Planet With Episode 11 Review: The Power of Mercy and Two Younger Brothers

September 18, 2018

Quick Summary

In Planet With episode 11, "Azrabarakura," we join our heroes five year into the future. The dragon is about to awaken on the far side of our moon. SenseiGeneralissimo, and the other Nebula leaders have tried to come up with a plan to defeat it, with the responsible for the physical fighting falling on the previous members of Grand Paladin -- as well as Souya Kuroi and Kogane Shiraishi. Augmented with Earth's telepaths like Nozomi Takamagahara, they launch their attack as the dragon wakes up. Can they achieve something that the entire might of Nebula failed to do in the past? Just what is the dragon, anyway, and why are the People of Paradise so insistent on helping Souya?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.  

What's in This Post

Interested in the Sensei mech? You can buy it from CD Japan:

3 Favorite Moments

She didn't openly admit it, but I think it's clear that Nozomi could see the People of Paradise even before touching Souya. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 1

Nozomi can see the People of Paradise, too (5:26)? That's interesting. She and Souya had just been talking about their psychic training, with Souya saying he'd been certified as a level 3 telepath and Nozomi wondering how much help she'll be in the battle at level 8. The conversation noted that Nebula's best telepaths were level 20, so Nozomi's leveling up fast! But she can do something even the best Nebula telepaths can't: she can see the People of Paradise. In this scene, she makes a show of taking Souya's hand before talking to the form of his older brother (5:42), and that's the point where the People of Paradise speaks directly to her. But I'm sure she looked at him at the very beginning of the scene, before he'd even spoken to Souya. I wonder what impact that'll have in the last episode?

Souya shows how far he's come by proclaiming that he's no longer out for vengeance. See how proud Ginko looks? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 2

During their planning session, it became clear that Nebula wasn't strong in preparing for battles, so Souya and the previous members of Grand Paladin were taking on those tasks. There was a general consensus that Souya was the tip of the spear. So much so that one of the gathered Nebula asked him if, as a child of Sirius, he was fighting to take revenge on the dragon (11:50). The camera touched on several people like Kogane, Generalissimo, the previous members of Grand Paladin, Sensei, and finally Ginko before zooming on on Souya. Souya's answer was simple: "...I'm fighting to save the dragon from his loneliness and send him to be with his true comrades. I'm the only one who can forgive him" (12:09). Souya's come a long, long way from the furious young man we met in the first episode. He has come to terms with his past and wants to move on, and we got to watch his journey! Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy character development?

Ginko tells Souya how proud she is that he's her younger brother -- and that everyone on Riel will welcome him when it's time, despite what his planet had tried to do to them. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Moment 3

As far as Souya has come, it seems there was one negative feeling that had clung to him until now -- he felt guilty that his previous world, Sirius, had attacked Ginko's Riel. On the night before battle, Souya's sitting on the roof looking at the stars. Ginko joins him, and after a little small talk, he comes out and says, "I'm sorry about Riel" (15:07). He tells her she can take revenge on him if she wants. But Ginko's the product of a far different culture. There's no way she would do something like that, and Souya, clearly struggling with the question, asks her why now -- after attacking her planet, why doesn't she hate his world? And moreover, why did she decide to save him? Saying Riel wants to walk the path of love and join Nebula, she said, "We'll save anyone and forgive anyone" (15:38). It seems hard for him to understand until Ginko tells him something that's been obvious to everyone but him: "You're the same, Souya... you're about to go off to forgive the dragon who destroyed your home... You're my little brother, and I'm very proud of you" That's the capstone for Souya's journey right there. Her words seemed to overwhelm help. Souya's shown that he's used to fighting; he can take a physical and emotional beating and bounce back. Back an attack of kindness like Ginko just showed? There's no defense against that!

Thoughts

I guess I should have seen it coming, but the dragon is the last physical remnant of one of the People of Paradise! And he's the younger brother of the People of Paradise representative that Souya (and Nozomi!) have been talking to? No wonder Souya perceived him as an older brother -- he really was!

No wonder Souya perceived this representation of the People of Paradise as an older brother. He is an older brother! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Not only that, but the dragon was the one who scattered the vials to Earth so they could defend themselves against the Sealing Faction? He must really hate Nebula, and I can't say that I blame him. 

The representative of the People of Paradise said (21:21), "Justice forgives no one, and without forgiveness, love is impossible. And without love, having a soul is impossible! I, Nebula, Sirius... We've come to forgive you!"

I like this progression. It fits in with some points I tried to make in my Thoughts for the Re:CREATORS episode 21 review and, on a more limited basis, in my Thoughts for my D.Gray-man (HALLOW) review of episode 11. In the former, I argued that give her circumstances, Altair's motives should best be judged through the lens not of justice, but of mercy. In the latter, I contrasted Allen Walker's insistence on showing mercy to the souls trapped within the Akuma with the "justice" (divine or otherwise) demanded by the church hierarchy. 

I think Planet With is making the case for mercy (in the form of forgiveness) better than I ever did!

Should the dragon be granted the same mercy I advocated for Altair? Their circumstances are certainly different... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Yet, there's an aspect of this that makes me uneasy. Reddit user Zaugr, in the discussion for this episode (See Other Posts of Interest, below), brought up an interesting point: The dragon murdered billions of people on Sirius in the name of his justice. Would forgiveness let him off the hook?

Trying to jail Altair would mean the new worlds she wanted to create with  Setsuna Shimazaki would never come into being. Trying to send the souls of those trapped in an Akuma to hell would deprive them of reunion with their Creator. The world (or worlds!) would be better in both cases if mercy would be the choice instead of justice. 

Yet, the dragon still wants to destroy Nebula...

Maybe sometimes, before mercy can be granted or accepted, you need to change the conditions -- maybe even with force. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I think it comes down to this: There are times when simply being merciful and forgiving just isn't enough. In the case of the dragon, Souya and Kogane are going to have to bring the dragon to a state of understanding, likely the same way that Sensei and Souya brought understanding to Generalissimo and Kogane: through a beat-down. I'm not entirely satisfied with that answer. But Zaugr's right: We can't just tell the dragon, "You're forgiven!" and watch as he destroys Nebula. Our heroes will first have to adjust the dragon's understanding. 

I think there are implications for the application of mercy at a more meta level, but I think I'll leave that for another day.

What did you think of the People of Paradise's motivations in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts of Interest

  • Highway says:

    I think there’s a little more of the Lyrical Nanoha-esque “I have to beat the forgiving into you” aspect of forgiveness here rather than the “turn the other cheek no matter what” kind of forgiving. It was pretty obvious they weren’t starting with asking nicely. But I think it’s also one of the key parts of the forgiveness on offer that the Dragon reflect on what he did and understand the scale of its wrongness, and sincerely regret the actions he took. Souya is there to forgive the dragon, to show that the dragon was wrong about at least one of the people of Sirius. But what he’s not there to do is absolve the dragon of its crimes. And the fight kind of comes all from the Dragon. If he does reflect and understand what he’s done, that’s one thing, and the fight ends. If he resists, which indicates he would commit genocide again, they will fight him to stop him. They’ve already taken the police action, and it didn’t work (and I’ll bet that the dragon being one of the People of Peace is the reason their sending him to The Phantom Zone didn’t work).

    And I don’t think it’s the same as the fight between Cat-sensei and Generalissimo. That really was just the tie-break. They had a long-standing disagreement about how it should go, and they decided to settle it with a fight, where the goals were to essentially disable the other side’s ability to enact the policy they wanted: either the Sealing faction would no longer have any sealing devices, or the Love faction would have no will to defend love anymore. It was a proxy fight, because they could not come up with any other way to decide.

    • tcrow says:

      “But what he’s not there to do is absolve the dragon of its crimes.”

      That’s a good point. I was hesitant to take the conversation in the direction of absolution because I wanted to maintain focus (and heaven knows I need to practice that!). But now, in retrospect, I’m afraid that I sacrificed clarity. Thanks for making the point!

      “and I’ll bet that the dragon being one of the People of Peace is the reason their sending him to The Phantom Zone didn’t work”

      I like that idea! It explains a lot, and it’s consistent with what we’ve learned so far.

      “It was a proxy fight, because they could not come up with any other way to decide.”

      I think that’s another good point.

      I’m really looking forward to the next episode!

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