Watching the latest volume of Planetes I got from, I couldn’t help thinking: “This may be the hardest science fiction I’ve seen in years.” Planetes follows the lives of the Orbital Debris Collection division of the fictional transnational Technora. The series starts off slow, but gets better as we delve deeper into the flawed, but likeable characters. But that’s not what I’m writing about. It’s the science that’s gotten me excited about this series.

The director, in one of the episode commentaries early in the series, says he spent a lot of time learning about the physics of space especially orbits and microgravity. Boy, this series gets it soooo right. From the details of matching orbits to the little details of life in zero-gravity (for example, the interiors of the spaceship and space station were thought out with handhold and railings). But not content to stop there, they include some other interesting tidbits like what is a child was growing up in a low gravity environment. This series does the science and does it so well.

Of course the characters and writing are also very good. Even without the science, I’d be interested in this series. Hachimaki’s pursuit of his dreams despite his own lack of luck and ability is the kind of story that makes you want to stand up and cheer him on.

Definitely recommended for everyone.