Yukari goes to the Solomon islands to look for her father, who abandoned her mother during the first night of their honeymoon at the islands. Someone directs her to the rocket base, because that is where most Japanese people are. The Solomon Space Agency tries to put up a manned space program, in order to make money by repairing satellites. But their big booster continues to fail and keeps blowing up during test flights (much to the amusement of the natives) -- and their smaller, more reliable booster doesn't generate enough thrust to put a lot of mass into orbit.
The manager of the program is given an ultimatum. He needs to show results, or his funding will be cut! So he devises a plan: if they strip everything off the orbiter, and get a featherweight astronaut, they have enough thrust to pull it off! An astronaut like Yukari...
And so Yukari gets a rather unique part-time job. Even though the director says there's nothing to it ("Just sit in front of a machine and push some buttons. Even a monkey could do it!"), she is given the whole training package, including survival training!
And she does find her father. Rather early on in the series, even -- along with her half-sister! Who then also becomes an astronaut! And even though Yukari did find what she came for, the series just continues on with the space-stuff... For the writers, Yukari's dad is just a pretext to get her on the base, and when he has played his role, he isn't given any screen-time anymore.
Anyway, Yukari and Matsuri (and, later on, Yukari's kouhei Akane) train hard to become astronauts, and after some technical breakthroughs (some of them pretty hard-fought), they get sent up! Obviously, things have to go wrong once in a while, and we get a few tense moments when Matsuri has to go after Yukari to save her, or when the two rendez-vous with a Space Shuttle to do some emergency repairs.
The series is pretty interesting, in that you get a bit of a (humorous) look behind the scenes -- things go wrong, sometimes things go well, and in the end everyone is relieved when a mission can be concluded succesfully with everyone still in one piece. The Rocket Girls all seem to take this in stride, though tensions do mount once in a while for them too, and they have to be talked to sternly by the base staff (and, in the case of Yukari, even her mom).
All in all, the series is very light-hearted and has a humorous undertone -- with some tense and serious moments in between.
The series has a very polished look, with clean character designs and lush backgrounds (it is set on a tropical island, after all). The CGI is very well executed, and the mix of 2D and 3D is never jarring.
The voice acting is good and clean. Yukari is voiced quite well, though Matsuri sometimes gets on your nerves with her fake-sounding accent.
- Humorous, light-hearted with some tension in between;
- Interesting subject matter.
- Not very consistent with its backstory;
- Too short to really develop the situation.
All in all, a 7.5: solid, fun series without pretensions.