After nearly a decade of reading and watching Key’s works, and now having finished Planetarian’s unlikely adaptation, I think I have come to accept that Key does not appeal much to me anymore. I have aged and moved on since those times, as has the anime industry and its community, and no longer feel all too impressed by what their stories had to offer. This movie follows an old traveler who is approaching the end of his lifetime as he recounts his past with that random woman from the planetarium, and the events that led him to become a “Stargazer” (hoshi no hito). It could be described as a sequel to the original ONA series “Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi No Yume”, but that wording is not completely accurate. This movie is essentially an expansion on the Planetarian ONA series, and it takes place after the events of the ONA series. However, this movie also includes all of the scenes from the prequel, so I wouldn’t recommend watching the prequel at all if you haven’t already seen it.
A beautiful story can be told magnificently like in movie “Avatar” or can be told humbly like in “The Man from the Earth” but it doesn’t make one better than the other. The two characters in Planetarian are the model of perspectives of the then world. On one hand a human who is trying to survive, to him his life relies on the next move he makes. His mind will be in constant chaos with singular things whereas there stands a robot who can’t comprehend the emotional manifestation of a human in a time like this, her thoughts and capabilities are limited in demand of her tasks. She shows his chaotic mind the calmness of the mesmerizing world of stars and ran through him the reasoning of mankind and the beautiful world as it was. The story of the future is told and retold with different characters and different settings but what they all give us is an “ideal”, it is there to remind us of the truth we most likely forget.
Unfortunately, I feel that this movie has several major drawbacks that are the reason why I feel that this series only deserves a six out of ten for the story. One of major drawback is the heavily dialogue based story that consequently makes the movie feel slow. Couple this slow dialogue with the annoyingness of the talkative robot girl, and it can be a bit difficult to tolerate at times. This is especially true when you add in the fact that the movie has almost no complex or profound meanings to take away from it, which only further takes away from the series. Overall, the story was very predictable and there was very little depth to the story, where the characters came across as empty and containing no “humanity”. However, don’t let these drawbacks turn you away because “Planetarian: Hoshi no Hito” has other forms of entertainment to offer in the forms of art directing and music.
The art directing was spectacular, the director being the same guy that directed for some famous titles like Ghost in the Shell, Sword Art Online, Shirobako, Gankutsuo, etc. You could definitely see the similarities in the designs and movements of the robots from this movie and the ones from Ghost in the Shell. The scenery and imagery as a whole created a relatively captivating environment, despite the art quality not being that spectacular by itself. Combine the brilliant art directing with the composer of the Clannad, Little Busters, Kanon, and Rewrite OSTs and you have a work of art on the audio-visual aspects of this series. The audio-visual categories were good enough to both earn an eight out of ten from me.
Overall, I feel that this movie was pretty okay. Although it contained very little depth from a story and character standpoint, it partially offsets that flaw through great art directing and good enough music. Additionally, some of the more emotional aspects of the movie were a bit forced and unrealistic, but I was still somewhat affected by those scenes. Because of the flaws, I can’t really imagine myself recommending this to anyone that isn’t a huge anime fan because it really has no unique or defining qualities, but I enjoyed myself to give it about seven out of ten for enjoyment. This is another pretty good story from Key that you may want to watch if you enjoyed some of their other works, or you’re just looking to kill some time with a relatively good anime movie.