Far in the future, humankind has evacuated the Earth in order to preserve it. Humans now reside in a gigantic structure that forms a ring around the Earth, thirty-five kilometers up in the sky. The society of the ring is highly stratified: the higher the floor, the greater the status. Mitsu, the lowly son of a window washer, has just graduated junior high. When his father disappears and is assumed dead, Mitsu must take on his father's occupation. As he struggles with the transition to working life, Mitsu's job treats him to an outsider's view into the various living-room dioramas of the Saturn Apartments.
Tricky series to review. If you took the art of Twin Spica and the plot of Planetes, you'd get something similar to Saturn Apartments. The mangaka's art is childlike and gorgeous - my favorite scenes were the two-page spreads showing the window washers on the outside of the ring, looking down at Earth. And the story starts in a compelling way, with Mitsu becoming a window washer and us learning about his sad past with losing his father. But, frankly, it gets boring quick. It took me a long time to move from vol 1 to the end, having owned the series for years. The individual clients' apartments and their back stories are interesting, but it just gets old fast and chapters about the window washers in general just aren't compelling after awhile. There's a sub-plot that kicks in in the last few volumes which I thought may help the series end with a bang, but it ended up being anti-climactic and felt like a fairly poor/rushed ending. I lean 3.5/5 stars overall, but went with 4 purely because of the art, and because of some of the chapters being genuinely tragic and melancholy.
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