Cat Planet Cuties Complete Collection (Cert 15)
2 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 304 minutes approx
It’s fair to say that a memorial festival for a late ancestor is the last place one would expect to meet the girl wearing a space suit and cosplay cat ears and tail but for high school otaku Kio Kakazu that is exactly what happens. However the girl in question, the cute, voluptuous and amiable Eris, isn’t your average girl as Kio discovers the next morning after passing out from accidentally drinking alcohol. Upon awakening he discovers a half naked Eris sleeping in the bed next to him, still wearing the cat ears and tail! It turns out Eris isn’t a quirky cosplayer after all but a visitor from the planet Catia. Oh and she is in heat too!
Harem comedies are popular. So are cat girls. And big boobs. So why not create a harem comedy featuring cat girls with big boobs? Okina Kamino had that very brainwave back in 2003 for a series of light novels which were later adapted into a still running manga in 2010, swiftly followed by this anime adaptation. The original Japanese title is Asobi ni iku yo! (translating to Let’s Go Play!) while the anime was subtitled Bombshells from the Sky, both of which US licences holders Funimation discarded for the more direct and arguably accurate Cat Planet Cuties.
All the usual staples of the genre are present and correct in abundance, ensuring the various tropes and otaku fetishes are covered in the girls’ body shapes and personalities while Kio is the personification of blandness, a real wet blanket of epic proportions. The comedy set pieces are standard fare – accidental nudity, Kio falling face first into Eris’s mammoth mammaries, the jealous misunderstandings of said accidents and if your sides haven’t split enough after that lot, the cat girl’s use Kio’s adult mags as their reference point to Earth customs. And wouldn’t you know it, the merits of different breast sizes is a major concern for cat girls too!
To Kamino’s credit he has made an attempt to deliver something extra for the viewer to balance out the bawdier material and gratuitous fan service, by making this a pseudo sci-fi action yarn. Eris was sent from Catia as a scout and ambassador to lay the foundation for a intergalactic relationship between the two planets but, in typical Earth fashion, everyone panics at the sight of an alien spacecraft and the official response is a hostile one. Interestingly, two of Kio’s close friends shy Aoi Futaba and tomboy Manami Kinjou are both secret agents in training – Aoi for the Immigration Bureau and Manami with the CIA. They are both ordered to capture Eris but their friendship with Kio – and wouldn’t you know it their secret love – sees them defy orders to help rescue Eris.
When Kio’s home is deemed the Catian Embassy and thus has diplomatic immunity, the girls move in with Kio, Eris and her fellow cat girls who happen to drop by. Catia is also the proud developer of cat like androids called Assistaroids, servile little chaps who communicate via hand held signs and quite often steal the show with their comedic antics. Kio, Aoi and Minanmi are granted their own personal Assistaroids, who resemble, and thus are named after, famous Asian stars, including Chiba-kun and Yun-Fat. Meanwhile Aoi has a special skill of her own where she can makes weapons materialise, very handy during armed combat.
Once the citizens of Earth learn to accept the feline visitors all seems hunky dory until a kidnap attempt is made on Eris, revealing the existence of a cat ear loving group of zealots who wish to worship Eris as their queen. But a more sinister threat is lurking in the shadows in the form of the cat’s biggest enemy, the evil interlopers from Dogsia, lead by the sultry but unhinged Janes and the Muttley-esque doggie Assistaroid Matery who provide active opposition to Eris and co.
It’s quite a jumble of elements and by rights shouldn’t work and while it’s not a huge success in blending these disparate facets it’s not a completely disaster either. The series is essentially split in two halves with the bulk of fan service featuring largely in the first disc and the action highlighted in the second disc. The latter is of course hugely preposterous with giant mecha cats, armies of robots dogs and bullets that evaporate materials (including clothes naturally) but this was never a show about subtlety and credibility.
The animation is actually of high quality and shines most during the battle scenes which rival the best for their bombastic excesses, while the character designs are exactly what you’d imagine for such a prurient show. Fans of Spice And Wolf who fell for cute wolf girl Holo and always felt she could have been a bit more shapely and inflated in certain places, rejoice as Eris is Holo’s buxom doppelganger, albeit with a slimmer tail and a lower IQ.
A quick format note – the episode previews actually appear at the BEGINNING of the episode and not the end of the previous one, so if (like me) you usually skip these, beware because hitting the skip button will take you to a point ten minutes into the episode! Also the extras on Disc 2 are all English language only despite the subtitles being active, which you can turn off.
It may very well fulfil all of the fantasies of otaku worldwide but nobody can accuse Cat Planet Cuties of being high brow entertainment. Yet it has a certain buoyant charm and energetic appeal to it, thanks largely to the action sequences which makes one feel churlish to be completely dismissive about what is ultimately an otuka’s wet dream and escapist piece of fluff.
If naked neko girls is your thing then welcome to your paradise!
English Language 5.1
Japanese Language 2.0
Episode 1 commentary
Episode 9 commentary
Extra Bonus features 1-12
Textless Opening Songs
Textless Closing Songs
Rating – ***
Man In Black