「ゆめみの投影」 (Yumemi no Tōei)
I’m contractually obligated to mention Darker than BLACK at least once every season, and with it and Planetarian sharing a motif involving a fake sky it’s a good opportunity to meet my plug quota. If nothing else, it will be an example of how relatively common this imagery is. In Planetarian the starry sky is hidden by fallout clouds. In DtB, the starry sky is hidden by sci-fi mumbo jumbo. In both shows, though, the loss of the sky is treated as a very human tragedy. There’s a certain romanticism we attach to the sky, it seems, and there’s a real blow to the human condition when it is taken away. Whether it be because of futuristic disasters, or just being stuck in a jail cell, it seems that in the heart of all peoples is the desire to see the heavens open above us.
In Planetarian, the night sky is a source of imagination. Ancient peoples looked to the stars and saw gods and beasts, inspiring them to weave tales of wonder. Perhaps there is no greater muse than the myriad lights that sit so far out of our reach. Even today, space is the final frontier. As her fleshy meatbag predecessors before her, Yumemi also tells her stories, and also has her dreams. But they are only stories, and only dreams. Obviously, in her world humanity does not manage to work our their problems. Her beautiful Earth has gone to hell in a handbasket. And in her world, the space program has failed, just as in our world NASA reviews its annual budget and weeps. And this is the saddest part Planetarian perhaps, that while Yumemi’s projection is the climax of the story, and it is beautiful, and it is moving, it is also a fairy tale. The only reason for her optimism, we suspect, is her malfunctions, and her blissful unawareness of the real state of the world. And duly, right before she can begin her special projection on the future of humanity, the power fails. Her dream is completely unsupported.
And so next episode will be something of a test. Yumemi looks to be finally emerging from her bubble. Sure, it’s certainly more comfy in the old planetarium, but they can’t stay cocooned forever—if only for practical concerns, like the lack of food and electricity. And so we wonder, how will Yumemi fare against the harsh glare of daylight (or rather, what’s left of it)? No doubt she truly believes in all her feel-good jabbering, and her belief is wholesome and positive and should be encouraged. But just outside the planetarium are killer death robots. It’s them against Yumemi the broken customer service gynoid who cannot shut up, and her hopeful little homilies versus cruel, unyielding reality. They’re not the most balanced matchups, that’s for sure.