It says a whole lot that I didn't even think I'd watch this before it aired, and now it's my favorite of the season so far, and I HEAVILY doubt it's going to lose that title.
This show, man. THIS SHOW.
Now, I wasn't even going to watch this simply because the summary was short and sounded like it wasn't going to be anything special. Before it got a better one, it was just 'Highschool Girls journey to antarctica' and I barely gave it a glance before clicking away. Then I found out it was animated by Madhouse, and that got my attention.
So I watched
the first episode, expectations low for everything but the animation quality, and holy...fuck.
This show is just pure love. It's Cute Girls Doing Cute Things, but on steroids with a fantastic story and realistic characters! Seriously, I love the CGDCT anime, but it almost feels like an insult to even compare this to that genre, because it's so much more.
The art is beautiful and the character designs are adorable while still managing to be realistic, just what I'd expect from Madhouse.
This series fills me with nostalgia for things I've never even done. It makes me empathize with things I don't relate to. It's absolutely amazing.
The characters are fantastic!! I absolutely adore the main four, and each of their backstories are believable and have just enough solemnness to make me emotionally invested in them. The comedy is on point, having me laugh aloud multiple times an episode, and the emotional impact never loses its punch.
Please, just give this anime a try. I promise you won't be disappointed. I have never once desired to visit the Arctic, nor do I have any interest in the place itself, and still, I am in love with this anime completely. I fully plan on writing a full review once it finishes, and I'm nearly certain it's going to get a full 10/10 from me.
It's done absolutely everything right so far. Great animation, amazing characters, fantastic soundtrack, and more. Man, if it keeps up this quality, I may have to put it on my favorites list.
If you're unsure of this would be your thing, just give it a try. I promise you'll be surprised!!!
EDIT: I finished it, and just as I predicted, it's a 10/10. Absolutely flawless.
I adored this anime to pieces. It knew what it was doing, and it set out to tell a somber, yet saccharine sweet story that never felt convoluted or like it didn't know where it wanted to go. It was utterly beautiful.
There is literally no best girl. THEY'RE ALL BEST GIRLS, MAN. THEY'RE ALL TOP TIER FANTASTIC, LOVABLE CHARACTERS.
(Also, this show never relies on fanservice, which I really admired. Nothing wrong with fanservice, but it would've taken from the story itself, and the anime never even came close to going in that direction. Just a bonus I felt like mentioning.)
This entire anime was a joy to see, and I'm so glad I gave it a chance. Good on ya, Madhouse.
If I had to pick a favorite moment....it'd probably be the end of episode 12, or the end of episode 7. No spoilers, of course, but if you've seen this show then you know exactly what I'm talking about. THE TEARS, DUDE.
The ost is perfect. Animation was really great. Characters are all absolutely divine. When I was watching, I never went, "Oh, why can't they speed this up?" Or "Ugh, this is boring." Not once. Every part of this story had me sucked in and I just wanted to see where it'd take these lovable goofs called characters.
Seriously, give it a chance. It probably won't be for everyone, and that's fine, but I found myself in love with this series from episode 1, and my adoration for it has only grown episode by episode. It's not only a 10/10 and my favorite from this season, it's one of my favorite anime of all time.
I could ramble about it all day (seriously, if you wanna talk about this show, you're welcome to talk to me about it. I'd love to rave about it with someone!) and this anime is one that I'm going to be rewatching multiple times, and fondly remembering for years to come.
Often called the springtime of one’s life, one’s days of adolescence are a time of many firsts: the first time you skip class without your parents knowing, the first time you go on a journey with no destination and maybe even your first love. It is during these days that the innocent and inexperienced bundles of insecurities that are teenagers finally break out of their shells and the small buds turn into full-fledged adults.
Or at least they should.
Unfortunately, such is not the case for the gung-ho goofball Mari: when she finds an old notebook filled with scribbles of her past self’s wishes for her high
school days, she can’t help but cry. She wanted to gain the most out of youth and have fun every day, but she did none of these things. Instead, she secluded herself in a shell and was satisfied with an uneventful everyday life; she recognizes that she’s been scared this whole time, and she decides to make a change.
Shortly after the fact, she makes acquaintance with Shirase, a girl seemingly obsessed with Antarctica. She is the polar opposite to Mari: hardworking, confident and passionate, but at the same time shy and seclusive. Working dozens of part-time jobs day in day out, she is trying to save money to fulfill her wish and follow in her late mother’s footsteps—to travel to Antarctica.
Both envying and admiring Shirase’s strength to follow her dreams even when faced with constant mockery by her classmates, Mari decides to join up with her, and thus their journey to Antarctica begins… with a rejection by the expedition group. However, the both of them aren’t giving up just yet: they try to persuade the expedition leaders time and time again, encountering Hinata, the social but secretive high school dropout, and Shiraishi, the sheltered, expedition trip-engaged quasi-idol who invites the protagonists as her first friends along the way.
Aboard the ship, their collective antics take center stage; whether as a variety of fun facial expressions, their rock–paper–scissors shtick or massacring each other with water guns in the bathtub (which, of course, my mother walked in on), they all manage to put a smile on one's face. However, the journey isn’t all fun and games: food needs to be prepared and their bodies strengthened.
Their way is filled with many adversities: an exhilarating chase around the block, skipping school to traverse nearly the whole country by train and losing their tickets for the plane. Everyone ridiculed and tormented their dream, but they never gave up. The moment they enter Antarctica is nothing short of magical. After enduring many daunting hardships, they release their pent-up frustration and resentment for their tormentors—because they did it.
That isn’t to say they were harmonious at all times. All of these girls are at a tender age during which one might not always make sense. They engage in conflict over silly things; they sob just as much as they snicker, but that’s completely fine. Adolescence marks a time during which one undergoes major changes and grows as a person; one is allowed to act irrational, to act out and to cry. They are allowed to hold larger-than-life speeches and hide things that should rather not be hidden—and they do. These characters fail on a constant basis, but all their falling-outs and mistakes help them grow as people and form even deeper bonds of genuine friendship. It is during these moments that their weaknesses and wounds take center stage: their held-back feelings are finally allowed to pour out in brilliant displays of audiovisual character-acting culminating in scenes that are utterly heartrending.
SoraYori is about adventure, the fun and hardships of youth, and the inexperienced growing and overcoming the hurdles life might hold. By successfully interweaving the dreams and ambitions of adolescence, it builds an exhilarating and touching experience reminiscent of one’s youthful years.
There is only 4 episodes of this anime out so far but it is already by far the best anime of the season, in my opinion. It's main strength is its strong characters, but it is incredibly good in all other aspects as well.
The story is centred around high school girls, which is nothing new, but it has a pretty unique twist that makes it a lot more interesting.
Visually it is outstanding. The art is beautiful and the animation is smooth and lively which suits the spirited characters.
The main characters are just a small group of high school girls, yet are the best part
about the whole show. All of the mains already have a decent amount of depth to them and there has been quite a bit of development only 4 episodes in. They are all realistic and believable characters, and are so endearing. There have been a few heartwarming wholesome friendship moments, which were nice. The character interactions have often been hilarious, which is helped by the great chemistry that the VAs seem to have with each other.
The voice acting is superb (although that's to be expected with names like KanaHana and Inori Minase) and makes for a very believable portrayal of high school girls, allowing for an immersive experience. The OP and ED are both good but nothing special. The soundtrack is very fitting to the mood and not often noticed, which is good.
To conclude, definitely at least give this show a chance, even if it doesn't seem like your thing, because it is incredibly good.
Journey. This one word has a heap of meanings behind its back. Why do we travel? The reasons range from being a collective success of mankind to discover a new plateau to just the sheer joy and curiosity that is obtained from setting foot in a new land. The air, the atmosphere, the scent... these things feel so different and anew and there is a kind of refreshment that you can only find in yourself after the exploration of an unknown place.
Sora yori mo Tooi Basho takes us on a journey to Antarctica, also promulgated by the show as a 'Place Farther than the Universe'.
The point of view that we get on this tour comes from a set a four high school girls; Shirase, Mari, Hinata & Yuzuki. We are introduced to our main characters one by one in the first half of the show and there is a slow yet stable development as we get to know the motives of why the girls want to head off on a journey to Antarctica. A major part of it comes from the resolve of Shirase, a seemingly uncoordinated girl who is firm on her resolve - to follow her mother's footsteps into the deserted (in this case, polar?), ice-cold and the shunned-off-of-earth place that is Antarctica. At this point, there are two routes that the show can take, either to dive deep into the apparatus of this kind of process and make it sort of a documentary sequence or just follow a "Follow your dream!" type of scenario where things just happen and as a result of some probe runs or what-not, we just have our four young, out of place girls that should be studying in their schools rather than going on a death mission to one of the most uninhabitable places in the world. But through Yuzuki, who is one of the girls and working as an idol, when assigned at first unwillingly, though, to partake in the journey, we find our characters all mingled up together on this adventure. And that necessarily isn't a bad thing, as the show is reliant at all times on the themes of a self-discovery and following your dreams. It is essentially a feel good character drama that encourages positivity, and probably a marketing stunt for the Icebreaker Shirase but let's be real here, Madhouse definitely pulls all the right cards on this one and gives enough material for the viewer to sit down and enjoy the adventure that ensues.
The cast is mostly all-female in this, most of the crew members on board and others which closely connect with the story are female including our four high school students taking the centre stage. While the show does not put emphasis on one single character, it takes the reasoning behind Shirase's motives and establishes the cast and story through the cheerful and bubbly personality of Mari, who desires to partake in a journey that is out of the extraordinary. The staff do an extremely good job at constantly fleshing out the characters and providing tidbits of their lives while the story keeps on progressing. What makes it exciting to sit through it however is how some of the strands are cleverly improvised and left incomplete for the viewer to fill in the pieces. It is also well paced and though it contains rehashing of previously used lines or scene, they act beneficiary to the where the show is progressing and thus offers a conclusive ending. As a whole, I feel this connects the show as a whole and makes it more engrossing, something that Madhouse were able to achieve than to follow a singular and boring path that I've seen several other SOL shows do.
Big eyes and bubbly faces, a recipe commonly used in lighthearted anime. However it has been put to good use with consistent animation and aesthetics that go down well with each other. The animation is fluid and refined that matches the mood of the show and the art synchronizes with the occasional gimmicky nature of the show. The character designs may be on the lazier side, but just a tad bit. However for an original show that is focused more on the concept rather than the intentions of the character themselves, I'd say Madhouse has been exceptional on the technical side of it. A highlighting mention of the art would be how often real life structures and places, such as the iconic Merlion Park in Singapore is displayed. The ship itself, Icebraker Shirase, looks strikingly similar to the real one. The lighting in the background is used to great effects and last but not least, the sight of aurora lights in the Antarctic is stunning to look at, even if it being in animation. The sound effects really complement the aesthetics too. The music is consistent throughout and the soundtracks have a minimalistic and soothing tone that really complements the positive nature of the show. The very same lines can be used for the opening, "The Girls Are Alright!" by saya. A cheerful and super lovely song that really captures the emotion of the show. Personally talking, it was easy for me to get into the opening song and it was among my favorites for the season during the beginning episodes. A big mention to the character voices too that have done an excellent job with the ending song as well. Personality wise, I think the voice actors did a fantastic job to portray the emotions and the nuances of their assigned characters. The delightfully complacent portrayal of Mari was iconic.
Sora yori mo Tooi Basho is a journey in itself. The underlying message to fully enjoy the youth is something that will resonate with many. If you are looking for a feel-good drama with many positives to take, this is definitely a show that's worth watching. My final take away from this would be that the legacy of studio Madhouse will continue if they produce original shows like this. And did I already mention that this is a promotional and marketing attempt as well? I'm sure success isn't far because the anime definitely is one. Madhouse are definitely yelling "In your face!" with this one. I'm looking at you here, Shirase.
This year—that is 2018, to warm up your Winter with an adventurous slice of life, Madhouse has brought close to you A Place Further Than The Universe.
Antarctica, a barren continent completely ruled over by frozen white. The only colors that paint over this vastest canvas on the planet are luminous electromagnetic lighting-effects, a phenomenon known as 'aurora'. To consume the visage of this awe-inspiring painting crafted by the largest known artists (Sun and Earth) using the smallest of tools (particles and atoms), or to experience the euphoric sensation of conquest, or to be overwhelmed by its scale, humans have always been attracted to this region
like moths drawn in towards light. From Japan, it's a place that's further than space; and that might be a source of thrill itself. However, the true joy in such grand adventures may lie in the small and simple steps in the journey.
Sora yori mo Tooi Basho takes the viewers to that journey from the very first step, starting with the hesitation of Tamaki Mari as she encounters the last chance to make her 'youth' memorable in a remarkable way. Joining Shirase Kobuchizawa on her wish to reach Antarctica, Tamaki has to go through a lot to manage their way into a group of first ever Japanese high-schoolers in an expedition team. On their way, their team grows double in size with two other central characters joining in. These encounters and the time they spend together are the core essence of SoraYori.
The anime handles and showcases these character interactions with utmost care but never backs down from pouring in all sorts of amusing ideas throughout its run-time. It's one of the most interesting anime that aired as of late with some parts like the chase scene in the second episode being some of the most interesting things anime has offered this year as of now. That pure fun occupies the spot for best appeal of the show, at least for me personally.
While 'fun' may make it sound like a lighthearted series, which it mostly is, this anime lacks in neither depth nor gravity. There's always more to every character than what meets the eyes, be it hidden secrets, buried regrets or subtle nuances of what's displayed. All of these seamlessly melt into the narrative that contains the consistent and diverse characterization of all involved characters. The flow of these humane factors result in powerful dramatic tension.
The dramatic moments may sometimes be a bit too sappy for some viewer's taste, but their strength lies in how pure and concise they are, with more than enough backdrop or subtle exposition to back them up. Despite not being tagged as a drama, SoraYori gifts us with some fine dramatic moments. Moments of melancholy, moments of joy, moments of heart-wrenching sadness, ecstasy, the balanced injection of raw emotions in this anime is totally worth calling 'beautiful'.
And Madhouse captures that beauty wholeheartedly through its visual finesse, coupled with sounds that blend into each and every scene in the series. Sublime performance by highly skilled voice actors draws out the personalities and feelings of the characters while the carefully crafted facial expressions and body language brings them to life. As such, we viewers genuinely feel as if we're embarking on this journey alongside these very real characters.
That's why the lessons they learn and the realization they come to hit home much harder than they normally would've. The anime that seemed like a tasty experience also ended up being a thematically profound work of art on its way.
Cold and comfy at the same time, this relatively short series of 13 episodes is sure to give you the chills even in summer and warmth in winter.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” -Saint Augustine.
A Place Further than the Universe review. Redux
Winter 18 anime season was honestly a pretty underwhelming season overall because unlike the Fall 17 anime season didn’t feature a lot of good shows that are not 2nd seasons or leftovers from the Fall 17 season. The problem that I have with this season is that almost all the new shows from that season is how it went for a style over substance as well heavily pandering to the meme community. Darling in the Franxx is the worst example of this
because not only in my opinion bad at storytelling it also allowed the memes and reference to older shows to take over the actual story to a point where you're literally only watching it for the memes instead of a story and characters. However out of all the anime from the Winter 18 season A Place Further than the Universe quietly became a big hit and unlike any other new show from this season, it was actually good. So good to a point where every other anime from winter 18 that is not a squeal or a leftover look mediocre by comparison.
Okay, there was Yuru Camp than again I have not seen that show however I heard great things about it from my friends and I will be checking that show someday.
Anyway, what made this show so special?
How did this show become so good that it single-handedly dominated the Winter 18 anime season?
You soon going to find out.
Hello, everyone, this is Shawn aka KurataLordStage and welcome to my review of Winter 18 anime A Place Further than the Universe and with that said let’s begin.
The story of A Place Further than the Universe follows a high school student name Mari Tamaki who want to make the most of her youth but she is afraid to do it. One day she encounters a girl named Shirase Kobuchizawa who has been saving up so she can travel to Antarctica to find her missing mother. Together with two other girls Hinata and Yuzuki they join an expedition headed towards the Antarctic.
The story was great.
Sure the story starts being a typical cute girl doing cute things type of show but as the show progresses the show becomes so much more to a point where it deviated from it cute girls doing cute things route where it became more complex. Add to the fact the pacing the show was brilliant throughout its own as well having great writing, worldbuiding and great themes exploration and got one hell of an amazing series.
One thing that I love about the show is how adventurous it is. Seriously every time you watch an episode of this show you always feel like your actually going on an adventure with the four main girls.
Overall the story for A Place Further Than The Universe was great. It is well told, had lovely writing, and the show respected the viewer from start to finish.
The characters in A Place Further than the Universe are fantastic. The main girls were very well written as well having complex backstories that were believable and well told to the viewer. The character interactions for the four main girls were outstanding as each girl of the have great interactions with each other plus the way the four main girls react to comedic and emotional moments were outstanding to a point where they actually felt like real high school girls.
I honestly have nothing more to say about the characters here since they are all awesome and well written in they own ways.
Honestly, do I really need to say it? It’s freaking Madhouse and they are known for making anime with amazing production and this show is no different.
The character designs were well drawn as being very adorable to look at look at on-screen.
The one thing that I adore about the anime is the visual directing, in fact, the visual directing is good it overwhelms the great writing of the story that is honestly very impressive. For example in the first couple of minutes of episode 1 the show establishes the main character Mari who is an adventurous girl even though she never went for an adventure herself in her whole life however as she finally decided to take the first step towards her adventure of we get some use existent swelling music, however, the train leaves the station and we see Mari standing there. If this was a regular anime the music would have ended here, however, the music kept playing which was the more emotionally effective choice. It doesn’t stop there in the couple of scenes we see Mari still being adventurous even though she can’t act it out. The next shot showcases Mari shoes being wet and that shot alone perfectly symbolize the real world the reality of leaving the school and going on this adventure was is actually more complex then she thought at first. There are more great symbolism and visuals in this but this was one of the best examples of this show amazing visual directing.
Overall visuals in A Place Further than the Universe is a masterpiece of art thanks to great directing and stunning visuals.
The soundtrack is honestly beautiful. It’s filled with life, adventure as well-being very emotional. Yoshiaki Fujisawa did a great job with the soundtrack adding more emotional impact to the series.
The opening theme Alright by Saya is a great opening theme that captures the adventurous tone of the series. It's also very catchy.
The ending theme Koko kara, Koko kara sung by the voice actors for the 4 main girls is an awesome ending theme that I adore to no end. Even more than the opening theme. .
As off now A Place Further than the Universe hasn’t got an English which is honestly sad because I really wanted Funimation to do a simuldub with this hidden gem but no we cannot always have nice things because Funimation rather simuldub a broken show like Hakyu Hoshin Engi.
Oh well least with got the Japanese audio which was amazing as every Seiyuu did a great job with the roles especially with the four main girls.
Overall the soundtrack is brilliant as well the OP/EDs and voice acting.
What an amazing emotional and fun ride this was.
This show was honestly a blessing to the winter 18 anime season from mediocrity hell.
The story was amazing filled with great writing, world-building, themes, and pacing. The characters were wonderful and developed, the visuals were brilliant, and the soundtrack and voice acting were great.
I honestly never expected this show to dominate the whole winter 18 season and am glad it did because the show is a perfect example how to make a good modern anime.
I hope this show gets an English dub someday as well getting licensed by an anime distribution company so we can get a Blu-Ray release for this hidden gem show.
If you want to watch a great slice of life/adventure show then I strongly recommend checking out A Place Further than the Universe.
You won't regret it.
Final score 10/10
It’s 2018 and slice of life series still tends to be overlooked these days when compared to bigger and more hyped titles by more famed studios. Series like Mitsuboshi Colors, Hakumei to Mikochi, and Sanrio Danshi probably slipped right past people’s radars. As one of the first series to debut this year, Sora yi no Toori Bashio (A Place Further than Universe) had to set the bar high. To my surprise and great pleasure, this show went right over the bar and became a beautiful coming age of story to tell.
Announced from Anime Expo 2017, this original anime is about a journey. It’s a journey
of discovery and taking personal stakes with them. I’m honestly impressed by how such a simple show can be so inspirational and realistic. The essence of this show comes not from the destination but the journey. It’s a show with a strong circle of characters of diverse personalities that I can’t help but fall in love with by the time the show ended.
To make this clear, this series isn’t just about cute girls doing cute things. It may look like it on paper but it’s much more than that. The lighthearted drama combined with the realism makes this show stand out through its themes. From the beginning, we meet the core characters with their own personalities. We also realize their own personal motivations for going to Antarctica. The main attraction for this show is the characterization as we learn so much about the cast. The way the creators made these characters are really worth investing time. That’s no understatement as we meet Shirase Kobuchizawa. As a senior high school student, she isn’t very talkative but has a strong mind to make her goal come true: find her mother. Believing her to be alive, it’s her main motivation to making the trip. To me, Shirase is a complex character who isn’t easy to make friends with. Throughout the show, she does open up to others but not before they understand her to a personal level. One of the person she connects closest with is Mari Tamaki, a girl with a curiosity about the world. My impression of Mari is that she is very normal and someone just about anyone can get along with. Plus, Mari is a relatable character in that she like to help others. This leads her to join the trip to Antarctica along with Hinata Miyake and Yuzuki Shirashi. Compared to Mari, Hinata is similar to her in personality with a dream of ace her college exams. On the other hand, Yuzuki is a girl who keeps her head cool and similar to Shirase, she isn’t easy to make friends with. However, the show develops her character as she changes and realizes the value of friendship. All of these characters join together and discover so much about each other. The show values each of these characters without favoring any particular one. Background stories are meaningful, personalities are believable, and these characters are all honestly very relatable. For me, that’s a fantastic way of getting viewers hooked.
While the storytelling may not be as strong as its character cast, it’s definitely not one to overlook either. Some people will call out the series on its pacing issues and I tend to somewhat agree. It takes a while for the characters to actual reach Antarctica. However, this series is one of those examples of ‘the journey is more important than the destination’. Tourism is important too as the characters will discover new things in their life. If you really have a problem with the pacing, then it’s best to turn back. The series rewards viewers for patience and it’s one that I can’t help but emphasize. Also, be aware that there’s drama in the story. While the series is very lighthearted, some episodes does involve the character cast get into arguments with their own personal reasons. Shirase and Yuzuki are the culprits of drama so expect them to add moments that can leave a different impression for different viewers. That being said, I don’t think it’s a drawback of the show at all. It adds more flavor to the series and honesty makes the overall show flow better.
Madhouse making a slice of life adventure? This hit me in the head like a dodgeball intended for someone else. Thankfully, the studio is able to impress with their effort through realism. Characters look real without any ridiculous characteristics and fits very well for each of their personalities. Their expressions are also meaningful depending on the situation whether it’s part of a dramatic angle, humorous segment, or emotional moment. However, the main selling factor of the visual quality is the outdoor sceneries. It’s both simple and complex. The different places these girls visit are real life locations and incredibly accurate. The visual quality itself also looks impactful especially with the case of Antarctica. The icy lands looks like a painting when watching this show and made me appreciate it that much more.
For a good character cast, a good voice casting crew is a must. This show accomplishes that with excellency and I never doubted them from the start. During emotional angles, characters are able to express their emotions that amplifies their personalities. Some of these moments are extremely memorable once you get invested into the characters. The theme songs are also underrated as it’s lighthearted but also beautifully made.
Taking a trip to Antarctica sounds like a life experience and for these girls, it became a journey of personal discovery. While it may not be a show to remember for its storytelling, it’s definitely one to take at heart once you fall in love with the characters. That’s not hard once you understand them and I am god damn grateful the show is made that way.
Banana’s as hammers, deadly bonding exercises, and enough tears to melt the polar icecaps, A Place Further Than the Universe has a lot to say. A girl’s trip across the globe to come to terms with a dead family member to lighthearted banter in a tent as the wind whips against the fabric. Smiles that drip emotion, and the concept of having friends. The reaction of leaving a friend behind, and the feeling of melancholy as you stare into the night sky. If life’s a bitch, you better do what you can to woo her.
Universe is a series about friendship. The writers make that
clear almost immediately and that bus does not stop rolling until the credits do. Every episode focuses specifically on different kinds of relate-able problems a group of newly bonded people may go through. From clashing personalities to tepidness to forcing one another to evolve in some way. It is a friendship of good, as Aristotle would say. The friendships that bloom here are oriented around each person bringing out the best qualities from one another as well as teaching each other new ways of being good people. This stems from equal ethical grounds.
If you know anything about my reviews then you would probably know that stories about friendships are incredible near and dear to me. I relate to them more than just about any other narrative archetype, and thankfully this show does it very well, even if it does hit a few icebergs along the way. There are endearing characters mixed in with some genuinely subtle developments that occasionally get lapsed by hammy insert songs that do nothing but detract from the overall emotions that are trying to be presented. While subtlety in character expression is in spades, there is virtually no subtlety to be had in character emotion. Specifically, characters introducing their emotions to people. Tears flow like angry waves crashing against the shores of unsuspecting viewers. You either buy it or you don’t. Or, like me, you are in an awkward place in the middle fidgeting uncomfortably as one scene lasts just slightly long enough to become something I would call saccharine and melodramatic. Universe doesn’t hold back, and when the writers rev up the emotional ballistae get ready for the armoured defences of your heart to either crumble like sandcastles, or, in some cases, become calcified from the constant barrage.
What can I say? It’s good. Actually, scratch that, it’s pretty damn great. Specifically, the animation. I was never a huge Madhouse fan as I felt like they lack a cohesive style I can attach myself to, but man-o-man are there moments here of solid presentation that stick with you. The animation is solid throughout with a distinct style that I slowly fell in love with as the series progressed. Now I wouldn’t call the directing exceptional, I will, however, call it solid. Atsuko Ishuzika gets two big thumbs up from me, especially since she as responsible for No Game No Life which I, well, hated. She rebounded like a warmed-up squash ball and hit me right in the pecker with some imaginative sequences that brought new life to my cynical, shrivelled soul.
Now don’t expect shot composition that you haven’t seen before because this anime is very much like the other dramas that you’ll see in that regard. We get the usual flair of profile shots with tears rolling down cheeks and the classic oh-so-lovely low-angles that these kinds of series seem to latch onto like a baby to a tit. While those dramatic elements aren’t shining, the editing for comedy does. To my surprise, this series is quite funny and not in the endearing “oh it’s cute” kind of funny, but rather the hearty belly-laugh-on-occasion kind of funny. That can be chocked up to solid animation, editing, and a clear care for comedic timing that is just impossible to find in some anime.
There is quite a bit of CG work here and I will gladly say that it isn’t bad at all. Some of the ship shots are pretty great and give me an immediate Titanic vibe. The cars can look a bit synthetic but thankfully they aren’t prevalent throughout the majority of the series. Some of the shots looking over the landscape look spectacular as well, and there is a very interesting realism to the close-up shots on objects.
The music is no slouch, either. It’s far from that lanky kid that wants so badly to play dodgeball with you but ends up getting his ribs shattered by a good throw from Rex, the muscular kid failing Algebra. The opening, which is animated spectacularly, also features a decent pop track, although I can’t help but feel as though it blends in with the other anime songs of its ilk. The background tracks during this series are strong, though. Universe seems to really love its insert songs because these few tracks are almost played on repeat from episode to episode, but more on that later. Overall, the music here is solid, especially the catchy ED which I found myself watching constantly because the series can’t help but include a post credit scene.
[Story, Characters, and Cute Girls Doing Surprisingly Serious Things]
Want a way to get your stomach pumped? Take a few bottles of Smirnoff, grab a shot class, plop down at your desk and begin scrolling through the reviews of this series. For every sentence that reads vaguely like “I’m not usually a fan of Slice of Life/Cute girls doing cute things shows but…” take a shot. Don’t blame me if you can’t stand up after a few minutes.
A Place Further Than the Universe isn’t a slice of life show. More importantly, it’d be hard to even call it a “Cute girls doing cute things” … show. Which is a dumb label to begin with, but so be it. This is because it is very clearly a drama. These aren’t girls doing cute things. Well, sometimes they are, but the majority of the series we get a stream of drama mixed in with growing relationships which results in endearing character dialogue. Almost every single scene within this series is focused on building up conflict and eventually resolving that conflict. Even the scenes that feel somewhat pointless and only there to either be comedic or just cute, these cuts often end up becoming useful to understanding the characters. That’s kind of why the CGDCT label is so stupid. A good series knows how to implement every scene well enough that it grows your attachment to the characters involved and ultimately doesn’t just come off as a cynical cash grab to lonely boys who want to feel attached to cutesy female archetypes.
Let me break it down, though. Kimari, our protagonist, is a peppy girl who regrets not really doing anything with her life. Especially as she begins rounding out her years in high school. She wants to do something memorable. By crazy circumstance, she runs into Shirase, a taller, emotional, yet reserved girl who is saving money to go to the Antarctic because that is where her mother died three years ago. She clearly has some unresolved issues regarding her mother’s passing and I think that it is handled with care, nuance, and beyond all else, realism. Then we begin running into the other two girls that join them. The utterly impossible-not-to-love Hinata, who is energetic, short, and not attending school. For reasons I won’t spoil, she gets the most subtle and well-delivered arc in the series. Lastly, we have their “in” for Antarctica, Yuzuki, who is a child actress that has an unfortunately rigorous schedule preventing her from making friends or acclimating to high school life.
Through these circumstances they band together and decide to go to Antarctica. Every character’s motivation is exposited within the first four episodes. We understand why they are doing what they are doing. From then on, we get very specific looks at each character’s experiences. Not only on the trip, but on their journey as people. We learn more about those motivations and what drives them. This is good, blunt, and focused characterization that I don’t get to see enough of in anime. As I said, Hinata specifically gets an incredible subtle arc that culminates in immense satisfaction due to the subtlety of its introduction early on in the series. Universe is presented through the eyes of Kimari, however, she is not the main protagonist. That honor goes to Shirase, which is understandable since her arc is not only the most emotionally resonant as a concept, but it is ultimately why they are going to the Antarctic of all places.
There is also some clever subversion with archetypes going on within the series as well. The generic “cutesy” girl, Yuzuki, almost instantly reveals her hatred that kind of aesthetic. The reserved one has explosive emotions and attachments. The overly-excitable one, Hinata, is actually the wisest and, hilariously, dishes out some of the most memorable quotes in the entire series.
The first aspect you’ll notice, I think, about the characters is that the voice acting here is spectacular. It took me a bit to realize just how decked the voice cast is and this show uses them so well. Every voice actress seems attached to her role and it creates for engaging performances. This continues to the secondary’s that they meet along the way, especially Shirase’s mother’s friends who become big players later on in the series. Gin, the deceased mother’s best friend, is a highlight and her arc is not only devastating to people who have lost dear friends, but her subdued performance is a perfect contrast to the occasionally childish emotions experienced by the main four girls.
Universe, as I’ve mentioned, really loves its insert songs. This is where we run into the biggest issue with the series and something I could easily see turning people off. Every episode ends on an emotional stinger. Every. Episode. That means that even when it can feel somewhat unnecessary, we get blaring Japanese vocals shoved down our throats like hotdogs at a state fair. We gluttonously devour these inserts, whether we want to or not. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who felt consistently turned off by just how cloying a lot of these moments felt and when the series actually did build up to a bombastic emotional eruption, my receptors, if you will, were already dulled from the previous episodes where those moments didn’t feel earned or even necessary.
We go from a scene of them running around and seeing waves getting this huge, saccharine insert song to that same damn song being used for a truly powerful stinger at the end of, let’s say, episode twelve which will leave many unprepared viewers utterly bawling their eyes out. I don’t get why they chose to do this. These emotional stingers need to be used sparingly. Not every episode. The writers seemed to have prioritized quantity over quality when it comes to emotional moments and it occasionally makes for a numbing experience when you watch these girls start crying in each other’s arms over the most random, senseless shit. I get that they are young and emotional, but damn, relax.
This show has some pulpy elements because of this infatuation with the saccharine. You either like it or you don’t. I could usually sit through these moments because I developed a frightening, almost immediate attachment to these characters, but if you don’t then these scenes might honestly break the series for you. I’m happy to say that not a single one them is weak as a character in any way. We get so many loveable and relate-able character moments from the cast. The melodrama can be obnoxious, but it is far from unbearable on most occasions.
The series ends on a decently high note. As in, it’s very saccharine and feel-good, even if there is some bitter-sweetness to the departure. We, as viewers, are assured these girls will stay in contact and there is even a fun little tease at the end for possibly more adventures. I know for sure that I’ll be on the lookout for more of these girls.
Yeah, so the series is great. A Place Further Than the Universe is corny and saccharine but it gets you so latched onto these four girls that you just don’t want to let go. I was almost immediately with them on the journey, right there on the train, plane, boat, and snow. While the focus on cloying emotions can often feel forced or even pandering, when the series wants to nail the climax it really, really nails the climax. If you view yourself as someone who cries often over television then you should watch this series with some napkins. Later on, especially, there are some surprisingly powerful moments that pick-axed their way to even the coldest hearts such as my own.
If you’ve read my reviews then you’d know that I’m a huge sucker for friendship stories. They always seem to resonate with me more than romance or revenge or any other kind of narrative archetype. Friendships seem so close in the least artificial way possible. To create a true connection between people, especially one that doesn’t rely on a sexual attraction takes a kind of nuance in the writing that so many writers simply can’t produce. When it’s done well, like here, you feel a kindred connection with them because friendship is so notoriously vague and hard to define as a concept. It’s just a connection. Mutual benefits. Loving being together. Learning from one another. While Universe’s outlook is undoubtedly expressive, for some it may even be overly expressive to the point where it becomes unbelievable. For me, personally, who’s experienced and continues to experience these kinds of bonds grow, I became fully engrossed within the narrative.
Pair that together with writing that ranges from good to exceptional and presentation that I can only say surprised me in how engaging it was, I think we have a series that is worth remembering. I call it like I see it. This is easily one of the better anime I’ve seen and clearly had so much passion behind it. I can see myself thinking about the series and raising the grade simply due to missing having these characters on screen. It wasn’t just the dynamic elements of having four people bounce off one another that was solid, or the fact that there was some pretty great character animation, it was the depth to which these characters are written which is truly surprising. They aren’t just a summation of traits, but rather a summation of experiences we saw, which makes their growth so much more endearing than it has any right to be.
A Place Further Than the Universe delivers what I can only call good character drama. Something rare in anime. Sure, there are a bunch of cute girls doing cute things sometimes, and sometimes doing funny things, and sometimes doing sad things, and hell, sometimes even doing nothing. Ain’t that just life? None of it struck me as cynical or corporate. I’ll leave off this already long review with my favorite quote from my favorite character, Hinata. It encapsulates the tone and ideals of this series perfectly.
“If you can still turn back, it’s not really a journey. When you hit the point of no return, that’s the moment it becomes a journey.”
I've always enjoyed a adventure story where friendship and complete determination to achieve a supposedly impossible play well in hand. This anime so far are portrayed that perfectly and it leads to a promising delivery when the girls finally arrive in Antarctica.
WHAT WE'VE SEEN SO FAR
The four main girls of this show remind me a lot of the four girls in K-ON! In fact, you could say that some are more eccentric while others are the opposites of the K-ON girls. Mari and Hinata are practically an upgraded version of Yui and Ritsu while Shirase and Yuzuki are more or less brooding versions Mio
and Tsumugi. Then of course we have Mari's sister Rin who's pretty much her own version of Yui's younger sister Ui and then there's the glasses-wearing Nodoko version of Mari's classmate Megumi.
What I like about these characters is that each girl has their own reasons for going on this journey to Antarctica. Mari wants to do something memorable in her high school life before it's too late. Hinata wants to go because why not? Yuzuki is going partly because of her celebrity status but mainly because this is a perfect opportunity to make real friends, something she's never had before. And lastly we have Shirase, who's going to Antarctica in hopes of finding her mother who was lost there in the last expedition. The series shows a lot promise in what will happen when and if Shirase's mother is found.
The art is also something to take into account. The studio so far has done an outstanding job in the art department with both the character designs and the backgrounds. I will go as far as saying that it's almost enough to rival some of Studio Ghibli's films. It's quite amazing especially when you consider that Madhouse is also producing new seasons for both Cardcaptor Sakura and Overlord.
WHAT I HOPE TO SEE FROM HERE
Pretty much more of what we've seen already but with the girls going and having their adventure in Antarctica. I think we can all agree that there's no hope that Shirase's mother survived but if she somehow has, it will be a really amazing plot twist. I'm also curious to see what Shirase's and Gin Toudou interactions will be. It's very clear that Shirase shares some animosity towards Toudou seeing how she was the one to return and not her mother.
WHAT I DON'T WANT TO SEE
The closing shot of the post credits last episode showed Megumi having a difficult moment. This more often than not puts up a red flag for me. While I can understand the character's feeling stuff like this has a tendency not just to create unnecessary drama but ends up slowing the story down significantly. Hopefully we won't see that happen. I also don't want to see the girls forgetting the reason why they came to Antarctica and the series descending into a filler filled slice of life type of show.
As of now, A Place Further Than The Universe has the potential to be one of the best anime of the season and perhaps one of the best of the year.
Winter 2018 started off with a clash of titans. In the red corner, the impossibly hyped-up Violet Evergarden. In the blue corner, that snazzy Studio Trigger mecha show. Everyone was taking wagers on who would be the next heavyweight champ. But as the rounds went on, whispers fluttered through the audience. Did either of these really deserve the title?
Eh, maybe. For the record, 10 episodes in I find Violet Evergarden to be exceptional. Darling in the Franxx has yet to conclusively prove itself, but it has a ton of potential and a long way to go. But I definitely think that A Place Further than
the Universe (henceforth Sora Yori) deserves its share of time in the spotlight. While this is my first ‘cute girls’ anime, there are elements shared across all genres that Sora Yori executes really well on. The series primarily works around wholesome comedy and drama elements, and consistently sells it. The story manages to generate interest without holding a looming endpoint and effortlessly swings in the direction of some serious thematic drama when the time comes.
Most notably, Sora Yori just has great main characters. They are all hilarious, seamlessly pull off being close friends, and provide interesting dramatic interplay with each other to give the plot some shape. While comedy tops the list of reason I enjoyed the show, the opportunities each character can give the others to shine really cannot be understated. This is backed up by the strength of the shows presentation, which, while not stylistically inventive, is clean and consistent. Only rarely does the art feel like it needs a quality check, and the stylistic choice of highlighting hair in this series is actually notable and a great effect. Additionally, the sound design really has no weak points. The voice acting is absolutely godlike across the board. Several good tracks that are always used properly. Hell, the series can even sell a horror scene.
No series is perfect, and while Sora Yori really has no glaring weak points, it could still be improved in a few ways. (1) The big drama moments are pulling like a .700 batting average for me. Certainly good, but the worst thing about dramas is when the big moments don’t stick the landing. (2) Having a new point of drama every episode is a little exhausting, especially since it feels like the show is at its best when indexing into comedy. (3) The side characters are tough to keep track of and uninteresting, which is fine. I don’t even know if the series is worse off for that fact, since this is sort of how side characters are in real life. To me, the complaints don’t really mean a whole lot. The series just doesn’t need these attributes to be wildly successful, and as a result, I think Sora Yori makes a great contender for anime of the season.
[Pros & Cons]
[+++] The girls are great!
[+++] Voice acting is superb, especially on main characters.
[++] Comedy execution and writing hits the mark again and again.
[+] Standard but solid sound design.
[+] Strong visuals that rarely flub. Minor stylistic choices that pay off and create a unique presentation.
[+] Story does a great job highlighting the personality and background differences between the main characters.
[=] Side characters generally hard to balance and uninteresting.
I generally like shows about cute girls doing cute things, but this one is special. I didn't think a show of this type could be so emotive and personally encouraging as this one, that makes me feel I have live my life to the fullest. Till then, only other type of shows could move me as much (e.g. BnHA).
Each of the main 4 characters has unique traits without being excessively steriotyped, and this create a really adorable dynamic between them. Support characters have a lot of personality as well, making them feel pretty alive.
Girls going on an adventure isn't really that surprising by itself, but
the coming of age aspect makes it feels so personal I couldn't not feel moved by that. At the same time, it's honestly fun, the jokes fit so naturally, not breaking the tension/seriousness some situations are, you could feel those would happen in real life.
This one of the few shows I'd recommend for any person, they liking or not this media. Even this season being full of good slice of life shows, this one is outstanding. Please, take your time and watch it.
Well here it is. Apparently this is the lowest review score yet for this show on MAL. That is a testament to how lovely and unique this show is for a slice of life...at least, it appears to be unique on the surface...
Very mild spoilers ahead. I wouldn't even call them spoilers though tbh.
Just because its made by madhouse doesn't mean its a masterpiece. Look if you are just looking for a show with cute girls doing cute things while setting out on an adventure then this show will scratch that itch. But for most people it will disapoint.
Overall its a nice little show.
But lets be honest,this show doesn't come CLOSE to deserving the praise it gets. First off the pacing is stupidly slow. It takes them 8 EPISODES for them to get to Antarctica. Now I wouldn't call these 8 episodes pointless filler but they could've easily decided to make it 5 episodes and then have plenty of fun and drama filled adventures in Antarctica. But now they have a grand total of five episodes left for them to chill in Antarctica and go back home for a decent resolution of the story as a whole. I VERY much doubt that this will occur. Due to the whole reason for the shows existence is that these girls want to go to Antarctica and viewers wont get very much of the content that the series promised to give in the first episode. The show as of episode nine hasn't done anything of real interest overall. All the girls are these stereotypical weak frail Japanese schoolgirls that would likely be insakilled from anything below-10 degrees Celsius.
I will finish this series and update my review. But in the meantime feel free to send me a message about how Madhouse has the Midas touch and how everything they touch instantly turns into gold no matter what.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS
A Place Further Than the Universe was a show I almost skipped out on. I was just starting to get into seasonal anime for the first time. As I perused through the Winter 2018 anime list, I noticed this show. At first, I was going to pass on it, as like most others, it just seemed like an average cute girls slice of life show. But I noticed a little something about it that intrigued me to no end, the promise of an adventure to Antarctica. So I went with my gut, and gave it a shot. This gut feeling turned
into total joy at this amazing sleeper hit I had found.
A Place Further Than the Universe (Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho), or Yorimoi, as I will now be calling it, is about 4 girls who decide to go on a nice little trip. And where else would a couple of high school girls rather go than the icy, unforgiving continent of Antarctica? It sounds out of nowhere and downright crazy, doesn't it? Well, the show soon establishes why each girl wants to go to Antarctica and goes out of its way to show people that it isn't an impossible dream. I'm going to be honest here, this is absolutely my favorite story told in a slice of life series. The sense of adventure is unlike any series I have ever seen besides the likes of One Piece. It adds so much charm to the narrative, which you can't find in a lot of series. Not to mention, Yorimoi perfectly balances comedy and emotional moments. The jokes can end up hitting so well, I'm left crying of laughter at the show. But the same goes for the emotional moments, where when they hit, I'm left feeling hopeless and stunned. The show provides us a masterfully interwoven plot, and one I will be praising for years to come.
Madhouse knocked this one out of the park. Yorimoi is absolutely gorgeous. So many amazing directing decisions went into play here. The utterly beautiful, detailed backgrounds, the interesting and varied shots, and the subtleties and fluidity of the animation all make this a treat for the eyes. One of the most visually stunning shows I've laid my eyes on. Atsuko Ishizuka (the director of Yorimoi) went all out on this and it really shows in the final product.
The weakest area of Yorimoi but it is by no means bad. The OP "The Girls are Alright!" and ED "Koko Kara" are very memorable (partially due to the visuals). The insert songs, especially "One Step" are quite nice as well. The OST is fine, its nice and peppy, but really nothing to write home about. One may also argue the insert songs are intrusive to the show after a while. I disagree with this statement, as I believe it added to the emotion of the scenes, but if said person got tired of the songs, I could see it having a negative affect. The voice acting on the other hand, is great, with each performance fitting the characters to a tee (my favorite being Kana Hanazawa's performance of Shirase. Overall, pretty good on the sound department, but not too much to write home about.
One of the main draws to Yorimoi, its fantastic characters. While I don't think its cast is as godlike as something like K-On, it still has one of the best casts I've seen in anime. They all work off each other fantastically. This is mainly because they feel real. Their conversations are the same things that you could easily see real high school girls having. They laugh together and they cry together, but never are their unique and distinct personalities compromised throughout this. Let's go over each one of the 4 main girls:
Mari Tamaki: The (debatable) protagonist of Yorimoi. Mari (or Kimari, as she's called) is very vibrant and energetic. Yet, she finds herself feel like she's wasting her high school years away, doing nothing special with her life. This is why she sets out to go to Antarctica with Shirase after they have their chance encounter. I find Kimari's reasoning to be the most relatable, as I personally don't want to go throughout my life doing nothing interesting. Overall, Kimari is a very likable protagonist, but probably the least interesting of the 4 main girls.
Shirase Kobuchizawa: My favorite character in Yorimoi and currently sits comfortably as my 8th favorite character in all of anime/manga. Shirase is quite shy around others, but when with friends, she shows her true colors and opens up as a fun-loving, wild person. She is the one who sets the story into motion, as she is the first of the girls who decides to go to Antarctica. This all stems from her mother, Takako who leaves for Antarctica when she is young, only to disappear and never return. Shirase is determined to go see what drew her mother to Antarctica, and experience what she experienced for herself. Shirase is my favorite as she easily has the most depth of the four. She's unpredictable, crazy and funny, but also quiet and emotional and that's what makes her so damn enjoyable to watch.
Hinata Miyake: Between Hinata and Shirase, its hard to pick favorites, but I think I prefer Shirase ever so slightly. This is not to discredit Hinata though, she is still fantastic. She's vibrant, peppy and acts as the comedic relief for the most part. She joins on this Antarctica expedition on a spur, just because it'd seem fun to her. You think she'd just be the funny character, with little to no depth to her. I thought this for a little while too, but slowly, we learn more about her and her past, and see how many layers there really are to her. We see her struggle with her loneliness from getting outcasted from school. We feel the pain she is going through. We understand her, and that's ultimately what made her character succeed for me Hinata is definitely the character who grows the most throughout this journey, and for this unexpected depth, I will forever appreciate her character.
Yuzuki Shiraishi: Yuzuki is the most introverted of the gang. She is very shy and it takes a while for her to open up to the other 3. She journeys to Antarctica out of the desire to make real friends and forge real relationships for the first time in her life. Since she was young, Yuzuki has been a celebrity, making her a very busy person. This led to her not having the time to making friends, and even when she did, she never had the time to hang out with any of them, slowly killing thew few relationships she had. Her story really hits home, despite it not being relatable to me personally. I ended up really feeling for her. She got the happy ending she deserved.
That does it for the main characters, but the side cast is also pretty great too. Megumi (Megu) is a longtime friend to our main character, Kimari. She starts out as this boring, uninteresting character, but over time, her true intentions are revealed and you end up sympathizing with her. She just wanted someone to keep by their side and grow up with together, and that's not really such a bad thing is it? Gin Todo is one of the people who was on the Antarctica expedition where Takako (Shirase's mother) disappeared. Due to this, she has fantastic interactions with Shirase, and they slowly develop a bond, despite everything in the past that had happened. This is on top of all the fantastic backstory she adds to the show.
Overall, this cast is brilliant, with god-tier interactions, both comedically and emotionally, and is probably the best part of Yorimoi.
I enjoyed this series from Episode 1 all the way to the finale. It never failed to surprise me every episode at its sheer quality and ability to consistently improve each time, whether it be through its wonderful characters, fantastic direction or breathtaking art. Captivating just begins to describe it.
A Place Further Than the Universe is an anime for anyone. Anyone can appreciate its complex characters. Anyone can acknowledge the beautiful animation and direction in it. Anyone can see the love and care put into this. Yorimoi is an inpsiring tale, that has helped to convince me that no dream is impossible (within the plausibility of reality). If you want to do something in your life, GO FOR IT. Don't let anyone or anything stop you from reaching your goals. This is a story I won't forget for the rest of my life, I'm sure of it.
To put it out there,
I am very emotionally touched by this show.
I literally cried while watching this show and in my opinion, This is the best show of this season and I cannot realistically think of any other show rivaling this one.
As the page says, there are supposed to be 13 episodes and I haven't watched the 13th episode yet but it seems that the 12th episode is the end of the main story. 13 could just be an extra (maybe not) I dunno.
First I thought I'd never watch an anime which looked like it's gonna be a CGDCT anime ever again
(just in case you don't know what CGDCT means, it's "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things") but I thought I'd try out the first episode and it kinda caught me in its wave. To put it out there, I never watched a similar show before. It has this uniqueness to it which makes it very special. (Thought it would be CGDCT anime but oh, was I wrong :| .)
To start with the initial episodes, I think it's initially a little slow but as it gradually gains momentum, it starts making more sense. The character development is fantastic. I mean each character is carefully molded throughout the show, no bits left unchecked. You can literally feel those characters feeling what they are feeling and you don't even need to have to have similar experiences in life to know what the character is feeling, it just comes to you, that's how good the character development is.
Now, with the middle episodes, the flow doesn't get any rough, still, the story progresses at a higher rate while retaining the smoothness from the initial episodes. This smoothness adds up to the sweetness and tenderness of the story and the characters. Truly, brilliant execution, I would say.
Towards the end, the flow of the story gets a little slow to explore and develop some character but It's a great thing because it makes you anticipate what the next thing is going to be, like the calm before the storm. There are critical character developments with some comic relief as well.
Not gonna spoil the ending :).
LASTLY, THE SOUNDTRACKS AND THE PLACEMENT OF THE SOUNDTRACKS ARE EXCELLENT, THEY DESERVE TROPHIES FOR EVERY SECOND OF THE SOUNDTRACKS (Now look, not every second, but you get what I mean, it's absolutely amazing how they executed the soundtracks and how they placed them)
Art: 9/10 (the highlights are a little too bright but I guess that's the art style)
Sound: 10/10 (Wish I could realistically rate above 10)
Character: 10/10 (Great development, really)
Enjoyment: 10/10 (Subjective, but given how I liked everything else, it has to be a 10/10)
Overall: 10/10 (I couldn't care less about the 9/10 I gave on the Art, the whole anime deserve more than 10)
BEST ANIME THIS SEASON. ( I LITERALLY CRIED OUT OF SADNESS AND HAPPINESS BOTH)
SOUND EXECUTION IS GODLIKE.
YOU CAN'T REMAIN DEPRESSED AFTER COMPLETELY WATCHING THIS SHOW.
YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS SHOW.
Introduction: (ABSOLUTE MUST WATCH OF THE SEASON!)
Out of everything in this season, yes even including Devilman: Crybaby, this is by an extreme margin the most 'ten out of ten' show that has aired so far this year. Even compared to amazing shows like Darling in The Franxx and Kokkoku, which I both absolutely adore and gave high ratings to, neither of them can, at this point in the season, even hold a candle to the absolute rush of emotions every episode of this show consistently causes to pour out of every orifice in my body. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is the best
show currently airing in the Winter 2018 anime season. (As of episode 7 that is, so the conclusion is not taken into account in this review.)
Characters: 10/10 (if 11 was a score you bet I would put it down)
Every character, including smaller characters besides the main four, is layered and calling them loveable would be criminally understating it. Everyone on screen is always brimming with character and emotion, never making you bored or being uninteresting in the slightest. The absolutely gorgeous animation helps this even further, by making the characters move, react, and express emotion in very diverse and unique ways to reinforce all of their personalities. None of the characters feel like cop-outs or cliches, and none of them fall into any cookie cutter mold you try to place them in. The happy one isn't ALWAYS happy, the shy one isn't ALWAYS afraid to do outlandish things, etc. which causes them to feel more like real people with actual emotions and lives rather than animated pre-written characters.
The plot progresses naturally and at a pace that doesn't bore you to death, but doesn't zip by everything or not let you just enjoy the moment. It flows completely logically and is not episodic, so it really gives you a sense of progress, unlike other cute girls shows that just take a decade for anything to change. You really feel like you are going along on this journey with the four girls and not either getting the cliff notes version while also not grueling along and doing mundane boring garbage either. It really feels refreshing to have a plot move so effectively and also at such a steady pace that it is impossible to get bored.
Did I mention that the animation was amazing? Well, guess what, I goddamn meant it. This show is what every show about cute, expressive, and loveable girls going on an adventure dreams of looking like. Every frame oozes with character and in motion it makes all of the girls act expressive, unique, and beyond cute and loveable at the same time. The light effects are always on point and always give you the exact impression you are supposed to get in a scene. When the show wants to feel warm and cozy, it delivers. When it wants to be bright and cheery, aight boom they nail it. If a scene is supposed to be dark and depressing, easy they got it. This show is one of MADHOUSE's mastercrafts of animation.
The music in this show is pretty amazing, but it isn't the best part of the show. It can occasionally really increase the impact of emotional scenes that, I will admit, have almost driven me to only the manliest of tears of joy. However, it is unnoticeable most of the time and is, while not weak, is not as good as every other aspect in my opinion, but I could also be stupid and wrong, so don't trust me on this one because I'm not a music critic. However, one thing I can say without needing a degree in the musical arts is that the opening is goddamn amazing. The imagery is bright and makes you really get a grasp on the character of each girl and the accomponying tune is very cheery and really makes you FEEL the sense of adventure that the girls experience. It also really capitalizes on the cuteness of all the girls and uses that to its advantage to make the opening all the more enjoyable. Definitley one of the top 3 openings of the season, but the best has to go to Kokkoku.
Overall: 10/10 (MUST WATCH!)
If you are not watching any shows this season and just want one show to give you the best experience you possibly can out of any of the others so far, this is it. No matter how you look at it this show is almost unequivocally the best show this season. The only shows that even come within a mile are Darling in The Franxx and Kokkoku. This show is an absolute MUST WATCH for anyone who likes crying tears of joy and going on a journey with a group of extremely cute but also the extremely human group of high school girls to a place farther than the universe.
From the staff that were in charge of the No Game No Life project, comes a side project that is equally as entertaining.
Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, from here on it will be adressed as UchuuYori, isn't... exactly special in terms of plot. We have 4 highschool girls trying to live a life, trying to have a fulfilling youth by going on an adventure with also a little bit extra drama cream in it. Sure, the destination is Antartica, but... that's it. Apart from the destination, it's just your usual good coming-of-age x slice-of-life story we've seen and read. Even its drama element aren't exactly
heavy. It's serious, but it's not the type to rub it over and over again.
Yet, 9 episodes in, a lot of people, including me, enjoy this one hell of a trip. To find out why, I decided that UchuuYori should be my very first review on MAL. So, here I go:
As I already mentioned, we have a 4 teenage girls, in a setup you will be very familiar with once you've watch enough slice-of-life anime:
- Kimari, your usual energetic, lively, full of expression, and a little bit stupid at times, main character.
- Shirase, that typical character that may look calm and collected to people who don't know her, but is actually very shy, very clumsy, can be a bit tunnel-visioned, but is also brave in facing the challenges that appear in front of her.
- Hinata, is high-spirited, positive, but is also calculated on her approach to every situation.
- Yuzuki, a serious and rather aloof person with lack of experience in peer grouping, but is often shown to be pretty naive once she drops that serious mask.
This setup isn't really something new at slice-of-life genre, but it's how UchuuYori plays around the depth of each of the characters, to draw out a conversation that can be filled with all kinds of emotions as the plot requires, is what is amazing.
Like, if the story wants to meld the tense by giving us some light comedy, then the characters will put on their funny mask and deliver a twist with the amount of comedy it wanted.
Meanwhile, when the story wants to go dramatic, be it slice-of-life lite, coming-of-age, or simply pure drama, the characters have enough dimension in them to allow the right vibe to come in a natural way.
One of the problem of a lot of anime (especially slice-of-life x drama) is that; Sure a certain character can have a tragic background that can be used to turn the story dramatic if the writer wants it, but there are times when it doesn't work because you, as a viewer, can't compare the difference: between when the plot demands the character to put in the mask she usually uses in her life there (and this include stuff like tsundere, dandere, kuudere, all of those troupes we are all very familiar with,) and when the plot... just requires her to be herself, requires her to tell us what is really inside her head.
UchuuYori manages to solve that big problem with an excellent group of characters supported with top class voicework. Thus, we can enjoy a good show.
Writing and Plot
The writing of this series, well, it's magnificent. An excellent balance of narrative and dialogue is the main showcase here.
A narrative that actually tells us what is inside the character's head, instead of the stuff we can see with our own eyes (the stuff that should be told via the pictures and animation.)
The sort of thing you expect from an anime designed as a best-seller.
Something that, if you just look at how rough the character visual design are at first, and how they actually changed title a few week before airing (lol), you can tell that this anime wasn't meant to be.
As for plot.... plot is okay.
Each episode have potential. Each episode are decently-built, and thus each episode do hit pretty well. Thus at first sight you won't notice the effect a 13 episodes x 22 minutes time-limit has on the plot. But if you've just watch each episode again, you would be amazed in how UchuuYori can still deliver such a powerful mix of emotions in each episode with all the amount of bits about Antartica (and, later on, bits of characterization for the supporting cast and side cast) it has to tell. A lot of the parts are cut. A lot of the parts aren't shown, and we, as viewers, whether we realize it or not, have to use a lot of our assumptions in. Assumptions that are meant to fill in the holes (instead of the supposed "making us unaware thus when the twist comes, the emotion hits.")
Which, brings me to another praise on its writing: of how charming the story-telling and characters of UchuuYori are, that it manages to make us assume a lot without making us think that it's actually bad writing.
is surprisingly decent. The character visual design seemed rough at first, but as the season goes, the animation proves to be fluid enough to be enjoyable.
The 3DCG is also great.
and oh yes, a lot of people don't realize this, I'm sure, but the background is sublime.
I already said it previously: top-class voicework, from best-in-the-business voice actresses (and actors.) Especially the main 4 (Minase Inori, Hanazawa Kana, Iguchi Yuka, and Hayami Saori.)
As for BGM and OST... there's one song that got repeated too often. (The saya (was it hers?) insert song from episode 1, 3, 7, 9.) Other than that it's great. BGM works mostly well. OP song okay. ED song (while isn't special as a song,) has done an excellent job in closing out every episode, so far.
My AoTS <3
Overall: I always rate anime purely from my enjoyment.
(Who cares the technical stuff if you love it, heh?)
You guys need to realize this when I’m writing this review while finish episode 12. This is no doubt one of the best anime for Winter 2018. I’ll explain why and of course like most of my reviews I’ll make it short as possible so it won’t be a strain to read.
I’m sure most of you guys will think it’ll just be a simple plot with 4 girls going an adventure to Anartica and having fun. Oh man, you can’t be anymore wrong. This anime isn’t just a simply going to Anartica but actually Anartica isn’t even really the main focus of the story. What
makes this anime so great is how they made the Characters grow with each other associating of going to Anartica. This makes it so great because it isn’t just a cliche bland story and the character development is so perfectly paced that you can relate to the characters. The characters you realized isn’t as happy as it seemed and how they are really running away from their problems until one helps out the other. It’s such a heart warming anime but it’s also hits you really hard when you lessen unexpected esp in Episode 12. The animation is beautiful and always been consistent and the music really fits the scenes so much. I’ll really honestly recommend this anime to anyone that wants to enjoy seeing characters weakness and growth while hitting you with the feels unexpected. Truly the dark horse of winter anime 2018.
I was hoping Sora yori mo Tooi Basho be an anime where cute girls wear ridiculously puffy winter coats against winter scenery, an adventure approached with the comfy manner. Instead this series focused too much on the serious side and contained loads of drama.
Seriousness and drama aren't something I would mind. The problem is the believability. If there is a serious anime about teenage girls travelling to Antarctica, it should be taken seriously instead of half-assedly throwing in obstacles and factors that need to be taken into consideration before the trip. And suddenly at the very next scene we're looking at slice of life
silliness and personal issues. This makes the series seem rather messy.
Same thing with the drama. When tragic past stories, betrayal and bullying are present, the motivations for the trip become rather questionable. Other than Hinata's natural ambition and Shirase's mom, the main reason for our trip seems to be escapism. This would be great if it wasn't so confusing due the drama and seriousness being half of the anime.
The other half is slice of life comedy. That's where this show shines at. Penguins are a running gag in the show. This is presented in an impressive manner to say the least. Some of the side character's especially Mari's mom create the most memorable comedic moments in the show. Yet, constantly when these moments are present and the characters are goofing around in comedy scenes, I find myself asking the question "so what about the trip to Antarctica? Is that still a thing?"
After the actual trip stars, the series goes for much worse. The following episodes contain at least one melodramatic crying scene each, often more. Along the melodrama, there is always a scene where character shouts their heart's content out loud just to make it seem like there is at least something still going on in the series. These scenes can be rather cringey and feel pointless.
I could have forgiven most of these things if I had found a way to respect the characters. Unfortunately the author made this very hard for me. I strongly dislike it when characters are used as a plot elements or puppets by the writer to compensate their lack of skill in creating substance and events that make sense. For example, in the very first episode, our main character loses 10 000 USD worth of cash. She just drops it. One could argue that this happens because of her characteristics or clumsiness, but it really doesn't. It happens because the author used her as a plot element to introduce the main characters to each others. The same thing is constantly done with melodrama. Instead of there being actual reasons for these characters to cry all the time, they just do so because it was the only way the author knew how to deliver feelings. Quite frankly, shallow content such as this one with zero emotional depth presented is not reaching my end.
*edited and re-submitted, originally with 120 votes
*the purpose of this review is not to claim that my views on this show are somehow "better" than someone else's, just to offer an alternative perspective among the all-positive praise