tanabe to perk up. Before Hachi and Gigalt pass out she manages to learn that 'Swan' is Claire and gets Hachi to explain that they've long since broken up. The next day, Gigalt comes to work early, seemingly unaffected by the copious amount of alcohol he consumed the previous night. Tanabe is next to show up and she and Gigalt wind up talking about Hachi's headband. Gigalt explains that Hachi uses the headband to get himself in the proper mind frame, be it on the job or otherwise. Tanabe then asks why he chose the nickname 'Swan' for Claire. Gigalt explains that swans seem graceful as they glide across the water, but below the surface, they're kicking furiously. Gigalt believes--quite rightly--that Claire pushes herself too hard. 

 

As Toy Box approaches their debris assignment, Fee notices a nearby heat source. On occasion, debris haulers run into people who illegally dump things in space by gluing their garbage (industrial waste, usually) to legitimate space debris (as otherwise it would be noticed). These dumpers try to run, but Fee gives chase and manages to capture their ship with Toy Box's docking arm. Unfortunately, the dumpers aren't planning on going down without a fight, and several of them suit up and exit the ship with the intent of cutting off the docking arm. Gigalt and Hachi suit up to go out and buy time until the authorities arrive. Tanabe wants to help, but Hachi won't let her, telling her it's too dangerous for rookies. Through excellent teamwork and EVA skill, Gigalt and Hachi manage to evenly match the half-dozen or so dumpers. As their battle wears on, Fee flips Toy Box and attempts to use its engines to push them towards the OSA patrol ship currently being dispatched to their location. At this point, one of the dumpers manages to use some adhesive to immobilize Hachi while another comes at him with a welding tool. Gigalt comes to Hachi's rescue, using his forearm thruster to blow back the welder. Unfortunately, this damages the thruster causing it to fire out of control. Gigalt manages to regain control after smashing the thruster, but finds himself rather far away from the two ships and without any means of returning. Hachi, on the other hand, can do nothing but watch as the dumpers return to cutting off Toy Box's docking arm. As things start to look really bad for Gigalt, Tanabe comes to the rescue in a Fishbone. Hachi orders her to pick up Gigalt and then come back for him. Unfortunately, the dumpers have finally managed to cut through the docking arms and begin a speedy retreat with Hachi still stuck on their hull. Toy Box is unable to pursue after overheating their engine trying to pull the dumpers in the other direction. Their escape insured, the dumpers begin to converge on Hachi with wielding tools, cackling evilly. But just then, an OSA patrol vessel appears on the scene and grapples the dumper's ship. The dumpers are quickly overwhelmed by OSA troops and Tanabe soon arrives with Gigalt in tow. It seems that the OSA troop commander is another of Gigalt's students--Hakim Ashmead--and upon seeing his two students together, Gigalt remarks that this means he can finally retire. Hachi calls his bluff however, and Gigalt laughs, telling them that when you're a spaceman, you don't retire until you die. Fee and the Toy Box finally catch back up and Tanabe does a field repair on Gigalt's forearm thruster in the airlock. While they make small talk, Gigalt gives Tanabe her nickname--Angel. But before she can properly accept it, Gigalt begins coughing up blood. A worried Tanabe asks if he was injured in the fight, but Gigalt tells her that he has cancer. Cancer tends to crop up a lot in older astronauts, and Gigalt's has already progressed past the treatable stage. He requests that Tanabe not tell anyone about it--especially Hachi. 

 

Commentary

 

It seems that humanity never changes--even in space some people still try to make a quick buck at the expense of the environment. This was a very story-oriented episode, featuring the first appearance of Hakim as well as the first mention of the Space Defense Front--a terrorist organization while will play an important role in episodes to come. We're also starting to see signs that Tanabe might be starting to see Hachi as more than just a co-worker. Also, though it isn't a major part of the episode, we get to see that Claire is stretching herself very thin trying to make a name for herself in Control Section.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Planetes Episode 9 Planetes Episode 9

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