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Watching the latest volume of Planetes I got from Zip.ca, 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.

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“Anime sucks!” Or so I’ve heard over the years. True a lot of anime is crap and frankly embarrassing, but there is a small subset of anime that I think is every bit as good as anything in live-action. Better in most cases. I’ve recommended some of the anime below to my friend, the anime hater, and he rather liked them.

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If you’re a new anime fan, or even an old one, you’ve probably watched an anime based on a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, probably Inuyasha. She’s the grand old dame of Japanese comic books (manga to us otaku), and easily the most famous manga-ka outside of Japan.

Rumiko’s creations are so popular in so many countries that she’s one of the wealthiest women in Japan. Why, you ask? Let’s look at her works.

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Haibane Renmei is a pretty unusual anime in many ways, but the biggest difference is the themes. No guns, battles or sorcery. Just a gently story about girls with wings, called haibane, living in a town surrounded by a wall they cannot even touch, let alone pass through. The series begins with the “birth” of a new girl, Rakka, at the Old Home: an all-girls dormitory for haibane. It then follows her development and relationship with the oldest haibane there, Reki.

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Mushishi is a beautifully drawn, if somewhat dry, anime with some interesting ideas. It’s being turned into a live-action movie starring Jo Odagiri. The trailer is up and it looks like they might have capture the impressionistic look of the anime:

http://www.mushishi-movie.jp/trailer/trailer.html

A fan-made music video shows the art work from the anime.

Just thought I’d share some of my waaaay too deep knowledge of Japanese and the anime and manga scene to define some common genre terms.

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