Monday, November 22, 2004
Mark Sachs was right, Planetes’ manga is pretty damned keen. I was put off by the anime, because I didn’t appreciate its Japanese-office-comedy-in-EVA-suits approach to orbital garbage collection. It’s very possible that the manga will eventually descend into that sort of cheap, lazy slap-stick, complete with a would-be Hawkeye and office toadies, but the first volume is nothing like that. Oh, there are some of the same characters - a nicotine-crazed female pilot, the headband-wearing, boy-astronaut dreamer, a sad giant of a Russian. But the author does interesting, honest, sincere drama with these characters, in a realistic fashion, and that makes all the difference. The art also seems to stand out in a way that it didn’t in the anime - possibly it’s the heightened fantastical nature of animation over comics, but things that stand out in comics often appear common-place when transcribed to the screen. Possibly it’s the highly variable viewing-space of comics as practiced in the Japanese fashion, possibly it’s just an inherent limitation of animation, I’m not sure. Either way, th splash pages and impressionistic tones of the Planetes manga give the stories so much more resonance, so much more weight, than the anime version, that I’m left wondering about the primacy of the two arts, and whether manga-based anime is ever a good idea...
Posted by Mitch H. on 11/22/2004
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