Anime Review: Cat Planet Cuties
Posted on Jul 17 2012 at 11:01:15 PM in Comics & Animation
Title: Cat Planet Cuties (Asobi Ni Iku Yo!) Original Creator: Okina Kamino Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance, Comedy Publisher: AIC Plus (JP) Funimation (U.S.) Director: Youichi Ueda Script: Katsuhiko Takayama Music: Tomoki Kikuya A Review Copy Was Provided By Funimation Cat Planet Cuties—a title that’s not very well titled and essentially lets everyone know what type of show this is—was once an anime of interest to me when it aired on Crunchyroll in 2010, but like a lot of things that stopped and my focus was glued to other things. Now I had a new opportunity to check it out again, and despite what some have said about the show, I was going in with the mindset that it would be at least a solid, recommendable show for those with an open mind. However, even with my brain off, enjoying this was more difficult than it should be, and it has nothing to blame but itself for failing to actually execute a passable story, and plowing through the second half only showed me that the staff didn't know what it wanted to do, especially by repeating cliché after cliché with characters that I can barely care for.
A TV broadcast is alerting people of an alien message that said “coming to play.” Soon the scene switches to a battle at sea, where Aoi “Charmed Momiji”, a cool, focused fighter working for a part of the government, shows off her talents and seemed to succeed in infiltrating a ship—but after a UFO passes by and bumps into the ship she loses her balance and is knocked down. This allows the enemy soldier she was fighting to detonate a bomb. We suddenly shift to our male protagonist lead, Kio Kazuki, who was at a memorial service for his late great-great grandfather. As soon as he arrives, his uncle introduces him to Eris, who claims she’s an alien, wears a plug suit, has cat ears, and a tail. After Kio stops her from drinking beer, they talk for a bit before he passes out from drinking said beer by accident due to him staring at her large breasts. When Kio happens to awake again, he’s back in his bed. And not surprisingly, Eris is also with him too, and wearing nothing but a dress shirt. How does he find this out? By accidentally touching her breast.
Thus, the first cliché is established. Not to say cliché’s are a problem, but they become more of a distraction when the main story is not written well. The story is Eris has been sent by her race to assess the Earth and make observations. Seems simple enough, but since this is based off a light novel comedy it was never really going to get serious enough to take the alien moniker seriously. It does certainly try: the next few episodes have various factions trying to either abduct Eris or eliminate her. From a group who sees her as the worst type of contact—in fact, an imperfect one, claiming she looks nothing like an alien—to a cult obsessed with idolizing her, Eris does have her hands full. She’s not the only one in trouble though; Kio is obviously embroiled in the mess, but so is his childhood friend Manami--a gun nut who attempted to get into the CIA by trying to capture Eris--Aoi, and the rest of the Catian race that eventually descends on Earth. The only problem is the trouble is marred by the writing. It’s great that I’m not supposed to take this seriously, but I would like to at the very least get some sort of enjoyment out of it. It wastes a lot of script and animation cels by attempting to make jokes using the usual method of boobs and nudity, which is can be fine for some, but it would be better if this was classified as a hentai because none of the jokes are funny. The joke where Kio happens to accidently see his two romantic interests naked then subsequently he’s being beaten up (or in this case shot at) for something he didn’t do has been done before. The joke where Kio is just trying to take a bath, is interrupted by Eris who stumbles in to wash his back, who then is interrupted by Manami who tries to stop our male lead for being perverted when he didn’t do diddly squat, who then runs into Aoi after trying to get away (he’s still naked) but during this embarrassment he accidentally grabs Eris’s breasts, and then is beaten up by Manami because of his indecency, that’s been done a lot in other harem anime, and it’s old.
When the script only includes nothing but clichés, I kind of feel depressed. I’m now prevented from actually trying to enjoy the anime. I can barely stand any of the characters. It doesn’t help Kio is your usual generic harem lead, the seemingly shy guy who’s dense at all things love but gets all the girls; Eris, with the usual airhead personality with a great admirable figure; Manami, that childhood friend who claims to not have feelings for the main character but does; and Aoi, who is cool and seemingly detached in battle but is also that shy, bookwormish like girl that’s popular in anime and manga series. None of these characters are that endearing; maybe Ms. Itokazu, Kio’s teacher and also a part of the faction that doesn’t see her as an alien, is one of the characters I could like because she’s kind of loony, but otherwise, insert archetypes and here’s your series. The plots of the week are pretty dull. I guess having our main characters explore a mall for research can be fun, or getting abducted by a cult and having our romantic characters dressed up in porno gear can be had for laughs, but it’s just uninspiring because it wallows in clichés. There’s just nothing that really compelled me. It just led to me questioning it.
The second half of Cat Planet Cuties does try and provide the real story—after all, unless you make sure you’re a dumb comedy harem, there is a story in there somewhere—by introducing the foil to the Catian race, the Dogsian race. They of course want to make sure the Catian race doesn’t establish relations with Earth, so they devise numerous schemes to try and prevent it. The problem ultimately with that arc is that they also tried to tie up the ongoing romantic relationship with Kio, Eris, Manami, and Aoi, and it was so frustrating to watch. In one case it felt like they randomly inserted a confrontation because the writer either realized the way the story was going was bad and/or realized there was a romantic storyline that was still going on. And you can probably guess that the story did not end well. Its first half was riddled with annoyance; its second half was just barely ineffectual. Sure, I liked certain scenes—Manami ultimately revealing her feelings due to a conversation with her interpretation of Kio (i.e, not the real Kio) in a training simulator was pretty cool—it does look good, especially in BD at certain times. But there was not a lot to like about the show. The story is inconsistent. The characters aren’t very enjoyable. The soundtrack is not memorable at the least. There was one BGM I could really like, but some tracks were recycled throughout the series, and it did not help the anime in the slightest. The JP dub is not bad, pretty solid. I’m not quite so sure about the ENG dub. I thought it was fine early, but as the episodes went on, I became pretty disenchanted with it. It may have been because of two things: 1) Funimation’s scripting, which aside from a few touches, was kind of stale and corny at times and 2) Kio’s voice, who was dubbed by Aaron Dismuke, felt meh at times. I couldn’t really enjoy it that much. I think the verdict is pretty clear; you wallow in clichés and pass on making things funny, you’re just not a worthy recommendation. Cat Planet Cuties’s best episode was its last one. Why? Because it was pure, dumb fun. That’s the route the show maybe should have taken at the start.