「パーシャル友情」 (Paasharu Yuujou)
“Partial Friendship”

Thematically, this is my favorite episode of the series so far. That’s not to say it’s my favorite episode period, or even that I think it’s the best. Those are besides the point. It’s that the theme this episode hammers at is one of my favorites: friendship. And it gets at it well.

I’m always fascinated by friendship. I’m a hopeless romantic too, so a love story is lovely, and family—well, family is great, I’m just not a very family-focused guy. It’s friendship that most bewitches me, because people are not born friends. Friends are chosen. They’re made and kept through effort. Friendship is the original meritocracy, one of the few human interactions that’s always had to be earned. There are many flavors of human relationships, and some people will call others their friend when they don’t really like them all that much, but then they aren’t truly friends. They’re acquaintances, or close acquaintances at best. Friendship is always earned.

So how do you explain friendship to someone who’s never really had friends before?

It’s a tricky question, and I’m glad the girls struggled so much to define it. That’s right and proper. Friendship isn’t as easy to delineate as parents or spouses, as Shirase accurately picks out. To me, friendship is about making shared interests feeding into shared history, and about making the time to spend with one another—though it really depends. I have friends I talk to all the time. I have friends I can not see for years and then pick things right back up like nothing happened. It all depends. That’s what makes friendship so hard to nail down.

That’s why I’m so happy with how the question was approached in this episode. Not only that it took a full episode for them to arrive at a definition they kind of liked, but because they showed friendship even while Yuzuki was trying to understand it. It was in Kimari crying and hugging her, not because she was mad, but because she was sad that her friend has suffered so much. Did you catch how she said it?

“You don’t know, do you? You can’t know, can you?”

That’s Kimari sympathizing with her, and having empathy with another is a key ingredient of friendship. These little examples of friendship were spread throughout the episode, from Shirase and Hinata trying to assuage Yuzuki’s worries (even though Shirase kept chickening out, because she was forcing herself to do something she’s uncomfortable doing—for her friend’s benefit) to the birthday cake at the end. It was even in the complicated, and changing, relationship Kimari has with Megumi. While they were trying to tell us what friendship was, they were showing us, so when they finally settled on a definition, it felt right. Which is the definition they settled on.

Friendship is right. It’s what feels right. It’s, as a Supreme Court Justice once so candidly put it, an issue of, “I know it when I see it.” It means different things for different people, and there are different contours of the relationship between different friends in a single person’s life, but one thing unites them: it feels right. Friends are people you choose to spend your limited time on this planet with, because it makes both of you happy. That’s why I love friendship. That’s why it’s worth it. And that’s why it’s so great to see Yuzuki finally have the friends she always wanted, even if she had them a while ago and didn’t even realize it.

D’aaaww! Yuzuki is truly adorable, and adorkable. It’s nice to see an idol character where her being an idol is just a single facet of her personality. It’s also nice to get one more character-focused episode in, interspersed with plenty details about living in Antarctica, because with only three episodes left, we might not get many more. By the looks of that board, though, there’ll be at least a few more character-based moments. The Hanyu Daisan High School Track Team, eh? Iiiinteresting.

Random thoughts:

  • Why are they all dressed up wtf!?
  • “Emergency. The jar genie won’t come out of the toilet. He probably won’t go through the ticket gate.” WHAT lol! They really do a good job of making Kimari a goofy/stupid character without her being annoying. It’s a neat trick, and not one I’m sure I could pull off.
  • Keep. Shirase. Away from. The penguins. Danger Will Robinson penguin-chan, danger!
  • “Actually, there is one thing we haven’t told you.” Kimari, you honest girl! She had to out and admit they had one thing they hadn’t told Yuzuki—the planned surprise party. She got lucky that Yuzuki was too torn up about the friends thing to inquire further, haha!
  • Another nice moment: the Yuzuki-chan fan. Simply for reminding us that all these characters have internal lives of their own, and they can inject meaning on even a personal story like this episode’s. I bet Yuzuki would have accepted the job regardless, but having a fan at the station who would probably be happy if she did was a nice addition.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever pointed this out before, but I like how they do the high school girl’s cheeks. Notice it? Only the young characters have the glowing cheeks. It works well, because it really makes the younger characters stand out from all the adults. That’s more important in this story when they’re mixing with adults yet it’s vital that they remain clearly not adults for the duration of this tale. It’s a good tactic.

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.


  1. I love stories about friendship. This episode was really touching.

    Poor Yuzuki! Even now I feel it’s going to take a long time to heal the emotional damage she’s suffered all these years, but at least she has good friends at last to help her do so.

  2. Based on last week comments by fellow viewers, I was anticipating they will be inserting a drama pill that will affect the four girls stay at Antarctica.

    Hinata really shines in her so-called “philosophy sayings” which always annoys Shirase.

    2-3 episodes left?! AOTS this series for me and we’re nearing for the series’ end.

    1. Hinata really shines in her so-called “philosophy sayings” which always annoys Shirase.

      Shirase’s just being tsundere. She totally has a soft spot for Hinata and her stupid refrains.

  3. I kid you not, my brother does that sleep-talking-while-eyes-are-wide-open-thing. He even sits up on the bed!
    They really nailed how that goes down: Sleep-talker suddenly spews out somewhat coherent sentences that don’t make any sense. You can even have a 1-2 sentence conversation (that still doesn’t make sense) before they go back to sleep.

    1. I traveled with a friend and in the middle of the night, he would complain that he was hungry or had to pee. Really? You’re telling me that at 3am?!?! At breakfast, he would deny everything. =/

    2. I’ve apparently done something similar once. Someone talked to me while I was asleep, and I apparently sat straight up, looked him in the face, replied coherently, then went back to sleep. I have no memory of the incident…

      1. I know, right?

        But I love how, while Kimari is talking about how Megumi still messages her back from time to time, Megumi is shown to be reading a travel guide to the Polar regions.

    1. So the ship and expedition exists in the real world, but is an operation under the JSDF and the ship is still called the “Shirase”?

      Bummer! I was hoping it was named the “Penguin Manju” in real life too! LOL!! I figured it was too good to be true for someone to be able to acquire all that equipment for civilian operation.

      But I believed!

      1. They mentioned in one of the first episodes that the ship used to be called Shirase. It was renamed (in the show) to the Penguin Manju when it changed hands to civilian hands. This is a good example of taking the real world pretty much as-is (the anime looks exactly like that video did!), with only small tweaks to allow for the plot to exist (the transfer to civilian hands).

    2. *watches video*

      So that’s what the “5 meters” warning was for in the episode: the Antarctic Treaty prohibits people getting closer than 5 meters to penguins, hence why the penguin approaching them was labelled an emergency, and why they had to drag Shirase away so she doesn’t get too close.

  4. ↑↑

    Great find, Zuaques. I thought Madhouse was exaggerating how much the bow of the ship rises, but I was incorrect. Damn, look at how that ship rises and tilts!

    This episode is the closest Slice of Life/Cute Girls Doing Cute Things viewing experience for this show.

    Up until we see the girls doing laborious work like clearing up snow and shoveling burned waste… if this happened in K-ON or Yuru Camp, I won’t be surprised if the characters would spend half if not most the run time complaining and arguing who’s doing what.

  5. I know this isn’t related to this show, but:

    Anyone know whether the first episode of A.I.C.O. Incarnation will be covered on RandomC? Noticed it’s not even listed on the Winter 2018 schedule at all when it comes out this Friday.

  6. So the email for Yuzuki turned out to be a congratulatory message on passing the audition for a TV drama role back home. Hope that role only begins once the Antarctic expedition is done. Anyway…

    As soon as it was revealed that the girls have their separate rooms at Syowa Station, I just knew a mention of Kimari’s notorious sleeping habits wasn’t far behind. XD

    “Another nice moment: the Yuzuki-chan fan. Simply for reminding us that all these characters have internal lives of their own, and they can inject meaning on even a personal story like this episode’s. I bet Yuzuki would have accepted the job regardless, but having a fan at the station who would probably be happy if she did was a nice addition.”

    I believe that’s Dai Himi, voiced by Jun “Kazuma” Fukushima. On a different note, it does make me wonder if Yuzuki’s songs will be defictionalized as part of the show’s soundtrack album release.

  7. I was in the same boat, as you (LOL). Just wondering if this icebreaker worked like that. I also never saw before the water jets as part of the ice breaking method. So, I just made a little research and there is.

    This guys really did the homework. Remember “Shirobako”, when Midori is doing research on jet fighters? We can always learn something new from anime.

  8. Ep 11:

    – Dam it, i cut to many Onions on the Kitchen and now my Eyes are crying…
    – But the action and proof of friendship, was totally my style. But now more “adult and mature” i would not be (or could not bring it up) to be so blunt

    RESPECT!!! YO!!


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