Planet With: Sealing Away Those Who Stray From The Path of Love

In a season where everyone was talking about Hero Academia and Attack on Titan, the actual best anime of the season goes unnoticed by many. Planet With is an anime written by none other than Mizukami Satoshi, the author who penned the legendary manga Hoshi no Samidare.  Anyone who was around back then will remember the countless threads and memes about how we will never get a Samidare anime. Finally, after all these years, we have gotten the closest thing to a Samidare anime. Mizukami is one of the best mangaka of our time, with his stories being full of amazing action, whacky but loveable characters, powerful messages, and what is sorely lacking the most in manga: satisfying endings. Planet With has all of that in anime form, and it has only made me wish even more for his works to get an anime.

Like all Mizukami works, the fight scenes make for great entertainment, but it’s really the message of the story that sets the plot apart from others. In the universe of Planet With, humans have been marked as a species which is evolving too quickly and heading down a path of destruction. Since they are unlikely to choose the path of love, Nebula wishes to seal humanity away in dreams of happiness. However, one person (cat) in Nebula wishes to watch over humanity peacefully with the optimism that they will choose the path of love. He partners with the sole survivor of Sirius, a planet which chose destruction over love, to protect the Earth and show the potential of love that humans have.

For a 1 cour anime, its plot is difficult to summarize succinctly, and I have left out a lot of important details. Even so, I think the major point is conveyed – Planet With is a story about choosing love and forgiveness over hate and destruction and the trials that come with it. It is difficult to believe in the potential for love of those who are filled with hate, and it is even more difficult to forgive those who performed acts of hatred and violence. At what point should you draw the line and stop people from acting out their evil desires? If a group of people is consistently producing violence, is it justified to punish the entire group, including those who have yet to commit any faults? Nebula believes in stopping a species from evolving if they show signs of danger. In contrast, the protagonists want to keep believing that humanity will choose the path of love.

Oops we did.

Planet With’s story applies to Christians in the way we could view ourselves. Christians are capable of so much good, but it would be foolish to ignore all the evils we have committed and continue to commit in the name of God. Recently, I have become more and more disappointed with “Christians.” It was not long ago that I argued the ones atheists always complain about were the small minority who gave Christians a bad name. You could find recent blog posts I wrote only a few years ago that said that. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear to me that such hateful Christians are far from a minority. Maybe the ones who need to be sealed away are Christians…is what crossed my mind as I watched certain characters in the story think the same of their own species. But Planet With is a story of hope, love, and forgiveness. Despite so many characters wanting to seal away humanity, they eventually come together and hope for a better future. Even so, you cannot forgive others without first acknowledging the sins they commit. Like my own self only a few years ago, it’s clear that one of the biggest problems with Christianity now is not only those who corrupt its name but also all of us who passively let those around us continue evil and immoral acts. Even some of the most loving, respectable Christians I know will only acknowledge the Pharisees of today in closed circles and call for prayer that they see the error of their ways. However, this has only served to make the problem fester and the corruption of Christianity from the inside has blossomed thanks to all of us who tried to downplay the problems. I, too, am part of the problem.

I think you mean Christians

Today, the Republican “party of Christian values,” supported by millions of conservative Christians, have come out defending pedophilia, Nazis, murderers, rapists, concentration camps, calling the media the enemy of the people, and other horrors that Christians should be directly against; or, basically what every fascist dictatorship looks like in both fiction and reality. After a lot of thinking and reading about how this insanity came about, I think the biggest problem has been because Christians so rarely speak out against each other.  In Planet With, Nebula is the organization of those who chose the path of love. Yet, when one of their own performs his own idea of justice, they banish him. Christians are called to judge not those outside the Church but those inside the Church so that we are not corrupted from the inside out. We have absolutely failed in that regard.

Even the most liberal pastors I respect speak of the changes in society’s culture and the spread of immorality as reasons why people are fleeing Christianity. I think it is clear that the biggest issue is not the immorality of today’s society but the immorality of today’s Christianity. Christians around me are quick to pray for fellow Christians that they might see why they are wrong, but they aren’t willing to speak out against them, even in today’s climate. So while there are large numbers who actively support neo-Nazis, violence, and racist hatred, there are millions more who passively support it by “avoiding politics” because they either won’t confront those who do or they don’t even realize it is happening. Even worse are the ones who verbally disagree with what’s happening then go on to vote for “Christian” Republicans who will *intentionally* make the situation even worse. The culture of staying away from politics has resulted in millions of Christians who simple wonder how things are so bad when this is exactly what all those critical atheists have been trying to warn us about for decades. What’s happening is not new; it has been festering for years and years and been conveniently ignored under the guise of politics. We have developed a culture that doesn’t discuss politics because it so easily brings out the worst in us. Yet isn’t it because we are so reluctant to witness the worst in others that things like racism, murders, and terrorism can be supported by people we otherwise thought to be good Christians? If the debate of forcibly removing children from parents and locking them up in cages is a political issue, then what isn’t political? We’re now at the point where Christian leadership is no longer just hypocritical, but many leaders are outright lying with messages of hate and fear, and effectively building cults rather than communities for the sake of power and money.

As recent news has revealed, Christian churches and leadership, among many other organizations, have been targeted for infiltration and manipulation for nefarious purposes over the last several decades in what is likely the most sophisticated and coordinated propaganda attack modern society has experienced (and continues to experience). Through extremely slow but methodical influences, Christianity has been corrupted from the inside. What might have started as affirming disgruntled Christians regarding illegal immigration can, over the course of 30+ years of constant lies and fear-mongering, become a justification for concentration camps and eventually genocide. And throughout this time, Christians such as me have done little other than saying that such people are a tiny minority. But this is not just a few people who don’t misunderstand a couple tenants of Christianity; this is a deliberate, malicious, and extremely successful attack on Christianity that has come to fruition, and nobody seems to be able to accept this. Of course, I’m just being a paranoid alarmist here; I’m sure those who warned German citizens about Nazis were just alarmists too. What pains me most is when so many of my Christian friends call it a spiritual problem and pray for it but do nothing else. Yes, there is a spiritual aspect, but it is by and large a physical problem that can be countered by real actions. Prayer is great, but it is also the easy way out rather than confronting those who continue to make the problem worse. After all, what good is faith without works?

With the advent of the internet and social media, there is so much propaganda fanning the flames of hate or at best, frustration at “both sides,” among us, without Christians ever recognizing that it is an intentional, human act to sow discord, hatred, and perhaps even worse, apathy and exhaustion.  Republicans of today only care for power and are manipulating the country with massive amounts of propaganda and blatant lies to maintain that power, with a particular reliance on the Christian communities to remain ignorant, fearful, and uneducated, or at least, uninvolved in politics. The calls for fear and hatred of immigrants and “others” is exactly what you would see in every fascist’s rise to power. It is now, when so many Christians view so much of the world as enemies, that the story of the Good Samaritan and who are neighbors are is most poignant. If Christians do not speak out now, when we currently have calls for white supremacy nationalism and stochastic terrorism from many of the Republican leaders, who are supported by millions of “Christians,” then when will we speak out against such evils? To every person who still does not acknowledge this truth yet: you are exactly how things like the Holocaust happen without anyone stopping it – a lot of propaganda and refusal to admit things are as bad as they are until it’s too late.

How to forgive the one who murdered your entire species?

To tie all of this back into my original point: large portions of Christianity are on a clear path of immorality due to corruption from the inside. We are so busy looking to non-believers and spreading the Gospel to those who have never heard it, that we have neglected nurturing those who claim they have heard it but are now misguided in ways that cannot be rectified easily. I no longer have any words to refute those who think Christianity should be sealed away and removed from society because for better or worse, I am finally being exposed to just how hateful, cruel, and numerous so-called “Christians” can be while invoking God’s name and the countless others who turn a blind eye to it. But Planet With is a story of love and forgiveness. Rather than choosing hatred and revenge, the characters choose to forgive; however, that does not mean a lack of punishment. While the big bad villain is forgiven, he is also properly punished, and it is through facing a punishment that lacks hatred that he finds peace. It is an optimistically hopeful end that I’m sure many feel is too unrealistic to happen in today’s environment. Nonetheless, I want to continue hoping and believing in the best that people and Christianity have to offer. As tempting as it might be to seal away Christianity from society’s culture, I hope that people will mete out just punishment and go no further and keep believing in the potential of Christianity’s intended values and its path of love. But even then, I have no choice but to admit such a dream will be a long and arduous path.

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Author: Kaze

Kaze is a graduate from the University of Tokyo who currently works on developing gene therapies for genetic diseases. He is a Nanatard since 2009 and mostly spends his time reading VNs and studying Japanese. Strangely enough, also a devout Christian.

3 thoughts on “Planet With: Sealing Away Those Who Stray From The Path of Love”

  1. Planet With, then. Just now I´m watching Planetes, which it´s getting better and better (you mentioned it in the Otaku Card post of BTT).

    About the actual content of the post, forgetting anime for a moment, I think our perspectives differ so greatly that I´m not sure if I should say anything, but I´ll try anyway. I´ll start by saying that I´m Spanish, and we had a great religious persecution against Catholics (mostly unknown, but according to my data the greatest religious persecution from the History until that point, in cruelty and number of victims) in the 30´s. I have actual martyrs among my relatives: we lost a third of our bishops and thousands of priests and laity in cruel and bizarre executions (such as burning they alive) both public and secret, carried often by their own neighbourghs of the Communist, Anarchist and other progressive parties, consented and sometimes aided by the Progressive government, which had downright imposed legal divorce, forbid Catholic education, expropiated the goods of the Church and even prohibited monastic life. History is always complex, but I hold no doubt about any of these points. What saved us from cultural and physical extermination was an uprising directed by part of the Army which after our Civil War, imposed a military and authoritarian (if arguabily not fully fascist) one-party State with censorship and propaganda which I would undoubtely support at that time, as my relatives did, and carried out a hard repression in the defeated, many of them went to exile.

    When democracy returned here in the 70´s (brought not by revolution, but by the same dictatorship, “from the law to the law”), at first there was a spirit of reconciliation and of forgetting the past, and we Christians, still a majority, complied. But as our number declined, we were blamed for the war, called fascists (“franquistas”) and subjected to massive propaganda which in addition blamed us of all the evils of the History of our country, and in general of being a evil force against progress while the persecutors (like General Durruti) are treated as tragic heroes. Things became difficult after that: it has reached a point where the casual interjections most of the Spanish use in their common talk are blasphemies, and Christian moral sexuality is the only taboo when speaking about sex. Yet, those who did and still do all of these things were often normal, even commited people who I can enjoy a talk with, and they suffered a lot too being the losing side, having to go to exile, suffering repression and injustices, and so. In this ideological age, they´re also often fanatics which will deny the executions no matter how much proof you show them (it´s been eighty years, we even have some survivors among us), or justify it in the grounds that the Church as a whole was opposing progress anyway, progress being for them the highest trascendent meaning of human life and culture. It bothers me a lot how quick are they to use a double standard, and how profoundly unjust they´re with us, but it somehow recalls me that prophecy under which the ones killing us will think they´re doing a service to God.

    Apart from the spiritual fruits, which I recognize that my atheist friends or compatriots cannot be expected to understand, the fact is that even if the field of progress, the majority of the hospitals, universities, encyclopaedias, monuments, popular traditions and feasts, initiatives for aiding those in need, as the poor and the prisioners, and schools of the country were erected by the Churchmen: in addition, they perfected the due proccess of Law, guarded the art and documents from the Romans and the Visigoths, conformed a Poland-like resistance against the Muslim invasion, protested against injustices and corrected many cruel customs of the past. They were never perfect, and we had a lot of civil wars and we had indeed some monsters and cruel customs on our own. But there´s nothing in the Inquisition, Reconquista, pogroms, participation in the invasion of South America or civil wars or even Church corruption even close to the persecution we suffered either in cruelty, injustice, totalitarian nature or number of victims. Even so, the intention of seal us away permanently in the name of progress is clear and patent, sometimes even express.

    This time maybe by educative and censoring means which in the view of the very same party which persecuted us (even with the same name), would cure us of our supposedly authoritatian, patriarchal, violent and ridiculous belief in a God who is a Father and bishops who are surely secret rapists and fascists, and sexists stories as the one of Adam and Eve, and forms of child abuse like teaching them a Catholic sexual education, telling them not to have sex until they are married and teaching them the existence of hell, and if not, they will at least recover the Cathedrals and monuments we have retained from the legacy of all the Spanish. The delay in these fields, they say, it´s somehow causing the death of women which are killed by their boyfriends and spouses, the suicide of homosexual people and a culture of omertà (this in a country were the biggest terrorist attack of our History remains unexplained, all the proofs erased by the major political parties). And these are the moderates: the radical party profanates our chapels with naked activists and sings “arderéis como en el 36”, you´ll burn like in 1936, in its parades, or steal consecrated Hosts to do an artistic insultant performance. I´m purposefully letting out more controversial topics, like abortion, divorce or euthanasia, which I think equally troubling. And they are not afraid of speaking out loud, we are. Because apart from some individual politics or bussinessmen, we´re a minority which no party wants to support since the supposedly right-wing party is as politically correct in these matters as all the rest. I don´t know if the media is an enemy of the people here, maybe, but I´m sure it´s an enemy of the Faith.

    I greatly fear a new Progressive persecution will happen in Spain before the end of my life: I´ve come to pray that I´ll simply do what I can, aid Spain and the Church to the top of my understanding and my abilities and be faithful to the end. So I´m a conservative against what I see as utopian and revolutionary parties, trying to reform the statu quo from the inside, even if my allies are often as wordly and corrupt as the enemy, when not in sincere error. I try to judge only the signs and not the people of either side, fellow Christians or not, and to keep a common ground when possible, to act passsionately and decisively but prudently and to recognize a good point of the enemy when I find it. The terrible thing is that persecutors and their descendants are not very different from us, and have a lot of good in them: I think you said a similar thing about Japanese persecutors. So I try to pray for everyone, specially my family, friends and fellow Christians of either side, recognizing we have a special bond, and I try to remember that I, an evil sinner rescued by Grace, I´m trying to save people just as sinful and evil as me as Christ would, and that´s my mission. I defend that destruction of the enemy is a extreme measure that can only be legitimately adopted by those who love the enemy, but love other people too and have to defend them, and only to the extent that is needed to carry on such defense. And that outside the limited realm of the Law, it´s unlikely there will ever be justice in this world.

    In my view, the thing is that there is no single group, party or Nation, wether Nazis, fascists, progressives or Communists, who we can seal away to seal away evil, because we´re so greatly corrupted, every one of us. That was why the magnificent LOGH ended un exasperating me: after deploying such a rich and complex tapestry of human stories, factions, characters and cultures, even boldly refusing to simplify the virtues and evils of some democracies or the virtues and evils of the autocratic States, it seems that the problems of History will be solved by making common cause (SPOILERS) against a blend of Emperor Palpatine and the Roman Church, entirely composed of oscurantist maniacs with creepy laughs and evil fanatic followers. Well, if only things were that easy. In real History, even the Nazis were conquered by selling half of Europe to the Soviets, which were their equivalents in every aspect and immediately proceed to rape every woman they could find in Poland and East Germany and stablish a complete depuration. The Allied militar support of Russia saved the suffering Jews, but had that effect too. I don´t know how I would act if confronted with such a choice. Things tend to happen like that. If our Progressive party disappeared for some reason, I´m sure another problem would arise, from the inside or the outside, just as dark and dramatic. Yet, in the Church we find the hope of a different world, which is beggining and bearing fruit in this one, even if broken and subjected to persecution: in the Gospel, the Apostles were wishing for revolution against Rome, political Messianism and maybe some rain of fire over the Samaritans: had they the means, that´s what they would have founded at first. And there was no revolution, but a different kind of kingdom and conquest which unlike the first, affects the eternal destiny of human beings.

    We´re in different countries and circumstances, and we have picked opposing factions of the political spectrum in a time of political strife throughout the world. I think we´re both convinced that our faith compels us to do so. Of course, I agree with you in that as citizens we are childs of two worlds, and have also to get involved with politics, denounce injustices and do what we can to make a better world while acting in our faith: as you point out, the absence of loving works would mean that our faith is dead. I absolutely think that not every faction is equivalent, but every faction is full of darkness and evil, and the results will vary greatly despite of our best intentions. Even so, I will add that whoever wins, we often won´t succeed, or we will, but our own corruption or the corruption of our allies will destroy our works, or maybe the enemy had a big point and we were mistaken. In this messy, bloody, dramatic battle, evil is everywhere, specially inside of us: that´s what I like the most about my favorite anime, Now and Then, Here and There. It manages to stay hopeful even when everything constantly falls down.

    This is the reason I love the warrior saints, like Dom Justo Takayama. When picking my faction and fight, I think of him, or of how a martyr of the I Century may fight for the Roman Empire and against the invading barbarians, not because I totally trust my allies, not because I believe in everything the Empire professes or represents (much the contrary, sometimes), not because I couldn´t suddenly be aiding the perpetrators of an Holocaust or some corrupt persecutors or pharisees, not because my own hands are clean, either as a son of the Church or as myself. It´s because as a child of both the human and the spiritual realm, I have to get involved and do what I think it´s the best thing to do, to the extent of my judgement, balancing good and bad things and trying to avoid self-deceiving when possible: I would go to the barbarian camp or rebel against the Empire on the same premises.

    So, at least I can promise you that I´ll always try to correct or oppose the errors of my allies to the fullest of my ability, try to love everyone, to practice justice, to decide daily that I´ll rather die or be defeated that renounce to my faith or do what I think it´s immoral, no matter how urgent things seem from the perspective of the world. If I´m supporting Diocletian or Hideyoshi and he turns an enemy of the faith, I will left him. I do not trust absolutely any human being, nor myself, but only God, the Bible and the Church which was born from it. And yet, I´m hopeful: we will have the means of doing what is asked of us in every particular time, and History is full of unexpected wonders, developments and possibilities until the end of times.

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    1. Oh boy, I knew I was risking some passionate replies but I wasn’t expecting this. Spain has such a rich and complex history, especially with Christianity, but I have to admit I know very little. You’ll have to forgive me that I will basically sidestep the majority of your very interesting and personal comment because I simply don’t have the education needed to provide a response. There’s also just way too much to unpack and I honestly don’t have the time to address it all. I feel bad because it is such an insightful comment. So I’m really just going to hone in on one point that I really wanted to address in my rant.

      People have all kinds of different political opinions. As you mention, we seem to have quite different opinions, and no doubt our personal histories have played large roles in that. Every side and organization has its dark side, its corruption, and its problems. But at least in America, there is one side which is so much more corrupt and evil than the others, and it is the one with the greatest Christian support. It is one thing to be wary of allowing immigrants into the country; it is another to call for their deaths. It is one thing to oppose a person’s opinion; it is another to celebrate when they are murdered in cold blood. These things happen in every country, in every time period, but what frustrates me the most is that “Christians” are the ones leading the charge of hatred in this country, and the only ones speaking out against them are atheists. I disagree politically with people all the time yet somehow it is always the Christian ones I disagree with most when they speak of how the poor should help themselves, the refugees should go back to where they came from, and the widowers deserve their fate.

      The path forward is a hard one, and oftentimes feels impossible when the entire internet has been drowned in propaganda. But I think if you really understand the core of the Gospel; if you are truly basing your life around love, mercy, and forgiveness of your allies AND your enemies, then we will be able to distinguish between those who are honestly trying and failing and those who are intentionally trying to manipulate us for their own gain. Those are the ones we need to fight against, not necessarily violently, but certainly more than silent prayers.

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      1. Don´t worry! You´re a Christian blogger that I admire, and I read your Dies Irae post a year ago: by all means, speak out about any sign of the anti-Gospel which you see among Christians, specially those more close to your heart, and never stop denouncing injustice. I know that you try to do it with both fire and love, like Our Lord did with the pharisees. This was not a rebuttal, much less the opening statement of a political debate, not even much of a reply. Yet, I thought something useful may come of explaining my (augustinian? apocaliptic?) political criteria against sealing away the evil ones, and maybe to give testimony of how I ended up at the other side of the culture wars, so our respective positions and paths in Christ are enriched. I think Luke, 12:58 refers to that sort of thing, in part. You also don´t have to answer or anything if you said what you had to said (I also tend to write a lot).

        I´ll start by saying that I consider immigration (with its undeniable inconvenients and dangers) as the only hope of survival for a Western Civilization dramatically declining in children. In this I follow Pope Francis, who I greatly admire, in his support of a great opening of the West to migrants. I think it´s legitimate for a State to close its borders in some situations, but I fully agree that the violent, hateful and fearful attitude you describe it´s absolutely evil and deserves to be fully and openly condemned. But as a Catholic (or as Francis himself) I also see abortion, to point a similar central concern of mine, as a massive ongoing holocaust carried on the silent innocent right now: I think of the blood and the grief and I just can´t stand it. I´m left without words when some Spanish Catholics are lukewarm about it nowadays, and it was one of the highlights of my life these years to hear that two new judges of the American Supreme Court would oppose it. And I´m not a priest who may denounce Jews and Romans without choosing a faction, but a layman that has a responsibility to get involved in politics and decide who to support in every fight.

        So when I judge if and how I will give my support to leaders, movements and factions, I do it mostly regardless of their personal moral character, as Our Lord doesn´t comment on the character of Tiberius Caesar in the Temple: for example, I think that the aereal city bombings in Germany and Japan in WWII are absolutely evil and unholy, outright murder of innocent civilians, and that the men who planned and executed, be them manipulative cynics, terrified people or honest fanatics, will have to respond of their victims before God. Were I an Allied soldier, I would have done everything in my power to stop them, including speaking out or maybe even sabotaging the planes, and I would prefer to die that to throw even one single bomb over the civilians of Berlin or Osaka, but I´d continue fighting for the Allies against the Nazis following the same officials, if that makes sense. Not neccesarily because I think that, say, Rommel is worst that Patton in the eyes of God, I don´t know that and it´s even beyond my reach. The Judgement of God will separate the wheat and the chaff. It´s just because I have a responsibility to defend those I can defend, and I think it´s better fulfilled if I do that.

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