First Impressions – Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

I have a soft spot for CGDCT shows and I also really enjoy anything set in the post-apocalypse. So put two and two together and Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou seemed right up my alley. My bet became an ever safer one when I read and enjoyed the first volume of the manga (and I’d probably be more optimistic depending on how later volumes fare). Simply put, I was very optimistic about this anime and after watching the premiere, it seems that what I liked about the manga has translated very well into the new medium.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou is set in a world ravaged by a cataclysmic war. Most of humanity is dead save for a few survivors, including our two main characters, Chito (“Chii”) and Yuuri (“Yuu”), who aimlessly wander the war-torn wasteland in their motorbike for supplies. On paper, it’s a really simple premise and in execution, the narrative really is that simplistic. It is effectively a slice of life story that just so happens to be set in the post-apocalypse. You have Chito and Yuuri scavenge for resources, the two get into some hijinks (usually caused by Yuuri), and the two continue their journey to who knows where. We do see snippets of the girls’ experience in the war though it does not appear to be the focal point of the story.

Where this anime appears to excel at is its atmosphere. While the cutesy way in which Chito and Yuuri are drawn will irk people who dislike moe, I find the character designs to work really well with the tone the creators of this show are going for. It’s an interesting contrast to how ravaged the world looks while complimenting how tranquil it is now that human conflict has long since passed. For example, in this episode, we see Chito and Yuuri scavenge for resources in a broken down plane, a somber sight that gets a lot more lighthearted when you see Yuuri try out a Gatling gun or jump on the plane’s propellers. Personally, I find that the moe look of the characters makes those moments feel a little less out of place in an otherwise grim setting.

From my understanding, Chito and Yuuri do run into some other survivors (I recall reading a chapter where they do) though it appears that the show largely centers around the girls’ chemistry with one another. That’s fine with me since I quite like how the two interact. There’s an effective contrast in how the two treat their survival with Yuuri far more savvy with a rifle and willing to exhaust lantern oil and food while Chito is more cautious and tries to divide resources evenly between the two. You particularly see this dynamic work to both dramatic and comedic effect when Chito tries to divide five Kit Kat bars rations equally between her and Yuuri but Yuuri points her gun at her just so that she can eat the fifth piece whole. For a second, I believed Yuuri meant serious business, especially when she taunts Chito for not arming herself, and while she ultimately was just hungry, the pay-off where Chito beats the ever living crap out of her friend for messing with her was really funny.

I’ll admit that reading the manga meant I was predisposed to like the premiere of this anime though given my own tastes, I think that I’d still like the episode without having read the manga. My only huge concern is perhaps how eventful this could be in a single cour. As much as I enjoyed the manga, I was surprised to find out that it currently has five volumes and is still ongoing. To be frank, this seems like a story that would work well in just a handful of chapters or episodes. I suppose I’ll have to find out what’s in store in the upcoming weeks.

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