In Planet With episode 9, "Messenger of Awakening,"we learn that in the last episode, Benika Takatori was exposed to the sealing field and is now sealed. Yousuke Hitsujitani, distraught at her condition, takes command of the last Sealing Device, which feeds off his despair until it encircles the planet. When even Ginko and Sensei fall to the sealing field, what can Souya Kuroi do to save Earth? Or will he choose to do nothing at all?
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
I've always liked Aristotle. He was always much more down to Earth than Plato. Aristotle's definition of tragedy included several ideas, including moral ambiguity and "error or frailty," according to the link from Encyclopedia Britannica. In Planet With, there've been elements of tragedy leading up to this episode. Consider both what drove Benika's decision to join the sealing faction and her decision itself. Now, Yousuke becomes the tragic character. Sitting beside Benika's bedside, waiting for her to awaken as a sealed human, he says that she's probably having a pleasant dream with her brother (deceased in reality). In a dejected voice, he says, "I'm sure there's no place for me in her dream" (3:31). What he doesn't know is that he was there with her, in her dream, beside her brother. He also didn't know that she spoke well of him -- almost shyly, as if she were hiding affection for him. Yet that misunderstanding drove his feelings of despair. That "error or frailty" is what made him want to pilot the Sealing Faction's last weapon. I felt bad for the guy. I hope that by the end of the series, he and Benika come to some kind of understanding.
At the beginning of this episode, Souya couldn't get out of bed. The demand from the People of Paradise that he engage the dragon was too much for him. He'd even decided that it would be better if he were sealed or if the dragon killed him. It took Nozomi Takamagahara to jar him out of his funk (6:54) by making him realize that he wasn't alone. His world was dead, but there were people here -- now -- who cared for him. No, that's not my second favorite moment (though it was heavily in contention!). That sets up my second favorite moment, which is when Souya put aside his own despair and accepted the mission to face the dragon -- in exchange for the People of Paradise saving the inhabitants of Earth from sealing (13:15). The People of Paradise then give him the ability to speak to Earth's population even as it was trapped in the pleasant dreams of the Sealing Faction. The speech he gave is one only he, after having endured all he's gone through, could give. My favorite part? He didn't force anyone to leave the dream. He asked them to volunteer to wake up (15:54). I suspect it was him sharing that he'd lost his home planet and would want to stay in the dream himself that convinced a lot of them to wake up. Oh, and the simple shots with muted colors of the humans raising their hands volunteering to wake up? Very cool.
This is a mech anime, right? So it's got to have great mech transformation moments. Guess what? This episode has the best one to date (19:32). Did you know that Sensei's ship has "battle mode?" Well, I didn't either, so we both just learned something! Just as Souya has to jump into Sensei's mouth to transform Sensei into a mech, the Sensei mech, with Ginko and Souya aboard, has to leap into the ship's mouth to begin the transformation. Between the gorgeous CGI and the epic music, the scene was an absolute blast to watch. I'll give Yousuke credit. He put up a decent fight. But Sensei/ship/mech took everything he could dish out. By the time we saw the Tera Cat Hammer (how cool a name is that?), we knew Yousuke's fate was sealed (20:53). The last time I used the word "thrilling" was in my review of The Asterisk War episode 7. But you know what? This scene was absolutely thrilling!
I tell you what: this show makes it really hard to pick just three moments! There were at least six vying for the honor in this episode. It's not unusual for this to happen in two or three episodes of a series. But in almost every one? That's not normal!
I think there are two reasons Planet With presents me with this problem every week. First is obvious: It's just a great show! All of the elements are there: interesting world, well-crafted plot, moments of profound beauty, and characters that are both relatable and sympathetic. But one of those really stands out.
It's the plot.
Take a look at my second favorite moment this week. Souya decides to get out of bed and face the dragon. Think of everything the story's done to prepare us for that moment. Over the course of the first eight episodes, we watched as his emotional toll increased until it finally shattered him. We were there. We saw it! We experienced his pain, so we know why he refuses to fight.
At the same time, the plot was preparing us for his rise. In previous episodes, Nozomi stood up for him with a gesture that, despite his pain, moved him. From the first episode, she meddled in his life, so we knew she was capable of it. It was no surprise when she visited him at home in this episode and gave that beautiful speech that ended with, "I'm on the side of the people I want to befriend" (6:54).
We also saw the People of Paradise visit him and ask that he confront the dragon. The story went to great lengths to show us the People of Paradise were well beyond either Nebula faction in terms of raw power and capabilities. When the Sealing Field had no effect on Souya, we were prepared; it made perfect sense. The show didn't need to take any time with exposition to explain what happened; it was self-evident based on the information already given us.
This careful sequencing of events, one building on the other in ways that are easy for us in the audience to follow, make it possible to pack a ton of action in each episode, at a density much higher than other shows. Of course, that would be useless if Satoshi Mizukami, the writer, didn't carefully select what events to portray. But he's been very economical. There's nothing in this series that doesn't need to be there. So it flows in an ever increasing but concise web of exciting complexity that I perceive as moving impossibly fast but with near complete understanding.
Isn't that a (very vague, it's true) way of describing excitement? And in terms of tight, sequential plot development, does that make this show the exact opposite of Record of Grancrest War? That's probably a topic for another day, huh?
What did you think of Souya taking a stand? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Planet With Episode 9
- Lost in Anime: Planet With 09
- Marth's Anime Blog: Planet With Episode 9: Earth stands still
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