「星空 / 戦争」 (Hoshizora / Sensou)
“Starry Sky / War”
Girls, post-apocalypse, and a dash of slice of life: welcome to Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou. This was one of the shows I was most looking forward to this season, having a cute main duo, wonderful focus on atmosphere, and a subtle, yet defined emphasis on philosophical introspection. Needless to say the manga won me over hard and so far at least it looks like the anime will easily do the same.
Before getting to the good (and bad), the important thing to remember is that SSR at its core is a slice of life. As the handy dandy RC preview states there is little in way of actual “story” here: it’s just two girls exploring the world around them. Sure we have some measure of overarching plot (i.e. exploring things, watching Yuu (Kubo Yurkia) adorably nom on stuff), but SSR is more 4-koma “episodic” than arc-based, sticking to daily shenanigans rather than heading down the well-trodden save the world path. Do not expect those flashbacks and hints of the past to ever be more than flavouring, SSR (at least for the current translation) firmly sticks to lightheartedness and never ventures far into the realm of pain and suffering. The show may look and feel like Made in Abyss, but unlike that tremendous tearjerker, its darkness remains locked beneath the surface of musing over chocolate and war. Expect lots of similar trains of thought as the girls keep trundling forward.
Provided one can get past every inexplicable manner of Kettenkrad, Chi-Ha (and Panzer III), Karabiner 98k, and patented American minigun present though, there’s quite a bit of slice of life to enjoy with SSR. Our duo in Chi (Minase Inori) and Yuu is case in point, having the chemistry down pat and unique personalities to help differentiate them. I imagine Yuu will win over the most here, between her obsession with anything edible (and not) and a clear no sh*ts given attitude regarding life in general, but Chi thankfully retains the stoic rationalism and humorous phobia that will come up later. While I’m not entirely sold on Chi’s voice acting just yet (I imagined something a bit more lively), considering how well White Fox has done with the backgrounds and atmosphere so far (not to mention the bubbly moeblob art), such nitpickings quickly become mute. Plus we also have that fantastic soundtrack to help smoothen over the bumps, which might just give Made in Abyss a run for its money. Healing anime in the making this certainly looks to be.
Having pleasantly laid out its story and given a good taste of what to look forward to, SSR is ready and raring to get this slice of party started. With two chapters a week likely to be adapted and plenty of pre-existing material to work with, the fun is just getting started as this world is slowly revealed. It may not be the most “exciting” anime to ever grace our screens, but among fall’s offerings SSR has the best chance at stimulating our minds and encouraging our thoughts. Certainly hard asking for more as a bit of laid back weekday wind down.