In Planet With episode 1 (Light, Seven Flashes) and episode 2 (Nebula Soldiers), Souya Kuroi has a terrifying dream in which he watches his friends fly off in strange flying armor to engage what appears to be an unbeatable foe. When he wakes up, his circumstance is much less dire, though no less strange. He finds he's living with Ginko Kuroi, a green-haired maid, and (even more unusual) a bipedal cat named Sensei that's as tall as he is! To make matters even more unsettling, some strange -- and I mean very strange -- flying ships begin appearing all over the world. What's Souya's relationship to Sensei and the flying ships? Why does he have a maid? And what's with the seven heroes who all have mech gear?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What's in This Post
3 Favorite Moments
Episode 1: Light, Seven Flashes
I like deadpan humor, so it looks like this show and I are going to get along famously! After Souya wakes up from his terrifying dream, he sees the green-haired main Ginko whose smirk looks suspiciously like a cat's. Since Souya treats her normally, I got the impression that maybe green hair was normal for this world. Then he goes into the common room to eat breakfast. As he enters, he says good morning to Sensei -- who's an enormous purple cat (1:05). So at this point, I am fully aware that this isn't Kansas anymore -- a feeling kicked up to level 9000 when Sensei reveals his normal human teeth as he takes a bite out of a head of cabbage (1:14). What have I gotten myself into?
The attack against the giant -- what, monster? dirigible? magic space ship? -- was hitting the standard beats. Military aircraft closed on the target, received permission to engage, and fired their missiles. It was interesting when the missiles hit and turned into puffs of cotton (9:12). What was even more interesting was the counterattack (9:33)! Instead of an overwhelmingly powerful energy blast, the attack reminded the fighter pilot of an incident earlier in this life (9:39). He remembered a time, or (as suggested later in the show) an alternate timeline, when he was together with his wife, daughter, and dog. It affected him so deeply that he flew his jet away from the target. Talk about a powerful and unique weapon! It doesn't harm its opponent, but it makes them no longer want to fight. I like that idea!
So "Telekinetic Fusion" means that Sensei swallows Souya -- and then turns in a mecha in the process (19:00). That's just freaky! It's certainly more dramatic than just opening a hatch, but I was not expecting it! Which pretty much summarizes my reaction to 2/3 of this episode. Once inside, Souya seemed to pick up the piloting skills quickly. Or is he remembering them? He said he was starting to remember things after the battle ended... Still, points for the unique way of powering up!
Episode 2: Nebula Soldiers
I'm wondering who really has humanity's best interests at heart in this series. We saw the seven heroes (six of whom are still airworthy!) engage the Nebula Weapons, as we now know the big balloon-things were called. We learned that those heroes work for an organization called Grand Paladin, a division of the Citizens' Safety Center Special Defense Section (3:11). But under whose authority do they operate? The people's? Some secret government division's? Or... After everyone had left the meeting, Takashi Ryuuzouji faced the window and began talking to himself (fortunately for us!). He let slip that he intended to be humanity's "leader" (5:08). He didn't say ruler, or king, or overlord; he said leader. Still, it seems fishy that he's directing the defense when his goal is to be the ultimate leader. And I have to wonder about his eyes, which have slits like a cat's. I like how the show is laying out clues!
I'm really enjoying this show's sense of humor. At the end of the previous episode, Ginko promised to make Souya a meat dish if he defeated Hideo Torai -- which he did. But instead of feeding him the meat version of the dish, she fed him a tofu version. It kinda reminded me of the old Far Side cartoon about the "Tofudebeest." The joke continued in this episode, when Hideo, not recognizing who had attacked him last night, sat down beside Souya in a park. Our hero gazed longingly at Hideo's bag of steamed buns until the man generously offered one to him (9:45). Then the air raid sirens went off, and I was honestly anxious for Souya's steamed bun! Would he able to eat it, or would he drop it? Would a seagull snatch it from him? When he finally bit into it (11:56), I practically cheered for him! Until he found it was a red bean steamed bun. Still no meat. I actually felt his disappointment!
It was exposition, but it was good exposition, because it was in answer to Souya's question about who built the Nebula Weapons (13:06). Sensei answers through Ginko his interpreter. Apparently, Nebula has multiple groups. The Sealing Faction built the Nebula Weapons. Ginko and Sensei represent the Pacifist Faction. I thought Sensei's explanation that Nebula as a whole is concerned with human evolution was fascinating. The idea that one faction, Sealing, wants to lock humans on Earth, whereas the Pacifists prefer to simply confiscate their war-like powers and see if humans will choose "the evolution of love over the evolution of power" (14:22). The show also gets points for interleaving its exposition with shots of one of the Grand Paladins, Miu Inaba, landing in the Nebula Weapon and beginning her attack. It kept the exposition from feeling dry or boring.
Thoughts (for Both Episodes)
I loved the sound effects when the the Nebula Weapons exploded. Reminds me of fireworks.
The fight scenes, especially the ones near the end of both episodes, were pretty intense. The sound effects, the animation, and the voice acting all came together to build solid drama.
On the surface, the first episode seemed to be really chaotic. But it wasn't a Dies Irae kind of chaos, which never really felt like it was the product of a narrative framework. In Dies Irae, it felt random and disorientating. But the seeming flood of information in "Light, Seven Flashes" always felt like it was laying the groundwork for something bigger. By the end of the first episode, the big "reveal" was that we had no idea who the heroes really were -- and better yet, we weren't supposed to know! Not yet, anyway.
The second episode, "Nebula Soldiers," gave us some more clues. By the end, we think we know who the teams are between Grand Paladin, the Sealing Faction, and the Pacifists. We even have Ginko's version of the motivations for both Nebula Factions. We still don't know for certain under whose authority the Grand Paladins operate, but we do know that Takashi intends to become humanity's leader. What we don't know is what form that leadership will take, or on whose behalf he's leading humans.
I don't think we really know Souya's place in all of this yet. I'm not sure he does! Why did Ginko and Sensei take him in? Were his friends and parents really killed? Why do his friends' powers look identical to the powers of Grand Paladin?
I like the mystery this show's laying out, I like the battle scenes, and I'm starting to like the characters. I can tell the Grand Paladin members taken as individuals aren't evil. If this were any other anime I'd be rooting for them! But in Planet With, there's dramatic ambiguity, and I enjoy that. And, yes, I'm a sucker for a powerful, beautiful maid like Ginko! I have high hopes for this series.
What were your favorite moments? What do you like about the series so far? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit: Planet With Episode 1 Discussion
- Anime Feminist: [ Review ] Planet With - Episode 1
- Tokyo Manga: Planet With Episode 1 Review: Light, Seven Flashes
- Reddit: Planet With Episode 2 Discussion
- Random Curiosity: Planet With 02
- Tokyo Manga: Planet With Episode 2 Review: Nebula Soldiers