In 2075, eager but maladroit Ai Tanabe, the heroine of the sci-fi broadcast series Planetes
(2004), arrives at Space Station ISPV-7 and discovers she's been assigned to the Debris Section: the department charged with cleaning up the orbiting junk that threatens interplanetary navigation. Ai immediately begins squabbling with her jaded partner, veteran spaceman Hachirota "Hachimachi" Hoshino. The set-up of a feisty newcomer joining a team of hardworking but underappreciated grunts recalls Patlabor
, and the feuding friendship between Ai and Hachirota is anime boilerplate. But Hachirota has more depth than the usual diamond-in-the-rough character, and the setting allows for some imaginative storylines. The result is an entertaining, if not terribly original series.
The two-disc set is loaded with extras that go beyond the standard interviews with ADR director Tony Oliver and voice actors Kirk Thornton (Hachirota) and Julie Ann Taylor (Ai): photographs of real space debris that's fallen to Earth, and a discussion with NASA officials, who explain there may be 15,000 objects 10cm or larger orbiting the planet at speeds approaching 8 km./sec. (Rated 13 and older: violence, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon