Despite the “declaration of war” from the Sealing Faction in the last episode, things remain relatively peaceful for the first half, allowing Soya and Nozo to go on a date together. Shiraishi, jealous, resolves to try and mess with them as her high-school aged alter-ego. Benika has the other half of the episode to herself, and both her motivation and backstory are explored. Having justified her choice to join the Sealing Faction to its canine leader, she is granted control of one of the sealing devices, which she immediately puts into use to attack the city and draw out Soya. Soya, however, has achieved his revenge, and is no longer interested in fighting. Instead, Torai, the first pilot to be defeated, is able to create his armor without the aid of the vial and defeats Benika and the sealing device. As the episode closes, Soya remains steadfast in his decision not to fight – until the People of Paradise alien appears again to tell him that the dragon that destroyed his planet is not gone, just sleeping, and will soon reawaken.
Planet With delivers another episode in its trademark style – a chaotic mixture of normal-seeming slice of life, intense idealistic confrontations, and a brisk pacing through the plot, though this episode adds some out-of-the-blue fanservice. The tone of the show continues to vary seemingly without warning, and it felt worse than usual this episode.
Let’s break that down. Soya decides he isn’t going to fight anymore. He accomplished his objective.
It’s an interesting position for a mech-show protagonist to take; those guys are usually pretty hot-blooded. So of course literally everyone around him, including the Sealing Faction, try to convince him to fight some more:
Soya has a bit of a breakdown at this point – everyone he knew, his family, his whole planet, were destroyed by the dragon. Naturally, his defeat of the dragon didn’t fix any of it. So he puts his foot down, he is done with fighting.
It may have come out of nowhere, but it still carried some emotional weight. It’s the low point for this character, when he’s left empty and with nothing now that his revenge is fulfilled.
So it’s just a touch out of place to have it happen right after this:
Even context doesn’t help that much. Soya and Nozo are on their date, walking through town and discussing the aftermath of the battle. But it turns out that Shiraishi has been spying on them from space.
For no reason I can determine, Shiraishi, an adult woman, has made it her personal mission to try and seduce this high school boy. This isn’t part of their master plan, it doesn’t appear to be some way of sealing Soya or finding his weaknesses. She just friggin’ falls out of a tree and starts messing with the couple.
Soya eventually notices the difference in height between Shiraishi’s assumed form and her actual body (see “illusionary breasts”, above), and we lead from there almost immediately into the emotionally charged scenes described above. I don’t know what the show’s tone is supposed to be, but wow is it not coming across well.
The other half of the episode, which is sort of interleaved with Soya’s story, is actually worse. The leader of the Sealing Faction, the Generalissimo, asks Benika why she wants to join the Sealing Faction. He has a limited number of sealing devices left and isn’t sure whether he can trust her with one of them. She proceeds to tell them about her time in the police force. She joined to follow in the footsteps of a detective she admired, but he was killed by a kid with a gun.
The story is dead serious, tragic, and has the detail to make it feel distressingly real.
And it’s happening as a result of this:
While this ripped-from-the-headlines tragedy is being explained, it’s apparently fan-service-o’clock in the spaceship-turned-hot spring.
I just don’t know what to think anymore. Your show has deadly weapons that get turned into cottonballs alongside lone shooters going on a shooting spree, harem comedy antics right next to debates about whether humanity should be allowed to evolve. To be clear, the premise and ideas put forth by the show are still interesting, and I want to know where it’s going. I would, currently, still recommend this show rather than recommend putting it down. But show, you need to figure out what you want me to feel, what you want this show to be about. Because right now, you have some very serious subject matter, but it feels like you can’t figure out how to tell your story without a certain amount of cliché anime nonsense, and it is killing me.