By Steve Baltimore / September 20th, 2014
|Title||Planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~|
|Developer||VisualArt’s / Key|
|Release Date||September 12, 2014|
Planetarian is a visual novel from VisualArt’s/Key’s, who you probably know best for Clannad, Kanon, and Angel Beats. While we have seen many of the anime adaptions of these novels released here in the West, the actual visual novels themselves have been passed over, for the most part. Now, the Sekai Project has released this lesser known gem on Steam. Let’s see if this one can stand the test of quality set by this company.
The story is set in a future where mankind has torn itself apart. Only pockets of humans remain, fighting to survive against the automated military robots left behind after war. Chemical weapons have destroyed the atmosphere, and now a never ending toxic rain falls. An unnamed junker makes his way deep into one of the abandoned cities to find whatever loot he can, and he discovers a strange facility at the top of one of the buildings. As he ventures forward, he meets the young robot, Yumemi Hoshino, keeper of the Planetarian, who has been waiting to greet a new customer for 30 years. This time, the Junker may have discovered more than he could have ever possibly imagined.
This is how the tale of Planetarian begins, and the story is nothing short of amazing — exactly what I have come to expect from VisualArt’s/Key. I would love to describe to you just how deep and emotional this story is, but I simply cannot do so without spoiling things. If you’re not shedding tears by the end of the story, you should place your right hand on the left side of your chest to make sure you still have a heart.
The artwork is very nice, though there is not a lot of it to speak of. The environments are pretty detailed, especially when you add the descriptions in the story to go with the art. The only character artwork to be found here is that of Yumemi. I really love her design and the facial expressions they gave her. It really brings the story to life. There are some slight animations in some of the artwork, but nothing really stands out in them, and they are more for effect than anything else.
The music is simply amazing. There may be only a handful of tracks here, but they are all well placed within the story to get the maximum emotional impact. They are masters at this. I can hear “The Loving Depths” right now and begin to well up a bit. All of the characters’ lines are voiced in Japanese, and you can tell much care was given in the performances. There are sound effects and the rain falling and other ambient sounds to set the mood.
While this is not a very long Visual Novel — only around three hours read time — and there no choices to be made, that does not stop it from being fantastic. The writing is very well done, the music and sound create a perfect atmosphere to suck you into this world and this is one of the most deep and memorable stories you will ever read. Even if you have checked this out before via fan translation or on another platform, you will want to see the fantastic translation work done by Sekai Project. Of course, this may make the wait for Clannad even more unbearable. I have no issue recommending this one to anyone looking for a great Visual Novel. For its price of $9.99, the emotional depth and message of this story will stick with you long after you’re done reading. Sometimes, a robot can teach mankind more about themselves than they could ever learn on their own.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Key / Visual ArtsPlanetarian the reverie of a little planetsekai project