Planet With (Summer 2018) is an almost nonstop ride. In a small, twelve-episode package, it has everything from space adventures and angsty mecha pilots to messages about how violence isn’t the answer.
Souya Kuroi has amnesia and can’t remember anything before he started living with a giant, walking cat who he calls Sensei and a strange maid named Ginko. He lives his life as a normal high school student with no present or future. That all changes when a mysterious object appears over the ocean to attack the city, a threat that no conventional weapons can defeat. When seven heroes in mecha go out to meet the object, he remembers something about his life and seeks revenge for everything that has happened in his life. The giant cat turns into a mecha and he confronts them all, spewing his intentions to them.
From that point on, Planet With takes off. Kuroi discovers that he is from an alien race called the Siriusians, known to many people across the galaxy as prone to anger and war. Fighting against the seven warriors and their boss called the Dragon, who destroyed Kuroi’s home planet, he slowly discovers more about his kind and his true nature. Kuroi doesn’t want to fight and seeks his own path to peace and hope. Of course, nothing is ever as simple as that because the dragon still wants to fight.
Plot and Story
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about Planet With is how fast its pacing is. If you could condense maybe three or four cours of space action mecha into an one cour series, you get Planet With. Of course, it is one cour of awesomeness and I think it all has to do with how this show was directed. Every character was given the appropriate time to be developed, the backstory space adventures were there long enough to be explored without going on for too long, and I can say the same about the length of the action scenes. It’s incredible how comprehensible everything is and how much I enjoyed watching this series.
Planet With’s plot is a lot more touching and thoughtful than one would think. Considering that it starts with angst, I don’t think anyone would expect that it would continue to touch questions about ethics and morality. The objects floating around to attack the city gave depth and clarity to this show as each one of these objects could only be destroyed with a mecha floating into the object. The pilot had to fight against their own self-consciousness by finding their inner strength. It’s a great way to discover more about these characters while also making the show feel a lot more relaxed and sentimental.
The exploration of its characters wasn’t without its flaws. While Kuroi, the giant cat, and Ginko have enough time to be developed because they are the focus of the story, not everyone is so lucky. Most are given a backstory and a good personality, but they are more liable to spending more time off the screen time watching Kuroi fight than anything else. I am not sure how else this show could have handled its insane pace.
Art & Music
The music was composed by the legendary Kohei Tanaka (he was behind the music of a lot of anime that I’ve loved), but I can’t help but think that this is the least interesting soundtrack he’s been a part of. It has solid orchestra background music, but since each song has a similar flow and instrumentation, there is nothing here that stands out from the rest of the songs. The opening and endings are fantastic and have enough of a buildup to get you into the mood and then cool you down with their momentum and energy.
Planet With’s visuals are far from perfect. The traditional animation is average at best because there isn’t a lot of movement. Most happens in the CG robot action scenes, in which we can see an obvious effort put into their designs, movements, and textures. However, it didn’t mesh well with the backgrounds and traditional animation. That’s fine, because the robots are otherworldly in nature. Also, the sound design of the mechanical movements and the impacts helped each action scene have such a large presence and make them feel a lot more visceral.
Themes and Trivia
- Planet With is the brainchild of mangaka Satoshi Mizukami.
- Over a thousand storyboards were made by Mizukami himself
- While they are far from original, Planet With’s themes of peace and understanding in the face of revenge and hatred are prevalent throughout the show’s run.
Planet With is an incredible experience. It’s powerful, meaningful, has a great cast, and is almost everything that I could ever ask for from a mecha anime. Having two or more cours worth of material condensed into one is a hard thing to do, but Planet With pulls it off so much more than anyone would ever expect. The average soundtrack and visuals do not hinder the viewers’ experience at all.
Have you seen Planet With? Does it sound interesting? If you did, how did you feel about it? Please let us know in the comments section and don’t forget to check the rest of our anime series reviews here on MANGA.TOKYO.
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Streaming