In episode 11 of Planetes, Mr. Temara peddles his spacesuit proposal to Technora, where he is met with a string of failures. Nobody wants his ugly spacesuit, and the fact that he hails from the poor nation of El Tanika doesn’t help, either. But Hachi offers to test it for him.
It’s quickly discovered that this El Tanikan-made spacesuit is no slouch. It might be big and cumbersone, but it also has an array of neat features that aren’t even present in Hachi’s standard gear. It could have some useful applications, but Mr. Temara’s national identity works against him. Even in 2075, where mankind has already built colonies on the moon and Mars, the rich powers hold monopoly over space and its numerous resources.
During Mr. Temara’s talks with Claire (who is El Tanikan by birth but officially an American citizen), we learn about how hard it is to live in El Tanika. Both only learned how to read and write in another country, but Claire never even learned how to read and write in her birthplace’s language. Mr. Temara himself completed his diploma in China, and went straight back to El Tanika.
Eventually the testing goes into its final stages, when the OSA intervenes with some shocking news. INTO has invaded El Tanika, and all El Tanikans outside the country are to be put under protective custody. Hachi won’t have any of this, and escapes by feinting an accident in order to complete the tests.
The OSA pursues but decide to wait it out. As Hachi and the crew perform the final depressurization test, Mr. Temara recites the names of his fellow El Tanikans who worked on his spacesuit, as if praying. Then, he adds Claire’s name… and the test concludes with the spacesuit meeting international standards.
The test is a success, and Mr. Temara has no regrets handing himself over to the OSA, despite Claire’s attempt to protect him. However, he requests to be spared a few moments to look at the Earth. He looks for El Tanika, and finds it underneath a swath of clouds.
On the ground itself, the warehouse where he built his spacesuit is blown to smithereens by INTO forces.
But, high above in space, all he sees is the Earth, with no borders to speak of.
And that’s where I teared up.
Maybe if all of us were given a chance to look at the Earth from outer space, then we would never have to fight wars, or belittle the Mr. Temaras that come into our lives. Sadly, Planetes shows us that humans do not easily change, and the realization of a united humanity is still far, far off.
But still, I choose to hope.
- For posts like these, The Once and Future King is always relevant. [->]