Having just finished the special pre-screening of the movie together with @RyuuTamotsu, @Glenn_Irish, @Rabla and @Kluck, I figured I’d make a write-up of the whole structure of the movie. This post will definitely have spoilers of the movie, but if you’ve already listened to the drama CD and would like to have an idea as to what the movie is like, then feel free to read on. Otherwise, skip to the last paragraph to see my final verdict on the movie.
The movie starts with a view of the city in its heyday, with Yumemi giving her famous monologue in the background. This reminds me very much of the intro of the VN, and I was wondering when they would give homage to this scene. We are then transported years into the future, as we see an old man struggling in the middle of a blizzard, carrying a sled full of stuff, suddenly collapsing and slowly buried by the snow.
We then see the next day, where a group of women are looking for a group of children who seem to have snuck out during the day. They came from the ruins of what looks like a medieval-style church, with windmills in the background, definitely not a scene you would think was in Japan. These children they are looking for we all know as Levi, Job and Ruth. We see them hiding from the adults looking for them, but then stumbling on the body of the old man in the snow. They take him back to their underground shelter and, after discussing with their leader, Ezra, they realize that the man is the famous “man of the stars” who finally made his way to their underground colony.
After getting a glimpse of the daily life of the people in the colony; mostly women, everyone helping out maintain a crop of vegetables for sustenance, and people complaining about the man of the stars being too old to help populate the colony; we return to the three kids who are summoned by the man who reminisces about his past. I was taken aback most by an image of a prosthetic leg in the background before this happens, considering we all know what happened to his leg, back in planetarian.
This is when we are introduced to a flashback. I thought it would be a short one, but it ended up dragging on. As a person who watched every single episode of the net animation twice, I was starting to get pretty bored with it, unfortunately. There were some cool differences, like the shifting around of BGMs, and the lack of perception from Yumemi’s side, but all-in-all it was the same as the net animation. However, after the special screening finishes, we are suddenly transported to the world of the future.
The story continues with the man of the stars now giving the children their next task: building the planetarium. Much like the drama, CD, we see how Job and Levi build the planetarium, while the man teaches Ruth the inner workings of his planetarium device. We also, of course, hear them overhearing the worries of all of the other citizens in their colony. Worries that he is taking up their food without contributing back, and whatnot.
Once the work on the planetarium is done, he leads them inside their makeshift planetarium, and introduces them to the world of the stars. They leave enlightened with the stars, and spend the rest of the night talking about it, while the man is approached by Ezra once again. He tells her how he would like to bring them along and teach them the way of the stars. As a person who has heard the drama CD before, I know just how well telling his plan to Ezra ended up.
The next day, though, the kids one-up him and tell him that they want him to teach them the way of the stars. They say this as they exchange their treasure: a mysterious cross-like object. He accepts and, in exchange, takes off his waterproof case. This is where the story stops and we are brought back to the past, and the remaining story of planetarian. This is where my view of the flashbacks started to change. I started to feel as if I was reminiscing just like the junker. And as I saw the entire story of them going around the town, encountering the fiddler crab, and him finally saying goodbye to yumemi, I definitely felt this sort of bittersweet regret to it, rather than the despair I felt upon watching it for the first time.
The flashback ends, and he gives them his own treasure. Not all is well, though, as he is now confronted by the rest of the colony, and is told to leave once and for all. While the kids have a hard time accepting it, the man begrudgingly accepts. The kids go off to pray to their “goddess” and ask her to let the man stay, as they are approached by the man who gives his final farewells. However, he is taken aback upon seeing their goddess, who many of you who have seen the key visual of Jerusalem may be familiar with. He goes up to the goddess and touches her, and something reacts, as we see the cables, along with the cross-like pendant he received from the kids earlier, turn green. This is all suddenly stopped as he is suddenly brought down by a coughing fit and is rushed back to his bed.
As he lies on his deathbed, things get weird. We see the goddess suddenly moving and walking, towards the mans bed. He sees her as he gives his dying breath, and she kneels down in prayer in front of him. This shocked me the most because in the drama CD, I thought he was hallucinating about the entire thing. Well, no matter. We see the man slowly walk in a field of clouds, suddenly turned back into his young, junker self, opening a pair of steel doors (I thought they were supposed to be pearly gates?) all to see an image of the planetarium. Inside are all the staff, and all the visitors that Yumemi showed him, with Yumemi herself taking front and center, holding a bouquet of white flowers. This is when the emotion just hits you: God did not split heaven in two, and despite him failing to bring Yumemi back in his lifetime, we know that both of them are given solace in their next life.
Ezra returns shocked to see their goddess moving and kneeling in front of the man, and we are shown his burial later, as Job, Levi and Ruth commit themselves to spreading the word of the stars they learned from this man who taught them this twinkling that never fades. And the movie ends with the credits scene: Hoshi no Fune, as performed by Lia, plays as the credits roll, and a ship-like object, likely a satellite, remnants of the developed world, slowly drifts down the horizon of stars.
Final verdict: Hoshi no Hito was an amazing adaptation. It was able to get you totally engrossed into the events of the movie, and is made in such a way that the emotion strikes you exactly as the director intended. While I did not enjoy the first share of recaps, I do not think that they were, in any way, badly placed. I guess I just had a bit too much of planetarian in one go, that having it again soon after failed to entertain me, but I’m sure after I watch this movie again in a few years, I will appreciate every single second of it. Bravo david production, bravo Naokatsu Tsuda, and bravo the entire staff of the planetarian project. You done good.