Before I get into the meat of this episode, I just want to offer my condolences to Mari’s dignity. Good grief, I thought her sunburn was just going to be a one-off joke but no, it stays on her face for the entirety of this episode. Points for continuity but man is that just cruel to keep her like that.
Anyway, this episode of Yorimoi sheds some light on Hinata’s former life as a high schooler. I originally bought the whole “I was smart enough to skip high school and couldn’t fit in a crowd anyway” story but I realize that things do make a lot more sense now. When I think about it, there’s something peculiar going on since Hinata is an awfully sociable and outgoing girl. Add onto the fact that her running is at the athletic level and you realize there might’ve been some telling hints early on. After watching this episode, it makes sense that she was so allured to Mari and Shirase’s bond and why she disliked being a week link during the passport fiasco. Her former friends screwed her over and did little to help her when rumors were spreading around. It may even explain why Hinata was so drawn to this expedition in the first place. Maybe she was bored to some degree but if you think about it, Antarctica would be the perfect place to escape from any troubles at home.
One thing I have to give Yorimoi credit is how naturally this all plays out. Considering the passport fiasco a few episodes ago, it makes sense that Hinata would keep an even bigger and more personal issue to herself. She certainly did a solid job masking that turmoil as Mari and Yuzuki don’t catch onto this as quickly as Shirase does. It makes sense that it’s Shirase who gets suspicious and concern. Not only has she developed a rapport with Hinata, she’s stubborn and abrasive enough that there was no way she was not going to look into things further. I was surprised to see her resort to invading Hinata’s privacy by reading some emails but in her defense, it was the only other option since her friend wouldn’t budge. At first, I was afraid that Hinata would lash out at Shirase but given her personality, it makes sense that she calms down and opens up to her friends.
The same kind of naturalism can also be found in the girls’ one to one conversation later in the episode. I was expecting Shirase to talk to great lengths about how she would help but I love that Hinata stops her from going any further. Not that Shirase isn’t ill-equipped to speak vehemently but her best material does tend to happen on impulse. We’ve seen how awful she is with a rehearsed script and in last episode, she even avoided taking part of the discussion to avoid saying the wrong things.
Still, Hinata stops Shirase not because she doesn’t want the help at all but rather to show her all the support she just needs. The whole hand against cheek thing is a little silly looking but it symbolizes what Hinata needs: the comforting warmth of friendship. She might not be in the mood for an intervention or speech but this gesture shows that she still wants the assistance and is appreciative of it. For someone who prefers making light of a situation and avoiding conflict, it’s nice to see Hinata open up like this and still allow Shirase to support her in some way.
The best scene in the episode comes at the very end where Shirase confronts Hinata’s classmates. It may not be the most eloquent speech but it really shows how Shirase can rise to the occasion and give a piece of her mind. Our other two main characters pitch in as well. I love that Mari steps in right when Shirase starts second guessing herself, providing the latter some courage and assuring her that what she’s doing is right. Yuzuki, meanwhile, gleefully holds Hinata back from interjecting the rant. I cracked up when she said “this is friendship!” but that line does ring true. Unlike those classmates, Shirase and Mari and standing their ground for Hinata’s sake.
Most noticeable about this scene is the fact that you don’t see how those classmates respond to Shirase. Surprisingly, the lack of their presence helps sells the point even more. Hinata has moved on; the very fact that she made three new friends and traveled with them makes that perfectly clear. She’s still uncomfortable about the past but she also wasn’t pining for an apology, let alone be in the mood to forgive. She’s done. Thus, it doesn’t matter how those classmates feel about Shirase’s response. Their involvement ends just as soon at it begins.
I really love the overall message this episode sends. The truth is that not every friendship you have in life will easily patch itself up. It may in fact be better to just let them go and move on. But as evident from the friends Hinata has now, moving on can mean that you get make new friends, friends who will stand with you and have your back no matter what.
Thanks for reading!
Watch A Place Further Than the Universe on Crunchyroll
Read My A Place Further Than the Universe Reviews