Thursday, July 5, 2007

Moonlight Mile - Lift Off

Moonlight Mile is dark. The in-capsule scenes from episode 9 expose the weak contrast ratio of my external monitor, and I have to turn to my laptop, which is situated off-angle, to get at the outlines.

Moonlight Mile episode 9Darker than black. Seriously.

Even though at this point I still have two more episodes to go before finishing this first season, it has been evident for a while now that Moonlight Mile wasn't going to meet expectations, and maybe it's partly my fault. Elaboration after these messages.

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When Moonlight Mile was first announced, comparisons were immediately drawn to Planetes. By now it's apparent that Moonlight Mile is weaker than Planetes. A large part of that disappointment, for me, was caused because I fell into the OP trap: that the scenes from the OP sequence might actually take place at one point or another within the following 12 episodes. What I realized too late was that they might take place in the second season.

The first episode only reinforced the belief that we'd see some real conflict break out and the exposure of a conspiracy. All evidence of a conspiracy vanished in subsequent episodes and when they eventually surfaced, there wouldn't be nearly enough time to pursue that story, pre-occupied as the series is with resolving the current cover-up plot.

In terms of actual comparisons to Planetes, the two series share an episodic structure. Related to this, obviously, is that you can't expose a space conspiracy and resolve it within the same episode. Where the two differ is how they use this structure. Moonlight Mile takes the tried and true shounen, We Are Training/Leveling Up path. In Planetes, there is a minimal amount of training and then we're into the fray.

Where side characters in Moonlight Mile are generally an impediment to the protagonists' progress, mainly Goro's, or are in need of rescue to drive the story forward, Planetes features side characters with somewhat more fleshed out back stories. They either have an effect on the main cast, or pose moral questions to the viewer. Either way, their interactions with the main characters are generally not hostile.

Moonlight Mile episode 9Bailing out in progress.

You could say that Moonlight Mile, as it currently stands in its first season, is a really typical shounen dressed up with sex, hints of more mature themes, technological plausibility, and GAR-ness. Here's hoping that the second season does one better.

Moonlight Mile episode 10Riyoko chokes on her LIES.

For those who have seen episode 10, Riyoko's actions seem to be inconsistent with previous behaviour. There's only really one way to reconcile it, which is to say that she's being insincere. This, despite little hints to the contrary throughout the series. There just wasn't enough screen time given to support this turn of events.