Planetarian: Storyteller of the Stars – Be also people of the stars?
Unusual team on the way to the stars Image: VisualArt's/Key/planetarian project
Although the stars have not lost their magic for many people, it is difficult to have an undisturbed view of the night sky, especially in the bright and colorful cities. In the anime "Planetarian: Storyteller of the Stars", it is also the longing for the stars that brings together very different characters.
In the distant future, a nuclear war has caused most of the world to be depopulated. Only a handful of people still live in cities, far from each other. Clouds darken the sky day and night, making life for the few people on the surface almost impossible. Through this unreal world wanders an old man with a star project in search of people who are also interested in the stars.
In a village where three children are the greatest treasure, he finally finds inclined listeners. Together with the children, the old man builds a projection screen for his star images and tells them how he became a man of the stars. The plot jumps about 30 years into the past and shows the Man of the Stars as a young man working as a Junker. He makes his living by plundering the now deserted cities and taking everything that can still be used somehow.
Dark future Image: VisualArt's/Key/planetarian project
On his tour he ends up in a planetarium, where for almost 30 years the android Yumemi Hoshino accompanies the visitors on their journey to the stars. After initial resentment against the machine, the squire cannot resist the childlike charm of his little guide. In a world where hope is almost non-existent, the encounter between man and machine proves that not all preconceived notions stand up to reality. The stars function as a unifying element between different groups and worldviews, proving that sometimes they are more than little twinkling lights in the sky after all.
The planetarium is glad to see you, dear customer
Already in earlier times people turned to the stars with their wishes and dreams and shared them with them. Others looked to the sky in search of a greater power that stands above things and can give them meaning. Planetarian" is also about the metaphorical meaning for each individual. Yumemi addresses the spiritual rather than the scientific aspects of the stars in the sky in her lectures. A thus also directs the thoughts of her audience in this direction.
In the world of anime, however, there is hardly any room for such contemplations. People are confronted with a hostile world in which all energy and resources are used to ensure survival. There is no time for leisure or things that do not serve this purpose.
Accordingly, the man of the stars has a hard time really still finding listeners. Although there are still people who know him and understand his task, but even they bow to the need to survive and at this point an old man who neither serves to reproduce, nor can support the community through his labor, is not a welcome guest.
Breathtaking even without action Image: VisualArt's/Key/planetarian project
At the same time, the stark contrasts make up a large part of the anime's charm. On one side the cold and empty world in which most people exist rather than live, on the other side the children who have not yet lost their dreams as a sign of hope. The man of the stars is in contradiction with his former life as a Junker, who was mainly interested in materialistic values. There is an equally large difference between the character of Junker and the android Yumemi, who wins the hearts of all viewers with her very human nature.
"Planetarian" doesn't have a lot of action, but the calm way in which the story is told is convincing. The plot develops slowly and gives the characters time to get to know each other, which is especially beneficial when they meet in the planetarium. The film raises some questions without answering them conclusively, but still leaves the viewer with a good feeling, which is the most important thing at this point.
Planetarian image: VisualArt's/Key/planetarian project
The universe in all its colors
The film is based on a visual novel from the label Key ("Kanon", "Air"), which is known for its good visual effects in movies. The titles "Hoshi no Hito" ("Man of the Stars") and "Snow Globe" formed the basis for a whole series of adaptations as games for various platforms. Later, the idea arose to implement the stories as an anime as well. The studio David Productions ("JoJo's Bizarre Adventure", "Cells at Work!") was chosen because it always treats the original works with respect in its anime adaptations and tries to come as close as possible to them.
You can also see this in the design. The studio attaches great importance to a varied and detailed design for the figures as well as for the backgrounds and technical equipment. Here, too, strong use is made of contrasts. The cheerful and lively Yumemi proves to be a colorful feature in an otherwise rather cool and gray world. Especially with her eyes, the studio pulls out all the stops. Turns them into a true kaleidoscope. Key also places a great deal of focus on female protagonists in his work, which is also reflected in the anime.
Human machine Image: VisualArt's/Key/planetarian project
The OVA, which is present as an extra on the disc, provides a further contrast. In "Snow Globe," you get to experience Yumemi's world before the humans disappear. Together with the android girl, you discover the city before it is depopulated and she is left as a seeming relic from the past. The characters from Yumemi's memory get more depth at this point and also her own story, which comes a little short in the film, is further illuminated.
All in all, the story and its realization prove to be a skillful mixture that entertains the viewer and makes him think along with her. The different opposites are shown again and again, however, also attempts are to be recognized to bridge these. An atmospheric realization with a beautiful eye for detail also invites the spectators to a journey to the stars.
A humble request to the robot god
The G&G sound studio took over the translation into German and makes sure that the film is also acoustically good for star hours. Due to the fact that there are only a few people left, the figure circle remains very limited. The protagonists in particular have to carry large parts of the film through their presence and associated dialogues, precisely because the actions also take place in relatively limited local settings.
David Schulze and the still young dubbing artist Christina-Ann Zalamea lend their voices to the two main characters and do a very good job. Both also help to make the dialogue that Yumemi and her only guest have touching to the audience. Rolf Berg, who helps the Man of the Stars to a German voice, also fits in well, even if he sometimes sounds a bit too mild when compared to his alter-ego, the Junker, who, after all, is rather conspicuous for his gruff manner, especially at the beginning.
Yumemi's world Image: VisualArt's/Key/planetarian project
Christina-Ann Zalamea has the most difficult task, but she was clearly up to it. She manages to make Yumemi, although she is a robot, which she also emphasizes again and again, also sound very human. The chosen voices, both Japanese and German, and especially the eyes of the little android, which are also a visual highlight, make Yumemi a character you just have to find cute. Even if her greeting phrase is starting to get annoying, especially in the OVA, as she repeats it over and over again word for word.
For the German release KSM gives "Planetarian" a stable box for the digipack, which shines wonderfully. The digipack itself features a scene that one would more than wish for the characters in the anime. Yumemi, the man of the stars, and the children who want to follow in his footsteps are seen together under the starry sky. Five art cards featuring primarily Yumemi and a comprehensive booklet round out the box, making it an eye-catcher on any shelf.
Recommended editorial content
At this point you will find an external content from YouTube, which complements the article. You can display it with one click and hide it again.
"Planetarian: Storyteller of the Stars" is an insightful story about the importance of hope in a world where it is more than needed. The mixture of dystonia on the ground. touches the whole range of the starry sky. Lovers of beautiful stories, which can convince even without much action, do not go wrong here.
Lovingly designed characters and an overall very convincing German soundtrack make for good entertainment and encourage you to think along with them. The anime is convincing with a lot of feeling and a consistently appealing animation, in which a lot of attention was paid to both the characters and their world, which the viewer also needs to notice and let the many details sink in.