Planetes (2003 IMDb)

Categorization

Hard SF. I interpret some details as minor alternate history elements.

Subject

2075: Orbiting debris has been recognized as a direct threat to the commercial development of space. The show initially centers on a large corporation's low-status “Debris Section”. A newly employed idealistic young woman added to that group meets a man who claims to dream of buying his own spaceship. The series is deceptively episodic at first and spawns a huge cast but then weaves itself back together. In the latter half, some are enraged at the idea of funding an expedition to Jupiter for fusile materials that would reinforce existing inequalities.

Commentary

This series is to Wings of Honneamise: Royal Space Force (1987) what Last Exile (2003) is to Castle in the Sky (1986): a luxurious modern descendant. Realism rules with forgiveable stretching for humour, the symbolism is good, the characters are great, and much of the music is excellent, though not the ED. It's no “Fly Me to the Moon” either. The greatest flaw is the stiffness of the digipaint animation.

Japanese production animation series