Planet With – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Soya Kuroi is a high schooler living a peaceful life despite having no memories of his past. One day, however, his town is attacked by one of the mysterious Nebula Weapons. Together with the cat-like “Sensei” and the gothic lolita Ginko, Soya gets dragged into a battle against… seven superheroes who protect the town! What is Soya’s reason to fight? The answer lies in his memories. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Planet With may very well take the cake as Summer’s strangest anime, usurping that title from Chio’s School Road after only a day. Planet With’s storyline, perhaps when boiled down, is fairly bog standard about a seeming alien invasion and people with super powers/mecha poised to stop it. However, it’s the details, the avenues of story-telling and the general presentation that take a fairly basic premise, turn it on its head, and reorganize it in a Picasso like fashion to create something truly strange, yet altogether intriguing and immediately appealing.
Linny: It’s definitely all in the details and Planet With is a prime example of how a show may have a very cliche or basic premise but can elevate and transform it solely through the details.Planet With is brimming over with unique elements, like Soya Kuroi’s flipped role in this battle between heroes and mysterious monsters, or characters such as a human sized cat character who only speaks in meows yet seems to posses human intelligence and is treated as a member of the family/team in total seriousness. This first episode is likely to leave you scratching your head but also suck in the attention of those who have a soft spot for the very strange stories and settings that only anime can pull off. The episode also presents its more strange aspects in an appealing manner, letting you see enough to pique your interest and leaving you wanting to learn more.
Tom: The strange visuals, such as the giant stuffed bear with hands growing out of it that appears to be the invading menace, actually kinda works, no matter how bizarre it is. It gives the series its own unique visualization and keeps it from feeling bog standard. The animation in general is quite solid, producing vibrant, flowing visuals that really appeal to the eye and leave Planet With with one of the strongest openings so far this season. Even the CGI used for the Mecha, or whatever you call the weird cat/animal motif like suits the heroes can conjure up, works fairly well, blending enough with the 2D that it rarely feels like an eyesore and is often something you can immediately overlook.
Linny: Continuing the unique feel is our protagonist, Soya Kuroi, who displays that mix of trope with eclectic that Planet With seems to be carving out so well. Soya suffers from amnesia and thus cannot explain how he came to be in his current living situation. That’s a pretty popular set up but it’s the situation he is in that makes you do a double take as you watch him living with not only a cosplaying maid girl but also a giant purple human like cat, all without blinking an eye at any of it. His only concern is getting more meat in his meals until the big invasion happens and he starts to find himself in even more strange of a situation, facing off against the very protectors of the town. Without spoiling too much, this episode has him switching from hero to anti hero to maybe(?) hero again, keeping the audience on its toes. The character designs in this show are so atypical, such as the previously mentioned anthropomorphized purple cat and an old wizened man being part of the town’s protector super heroes. Everything just further adds to the mystery, making it hard to guess who is on which side of the good-evil scale.
Tom: Overall Planet With stunned me. It was far stranger than I ever expected, but instantly hooked me with its unique, bizarre style and intriguing mysteries that turned a generic concept on its head and found a new way to approach the material. It’s easily one of the better anime premieres in the last few seasons and is one of a handful of titles that has me dying to see what happens next week. If you’re looking for something new and out there, Planet With is it.
Linny: I’d seen people commenting on the strange and bizarre nature of Planet With mere minutes before I actually watched it and even then I too was surprised by what I witnessed in its first episode. What’s remarkable about Planet With is how it manages to come up with and blend such strange designs and ideas to create something that feels like an intriguing mystery and not just a random mishmash of bizarre concepts with no other appeal. If you like stories with atypical characters and plot developments, be sure to give Planet With a spot on your watchlist.
Planet With is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.