planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume – Episode 2

“What do you think about the planetarium? That beautiful twinkling of eternity that will never fade, no matter when. All the stars in the sky are waiting for you.”

13-minutes. The second episode felt longer than that, and the revelation that Yumemi has only 60 hours left on her battery makes me want to wish for her own eternity.

Nah, I think that’s a bit cruel. Maybe wishing her happiness is enough, as the thought of her living on forever, waiting for a new customer that will never come is too insincere. Ironically, such wishful thinking can be viewed as fruitless and unnecessary as robots obviously do not have any sort of real emotions or whatsoever. However, we’re only two episodes in and both Junker and I are now starting to thaw in face of Yumemi’s brimming smile.

Before I continue, I want to make an argument. Robots can have emotions. Human emotions are a result of organic chemicals sending signals to our brain — nothing abstract at all. Yumemi’s show of sadness, happiness, curiosity can also be considered as an emotion as hers are a combination of binary sequences that leads to a pre-programmed reaction. It doesn’t matter how it occurs, it’s about how it manifests. Various study claims tha — oh, nevermind. I-I just want to have a reason to protect her smile!

M-me too.

Junker’s interest and decline in hostility towards Yumemi is a testament that he simply is feeling alone — that he, as much as he doesn’t want to admit, craves some sort of interaction, be it human or not. The second episode is heavy on dialogue, but it didn’t drag nor felt boring. Every line of banter and conversation holds a deeper meaning for both the characters and the viewers. The more we listen to them, the more we understand their own perspectives and personality. The question is, do we understand ourselves better?

Yumemi has stock knowledge equal to that of a rocket scientist, and a curiosity of a 6-year old kid. For all the interesting info she has ranging from constellations, to Greek and Roman mythology, she does come up with weird questions now and then: what does it feel like to shed a tear? Is there a heaven for robots? Are all dreams supposed to be good? I feel like we can interpret these as either a question we have to answer to satisfy Yumemi’s curiosity, or a question we have to ask ourselves. As such, planetarian isn’t entirely about the duo’s narrative, given that the melancholy and bittersweet tone it evokes can also be a product of our own context on our view of what makes us human. What god do we believe in? What constitutes happiness and sadness? Is there any good dwelling in the past? The fact that Junker didn’t answer these questions directly indicates that he either doesn’t have any interest prying deeper into the topic, or he just doesn’t have a clear answer himself. These questions seem oddly heavy to take at face value — specially coming from a robot — for a hardened person like Junker. Suffice to say, I’m assuming that these questions will be of importance later on during the climax once comprehension starts to dawn on our protag.

I’m really loving planetarian‘s pace. The first two episodes are shorter than your average sho, though it felt like I’ve known Junker and Yumemi far longer than the duration of what I’ve watched. planetarian doesn’t drag and elaborate on mundane and unnecessary details. It simply displays the core points of the story, and moves on to the next. It has already been established from the first episode that Junker is interested with Yumemi, which makes the character progression in this episode feel natural and obvious. From an abrasive MC, to someone who’s actually a nice guy over all, planetarian did it in one quick stroke. With that said, I think this kind of pacing is best considering that the show will only last for 5 episodes.

Parting thoughts to end this post:

  • Yumemi’s character design deserves a 10/10. Her glowing ribbon that changes colors to match her status/mood is sleek!
  • Last time I’ve been in a planetarium was 8 or so years ago. It was boring.
  • planetarian‘s setting reminds me of Fallout.
  • First time the OST/BGM stood out for me. Episode 1 lacked music but it didn’t really matter at that time.

Suffice to say, this show is slowly planting itself firmly into my Top 3 list for this season. Looks like next episode will have some tear-jerking moments now that Miss Jena is fixed. If I were you, I’d keep a hanky handy. Until then!




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