If there's one thing anime tends to never run out of, it's cat girls. From Moonphase and Soul Eater to Outlaw Star and even the old Sonic The Hedgehog movie there is always at least one cat girl character to bring about the fan service. In 2010 an anime series premiered by the name of Asobi ni Ikuyo: Bombshells from the Sky, which will be released by FUNimation this year under the title Cat Planet Cuties. Does it bring anything new to the "nekomimi" world, or is it just another shameful attempt to cash in on another harem boobfest?
Cat Planet Cuties follows a young man named Kakazu, who one day runs into a girl named Elis wearing cat ears and a tail. At first Kakazu thinks she's cosplaying, but soon he finds out that Elis is an alien from the planet Catian, and is on a mission to learn the ways of Earth for her planet. Meanwhile Kakazu's two close friends Aoi and Manabi have kept a secret from him: they both work for different areas of the government (Aoi with the Immigration Bureau of Japan, Manabi the CIA), and at first are ordered to capture Elis. However after careful consideration (and the fact that both Aoi and Manabi have crushes on Kakazu) the two decide to go against their factions and help Elis out with her ordeals.
Like most alien-based anime series, it is a give-in that the alien protagonist that has the spotlight shown on them will more or less be oblivious to the goings-on of their new areas, and will just about every time misinterpret just about everything imaginable. Elis is no exception to this rule, who takes clothing advice from the porn magazines Kakazu hides underneath his bed and has no understanding of common sense laws throughout Japan. Sometimes the humor works, but other times it seems to be fan-service for the sake of fan-service. One example of a hit-or-miss sequence comes from Aoi and Manabi trying to rescue one of Elis's robots (known as Assist-A-Roids) literally as soon as they get out of the shower, ending with Kakazu being beaten up for pointing out their lack of clothing outside. Perhaps you have to be in the right mood to watch it, but I found their expressions hilarious.
One big issue I have with the show is that all signs point to it being yet another harem anime. It's not that I don't like harem series (they're the reason why I got into anime comedy), but there's just so many uninspired ones that don't take the proper steps to be original. I'm not sure where Bombshells From The Sky will be taking its love square, but from what I've seen so far I can only expect a bit of blandness in the romance department. (So long as it doesn't end the same way Motto To-Love-Ru did, I'll be okay with just about any storyline twist.) I also noticed a drop in the visual quality of the series starting in Episode Six, though what I saw lasted just a couple seconds. The show's action sequences are pretty-well drawn, though, so you won't be disappointed when the guns come blazing and swords start clashing.
When I was told about Cat Planet Cuties, they had said to expect humor in the same vein as Excel Saga. Unfortunately that's not what I discovered here. Sure, the series has its funny moments, but it doesn't reach the insane levels that Nabeshin was able to climb up to. Nevertheless I will be curious to see how FUNimation dubs this series, and if they plan to make any changes in the dialogue area to make it funnier. For what it's worth, Bombshells From The Sky is pretty entertaining, but only to a point. It's nowhere near a letdown like most of the recent harem anime comedies, but I'm hoping that they up the ante a bit in the originality factors in later episodes (especially in the running gag department).
** ½ (out of five)
You can watch Cat Planet Cuties on Crunchyroll before it's released by FUNimation this year.