Planet With: Well, I like it

Is it me or are my opinions not aligning with the general public again? I’m honestly surprised that an original, modern mech series could capture me as much as this one has.  Especially after Darling in the FranXX, a series that that couldn’t have been a larger disappointment in my eyes for a lot of reasons, existed Yet, NO ONE IS WATCHING THIS ONE. Planet With is such a breath of fresh air for me and that’s why I love it so much. If you have ever watched a mecha show, you will recognize a lot of the tropes that this show is pulling. The mangaka by the name of Satoshi Mizukami, whose work I need to check out at some point, provided his unique spin on a lot of basic mecha tropes that makes them all feel like you have never seen them before. For some one who has been watching mech series for along time, like me, then it I can’t help but sing the praises of this show more then I already am. In that sense, Planet With is the exact opposite of what Darling in the FranXX is. Well, at least in my opinion.

Planet With’s heart and soul is being a mecha series with some added twists here and there. As I said before, a mech anime fan will more than recognize a lot of the tropes and things put into display in the series. We have our standard, young angsty protagonist character, Souya, that is a classic in the mech genre. The twist is that Souya might be the villain of this story. Maybe. He started out by attacking the usual heroes of a mech series, a group of six heroes, for revenge. With those “villains” having their simple, yet relatable backstories, it’s obvious that something is going on here that is different. Well yes, that is more than the case. Still, we are given an even more complex story then that. The six heroic members give up their powers welling at some point, because they see the evil behind it. Also, Souya is from an angry race and has an arc centered learning about love instead of strength. When Souya has his revenge, he gains nothing from it.

Intermixing classic tropes with some other classic tropes is a lot of fun. The fact that not many people have died in this story is a surprise to. Most mech series are centered around mass damage on property and civilian populations. The mass damage happens, but the people are evacuated from the surrounding areas beforehand (probably to save budget in reality) because humanity fears things they don’t understand. The result is that almost nobody has died in this series, which is completely ground breaking considering all the stuff that has been happening. Give a concept some time and it will be twisted in some way. Especially all the upfront mecha material we were given in the first half.
The second half has been even powerful for me though. So far, it’s been a great character study with all the politics and character exploration that the show has been needing. Some of it is classic shonen classic tropes like Souya’s character arc, but the other stuff is more non conventional from an anime perspective. Benika’s backstory is so heart breaking. This is also the part where we see the difference between the Sealing and Pacifist Factions. It just has some powerful stuff going on.

The biggest thing that dictates an anime’s quality is the stories pacing. The impact of every thematic element that appears on the show, how a character develops, and other things are slaves to this concept and direction. If pacing and direction don’t match up well with each other, you can have an incoherent mess on your hands. So, know that when I say that Planet With’s pacing is extremely fast, just know that I mean that in the best way possible. Planet With’s coherent narrative in the face of having an entire two cour show or more in Planet With’s first six episodes completely astounds me. We see the development of our hero character, the side characters have interesting yet simple back stories, there are awesome action scenes, philosophical concepts are obvious, space politics is in play, school club plots happen, and more while never losing a beat or feeling like one element is weighing the rest down. Watch this show if you don’t believe me, it’s true. The reason why Planet With has been pulling this is off is that no scene goes wasted. Even when our main character Souya goes to school and joins a club, each of those scenes means something and is connected to the overall story in some way. There is no fluff or filler in Planet With at all.

Are there weaknesses in Planet With? Yeah, plenty of them. The pace of the anime itself is a double-edged sword. While a lot of developments happen, not all of them are as fleshed out as they could be. Side characters do get developed, but many of them spend a lot of their time standing around as Souya fights things. Not everything has the all the plot development it needs to have a complete impact or decisions that happen are very fast in nature without much reasoning behind them. A lot of things are like that. I should also mention that the CG in the mech fights/mechs isn’t that good either. This anime obviously story boarded it’s mecha battles scenes as 2D fights. The unfortunate thing is that all the mechs are 3D cgi instead. Along with all the other bits of technology that are here and there. While their designs are fascinating and interesting, they don’t look as good as they could be. Also, their movements and attacks aren’t as powerful as they could be if they were 2D. I suppose that’s a studio weakness. Like many other studios, the one behind Planet With relies on cg mechs, which is sad. I wish this wasn’t the way every other studio was moving. I guess mechs are hard. Oh well, what can any of us do?

At this moment, I can’t help but think that Planet With is possibly my runner up for anime of the year so far. It has flaws, yes, but so many of its strengths outweigh those flaws a great deal for me. My bias and affinity towards mech series greatly helps with this. I’m glad that this series isn’t popular, but it has so many things going for it. Maybe I am too much of a mecha fanatic to see why it isn’t. I’m not sure what else to say about the matter really. That’s ok. I don’t mind having a small fandom to talk about this show with. Shows that get a lot of attention don’t usually end up as good as people think.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Karandi says:

    I’m planning on trying to catch up with this one at the end of the season. A few reviewers have been fairly positive about it and I know I didn’t give it much of a go at the start of the season. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it, and hopefully I’ll have the time to watch it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Scott says:

      Thanks for giving the show a chance!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Irina says:

    I will be watching… Crow also recommended it so I’m thinking it will be amazing

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Scott says:

      I hope it is. Don’t want to over hype things for people.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. terranceacrow says:

      No pressure! But seriously, thanks for the mention!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. negativeprimes says:

    I’m a fan of this one, and let me tell you I’m not typically a mech anime watcher! There’s a lot going for it, and I think you’ve hit it pretty accurately as far as what it does (or occasionally doesn’t) do well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Yay! I’m glad that you’ve been enjoying it. 😀. And dang, thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve seen a few people recommending it, so I might end up checking it after the season

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Cool! I hope you do!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Zainou says:

    I really wanted to enjoy Planet With. The character writing is phenomenal and it’s an original project form one of my favourite manga. But the CG, backgrounds and character animation just looked so bad/weird that I couldn’t get into it.

    The manga fixes those problems though and is fantastic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      And you’ve absolutely right about all of that. It’s the sound design of the mech fights that’s been winning me over every time it occurs and you can tell that the cg artists are trying there best, but there fights are far from as exciting as that could be. Definitely not a visually stunning show, but I like it a lot anyway.

      I’m glad the manga is working for you!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Another person who hasn’t experienced much of the mech genre but has now put Spirit Circle and Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer on the PTR list here. Originally I was watching for Torai’s voice actor Yuichiro Umehara (who had a health crisis, to the point where Planet With might’ve been the only seasonal he wasn’t pulled from during the affected period), but I’ve stayed for literally everything else.

    (In case you’re wondering though, Umehara is doing alright right now.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Oh right, Umehara was the voice actor that pulled out of Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Darling in the FranXX near the end of last season, right? Dang. I’m glad he’s doing ok.

      I do know that Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer is on Crunchyroll’s manga thing. I’ll have to read it eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. dsprizer says:

    I’m watching Planet With, but I have to me honest in saying that
    I don’t like it at all. I don’t find it fast paced so much as rushed. I think the character-writing is awful – that with its lightning pace and multiple climaxes, none of them have any depth whatsoever, including the lead. And I really don’t see how it’s some kind of genre-defining mecha story, when it really just seems to revel in a lot of tropes. I didn’t think the boob joke it made a few episodes ago was some sort of clever commentary on anime boob jokes. I just thought it was lame.

    And yeah, the animation is pretty dreadful, too, but I could forgive that if I found the story even a little engrossing.

    Yet, all of that said (and you’re absolutely right that it seems as though very few people are watching this show), there’s no denying that Planet With is a CRITICAL darling. The reviewer on Anime News Network adores it. Nick Creamer (aka Bobduh of Wrong Every Time) raves about it every week. Guardian Enzo of Lost in Anime gushes about it as one of the best anime of the year.

    So you need fear not that you’re alone in your affection for the show!

    The author, Mizukami, is a cultish favorite of many manga readers, so because I dislike the show so much, one of my working theories has been that bloggers and internet critics are predisposed towards the show in such a way that they’re blinded to its flaws. This is the first work of his that’s made it to an anime adaptation, so no one wants to say the emperor has no clothes.

    But that theory is likely totally biased! It may not be a large absolute number of people who are watching the show, but unlike me, most who have taken the time, like you, have found it to be very rewarding!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      This is one of the best comments I’ve ever read and everything that you’ve said is completely fair and balanced. I can see your point of view. You didn’t have to mention all of the other people who like this show, that’s ok. Please comment again some time!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. terranceacrow says:

    For the record, looking at the list of series I’ve watched in 2018, I’m putting this one near the top for plot, pacing, and character.

    Maybe it’s because I’m coming off of reviewing Grancrest Senki, but I don’t think Planet With rushed at all. Every confrontation, every plot point, and every bit of dialogue builds on the previous. Just to give a tiny example, (SPOILER ALERT!) in the previous episode, Ginko says “Thank you, Generalissimo Karellen. Would you please watch over this planet a little more?” The show gave us everything we needed to know to feel the dramatic punch of that moment. I’m like shedding manly tears at this moment!

    Or even more powerful, Souya saying “”Just shut up already, you stupid dog! …Sensei wants to save you, too!”

    The show gave us everything we needed to know to understand just how much that sentence cost Souya — having seen, as he did, the utter destruction of his world. Yet there he was, in the middle of a fight he didn’t want, still striving to save someone Sensei thought worth saving.

    And don’t get me started on the awesomeness that is Nozomi Takamagahara !

    “At this moment, I can’t help but think that Planet With is possibly my runner up for anime of the year so far.”

    FWIW, you got my support on that statement!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I’ve been reading your posts so I know that you’ve been liking it too. I guess I was talking about the anime community at large, but it’s nice to not be alone.

      Man, you mention all of those powerful moments and I just want to watch this show again. I’ll probably wait until the show is over though. I don’t think that has anything to do with you watching Grancrest Senki first.

      And thank you for support on that statement.

      Liked by 1 person

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