Moonlight Mile (Series 1)
The Nexus Project is a large-scale effort ostensibly to develop lunar energy resources to meet Earth’s energy needs. Adventuring friends Goro Saruwatari (a Japanese construction-equipment operator) and Jack “Lostman” Woodbridge (an American Navy pilot), looking for a bigger adventure, both apply to go into space, since the Nexus Project will require both their skill sets.
I’ll start with what I liked here: the CGI is VERY good. The improvement in meshing CGI with more conventional animation, from the crude days of DIVERGENCE EVE, to shows like SIMOUN or this one, is amazing. The general storyline, in which development of a lunar power source threatens to reduce certain energy-rich, but technologically underdeveloped, countries to Third World status dovetails rather nicely with the plot of PLANETES, and even though the two shows were developed by different people, this could almost be considered a prequel to PLANETES in that respect.
My reaction to the lead characters is more mixed, though. Goro gets considerably more attention than Woodbridge does- I suppose because he’s the “homeboy” here. Goro is pretty much your typical action hero - very cool in tense situations, not really a cerebral type but with infallible intuition and a talent for improvisation. At one point he gets rewarded for continuing a simulated mission despite a major simulated mishap, which is not the way it’s usually done in real astronaut training- real astronauts are usually encouraged to “bail,” if it’s possible, at the first sign of major trouble. He also has a strong sense of ethics, except possibly where women are involved.
Goro, you see (and Woodbridge too, but you see less of him) is like the captain with a woman in every port. As his assignments move him from Japan to the U.S. to Russia and then back to Japan, he acquires a new girlfriend at every duty station, and curiously none of these ladies seems to get that upset when he walks out of their life. This bothered me especially with the American lady, who had a child. It would seem to me that a woman in that position, with a child, would be looking for a lasting relationship with someone who could be a father to their kid, not just a temporary fling. The series’ take on male-female relationships struck me as a bit sexist and male-centric. (Will even Riyoko, Goro’s cynical PR person/”handler”, respond to Goro’s studliness and be grateful for his sexual favors? I won’t say…)
There’s also kind of a disjointedness about this show, which may have to do with it being the First Season and therefore having to lay a lot of groundwork. Some plotlines- a Woodbridge encounter in the desert, for example- leave loose ends that are never returned to. On the other hand, there are scenes in the opening credits- and at least one scene in an episode- that seem to belong to a point in the chronology well beyond the First Season. Goro doesn’t make it into space until the fifth episode, and is back on the ground again for a three-episode plotline (9-11), so if you’re looking for a lot of action in space, be warned that at least in First Season it’s pretty much confined to the middle episodes. By the very end of the season I did get the feel that the plot of the series was beginning to develop a definite direction- Goro and Woodbridge are pursuing what are supposedly very different paths to the Moon, but as we have seen throughout the series, these two allegedly separate entities in charge of space exploration actually have some key people in common.
Recommended Audience: The box says TV-MA. I’ll go farther- NOT FOR CHILDREN! Both our heroes (but especially Goro) have softcore sex scenes (albeit brief ones), and there’s some female nudity.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Moonlight Mile (Series 1) © 2007 Studio Hibari
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