Planet With Episode 12 Review: That’s Hitting Below the Belt and a Matter of Perspective
In Planet With episode 12, "Behold, The Universe is Filled with Blessings," Souya Kuroi, Sensei, Ginko, Nozomi Takamagahara, and the assembled Earth/Nebula defenders execute their desparate plan to defeat the dragon. But in war, no plan survives contact with the enemy. Can our heroes stand against such a powerful foe -- a foe that won't even acknowledge its own nature? And what if the dragon has more weapons in his arsenal than they accounted for?
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
If you forgive me for using an American football metaphor, I'm throwing a yellow flag for unsportsmanlike behavior on the dragon (5:44). He used a telepathic attack to make Souya feel like he was back on his planet, just moments before the dragon attacked. Do you remember Souya's emotional breakdown back in episode 8? Remember the list of things he missed, like visiting the bakers or even arguing with his friends? The dragon forced him to remember the last conversation he had had with his brother, when all of those things he brought up during his breakdown came up (in order, too!). Talk about hitting below the belt! It was all part of the dragon's tactic to kindle the flames of hatred in Souya's heart. From the dragon's perspective, it was the perfect attack. But Souya's perspective, having lived with Ginko and Sensei for so long, was completely different. As cruel as the attack was, the man Souya had become was able to brush it aside (9:35). There was even a cool shot of the dragon confronting Souya, who had reverted to a child in his memories, as he faded back into a man as his saw through the dragon's attack. The level of character detail in this show is just amazing.
Poor Nozomi! She was elated to see Souya escape the subspace hole -- just before he, Sensei, and Ginko dove back in to hold off the dragon! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Having pushed the dragon through the subspace hole, the Nebula fleet tries to retreat. Sensei and Generalissimo (with Kogane Shiraishi) get out in time, but some of the old Grand Paladin have used too much power and begin to flounder. While the subspace hole is closing rapidly, their comrades help them fly towards the exit, but that gives the dragon time to pursue. Souya sees what's happening and has an idea to rush back in to delay the dragon, but he pauses (12:06). He's built such trust and respect with Ginko and Sensei that he has to ask if they're behind the decision, too. It just takes a glance to which both of them nod, but I thought that gesture showed just how far he'd come from the rash, impulsive young man he used to be. The show gets bonus heart-string points for showing Nozomi's relief at having seen them escape turn to panic as they dove back in (13:04). Her look of despondency was heart-breaking.
I was surprised at the depth of Ginko's relief at having thanked the dragon for saving her people. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
The build up to Souya, Sensei, and Ginko's confrontation of the entity at the heart of the dragon was intense. Though I've said before that this show's gained my confidence, I admit that I felt a tiny bit of doubt that anyone could fulfill the expectations that the show had been building. But you know what? It did. Souya confronts the dragon not with force of hatred, but with gratitude (16:06): Gratitude that the dragon reminded him that the memories of Sirius were still within him. He pledged to remember the happiness and forget the hatred. Then, in unambiguous terms, he forgave the dragon. Even more affecting were Ginko's words of thanks; thanks that the dragon had saved her people from the soldiers of Sirius (16:44). Her people apparently feel things deeply, because being able to deliver her thanks loosed a stream of tears that she'd been holding back for years. Even Sensei got into the act by pointing out that it's all a matter of perspective, and by his actions, he'd proven the point (17:29). They had fulfilled their mission even as the dragon disintegrated around them.
The battle scene before the credits felt really intense, and the music helped quite a bit! I'll miss this series' dynamic battles with their distinctive mechs and maneuvers!
I was wondering how Souya and his friends were going to fight the dragon, given that the combined might of Nebula was barely able to banish it before. Their plan was really smart -- just trick the dragon into going back the same way it came to the Earth system. The key point? Use telepaths not to try to beat the dragon down (they learned that didn't work well), but to push the dragon's awareness away from the memory of the hole (3:35). Even the timing of the Kigurumian Spaceship Battalion was perfect -- just in time to push the dragon into the subspace entrance. Smart and subtle!
And a Panda spaceship (4:26)? How cool is that?
This show helped me understand a bias I didn't know I had. Turns out I expected any show that's fast-paced with great battle scenes would be thematically shallow. If you read my review of Black Bullet episode 13, you'll know that it was both fast-paced and action-packed, and its theme was correspondingly shallow: Namely, that people have good and evil sides. That's not terribly deep, and it's not exactly ground-breaking. Themes don't have to be, of course, but I do prefer them to be more robust. While I thoroughly enjoyed Black Bullet, it's not a show whose theme I think much about.
They kinda make me feel like they're judging me for making such a sweeping generalization! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Compare that to Planet With's theme that perspective you choose determines your life. Souya chose a perspective of love and forgiveness, so he was able to defeat the dragon's insidious psychic attack. Ginko chose a perspective of gratitude, so her tears were tears of relief instead of sorrow or fear. Both of them had, by virtue of the perspectives they embraced, chosen what the Pacifist Faction would call the evolution of love.
In case the idea of perspective wasn't clear, consider the People of Paradise's answer to Souya's question of whether he did the right thing: "Feel free to view this story from whatever angle you desire" (20:26).
Is this an Earth-shattering idea? Is it the most original thing that's ever been? No. But it does a couple of great things. First, it puts the emphasis on individual choice. How we chose to look at life determines who we are. While that's obvious, sometimes it gets lost, like in the blind pursuit of revenge or the uncaring application of justice. An awareness of perspective could inform both of those courses of action.
I couldn't let the last image of Nozomi be the one of her despairing! Here's one after she used her telepathic power to track down Souya, Sensei, and Ginko. That was a feat none of the Nebula telepaths were able to do! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Even better, it opens the door to philosophically interesting discussions. By perspective, do the People of Paradise mean moral relativity? I'd argue against that, but I could see how someone might build a case -- and have a lot of fun with the conversation! Does choosing the evolution of love mean overlooking or permitting heinous acts in the spirit of respecting other perspectives? I don't think so, and this reminds me of Highway's comment about episode 11 and its discussion of the different meanings of the fight between Nebula and the dragon and between Sensei and Generalissimo. In other words, another interesting conversation!
The point I'm trying to make is that Planet With's theme is complex enough to generate discussion that the simple good/evil dichotomy just can't. For me, Planet With proved that not only was it jammed full of interesting characters in a multi-layered world punctuated by engrossing action. It was also thematically complex. Only time will tell, of course, but I'm betting this show will become a long term favorite of mine like The Asterisk War and Re:CREATORS.
Did you enjoy Planet With? What were your favorite moments from this episode? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Planet With Episode 12
- Lost in Anime: Planet With – 12 (End) and Series Review
- Marth's Anime Blog: Planet With Final Episode (12): The clog saves the day again
This Site (Crow's World of Anime!)
- Planet With Episode 1 (Light, Seven Flashes) and Episode 2 (Nebula Soldiers)
- Planet With Episode 3: Avenger 1
- Planet With Episode 4: Avenger 2
- Planet With Episode 5: Paladin Break 1
- Planet With Episode 6: Paladin Break 2
- Planet With Episode 7: Sirius
- Planet With Episode 8: Power is What Dwells Within Your Own Self
- Planet With Episode 9: Messenger of Awakening
- Planet With Episode 10: Karellen and Rashaverak
- Planet With Episode 11: Azrabarakura