「ロボットの花束」 (Robotto no Hanataba)
“The Robot’s Bouquet”

The original Planetarian ~ Reverie of a Little Star was developed by Key, the same folks who brought you this season’s Rewrite, amongst other things, but they didn’t call it a visual novel. Instead, it was the start of a new line of products called the ‘Kinetic Novel’, as if Planetarian was something very new and dynamic. For most purposes, though, Planetarian could still be considered of the visual novel medium, a text-based experience accompanied by music and still graphics. The main difference was the size; Planetarian, unlike most visual novels, lacked choices of any kind and had no branching route structure. As such, it was also short, easily finished in a single sitting of a few hours, which would have been impossible for previous Key monstrosities like the aforementioned Rewrite. It wasn’t all too much different to a light novel with a soundtrack, or maybe a radio show with pictures—that is, it was a very distilled story experience. This makes it prime anime adaptation material, since it’s not too long, it’s completely linear, and is relatively simple with only two major characters in Hoshino Yumemi (Suzuki Keiko) and the unnamed Junker (Ono Daisuke). Combined with the visual and sound design assets ready and waiting to be used, a Planetarian anime was a long time coming.

I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this adaptation per se, mostly because I didn’t see it coming. I read Planetarian a good ten years ago, and thought that, after all this time, it had been laid to rest. I also had some conflicted feelings about it. I remember quite enjoyed reading Planetarian, at least until I got to the end. The ending, I took issue with, which coloured my entire experience for some time until I got my hands on the epilogue story Hito no Hoshi, which wrapped up the Planetarian narrative much better. Hito no Hoshi is going to be a separate movie from this original net animation, so I at least have confidence that there is every intention to do Planetarian justice. I can perhaps go into some of my concerns about the story when the series of net animations is actually finished and I can be free with the spoilers, but perhaps I won’t need to anymore if Planetarian the anime aims to be a definitive adaptation and smooths out some wrinkles in the original.

For now, I’ve enjoyed this Planetarian pilot, as I did the start of the visual/kinetic novel. That should be no great surprise, as the team lead by director Tsuda Naokutsu has done good work. Not only is the OVA (ONA, whatever) budget in play here, so everything looks pretty good, but the VN (let’s just call it a VN, it’s a novel, and it’s visual) has also been translated to the anime medium quite well. Sure, I noted above that Planetarian doesn’t make the task particularly hard, but it’s by no means trivial. Planetarian was driven mostly either by dialogue or first-person internal monologue, so it’s notable that in its anime incarnation it’s strongest scenes are when there’s no talking at all. Both the ambience of the setting and conflict of the protagonist come out clearly without any narration, which is just making use of anime as an audiovisual medium. I am all for more showing and less telling in my anime.

I could be biased though, since I pretty much enjoy the genre by default. I love sci-fi, and post-apocalyptic settings in particular; show me some artistically old buildings and I’ll sing whatever praises you wish of me. There’s some Isaac Asimov-style rumination on robotics, too, but while I enjoy that immensely as well the post-apocalypse is the main focus of Planetarian. Why do I enjoy such depressing subject matter, though? I think it’s about the role it plays in science fiction. What distinguishes science-fiction from other fantasy (and I do consider sci-fi to be a form of fantasy) is that it presents a vision for the future. They are about imagining the continuation of the story of mankind. For classical sci-fi, your Jules Verne and whatnot, that vision is mostly hopeful, about what mankind can achieve next. More recently, space has been that next frontier. Take the older Star Trek: it proposes that, in the future, mankind has solved all its problems, everyone’s keen on exploration, everything is hunky dory. An optimistic vision, still. Post-apocalyptic fiction, though, was born from the nuclear age, and the realisation that mankind may very well destroy itself. The vision it presents is a pessimistic one. Rather than imaging the continuation of the story of mankind, it offers its epilogue.

That’s the kind of tale Planetarian. It’s made by Key, so it’s more or less bound by law and custom to be sad. But unlike Maeda Jun’s works (Planetarian was written by Suzumoto Yuuichi), Planetarian is sad by its very setting. The tragedy is in the fall of the human race. But sadness itself does not make drama. Hence Hoshino Yumemi, an advanced gynoid, enamored with the stars, the representing that hopeful vision of sci-fi, to contrast the bleak setting and her co-protagonist, the Junker, who has no name, who is completely jaded, who has no time to gaze upwards. Yumemi is more pleasant than the grouch, of course, but the Junker’s impatience, his paranoia, and his obsessive scavenging are necessary to survive. Yumemi’s good-natured cheer, her naive positivity, and her unfailing faith in her colleagues are the bounds of her programming, even malfunctions. The light she and her planeterium represent have no place in this future. That is why The Reverie of a Little Star is sad.

Full-length images: 11, 17.


ED Sequence

ED: 「Twinkle Starlight」 by 佐咲紗花 (Sasaki Sayaka)


  1. I don’t know about you but i was hoping he would shove his grenade launcher up her mouth and pull the trigger when she just kept talking and talking and talking and talking, that is one hell of a broken chobit.

    I can’t believe they made such a great post apocalyptic backstory for Japan, and yet decided to focus solely on a damn broken plantarium guide chobit. You can literally throw away entire plantarium concept out the window and just focus on a guy scavenging ghost city, and you will have a grown up more rugged desert punk.

      1. Any reason why the downvote/upvote system doesn’t matter anymore on the site and only shows upvotes? Unlike what the site had before? At the current form what’s the point of the downvote button at all? Especially regarding the above poster making a nonsensical and rude remark with no understanding of what they’re watching. You correct them but then they turn around and tell you to “calm down.” In the old system someone like this would be downvoted to oblivion and be hidden.

  2. This ONA(Original Net Animation) series completely slipped past me, and I was surprised to learn when it was released. It’s a really good Key series and people should watch. It’s not as long as typical anime episodes, so there’s no excuse not to support 🙂

  3. For me this is a Mix of:

    Plastic Memories and Fallout

    I think this here will need many tissues, because pure logical this “chobit” is way older then the Guest. Let alone her hardware is years old, alone her “heart” (Energy source)

    It feels like if you playing an Sidequest in the Fallout universe with feelings

    yes, looks like this show lifes from the interaction of the MC and this female “chobit”, perhaps her Bugs in her OS can let her create some bond with the “patron” here

    Amagi Brilliant Park is somehow similar to this.. remember the scene where the 4 elements playing at an nearly empty house, did you not feel sad for them?

    Plastic memories for the interaction of her with the MC, even if she is aware she is an Robot

    Fallout for the setting, just take away the atom bombs that never dropped, so the slow decay is visual everywhere (aka forgotten). where here the vibes of Amagi Brilliant park comes in

    Sure, this pacing here could be to slow for the “Handy Fast Generation”, but if you looking for an “calming resource spa” in this anime season, and you like “Fallout” setting, then this is perhaps some little hidden Gem here

  4. With your love for post apocalyptic settings and what it how it epilogue’s human existence, im kinda curious if you’ve ever watched texhnolyze and how you may have felt about that show if you did

  5. *internal screaming and external bawling intensifies*
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Editor’s note: Due warning to those who wish to avoid all spoilers: nothing in this comment is safe to click on.

    Giorno Giovanna
    1. Passerby, can you explain your motivations for editing my comment such that you’re informing people the stuff inside my spoiler warning is a spoiler?

      Do you do this for every instance, or is there a particular reason why you needed to remind people again that a spoiler is a spoiler? I was very careful to make sure the spoiler tag was used, so I don’t see the reason for this.

      Giorno Giovanna
      1. Simply put, I consider soundtrack to be spoiler material as well. It’s always the most dramatic in-context the first time around.

        Also, for future reference, commenters toss all sorts of things under spoiler tags sometimes, and of course one cannot know what is under there until they click on it, and curiosity kills the cat. It is simply a nice bit of extra consideration to make a note of the nature of your hidden text outside the tags, to ease curious minds.

  6. Hmm, I don’t tend to view post-apocalyptic settings as pessimistic, but more as a means to show humanity’s resilience and tenacity. Something like: yeah we’ll survive, not as good as cockroaches, but we’ll survive. Though I do agree that it does contrast with Star Trek’s utopian future.

    On that note, how is the overall tone of this show? Is it really that bleak? I like what I see, but not really in the mood for a pessimistic show. Sad is okay though.

    1. This is a setting where civilisation has imploded, so there is bound to be a pessimistic undertone to everything. It’s not wholly bleak though; the junker does choose to turn back at the end, which is something.

  7. Oh man, I remember playing this game…the feels!

    Interested in seeing if there’s any variation here…although I’m also curious how many eps this will get…IIRC, the backlore was more developed, but the actual plot inside the Planeterium was shortlived. With works like these, the pacing and editing are just as important as the content, IMO.

  8. I’m always up for more Key adaptations, even if they want to break my heart.

    But, man, the main musical motif was distracting. Any Protestant who hears it will recognize it as the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. I ended up pausing Planetarian to look up why, and it seems that when the tune made it to Japan, it was used for a new song called “World of Stars”, which is rather fitting for a VN based in a planetarium. Still, whenever that theme plays, the hymn gets stuck in my head.

    The WP
    1. Still worth going through. As for your comment, Show Spoiler ▼

      Watch this story once and it will pretty much never fail you. Ten years later the effect will still not have worn off!

  9. I get the feeling that Yumemi will eventually run out of battery and peacefully go offline.
    Saw the VN version of it on Steam seems to be a sad tale of sorts.

    Ok, its just 5 x 18 minutes episodes.
    Should be fine. Any more could get boring.

    A small episode of junker guy’s life.
    What will he take away from this meeting?

      1. but the problem i see here, he is still an Human, he need to eat and drink. So do he find enough up there to stay that long with her? Also, is it really save up there, where the other Robots do not find him?

      2. Well, I don’t see those anti-personnel mini tanks as the kind of robot the old veteran talks about.
        I get the feeling that by the end the junker will understand the word of the old guy.

        Anyway the story is already out there as its from a 2004 visual novel.
        5 short episodes only so I try not to read the spoilers 😛

        There will also be an anime film version of the ‘Hoshi no Hito’ story coming out in Japan this September.


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