On August 25, 2012 we lost a man who was a not only a real American hero but a symbol to all mankind. Neil Armstrong, the first man to ever step foot on the Moon, passed away at the age of 82.
We are rather enamored with the idea of space and space travel. Our article in May was a love letter to space and two series dealing with space travel. While the space program has been in decline for a while projects like the Curiosity rover prove there is still some life in the project.
While the Moon is closer than anything else in the universe, it is still so far away. Even at its closest it is 221,600 miles away from Earth. At times it seems so close that you can touch it and at other times it seems completely unreachable. But it has been reached. And it will be reached again. The shows we picked are all visions of that future. Each of us picked three shows the deal with the Moon because while we have reached it, it is still a very mysterious place.
So instead of mourning what has vanished, we will instead celebrate the Moon!
While the Moon sometimes pops up in various Gundam series as a location that is briefly visited or mentioned off handily. But in Turn A Gundam and After War Gundam X it is a vital location in each series. In fact when I did my reviews of both shows I reviewed them back to back just because of their unusually high emphasis on the Moon.
In After War Gundam X the main character’s mobile suit the GX-9900 Gundam X (and later GX-9901-DX Gundam Double X) have a highly sought after interface to call down a microwave mega laser from the Moon. As the series goes on the supreme goal of all the factions involved is to control the moonbase that has this devastating super weapon. Therefore the final grand fleet battle takes place while orbiting the Moon.
While in Gundam X we slowly see the emphasis on the Moon increase in Turn A Gundam the Moon is critical right out of the gate. The series starts with a post industrial revolution Earth being invaded by super advanced humans from the Moon. In fact the main character is a solider and spy from the Moon who is trying to find a way for everyone to peacefully coexist. One of the major arcs is a small delegation trying to get to the Moon. In a series that is usually space colonies vs. the Earth it is nice to see the attention turned towards Luna for a change.
Sailor Moon is a rabbit, a princess, and a warrior of the Moon. Her place of origin is Silver Millennium, a beautiful kingdom set in the Sea of Serenity on the Moon. The people of the Moon wanted to help humanity and be alongside its growth and change. The Moon Kingdom was a place of long life and peace, destroyed by hatred and jealousy, but revived through will and determination.
In the series, the Moon and its people are foreign but not so unrecognizable to humanity. The Moon is there to guide us and to bring us hope.
While the main thrust of Planetes is about the mundane lives of space garbage men the love of space, exploration, and the Moon is evident. In the original manga the crew is stationed on the Moon making it a key point of focus. Also when Hachimaki breaks his leg his has a very iconic episode with Nono on the moon. The tragic engine explosion on the Moon radically alters the Jupiter exploration project which becomes the focus of the later third of the seires. Through out the anime it is clear that the Moon is a vital focal point for humanity’s progress to the stars. Also Planetes has a band of Moon ninjas who do lunar ninjutsu with the aid of the satellites’ low gravity. That alone should earn it a spot on the list.
The festival that opens the series takes place on the Luna colony. It is vibrant, dangerous, and intoxicating place (maybe if you live on the Moon it is always a full moon?) much like the Count himself so it is only fitting that he appear there first to young Albert and Franz.
Based on the classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo, this is tale full of passion and revenge!
And on a lighter note I cannot forgot to mention the fact that the cast of Gurren Lagann have to FIGHT THE MOON to get into space so they can take on the Anti-spirals. When the Anti-spirals first announce their intentions to wipe out humanity their first plan is to drop the Moon on the earth. Team Gurren has to regroup in order to fly into space to prevent this catastrophe. It turns out that what they confront is actually a powerful space battleship that was only pretending to be the Moon. When they take control of the insanely powerful craft they discover that it had moved that actual Moon into a subspace pocket. They thankfully return our satellite to its normal orbit after that. But I suppose that going beyond the impossible and kicking reason to the curb in the Gurren Lagann way.
In Battle Athletes, people from all over the universe some to compete. Instead of making war between nations, things are decided in bouts of physical prowess in a sportsman fashion. Recalling Battle Athletes when thinking about this list just went on to remind me of how utterly 90’s it is.
In the case of the Moon, it inspires worship as it always did on Earth but now with a closer connection. Kris comes from a small group called The Biginners that live on the Moon’s surface. Kris’s connection to the Moon is of the spiritual kind and her group tries to live in harmony with the nature of the Moon.
Last but not least…
You will find very few series that romanticized the trip to the Moon quite like Space Brothers. While Hibito might not be the main character his trip to the Moon is hardly just a minor background plot point. In many ways it is the spark that helps reignite the fire for space that Mutta has lost. At first seeing his brother scheduled to go to the Moon caused Mutta to lose heart and settle for a track in life that did not challenge him. But eventually it prompted him to strive to do one better than his brother and go to Mars. Just like with the rest of humanity it is the first step on the Moon that practically dares mankind to see how much farther it can go. Once we see that the Moon is not an impossible dream everything else seems possible.
I love the friendship and rivalry of Mutta and Hibito’s promises as children to one day go to space. Because young Mutta as the big brother feels he must strive further than his younger sibling. When Hibito vows to go to the Moon, Mutta can’t help but one up him by saying he will go all the way to Mars.