To be honest, I almost felt embarassed when I first checked out a series that was called Cat Planet Cuties. I saw the trailer and my initial reaction was "Seriously? Cat Women?" As if the usual busty ecchi girls weren't sufficient, they had to add the cat ears and tails. But out of some sense of morbid curiousity, I checked out the first episode and was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed it. And I made it through the full series.
STORY - 7/10
It's difficult to accurately gauge a story that is so obviously tongue-in-cheek. Everything about Cat Planet Cuties seems like an effort to not take itself seriously, and so I think that a review has to take that into consideration. The story is silly and often makes no sense, but that's part of the show's charm - this is a series, after all, that is presenting alien races as cat-people and dog-people, and a pair of high school girls who masquerade as secret agents. It even goes so far as to have Eris proclaim that the cat-people once called their planet Earth, and themselves Earthlings, until they discovered our world and had to change the name of theirs to avoid confusion.
Lots of boobs, lots of guns, and lots of laughs are what you're going to get from this series. And if that provides you with any level of enjoyment, then the ludicrous story works. I honestly laughed more at this series than I have at most of the sitcoms that air on American TV these days. I thought that the humour was quite well done, and I found that the fanservice scenes often existed more as an attempt at humour than a real attempt to be sexy - almost as though the fanservice aspect itself was part of the tongue-in-cheek nature of the show.
The only problem that I had was that on a couple of occasions, the show tries to get all serious, and it really doesn't work. It feels out of place with the tone of the overall show. One episode explores the nature of the assistaroids, and how they once looked like real people only to cause people to have unpredictable (and often negative) reactions towards them - leading to their existence in the show's present as silly-looking little robot cats. This could be an extremely interesting theme to explore in a more serious show - but it just feels strange smacked in the middle of this particular show.
ANIMATION - 9/10
Another Funimation product, another slick and polished presentation. The series looks very nice aesthetically. The action scenes are well-animated (and there are lots of them).
There is a lot of fanservice in the show (which I consider to be part of the look/animation of the show). Normally this doesn't bother me at all, because in my experience it usually involves clearly-adult women (identified by their rather large breasts). But I always feel a little uncomfortable when they show characters who appear to be underage in such poses, or outright nudity. So I took a point off for the show making me feel creepy when certain characters were shown in fanservice scenes.
SOUND - 9/10
Another Funimation product, another slew of excellent voice actors (with the possible exception of the lead male). The female actors really brought it, adding another layer to their characters. The music fit really well with the various scenes, often adding to the silly tone, or pumping up the action sequences.
CHARACTERS - 7.5/10
The male lead of this series, Kio, is just plain boring. I know that it's common in harem-type shows for the male to be a little dim and not react to the affections of the various women who are interested in him. But this show takes it to a whole different level. I'm almost tempted to think that they went so over-the-top on purpose, but whatever the reasoning it was a bit of a turn-off.
The three female leads proved interesting enough, though. Eris, the cat-woman, was probably the least interesting of the three, but the writers at least made an effort to give her more depth than just being eye candy. They did an excellent job, however, with Aoi and Manami, and they were really the heart of the show. All of the little assistaroids were charming, as well, and Kio's goofy uncle always made me laugh when he popped up.
OVERALL - 7.5/10
If I was rating this series solely on whether it accomplishes what it sets out to, it would deserve a 10/10. If I was rating it against more serious, intellectual anime, it probably deserves a 5/10. So I just split the middle and give it a 7.5.
The bottom line is that this show is entertaining in it's tongue-in-cheek way, and it kept me wanting to watch the next episode. It was full of laughs and action, and it showed quite a bit of charm. If you enjoy (or can tolerate) fanservice, I would definitely recommend checking this one out.