Planet With – Mid Season Anime Review
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)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Planet With is one of the more visually unique anime this season, boasting Mech designs that sit far and away from typical expectations, lending the series an immediately memorable and stand out aesthetic. But beneath that Planet With isn’t terribly original, with a story more straight forward than its first few mystery laden episodes let on. It stands alongside other Super Robotesque anime, like Gurren Lagann, with wilder ideas, aliens and a penchant for challenging the human condition.
Linny: It is true that the main plot is a bit common but its the characters, little twists and turns we get along the way that really spice up Planet With and give it a unique feel and flavour. From large sentient cat creatures to an elderly man being one of earth’s defenders, these are all things that help to make Planet With stand out. Even the manner in which our alien villain faction takes on earth’s defenders is unique, with extremely quirky creations that wipe out the heroes’ spark and motivation to fight by replacing it with contentment and happy visions to lead them astray rather than resorting to outright slaughter and devastation.
Tom: Planet With is a series meant for fans of engaging narratives and tight pacing over those who enjoy wealthy characterization. Planet With spends so much more time servicing its story over delving into who each of our heroes are. While we’re offered a full cast of characters, fighting on behalf of humanities survival with each their own reasons and passion, we never spend too much time with any of them. Quick glimpses of flashbacks, motivation highlighting dream sequences and scant few other scenes give us a deeper understanding to who each cast member is and why they fight. But outside of those fleeting moments the plot takes center stage. It’s not to say the characters are bad, thin, or too foreign, but Planet With chooses efficiency over detail, leaving more meaty exploration of these characters on the cutting room floor in favor of ‘trimming the fat’ and keeping things as tight as possible. By Episode 6 enough developments have happened that one could easily imagine a full twelve episode season devoted to, and expanded upon the very same content. It’s meaty, it’s full and layered, making for a packed first six episodes.
Linny: Planet With’s fast pace works well for the most part. There’s rarely ever any segment that feels drawn out.But it could be a negative for anyone less engrossed, as a few seconds of distraction could lead to missing out on crucial reveals or developments. And for those who take to any character besides our main protagonist, Kuroi Soya and his troubled, misery torn past, there’s no avoiding the fact that most of the other characters barely get any proper exposition, which could make some of the more emotionally poignant moments feel weak due to the lack of proper build up. In particular one character loses himself in the battle, becoming a shell of who he once was, but this change in persona feels less emotional than the show demands, and just doesn’t pull at the heartstrings like it could if we’d spent more time with his character.
Tom: At its heart, Planet With’s story is hinged on Kuroi Soya and his quest to defeat the aliens responsible for his upsetting origins. While we never spend too long lingering on Kuroi Soya’s sob story, it’s still the focal point for the entire series, and sets everyone else as a supporting player in Soya’s quest for justice, making the others feel more like pawns to drive the narrative forward than characters audiences can latch onto and fall in love with.
Linny: Despite that lack of exploration for the supporting cast, I still found myself drawn to how Planet With executed the role of the Soya’s love interest, Nozomi Takamagahara. I use the term love interest for lack of a better one as her attraction to our lead is clearly one sided. Also the reason she’s attracted to him hasn’t been properly explored yet, so for all we know it could be really shallow. But what I found noteworthy about her is how the show plays out her reaction to finding out Soya’s big secret. Most series have the heroine react in the extreme to the kind of news Soya reveals but Planet With has Nozomi respond in a rather tame manner, taking it all in stride. Some might argue that this seems unrealistic but in a show with flying pigs (as pictured below), realism is clearly not the priority.
Tom: Overall Planet With is one of Summer’s strong titles. It may not have the wealth of lovable characters for audiences to latch onto, but makes up for it with tight pacing and a fun, twist laden plot. It crams so much content into just these first six episodes that one has to wonder exactly where the series will venture in the second half of the season. If it can continue to execute its super robot, extraterrestrial narrative with as much unique charm and flavor as it did with these first six episodes it might end as one of the Summer’s best offerings.
Linny: If you’re tired of the more generic and paint by numbers mech shows that seems to be populating recent releases, Planet With will shake up your senses with its imagery and bizarre content. Yes, at the heart of it all seems to be a more simple story once you brush past the more quirky elements. Still, that story holds strong, remaining engaging even if derivative at heart.
Planet With is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.