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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-ten spec fiction show
A 12 year old girl, born in space, whose bones are so fragile she can never land on Earth. Astronauts who have lived in space so long hard radiation has riddled their bodies with cancer. Hard men making hard decisions, unsympathetic bastards who nonetheless drive the engine of progress. This is quite simply one of the best shows I've ever seen. It deals maturely with a...
Published on February 11, 2007 by Michael Prentice

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Anime, but...
...the Manga is a lot better.

This Review is written by someone who read the Manga first and then watched the Anime. I believe that just a small minority read the Manga before watching the Anime, and this is why Planetes (TV), is in my opinion overrated.

I believe that if I hadn't read the Manga I would score this better, but still it's a fact that...
Published on April 17, 2010 by Claudia Fischer


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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-ten spec fiction show, February 11, 2007
This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
A 12 year old girl, born in space, whose bones are so fragile she can never land on Earth. Astronauts who have lived in space so long hard radiation has riddled their bodies with cancer. Hard men making hard decisions, unsympathetic bastards who nonetheless drive the engine of progress. This is quite simply one of the best shows I've ever seen. It deals maturely with a great deal of unresolvable issues, including the human drive towards exploration, the personality and sacrifices of the explorers, and perhaps most importantly, who exploration benefits.

Planetes is set against the backdrop of a very basic extrapolation of our world. The overarching plot involves orbital terrorism and humanity's first drive towards Jupiter. The rich countries, who would benefit from Jupiter's exploitation as a limitless source of cheap fuel, and the poor countries, who having no military or political strength will probably never benefit. This show is as much about our world as about a possible world 100 years from now.

Perhaps I've made it sound like a dry, ptolemic drama, though that is far from the truth. The first DVD contains quite a bit of humor and doesn't introduce the main plot points at all, a humor much of the series maintains even as it exposes us to the human costs of exploration. This show is everything entertainment promises to be and so seldom is: entertaining, enriching, informative, intellectual, and inspiring.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty in a world of ugliness, love and truth in a universe gone mad with greed, hatred, and corruption., July 2, 2007
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This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
Planetes is one of the greatest drama series ever created, though you might not think so from it's outward appearance. In this age of information, western audiences scream for ever greater realism, grittiness, and violence, focusing on sacrifice and suffering and at the same time forgetting the purpose that it serves. The world of animation, and particularly the animation pouring out of Japan in a raging torrent, is largely popular for it's flash and not for it's substance, despite the fact that substance is there in ample quality for the discerning viewer.

And where does Planetes come in? Planetes is an anime with the styling of a realistic Western Drama, a Realistic Epic set in the not-too-distant future that focuses on the people, their sacrifice, their world, and greater ideals and yearnings that it serves.

You could say that Planetes (which is Greek for Wanderers) is simply a story about astronauts in space collecting debris garbage. But this show is SO much more than that.

The first time I saw this show, I was very off-put by the first episode, as it starts out like so many anime, with Japanese quirkiness and awkwardness, but very quickly hints at something far greater. From the very first episode we are shown a world of great ideals and dreams, of righteous beliefs just under the surface of the unfair world if only you can look for it. Throughout the show this same theme resonates again and again, being attacked but never thwarted by the never-ending cruelty of reality. It takes many forms, from from not wanting to destroy a peace plaque to protect a satellite of war, to helping people from a tiny third-world country test their space suit and get it certified for space-worthiness even as the world government seizes the country and it's representatives in space.

While the heart-touching (and at times heart-wrenching) ideals keep coming up, it's the characters who embody these choices of practical vs.idealistic conflict that give the show it's heart. Almost every major character in the show gets character development time, showing why they are the way that they are. As their stories unfold before our eyes and we gain insight into their feelings, we come to identify with and sympathize with their feelings. I can think of no better example of this then the Russian astronaut's story wherein (spoiler alert) we learn of the death of his dear wife, and how one small trinket she had on her when she died drives him to search through the debris of space endlessly to find the message written inside. When he finally finds the item (a compass) and sees the message inside, I think it was one of the most profound moments of any drama I had ever seen. Have you ever had a premonition of tragedy to come, have you ever wished for the safety and happiness of someone you love? Have you ever had to move past losing a person you love to live life again? Such was the struggle of a single character in a single episode!

There are many subplots which continue simultaneously, from the idealistic astronaut's arguing and (spoilers again) eventually love for the seemingly cynical rough talking astronaut (who despite all appearances is actually just as idealistic as she is) to the struggle between the terrorists seeking to destroy all space travel and the world government taking advantage of small nations. And as the series progresses, you may find yourself, like me, wondering just where it is going. Rest assured, while it may seem to derail toward the end, destiny pushes events to a head, and ultimately toward one of the most satisfying conclusions to any anime I can recall.

I could talk about the dramatic music, the historical opening, the pastel colored highly-detailed animation, the incredible realism (no sound in space!), the superb voice-acting in the Japanese dub, the INCREDIBLE drama in the final episodes (the most dramatic moment in any television show I have seen comes in an episode where the main protagonist is stranded on the moon with a terrorist, and has the choice of stealing her air, or dying a horrible death from oxygen starvation {watching the seconds tick down as she stares at the oxygen tanks, flashes of everything she has ever said about love and sacrifice playing through her head had me worked up more than I can ever remember being from a TV show}). Really though, any fan of serious animated drama, or just drama in general owes it to their self to give this show a watch. It was undoubtedly the greatest show produced that year, and one of the best anime I have ever seen. The world would be a better place if more people watched shows like Planetes.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just shy of perfect., December 1, 2006
This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
I was browsing at Borders, and this series caught my eye. The box art was nice, and the plot of the series seemed interesting, so I picked it up. Planetes turned out to be everything I could have hoped for, and more.

The Show:

This is an excellent series, both technically and objectively--beautiful animation (with a surprisingly high cel count, especially in zero-g sequences) is coupled with surprising technical realism and well-developed characters to create one of the best animes in years, and possibly the best science fiction anime ever. Planetes is the most realistic and inspiring vision of near-future space exploration and habitation I have ever seen. Zero-gravity environments, spacecraft, and character movement are portrayed with a level of detail and realism which far surpasses that of most series touting themselves as science fiction; because of this realism, even the tiniest details of the characters' lives take on a sense of grandeur and beauty. Even my father, a man who isn't particularly fond of anime, was greatly impressed, and found the show enjoyable. I would reccomend this series to anyone from anime newbie to veteran otaku. For a newcomer, Planetes contains most of the best possible elements of anime; good story, well-developed characters, visual beauty, a gentle dose of philosophy, and a setting which is impossible to recreate in live action. For the weary veteran, it has both plenty of what you already love, and enough new ideas to remind you of why you started watching anime in the first place.

The Product:

This box set is a cheap and easy way to collect the entire series at once. It contains every episode with both english dubbed and subbed versions (though the dub is a bit miscast), and has a few of the basic extras expected of any anime, mainly clean opening and closing credit sequences. The only real drawback of this set is the lack of some of the more interesting special features which were included in the special edition DVDs of volumes one through three (e.g. interviews with NASA professionals, orbital debris CGI models). Though these aren't critical, their absence may prompt die-hard fans to purchase the individual volumes instead, although in my oppinion, the incredibly low price of this box set is enough to warrant forgiving Bandai the omissions. If you already own some of the individual volumes then it's a toss-up, but if you don't, this set is by far the better way to go.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best science-fiction stories told in years, December 30, 2006
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This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
When I first stumbled upon Planetes I was intrigued by the level of realism inherent in its story telling and technical structure. Everything taken into account, this is probably the most realistic, down to earth science fiction story I've seen in some time. While not giving any major plot points away, the series is about a space debris collecting agency and it does the usual anime philosophical introspection of various topics (relationships, life and death, personal dreams, working-class life, etc.). The job of collecting garbage is space is actually a foil more often than not to give the characters a setting to go about their psychological journey through life. What caught me off guard was the level of maturity it uses to deal with these instances. There are no "out of this world" type scenarios the characters involve themselves in. Everything that happens is completely possible within the scope of the world these people inhabit (with the MAJOR exception of one episode that involves "ninjas"...enough said).

I highly recommend this anime to anyone interested in dramatic storytelling. Every series has its faults, and I think the major problem in Planetes is its forceful bits of humor, which do not work most of the time and only tend to offensively bog down the more serious issues at work here (I know everything can't be doom and gloom, but there comes a time when slapstick nonsense simply does not work). The manga is also available that actually tells a little bit of story that takes place after the series ends, which is interesting.

The final point I will make about this great series is that it actually has a good ending. I've noticed that far too many great animes (NG:E, Berserk, etc.) simply don't know how to end correctly, and you HAVE to read the mangas in order to fully appreciate them. Not so with Planetes. It ends perfectly. While it isn't the greatest science fiction anime of all time (those honors still belong to Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Crest/Banner of the Stars) this is without a doubt one of the best, possibly right on the tails of those other two masterpieces.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction That Resembles Science Fact, April 7, 2009
By 
ONENEO (Buffalo, NY) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
Sometimes an anime story comes along that manages to push exactly the right combination of buttons to appeal to nearly everyone. Planetes is an example of this most rare and thoroughly enjoyable experience. If you know nothing about this program the premise may seem a bit, um unimpressive in its rather narrow scope of vision. The concept of Planetes centers on junk- no, really- space junk to be exact. As the second half of the 21st century witnesses a humanity capable of traveling and living in space, debris that we left behind to eternally orbit the Earth has become a serious safety hazard.

Just like the men today who come around to collect our refuse from garbage cans on the street side curb each week, so too does the garbage zipping around the planet require human beings for the task of collection and disposal. Enter our lead characters, a group of very unique individuals who come together in the stuffy office space of a large orbiting space station with the common goal of ridding the solar system of man-made debris, one piece at a time.

If the prose sounds a bit under-whelming, take heart in the fact that following along against this seemingly menial job in the grand scheme of things is perhaps the show's greatest strength. The viewer is treated to a near-endless succession of interesting, realistic science fiction but as only the backdrop to the monotony and routine of a futuristic daily job. Additionally the interaction between the lead cast is incredibly accurate and lifelike thanks to the fact that the nature of their jobs is established early on in terms of social status. Pilots, managers, and just about anyone else in the organization seem to look down on the lowly debris collectors (in fact labeling the whole unit Half-Section) despite the fact that without them, space travel would be severely stifled.

The true beauty of Planetes lies simply in its realistic interpretation of the near future and a painstaking attention to small detail. The gains made in space travel are near science-book accurate for the setting of the year 2075. Yes, humans travel into space via pressurized aircraft (not unlike a beefed up version of a jumbo jet) and enter into pre-established orbits from there. Sure the average person can take a vacation to the lunar surface, but it's still a four-day trip to the moon just like it is for astronauts today. More impressive still is that the moon's distance to the planet earth is chillingly accurate as viewed from the lunar surface. So often in fiction, the moon is portrayed as a celestial body just above the clouds. Add the fact that earth appears a distant blue sphere from the moon's surface to the four-days travel time (at speeds of 18,000 miles per hour) and the scope of the galaxy starts to look dauntingly immense (just like it really is).

Another beautiful little scientifically correct touch is the fact that all of the external space shots are devoid of sound (since sound is after all, vibrations carried through air). Every space scene doesn't feature a panoramic backdrop of perfectly twinkling distant stars either. Sun light reflected from the earth's (or moon's) surface often drowns out such views in favor of simple silent blackness.

The level of technical detail is exceptional and impressive, making this one of the best of science fiction series of all time and is rivaled only by the interesting character development in the foreground. The story focuses on Tanabe, a naďve and idealistic rookie debris collector, and her budding love interest in the almost comically cynical Hachirota (who has more names than a phone book).

The high point of the show is the inner office political strains as some of the work-environment struggles take cues from classic pop-culture staples The Office and Office Space. Couple that to a chief who knows he's useless, a die-hard temp-worker, a tough, chain smoking, and yet oddly attractive female pilot, and you have the formula for some solid interaction dynamics.

Pacing is nearly perfect as well with several episodes that are deliberately uneventful. As such, this is truly a show that only the Japanese could have done so delicately. American studios would have littered the prose with unnecessary action, drama, or futuristic technology (worm-holes, hyperdrives, and so on). Instead, Planetes blends a realistic daily grind and realistic space travel with the type of awkward romance that American children experience at around the age of 12. It may not sound like much, but somehow it works very well.

Unlike most anime, the look and shading of the characters is particularly unique. The colors aren't especially vivid or bright but rather earth-toned and subdue which works well with the drab backdrop of life within a space station. Those accustomed to giant, glassy eyes may be surprised to find much more realistically proportioned (and dare I say Asian) peepers here.

Like most Bandai Anime Legends collections, the set is a bit light on extras but makes up for this by offering up the entire show across 6-discs for a great price. My only complaint about Planetes is that the show comes to an end. Concluding the 26th episode had me wishing for another 26.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard science masterpiece, June 30, 2007
This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
If Firefly can be considered a moderately hard science sci-fi, then this must be diamond edged. You won't find warp engines, gravity generators (other than spinning cabins), ships that hop from planet to planet without need for refueling, ships that handle like F-16s and roar as they fly by through the vaccuum of space, or any other of a host of problems typical to most sci-fi.

No, in Planetes you'll find newtonian physics, chemical fuels that actually run out, the effects of radiation and microgravity on the human body, and a host of other real world concerns.

Besides that aspect, the plot, characters, and animation are all fantastic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When The Small Are Mighty, September 9, 2007
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This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
I didn't know what to expect when I found out that this program was about the day to day lives of debris haulers, working in orbit to keep the spacelanes safe for traffic, but I was knocked out by this show. And on the edge of my seat right till the end.

Ai Tanabe, a plucky, awkward girl comes to Technora Co. Debris Section full of youthful idealism, and is immediately paired with Hashirota Hoshino, a proud, resentful young man, and the bulk of the story is tied to Tanabe's loss of innocence about the realities of life in space and Hashirota recapturing his.

What's wonderful is how the world of 207? is fleshed out, from the culturelessness of the Lunar colonies, to the terrorist threat of those opposed to the expansion of humanity into the solar system, and the ethical questions of progress while third world countries still languish in poverty. It gives a sense of REAL people and problems following in the wake of a technological rush forward, and emphasizes that acceptance and tolerance are what's really at stake. And that everything we do affects someone else.

Hard to nail this show down exactly, you just have to see it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well done series ..., April 9, 2007
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This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
Planetes is a series that hasn't received a lot of hype but it is a well written and beautifully animated series from beginning to end. The main characters all have rich, full backstories and even some of the minor, secondary characters get moments in the spotlight that flesh them out as well. As noted by previous reviews, the animation is well done and the technical aspects of how Space is portrayed is very realistic, more so than most Hollywood movies. So, if you are looking for a Anime that is different from most Science Fiction Anime, Planetes is a Great Choice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An empowering space adventure, July 28, 2008
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This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
I'll definitely say this was an interesting series and I did end up enjoying it overall. At first it felt like the characters would really get on my nerves, but as I got into them more they got less annoying to me. Or maybe because of what they went through they got less annoying in the show. Either way, by the end of this series I was hooked and wanted to see what happened to them!

Planetes has a very unique premise in my opinion and the show works a lot more like a sitcom rather than action or a straight drama at first. A lot of the comedic factors are based on character personalities and how they deal with each other. This is usually based around arguing. The tension is based around their jobs, every day life, and what to do in emergencies. In Planetes we follow a group of interstellar garbage collectors. Apparently the garbage situation around Earth has gotten so bad that they need special groups called "debris haulers" to clean up space. Things in space can be moving really fast, even debris like a small screw, and if it hits a passenger liner in just the right spot it could blow a hole right in the ship! Unfortunately being a debris hauler is kind of a thankless job and this show takes place in a time when humanity is really just starting to expand into space. There are a few large space stations that house people full time and there are couple of moon colonies, but there isn't much beyond that, so humanity's reach hasn't gone too far yet.

The story really centers on a young girl named Ai Tanabe who gets her first job in space as a debris hauler. Some people might not like the way these astronauts kind of trivialized the profession, but if you think about it, once space travel becomes more of the norm and people living in space also becomes the norm, it's very reasonable to believe that concepts like inept middle management like we see on Earth are bound to follow! So that's sort of the world Tanabe gets involved with. The two managers of the debris section for the Technora Co. are kind of clueless middle managers. The real people with the know how are the grunt workers that Tanabe will be working with. It's kind of a spin off of office sitcoms, but in space. However, the show does have its serious moments, especially when the reality of dealing with upper management sets in. Greed and power are not gone now that humanity is in space. Not to mention there is a terrorist faction out there that wants to stop humanity from spreading into space! So while this series seemed to start off as a happy comedy it takes a drastically serious turn towards the end. I at first thought it would be marketed towards the fairly young, but by the end I can confidently say that it gets very adult themed or at least more mature like mid to late teenage years.

The overall message is an overly sappy one about love, but the anime goes through dark enough trials that I can kind of forgive this kind of a closing. There are a lot of messages that go beyond that of finding those who love you and this makes this anime even more worthwhile. One that I particularly liked was the tangent on following your dreams. Are you doing them on a realistic level, is it just an ideal, and are you afraid if you don't achieve them? These kinds of concepts kind of hit home to me, but I really did like seeing the character deal with those issues. I can't pinpoint where the show precisely changed from what appears to be a comedic sitcom to a deep drama, but it does happen. That may sound like a poor writing technique, but I think Planetes pulled this off well. It also allowed for some serious twists and turns that I never even could have guessed!

In the end the story has its very cheerful and hopeful moments amidst large amounts of tragedy that befall people. I like this very realistic approach, because it's not all happy fantasy out in space. It gives that touch of reality that not everyone in the world is benevolent and sometimes people just get lost. The harsh reality is that people do die and sometimes it's at the consequence of wanting to progress. Even in Planetes the human race is already looking beyond the moon and wants to harvest energy on Jupiter! So there's always a push for progression. So this is a pretty enjoyable series overall. It didn't blow me away and I wouldn't say this is the greatest thing I've ever seen, but it certainly did entertain me while I watched it. This is the first one I've watched that Bandai put out and I have to say that I'm a little less than impressed with the packaging. I like it in the sense that it definitely saves room because it's in a single oversized DVD case which houses all six discs. However, the quality of the products that Funimation and ADV put out are just better in my opinion. And for the other Bandai products I have there is also no booklet at all and I really like the ones I have that come with a booklet. Maybe it's just me, but I just think the other companies put out a better product. Either way, that really doesn't detract from the real quality of the show!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Planetes Series, August 28, 2006
This review is from: Planetes: Complete Collection (DVD)
Although I did not purchase this particular set whole, I have watched the 6-set series and was quite impressed with the storyline. Pretty interesting idea and although some portions are a bit sci-fi-ish, its got a really good base. If you enjoy seeing am movie with pretty decent characters who have variety of interests, hopes, dreams and motives...you can find that all here. There were a few dragging pieces, but overall the whole series is very good.
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Planetes: Complete Collection
Planetes: Complete Collection by Yoshimitsu Ôhashi (DVD - 2006)
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