They’re coming to visit us!
The Catians are Earth’s first contact with an alien species, and they look a lot like us. Except for the cat ears. And cat tails. And apparently predominantly females that can go into heat.
They’ve fallen into the lap of Kio Kakazu, a guy who just likes to make films in high school. His two best female friends are undercover special agents. The trio are what the Catians will find as the Earthling ambassadors to their race, and Kakazu’s house quickly becomes their embassy. If Earth girls truly are easy, what about the Catians?
Cat Planet Cuties is, as someone described it, the “show all about boobs.” Breasts predominate throughout the series, largely for comedic effect, and in most episodes, are revealed by accident to fill a fan service quota. It’s a series that you’ll pause if someone’s walking by: It’s purely soft core at its worst, cheesecake at its best. Visually, it’s a contrast with much of the moe series dominating the scene, with almost-natural human proportions (outside of chests, obviously). It’s great to see a return to this kind of form, even if the main male character could have been transported out of Love Hina. Costumes and designs are over the top, but the series does have its charm: characters with small chests do exists; the super-deformed assistant droids have their own personality; much of it feels like bad 1980’s sci-fi, almost intentionally; and even a male character gets his turn in the incredibly-tight uniform of the female Catians.
The lead Catian, Eris, is surprisingly one-dimensional. She’s genuinely happy for the most part, outside of a few moments of sincere sadness (once at the racist history of her people, and another at being denied a mate). The other two female leads are better defined, and the rest of the Catians are one-note but varied. The male lead, as it tends with “harem” shows, is largely personality-free but genuinely well-intentioned. He may be flustered at times, he may be all-too nice and innocent, but he’s there for the viewers to pour their feelings into, to flesh them out. There’s nobody in the cast that you’ve not seen before in other, similar productions, and that tends to be the fault with harem series: they all seem to have to follow the same repetitive tropes. Villain characters are decidedly more one-sided, with one character literally being an anime version of Muttley, complete with notable laugh.
Each episode has a unique opening segment, parodying notable television from the past. Going from The A-Team to I Dream Of Jeannie (and even tapping upon an older Japanese hero), the series finds a few laughs in these references, but they reach out to someone who can appreciate older American sitcoms that made their way overseas. It never affects the actual plot of the series, but it’s a nice shading of style.
There’s a fair amount of surprising drama in the series, largely on an episode-by-episode basis. While the love triangle (square?) is predictable and has a decidedly anticlimactic ending, one of the episodes about an older android is, in all honesty, coolly depressing: a humanoid (well, Catian) robot wishes to track down her maker, who has long since passed. Once her mission is over, so is she. It’s bittersweet, nice and calm, but unsettling in how calmly one accepts their fate. It stands out in the series, but as a high point, not a nail that needs to be hammered down.
Bonus scenes are attached to each episode in the bonus features, alongside textless songs, intros, and endings. Two commentaries balance out the extras, and in general, the set seems to have a quality amount of extras, much more than many other complete series releases. We’re looking at the DVD discs, but there is a combo pack with BluRay discs. It’s above average for an anime release, but it’s not the most amazing set we’ve seen.
Cat Planet Cuties is light and fluffy for an anime series; you know what you’re getting into, and you’ll enjoy it if Russ Meyer-meets-cat girls is your thing. While characters might be a little superficial, every once in a while a little bubblegum is needed in your diet.