I love it when OPs do a good job selling you on the anime it’s presenting while also being a little misleading. In the case of A Place Further than the Universe, the OP presents a very charming montage of the four main characters training on the ship for the big adventure. Considering that it’s taken eight episodes for the ship to even sail, that montage really got me excited to see how that event actually plays out in the show. In the actual story, however, you see the girls getting seasick to the point that it looks like the freezing climate of Antarctica is the least of their concerns. I was little surprised that this was the route taken but I can’t deny that it was still a super fun ride. It’s not every day you see CGDCT anime present barfing and passing out as cute things to do but somehow, Yorimoi makes it work.
It takes a little bit for the suffering to kick in. The girls start their first day doing their usual thing — filming for the online show (Shirase is slowly overcoming her shyness…), helping the expedition crew around, and getting used to doing chores on their own. You even find out what the deal is with Mari’s hair. That was actually something I was wondering about but didn’t comment on because I thought it was just part of her character design. That the other three main characters had the exact same thought in their subconscious cracked me up.
At one point, the girls are encouraged to exercise while they’re on the ship so that they have good stamina by the time they make it to Antarctica. I’m kind of surprised that fitness was not something these girls considered. I mean, this is Antarctica we’re talking about. That has to be a physically daunting experience. It kind of amuses me that something like Love Live! acknowledges the need to be physically fit for a particular aspiration whereas the cast of Yorimoi is like “Crap, we really should train”.
I got to tip my hat to the people making this anime though. Watching these girls get tired and then sick from all the training was hilarious. Good grief, they look so ready to die. At first, it just seems like simple fatigue and the girls sort of make light of the situation. One time, Hinata pulls out a sharpie and draws on Yuzuki’s exhausted forehead for some fun comedy. Things do escalate however. First it was simple seasickness but gradually, you see the girls unable to stomach the food and just the idea of standing and sightseeing seems too much for them to handle. Towards the end, the ship encounters a nasty storm, causing it to rock constantly and making sleep yet another issue for the girls to deal with.
One really neat moment in this episode is seeing the girls lie down on the ground like they do in the OP and ED. I was actually a little surprised that this shot is incorporated into the canon of the story and I look forward to seeing it done when the girls are at Antarctica for real. That said, I couldn’t stop laughing seeing the four all sick and dead inside when they try the pose a second time. The grayer lighting and the lack of coordination are also neat touches.
I thought the girls’s conversation about choice at the end of the episode was a particularly profound moment in Yorimoi. I think Shirase is somewhat right in that she and the others have to trudge through this ordeal because they don’t have any other choice. They’re on the ship and on the way to Antarctica. There’s no point in complaining and jumping ship now (pun intended?). However, Mari’s retort that going through the ordeal is their choice also rings true. While they clearly underestimated some health hazards and there are some circumstances beyond their control, the fact of the matter is that they did choose to take this path. Inadvertently, what they’re going through at the moment is part of that choice.
There’s also a particularly great moment where the girls come to the conclusion that no matter what, they’ll tell their friends and family about how great the ship ride was. Something about that feels really believable to me. For a lot of us, some experiences, however awful they may be, tend to be remembered more fondly in retrospect. Me personally, I have a lot of memories where I make all sorts of mistakes but I do look back at them positively because I did learn a lot from those experiences.
If I had one nitpick to choose from this episode, it’d be the fact that these girls made such a miraculous recovery in the final minutes of the episode. Considering that they went out in a dangerous storm, getting hit by waves of presumably super cold water, I expected these girls to get hypothermia or something. Oh well, they’ve learned something of value this episode so I’ll let that slide. Antarctica is also at the horizon (finally) so if there’s any more health hazards to overcome, it’ll probably be over there.
Thanks for reading!