Planetarian: Man of the Stars Review — They Shine So Bright

Welcoming me to heaven.

  • Okay, I know I said I was going to review Planetarian: Man of the Stars whenever that got subbed, but I didn’t think it would get released on Japanese DVD so soon after I stated how I was looking forward to not touching anything Key-related for a while. I mean c’mon. The film was released a week after Koe no Katachi hit theaters, and yet I don’t exactly see subs for that flying around the web. And before people get smart, yes I know the physical release for that in Japan is May, so I guess you can consider this heart-tugging movie to be a warm-up for that…if it wasn’t for the fact that Your Name hit US theaters a week two weeks ago and thus we’re not exactly starved for beautiful-looking theatrical tear-jerkers.
  • But I digress. Those of you who actually pay attention to anime beyond what your friends hype up will know that while Rewrite was causing people to commit mass suicide last summer, there was another Key anime airing that season that was surprisingly good, yet under-looked because anime fans are just stupid that way. Yes, the story wasn’t very original and the ending overreached like a kid grabbing ten cookies after being told he could have a carrot stick, but Planetarian still shined despite that thanks to knowing how to take advantage of the fact that it was animation in order to tell a surprisingly touching story that had all the fat usually associated with visual novels cut out.
  • So I was definitely looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation of the supplementary light novel, even if said source material is, well, a light novel. Will it be as equally good as the original tale turned out to be? Will it be better? Or will it be a shallow “more please” sequel?
  • The answer is recap movie with a few new scenes in it. Uh…lame.

Not that I’m a fan of Key’s character designs, but they look particularly off here for some reason

  • Yes if you’ve seen the net series, then Man of the Stars is pretty much just that, except now it’s told in flashback many years in the future when the junker is an old man and the world has not improved one tiny jot since (spoilers) he lost his robot waifu. Since then, he’s be considered the titular “man of the stars”, traveling the world whilst expressing hope that one day, the post-apocalyptic world will end and man can see the stars again.
  • The film goes the route of Frankenstein and ends up trapping the old fart in an arctic wasteland, where he’s slowly dying because quite frankly it’s a miracle he survived that long. But before he bites it, he decides to tell his tragic story of how he got here to a bunch of kids, and thus the entirety of the net OVAs is told to us again. And it doesn’t exactly help matters when those are the only parts of the movie I can pay attention to.
  • My problem with the “in the future” framing device segment is that it plays out too predictably. I know a lot of people prefer to remember Planetarian as the tear-jerker with machi…okay, the other tear-jerker with machines. But the reason I got into it was because I enjoyed its human tale of finding something to live for in a world that has gone to shit, along with the nice visual storytelling it used to convey said tale. And incidentally, my lord the animation is awful in the new scenes. When you compare the dirty yet bright visuals in the past to the just plain bright and washed-out visuals in the future, it’s like I’m watching two different shows entirely.

Remember kids, life fucking sucks. I was a virgin my entire life and the only girl who had an interest in me was an underage robot.

  • You can really tell that Man of the Stars was adapted from a light novel, because while it has the same “hope against a horrible situation” themes that the original kinetic novel does, it’s a lot less inspired in terms of writing. The dialogue is incredibly plain, the characters have no identifiable traits, and while the ending is nice – if a little too similar to James Cameron’s Titanic’s for my taste – it feels very unnecessary at the end of the day. I heard that the source material actually consisted of a bunch of short stories, but only one of them was adapted while the others got a mild reference.
  • My guess is that Man of the Stars was adapted the way it was after the production team read the original light novel and discovered that the substance inside it was too little and too lame. Even when you take into consideration that both the film and the series were done at the same time, why do the visuals in the main Planetarian story look so much better than the ones in the supplementary stuff? I know that the director is a big fan of Key stuff and all, hence this is sort of a passion project for him, but I’m guessing he has his limits and didn’t read everything he was going to be adapting until after the announcement (this is most likely not true, but I don’t care). But then again, maybe it’s just different tastes. Lots of people seem to like that World End anime that’s airing right now, and the first episode bored the pants out of me.

Near. Far. Wherever you are.

  • I guess it will be your thing if you just want to see Planetarian again, as well as what happened to the world and the main dude many years after that middling ending; but quite frankly, none of the new scenes told me anything about the universe that I didn’t already know or couldn’t predict. At the end of the day, Man of the Stars is just another unnecessary product, and during a time when so many high-profile anime films are coming out, that’s pretty much the equivalent of signing a death warrant. With the very blood you used to cut your wrist with before you bleed out.

Minor Quips

  • By the way, don’t look at the subs that are currently out as of this time of writing. They are shit.
  • What exactly was the Junker doing in the harsh winters anyways?

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