In 2047, an unknown, alien life-form descends upon the Earth, destroying all the major cities in one fell swoop. The survivors unite and build a Diffusor to stop the Februus, the invaders the military would later codename the FOS, and a temporary peace is achieved. Jump forward to 2053, the present. PLANZET: The final plan, Plan Zed, to retake Planet Earth. A last, desperate counterattack against the enemy. Hiroshi Akishima, soldier in the Planetary Defense Forces Alliance, would like nothing better than a shot at the aliens responsible for his father’s death six years ago. However, the new offensive requires the Diffusor to be dropped, leaving the entire planet terribly vulnerable once more. Thus begins Planzet, the battle for mankind’s fate. It’s very fast paced, almost to the point of being rushed, but overall it’s a really good sci-fi mecha movie complete with genocidal aliens.
The protagonist, Taishi Akejima, is dispatched in the alien territory, at which point the film becomes visually stunning. Watching this film, felt like Final Fantasy: Advent Children but with gundams! The story was very inventive and original, where the characters are likable and you come to feel for them in a way that you wouldn’t even begin to understand. I do praise the animation even though most production companies shy away from this type of animation. It’s all motion-capture, computer-generated stuff, the kind of animation that was shockingly awesome in, oh, about 1999. But considering how far we have come since that time, it was pretty pedestrian, yet very retro and awesome to see in the flesh. The story line reminded me a little of Independence day, but not so much that it didn’t seem like it’s own movie. At the start, we see a happy Akejima family. It’s the day of the invasion, and soon the day turns rather sour for the unsuspecting humans. Current weapons don’t work against this enemy, including nuclear weapons.
A key member of the Planzet team is digital matte painter Takumi Tanji who helped create the backdrop for the film’s story. Tanji has previously worked on several CoMix Wave CG productions such as director Makoto Shinkai’s The Place Promised In Our Early Days and the alternate history post-WWII love story 5 Centimeters Per Second. His credits also include the live action film Casshern. After knowing this bit of information it becomes clear the influences this film portrays. For me, this film marked Awazu as something unusual right from the outset, as the director took far more of an influence from the classic Toho kaiju films than from anything in the contemporary Japanese animation world.
Before I wrap up my recommendation, I will say the biggest problem I had was the Voice Actor’s lines which are synced with the mouth movements of the characters (perhaps due to the lack on emphasis on facial emotions); it gives a feel of awkwardness especially when the lines are much more enthusiastic than the characters themselves. Other than that animation is fluid and is that is expected considering you are watching an animated CG film. Even in the Western Culture, we see movies about this come up all the time. For example: Cowboys vs. Aliens and Battle of Los Angeles. Still, it brings a fresh enough approach to this genre for me to recommend. The music has a martial theme to it that is reflective of the heroic, post apocalypse struggle for survival, and in general it works well enough if not for the ending theme, Ryuuguu no Tsukai by Hajime Chitose. On the one hand it takes itself too seriously, but on the other it displays an almost criminal lack of passion.