A Place Further Than The Universe Ep. 6: Lost and found

Shirase needs to relax. She’s griping over the airport staff glaring at them while checking their passport. Chill, girl. Your dream came true, and you’re headed for Antarctica — well, Singapore and Australia first, but the icy continent is as close as it has ever been. But yeah, she’s certainly the most anxious of the group. She gets all jumpy when she hears a pleasant chime on the plane, and she’s still trying to email her mother. In the real world, she needs therapy not just for her anxiety, but also the loss of her mother. In anime world, however, she’ll just have to hope she’ll get a breakthrough on this trip with her friends. Nevertheless, this sets us up perfectly for the drama of the week.

When the girls get to their hotel, Hinata quickly discovers that she’s lost her passport. Unlike Shirase, however, she opts not to freak out. Instead, she goes too far in the other direction and chooses to say nothing to anyone. Had she confided in her team right from the beginning, they probably could’ve visited the Japanese embassy right away to get her problem fixed without any issues. Instead, Hinata keeps telling herself that everything will work out, so Yuzuki — who apparently has a nose for secrets — ends up having to dig the truth out of the girl.

I prefer not worrying myself sick as well, but Hinata might be a little too laidback. As a result, we get to see hers and Shirase’s personalities in direct contrast. Yuzuki says that Hinata can get a new passport issued by the Japanese embassy on Monday, then they’ll just have to catch a later flight to Australia. This means they’ll have to delay their arrival to Fremantle, but they’ll still make it in time before the ship for Antarctica departs. Shirase starts fearing the worst, though. She thinks the expedition will just turn the kids away — even though they’ve already come this far — just because they are a couple days late.

This makes Hinata feel like total crap ‘cause she obviously doesn’t want to make her friend worry or be a burden on the group. But then again, this whole situation is her fault. As a result, she suggests that the other three go on ahead to Australia without her while she tries and fix her passport issue all on her own. If she doesn’t succeed, then she’ll drop out of the trip altogether. She won’t endanger it for the rest of the girls. The problem with worrying and being anxious is that these feelings don’t necessarily get us anywhere. They just end up guilt-tripping our loved ones. Shirase allows herself to be consumed with negative energy instead of actually working towards a solution to their problem.

Right before bed, Hinata reveals that she has a mental block when it comes to allowing others to help her. When people to be considerate, she finds it “disconcerting,” and this is why she opted to leave high school altogether. I can sort of relate. When you’re part of a family or a community — like, say, high school — it can often feel as though others only care about you because they’re obligated to. For example, let’s say it’s your birthday or you just got a huge promotion. All of a sudden, people you haven’t talked to in months suddenly start coming out of the woodwork to send you well wishes. They think they’re being kind and considerate, but instead, their words come across as fake and insincere.

For Hinata, it’s a little different. It sounds like she used to share her problems with others, and at first, her so-called friends would offer to help her. But behind her back, they would confide in each other that they wish they didn’t have to lend a hand. They’d really rather prioritize themselves first and foremost, and they only acted differently in front of her out of, again, obligation. For those like Hinata, it’s often much more comforting just to be left alone. You don’t have to worry about the possibility of people being two-faced with you. Shirase’s biggest concern is getting to Antarctica, right? So Hinata just wants her to be honest about that. But of course, her mistake is not realizing that it’s possible to prioritize two different things. Her mistake is also not realizing that priorities can change. Her three friends — Mari, Shirase, and Yuzuki — actually do care about her without just feeling obligated to, but once you put yourself in a protective mental bubble, it can be hard to just let others in.

In the end, Shirase rejects Hinata’s plan, because her priority is now getting all four of them to Antarctica. As a result, she spends her entire savings on four business-class tickets so that everyone can fly out to Fremantle at a later date. Hinata might be stubborn, but she can’t out-stubborn the girl who has spent the last few years of her life utterly consumed by a desire to reach Antarctica. But as the girl goes to put those brand-new tickets away in her purse, she of course finds Hinata’s passport in there. I’m amazed that she hadn’t opened her purse between the time Hinata finally told the group about her lost passport and now. She wasn’t keeping her envelope of a million yen in her purse? To strain credulity even further, Shirase then manages to cancel those new tickets, so the girls won’t even be late to Australia after all. Boy, everything sure did work out perfectly in the end, didn’t it?

Well, maybe not…

Misc. notes & observations:

— At the airport, Hinata stares at some girls in tracksuits. So she definitely did use to do track.

— Mari: “I always dreamed about being a plane.” Gives new meaning to the term airhead.

— Dude, that meal looks amazing for airplane food.

— Mari plays games while Shirase cries over penguins huddling up in the cold. Frankly, I’m kinda worried for her emotional stability.

— You’d think these girls would be accompanied by an adult chaperone, but they’re all by themselves in a foreign country. I mean, I know this is an anime thing, but c’mon…

— I like how Mari and Hinata embarrass Yuzuki by trying to haggle. All of a sudden, the child star has a stick up her butt. It’s her friends’ first time in a new country. Of course they’re going to act like typical tourists. They are tourists. She’s too young to worry about efficiency.

— The girls play Rock-Paper-Scissors to see who gets stuck sharing a bed with Mari. What’s so bad about sleeping next to Mari? This. I’d say just wrap her up tightly into a human burrito, so she can’t get all handsy.

— What on earth is that place? Oh right, it’s the Infinity Pool that looks a little scary when you see shots like this one. Honestly, I don’t know much about Singapore. I certainly didn’t know it had such unique-looking architecture. The rest of the city looks a bit sterile and empty, though. But that might just be the anime opting not to draw and animate random people.

— They go to Singapore and end up looking for Japanese food for dinner? C’mon. That’s like going to Japan and getting a burger. Then again, I’m not exactly familiar with Singaporean cuisine.

— The girls end up ordering these giant mounds of fried rice. Is everything supposed to be bigger in Singapore or something?

— I can’t stand the smell of durian. I know it’s supposed to taste sweet and buttery, but no thanks. I’m not going near that. You can’t fool me with durian ice cream either. Why did Mari buy it if she’s never had durian before?

— I prefer this look. Then again, when all four girls have style of bangs, I prefer any other look. Don’t be ashamed of your forehead! Embrace it!

— Mari’s one of those sleepers.

Do iiiiiit.

— I never realized that the height difference between these two girls was this pronounced.

— Ugh, I’m hungry.

— What’s with the silent post-credits scene?

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9 Replies to “A Place Further Than The Universe Ep. 6: Lost and found”

  1. Singapore has very good chilly crab, eating with fried dumpling.There’s good Chinese, Malay or Indian food around, as Singapore is a multi-cultural city state. I find it’s interesting they tried Japanese food though. Normally the anime would go for the exotic feeling. Maybe the author does not know much about Singaporean food too?

    About durian…Do you know that there is Durian-flavored frappuccino? And durian yogurt? The yogurt is actually delicious as they keep the sweet taste and none of the smell.

    1. I’m sure there’s durian everything. I had a Thai coworker bring in durian chips. According to the people brave enough to try them, the chips were very mild and tasted very little of durian. I refuse, tho.

  2. Ah, that place with a ship on top is the Marina Bay Sands, a hotel. The building that looks like a durian is the Esplanade, a theater. Near those buiiding there’s also a building that looks like a bunch of bananas, and a garden with structures look like gigantic mushrooms. Singapore does have a lot of weird architecture.

  3. Japan and anime sure have problems with therapy, huh? Of course, animu fans will just say that friendship is much better than any therapy, but I’m also pretty sure those f*ckers never deal with relatives or friends with actual mental issues.

    Conveniently finding the lost passport in a purse that somehow no one bother to check during all that crap is already stupid enough, but canceling (and I assume also receive a refund) from the f*cking airline company. This anime has gone too far. As someone who for one reason or another have to deal with those f*ckers more often that I want to, I’m calling bullshit on that one.

    Another conflict that ends in an anti-climactic way, I guess I should’ve known better.

    So, other than durian, this girl don’t eat non-Japanese food? Fried rice don’t count. It isn’t Japanese, but it’s popular enough there to not count. Considering the prominence of durian to represent Southeast Asia in anime, is durian the only Southeast Asia food that the Japanese know? Lol

    On a lighter note, why the hate against durian, Sean? It’s genuinely sweet and delicious. I genuinely like it. Heck, I just buy a few durians and will eat it with my mother and little brother later. Just try it first. It’s really good.

  4. You know the feeling when some average person, or in this case a show, deals with a subject you’re a pro about? Something like standing in front of a fan spraying tons of BS?

    Well, this episode about air travel has the singular distinction of going off the scale both in utopy AND distopy.

    Utopian air travel: operating-room-level on-board cleanness; economy class food that makes you wonder whatever they might serve in first; inanimate and quiet fellow passengers; company which refunds the business tickets you just got after a hell of a fuss…

    Distopian air travel: days of stopovers? For our budget-conscious students?
    In real life, China Southern Airlines departs Tokio at 3:05pm and lands at Perth at 6:35am after a 3-hours stop in Guangzhou for less than 500$! Then it’s a 30 minutes drive to Fremantle.

    Come on, writers should try harder to get characters in the situation they want!

    PS Durian made me curious now…

  5. As a Singaporean, I will first like to praise the anime on the fantastic similarity to real world Singapore. It feels like the creators of the show visited Singapore for a several days vacation, took some photos, went back to the studio and drew over it.

    However, as most of you are not Singaporeans, I will like to share my personal view of the anime.

    I feel that the anime portrays “CBD tourism”. CBD stands for Central Business District, which almost all the locations portrayed in the anime are based in. The anime is too “touristy” and does not accurately portray Singapore in the eyes of many Singaporeans. If any of you come to Singapore, DO NOT follow the itinerary of the girls in the anime. You can still visit the places they went to, but you should add more places.

    If you want to explore Singapore at its best, I suggest the following itinerary:

    Changi Airport: Spend at least three hours to explore T1 to T4 upon arriving in Singapore. There is an underground shopping floor at T3. It is pretty huge and includes an somewhat authentic Singaporean food court and a supermarket. You can also play arcade games there. Next year (2019) will also see the Jewel Changi Airport, which will add about 300 shops to Changi Airport.

    CBD: Follow the girls’ itinerary. Do remember to visit Gardens by the Bay as well.

    Jurong: Jurong will become the second CBD in the future. For now, I suggest you can visit Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, IMM shopping mall. Near Jurong East MRT station, visit Westgate shopping mall. It is huge.

    Woodlands: The town nearest to Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Attractions there include Causeway point, Turf club, Sun Plaza and Woodlands Waterfront Park. Do visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve as well.

    Sentosa and Vivocity: Do visit Resort World Sentosa, but also visit Vivocity. Between Vivocity and RWS, there is a walkway which have some nice food and souvenir shops. Harbourfront, where ferries to Batam and Bintan can be taken, is also connected to Vivocity. Do also visit Haw Par Villa. It is a theme park, quite old, created many years ago. It is quite interesting, showing Chinese mythology.

    Central Singapore: My zone. Do visit United Square. It is connected by underground pass to Novena Square and Square 2. Take a cab to Macritchie Reservoir and explore. There is also a food street at Thomson, beside Thomson Plaza. Do visit Junction 8, a huge shopping mall for LOCALS in Bishan. (Yes, experience our shopping malls!) The shopping mall also has a National Library next to it.

    Aljunied and East Coast: The area that is considerably the most true blue Singaporean. Visit NEX, another shopping mall for Singaporeans. At Marine Parade, visit I12 Katong and Parkway Parade. These shopping malls are quite touristy, but many tourists miss these two shopping malls out. Visit East Coast Park, the place where it has a reclaimed beach on our Southeast coast. (Yes, we have beaches. General misconception among tourists is that we do not have beaches)

    Punggol: Most tourists do not come here. However, I feel this is the most scenic part of Singapore. Visit Punggol Point. The area will be converted into a residential cum retail area soon. View Malaysia from Punggol Jetty. After that, visit Waterway point, another shopping mall for Singaporeans.

    Tampines and Pasir Ris: The great Northeastern coast area. Tampines has several iconic shopping malls such as Tampines Mall. Do visit Bedok Reservoir, a reservoir that tourists rarely visit. At Pasir Ris, visit Downtown East and experience Wild Wild Wet Theme Park. Visit Pasir Ris Park, Changi Village and Changi Beach. Changi Beach is NOT reclaimed unlike East Coast Park. (Who says we don’t have beaches, again?). Visit this area the last day to experience Singaporean leisure before heading back to Changi Airport.

    I know the itinerary has a lot of shopping. But, its good to experience Singaporean shopping and not just touristy shopping. By the way, the food in the anime are Hainanese Chicken Rice and Kaya Toast. They are much cheaper in Singaporean food courts than these food courts in the CBD.

    1. Well, if I ever get out from under all this crushing student loan debts (not likely), I’ll look into Singapore as a travel destination.

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