Mankind has conquered space, but it’s resulted in a lot of space debris, all of which can be fatal to spaceships and their crews. As such, a new sector of space travel has been created… well, someone has to clean up!
Planetes (Volume 1) – Somebody Has to Clean it Up!
The crew of the DS12 Toy Box are deployed to space for months at a time, focused on gathering space debris and storing it away safely. Each crew member has their own goals and aspirations, but they are all called to space. There’s something about it that they just can’t escape.
Yuri lost his wife on a trip through the upper atmosphere because of space debris. Since then, he’s been searching for her compass. She had it with her when the incident happened, but it was not recovered. What are the chances of him finding it now?
Fee is the captain of the ship and knows her stuff. After a series of run-ins with the Earth Defense League, a terrorist organisation that is determined to stop humanity from gouging the universe of its resources, she takes out a projectile with the DS12 and is thrown to Earth. The whole team were rewarded and they even got a new ship.
Hachimaki is the son of a prominent astronaut and has dreams of one day owning his own ship. He plans to explore the universe, untethered by anything back home. To achieve this, he hopes to make it onto the first manned mission to Saturn, which is believed to hold the key to energy shortages. However, an incident that left him stranded in deep space for a period of time may have impacted his mental state.
What did you think?
So, I got to read the omnibus edition which is a whopping 528 pages long. Unlike a lot of manga, it’s also very heavy on the text. There are a lot of conversations and internal monologues and it’s deep. They’re talking about fascinating concepts and really probing what it might mean to live and work in space. I’d say that this is a must-read for any science fiction fan. It doesn’t go too hard on the science making it accessible to a much wider audience, although there’s certainly enough to keep the most curious interested.
However, it’s more about the psychological pressures these characters face working in such perilous conditions. One wrong move and you could be drifting off into oblivion for all of time. Hachimaki probably has the toughest time as he tries to get on the Saturn mission while keeping his mind clear. The time he spent alone in deep space definitely had an impact on him. Meanwhile, Yuri’s growth is amazing as he comes to terms with the loss of his wife and even comes to accept that there may not be more to things than there seems. It’s a long read, but well worth the time. I’m already looking forward to the next volume.
Other posts in the series
- Volume 1 – Somebody Has to Clean it Up!
- Volume 2 – I Couldn’t Stop Loving People