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« Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho – 12

Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho – 13 (END)

「きっとまた旅に出る」 (Kitto Mata Tabi ni Deru)
“We’ll Go On Another Journey Someday”

Wow. That is how you do a finale of an anime. It’s a good thing they skipped the OP, because so much happened this episode. Let’s see if I can do it any sort of justice, because there’s a ton to talk about just in this last episode—and then the finale impressions below. Let’s get to it.

As far as story structure goes, this is what the pros call “Taking a victory lap,” or possibly “Spiking the ball.” (Note: no one says that but me.) There wasn’t much additional character development, nor was the 50,000ft synopsis anything other than what we expected, i.e. “The girls leave Antarctica and go home.” What this episode did was tie a bow on everything, and let us luxuriate in the journey these girls took. (Compare this to the end of ReLIFE, where there was no such luxuriating time.) It was about showing how far they’d come, letting them do things they’d always wanted to do, and was filled with touching moment after touching moment. Meaningful haircuts! Stirring speeches! This was a weapons-grade salvo right to the feels, and I found the screen getting blurry more times this episode than any others. I can’t even make an onion joke! It was happy tears all the way down. This was the YoriMoi team running up the score, and it was absolutely the perfect thing to do.

That’s because what this episode really was, was a celebration. That sounds indulgent, and it is! But it was absolutely the best thing they could have done. There are a few reasons for that, but the biggest is that it’s earned. The climax of the final main character’s story, and of the series’ most thorny arc, was last episode; Hinata, Yuzuki, and Kimari all had theirs earlier (episode 11, 10, and 1 or 5, respectively). We had gone through all sorts of trials with these characters, and they had truly earned the confidence and expertise they were showing by the end. This indulgence wasn’t an extravagance; it wasn’t a silly fanservice episode mid-season when there was still plot work to do. This long goodbye was about celebrating all the things that made this series great, in the way the final battle at the end of The Avengers was a celebration of pulling the whole crazy experiment off. That’s why we got four insert songs. That’s why we got call backs to damn near everything. The girls earned it, and so did we.

The other thing this episode was about was promise. Promise of the future, as symbolized (to the other expedition members) by the high school girls, and of the promise of girls’ own futures to themselves. Kimari saying that they should stick around through the winter was, of course, silly; the writers spent the right amount of time on that, which is not much. Kimari knew she was being silly, she was just voicing what they all felt—that they didn’t want it to end. That’s why their promises to each other—Kimari with her serious question, and Shirase with her serious answer—started the tearducts working. That extended through to the end of the episode, when they were narrating about journeys and what you learn. But these girls also symbolized so much promise to the expedition members. Why do you think everyone was crying as they left? Because they were part of the team, certainly, but also because of the promise their presences in Antarctica entails. It’s not even that the expedition members saw themselves in the girls, though there might have been that. It’s that these people, who sacrifice so much (jobs, relationships, stability, and sometimes their lives) to work in this place they love, are able to glimpse the bright future these girls represent. I’m probably just rambling at this point. There’s so much in this episode alone.

Shirase has healed. With the cloud lifted from her heart, she is finally able to smile—though she still gets nervous about public speaking when she lets herself think too much. Yuzuki got to be reminded once again that, even here on Antarctica, people are looking forward to her drama. Every interaction with Gin was lovely, and Shirase giving her Takako’s laptop was cheesy in the best of ways. It also opened up the scene where I damn near lost it completely, when Gin noticed the unsent email Takako had meant to send Shirase. The girls seeing the aurora on their last day was just perfect, right? Impossibly perfect, but I don’t care. This is our victory lap. And Gin sending along that final message, about the aurora—the final thing Takako will say to her daughter, and perhaps, one of the final things she saw—I mean, jeez. And Shirase smiled. She can smile! This episode was beautiful.

But it saved one of the best moments for last. In between all the tearful reunions and happy moments, they left us with one more whammy. Kimari texts Megumi, only to find that she’s not there—she’s in the Arctic. At the end of an episode where happy tears were gripping me, I let loose a big ol’ belly laugh at that. It turns out there was one other character who had an arc, it just happened mostly off screen. In order to be worthy of her friend, Megumi went to the top of the planet. Kimari opened the door to a world with a better Megu, and to Megumi’s credit, she stepped through that door. It was so cheeky, but Megumi was smiling at the end. A good story changes people. The characters, obviously, but in its audience too. I like the messages YoriMoi is telling us. Let’s talk about that more in the final impressions below.

Random thoughts:

  • No matter the world, HanaKana characters are good at mahjong. Those Shirase is a good bit more ruthless than Kuro-chan, for sure!
  • Only part I can’t really comment on is Shirase leaving the 1 million yen ($9470 at current rates!) in Antarctica. I found it pleasantly cheeky, but I also can’t stop from thinking about how much time that would buy me to write books, so probably best if I just leave that one where it is.
  • She brought some of Antarctica back for her mom. I only just realized that and now I might have to have another cry neeeeeh!

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: Book 3 Progress Report.

Epilogue:

Final Impressions

I had a sneaking suspicion that Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho might be good. In my preview I focused a lot on Ishizuka Atsuko’s directing, and how her amazing track record (along with Hanada Jukki on series comp) made me sit up and pay attention when the premise didn’t grab me. Not to toot my own horn too much (note: some tooting will happen), but this was my called shot. I thought if anything would be a dark horse this season, this would be the one. I also said, “… characters striving for a grand goal is strong fodder for a good story.”

Boy, how right I was. (Horn tooting over.)

YoriMoi is quite possibly one of my top five anime of all time. And I’ve seen a few anime. I’d have to do the math to give you an exact number, but I can’t imagine it being less than top ten. I know I say this after having just seen the finale, and that these feelings do fade, but I’ve suspected this would be the case for a while now, if the series continued to avoid faltering. Not only did it do that, it kept exceeding expectations. That’s a tough feat when expectations get as high as they were by mid-season, but Ishizuka-san and her team kept managing it. This was a stunningly well told story throughout.

There are so many reasons why this series worked so well. One of them is its relationship to its premise. “High school girls go to Antarctica” isn’t especially compelling, but it takes this premise and treats it seriously. For a near-reality story like this—as opposed to crazy sci-fi or bonkers fantasy—that’s important. There’s basically only one change between the real world and this world—the Shirase I was sold to civilians—and it clearly approaches the difficulties of getting four high schoolers on a boat to Antarctica. That’s typified in how they tried to buy their way onto the expedition—and how it didn’t work. Even then, getting them on the boat was probably the shakiest part of the whole series, since it required the writers to introduce a golden opportunity in the form of Yuzuki. That and Hinata’s hasty decision to join in on the quest are about the weakest elements of the whole series, and they don’t even make for bad episodes! They’re minor issues at worst. That’s stunning in and of itself.

Another thing this series does really well is accurately depict what it’s like to be on an expedition to Antarctica. Some of the scenes we saw were shot-for-shot recreations of actual pictures or film of Antarctic expeditions. Basically, any time they were outside refueling or working on an experiment or cleaning, it was faithfully reproduced from real Antarctic images. Only two elements—the civilian expedition and the high school girls in Antarctica—are fantasy. Everything else is extremely faithful to the truth. The same is true of the episode in Singapore. It shows an attention to detail that you can use as a selling point to convince your friends to watch. Someone who cares enough to get all the little details right will probably care enough about the big story beats. And convince all your friends! Please. I want the industry to make more shows like this.

But the biggest reason this show is so damn good is the characters. Kimari, Shirase, Hinata, and Yuzuki all have their own arcs throughout the story, and they have a collective arc too—like Shirase says in the finale, Antarctica is a place “where you have no choice but to overcome things with your team, with nothing else to get in the way.” All the Antarctica stuff matters, but the writers also picked a premise they thought they could work with—characters striving for a grand goal is strong fodder for a good story, right?—and then crafted characters who would both not only be the type of people who would opt into this journey for one reason or another, but who would grow and change through their experiences there.

Kimari’s arc is early. The very act of deciding to do something, rather than continuing to drift through life, is her big decision point, and the fact that she keeps not giving up culminates in her victory (of a sort) when Megumi comes clean about spreading rumors and tries to break up as friends. (That Kimari doesn’t accept the break up speaks volumes about her as a person.)

Yuzuki’s is all wrapped around how her job has prevented her from making real friends, and if the writers hadn’t followed this thread through to its conclusion, it would have been incredibly frustrating that they used this to get the girls on the boat in episode three. But they did, with Yuzuki’s uncertainty and naivete in friendship coming up many times, until it culminated in a delightfully messy dissertation on the nature of friendship.

Hinata’s had to do with how much she doesn’t like to be a burden, doesn’t like others to worry about her, and the scars she gained from her so-called friends betraying her in the past. Hinata is an incredibly difficult character to write because she’s naturally predisposed to defuse conflicts, which is why the writers were so wise to often pair her with the uber-stubborn Shirase, who barreled through her defenses eventually. Hinata’s anger in episode 11 was so true, and Shirase’s big speech that led to Hinata breaking down in tears was catnip to my soul.

And then there was Shirase. She in some ways had the most classic arc, centered as it was around the more typical dramatic fodder of a dead parent. Her quest was also classic: My mother died doing X? I’m going to go there and figure out why, to get closure. “Classic” doesn’t mean “cliché,” though, and Ishizuka-san’s team executed the climax well. What I found most impressive was how many layers they gave to Shirase throughout the story—stubborn, mean, wild, nervous, impulsive, implacable—so that, when she finally reaches closure and seemingly changes in the final episode, it all works. All of that was in her all along. It was just twisted, until she could finally begin to heal.

These characters were tailor made for this story. That might seem an obvious move, but that’s actually really hard to do; trust me, I’ve tried. This is the promise of original anime: that they’ll tell a story we’ve never seen before that’s fit specifically for this medium, and designed to fit the number of episodes they have. There was no wasted space in this series—it was neither too long nor too short. The writers made it so. Even all the secondary and minor characters were full of personality—wise Kanae, forceful Yumiko, aloof Yume, weepy Nobue, flighty Hanami, hopeless Toshio, silent Dai, taciturn Gin—and Megumi even had a stealth arc off screen. Hell, Takako even ended up being a huge presence in the story, not just as “Shirase’s mom” but as a character in her own right, and that’s a pretty smooth trick considering she was dead before we arrived. (She reminds me of Shiro of Ao no Exorcist in a way, in the outsized impact she had despite being dead for most or all of the series.) It all really gives you the feeling of a fully realized world. There’s that attention to detail I was talking about earlier. I get the feeling that the writers had so much other content they could have used, but they didn’t. They didn’t try to stuff. They made sure they needed each of the thirteen episodes to tell their story, and then they filled in any small pockets with cool Antarctica stuff.

Most of all, what I love about Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho is the messages it conveys. Though not without its dark points—one of the main character’s mothers is dead, fer crissakes—this is a story with a relentlessly optimistic worldview. It shows us that persistent effort can be rewarded, that journeys are worth taking, and that taking that first step can lead to amazing things. It shows us the right kinds of friends to be—to be honest and open, to be stern about failures and forgiving of mistakes, and to defend those friends against people who would hurt them, even if it means being a Shirase-level jerk. (That’s the best kind of jerk to be.) It shows that it’s okay to have dark, petty feelings, and that sometimes, “In you face!” will take you much farther than high falutin ideals. It even shows, with Megu’s picture in this last episode, that living your best life can lead to those around you climbing to greater heights themselves.

I love this series deeply, and I wish I had watched it when I was a freshman in high school. I was a cynical little bastard, far more so than I am now, because I hadn’t yet realized that calling myself a “realist” actually meant I was a cynic who didn’t want to admit it. I have a feeling that, had I seen something like this—or Sakurasou, or a handful of other stories that have shaped my outlook—I may have done a few things differently. Great art can do that—it not only gives you something to think about, but can change you for the better, like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series did for me. To take a grand journey, and learn more of what life has to offer while still young… I’ve taken a few of those journeys, and they’re grand. Nothing so impressive as an expedition to Antarctica, of course. But still. If only.

I tell you what though, if I knew an anime-curious high schooler, or am related to one in the future, I’ll be making sure this series gets in front of their eyeballs. This was a marvelous story, from start to finish, which is why I’ve written a small novella on it. The bottom line is this: They took a premise that’s better than we thought it was, characters that were tailor made for the situation, and told a story so breathtaking that it kept exceeding expectations up to the last episode. I laughed. I cried. I felt more optimistic because this story now resides in my head.

Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho is one of my favorite anime of all time. I couldn’t place it exactly right now, but definitely within the top ten, and quite likely within the top five. AOTS certainly, AOTY quite possibly. We’ll have to see. What I know is that you should watch it, all your friends should watch it, and any self-respecting purveyor of fine character-focused coming-of-age dramas should watch it. It’s one of a kind, and we’re lucky to have it.

March 28, 2018 at 3:31 am
64 comments »
  • March 28, 2018 at 3:39 amFabio

    I want more.
    One season wasn’t enough.

    • March 28, 2018 at 3:46 amStilts

      I disagree. This story is done. If the crew thinks of another story where these are the BEST possible characters to tell it, I’m all in for another season, but otherwise I’d rather them make something new again. It worked out REALLY well this time. If Ishizuka and Hanada work on basically anything, I’ll watch it. I’d rather have them tailor make the whole tapestry again.

      • March 28, 2018 at 6:27 amJames

        I disagree, second season would work, but it would have to be a 10 year time skip where our high school girls are the same age as the current adult expedition, it could have a more mature approach to it, with a possible plot twist where they find her mother’s body, for some real drama and tears.

      • March 28, 2018 at 7:03 amCrimson7

        Yep. The story is set. It’s okay for things to end. Just remember X-Men 3 and Spider-Man 3. I’d rather not risk this series turning into something like that.

      • March 28, 2018 at 1:20 pmSmokex365

        I agree. We don’t need another season but I wouldn’t mind a OVA or two. One covering things after their return. Graduation, their future plans and reconciliations. maybe end it with them years later returning to Antarctica together (maybe with some additions) after having studied and grown. Maybe even pass the torch to another generation by welcoming a new batch of high schoolers. Or escorting the materials for the observatory.

        A second season is probably too much (unless they took the passing the torch route) but a check-in would be great.

      • March 28, 2018 at 1:26 pmStilts

        An OVA could be great. That’d be more running up the score (I wouldn’t time skip forward with it)—but that’s what OVAs are for, right? :D

      • April 8, 2018 at 7:15 pmRWBY

        i know they will never make a continuation in cartoon style, but there is a comic being released. unless all the comic is gonna do is just retell the story, usually the comics make another path and continue the story after the cartoon finished; by going back and retelling the episodes we know and then make a new chapter after the anime. – question i have for the writers is what will the manga do?

    • March 28, 2018 at 4:58 amsailor80

      Megumi’s trip might be a good spinoff.

    • March 28, 2018 at 5:37 amIncognito

      Funnily enough, I can’t help but be reminded of the so-called “Studio Madhouse curse”, where an anime they produce never gets a second season.

      This is one of the few times where I won’t mind that curse, as Yorimoi feels complete as it is.

      (I’ll try not to hold my breath on Madhouse changing their mind and agreeing to work on season 2 of One-Punch Man, though.)

      • March 28, 2018 at 8:43 pmAoihoshikage

        Studio Madhouse curse indeed. Wasn’t there NGNL references splattered all over the first few episodes. Talk about trolling to the fullest. Then again, Ishizuka Atsuko also directed NGNL, so I’m sensing another pattern here…

  • March 28, 2018 at 4:24 amAnt

    A great end fitting for the series. There’s nothing more O can say gor this.

  • March 28, 2018 at 5:12 amAngelus

    So last week, it was:

    Me: “They’ve left themselves a hard act to follow for the final episode, though.”
    Stilts: “I’m not worried.”

    And thankfully Stilts was right. It was a pretty much perfect end, letting us down gently and yet with a few little extra bits thrown in towards the end (the email and the Arctic trip).

    A second season? I don’t think that would work at all. Although Shirase is definitely going back, having left her “coin in the fountain” (well, OK, a million yen in a big freezer), and the other girls want to as well to some degree or other, but their first journey was so perfectly shaped and framed that even if you tried making a second season it would be a completely different show altogether.

    • March 28, 2018 at 2:37 pmStilts

      That’s what I like to hear. “Stilts was right.” Say it again ^____^

  • March 28, 2018 at 5:18 amXiV

    I will remember this.

    If and when I ever have doubts about myself, If I become overwhelmed with fear of the possibility of negative outcomes, If I become paralyzed to take initiative from over analyzing my options, or if I become discouraged from taking on new challenges and opportunities, I will remember this anime.

    I will remember Shirase’s determination.
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2022.jpg

    I will remember Hinata’s independence.
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2056.jpg

    I will remember Yuzuki’s loyalty.
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2037.jpg

    I will remember Mari’s optimism.
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2010.jpg

    I will remember A Place Further than the Universe.
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2029.jpg

    And I hope you do too as well.
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2045.jpg

    “Best wishes for your life’s journey!”

    • March 29, 2018 at 2:23 amStilts

      Well said, and with a lot fewer words than I used, haha!

  • March 28, 2018 at 5:22 amIncognito

    After putting me through the wringer with its tear-jerky yet heartwarming moments, wowing me with its gorgeously drawn scenery (which reminded me of some episodes of Lonely Planet–a.k.a.: Globe Trekker and Pilot Guides), and impressing me with its well-written characters, Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho leaves me with an honest-to-goodness satisfied smile on my face.

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    Way to go, KazumaDai! Never mind that you had to get a little push from KiritoToshio. XD

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2045.jpg
    “Yuzuki, Shirase, Hinata and Kimari can’t be this cute!”
    Jokes aside, I’m honestly gonna miss these four… *sniffles* Best girls, all of them. And best of luck in their future journeys!

  • March 28, 2018 at 5:45 amjovvi

    Aaah this was so nice and so satisfying! I try recommend it to friends but they only ever look at it in a superficial way as a ‘girls doing cute things’ series. Ah well, maybe one day. until then, I’m awfully glad I got to watch it!

  • March 28, 2018 at 5:58 amJeffers

    i wish we get an OVA or two that shows what happens IN DETAIL after they have returned and a return to antartica trip which is to me, that would be the ultimate best ending. but well all i can do is just wish. anyway agree with stilts… this anime is a strong contender if not the sure winner for the anime of the season *hands down*. it can also definitely compete for the anime of the year too if the next seasons came in lacking. another anime has ended this and yuru camp… I WILL FOREVER MISS THEM. they will be a part of my otaku life until i die.

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%2022.jpg
    we must protect that smile.

    —- now, time to start saving 60k USD for my own trip to antartica and pursue my dream too (and maybe i will find the 1M yen that shirase left :D).

  • March 28, 2018 at 6:41 amkl

    Young people should really watch this and be inspired. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, as well as regrets in life, because these are the things that make us a better person. At least, this story had inspired me to keep on trying even something may sound stupid to the others before you success.

    • March 28, 2018 at 2:39 pmStilts

      Here here!

  • March 28, 2018 at 7:57 amsailor80

    Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho 2-Shirase’s Treasure

  • March 28, 2018 at 8:03 amArche

    This anime was such a treasure. It built up and concluded its story beautifully and it’s hard to say this doesn’t have the potential to become one of my favorites. My favorite aspect was how the girls spoke to each other. They were blunt, they were honest, they were snarky, they helped each other and at times laughed at each other. It all made me feel like we were hearing actual teenagers converse.

    • March 28, 2018 at 2:45 pmStilts

      Here here! I talked about how good the character work was, but the dialogue was spot on as well. It was difficult and happy and easy and familiar all at the same time. But most of all, it was natural. They never betrayed character for a second. It was really good.

  • March 28, 2018 at 8:15 amPanino Manino

    Top anime betrayal at the very end.

  • March 28, 2018 at 8:19 amSaburau

    Simply put, Yorimoi DARES other anime series which come later in this year into a race of the best series of the year.
    And probably wins it all.
    An anime series this good is soooo hard to come by.

  • March 28, 2018 at 9:36 amZuaques

    I love this anime! And I’ll keep loving it, for sure

    Because of the story, but also because of the small details that show how much care was put to make it. Don’t forget to mention the great opening sequence, filled with details and technically superb.
    And the soundtrack, with special mention to the ending song and that insert from Ep. 1, ハルカトオク, by Saya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tqz1EstJi8

  • March 28, 2018 at 10:43 amKeep Refrigerated

    The review and final impressions were spot on (bonus points for “catnip to my soul). I had a different reaction to the episode as in no blurry screen. When Shirase cut her hair, I felt like she had let go and grabbed on at the same time, but in a good way. She was good with it, so, I’m good with it. Anyway, after the emotional thumping at the end of ep.12, the bonding has been complete and time for some smiles. Another vote for leave the show as is.

    Also, a nod to the music. Well done overall and I especially liked the “One Step” character song. Good to see a couple of Vocaloid rockers (Yuyoyuppe and Yairi) collaborate.

    • March 28, 2018 at 2:47 pmStilts

      Happy tears, Fridge. It was happy tears the whole episode.

      And swiftly agreed on the music! I forgot to talk about that, but it’s reeeeeally good. The ED in particular might join Days of Dash as one of the songs I most often use to pep up my spirit.

  • March 28, 2018 at 11:49 amqwert

    I managed to keep myself from choking up through the entire god damn episode until that picture of Megumi popped up at the last second and I just broke out crying and laughing at the same time.

  • March 28, 2018 at 2:25 pmGars

    “But they stink! But I am so happy! But…”
    Be carefull what you wish for Shirase, you might get it…That look of panic mixed with joy together with Hinata’s gleeful exploitation of the situation had me in stiches. It was a good way to end the journey that was Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho, with a real victory lap as you put it Stilts together with the girls and the rest of the expedition.

    I will admit that after a strong start my interest in Yorimo weakened a bit the middle but still it and YuruCamp became the two shows I always made time for this season. An boy am I glad that stayed on to the end. This ends up on my top 10 list as a good story told very well indeed, at times almost too well. (I never expected it to hit so hard with the feels, but the mark of a good story is that it will touch your heart regardless if it is told through a book, an anime, a game or a movie. )

    I would have like the show to get one or two more episodes so that we could see the Antarctic adventures hinted at in the Op, it is not fair to tease us an entire season and then show nothing.

    • March 28, 2018 at 2:54 pmStilts

      Ahhh, but they did show us. In the OP. That was the trick—they knew they wouldn’t have time, so they showed us there. Or maybe it’s that they knew those scenes wouldn’t hold enough interest if they went into them in detail, but showing a quick bite would work great. It reminds me of Vonnegut talking about his author character Kilgore Trout, when he said:

      “… but he said, ‘You know, the problem with science-fiction? It’s much more fun to hear someone tell the story of the book than to read the story itself.’ And it’s true: If you paraphrase a science-fiction story, it comes out as a very elegant joke, and it’s over in a minute or so. It’s a tedious business to read all the surrounding material. So I started summarising [them], and I suppose I’ve now summarised 50 novels I will never have to write, and spared people the reading of them.”

      If the story of Kimari getting a suntan isn’t interesting outside of the jokes when she has it, don’t show us that. Just summarize! I thought that part worked really well.

  • March 28, 2018 at 3:47 pmHikarub

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2055.jpg

    I’d love to know what this article actually says. Too bad I can’t read Japanese!!

    A great series, and a wonderful end. I’ll miss this anime for sure!

    • March 28, 2018 at 6:21 pmStilts

      What it says is one thing. What’s it’s saying is clear enough: that Hinata’s old boss wants to support her. D’aaawwww!

  • March 28, 2018 at 5:10 pmChoya

    “No mother, it’s just the southern lights.”

    What a great show this was. After all this time with the cast, it’s hard to walk away from it, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Getting to know and understand the girls’ motivations, desires, and struggles was really hard-hitting on an emotional level, but it’s satisfying to see how they are all able to find fulfillment and catharsis from their trip to Antarctica.

    I’m especially going to miss Shirase and Hinata since they were both fleshed out very well, had real heart to their stories, and were overall alot of fun to see having great times. Gin was also amazing with the backstory she held with her as the one adult who had the closest relationship with Shirase’s mom ultimately learning herself how to be able to preserve her memory without the lingering devastation from it. I teared up during the episode before this, but this finale really smoothed it all over by reminding us about what everyone was able to get from the trip.

    I would confidently say that this is definitely one of the best shows this season. I loved Yuru Camp, PTE, Takagi, but Yorimo is in a league of its own. It’s able to tell such a wonderful cohesive story with only 13 episodes to work with and not a second was wasted. You got the feeling that you were really getting to know everyone in this short span of time, and wanted to cheer for them as they all came together on this journey to face off against their own personal hardships and tell them to piss off. The finale left on such a good note too with everyone finding their sense of purpose through their friendship and journey setting them back in the right direction. You want more, but it told such a great plot all at once that they’ve shown all you need to see.

    It’s easy to understand and feel-good yet also hits like a brick when the characters have to confront their pain. It’s like ripping off a bandage; the wound is still there and it hurts to rip off, but it needs to happen to properly heal. Amazing show, 10 adorable penguins out of 10!

  • March 28, 2018 at 5:14 pmstarss

    Stealthy Beyond-The-Boundary diss! :D

    • March 28, 2018 at 6:24 pmStilts

      I will always take a chance to dunk on Kyoukai no Kanata, and will manufacture one on occasion as well :D

  • March 28, 2018 at 5:49 pmTaiakun

    Following with the Saki parallels, Shirase was having a penguin plushie on her lap like Nodoka does, except that it is not supporting assets of significant sizes ^_-

    Joking~ But yeah this is definitely one of the best anime series I have seen in a while!

    • March 28, 2018 at 6:25 pmStilts

      The animators knew exactly what they were doing >:3 But it works so well since she really loves penguins! So good~

  • March 28, 2018 at 7:58 pmBakapooru

    At first, when reading RC’s season preview, I thought this would be at least a decent a series (for me) because it’s slice of life. But, after reading the preview a second time, I noticed that they’re using three popular seiyuu and a veteran. That by itself appears to me that the production staff is going to make a quality product. Otherwise, they would just use no-name, less experienced seiyuu.

  • March 28, 2018 at 8:23 pmSkarfang81

    Is it too early to call anime of the year? Cause I think we already have it.

    Like Stilts this series is now one of my favourite anime’s ever. Every week was perfect, the writers did a fantastic job of making a whole cast of main characters feel like main characters, and we got to watch the life journey of how 4 slightly broken girls grow up in a place furthest from the universe.

    Going to go find out whos cutting these onions in my house now *sniff*

    • March 28, 2018 at 8:56 pmAoihoshikage

      They are called Ninja onion cutters. You will never find them. Believe me, they sneak into your room to cut onions during these types of shows and leave before you know it.

      Jokes aside, I’m curious to see an Anime later this year capable of toppling Yorimoi. I personally really enjoyed Yuru Camp and Violet Evergarden this season, but Yorimoi came out ahead in my book. In any case, I’m happy to see more and more Anime gems. It’s shows like Yorimoi that make me an Anime fan for life.

  • March 29, 2018 at 12:24 amSMinstrel

    I expected a great closure befitting this great series, but I never expect it to exceed all my expectations, stir up so much emotion, and bring me a satisfying closure.

  • March 29, 2018 at 1:11 amHenrietta Brix

    Perfect ending to a perfect series. Never before I feel so contented

  • March 29, 2018 at 2:48 amThe suffocated

    Unlike Stilts, when I learnt that Hanada Jukki was involved, I was a bit skeptical of the quality of the show. As a series composer, Hanada had many great works, but as a script writer, his track record is not that shiny and I think some of his works are pretty lame (Railgun S immediately comes to mind). I am glad that Sora Yori mo Too Basho turned out to be a gem.

    And I really appreciate that the Madhouse didn’t turn the expedition into an action adventure. We need some drama, but it would be cheap if this became a rescue show or Perfect Storm.

    • March 29, 2018 at 12:15 pmStilts

      For me, it was Ishizuka Atsuko AND Hanada Jukki AND Madhouse that made me sit up and pay attention. Mostly Ishizuka-san, but her having a series composer she’d worked to with great effect before (No Game No Life) lessened the chances of problems in my eyes. Though I’d push back on Railgun S not being good, because the Sisters arc was amazing! (Though of course that was manga material, and the anime original stuff was shifty, but trying to write good filler without changing anything in the main story is sorta hard.)

      Totally agree on Perfect Storm. That would have been such a shame.

  • March 29, 2018 at 6:04 amRedjuice Fan

    This shows has a lot of praise, and i havent been following it. Now that it ends though…..

    • March 29, 2018 at 12:16 pmStilts

      YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO

  • March 29, 2018 at 10:06 amOnion Warrior

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2043.jpg
    A Place Further than the Universe, after 12 weeks of airing now the journey is finally over. Goodbye my final episode. No ending is more fitting than this one, all wrapped up oh-so nicely in a warm muffler sending good vibe in your small heart. It wasnt a sad tears this week, but rather a fine farewell. I wont forget how i first fell in love with this series as the first trailer was out last year, adapted by Madhouse and boy i had high hope for this show. Did it deliver to the end of the bargain? Yes hell it did, to a place further than the universe, to the depth of my warm pumping tiny heart. You made me cried like a monster last week with Shirase’s closure, and tonight i made sure im ready for the feels; and hell yes i prevailed as my eyes were totally hooked up with the gorgeous sceneries along the 22 minutes. It was captivating, breathtaking gorgeous panoramas and dang those insert soundtracks!

    • March 29, 2018 at 10:11 amOnion Warrior

      After Yuru Camp’s ending last week, now its YoriBasho’s turn. Time to bid this heartwarming anime a good goodbye. Thank you Madhouse for animating this coming-of-age anime, thank you all the talented seiyuus, thank you to the production commitee, thank you Project-Yoribasho, thank you Antartica for the beautiful visuals, thank you Winter 2018 for this wonderful anime and thank you Stilts for blogging this! Like i said in my other posts, Winter 2018 lineup is definitely my favorite season of all. We have good female characters in most of the lineup, good and strong group of girls that it almost felt like a feminist season woot woot!
      http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2022.jpg
      /Just realize my text got cut in my first comment so im adding them here :P

      • March 29, 2018 at 12:18 pmStilts

        I’ll drink to that. Cheers!

      • March 30, 2018 at 6:36 amonion warrior

        Nao X Kae FOREVER! Kanpai! XD

  • March 30, 2018 at 6:41 pmRenaSayers

    It’s titles like this which makes me doubt future Anime. When you have something as well developed as Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho I kind of go, I don’t want to watch something different, I wanna continuously watch reruns of this Anime on weekends, after work, when I’m bored. I’m glad Shirase finally can move on, the ending to the last episode brought tears to my eyes, I was going to bed crying.

    I should Google any light novels for Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho…

    • March 31, 2018 at 1:20 amStilts

      Ah, but if you don’t try other series, you’ll never find the next Yorimoi. That’s the rub, eh? And this was an original, so there are no novels, light or otherwise. Just have to try the new season of anime here in a week :)

      • March 31, 2018 at 12:35 pmRenaSayers

        I’ll give them a try, new titles. But if I don’t like em (Not including Amachu) I will rewatch Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho.

  • March 31, 2018 at 9:28 amyoloalchemist

    It’s been a long time since an anime’s story felt natural, fun, and uplifting all at the same time. That’a a feat few anime can achieve nowadays, and future anime of all kinds can stand to learn from. Thank you to everyone who made this piece of greatness, and thank you Stilts for covering it.

    • April 2, 2018 at 12:44 pmStilts

      And thank you for watching and reading along!

  • March 31, 2018 at 10:36 amMcL

    After listening to the soundtrack for a few days, I am actually baffled that the creators didn’t use it more often as they could have. I always thought the soundtrack-not including the insert songs, was this anime’s weakness compared to everything else about it. Well I am wrong, listening to the soundtrack, I am always thinking, “when did they use this!?”, why the hell didn’t they use this instead playing this insert song!?”, but oh well.

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2060.jpg

    I love the insert songs, but they were used at least 3 times! I wish they were used only ONCE for maximum effect. Then again I am nitpicking here.

    • April 2, 2018 at 12:55 pmStilts

      This isn’t a series where the soundtrack should have had a huge presence most of the time. There are some shows like that—Kyoukaisen comes roaring to mind, since it’s such a larger-than-life story, as does Shingeki no Kyojin for similar reasons—but Yorimoi is more grounded, and therefore the soundtrack shouldn’t have taken emphasis away from the characters most of the time.

      They actually made good use of silence or low ambient noise several times (which shows the storytellers’ confidence, and effectively so), so the sountrack was well used. I haven’t listened to the full OST, so I can’t opine on any of the music there, but unless they were swapping in other music for the insert songs when those were playing to emphasize a scene (which was the time it was appropriate for the soundtrack to pull some attention, and were used well), I wouldn’t be in favor. Though even then, having both the music + the singing is often most effective in those moments.

  • April 2, 2018 at 12:08 pmAnon.

    Someone made this and uploaded it on Youtube. It pretty much shows alot of the activities of the Shirase in reality. Quite fasinating indeed.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aFE2_l1N5qg

  • April 2, 2018 at 10:43 pmAureus

    I gotta say, I’m very pleased this show ended up as good as it did. It’s almost incumbent of modern anime to flub the ending, and they absolutely nailed it. Good on you Madhouse.

    • April 2, 2018 at 10:47 pmAureus

      Also forgot to say,
      If you told me when the year started that my Anime of the Year candidate was going to be a show about four high school girls going on a trip, I would have told you that you were bonkers… but yet here we are.

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