Please Save My Earth
Review by C. J. Scott:
Please Save My Earth (PSME) is one of the first "shoujo" ("girl's") anime to make it to the United States. The genre is typified by melodramatically romantic plotlines and sensitive (if not downright weepy!) male characters. Neither of these is in short supply around this series.
Alice considers herself a normal, if somewhat introverted, schoolgirl. She is unhappy about her family's recent move to Tokyo, lonely in her freshman year at a new high school, and tormented by a bratty seven year-old neighbor.
Then one day she overhears two male classmates discussing a dream they have in common. They are scientists on the moon, watching over the Earth. One of the boys, it seems, is the other's female lover in their shared dream! (This sets up another common device in shoujo features-- hints of male homosexuality.) Alice finds the boys' explanation for their rather intimate conversation odd, but strangely sincere.
Later that night, she dreams she is a scientist living on the moon and watching over the Earth...
From here, the three begin to find others who share their startlingly realistic and detailed dreams. Personality traits from their nighttime alter-egos begin to manifest themselves in the light of day, and their dream-selves' passions, jealousies, and hidden agendas come to dominate their waking lives.
All this comes together to form a rich, if occasionally confusing, tapestry of past lives and loves that refuse to be forgotten. The characters are as well-rounded as could be expected, given the large cast and the three-hour running time, and we quickly come to care about what happens to them. The above-average animation, well-done English dubbing, and beautiful score with songs by Yoko Kanno (Macross Plus) all serve to complement the intriguing tale as it progresses.
And that's ultimately why Please Save My Earth is such a disappointment. After drawing us in so deeply, the narrative simply stops. No plotlines or relationships are resolved, and we are left with only the barest indication of how each of the characters' lives will continue. After checking with fans of the series, I discovered that the PSME video is considered to be a complement to the manga (comic) series rather than a free-standing narrative on its own. (Since the manga are not available in translated form, I have to wonder why Viz even bothered to release the videos.)
Although I concede that PSME is worthwhile and often entrancing in its present form, the lack of resolution makes for nothing but frustration in the end.
Parent's Guide Rating:
yellow (parental guidance advised)
Approach: Often spooky melodrama
Harsh Language: Some mild cursing.
Violence: A few punches are thrown, and the psychic abilities manifested by one character are used to throw a hail of stones. In a fairly sadistic scene, he also mentally causes another character's ribs to break. This same character also has a flashback to wartime in which some bloody corpses are glimpsed.
Sexual Themes: One male character's dream-self is the female lover of another. At one point the "female" protaganist throws himself on his "lover" and passionately kisses him. In addition, another character seems to have a rather "intense" emotional relationship with his older mentor, although it is all very subtle and the older man is also shown to have a romantic interest in a woman. In both these cases, the writers seem to want to "hint" at homosexuality, but at the same time leave themselves dramatic "outs" so that they can avoid anything too overt. In any case, this is a fairly minor part of PSME.
Suicide: One character so regrets the actions of his dream-self that he attempts suicide... or does he? Once again, the writers leave themselves an "out."
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