Random Curiosity

Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho – 07

「宇宙を見る船」 (Uchuu o Mirufune)
“The Ship That Sees the Universe”

This is the rare episode of Yorimoi that doesn’t delve into a specific character or relationship. It doesn’t even focus on a theme, though theme happens along the way. The goal of this episode was to get us fully invested in this expedition, even if it’s crazy, even if it would be logical to doubt it or to bow out. The writers want us all in not because the four main characters are involved, but because of everything else—the people, the mission, the camaraderie, and most of all, the determination that’s propelling them. They want us to think like the members of the expedition do, logic be damned.

It starts with the girls’ concerns about the expedition resurfacing. Supplies. Manpower. Budget. There doesn’t seem to be enough of any of it. Will it actually work? All reasonable concerns. So they ask people, and get a sketchy answer—this time, Kanae wants to see the sky. Suspicious! So they snoop around, with plenty of hilarity involved. It was great to see it all, especially because the four girls are really gelling as a group. They have really great chemistry. It’s all a delight to watch.

What tied it all together was Gin’s story about the first expedition, which was really a story about Shirase’s mother. The talk about the sky, and the astronomical observatory Takako wanted to build, but never got to complete, could be the secret plan they’re not telling the girls about. Could be, could be. But that wasn’t the point of Gin’s story, not really. The point of her story, and the scene that followed, is to show what kind of people would embark on this expedition. Headstrong. Tenacious. Determined to a fault. The kind of people who lose their hair, get divorced, and lose their jobs—but nobody got married. The kind of people who would make a promise three years ago, and despite all the trials and tribulations in between, for every one of them to have kept it.

But most of all, it’s to show how much Takako lives at the center of these people’s lives, and how much they’re doing it for her. Because of her unfinished dream. To make sure her life will have meant something. Because they still believe in the mission they first embarked upon three years ago, the mission which she symbolizes.

I once got a piece of advice from an author, before I finished my first book. Here’s what he told me: If you don’t have to write novels, don’t. It’s a crappy gig. But if you can’t not, if it’s something you have to do, then get started. These people—the paraphrase is over now—these people are like that. It’s not that they choose to do this. It’s that they can’t not. They’re the kind of people who are going to Antarctica no matter what, even if it’s not worth it, even if it’s crazy. Because to them, it is worth it. It’s everything. Because they’re broken in strange and interesting ways.

As soon as the insert song started up, tears were already welling up. Through the self-introductions, where the girls so smoothly encapsulated themselves, their motivations, and their journeys into a few sentences, the tears were building. Then Shirase spoke.

“I boarded this ship to do catchy, witty, sensational reporting! I want to open the treasure chest of Antarctica that my mother wrote about with my own hands! Everyone, let’s go to Antarctica together!”

By that point, I had to look away. My vision had grown blurry. At least one of our girls is broken in strange and interesting ways as well.

Random thoughts:

  • Though I spend most of these posts waxing poetic, the comedy is so very good too, from Shirase glomming onto Etopen and basically commandeering it, to the girls’ hilarious spy antics, to Kanae’s admonishment that “…they’re not legal. I’ll say it one more time. They’re not legal. Toshio, you hear me?” Strap me to the emotional rollercoaster, Batman, because they’re taking us all over the spectrum, haha!
  • You want a social life, with friends / A passionate love life and as well / To work hard every day. What’s true / Is of these three you may have two / And two can pay you dividends / But never may have three.” And if you choose a trip to Antarctica as your work, you may not even get two, though your expedition mates can fill in for a social life in a pinch. But to these people, I have a feeling it’s worth it. Nobue-san was smiling by the end.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: The Last Jedi SUPER SPOILERY Review.

February 13, 2018 at 9:52 pm
38 comments »
  • February 13, 2018 at 10:44 pmXiV

    That is some great analysis Stills. Takako might be gone, but she lives on through the hearts of her companions.They are going back to Antarctica because they left a part of themselves there.

    • February 14, 2018 at 12:07 amStilts

      Thank you. They left a part of themselves there … that’s a good way to say it.

      • February 14, 2018 at 4:25 pmXiV

        Madhouse has been consistent with their presentation of this show, but this episode is a step up to the previous episodes. Its even apparent with your screenshots Stills. The animation, the backgrounds, and especially the cinematography. Whereas the white filter in Violet Evergarden makes their audience want to turn down their gamma settings, the yellowish-brown filter here complements the setting-like here in Australia.

      • February 16, 2018 at 4:12 pmRenaSayers

        Stilts great review, though I will die if the producers don’t elaborate on what convinced kobuchzawa’s mom to leave safety and get lost (dead) in a blizard—in the Arctic.

  • February 13, 2018 at 11:06 pmAnt

    Now I’m clueless what might be the conclusion for the four girls’ journey to Antartica, will this be a series saying ” We’re just beginning our journey” or will it have a definite ending.

    • February 14, 2018 at 12:03 amStilts

      I wouldn’t fret about a cliffhanger ending, not with this staff. When Kanae refers to the “starting line”, think of it as exactly like that—the starting line of a race. Then think of all the work that goes into preparing for that race. The race itself isn’t the beginning, right? It’s closer to the conclusion.

      There’s still 6 more episodes. Plenty of time for this story to reach a conclusion as well.

      • February 14, 2018 at 9:19 amAnt

        Maybe I was’nt clear on my earlier post. What i mean is the possibility of the story just being open ended. Like they’ve reached antartica and then they will have a bigger goal in life and making it a possible sequel in the future.

      • February 14, 2018 at 1:32 pmStilts

        I mean, yeah, I’d say them ending this journey having gained a new, bigger goal in life is damn near a certainty. I wouldn’t expect a sequel hook, though. This strikes me as a story where the bigger goals they’ll gain will all be different, where they’ll splinter off and go do great things after this—or maybe they’ll stick together, but with just a flash-forward epilogue that shows them in similar situations to where Kanae, Gin, and Takako were in some of those pictures. I think this story will be wrapped up here—as much as we’re going to see, at least.

  • February 14, 2018 at 2:19 amVelvet Scarlantina

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2028.jpg
    Dareka taskete… Water is coming out from my eyes and I can’t stop them.

    I immediately went to watch Phenomsage’s episode review and the very same emotions came up as well. He did mentioned that one fan speculated that that Kanae’s and Gin’s trip to Antarticite is to also seek closure towards Takako. It might be that they’re making a small memorial to Takako or might find her alive.

    • February 14, 2018 at 2:46 amAngelus

      Alive, after no news for three years? Surely the only way that could happen is if she’d been kidnapped by Antarcticans! Well, unless she somehow made it back to their base after everyone else had gone, with three years of food (OK, maybe she could’ve eaten penguins) and fuel but no means of contact. Wouldn’t every team member have had a personal locator beacon or SPOT tracker, though?

      • February 14, 2018 at 3:02 amGars

        If they were to find Takako alive I would flipp a table as that would undermine so much of the story and world that the show has built so far in favour of cheap feels. Antarctica is a truly leathal enviroment which even kills those that have the right equipment and training if they make mistakes or are simply unlucky. I have exentsive professional training in how to live, survive and fight in cold weather/artic conditions and I still find Antarctica a scary place even with the proper support and equipment.

      • February 14, 2018 at 3:20 amVelvet Scarlantina

        I am very much inclined to lean towards for them to make a memorial for Takako. Weather they find her remains or not, it’ll be the 2nd coming of the great delugr

      • February 14, 2018 at 1:36 pmStilts

        The show that has the presence of mind to joke about how its high school girl characters are not legal (which both would absolutely be made, and also hints at the very adult sensibilities that underpin this tale) isn’t going to have Takako be alive. Not unless she was a dirtbag mother, which isn’t how they’ve painted her. I won’t say it’s 100% impossible, but I’d bet against it heavily. A memorial, though, is entirely likely.

  • February 14, 2018 at 2:27 amAngelus

    They’re not legal. Toshio, you hear me?

    So no KoiAme crossovers here, then.

    • February 14, 2018 at 7:12 amIncognito

      Kanae: “They’re not legal. Toshio, you hear me?”
      Toshio: “Why’d you single me out?!”
      Me: “Because you already have harems in other alternate universes!”

      (Let’s see… Eromanga Sensei, Saekano, Trinity Seven, Absolute Duo, Campione, and Sword Art Online. May have missed a few though, feel free to fill in the rest.)

      Also, not like it’s gonna stop those H-doujin artists. I can already sense them drawing furiously now…

      P.S.: “They’re not Goto or Yajima in drag!” Gaki no Tsukai reference?

      • February 14, 2018 at 1:38 pmStilts

        Could be a reference, but more likely it’s just just Kanae making a joke. In a big group like this, there’s bound to be a couple of jokers who would dress up in bad drag in order to get a laugh. Or maybe it’s both!

    • February 14, 2018 at 10:52 pmSaburau

      I think Kondou the Tenchou is well aware of that too though.

  • February 14, 2018 at 4:19 amJeffers

    Next episode seems like they will show the areas around the famed roaring forties, furious fifties and shrieking sixties and how crazy sailing on those areas. OR there will be a storm that will delay their travel. That is how i interpret the “preview” for the next episode

  • February 14, 2018 at 6:37 amPokeNirvash

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2012.jpg

    Welp, looks like I’m obligated to watch this show now.

    Stilts edit: Link fixed.

    • February 14, 2018 at 6:42 amPokeNirvash

      Okay, two things: how do you post images in these comments, and how do you edit these comments, because I’m incapable of doing EITHER.

      • February 14, 2018 at 6:56 amJeffers

        what i do is just copy the image link itself and paste… no [img][\img] code.
        http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2007%20-%2034.jpg

      • February 14, 2018 at 6:58 amJeffers

        additional: editing comments, seems disabled except for the writers and the likes so if we need to add more, we have no choice but to post again. well unless i am missing something.

      • February 14, 2018 at 1:41 pmStilts

        Jeffers is correct, comments cannot be edited without an account, and only writers have accounts. It’s just how this site is set up, and it’d take a HUGE amount of changes to implement that. We probably need to optimize the dang thing for mobile before we get to that, lol

      • February 15, 2018 at 3:07 amAngelus

        Optimize it for mobile? I hope that doesn’t mean you might make it into an even narrower column in the centre of my UWHD monitor like SanCom.

      • February 15, 2018 at 3:27 amStilts

        We’d want to make it responsive based on the device, but overhauling this old-arse site enough to do that is beyond my pay grade. Hence why it’s been on the to-do list for a while, haha

  • February 14, 2018 at 6:59 amIncognito

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2001.jpg
    Huh, took me a while (and a rewatch) to realize that the pre-opening credits scene with the ship wasn’t an animation goof but actually a flashback. Also, I’m assuming that when the icebreaker was handed over to to civilian ownership, the ship was renamed the Penguin Manju.

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2014.jpg
    I can’t help but hear Nobue as Nyaruko (Haiyore! Nyaruko-san) having a (relatively sweet) lover’s quarrel with Mahiro over the phone. (More incoming seiyuu jokes…)

    Also, upon reading the news on ANN about the other new cast members who joined Yorimoi… Let’s just say Sheryl Nome, Kirito, and Kazuma are also part of the expedition.

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2017.jpg
    Hinata: “You think… (*Kimari turns off the lights*) Antarctic People!”
    Shirase and Yuzuki: “Gyaaah!!”

    Well, at least they’re not in the Centaur no Nayami-verse. I’d imagine them making that same reaction upon seeing snake-girl Sassassul for the first time. XD (Of all the things I could think of when the words “Antarctic People” are mentioned, it had to be that… Sassassul’s actually nice, though.)

    • February 14, 2018 at 7:10 amVelvet Scarlantina

      “Antartic people”…

      Antarticite? Phos? Cinnabar?

      Aside from finding Takako’s mom, hopefully they can recover Antarticite’s fragmants

    • February 14, 2018 at 1:43 pmStilts

      @Incognito

      They mentioned that the ship got renamed the Penguin Manju after the Shirase II got built in a previous episode, so you’re correct.

  • February 14, 2018 at 7:09 amVelvet Scarlantina

    • February 14, 2018 at 1:44 pmStilts

      Lol, naw, she just isn’t as into this sneaking around thing as the others. You can tell by that screencap, the next one (she’s not even trying to hide), or how she hasn’t bothered to cover her hair. Even she gets into it once they start gleaning some real info, though!

      • February 14, 2018 at 2:30 pmVelvet Scarlantina

        Aww Stilts… You ain’t getting my drift…

        She’s carrying the show’s “plots”

      • February 14, 2018 at 5:44 pmStilts

        Oh, I got it, I just wasn’t going to let you being lewd get in the way of the majesty of this character work! :3

  • February 14, 2018 at 7:27 amHanabira.Kage

    > Etopen

    We Saki now.

    • February 14, 2018 at 1:45 pmStilts

      *high fives*

    • February 15, 2018 at 1:28 amAngelus

      TSUMO: riichi, ippatsu, aurora, hypothermia, frostbite, Dora the explorer: 1300/2600

  • February 15, 2018 at 2:45 amPeanutbutter

    I can already see the ending. Just look at the title “A place further than the universe”.

    Hint: It’s not referring to Antarctica.

    Prepare your kleenex. The ending’s gonna be a real tearjerker.

  • February 16, 2018 at 1:01 amewok40k

    wow I am amazed…. most series would put a heroic view of expedition members, but this one down-to-earth portrayal of their quirks and weaknesses makes them much more… human?
    because it is human to fall, stumble, and despite all of this to reach for the stars, and sometimes even succeed
    the little pieces of comedy strewn about the episode are perfect counterbalance to the almost grim determination of the expedition members, with shadow of deceased Takako hanging above them…
    this series makes me remeber Made in Abyss – though in this, much more realistic “exploration” environment we definitely have a team instead of pairt of plucky adventurer kids.
    finally preview shows first true obstacle they will face
    “roaring forties and howling fifties”
    and this is not referring to any single women, but southern latitudes infamous for bad storms
    brace for rough seas!

  • February 16, 2018 at 4:04 pmRenaSayers

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