With a name like that, Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place further than the Universe) sets out to be an escapist’s fantasy. And I think it accomplishes it in this episode.
Out of the 5 anime I chose to try out for the season (see 2018 Winter Anime I’ll Check Out), this was the one I least expected to enjoy. After all, there has only been small handful of cute girl shows that I’ve enjoyed in the past. I do find myself frequently saying this about cute girl shows these days though, so I’m starting to re-evaluate my tastes (slowly starting to embrace moe?).
Old but Classic: Wow, look at that episode ending with “watashi no seishun wa ugokidashita!” (my youth has sprung into motion). But this line was said with such wholesome vigour that I couldn’t help but be affected by it. Girls bonding over overlapping dreams–still a great slice-of-life set-up in 2018.
Inspiring: Naive girls believing in an impossibly big dream–you’d fear that the anime would take too long before allowing them to accomplish their goal or that their dream would get totally crushed at some point (which could still happen), but the OP shows you that all is well with its large amount of ship and penguin scenes. The first episode introduces a clear goal for our characters, so all that’s left is figuring out how to reach it. Interestingly, our hesitant protagonist abandons her hesitation to pursue the goal of going to Antarctica very early on. We’ll probably still see her hesitating now and then, but this is surely not a Madoka Magica type of a show where you have to muster a lot of patience and a strong heart before the final decision comes down.
Relatable: Not all of us are as hyper as Kimari, but many of us share her fears and dreams. Wanting to travel far away without a plan, to skip class just once…I remember both of those things being on my to-do list at one point. And no matter how confident you are, it’s only natural to have a bit of hesitation in you. Kudos to the people behind this for making Kimari more believable than a 100% genki girl.
Lovable: So much love between Mari and
Antarctica chan Shirase (it’s really hard for me to call her by her name when it never gets used in the episode)! I was really happy when I watched those two bond at such an impressive rate while the ED theme played. They’re a ditsy combo, drooling over bentos (Shirase almost splurging on one) and taking horrible photos of Mt. Fuji. I really like Megumi’s character too, and am kind of disappointed when I found out that she’s not a part of the main cast (noooo…take Megumi-chan to Antarctica too!!).
Okay art: I am not a huge fan of the white outlines around people all the time. It’s kind of unnatural, and makes them look like they’re made out of paper at a distance. Also, judging from what I see in the OP, I feel like our cute girls can use nicer costumes. Maybe what they have is more realistic if they are to survive in Antarctica, but this is anime, so why not let there be more colour (not that I’m finally more interested in cute girls)? That being said though, the realistic proportions of everyone is something I appreciate.
Mastery of timing: slice-of-life is all about the timing, especially when humour’s involved. What turns me off with enough of them is when things just drag on for unnecessarily long durations (like when 4komas get adapted into full-length episodes). Here we frequently get pauses long enough for me to notice, but none of them are ever awkward. We get to stare into Kimari’s room at this blue penguin for some 10 seconds long, but it was an interesting experience anticipating what’s to happen next while listening to Kimari make noises and wondering whether the penguin’s going to start to move (Mawaru Penguindrum?).
Interesting voice actress choices: I was surprised at how many seiyuus I know. And Kana Hanazawa as Shirase and not Mari? Is it just me who finds it weird that it’s not reversed (Inori Minase voiced Rem from Re:Zero and could probably do a great Shirase)? No complaints though – I think it worked out great like this.
That’s all on the show today, I might want to save other things to say for later, since I’m most likely following this show for the season. I’m really pumped for it!