Thursday, November 3, 2016

Planetarian: Complete Series

Age Rating: 13 and up
Rating: 8 out of 10
Episode Count: 5
Genre: Drama, Sci-fi, Post-apocalyptic
Format: English Dubbed

Official Synopsis:

"For thirty years, companion robot Hoshino Yumemi has patiently waited to show someone the stars. Left in an abandoned planetarium, she sits hoping for customers that will never show. That is, until a Junker—a plunderer of goods and artifacts from the ruins of civilization—stumbles upon the crumbling establishment. Will he help her repair the planetarium, or will she be alone once more?"

My Review: 

Always helpful and sincere, never malicious or spiteful, polite to those who are rude, patient with those in a hurry, and tender to those in pain. Perpetually pleasant, with unraveled optimism, robots are the stuff sci-fi dreams are made of. Unless we’re talking about Ultron, in which case it’s more like a nightmare, but that’s a discussion for another time!

For as many series and movies as there are portraying robots as the villains, there are just as many displaying their original directive: to serve and help the human race in any way necessary. Good, bad, or indifferent, there’s something undeniably appealing about robots. Personally, I’m convinced that everyone, at one time or other has imagined what it would be like to live in a world where robots roam the streets freely.

Just think about it, for a moment. Have you ever gone up to the checkout counter in a department store to purchase an item only to find no one manning the register? Perhaps you looked around for some sign of life only to be met with your fellow customer who were equally frustrated at the lack of manpower? When a clerk finally arrived did they “cop a tude” and act like you were the one inconveniencing them? That, my friend, would not be a problem if a self sacrificing robot were the employee.

Let’s imagine Yumemi Hoshino worked at this theoretical department store. You’d be greeted by a clear, crisp voice warmly welcoming you to the facility, followed by a blow-by-blow of what the store has to offer. Should you need further assistant, Yumemi would only be too pleased to help you locate a specific item. Perhaps the human element is needed to solve your query? She will locate a competent employee and bring them to you immediately. Your business thus taken care of, Yumemi would then escort you from the facility, to your car, bidding you a fond farewell and including a singular request that you come again! That is service with an S!

This is the kind of unwarranted kindness Planetarian’s leading lady lavishly pores out to anyone within earshot. The cornerstone of this short but sweet series, Yumemi, was the perfect antidote to the weary and downtrodden Junkers curmudgeonly attitude. Rather than relying on a host of characters to muffle any discrepancies in it, this anime bared its soul for all to see, banking on the delightful duet its primary pair could provide.

With a brief five episodes to convey its story, Yumemi and the Junker wove a delightful, engaging, and mournful tale. Using its iridescent animation, sorrowful soundtracks, engrossing storytelling, and charming characters, Planetarian created a magical atmosphere. My only regret was that I didn’t know (until it was too late) that this series was written by Keys, the masochist behind heart wrenching Clannad, Angel Beats, and Air. I doubt any forewarning would have saved me from the inevitable suffering and emotional back lash, but it would have been a nice heads up anyway. So, without spoiling the ending, you have been warned to keep a tissue box handy on this one!

Even through all the tears though, it was easy to see what a special series Planetarain was. Easily the unexpected gem of this year, this is that little series you just don’t see coming until it’s already captivated your attention, and captured your heart. 

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