A Place Further Than The Universe Ep. 1: You wanna go where?

The girl with no plans meets the girl with all the plans. We hope, anyway. After all, these girls plan on traveling all the way to Antarctica. Yes, Antarctica. We’re not talking another country or even another civilized continent. We’re talking about the only place on earth that feels alien — a place further than the universe, you might say. How exactly are a bunch of Japanese schoolgirls gonna pull this off? Being cute’s not going to cut it. Nothing on this list sounds all that simple, and I really don’t think a million yen is going to suffice. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s at least introduce the characters.

Mari has always wanted to throw caution to the wind and freely travel the world. Even though she’s only a second-year high school student, she feels as though she’s already wasted much of her life. Plus, she feels trapped. Traveling is essentially freedom, but she’s imprisoned by her obligations and self-doubt. Every time she tries to take the first step, she gets cold feet at the last second. That’s because the girl never has any plans. And when you don’t have plans, doubt starts to creep in and the fear of failure suddenly becomes all too real. She just needs a thought-out plan and maybe a little courage.

Enter Shirase. Her mother used to go on expeditions to Antarctica. She even wrote a book about the icy continent. Unfortunately, this is not a story without tragedy; the woman simply went missing one day and she has never been found. This unsolved mystery has become an obsession for Shirase. The girl is hellbent on making it to Antarctica some day. What are the odds that her mother is still alive? Probably low. But this is about closure, and the girl needs it someway, somehow. So despite everyone trying to tell her otherwise — and they’re not really wrong to do so — Shirase remains determined in her singular quest. She’s been working part-time and saving up her money just for this one goal, so she definitely has things planned out. She just needs a little emotional support.

Like with a lot of anime, the premise feels like it would make a whole lot more sense with adults than teenagers. At least make them college-aged or something, y’know? But again, it’s anime so high schoolers it is. Like I’ve said at the beginning of this post, I can’t picture a bunch of high school girls not only making their way to Antarctica, but frolicking in the snow like the OP would suggest. Can these girls really just put a hold on their education? Well, maybe part of the trip will require them to study while they’re away. Even so, won’t their families worry? Well, maybe anime parents and guardians are just super lenient or something. Realism isn’t all that important anyway. What matters more is the content.

Even after just one episode, this show feels very light and breezy, threatening to burst at the seams with all its sugary goodness. Sure, a girl’s mother has gone missing, but we don’t dwell on the loss. For now, it’s simply a story element that justifies Shirase’s obsession with Antarctica. The girl is smouldering with determination, not loss. Will the anime explore this subplot in the future? More than likely, but beyond that, the show doesn’t appear to tackle any other particularly interesting concepts and/or pathos. The forthcoming adventure will no doubt feature lots of sweet, heart-warming moments between our heroines, but that sort of thing has never drawn me into a series by themselves.

For now, I want to see how Shirase plans on making her way to Antarctica. Once the logistics have been hashed out, however, will I still want to keep watching? The outlook doesn’t look so hot.

Unedited and unorganized notes and observations:

– Main character’s got a messy room.

– So the main character has wanderlust, kinda?

– “…to the Antarctica”? Huh.

– OP song is nothing remarkable. Plus, the tone of the OP itself isn’t exactly appealing to me. Feels slice-of-lifey, but without any sort of drama or serious conflicts. Hopefully, I’m wrong.

– It feels a bit strange to think that you’ve been wasting your life when you’re still just in high school. Does nothing that happens after 18 count? Maybe not in anime.

– Girl has no plans whatsoever. How will she afford to travel? Is it safe for her to travel alone? Won’t her mother worry about her? What if her friends worry? What will she do about all the missed school time? Where will she sleep? What will she eat? Where will she shower?

– As expected of Madhouse, the show does look nice.

– What if I fail is an important question. That’s why we plan things out. That’s why we break things down into easy steps that we can accomplish. I can’t remember the exact quote, but Kobe Bryant said he would never stopped shooting because he worked too hard to fail. In actuality, he failed a lot, but that’s the mindset you need. You need to prepare so much that you believe you can’t fail.

– A girl (Shirase) drops a ton of money. These heroines sure are super careless.

– Is her perfume or conditioner really that strong?

– I don’t like the bangs on the main character.

– New girl wants to look for her missing mother in Antarctica. The odds that her mother is still alive seem super low.

– Wow, do they all have bangs?

– Her best friend doesn’t. So for now, the best friend is my favorite character. Too bad she’s not going on the trip. When she was sniffing random kids to help Mari find Shirase, that was kinda funny and cute.

– This would make more sense as a show about adults. How the hell are teenagers going to find their way to Antarctica? A million yen doesn’t sound like enough money to get to Antarctica.

– Oh look, bullies. Why are children such jerks?

– Male or female, the main character is almost always spunky.

– So after driving away the bullies, Shirase invites Mari to join her on a trip. Just like that. I guess they trust each other already.

– At least they didn’t waste money on expensive box lunches. Still don’t think a million yen is gonna cut it. Maybe there’s gonna be a subplot where they save up more. Maybe they get into some sort of education program that sends kids to Antarctica (unlikely).

– I think we all want to know what her plans are.

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6 Replies to “A Place Further Than The Universe Ep. 1: You wanna go where?”

  1. This is one of those anime that makes you stop and think: “Why high-school students?” Traveling to someplace outside of your country not only need money. You also need something called visa and passport, and I doubt those girls can procure a legal ones or even an illegal ones.

    Ignoring the realism issue aside, I don’t think this anime has enough meat for me to chew on. It seems bare bones and I mean it. Not to mention that I have natural apprehension to anime that has only or effectively one gender on it, so I don’t think that this anime is my cup of tea.

    “The forthcoming adventure will no doubt feature lots of sweet moments between our heroines, but that sort of thing has ‘ever’ drawn me into a series.”

    Do you meant never there, Sean? It sounds weird if it isn’t.

  2. 1 million yen = 8860 USD right now. I can write 3 alternatives for getting there.

    Plan A: She’ll fly one way to Buenos Aires for ($900), fly to Tierra del Fuego for $400, then book a cruise ship for a few thousand dollars to land at the tip of Antarctica for a picnic, before they take her home with zero chance of seeing her mom. That’s doable, and I thought about it before I realized I only wanted to go for egotistical boasting rights, and I could travel through Asia for months for the amount I’d spend going on a week long cruise to Antarctica.

    Plan B: She’ll get so impatient to save her mom, that she’ll fly to Latin America without having enough money to get back. She’ll hitchhike for a few months while washing dishes in South America for pesos because she can’t afford to go any further south, and then have a chance meeting with a kind captain who will be so impressed by her determination (read: fine ass) that he’ll give her a discount or even a job on his ship. She’ll get to Antarctica, but she won’t be able to afford the flight back to Tokyo and will be stranded in Argentina. The closing shot will be a cute Japanese girl selling chiclets in the snow.

    Plan C: Either of the above, except the girls also take some supplies and somehow manage to run away from their tour guides, trekking across Antarctica eating penguins and sleigh dogs one by one to stay alive. They find her mom’s skeleton, and the story ends in cannibalism when one of the girls has to eat the other one to live a little longer, before succumbing in the snow.

    I can’t wait to see how daring the director is with this premise. The sooner they get out of Japan the more interesting it will get.

  3. 1 million yen = 8860 USD right now. I can write 3 alternatives for getting there.

    Plan A: She’ll fly one way to Buenos Aires for ($900), fly to Tierra del Fuego for $400, then book a cruise ship for a few thousand dollars to land at the tip of Antarctica for a picnic, before they take her home with zero chance of seeing her mom. That’s doable, and I thought about it before I realized I only wanted to go for egotistical boasting rights, and I could travel through Asia for months for the amount I’d spend going on a week long cruise to Antarctica.

    Plan B: She’ll get so impatient to save her mom, that she’ll fly to Latin America without having enough money to get back. She’ll hitchhike for a few months while washing dishes in South America for pesos because she can’t afford to go any further south, and then have a chance meeting with a kind captain who will be so impressed by her determination (read: fine ass) that he’ll give her a discount or even a job on his ship. She’ll get to Antarctica, but she won’t be able to afford the flight back to Tokyo and will be stranded in Argentina. The closing shot will be a cute Japanese girl selling chiclets in the snow.

    Plan C: Either of the above, except the girls also take some supplies and somehow manage to run away from their tour guides, trekking across Antarctica eating penguins and sleigh dogs one by one to stay alive. They find her mom’s skeleton, and the story ends in cannibalism when one of the girls has to eat the other one to live a little longer, before succumbing in the snow.

    I can’t wait to see how daring the director is with this premise. The sooner they get out of Japan the more interesting it will get.

    Not sure if this was posted.

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