Whoever decided to put shonen tropes, animal-shaped mechs and not entirely black-and-white moralities into a blender got to experience the fun mess that is Planet With.
Planet With is so crazy, I don’t think I can describe it in one go. As Terrance Crow puts it, “We’re seeing a narrative involving multiple planetary systems, races with opposing agendas, and an unsuspecting Earth caught in the middle.”
So, to embrace the craziness, let’s have a brief rundown (it’s only about 500 words, so it really won’t take too long!) of why this show is crazy:
First of all, the “Cosmos Matanbi Z” was very clearly an analogy for alcohol and/or drugs (with the power boost and additional hangover side effects), but its name seems to come more from vitamins (because ma-ta-n-bi is similar to bi-ta-mi-n)…which is then reinforced by the fact the power-up is called Cat Doping and the lessons in this show revolve around power vs. love. Doping is an attainment (or at least an attempt to attain) physical power, right? Even though Souya and Sensei are on the side that want to focus on the evolution of love, they still require physical power to bring the hurt.
Just…let that sink in for a moment…
That moment epitomises some of the great things about this show in general: for one, the fact you can’t tell who’s the bad guy in this show, even though the situation becomes somewhat clearer by episode 4. Sure, the fights seem to take the shonen mould of having a clear winner most of the time, but the grey morality is already pretty much on par with Concrete Revolutio and other seinen works.
Secondly, the Kigurumians (Sensei and His Excellency, which is…most likely…the name of the dog you see in episode 3) are an odd combo of being out-of-this-world and yet acting like humans people know. Not only do they have practical reasons for being there, plot-wise, they can act as symbols and merchandise-drivers for the show (more Sensei than His Excellency, but you get the point)…I mean, nobody forgets a giant purple cat voiced by Rikiya Koyama, right? Or a bipedal dog voiced by Norio Wakamoto? Sure, Ginko has to interpret in Sensei’s case and His Excellency, should he show up in more capacity later, would probably be the same way, but the point has been made.
Furthermore, this show is also not afraid to delve into its themes and it’s also not afraid to create parallels between Grand Paladin and the Pacifist Faction to get there. For instance, Souya’s deprivation of meat and the illusions seen inside the Nebula Weapons combine to create themes about desire. Additionally, the capabilities of the mechs could indeed be a very convoluted coming-of-age when taken from Souya’s perspective, but even though there is a show this season which could fit the label of “coming-of-age” more accurately in Grand Blue, Planet With lacks most of the awkwardness and second-hand embarrassment of excessive drinking/nudity.
That’s probably not all the reasons why Planet With is so good, but it’s a start. So, why do you like Planet With? If you haven’t seen it yet, are you willing to give it a go?