For whatever reason, I tend to read more shoujo manga than anything else, probably because Blue Monday and Hopeless Savages aside, I’m not reading many female oriented American comic books. So Planetes was a change of pace for me. It is a hard sci-fi story about three astronauts (Yuri, Hachimachi, and Fee) who are employed as space garbagemen, cleaning up all the junk that the human race has left floating around in space. I enjoyed the way the comic was character driven, despite being set in a technology heavy future. One storyline is very somber in tone, as Yuri comes to terms with the death of his wife. Fee’s story deals with the problems she runs into when she just wants to sit down for a smoke in space. Hachimachi grapples with his own ambition and his family back home in Japan.
It seems like this would be a good “manga for people who don’t like manga”, as the art is very realistic (no huge eyes), and the combination of hard sci-fi and well-written character driven storylines is very compelling. I’m looking forward to reading the next volume.