planet of the beast king

Categories: anime


I think I’m not alone when I say that I love Crest of the Stars. It’s a fantastic series built on the right mix of action, political intrigue, palattable relationships, and, of course, the human desire to survive. When done well, sci-fi anime is a stellar genre since it’s ability to depict the future is only limited by the animation budget and one’s own imagination. The key though isn’t flashy special effects or grandiose worlds– it’s storytelling.

Higurashi episode 7 preview?

Sci-fi started as a genre before Luke kissed his sister. It was borne out of the writings of people like Herbert, Heinlein, and Asimov… there weren’t any fancy special effects with books. Just solid storytelling that tickles and prods one’s own imagination. This is what good sci-fi does. And that’s exactly what Planet of the Beast King (Jyu-Oh-Sei) does.

Planet of the Beast King is set in a distant future where mankind has completely remade another solar system into copies of earth. Though with their spaceships and futuristic medicine, there’s a problem: while people on earth can live to 90, people living in this solar system can only live to about 20 unless they undergo “life expectancy extension” surgery thus allowing them to live to about 40 or so. Why? I have no idea, but I get the feeling the truth behind this is paramount to the plot.

Earth is a pipe dream to everyone but the super-super elite, and not even the twin sons of a distinguished scientist can go there… however, it’ll be a very boring story if there isn’t an upheaval to kick things off. Like in CotS, where poor Jinto had his homeworld conquered to kick things off… then in Now and Then; Here and There (a great, vastly underrated dystopic story), where poor Shu was tossed into another world, the bishounen twins Rai and Thor find their parents murdered by federal troops, and the two of them are exiled to Planet Chimera– a prison planet overrun by carniverous plants and humans who act like beasts to survive.

Here, on the planet, Rai and Thor learn that to truly survive, they must be ruthless and not value life or fear death. Unfortunately, Rai is the Danny Devito to Thor’s Ah-nauld, the Mion to Shion, the Hisui to Kohaku. Rai doesn’t last long, and recreates a “Mayu getting blown up” moment for poor Thor, who is finitely more mentally strong than Shinn. Afterwards, we’re introduced to the rest of the cast: the always evanescent Tiz, who has claimed Thor as her husband, and the enigmatic Third, who seems to have won Itsuki’s personality on eBay. We’re also introduced to the rules of their society: there’s four “rings” or gangs that rule the planet. One can theoretically conquer all four rings and become Jyu-Oh (Beast King) and thus have the right to ascend to Planet Hecate (Loved Planet Hecacte… though if they are going to name planets afters deities, where’s Planet Haruhi?) and escape this prison planet. That’s Thor’s only hope for leaving this world. There’s also a huge harem shortage as only 20% of the popular is female, which makes them invaluable.

Shana-class flatness…

We’re also given a glimpse into the planet itself, which seems to function as an important character. It’s a ruthless world where people don’t coexist with nature, they exist in spite of nature. The conditions are harsh, the quality of life is poor, and death is as common as Starbucks coffee. The plants all have their particularities, but one similarity is that they are ferocious in protect themselves, which leads Thor to wonder if the planets are more compassionate and human than the humans. It’s an odd world, and considering that the entire system was terraformed, I’m not sure why people who terraform a planet into Suiseiseki’s playground or waste an entire planet as a prison.

Still, with that basic backdrop, the series kicks into high gear very quickly. (11 episodes? And E7 gets 50? Feloniuous. Bones should know better.) There’s not a lot of narration that would slow the series down, instead events unfold quickly (as such is the nature of the fickle planet), and the characters are always in react mode. For example, while Thor didn’t have a lot of time to mourn his brother’s death, a very similar situation occurs where he could save himself by sacrifing Tiz. Later on, Thor gets pushed into situations by the events around him… it’s like he’s in constant fire-fighting mode putting out one crisis before marching onto the next.

Thor, besides being a Allen Schezar-class bishounen (even if he dresses like a Yoga instructor), is resolute, determined, slightly cocky, and resourceful. Basically, the exact opposite of Shinji Ikari. Compared to Jinto’s character in CotS, Thor is capable of backing up his words with King of Bandit Jing-style beatdowns. He’s not satisfied with just getting off the planet… he wants to get off the planet on his own terms. I’m glad that anime is finally wising up and giving us more male character archetypes… Kyon, Ginko, and Thor make up a good trimuvate to counter stereotypical harem male doormat loser. Tiz, while peppy and quite dedicated to her man, isn’t a Belldandy. And Third is, uh, Third. (Would I leave any of my harem members around Third? No. And I’d advise everyone else to do the same.)


There’s a lot of Planet of the Beast King that reminds me of sci-fi elements of years past (prepare for some major asides):

1. Chimera is the Green Arrakis. Both Arrakis and Chimera were incredibly harsh on their occupents, yet even on a green, lush world like Chimera, water is just as precious as it is on Dune. One of Dune’s unique abilities was that it created resiliant men… those who survived were the best of the best, and the Fremen were capable of taking down the Emperor’s l33t and harolded Saudakar, who were trained on the Emperor’s prison planet. Chimera seems to produce the same level of people that Dune produced. Also, there’s a amazing parallels with Dune in how Leto was killed, how Paul must become the leader of the Fremen, and so on. Fascinating for someone who spent counthours hours building Sonic Tanks, Devestators, and Deviators as a little kid.

2. Nausicca (and to a much, much lesser extent, Final Fantasty Crystal Chronicles). Both Chimera and Nausicca’s world reminds me of “living in spite of nature.” In Nausicca, nature openly rebelled against the humans. For Chimera, I’m not sure. (I’m also puzzled how planets developed into carnivores on this planet when there’s not an insect let alone animal to be seen. Wouldn’t they all die out due to food shortage if there’s only the occasional human to dine on? And couldn’t they just poison the plants, like what we do all the time in the good, old USA?)

3. Tales of the Jedi. In quite possibly one of the more unique Star Wars stories ever told, The Beast Wars of Onderon details Ulic Qel-Droma’s first assignment as a Jedi Knight (rather than padawan) to a planet that was overrun by a very vicious species of monster that fed on humans, thus causing the humanoid population to eract a huge defensive city to live in. Only the criminals and such were tossed outside of the city to be killed by the monsters, only that the criminals eventually found a way to tame the monster and use it to wage a never-ending civil war with the monolithic city. The Jedi were sent in to mediate the conflict, only to be used by the conflict. Fantastic story that is stuck in my head… considering that I read it 13 years ago. Anyway, Planet of the Beast King has a similar feel as Ulic’s story (Ulic even had his brother getting pwned, though he “survived”), and the political intrigue in both is just fascinating.

Men are potatoes

4. Margret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. (Am I the first anime blogger to talk about Sam Bowie and Margret Atwood? If I can toss in something about Steven Wozniak, wouldn’t it be the trifecta for “never saw it coming in an anime blog”? Still, I recommend this book to anyone who likes stuffy English literature and doesn’t own a y-chromosome.) In Handmaid’s Tale, women capable of childbearing are as rare as they are on Chimera, only they reside on the exact opposite spectrum of the totem pole. In PotBK, the women hold positions of power, choose whom they want to mate with, and they have a lot of political sway. In Handmaid, they have no power. They are sold and distributed and treated like objects. Wealthy men purchase them to have children, yet since these men are generally married, sex is very, VERY awkward since it becomes a ritualisitc chore. If Nina x Mr Wong is a 10 out of 10, this would be around an 8. Anyway, I tend to believe that if society were 80/20, it would go Atwood’s way rather than PotBK… remember CotS‘ prison planet debacle?

5. Abh. Whereas the Abh became master spacefarers, they improved on the human genetics to be superior in many ways to normal humans. They also have harems. Meanwhile, this dystopic feature seems to be going backwards.

6. Starship Troopers. Not the awesome Heinlein book, but the Denise Richards career sink that was the movie. Episode 3.

There’s still a lot of PotBK that I’m looking forward to… a few nuggets:

1. Thor and Tiz. It’ll either be Van and Merle or Yuji and Shana or Muad’Dib and Chani. I can’t wait to find out which. (Kyon and Haruhi looks like they’re heading for Kaorin and Kimura-sensei… with poor Kyon as Kaorin.)

2. “Life expectancy extension surgery” reeks of ZAFT, if you know what I mean.

3. Will it be different when they get to space? You know that they have to return to space sometime… it’s like Master Chief wallowing around on Earth before getting moved to yet another Halo. Or almost every Star Ocean game where the protagonist gets stranded on a backwards planet but eventually hops onto some interstellar cruiser before disc 2. You know Thor is going back to space to kicking ass when he gets there. Just a matter of time.

4. The Colin plot hole. Think about timing for a second. Then think of how Tiz would know of Colin if what he says is true. Unless he’s able to jump around in time like Dr. Who. (Since it’s been an enjoyable show, I’ll let it slide…)


Extremely satisfing series as a sci-fi fan. I think people who enjoy sci-fi, CotS, and good storytelling would take a liking to PotBK as well. There’s a lot of action, political intrigue, and this will to not survive, but survive on one’s own terms that makes PotBK very enjoyable.

(As a side note, notice that I don’t talk about stuff like animation quality and music and so on… good sci-fi transcends all of that. After all, good sci-fi started with books.)

(And a bonus side note, it’s nice to see a female blogger going ga-ga for Third. Makes me feel a bit better about my Mikuru-run fanboying. Though I am happy that Rai is dead and therefore excludes any possibility of Rai x Thor twincest. I think it also shows nicely how two very different people can approach the same show… Reika was definitely interested in different aspects of the series than I was.)

7 Responses to “planet of the beast king”

  1. Jyu-oh-sei(or as I would like to call it, Fabro Rowan) is Dune?

    Man, that’s like saying Haruhi is the Matrix.

  2. >>(Kyon and Haruhi looks like they’re heading for Kaorin and Kimura-sensei… with poor Kyon as Kaorin.)

    I literally ROFL’ed at that. Anyway, thanks for the info, I might just look into this. Good Sci-Fi is hard to come by these days.

  3. Ahhh! It’s Sardaukar, spell it right! Face it the Fremen only won because Shaddam IV was incompetent.

    >>Sci-fi started as a genre before Luke kissed his sister.

    With or without tongue?

    Good Sci-fi eh?

    “Sonic Tanks, Devestators, and Deviators as a little kid hmmm?” Played Dune you have. (Atredies, Harkonnen, or Ordos?)

    I might look into this once I get the eps off bittorent, Though you have mentioned quite a few venerable titles. I hope you aren’t leading us on and end up like the entire DUNE series cloned Duncan and all. (Fish Speakers what kind of stupid name is that?)

    My expectations have been raised considerably. It better not turn out as bad as Darth Vader’s “Nooo!”, Greedo shooting first, or Haruhi forbid “I can learn to love sand.”

    regarding reccomendations: Since you are still waiting for America to produce some good animation I finally marathoned Avatar: the Last Airbender. For a kid show its not that bad though there is a pronounced lack of blood but I like the faithful use of martial arts.

  4. As pleasant as Third is to the eye (mullet aside), he just doesn’t have the kind of costume options that Mikuru does. The only choices are I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-1982 tank and pants or the OP’s Soviet Soldier redux uniform. It’s hard out there for a fangirl. Also, the Kaorin/Kimura-sensei reference is priceless. I’m picturing Kyon square-dancing and sobbing while Haruhi ushers him around with a perverted gleam in her eye, and I’m loving it.

  5. I really tried to like that show because of it’s SciFi elements. But the main guy just totally ruins it for me. Can’t watch Thor. I hate his design, his voice, and his behaviour. Rai was even worse.

  6. Another good Scifi title this season is Zegapain. It is anothe rof the What is Reality type series. Remind sme of Interlude.

    Last season also had Noein. A very very good scifi series about time jumping and parallel universe.

  7. Yay~ I’m a girl who is highly enjoying Juousei and The Third. I’d love to go into detail, but I don’t have time to type a lot since I’m on my mother’s labtop. But I am always glad to see more people interested in Juousei.

    And I am happy that I have been so well watched in anime, at least, to understand the connections you’ve been making with characters.

    And it makes me extreamly happy to see Mion and Shion mentioned, even if barely. Higurashi has been my favorite this series since episode two aired.

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