Planetarian is a Japanese post-apocalyptic visual novel developed by Key, whose previous works also include Kanon and Air. It was released over the Internet on November 29, 2004 for Windows PCs, and is rated for all ages. The game was later ported to the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, as well as to mobile devices. Key defines Planetarian as a ‘kinetic novel’, since its gameplay offers no choices or alternate endings: the player proceeds through the story solely by reading. In 2016 the visual novel receives an anime (which adapts the main game’s story) and a movie adaption. The author describes Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume as ‘A certain woman's story’ and Planetarian: Hoshi no Hito as ‘A certain man's story’.
Hoshino Yumemi is the robot working at a shopping mall. She was created by a group of scientists to advertise the planetarium she was working in, as well as to help customers. One day, however, the humanity shows its true color and the world we know no longer exists. Humans still exist, though, but it will take you awhile to find even one. Anyways, the poor robot still fulfills her duties, but does it rarely, since electricity is quite a big rarity. However, this dead city still has many valuables and because of that, The Junker chooses this city. Running away from the robots that still protect the city, he finds himself in the planetarium, where Hoshino Yumemi works. At first, he regards her as a threat, but after some time he reconsiders his attitude towards her and even stays to help her repair the projector.
It is quite a task to give a good description of the story-line of this anime without giving away spoilers. But I must say that it is surprisingly well-written; you are given all the information you need. It has never been annoying and it surely will not be boring, since there are just… TOO MANY DISTURBING THINGS about it.
Animation wise, it does its magic well. The world of Planetarian is very dark and gloomy and the animation perfectly depicts the emptiness of the dead city. The anime also has some good character designs and pays attention to many small details. Sound wise, the ED song ‘Twinkle Starlight’ by Sayaka Sasaki fits the theme of the series well. The background sounds and the music fit each scene, too. Most of the time you will hear The Junker’s monologues, who is voiced by Ono Daisuke, by the way. Do I even need to add anything?
Character wise, there are two main characters: The Junker and Yumemi Hoshino. Yumemi is a robot who was designed to look like a teenage girl. She is programmed to be helpful to the customers visiting the shopping mall and the planetarium. The Junker is the protagonist and also the narrator of the series. He wanders into the dead city trying to find some valuables and food. There, in the dead city, he meets a robot. He is living a very difficult life and because of that he has quite a problematic personality. However, as the series progresses, he undergoes some awesome character development.
Before finishing my review, I would like to explain one thing. You should only evaluate Planetarian after finishing BOTH the movie and the ONA. Without its continuation, the OVA is average. However, after finishing the movie, you will have a good understanding of what Planetarian really is. Planetarian is a great sci-fi series, which depicts a situation that might also happen with the world we live in; there is a probability that it might happen. Aside from the realism, the anime offers a very dark story with some great drama, which is never forced, or overused.
All in all, this title deserves 8/10. The only problem that I have with it is that it becomes boring sometimes; Key’s fans you are ready, though. That said, Planetarianit is still a very unique picture with a grain of realism. If you like the anime, do check the vn!