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Planzet UK Anime DVD Review

5 min read

Ever have a show that you just want to love, but that has so many holes in its storyline that you find you just can’t? Meet Planzet, which fits the bill perfectly…

What They Say:
In this CG sci-fi thriller, the Earth is still recovering from a deadly alien attack that wiped out all human cities in the year 2047. Humanity has finally developed a counter-attack that they can use against the invaders, and one man – a soldier named Hiroshi Akishima, who lost his father in the first invasion – wants to be the one to bring the aliens down.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
2047 – mankind has just completed construction of its first colony on Mars, Esperanza, and is ready to begin moving the colony’s planned 500,000 new residents there. The day completion of the base was announced, though, a surprise attack by alien invaders left the Earth devastated – the polar ice melted, many major cities left underwater, the rest razed. Within 6 days, most of humanity was dead. But humanity is a resilient species and, under the protection of a global shield known as the Diffuser, the survivors began to look for ways to fight back. Now, they believe they have a way: a new one-shot weapon, the D-Cannon, more powerful than a nuclear weapon. But to use the D-Cannon, the Diffuser will have to be disabled, leaving Earth vulnerable for a time while the cannon is deployed. It’s a window of opportunity that the aliens are fully expected to exploit, and so the fate of Earth comes to rest in the hands of a small team of crack pilots assigned to protect the D-Cannon until it’s ready…

Detractors of full 3DCG, look away – Planzet comes with the look’n’feel that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s seen the recent Appleseed movies, or Manga’s recent release of TO. It’s an acquired taste, and in this case some of the character faces stray into uncanny valley – but it’s also a look that’s particularly good at hardware and combat scenes, which Planzet has a decent amount of. Overall, then, the CG probably isn’t a bad thing this time around.

Where the movie does fall down, though, is on plot consistency, downright silliness, and overuse of “convenience”, for want of a better word. Starter for 10: Earth’s invaders, the enigmatic FOS, don’t really reveal themselves much – but when they come out to fight, there are generally a lot of them. So if you have an all-or-nothing plan to save the world from alien invaders that hinges on the ability of your crack squad to defend your new BFG for a set period of time – do you not think it would be a good idea to have more than three defenders? And would it not be a good idea to check the range on your one-shot superweapon lest, I don’t know, the alien base orbits just a wee bit outside it? In Planzet‘s world, “no” is apparently the answer to both questions. And the range thing doesn’t only happen once, either. We’ve also got shuttles going to Mars despite the aliens in orbit and globe-encircling shield that lets nothing in or out, and some aspects (both visual and plot) that seem to have been lifted wholesale from Independence Day.

Characters are a mixed bunch, too. For a start, there aren’t very many of them – 5 with significant speaking roles, two with smaller roles, and that’s it. Personalities are barely developed – enough to tell you that Character A has issues living up to her father’s reputation, Character B is looking for vengeance, Character C just wants the war to be over, and so on. The time just isn’t taken to flesh them out more thoroughly than that, when it could probably have used it.

Which makes it sound like I’m not very impressed with Planzet, I’m sure. But there’s good stuff here. In terms of visual spectacle, being compared with Independence Day isn’t a bad thing, and Planet certainly looks the part. There’s a feeling of desperation about events that ties in well with the situation that’s being portrayed. Lead man Hiroshi’s ties to his little sister Koyomi bring a little grounding to events. For all that the movie almost misses the mark completely with the major plot points, it gets the little things just about right. It’s not enough good to completely balance out the bad, but it was enough to keep my interest in the movie alive when it was beginning to flag.

In Summary:
If I was reviewing this as a streaming title, I’d have an easy job – via that method with your sub already paid, it’s an easy “go watch”, for curiosity if nothing else. As a disc release, though, it comes with a £20 price tag – which takes a little more justification. If the excitement of the CG visuals are likely to float your boat – and they do look impressive for the most part – then go for it. If you prefer a little more depth to your storytelling, then it’s more one for the rental pile.

Content Grade: B

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK / Kaze UK
Release Date: 27 August 2012
Running Time: 53 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen

Review Equipment:
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37” widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-22 5.1 speaker system.

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