One of my greatest pleasures is to walk into something cold, knowing nothing about it, and come out the other side pleasantly surprised. I knew zip about Jyu-oh-sei when I cracked the shrinkwrap and fired it up, but that only made the surprise all the more compelling. For lack of a more relevant way to put it, Jyu-oh-sei seems a bit like an anime incarnation of the kinds of SF that Larry Niven or Frederik Pohl might have written back in the Seventies. It starts with a few hard-science (or at least not-soft-science) premises, sticks some strong characters into the middle of it, stirs well, and lets things happen.
Centuries into the future, mankind has colonized other worlds. Among them is Chimaera, a planet where human beings live only by dint of their stubbornness as a species. Temperatures vary from brutal cold to vicious heat, and the only other life forms are carnivorous plants. No one goes there unless they absolutely have to — and, in fact, most people don’t. It’s a prison world, a dumping ground for the human garbage of the universe. It’s also not officially supposed to exist, for reasons above and beyond it being a galactic Riker’s Island. Read more