Mari begins to get cold feet regarding the trip to Antarctica. It seems that there’s funding issues and with the harsh conditions of Antartica, it’s not that easy for civilians to get selected to go. Her old fear of failure kicks in and she confides this to Shirase. Shirase tells her that she has a plan, but first…Mari needs to get a job and pay part of her way! A fateful encounter at the convenience mart makes it so that the duo has now become a trio. The girls head to Shibuya with a half-baked plan and adventure ensues.
A Place Farther than the Universe gets a cookie from me for having the same mentality as Little Witch Academia. It wants you to have fun. It’s succeding thus far, as I am definitely having fun watching these girls run around and attempt to get to Antarctica.
Episode 2 introduces a third girl into the mix, Hinata Miyake. I was amazed that once she jumped into the main cast, it was almost as though she had always been there. She brings an energy and a spunk to the group dynamic that I didn’t even know it needed. She’s bold and unafraid. She quit school but she’s still really smart. Her feelings of being unable to blend into society and wanting to do something with herself before she’s forced to integrate into college life, make it so she melds well with Mari’s motivation of “wanting to experience youth”.
She’s also quite the optimist and as mentioned, she’s smart so she helps round out our duo of “scared I’m gonna fail” Mari and “bold but sometimes crazy” Shirase.
Speaking of crazy…
Remember in last week’s episode when Scott mentioned Shirase has a plan…
Oh she does…it’s just not a great one.
The girls make a bold move and head to Shibuya (at night!) to try and seduce? coerce? a male member of the Antartica expedition so that they’ll have an “in” to get them onboard the boat headed to Antarctica. This goes about as well as you can imagine, the girls end up getting chased through Shibuya and hilarity ensues. The trip to Shibuya helps strengthen the bonds of these unlikely gal pals in addition to showcasing some fine quality female bonding. In fact..this episode is all about girls bonding!
Madhouse is one of my favorite animation studios. They not only have impressive art but their attention to details you only think about later, really make them solid all around. The chase through Shibuya isn’t just a fun (and funny!) action sequence. It’s an artistic marvel in it’s own right. The camera jumps between top view, side view and front view in rapid succession, giving all the action a fantastic sense of movement. The girls don’t just run down random streets. They run through alleyways that take them past bars, and all kinds of shops and scenary. It feels like the animators know this part of Shibuya and crafed the scene with love.
As this is going on, it feels like our characters are having just as much of a blast!!
There are two other items of details I want to mention. Early in the episode Mari’s friend throws a monkey wrench in her excitement about the Antarctica trip by bringing up a news article about how the expedition is having trouble finding funding, and how people are claiming safety is an issue. These are real and valid concerns I feel would arise from trying to make a civilian trip to Antartica.
The second item is the trip to Antarctica itself. Shirase starts the episode by telling Mari about how the trip will work. All participants will board the icebreaker in Fremantle, Australia prior to making a trek downwards to Antartica. This really felt like the writers had thought out the details of how this trip could feasibly work. Both these items really makes the storytelling feel more rich by adding in these down-to-Earth concerns.
Despite all the Shibuya filled fun of this episode, the girls are unable to convince two of the female expedition members that their gang should be sent to Antartica. Drat!
Hopefully this changes soon as it seems that Shirase is voted out as leader and Player 4 has made her dramatic entrance…
Our newly formed trio had an adventure in Shibuya that was fun, but ultimately resulted in nothing. Here’s to hoping the girls join forces with Player 4 and start this party to Antarctica soon!!
In other news. I really really want Polar Drink-Weddell Seal Soda….It’s so freaking cute!