Books: Planetes, Volume 2

>> Sunday, January 1, 2006

Planetes, Volume 2 by Makoto Yukimura

Oh wow. What can I say about a book where the climax is a hug?

It's really not as cutesy as it sounds. In the midst of a "John Woo moment" - bullets whizzing, karate kicks flying, grenades exploding - Hachimaki reaches a moment of truth. If he shoots a friend turned terrorist, he will lose every last shred of humanity he posseses. And yet his old friend now violently opposes all that Hachimaki holds dear: the exploration of space and its explotation for the betterment of mankind. To kill him will mean accepting the vast emptiness of space into himself, and still Hachimaki pulls the trigger . . .

Until the new girl, Tanabe, steps in between him and his victim to hug him and kiss him. It's a simple, compassionate act that does far more than words could, and it brings the chaos of the scene to a screeching, tender halt. It's as though everyone has been under the influence of something otherworldly until Tanabe steps up and asserts her humanity. Meanwhile, Hachimaki is prevented from taking that last, irrevocable step into the abyss - if only for a time.

Love, love, love this series. First volume was better overall, but this one has brilliant moments. Doesn't pull any punches either - in the end, Hachimaki is still pursuing his dreams of space, no matter what the cost . . .


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