Based on the Okina Kamino's light novel series Asobi ni iku yo! which actually ends up translating into Let's Go Play, not Cat Planet Cuties, the locale shifts from what is normally found in virtually every anime series dealing with invasions from Tokyo to Okinawa. Kio Kakazu, your stereotypical, nerdy teenage boy, is about to have his life completely changed when Eris shows up at a commemorative ceremony for his grandfather and no one seems the least but curious about the fact that she has cat ears and a cat tale; most simply assume it's cosplay. As it turns out, Eris comes from the planet Catia and has come to investigate our planet. Before long others arrive from Catia as well, a little yakiniku convinced them this was definitely a place to establish peaceful relations with, and Kio's home has now become neutral territory and acts as the Catian embassy. Two of his close friends, Aoi Futaba and Manami Kinjou, have also moved in after finding that their lives are perhaps in danger and while the Catian people assume they are the first alien visitors to Earth they soon discover this isn't true. The Dogisia have been here for quite some time and aren't about to let the cats stay.
For the most part Cat Planet Cuties is like virtually every other anime in this sub-genre and, as often is the case, it quickly transforms from being a science fiction series to being much more of a harem inspired series. This however can play out very well if it is executed in a way that hasn't been done over and over although there are definitely parts of the series that are commonplace. Our male lead, Kio for example, really falls into being just what has been seen in most of these types of anime. Regardless of his nerdy appearance, Kio soon has three women vying for his affections with Eris being the one who is the most upfront about things. Of course he's too shy, or perhaps too much of a nice guy, to act on any type of immoral behavior even when it's thrown right in his face, and this happens both figuratively and literally. Just about any male will tell you that at this age, if any female would have shown the slightest interest, they would have taken the offer in an instant.
Eris ends up being the main member of the Catians who is seen in the series although some other members of her race make appearances and all end up being female as well. Eris doesn't quite get everything as far as Earth is concerned and often takes examples from reading materail she's found under Kio's bed as her inspiration. This finds the Catian's making their first communication with Earth representatives wearing school swimsuits or even Eris trying to wash Kio's back at one point because she's read about it in a magazine. This does results in a number of humorous situations and Cat Planet Cuties doesn't make it a habit of this becoming a running gag in each episode.
With the other two female leads we have characters that are somewhat similar and yet different. Both Aoi and Manami have an interest in Kio and both also have expressed having an interest in joining government agencies. Manami is more of the tomboy type of character who seems to be interested in guns more than anything else while Aoi has much more of a quite approach most of the time but also has the ability to teleport objects into her hand. As the series shows though, both are quite capable when it comes to combat and with their combined abilities, are more than a force to be reckoned with. There is another Earthling female who enters the series as well to a somewhat lesser degree. Antonia Lirimonie Norfedras Papanorgas Arecroteles Cnorses Morfenoss is the leader of a cat worshipping cult who kidnaps Eris and Kio early on but eventually they are freed. Antonia ends up enrolling at school along with the group, and brings her maids along as well. but has turned to a different approach with her religion. Eris also has a small collective of what are known as Assisstroids; small robots who help in a variety of different ways and some are given more unique looks which seem to be inspired by a variety of different cinema; one in particular I'm sure was meant to be a tribute to Chow Yun Fat, more specifically his character in Hard Boiled.
For all various other titles that Cat Planet Cuties seems to draw from, it's still not a horrible series and in fact can be rather fun at times. It's a shorter run, a mere twelve episodes along with an OVA, but this also means that with less episodes the series needs to move a little quicker. It doesn't dwell too long on certain aspects that other anime will focus on for multiple episodes. The series does work in some of the obligatory features such as a vacation episode, a Christmas episode, and things of that nature as well as the required fan service, but it also works in a storyline instead of just trying to sell itself on sex, panty shots, and large breasts. There are also a number of references to other Japanese films and television series, most of which Western audiences probably aren't going to be familiar with. The series also doesn't offer translations for some Japanese words which actually works a little better. Yakiniku for example just wouldn't sound as exotic as "grilled meat." With Cat Planet Cuties being set in Okinawa, there is at least one American institution that will be seen that some should know, that being A&W and yes, they do in fact have them there. Remember, Okinawa does have an American military base so there are a number of American products found there.
This is a more recent series so that animation looks quite good although Cat Planet Cuties isn't a series that's trying to break into new, influential animation territory. It does utilize a slight amount of digital effects but not to such a degree that it just becomes an eye sore. The character designs are fairly standard but still manage to stand out well enough so that they don't all look virtually identical. There are some good action sequences seen during a few of the episodes though and Cat Planet Cuties at times does feature scenes that have the feeling of spy thrillers and action films.
There are commentary tracks on two episodes but as the case usually is, this is with the cast and crew of the English dub. I really have no idea why FUNimation continues to include these since those involved never have anything substantial to say about the series. The Extra Bonus Features is just a collection of bumpers and previews for episodes and isn't terribly interesting. There is a clean version of the opening animation for the series as well as a number of them for the closing animations. Also included is a US version of the trailer but nothing that would give a bit more on the Japanese production of the series.
Cat Planet Cuties might be duplicating a number of things that are found in other anime, Urusei Yatsura was one of the first ones that I thought of, but there are still things about the series that makes it a little more enjoyable than most. Probably the most important and catching is the humorous approach of the series and that it's not just an hyper-sexualized anime that does nothing but thrown in boobs, panty shots, and cheap thrills in every episodes. Those looking for a more serious approach to alien invasions will probably not find any satisfaction here but anyone who has a taste for the light-hearted, fun-loving, and cute alien variety of alien visitors will find Cat Planet Cuties hits the spot.
Episode 1 – The Cat Who Fell to Earth
Nice guy Kio's life gets turned upside down when he meets a friendly, sexy cat-alien named Eris! She's on a peaceful mission - but things could get dangerous, thanks to all of the secret agencies trying to get close to her.
Episode 2 – I Dropped By
When Eris is taken captive by one of the many secret organizations on her tail, Kio springs into action and organizes a rescue attempt. Of course, with alien technology at her disposal, Eris might just be able to take care of herself.
Episode 3 – We’ve Come to Stay
Labeled traitors by their former organizations, Manami and Aoi take refuge in the new embassy of Catia - Kio's house! The girls discover they aren't out of hot water just yet, though, when an intruder attempts a bath time raid!
Episode 4 - We’ve Come to Kidnap You
Kio and the girls head to Tokyo for a day of shopping. Unfortunately, their trip is derailed when a kitty-loving cult attacks their train. With Kio and Eris in danger, Manami, Aoi, and the Assistroids begin planning a rescue.
Episode 5 - We’ve Come to Rescue You
Aoi and Manami undertake a high seas raid to free Kio and Eris from Antonia's lavish - and heavily armed - yacht. The battle is intense, and Aoi is left unconscious in the belly of the ship. Can Kio get to her before the vessel sinks?
Episode 6 - I’ve Practiced
Aoi’s frustrated by her lack of cooking ability and Manami wants to get better at handling guns. They get a chance to hone their skills in a virtual reality room on the Catian mothership – and both get to spend time with a virtual Kio.
Episode 7 - We’ve Come to Swim
Summer's over, class is back in session, and Kio is surprised to see that Eris and Antonia have enrolled at his school. When the gang goes on a field trip to the beach, they soon find their fun interrupted by an enemy attack!
Episode 8 - We Had a Deal
Aoi challenges Manami to step up her training, so the girls head into the woods for a one-on-one war game. Little do they know, as each stalks the other through the forest, a hidden threat is taking aim at them both.
Episode 9 - The Grand First Assistroid?
After traveling through space for many years, Lawry, the first Assistroid ever created, visits Earth. Kio is taken back by her human-like appearance, and Eris explains the surprising history shared by the Catians and the Assistroids.
Episode 10 - We Came After You
The Christmas season is here and the Catians get caught up in the spirit of giving. Captain Kune arrives on Earth with a gift for Kio, but the festivities grind to a halt thanks to a well-executed Dogishuan attack!
Episode 11 - I Came Looking for You
The Catian mothership is plummeting toward Earth! With Captain Kune's bell in his possession, Kio takes command of the feline forces, and the gang races off to Russia to build a rocket and avert disaster!
Episode 12 - I Came to Find You
The gang rockets into orbit to prevent catastrophe! As a battle rages above Earth, Kio tries to shut down the plummeting mothership’s computer. When he learns that only a Catian can issue the order, he makes a surprising move!
Episode 13 - Come Drop By
Eris is interested in learning more about the games enjoyed on Earth, so the gang spends the day playing several different kinds. Manami raises the stakes by suggesting some serious prizes, some of which prove to be quite incriminating!
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