Cat Planet Cuties
Kakazu Kio suddenly finds himself between a soft place and a soft place when he has an encounter of the fourth kind with Eris, a Catian alien who has arrived on Earth to meet new people, sample their food and... well, just have fun.
But while a lot of the Earthlings doesn't seem to mind -- or even notice -- their new alien visitor, there are others out there who can and will react quite differently to our cat-eared friend from outer space.
I have to hand it to AIC on this one: they've managed to create a light, ecchi entertainment series that actually entertains, at least for the most part. Part of the reason is because Asobi ni Iku Yo! puts a little more thought into the elements it includes in most of its runtime, and as a result feels more like a really bizarre episode of The X-Files than just some random, light entertainment.
For instance, you're not going to mistake Elis as being anything but an alien, and not just because of the occasionally twitching cat ears on top of her head. She's got a nifty, tight bodysuit that enhances her strength, a small army of robotic servants that do her bidding, and a ship that she can call on whenever she feels like it. But she's so openly friendly and cheerful that I suspect people have an easy time overlooking the ears and the tail. (Her bountiful chest might also help her with distractions, should she ever need it.)
So yeah... you're not going to mistake this for a non-ecchi show anytime soon. Within the ten first minutes, our hapless male lead is going to wake up with her in his bed, wearing (presumably) one of his shirts that barely contains her chest. The shenanigans continue later, when the other Catians arrive and mistake a school swimsuit for popular female fashion suitable for meetings. It's also that kind of show.
So, why is this show so much fun when it sounds like any other ecchi show out there? Well, first and foremost, it does play around with the whole concept of aliens, but also how people would comically overreact if aliens really did arrive. While the initial crowd seemed unaffected by Elis' arrival, other groups quickly take a keen interest in her, and not always with benevolent intentions, but usually funny ones. (For instance, there's an organisation that are just OUTRAGED that their first encounter would be with such an airhead as Elis, and they're more than happy to resort to violent means to rectify the situation.) Not to worry, though, because there're also various organisations that are positively beaming with excitement over her arrival. In fact, after a couple of episodes, I humorously wondered whether there were any people left who WEREN'T part of some kind of secret organization.
Of course, the show does have some darker sides to it. Nothing too outrageous, of course, but even from the opening we are introduced to what basically amount to an infiltration attack at sea. Not all organisations are played for laughs either, which means that the cast of the show are going to be involved in some pretty rough firefights at times.
So I guess this is as good a time as any to introduce you to Kio's two other love interests that he doesn't really know he has. (Because he's oblivious, see?) There's Futaba Aoi, a deadpan secret agent who has the ability to transport just about anything straight into her hands if it's within her transporter range. She used to be an agent of an organization that wanted Elis dead, but since that meant going against Kio, she naturally deserted that organization for his sake. And then there's Kinjou Manami, Kio's childhood friend, and.... a secret agent for the CIA. She starts out quite tolerable at first with her blunt and direct nature, but quickly sours that relationship when she turns violent towards Kio for little to no reason other than there's still people out there who find women abusing young men funny. She'll later turn the show nearly intolerable once the whole love rectangle element gets off the ground.
In fact, said love rectangle is allowed to take up far too much time. Which would have been fine if there'd be any actual progression, but Kio remains clueless (though he DID pick up on Elis' intention when she offered him her first mating season), and so Manami loses her temper at him far more often than I would have liked seeing. At least Aoi's just being wishy-washy; I can deal with that most of the time. After all, I've watched and rewatched Ah! My Goddess at my leisure. But then, Keiichi and the goddesses at least had the good sense to put any relationship issues aside whenever a critical situation arose.
On levels of entertainment, Asobi ni Iku Yo is too much like Koihime Musou in that it varies greatly from episode to episode. Some episodes, mainly the first ones, are quite funny, while a lot of the later ones are just tedious. The last story arc is actually fairly entertaining for the most part, but it's also the part where the whole aforementioned love rectangle gets to go on for much too long. (Straight up to the last ten minutes.)
But the real curveball of the show -- and possibly my favorite episode of all -- is episode 9; a melancholy, self-contained little piece about the very first Assistaroid. It gets a little referential about a song from a show called Captain Future, an old Toei series, but it's mainly about the Assistaroids themselves and why they are designed they way they are. It probably won't make you break out the box of paper hankies, but maybe you'll feel a little misty-eyed all the same.
Asobi ni Iku Yo! is available on Crunchyroll right now, so I recommend you go check it out. It's not the most brilliant show out there, but it's a fun and mostly lively show. And since Tim synchroed it with me, I'm going to let him round off this review with his opinions.
Tim: My opinion on Asobi ni Iku Yo! isn't as positive as my colleague's, though I do agree the show is pleasant for the most part and that Elis is pretty cute. The Kio/Manami/Aoi triangle is really annoying, and the series just drags out and out until the final episode. Which is a shame, because the animation and art are great, the fight sequences are decent, and there is some legitimate problem-solving that goes on when it comes to Elis and her race versus an evil group introduced a quarter or so into the series. It's a weird juxtaposition of sci-fi action and bland, by-the-numbers romantic comedy. If you think you can stomach the romantic comedy aspects, I'm sure you'll enjoy Asobi ni Iku Yo! just as much as Stig did. As for me; I wish Aoi would've slapped Manami a lot more often for interrupting important scenes with her endless whining about her feelings for Kio.
Drags seriously from the middle and almost all the way to the end, but is otherwise actually quite fun. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: There isn't a whole lot of onscreen violence in this show, and, offhand, I have problems remembering if anyone actually died in fights. The gunfights themselves do occasionally get relatively serious, so it's safe to say that you need to be at least a teenager to watch this.
Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Cat Planet Cuties © 2010 Okina Kamino / Media Factory / Embassy of Catia
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