Planetarium Ep. 1: Do anime robots cry electric tears?

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Believe it or not, I am actually incredibly intrigued by this show’s concept. There’s something rather tragic about Hoshino Yumeni. How much does she really understand? How “smart” is she really? Does she have the capability to process loneliness? If she does, then she must be incredibly lonely. Any normal person in her position would’ve already gone mad from the isolation, but can robots like her go mad? Perhaps she’s already gone mad. Is Hoshino capable of doubt? If so, doubt must have crept in by now. How many days would she have spent wondering, “Have I been abandoned? Why do we get no customers? Why isn’t any of the other departments responding? Why was I created? What is my purpose?” At this point in the story, it’s too early to tell. It’s really too early to tell if Hoshino’s completely unaware of the situation she’s in, or even worse, she’s just maintaining her composure because this Junker — the hero of the story — is the first “customer” she’s seen in a long time. I have an inkling it’s the latter.

Hoshino’s trying really hard to impress Junker, so that adds an extra layer of complexity to her persona. First, she lied about him being the 2,500,000th customer, so you know she’s capable of deception. It may have been an innocent lie, but I doubt her creators explicitly included that feature when they programmed her AI. And if that’s truly the case, is it a behavior that she’s developed on her own? Or did she learn it by example? Maybe she learned how to lie before the world came to an end, but it makes you wonder… Additionally, if Hoshino’s capable of lying, is she also capable of detecting lies? Is she aware that the Junker is simply lying to her in order to get away from her? Perhaps she’s just too polite to show any indication that she knows he’s lying. She is a companion robot, after all. Hoshino also fashions a makeshift bouquet out of junk. Is that resourcefulness on her part? Or is it insanity? ‘Cause c’mon, that’s no bouquet. It almost feels like she’s nervous or anxious underneath that friendly facade. But again, it’s hard to tell after just one episode.

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Is Hoshino concerned about the Junker because it’s part of her programming, or is she truly desperate to retain her first “customer?” Is she super apologetic because it’s part of her programming, or again, is she just desperate not to fail at the one thing she’s designed to do? There’s a subtle difference between the two. And why did the poor robot ever awaken from her slumber? Was it purely accidental? Or something else entirely? I figure it’s probably just accidental, but you never know. At one point, the Junker remembers a warning he had received about the robot from another Junker. I imagine that this is just a red herring, but nevertheless, there’s a possibility that Hoshino might be dangerous. Yeah, the show really sparks my curiosity. There’s so much I want to know about this robot, how much humanity it has, the post apocalyptic setting, so on and so forth. Would he ever be tempted to sell her? I mean, it looks like a dog eat dog world out there, and a companion robot might be pretty useful…

Hoshino’s going to eventually “die.” Assuming there’s a way to recharge her battery, everything goes through normal wear-and-tear, and I don’t think she’s capable of self-repair. i don’t think Junker has that sort of knowledge either. If anyone can fix Hoshino, they’re either dead or incredibly difficult to reach. Or expensive. And yeah, we’re all going to die eventually, but most of us have family and friends to support us through those final years. Most of us will have also lived long, fulfilling lives before we kick the bucket. Up until the Junker entered her life, however, Hoshino has had no one for approximately 30 years if her memory is reliable. Humans die peacefully when they are content with the life they’ve lived. Unless something drastically changes for the robot, however, Hoshino will never know that feeling. She isn’t designed to accomplish anything that most of us would consider meaningful. She’s just a companion robot. Her purpose is customer relations, but there are no customers. Let’s just say I hope robots can’t feel existential angst.

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I do have qualms about the show. Of course, I do. It’s anime, after all, and I’ve been let down by anime too many times to count. I just hope this Junker doesn’t fall in love with the robot or whatever. Plus, I’m not keen on Hoshino’s character design. I would’ve gone with something less ostentatious. She just looks a little too ridiculous for a robot that is supposed to have universal appeal. It’s a minor thing, but I don’t really get why she has all these built-in UI features that only she can see. Why would she need any of this information displayed to her? As a robot, shouldn’t she just know, for instance, how much battery she has left? But again, this is just a minor visual thing. It irks me, but it doesn’t really affect the overall quality of the anime. Most of all, I just want Planetarium to truly deliver on its sci-fi themes. What was the last like-minded show to cross our paths? Plastic Memories or something? Yeah, that was trash. Please, just give me a smart, thought-provoking show, and not yet another pandering nonsense series.

Anyways, I hear this is only going to get five episodes, which is actually a plus in my book. With only five episodes to tell the story, Planetarium will have to stay focused. No fillers, no frills. Just deliver a compelling story without any pointless anime romance bullshit like going on dates and whatnot. I look forward to the next episode. And what do you know, this is based off of a story from Key…

P.S. I was going to cover two more shows tonight, but I’ve run out of time. Ah well, we’ll get to them tomorrow. ‘Cause why go out on a Friday night when I piss and moan about anime to my loyal readers?

11 thoughts on “Planetarium Ep. 1: Do anime robots cry electric tears?

  1. ScienceGirl

    Ehm, you might read the visual novel now if you want. It only took about 3 hours. Don’t overanalyze it because the story is not too complex, but it does left a quite impression for me personally.

    Reply
  2. Pierre B.

    When is dumber actually smarter?

    I’m glad you decided to cover this show because of the extra depth you give to animes I like (or the fun to some I don’t like).
    I doubted you would have worked it exactly because Yumemi reminds SO much of Isla from Plastic Memories, from his apparent youth and cuteness to her reload chair, for example.
    Anyways, in my opinion Yumemi strikes for her dumbness, which makes her so much more convincing than most anime robots, whose mechanical nature is often just a trick to justify twisted plots.
    Therefore, making Yumemi so restricted in her programming and her functions is a very smart choice by the Authors, since viewers will long to discover how she will cope with her limitations and possibly overcome them: a very human desire for a cold machine.

    What don’t I like? It must be the 2 500 000th anime or movie set in a post-apocalyptic desert city! ….Circa!

    Reply
  3. Thatoneguywhoreallylikespotatoes

    Well this is by Key , so he’s probably going to fall in love with her. This reminds me of either Plastic Memories or Your Lie in April(although I haven’t watched them) in the premise of boy meets and falls in love with a girl who is going to die soon. Also they are going to make a movie of of a side story of the visual novel

    Reply
  4. sonicsenryaku

    I dont have a twitter so i cant respond to your latest question, but check out 91 days; you may like it. From a directing standpoint, it’s easily the best of the summer shows airing

    Reply
  5. Someguy42

    “I just hope this Junker doesn’t fall in love with the robot or whatever.”

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves so fast, this is anime after all.

    Reply
  6. Anon

    This is technically Key, but it is not written by Jun Maeda which is why it was one of their best ones. (Maeda should stick with composing music which he is better at, not writing.) I like how it ends too, because it doesn’t cop out at the end.

    Reply

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