006: Sora yori mo Tooi Basho
AKA: A Place Further Than The Universe
Aired: Winter 2018
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Slice of Life, Comedy, CGDCT
Date watched: Nov 29 2018 – Nov 30 2018
Series watched: Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (13 ep x 23 min)
Why I started watching: I watched this back to back with Yuru Camp, as the two of them aired together at the start of 2018, and people often mentioned the two of them together when talking about their AotY nominees.
While New Game! had drawn out a few tears from me, this was the first anime that actually made me weep profusely. All four main characters are broken in some way, each one having to learn the meaning of friendship in order to find redemption for their problems, but the latter two character arcs, Hinata’s and Shirase’s, were particularly strong. There’s a lot of things I cannot mention due to spoilers, but little events through the entire show eventually add up and culminate into a particularly famous scene near the end, during which I could do nothing but watch in rapt horror. It was such a powerful and unexpected way to resolve the show’s main arc.
I had issues with the pacing of the show, however, as it took them half the episodes before the girls even boarded the ship to Antarctica. It felt like several of the earlier episodes were wasted on events that distracted too much from the premise of the show, which is also why I believe the first that two character arcs are considered the weaker ones in the show. I would have preferred if they spent less time setting up for the trip, and more time both actually on the ship and on Antarctica, as the story felt a bit rushed in the latter half of the show, since it had to cover their journey there, the events that happened on land, and then the journey back home again. Still, it told a coherent and touching coming-of-age story in the end, with a nice mix of adventure/drama and slice of life.
Both the OP (The Girls Are Alright! by saya) and ED (Koko kara, Koko kara by Inori Minase/Kana Hanazawa/Yuka Iguchi/Saori Hayami) songs are catchy, presenting messages of hope and happiness toward the future as one prepares to leave on a journey. The end song definitely got tinged by sadness by the time the series ended, though. Both songs easily made it onto my music stash.
While this show was not my Anime of the Year, it seemed to appeal to a larger audience and even got nominated by the New York Times as one of the best International shows of 2018, deservedly transcending the anime niche into the larger world of entertainment, which not many anime series have ever done. I don’t think I would want a sequel, as I actually think it wrapped up the story very well and any more would ruin it, but I appreciated the gift that it gave me, the very first anime story that left me deeply moved.
Final Score: 9/10