Genre: Science Fiction, Comedy
Company: AIC Plus +
Format: 12 + 1
Dates: 7/10/2010 to 9/25/2010
“I’m bouncing! I’m bouncing! I’m bouncing!”
Eris, an emissary from the planet Catia arrives on Earth with a message of greetings and hope for mutually beneficial interplanetary relations. Her arrival is met with mixed reactions from several different quarters, including a number of secret societies and powers — including a hidden contingent from a dog planet! When the Catian mother ship arrives, laden with more real cat-girls, the fun really begins!
summary by Papa-san
Reviewed: 12/7/2014 by
Highs: Good action, lots of laughs
Lows: Unresolved plot threads, a little heavy on the ecchi
Oh my. I hardly know where to begin. I have to admit, I downloaded this with the thought that I had a cheap, trashy jiggle-series I could pan scathingly. Much to my surprise, I found it much more than that.
The first few episodes kick off with virtually non-stop, top-notch action. And nudity. And riotous comedy. What genre does this series not encompass and parody? Cat girls, girls with guns, powered-up battle suits, kawaii sidekicks, harem, mahou shoujo . . . Much of this has the same frenetic energy of Excel Saga, but never quite descending to the same level of surrealistic absurdity. In the third episode, female protagonists Manami and Aoi engage in a machine gun battle with the bad guys, stark naked. The sequence concludes with the girls soundly boxing the ears of male lead Kio for looking at them. When one character expresses skepticism over Eris’ looking so human and speaking Japanese, Eris replies that they all thought it was funny, too. As the second episode opens, Eris is described as an alien who “even Trekkies would have a hard time accepting as real!”
Also, this series is as redolent with clever pop-culture references as any Mystery Science Theater 3000 offering. Nearly every episode opens with a teaser parodying (mostly) American TV shows: Star Trek, Bewitched (“Be Scratched”), The Greatest American Hero, I Dream of Jeannie, and many more. One opposing faction, the Dogesians, has a sidekick clearly parodying the character “Muttley” from the classic cartoon series, The Wacky Racers: here, he is called “Muttrey.” At one point, the girls’ power suits transform to outfits looking an awful lot like Gundams.
One bit I found especially fun and endearing are the Assistroids: little mechanical men (?) who are the Catians’ indispensable sidekicks and helpers. They don’t speak, but communicate by holding up signs, often with awkward misspellings. The signs are in hiragana, and the errors are rendered in English subtitling by such constructions as “Hel9 m3!” or some such. Most are identical, but a few are clearly differentiated, such as the one named Yun Fat.
Atypically, the Earthside action here is set mostly in Okinawa, and references a few uniquely Okinawan themes, like foods and kijimuna (local “little people.”) Product placement alert: I suspect Okinawa’s Orion Breweries were involved in the funding for this series, as was A & W Root Beer.
A few thoughts on the series’ nudity and ecchi factor: actual nudity is frequent and quite lifelike. Breasts appear in several sizes and have nipples. With the Catians, well, their tails curl around at critical moments to cover the nether regions. Our male lead, young Kio, occasionally has his breathing hampered by being smothered in bosoms, but they are usually clothed at such times. Yes, there is quite a bit of nudity, but it is generally not sexual nudity: girls in a bath or sauna, or changing clothes. Sexual innuendo is actually rather restricted, and is largely limited to cat-girl Eris’ coming into heat, as cats do. Even this is cut off when she is given pills to terminate her cycle. (Although she does suggest a rather interesting use of the ship’s holo-deck to Manami and Aoi, who are quite horrified at the idea!) There are a few sequences revolving around breast size and appearance and swim suits, too. One amusing bit at the beginning has the two human girls seeing cat-girl Eris for the first time, and having visible thoughts regarding melons and “foreign imports.” I suppose the bottom line here (pardon the expression), is that although this has far more revealing scenes than some other series, they are either so innocent or so brazen as to work much better than the snickering adolescent attempts one sometimes sees. And they are, for the most part, truly funny. If nudity per se bothers you, you may want to skip this. If it is simply juvenile body-humor you dislike — this may work for you.
A few downsides: first and foremost, although this has some of the hallmarks of a “harem” series, the romantic issue is not resolved. Manami and Aoi are long-time friends of Kio, and both are in love with him. Cat girl Eris completes the picture, and at one point, when Kio transforms entirely into a male Catian, we think we may see a resolution of the dilemma (trilemma?). Unfortunately, there is no resolution to this story thread, although it plays a large part in the overall plot. At the beginning of the series, one of the factions attempting to terminate the Catian diplomatic effort is a secret group called Beautiful Contact, who have decided that the Catians are unworthy to be Mankind’s first extraterrestrial encounter, and are trying to eliminate Eris. They seem to just disappear from the story. There is also one rather touching episode regarding the “ancestor” of our comical Assistroids. She is much more “android” and human looking than the Assistroids, and her appearance sparks a discussion of the role of “real” creatures and those they make to serve them. Also, she has come to fulfill her long-dead master’s wish regarding something he wanted to do on Earth, had he reached it. Which is all very nice, but this episode has essentially NOTHING to do with the storyline we have been following. You could skip this ep completely and never even know it.
This is billed as 13 episodes, but is really 12 eps with one bonus episode. 13 is largely an excuse for a little more ecchi, as the Catian girls try to understand human’s enthusiasm for gaming — and why games seem to require the gradual discarding of clothes.
I usually prefer subs, but one thing I noticed is that the episode teasers were more clearly spoofing other series in the English dubs. I don’t think these were purely English language inventions: the subtitled narration alluded to these different shows, but not so clearly as the dubbed. Watching the subs along with dubbed dialog definitely showed a divergence in some places — mainly with idiom or cultural references. (For honesty, I should note that I was not watching the dubs at all until ep 3, where the audio track provided only the dub. That was when I noted the much more obvious reference in the teaser and started favoring the dub.) Voice acting in both versions is quite good, although English-language Kio sometimes seems rather bland. A very few other places, the English dialog seems disconnected with what is happening on-screen. On the other hand, there are quite a few places where the subtitled translation seems very awkward (“Engrish”) and the dubbed dialog/narration more sensible, or just has a funny line, or a better one, squeezed in.
Visually, this is quite good. There is quite a bit of CGI, but although often obvious is not distracting or obtrusive and fits in well. A lot of the tech designs are distinct and innovative, except of course where they are deliberately spoofing something else. Music is appropriate overall, but nothing especially memorable. The only downside here is that in one episode, where the singing of a song is of a certain significance, the song itself seems particularly weak.
So the bottom line (apologies again) is that this is a boisterous and rollicking ride, with lots of laughs, but may not be for everyone. Points off mostly for unresolved plot lines and irrelevant side stories, just a couple off for overplaying the ecchi needlessly.
Cat Planet Cuties is licensed in the U.S. by Funimation, and episodes may be viewed legally in the United States HERE.