Planetarian: Hoshi no Hito (Man of the Stars, though the dubbed version translated the phrase as 'Stargazer') is a continuation/resolution of the five-part web series. In the final episode of Planetarian, Kuzuya promises the shattered robot Hoshino Yumemi a better life beyond the limits of Sarcophagus City and its defunct planetarium. Hoshino declines, knowing that a life of service to humans is the ideal 'heaven' for her species. Kuzuya takes Yumemi's memory card and moves forward, his dream now to share the splendors of the night sky to all who will hear him.
Tough job, seeing that the world population has shrunk to roughly the size of Madison, WI. And the struggle to survive draws attention away from the esoterica.
We meet Kuzuya as an old man, given no clues that it could be the junker of the series other than those blue eyes and the lanyard bearing the memory card. The decades have not been kind and Kuzuya is battling to drive his sled bearing a projection device and apparatuses through a driving snowstorm. He crumbles and is saved by three children of a colony in those icy reaches. He is treated for his exhaustion and is welcomed initially. But the man known as 'Hoshi no Hito' is deemed an idealistic dreamer with no social worth in a society where prospects of poor harvest in the hydroponic gardens and dwindling resources mark Kuzuya as an unnecessary consumer of necessities. Some of those resources are being used to help Kuzuya build a portable planetarium where he shows the children Job, Levi, and Ruth the beauty of the stars and the stories they bear. The kids are intent on carrying on the work of story-tellers of the night skies, which the adults would reject for more practical things in the quest to survive. A sudden relapse delays Kuzuya's banishment from the colony, but not before he catches the children praying to the town 'goddess,' a defunct robot who could easily power-up and assume the role of Hoshino ... should Kuzuya live long enough.
The 117-minute movie intertwines scenes from the series, retelling the story once more to demonstrate the relevance of Hoshino's mission, service to humanity in her intriguing lessons which she gave in the fifteen years when the planetarium thrives, before the cataclysm. Religious themes keep cropping up, as notions of heaven, a common destination of man and robot. J. M. Scriven's hymn-tune plays a part in the reenactments of the series, but it is not heard in the scenes of the ice-colony, as if it were to be banished as the Hoshi no Hito. But religion gets clumsy. The names of the colonists are definitely Old Testament names, but nomenclature is fouled up. Male names as Ezra, Isaiah, and Jeremiah are given to ladies, and one shaggy-haired boy is stuck being Ruth. Perhaps this is symbolic of the inconsistencies of a society driven solely by need and human value is measured unmercifully by how much one can contribute. But all scene of things earthly suddenly shift to heavenly visions of Hoshino in an ethereal planetarium flanked by her staff cohorts welcoming Kuzuya to the ideal place of peace.
Quiet, thoughtful, and seeking to see things beyond mere appearance (which could be exercises in the disheartening), the movie employs the same technique David Production used in Planetarian: Reverie of a Small Planet. The closing graphics that transcends beyond the cloud cover of the doomed planet to display the much-longed for stars and ... is that a UFO? Do they come in peace ... or to pick up the pieces? The closing theme is soft and lilting, echoing the hope that humanity had given up on.
It's the hope that works.