by Hisae Iwaoka

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Review

One of the best things about stories set in space is the feeling of limitless possibility and discovery. Unfortunately Hisae Iwaoka's Saturn Apartments takes that sense of possibility and discovery and turns it on its head, making what should be interesting dull and what is normally dull only vaguely intriguing. Perhaps my biggest issue with the first volume of Saturn Apartments (I didn't bother with the rest of the seven volume set) is that, despite appearances, it's not a story about living in space at all, it's a story about the limitations and constraints of class and society.

The series follows Mitsu, a poor but optimistic orphan boy fresh out of school who has followed in his dead father's footsteps to become a window cleaner on the expansive (and economically segregated) space station humanity has retreated to in order to leave planet Earth as a nature preserve. The job is dangerous and menial, offering little compensation or respect so far as many of the wealthy clients who can afford such a service are concerned.

Mitsu is obsessed with learning about his father (killed in an accident while working) in a way which feels formulaic at best and incredibly tedious at worst. His desire, shared with his father, to see Earth from the ground rather than floating above it feels like something which might go somewhere later in the series, but even with that and the interesting artwork of the panels, I couldn't make myself care. 

If you don't mind slow, masculine stories filled with common tropes on class, society, and connecting with the past, you might have better luck with this series than I did, but if you do mind them, stay away. This one will bore you to tears.

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