Mari Tamaki is in her second year of high school and wants to start something. It's then that she meets Shirase, a girl with few friends who's considered weirdo by the rest of the class and nicknamed "Arctic" since it's all she ever talks about. Unlike her peers, Mari is moved by Shirase's dedication and decides that even though it's unlikely that high school girls will ever go to Antarctica, she's going to try to go with Shirase.
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!!!
No questions asked, Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (or A Place Further Than The Universe) is one of a bunch of Madhouse's newest anime, and out of the 3 Winter 2018 anime hosted by the studio, the one that (I fear that) less people will take notice of it (Overlord 2 the sequel for fans, and Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card for nostalgic factors and fans alike), but it's still a promising and eventful watch, and is really extraordinary, so much so that I wish that Madhouse would do more original content like this.
So, right by this moment, our main 4-girl group cast are learning the
ropes of what it means to set out to Antarctica, but not without their fair share of problems that hinder them from making the first step out of their comfort zone. And obviously being high school students, this formula is always tame and unoriginal. What sets the show apart is in its immersive storytelling about what it means to be brave and courageous to set out towards goals and dreams, a Journey to the West (pun intended, if you can call that).
So first off, I can't stress this enough about how Madhouse handles the gorgeous and beautiful art and animation that really rivals with how we've seen with the 1st half of Wit Studio's Ancient Magus Bride. Every bit of detail is taken with much serious consideration that though the episodes are expensive to make, this is a prime example of how to squash every bit of money to produce a high quality anime, and really hoping that the series doesn't disappoint.
Another area where quality is shown is the OST, Yoshiaki Fujisawa (of Houseki no Kuni and Love Live! School Idol Project fame) really did an impressive job outlining the series' points and made music when appropriate, and his talents don't go to waste here, it's really a delight to listen to the OP, ED and the insert songs (although I hear some of us wanting to know what songs there are just because it really sounds good)!
Overall, this is a series that I feel (from MAL's fanbase) that it will be overlooked by most people, and you should really go all out to watch this show, it will reel you in with its comedic adventurous setting (albeit a bit tame), and best of all, you won't regret or be disappointed by it.
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.
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.