Rocket Girls

TV (12 eps)
3.482 out of 5 from 659 votes
Rank #6,311

In search of answers, Yukari Morita travels to the place where her father had abandoned her mother seventeen years ago on their honeymoon night. When she reaches the Solomon Islands, an unlikely sequence of events occurs and her fate becomes intertwined with that of Solomon Space Agency. She meets Isao Nasuda, the director of SSA, who happens who be quite the opportunist. Nasuda is willing to help her find her father, but at a price: doing a simple job, pressing buttons -- something even a monkey could do! Little does she know she'll be piloting Japan's first manned rocket into outer space!

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Mook Animation & DLE’s 2007 teen-adventure tale really shouldn’t work but ends up being surprisingly entertaining. We have seen so many of these kids-in-space exercises through the years that it is practically a sub-genre in its own right. Pretty much all of them suck because the premise is so flimsy: you just don’t make astronauts out of kids; they aren’t suited for it. Yet “Rocket Girls” perks it up a little when a private Japanese company gets desperate to prove its commercial model. Their problem is that they have had no luck launching an orbiter with the payload capabilities to get an adult into space. Brainwave! How about a teenage girl? Well, of course this is absurd. Not only is it doubtful that any real-world parent would grant permission but in this story the girls are chosen entirely at random! They get recruited from whomever turns up at the space centre at the right time! Not only that but one of the girls gets into orbit after four weeks training without adequate G-force tolerance. Yet here is the thing. Despite the practicalities being utter nonsense the story kinda works. You really end up enjoying this hokum. The characters are all great and you genuinely start caring about what happens. What’s the deal? Well, the plot line seems to be a slightly tamer version of such Hollywood block busters as “Gravity”, “Deep Impact” or “The Right Stuff” so you keep watching just to see what happens. Given that this was put together some fifteen plus years ago in also has withstood the test of time and looks quite contemporary given how badly some of its peer group has aged. The show was adapted from the light novel series by Hōsuke Nojiri who clearly demonstrates some knowledge of both rocketry and space programs. However, the constraints of the story leads to a bizarrely constrained timeline. Space programs take years to unfold as is discussed late in the series yet this private company seems able to devise new solid fuel rockets and manned capsules in a matter of weeks. All of this tech seems manufactured in a clean-room manned by just four blokes working around the clock with hammers. We’re pretty sure that this company’s investors would have pulled the plug on these cowboys long before. But heck, where would the fun be in that? It might also be worth mentioning that the depiction of a local tribe of Solomon islanders as living in the stone ages is truly bizarre. The real islanders probably watched this show on their Japanese HD flat screen TVs and emailed strongly worded complaints to the production company. But here it is, the show that just shouldn’t work but did. Miracles are possible in anime and this is one of them. Catch it if you can.

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