Okay, how many times have we seen a cute girl alien fall to Earth? Quite a few. How many times does said cute girl run into a relatively average guy after landing on earth and latch onto him? Most of them. How many times does the series proceed to become a fanservice-y harem show in which the alien girl and a handful of other alien and/or human girls all fight over said average guy? Again, most of the time. How many times does the show then proceed to become a sci fi and otaku reference gag comedy with lots of action scenes? …Not very often, but that’s what Asobi ni iku yo!, titled Cat Planet Cuties by FUNimation, does. This show is certainly one that will appeal to people who want ecchi fanservice and harem shows. With both busty women and those with more humble assets, both of the catgirl and ordinary human variety, and plenty of gratuitous camera angles of all of them, it’s kind of given. However, this show has more to it than that, surprisingly enough.
Eris, the adorable catgirl with “imported goods”, as some of the Japanese female characters put it, comes from the planet Earth. Yeah, kind of a funny coincidence, there; the cat aliens call their planet the same thing we do. As such, they changed it to Catia to avoid confusion. So correction; Eris, the adorable catgirl with “imported goods”, comes from the planet Catia. She is here on a mission of a friendly nature; survey the culture of the Earthlings, and potentially establish formal intergalactic relations with them should they be deemed suitable for it. Thing is, when she set out for Earth she kind of forgot to pack food. Luckily, she can apparently communicate with normal cats, because she runs into a cat named Aura who directs her to its family, telling her they’ll surely feed her.
Luckily for Eris, the cat’s tip-off is a good one. She finds herself treated to what appears to be something similar to a barbecue party on the beach, with lots of meat and lots of alcohol. Not that she should have been served alcohol, since she’s only 16, but whatever. This is when she meets Kio, the boy she ultimately ends up living with. His uncle was the host of that little barbecue party. Cue the awkward-around-girls embarrassed protagonist meeting cute chick with kitty ears, being awkward around her, and—surprise!—ultimately offering to let her stay at his house for a while. Okay, pretty predictable.
What isn’t predictable, though, is the actual first scene of that show. It isn’t that. It isn’t anything to do with Eris or Kio at all. It’s actually a scene of the female assassin known as Charmed Momiji carrying out a mission. This scene is essentially an action-packed gun battle, and actually a pretty good taste of what quite a bit of the series will ultimately be like. Charmed Momiji is actually Aoi Futaba, a cute and shy girl that’s known Kio for a while now. They’re classmates and they seem to have bonded over a shared love for sci fi movies.
Know who else loves sci fi movies? Maki Itokazu, one of Kio’s teachers. She’s just a side character, but she’s worth mentioning for one reason; she is part of one of the most hilarious factions in this story; the Beautiful Contact organization. As the series progresses, quite a few factions end up in various sorts of conflict. Charmed Momiji’s organization, the CIA via Manami Kinjou, Kio’s childhood friend who is busty, gun-crazed, and dreams of joining the CIA as a full fledged member and is in training with them when the series begins….and then the crazier ones. The Beautiful Contact organization is a terrorist group make up of…
Crazed sci fi nerds who don’t think Eris is a cool enough looking alien to be the first alien to make contact with the Earth and be officially acknowledged by world governments.
Yeah. They went there. And it is glorious.
Not to be outdone by the crazed sci fi nerds, however, is the religious cult known as The Underside of the Kitten’s Paw. This group, ran by a young girl multimillionaire with little else to do with her time, is basically your standard anime convention weeaboo amped up to 11. They worship kitty ears. As in, this is their religion. To them, the supreme being is someone with cat ears and a tail that are actual parts of their body and not just headbands and the like. So in other words, to them Eris is basically the coming of God to these people.
Yeah. Worst (best?) religious cult ever.
Finally, we have the actual antagonist of this series. Janes comes from the planet Dogishua. Care to guess what sort of animal-eared people live on this planet? Yup, totally not obvious at all. Nor is it obvious that the inhabitants of this planet have a bit of a rivalry with Catia. Apparently the Dogishuans have had a trading treaty with Earth for a while and feel threatened by the Catian advances, so Janes, Dogishua’s ambassador to Earth, tries to block Catia’s way to establishing relations with Earth by any means necessary. Unfortunately, she pretty quickly becomes a Team Rocket-esque figure. That is, until the final battle, but I won’t give further details, as that’s actually a very well done climax for the show.
As excellent as all of the showdowns between the factions who want to claim Eris for various reasons are, the show is still a harem. Eris, Aoi, and Manami all have their eye on Kio for some inexplicable reason. Sure, he’s kind of cute, but he’s not really the type that sexy women like these three would normally go for, despite being more interesting and less virginal than most harem protags (he even owns porn!). Though, as odd as their attraction to Kio seems, it does come off as sincere and sweet.
Speaking of the harem aspect of this show, one unusual thing about how the girls’ feelings are handled is that Manami has already given up on her chances with Kio. Instead of going for him, she decides to try to help Aoi, because apparently she’d rather anyone than Eris have him for some inexplicable reason. It’s interesting to see a character act like that in a harem title. It’s also interesting to see how Manami and Aoi’s friendship plays out. They didn’t seem to know each other prior to the encounter with Eris, but they bond rather well. Aoi teaches Manami how to properly handle guns, while Manami does her best to teach Aoi how to cook. In general they get to be very good friends despite their differences; Aoi is an introverted nerd at heart, whereas Manami is more boisterous and fairly “normal” aside from her fascination with firearms.
Honestly, all of the characters are enjoyable to me, including minor characters like the other Catians that show up to assist Eris, the lovely lady of the CIA known as Jack, Miss Itokazu, Sara, the eyepatch-wearing maid of The Underside of the Kitten’s Paw whose obsession with cute things is bordering on ridiculous, Kio’s eccentric uncle, and Jans of Dogishua herself. Although none of these characters get much screentime or development, they’re all enjoyable characters, and very few come off as basic archetypes. Even the ones that do, such as Melwin, the petite and rather kuudere-ish Catian, are still enjoyable additions to the cast in their own right.
All in all, I cannot recommend this show highly enough. Unless any fanservice or harem elements whatsoever kill a show for you, give Asobi ni iku yo! A try. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by what you find in it.