Friday, May 25, 2018

Madowanai Hoshi, vol. 3 review

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Madowanai Hoshi, vol. 3, Masayuki Ishikawa. Grade: A
Recap: It's the future, and humans have trashed the Earth. People live in domes, and in Japan, they are divided into "Insiders" and "Outsiders." Insiders all have coveted jobs making anime that's broadcast in the domes during the day, while the outsiders man the outer domes and scavenge the mountains of trash outside for useful rejects. S-zawa works in one of the domes, and at some point had broadcast a "message of love" to space, which attracted the attention of a handful of beautiful women, who are in fact the human embodiments of the Moon, Earth and the other planets. From this point, the planets try to educate S-zawa and his co-worker Hazuki Oikawa on physics, history and the environment, pretty much to no avail. In the last volume, Hazuki insulted Earth, and caused the outer planet women to return to their obits in disgust.

This volume starts with the Kuiper Belt planetoids congratulating Pluto on her being recognized as a planet by the humans. She decides to thank everyone by putting a big heart on her surface, and as a greeting for when the New Horizons probe shows up. But then, the humans downgrade her, and Pluto ruins the heart in anger, and New Horizons arrives too late to capture the original design. This is followed by a short, jovial guy named Mimisansan getting fired from his job as an animator, because his bright, cheerful personality has been bothering the other workers. His counselor suggests that he get a job "outside," where he might fit in better. Mimi is quite happy to do this. (Note that Mimi is identified as the son of the distinguished Mimi family that owns Mimi Group Corp., one of the most powerful families in Japan.)

Back at the dome, S-zawa is sending letters into space again, to appease the other planets, and Hazuki spells him to try to send one or two letters herself. S-zawa turns on one of the anime channels, which offends Moon so much that she switches from bunnygirl form to mini-moon form to try to teach S-zawa and Oikawa about multiple dimensions, string theory and black holes. The two humans are unable to understand any of this, no matter how simplified Moon makes it. Eventually, the two humans return to their apartments in the inner dome for the night, and Oikawa decides to show S-zawa a secret gathering spot for outsiders hidden in the blind spots of the insider security camera network. The secret spot is effectively a large bar/restaurant that serves real beer and real food, not the artificial pastes they normally get in the insider cafeterias. As they talk, Mimisansan happens by, to Hazuki's horror, because none of the insiders are supposed to know the place exists. The thing is, S-zawa and Mimi had been classmates in 5th grade, and they recognize each other. Mimi talks loud, calling out S-zawa's name, causing the food server to ask S-zawa to leave. Seems that S-zawa has become famous on the news for having sent his love letters out to space, and his increased popularity with the insiders is a threat to the secret bar.

Mimi announces that he wants to keep drinking, and he invites the other two to join him in Hazuki's apartment for drinks, ignoring the woman's loud protests. They get to the apartment, and as Hazuki cleans the place up and changes clothes, Mimi starts talking about space-time. S-zawa comments that he sounds like Moon, and eventually asks who Mimi really is. Mimi uses his powers to warp space-time to transport them all back to the outer dome, and is revealed to be The Sun in human form ("Me-Me-Sun-Sun" was kind of a giveaway). Mars and Venus are elated to have Sun back, and even Earth recovers from her illness enough to get out of her medi-bed. The outer planets return to planet Earth, complaining about how inconvenient all this traveling is for them. Mimi wonders whether he should stick around, and S-Zawa yells that it's bad enough that all these strange characters are hanging around him, he doesn't need another one to confuse everything even more. He tells Mimi to return to his place in the center of the solar system, which Mimi is more than happy to do.

Hazuki apologizes to Earth for her previous behavior, and promises to try to do something to make Earth more healthy in the future. Unfortunately, Mimi's one suggestion was to do a time reset, returning the planet to a point where the pollution hadn't gotten so bad yet. Hazuki thinks this is a possible option, but it would mean killing off everyone alive now, and because humans are creatures of habit, they'd just pollute the planet all over again. Hazuki asks Earth for suggestions, just as Mimi flies off into space to return home. Earth falls sick as she tries to come up with an answer.

Summary: Lots and lots of science in this series, in with all the gags. I didn't try following the more involved discussions, in part because I already know some of this stuff in English. But, I do like the spin Ishizawa is putting on quantum mechanics and string theory. Fun, but deep. Recommended to anyone that knows the Earth is not flat (which is a very sexist thing to say, so please stop saying it).

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