Episode Reviews

[Highlights] Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho 10: What Defines Friendship?

I found this episode to be an interesting one for the question it poses (also because Yuzuki is best girl). How do you define friendship? I reflected a bit on the question below, but I’d love to know some of your opinions!

sora yori 10.1

  • Shirase is a little less than enthusiastic now that they’re finally in Antarctica. Still too shaken by everything? At least she has an instantaneous recovery upon seeing a penguin pass by. More on Shirase would probably be explored in the episodes remaining, but this episode will focus on best girl Yuzu.

sora yori 10.2

  • Yuzuki suddenly questions the four’s friendship after receiving a role in a drama and knowing that she won’t be able to hang out with them as much anymore! The anime pokes fun at her for being so insecure, but I think her insecurities aren’t that uncommon in friendships involving multiple people. In a friend group, it’s always hard to like each friend an equal amount, and it wouldn’t be common for someone to question whether they’re being left out. Interestingly, Yuzu is casted as the best friend of the heroine in a drama. She’ll be forced to neglect her true friends to pretend to be someone else’s friend. The struggles…
  • I like how this scene is framed. Yuzuki’s question feels more difficult to answer when each of the girls is standing apart from the other and does their own thing. I’m sure the tension wouldn’t be so prominent if they were all sitting together on the sofas.
sora yori 10.3
the truth is cruel
  • Mari’s look of shock when realizing that seagulls would actually eat chicken, despite the two both being birds. Too cute.
  • Why would they want to defrost something outdoors though? Even with the sun, I’m sure it’s still much warmer inside?
sora yori 10.4
Yuzu is jealous of Jesus
  • Yuzu feels the neglect. Hmm…her bitterness does make her kind of similar to Megumi. Yuzu’s a lot more timid though.

sora yori 10.5

  • Ahh…so much subtext. Just look at the finger pointing at Hinata and the knife representing Yuzuki behind her. The words on the poster: “If you touch it, you die”. Totally sounds like something Yuzuki would say, with her catchphrase being “I/you could just die right now”.
  • Yuzuki wants her friends to sign a friendship contract. She even went through the trouble of typing it out… It’s sad that as a child actress, this is the only way of making sure a promise is kept that she knows of. Her friends are amused (and a little hurt, in Mari’s case) by her lack of faith in them. I was a bit surprised that they reacted that way, because I didn’t think a contract was that terrible. Sure, it’s awfully formalized, but if you think about it, we live in a world where friendship bracelets/charms are exchanged and Snapchat streaks are a big deal for some. The need to validate friendships to some extent is almost inevitable.
sora yori 10.6
On the ambiguity of friendship
  • Shirase explains that friendship doesn’t need to abide by rigid rules, and is something inherently vague, which the other girls seem to agree on. I’ve never considered it that way, but I suppose it’s quite true. I dislike the idea of such nebulousness, but the girls seem fine with their awareness of it.
  • Yuzu cut her hair, didn’t she? Was it always this short? Hmm…maybe it’s just because she’s been wearing a ponytail for the past few episodes.
sora yori 10.7
Megumi is pretty cold, but that’s justifiable given what happened
  • Mari goes to comfort Yuzuki with her own thoughts on friendship. I don’t think I’ve seen Mari do anything significant in the group in a while, and it’s nice to see.
  • Mari is totally fine with the vagueness between her and Megumi. She interprets Megumi’s brief (and often absent) responses positively, demonstrating her trust in her childhood friend. But given what happened between them, Megumi’s lack of enthusiasm is probably not just because she’s sleeping or because she’s busy with school. Is it right to embrace this “vagueness” and give your friend unconditional love and trust? I admire people who are Maris, but I know that when I send a message that requires a response in a group chat and people read but don’t comment, I tend to feel a bit hurt.

sora yori 10.8

  • And Yuzu’s birthday gets celebrated! Lots of cake in this episode. It’s a pretty heart-warming moment (except for the fact that she sneezes on the cake).
sora yori 10.9
When you’re trying to be Japanese in Antarctica
  • I laughed at this. Seriously? It’s snack time, so they immediately sit down on the ground nicely. Just look at that guy with the serious expression. I really love this crew…There was also that moment when they had to repeat some sort of team cheer in the morning, coupled with movements. What a wholesome expedition team.

sora yori 10.10

  • Mari decides that friendship is defined by the adding of “ne” (right?) after a sentence. It suggests casualness, an invitation for the other to respond, and also a sense of uncertainty. In the end, even with this “definition” of friendship, friendship remains something that is ambiguous. This ambiguity makes mutual trust the most valuable thing between friends.

This episode got me reflecting on a lot of things. It’s all about embracing ambiguity and sharing trust, but does that really work in real life? I remember discussing the same question of “what constitutes a friendship?” a lot with my friends back in high school. My definition back then was that friendship happens when you bond with someone similar to yourself in personality, hobbies, or circumstances in life. The more your personalities/lives converge as you get to know each other, the stronger the friendship becomes. I have since recognized that such a definition is lacking, and perhaps inherently narcissistic. One of my friends, on the other hand, says that friendship is an exchange, where you gain something from someone and offer them something in return. With my obsession with the idea of equality being central to friendships, I suggested that the things being exchanged must be of equal value (no idea how that can be defined, now that I think about it), and my friend agreed. Yorimoi here is suggesting that friendship can be more…unconditional and arbitrary?

If you have your own thoughts on friendship or how Yorimoi depicts it, I’m dying to read your opinions in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “[Highlights] Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho 10: What Defines Friendship?

  1. I feel the same way, sometimes I feel left out of a conversation or I found out my friends has new friends. Or simply we don’t talk as much as we did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s simply natural, I think. And that’s why I question Yorimoi’s attitude towards friendship a bit, though the friendship that it seems to be quite the ideal.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a very simple policy when it comes to friendship. Since I don’t make friends easy, usually the ones that I do make are my family. And once your my family, your family for life. Even if we go through some godawful fights, etc. etc. Family is family. My policy for friendship is loyalty and trust. Aside from that, I believe being someone’s friend is a choice, very much like love and being in a romantic relationship. It’s the conscious decision that you make every single day to stand by that person through everything. You are choosing to listen to them, to be their support, to love them and all of their flaws, etc. etc. Whether they feel reciprocate the same kind of friendship to me doesn’t matter, it’s always what I can do for them and how to help their lives be better and more warm.

    Excellent post, by the way. Everything you mentioned is one of the core reasons as to why I’m enjoying the series so much, which is quite a surprise considering I was very sceptical when it first began.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment! I do agree that friendship can be quite a conscious investment. I gather that you don’t keep many acquaintances either? Because as someone who can relate to the attitude you described of how “you’re either my family or someone I don’t care enough about”, I easily feel drained when I have to deal with acquaintances – people who are neither true friends nor strangers.
      It’s interesting to consider these things. I’m glad you’re enjoying the series!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like their definition of friendship. It is a rather ambiguous thing.. I guess it’s kind of set on the terms you set out when you become friends (not loke we set rules or anything lol!) but I feel that the way people act with each other denotes their friendship and none are the same!!

    Liked by 1 person

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