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Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho – 13 (END) »« Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho – 11

Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho – 12

「宇宙よりも遠い場所」 (Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho)
“A Place Further Than the Universe”

Closure.

This episode touched on so many issues of mourning and grief, issues I don’t feel qualified to dissect. I’ve experienced death, but not on the level of Shirase. Little can match a middle schooler losing her mother—her only parent—so suddenly, not even if she knew her mom was going to someplace dangerous. We never think the grim reaper will touch our lives, not until it has. And once it has, recovering from that grief can take many forms, and it can twist people out of shapes as they grapple with it. I don’t blame Shirase for walking around like she’s in a dream. I don’t blame her for forgetting what she said (“In your face!”) because she’s walking about in a fog. I can scarcely imagine the pain.

Shirase had two fears. She’s scared of achieving her goal, because once she’s done that, what’s left? It’s like a boxer winning the title, and then not knowing what to do. It’s like a football player who stops playing and doesn’t know what to do. Or perhaps more pointedly, it’s like a husband or wife who buries themselves in their work to escape the pain of their deceased spouse, only for their project to conclude or their contract to end or their retirement to come, and now they have no idea what to do. What happens when you bend your life toward a purpose, and you achieve it? Depression, frequently. Especially if that purpose was sought as a means of keeping the depressions already chasing you at arm’s length. Shirase is afraid of what happens next.

The other fear is that she wouldn’t feel enough. This is a fear she’s already been confronting. I think that Shirase came to Antarctica both to get closer to her mother, but also to understand her. She wants to understand why her mother came to Antarctica. Why she loved it so much she risked her life here. Why it was worth it. If Shirase had come here and been awestruck at the beauty of the place, it would have made sense. She would have understood. But Shirase is not her mother. She saw it, and was not shaken to her core. She was not enamored by it. And she’s afraid that, if she gets to the place her mother died and she still feels the same—that’s it. She’ll never understand, and closure will escape her.

I went into this episode after a couple of my fellow writers (those disreputable scoundrels) had hyped this episode up, and so I ended up in an odd bit of symmetry with Shirase. I wasn’t feeling it as much as I felt I should, and was wondering if I would. (Hype will do that.) Then it got to the place where Shirase was talking with Kimari, and then Shirase composed the email to her mom about her friends, and it began to sink in. This has always been a friendship drama as much as anything—not a drama between friends, but a drama of friends setting off on this adventure together—and Shirase wanting to tell her mom about her friends got to me.

Then Kimari, Hinata, and Yuzuki were rushing through the inland station—where Kobuchizawa Observatory will be built, no less—desperately searching for anything of Shirase’s mother. They were desperate, not for themselves, but for her—desperate to find the closure they knew their friend needed, to help her become whole. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing, because we all want to have friends as great as these.

Then they found the laptop. With Shirase and Takako’s picture on it. Then Shirase turned it on, and it booted up (cold is good for electronics, and it’s super dry in Antarctica). Then she fumbled about for the password, and saw the picture again—1101. November 1st. Shirase’s birthday.

Then the emails began flooding in, and it got to me. It pierced right to my heart, just as Shirase broke down, along with her friends standing guard outside. 1101, and 1101 emails—and Shirase’s mom died three years ago. That means Shirase sent her an email every day.

Oof. If the episode hadn’t been about to end, I would have had to hit pause. The screen was getting blurry.

Like I said at the top, I don’t feel qualified to talk about grief. I do feel qualified talking about stories, so I can say that anything they found of Takako’s at the station would have likely triggered this response, at least from a plot point of view. But the writers didn’t just go for anything. That the laptop called back to the emails Shirase has been sending all season made the punch more devastating, and that they were unread—I think that’s what really brought Shirase the closure she needed. Until she saw that, she could pretend that her mother was reading her emails somewhere. But once she saw her mother’s laptop, something memorable enough that Shirase imagines her ghost typing away, with all those emails unread—she had to face it. It was staring up at her. 1101 emails, all unread. Her mother is gone, and she wept.

To make matters worse, it is likely that Takako died because she forgot her laptop. Not because she forgot some machine—Takako seems like she was pretty flighty, and she was unwise enough assume she would be fine because “it’s just a few meters”—but she wouldn’t have risked her life for some machine. She did it because she communicated with her daughter by email. That laptop was how she stayed connected with Shirase, and that was something important enough that she thought “it’s just a few meters”—and that small mistake was enough. Had she thought about it more, she wouldn’t have done it, but her mind was on her daughter. Her last thoughts might have been about the beauty of Antarctica, once she knew she was already dead, but I’m sure that she was thinking of her daughter up to that point. I doubt we’ll ever have that spelled out as her for-sure cause of death—we shouldn’t, because there’s no way the expedition members could possibly know—but that’s what we’re meant to think. It makes the tragedy all the higher.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post where I wanted to cry more while writing it. Usually it’s only during the episode where the emotions run high, but this one is getting to me the more I think about it. It’s beautiful. It’s so very beautiful. Bring on the last episode, friends. Let’s bring this story home.

Random thoughts:

  • #DearMom. Oof.
  • The soundtrack was very quiet for much of this episode. It was, once again, well done. As with friendship (“To act is not necessarily compassion. True compassion sometimes comes from inaction!”), sometimes it’s what you don’t do that makes the moment.
  • Yuzuki was so cute when Yumiko said they were good friends, but they also proved it. Bad friends don’t care this much for each other. They really are great friends.
  • Attempt #1, unsuccessful. Attempt #2, looking better.

“Dear Mom. I’ve made friends. I, who thought I’d be fine by myself forever, now have friends. They’re all a little weird, a little frustrating, a bit broken… But I have friends who were willing to travel to Antarctica with me. We fought, we cried, we had problems… But they were willing to travel this far with me, to this place where you were… I was able to come this far because of them.”

Someone stop cutting all those onions dammit, the screen is getting blurry again. Jeez. *sniffles*

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.

Full-length images: 13.

March 21, 2018 at 2:28 am
75 comments »
  • March 21, 2018 at 2:58 amWorldwidedepp

    and we still have Episode 13…

    Perhaps after the finale, many has cried an new ice pool… The Anime surly know these season to hit our waterworks

  • March 21, 2018 at 3:23 ampuppygod

    Wow. Just… wow.

    I was waiting to see your take on this episode, but now that you did I don’t really know what to say. It’s been ten hours or so since I’ve seen it, but the emotions are still raw and I’m still replaying it in my mind.

    We all knew that it’s time for some closure, some payoff, but I was somewhat afraid. It’s so easy to strike the wrong note when dealing with telling a story about a loss of close person. Make it too sappy or too melodramatic or just gloss over too fast. Anybody who experienced loss of somebody close know that the sad truth is that feeling of loss never really goes away. Over time you learn to live without, the pain is dulled, you meet new people, you start to laugh again, but the person shaped hole in your heart is there forever. But Sora Yori delivered. These emails were great storytelling device. It’s something so simple and commonplace, but at the same time it was perfect tool to confront Shirase with reality. She said she felt like she was in a dream. She knew that her mother is dead, but it didn’t really sink. She was still sending her mails and – even if she logically knew it’s impossible – she held some doubt that maybe, just maybe she’s somewhere there, stranded. With every email downloaded it was reality telling her “Oi, Shirase. She’s gone. She’s really, really gone.” And no wonder that grief and that deep feeling of loss finally hit home.

    But, surprisingly enough, my favorite scene wasn’t that big emotional one, but much more quiet one slightly earlier. When Shirase couldn’t sleep and was talking with Kimari she smiled. Animators did great job there. Usually she’s frowning, or even when she smiled it was often embarassed or nervous smile. And in this one scene, for a brief moment we see a genuine, relaxed, warm smile. And it’s beautiful.

    Beautifully told story. I’m in awe.

    • March 21, 2018 at 3:48 amWorldwidedepp

      Yes, inside her Mind she already made peace with her dead. But her hearts was not ready… until the eMail counters hit all of us, and then also the heart accepted the truth. She is gone, or since that day she was unable to read or receive any emails or had internet

      with this Episode, her mind and now her heart, accepted the truth. She is gone

      Perhaps the Senpai’s find her.. but then how will that impact her daughter?

    • March 21, 2018 at 4:03 amAudacity

      Not just that, when Kimari said ‘Thank you’ to Shirase, I thought that was it, the story had come full circle from the very beginning. Kimari had fulfilled her purpose thanks to Shirase and the other dorks.

      Outstanding.

      • March 21, 2018 at 8:42 amRin

        I thought that was it, the story had come full circle from the very beginning. Kimari had fulfilled her purpose thanks to Shirase and the other dorks.

        At the same time this brings home the story wasn’t really about Kimari. That’s why this moment comes before the actual climax of the episode (and the show) which is the scene at the end. Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho was Shirase’s story all along.

      • March 21, 2018 at 10:54 pmseltzermx

        @Rin. I kinda disagree. This whole journey started with Kimari, so while I think Shirase’s journey was a huge part of the story, Kimari is still the MC. If you think about it, these last 3 eps have been about the other girls evolving/getting closure (making friends, discarding old bad friends, closure about her mother). Finale will probably be about Kimari and how her life was changed.

    • March 21, 2018 at 12:12 pmStilts

      @puppygod

      I think the key is that the writers didn’t just have to deliver with just this episode. The story of Shirase’s grief was woven throughout the entire season. It just wasn’t always obvious how much of the Shirase we know was created by that grief. This episode only had to lift back the veil to elevate itself.

      @Rin

      Of course it’s Kimari’s story. It’s also Hinata’s story, and Yuzuki’s, and most definitely Shirase’s. Kimari is our original point of view character for all sorts of reasons, but you’re right in that it’s certainly not because she was the most important one. Shirase was more like the damsel in distress. But it’s all of their stories, all the way through, and it wouldn’t have worked as well without telling us all of them at the same time.

      • March 21, 2018 at 8:21 pmAudacity

        >Shirase was more like the damsel in distress
        Calling her one would be a stretch when she’s the one putting Hinata’s “friends” in their place. Or the driving force inspiring not just her friends but even the expeditions members (see final scenes of episode 7 and 9 for example).

      • March 21, 2018 at 9:33 pmRin

        Maybe we’re talking about different things, I guess. Sure they all have their own stories / character arc included. But I guess I meant Shirase’s is the central character arc. There’s a reason the show, this episode, and the book her mother wrote all share the same title: Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho. Shirase’s character arc is the one that brings everything together.

      • March 21, 2018 at 10:15 pmStilts

        @Audacity

        My point was only that she’s the one in distress—and that she came into the story after the original point of view character, and served as the reason that character embarked on her quest—not any of the negative (helpless, passive) connotations of the trope.

        @Rin

        True enough. I just wanted to stand up for how important the other characters are. This is an ensemble cast, so picking a most important one seems pointless to me since the most important one is all of them. She is the one who originates the quest though, so no surprise she has a critical role.

  • March 21, 2018 at 4:23 amAnt

    Dem. The feels bomb has been deployed, and this is just part of the 1-2 punch before thw show’s end. This episode and last week’s episode of Violet Evergarden would be utterly devastating if they have been shown in the same week – the connection between mother and daughter thru mail.

  • March 21, 2018 at 4:31 amewok40k

    Amazing episode, amazing series…
    My fave of the season, surely…
    Will there be another episode?
    Because as it stands the series hit the clsoure as well as it could.

    • March 21, 2018 at 12:14 pmStilts

      There’s one more episode. This may have been the climax (though really there are multiple—each character’s story has gotten one in the past three episodes), but there is still some business to conclude before we can really leave these girls.

  • March 21, 2018 at 4:46 amShiranaiHito

    This was the climax of the story, next the denouement!

  • March 21, 2018 at 4:53 amAngelus

    Truly moving – I haven’t cried so much since Made in Abyss (you know, that scene). They’ve left themselves a hard act to follow for the final episode, though.

    • March 21, 2018 at 12:17 pmStilts

      I’m not worried. The final episode has a different mission than delivering weapon’s grade feels. It needs to tie everything up and send the girls off into the future with the lessons of this adventure held to their hearts. There will be feels from that, but it can still do its job even if there’s not another haymaker coming. Though there could be.

    • March 21, 2018 at 6:06 pmAudacity

      If we’re gonna follow through the five stages of grief, we’re on the 4th one: depression, and you know what comes next. Shirase may be on a heroic BSOD right now, but that I think is the climax, and damned if she had not found her newfound friends who are ready to support her. That I think will wrap up a beautiful ribbon over this series.

  • March 21, 2018 at 5:16 amJeffers

    I thought this was the last episode but thank God there was really 1 more, probably it covers their return to Japan and possibly return to Antartica. So anyway, that’s it. The mother is really dead. No shenanigans like she was saved by some people and is currently in coma in some country or she is somewhere else doing survival. This also shows that no matter how Shirase have already accepted the painful truth in the past, she will still cry out hard once the reality finally comes to slam itself to her. But anyway, where is the body then? If she did comeback to that area, the body must be somewhere. Or maybe its possible she dint make it to that area? And… That is quite a durable laptop computer. More than 3 years in harsh cold weather with high humidity and may degrees below zero temp and still working? Japan technology is beast.

    • March 21, 2018 at 5:28 amWorldwidedepp

      Blizzard, outside an wind so strong that he can blew something away.. So i think searching an Ice block under all this Snow and Ice is an lifetime task.. or she had some kind of avalanche transceiver.. but i bet the battery or electronic is frozen

      So if they found her corpse, then more inside the Base or in some tools outside the station where she was trying to cover from the blizzard (wind shadow). Well, it would be my logical conclusion to search the area.. all other are just fishing in the dark and time are running against them (food, energy and weather)

      • March 21, 2018 at 5:30 amWorldwidedepp

        well, she did send an radio message before she died. So she need an Radio or an place where she was save from the Blizzard so her voice come trough.. There are no Wind blowing noise in the last Transmission

        i think, the Senpai need to find the corpse so even she can find peace

      • March 21, 2018 at 5:32 amWorldwidedepp

        extreme RPG thinking here can help to get under her skin

      • March 21, 2018 at 5:59 amWorldwidedepp

        can the actually crew pinpoint the walkie talkie or how she send the raido message from her? Perhaps it is still near her (corpse)…

        That and the search around the perimeter around tools that can help as an Wind cover

        Enough “logical” thinking, the rest is raw emotions

      • March 21, 2018 at 6:08 amJeffers

        Tracking through ham radio is possible but it needs 3 different radios getting the same signal so they can triangulate the signal and get a “rough” estimate of Takako’s possible death bed. It is the very same how seismologist locate the epicenter. But that said, i accept that this is a fiction, I have no right to demand realism.

      • March 21, 2018 at 6:15 amWorldwidedepp

        Then let us “bend” reality for the sake of the anime story. If they can find an frozen laptop and it is still working (let push aside the defrost water problems), then an Walkie talkie is the lesser problem. To give this Anime an end. So even the “Captain” has her peace of losing someone and her regrets.

      • March 21, 2018 at 6:33 amJeffers

        I was also thinking of those last words of hers. What just did she saw that made her remark that its really pretty? It could be the winter part of the milky way. Antartica is a perfect “dark sky” to the point you will see more stars than what we can see. And it is already hinted by the glow in the dark paint in the girl’s room. That alone gives me an idea that she is outside the base where they found the laptop after the blizzard. And that also reduce the possibilities that Takako is buried alive in some crevasse or some deep snow after the blizzard. Basically, she should be easier to be found when they do the search. But well fiction. Dead is dead. But if I could choose, I believe there will be a better closure if they found the body because that will really tell you that the person is really dead. Because reality, a laptop with 1000 plus of unread emails wont do shit… someone’s death will just remain an assumption because the body is not found. And Shirase will keep on hanging on a false hope that her mother is possibly somewhere else.

      • March 21, 2018 at 12:22 pmStilts

        @Jeffers

        They may have found the body already, or they may have not. It’s really besides the point. Antarctica isn’t the kind of place where a character is presumed alive unless the body is found. It’s the exact opposite. If someone is missing for more than a day—and a few minutes, in some cases—they’re dead, Jim. The body is a formality.

    • March 21, 2018 at 5:32 amAudacity

      >high humidity
      What? We’re talking about an anime situated on one of the driest places on Earth. Average humidity = 0.03%
      http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2019.jpg
      This image itself is Exhibit A and how. In temperatures this cold, most of the moisture and humidity that’s normally just in the air around you freezes into these tiny crystals, too small and light to simply settle to the ground. They dance on the wind like dust, and you can taste them if you breath with your mouth open. You start seeing them around -20C give or take.

      • March 21, 2018 at 6:02 amJeffers

        Ahhh i think i have used the wrong terms. My point is antartica while the coldest desert the amount of water in that place is high (snow/ice is still water)… It maybe the driest in humidty but it is still wet with all that snow… Anyway it should have damaged the laptop’s board in some way

      • March 21, 2018 at 6:18 amAngelus

        The humidity, related to the amount of water vapour in the air, is almost zero because the water can only exist as ice at those temperatures. Extreme cold will really mess up a laptop, though. The biggest problem would be the LCD screen, which would probably have frozen and would need slow thawing to get it at least partly working again. Depending on how cold it had been in the station, the batteries might also be damaged. It would definitely be best to take them out before applying power!

      • March 21, 2018 at 7:12 amAudacity

        @Angelus
        See the last scene when Shirase opens the laptop? They’re back at the base now. There has been some considerable travel time from the observatory site to base to thaw out whatever frost that’s been accumulating on the laptop, and ofc they would know better than to open a laptop from a very cold start.

      • March 21, 2018 at 7:39 amJeffers

        thawing would just return the frost to water correct? and 3 years is enough for frost to form even in the insides of the laptop unless, its weather sealed like hell. anyway, that would risk a short circuit in some way and as far as i know a disassembly is needed and thaw before operation. but well… its damn fiction… lets just assume they already did.

      • March 21, 2018 at 10:28 amAngelus

        @Audacity, yes, you’re right. I thought the low light levels in that scene were just like at the station, I guess by the time the shot changed to the other girls outside of room I couldn’t see so well!

        @Jeffers, a scientific expedition to Antarctica would have desiccators for drying various types of samples off as they thaw, so they could have put the laptop in one of those.

      • March 21, 2018 at 12:31 pmStilts

        Real facts: the laptop probably shouldn’t still work. Best case would probably be that the SSD (I hope she was using an SSD) would still be working, and it could be extracted, plugged into another machine, and booted from there. But all of that would be a distraction from the scene in question. I like that they waited until they were back at base to boot it up, because it leaves time for it to possibly have been thawed out carefully (@Jeffers even if there is frost, that doesn’t mean there’s a ton of water to work itself into the board, just that what water/humidity there is is gonna be frozen—it’s not like electronics don’t work at the sticky equator after all). Even then, Angelus is correct, the LCD probably would have been slagged.

        But all of that would have been a distraction. It’s a leap to believe the laptop would still work (just as it’s convenient for Takako to have such a shitty 4-number password—don’t start thinking about password security!!), but it’s not an insurmountable leap. We’ve gotta go along to harvest those delicious feels. And oh my, wasn’t it worth it.

        (To me, “It’s fiction just roll with it” depends on the type of story. For something realistic like this, they don’t have to nail it, what they have to do is try. If it’s complete bullshit, it will break immersion, but as long as it’s relatively plausible (and the story is good), I’ll come along. They tried enough to deserve that benefit of the doubt.)

      • March 21, 2018 at 4:48 pmRedRocket

        They have put a ton of research into this show I doubt they did not ask an expert on extreme cold computer use on Antarctic missions. The computer first would be one prepared to be used there and take extreme cold and still be workable at least when warmed up. The computer was inside a base not out in the wind. The battery would probably have a low charge. So they plugged it in for the last scene. The show clearly showed that they did not try to turn the computer on until back at the base many days later and thus had time for any needed careful defrosting and removing any water in the circuits. The lack of moisture and still air probably prevented and corrosion and a computer rigged for Antarctic missions might not let in much moisture anyway. Password studies have shown way too many have easy to guess, way too short passwords.
        The conclusion they made sure that last scene could happen at least so their advisors would not laugh at them or make their advisors look bad.

      • March 22, 2018 at 1:30 amAudacity

        @Stilts

        She probably though that being in Antarctica and all was security enough.
        “No one can access your computer when they can even reach it, no matter how weak the password!”
        And then someone did…

      • March 22, 2018 at 5:10 amWorldwidedepp

        also many had just no Password at all… just hit Enter or Auto-login.. Because in this kind of World all peoples you know and see, are tiny

      • March 22, 2018 at 5:26 amScruffy

        @Jeffers. No it’s not “wet with all that snow”. Antartica really is one of the driest places on earth. When animals die their bodies dessicate!! What would have been on the laptop was not frost, but instead a fine powder of ice. It tends to get everywhere. The risk for the laptop would be that this ice “dust” gets in the ports of the laptop and when the laptop is brought inside this woukd melt. As has been pointed out though the laptop was not turned on right awat. It was taken back to the origional base for that final scene.

        BTW there was an email in the outbox!

      • March 22, 2018 at 5:33 amWorldwidedepp

        How my inner Cinema plays this scene out:

        She know she will not survive that long. So she left an eMail in the outbox of this “Diary” and then…
        http://randomc.net/2013/02/03/uchuu-kyoudai-43/

        he also walked away to hide his corpse to spare his older brother to find him

        Same base. Just he is on the Moon.. but unlucky here lies 3 Years in between and no one jumped in to save her.. Also the Blizzard was big…

      • March 22, 2018 at 5:40 amWorldwidedepp

        But then when she read the not delivered eMail of her, she will know the exact time and date of her last action.. Perhaps after finishing the eMail she used the Radio while walking away like in the comparing link i wrote.. to spare the burden to find her

        But for all come to an end.. it is better that the “Captain” Senpai’s find her..to make peace with herself

      • March 22, 2018 at 5:42 amWorldwidedepp

        because “Finally she is back home!” and there is an Grave for herself and her daughter

      • March 22, 2018 at 8:48 amXiV

        I want the latest version of Takako’s laptop please.

        Madhouse has done so much research for this show:

        http://yorimoi.com/special/clg-12.html

        …so, I don’t mind the laptop turning on.

  • March 21, 2018 at 6:02 amornehx

    I managed to hold back until the camera pan to three crying outside Shirase’s room…

    • March 21, 2018 at 12:35 pmStilts

      The image of the three sitting outside looms large in my memory too. It really cements this as a friendship drama (not a drama between friends, see the post above etc etc), and like with their desperation to find something of Takako for Shirase, it shows how great of friends they are. Ugly crying has rarely been so beautiful ;_;

  • March 21, 2018 at 6:25 amPuffles

    Overegged ending IMO. The repeated cuts to the ticker going up to thousands of messages, the other girls crying outside the door – I thought that was all overdone. Sometimes less is more. It’s a fragile balance and if you put too much on one side of the seesaw then it tips right over. For me this started powerfully but sunk into the melodramatic and lost me. Didn’t even feel my eyes sting.

    • March 21, 2018 at 7:08 amAudacity

      It builds up to several emotional cheap shots, but that’s kinda the point. Well I can’t argue about the girls outside being way too affected by all this, but YMMV. For all we know we aren’t Kimari, Hinata, and Yuzuki.

      • March 21, 2018 at 7:52 amsailor80

        Well sometimes seeing a friend lose a loved one makes you think of losing a loved one yourself especially if you are 1000′s of miles from your family.

      • March 21, 2018 at 6:31 pmAudacity

        @sailor80
        >seeing a friend lose a loved one
        That’s the problem there. I mean, let’s do a poll here: How many of us have ‘true’ and true friends? To be fair to @Puffles, I wouldn’t gush to a mere stranger’s sob story of how she lost her loved one, but once you know more about someone and you want to know more, everything else follows: feeling empathy towards her situation, how she will cope up with this, and thinking how would I end up if I were in her shoes. And even these factors really depend on the person. I may see how much these four dorks really care now for each other, but it’s really hard to quantify it and much more relate to it when you yourself consider true friendship as a concept that’s rather very rare to see in our society.

      • March 22, 2018 at 9:51 pmsailor80

        I agree that crying for the death of someone else’s loved one, might be a bit of a stretch. However let me give you two points, one I mentioned that they were probably crying over their own families and a thought of losing them, the second is the audience (us) got moved over Shirase’s loss, maybe not the point of the tears. You just can’t help the rest of the cast feeling her pain a bit more deeply.

  • March 21, 2018 at 8:00 amHenrietta Brix

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2041.jpg
    “Mail for Shirase Kabuchizawa”

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2031.jpg
    “Happy 17th birthday Shirase. You’re a grown woman now. Are you in love? I can’t give you love advice but I’m sure whoever you choose is a wonderful person.”

    As expected, the water works were activated although it was very hard for me to cry since Violet Evergarden had taken them all and left nothing in the reservoir. I am of the opinion that Ann’s situation is better since as tragic as it seems, she got the opportunity to see her mother off and for the next 50 years, she’ll have an annual reminder of her mother. Unlike Shirase where her last contact with her mom was on the departure day itself and also the realisation that for 3 years, her mother was no longer with her.

  • March 21, 2018 at 8:24 amFerrier

    I can see this episode resonating with the Japanese audience so much. Heck, #yorimoi,, yorimoi1101 was treading yesterday on twitter.

  • March 21, 2018 at 8:56 amweasl

    So much feels in this episode. I actually stopped watching this series for a couple weeks due to it not being that interesting at times, but this episode paid for it all.

  • March 21, 2018 at 10:25 amsailor80

    This is the first time one of the four actually experienced pain. Kimari knew Megumi didn’t want to leave or hurt her deliberatly, Hinata was more angry than hurt at her friends betrayal, Yuzuki didn’t know what she was missing, and they all found happiness at the end except for Shirase. Shirase actually finally faced the loss of the most important person in her life, losing friends doesn’t hold a candle to losing a beloved parent.

    • March 21, 2018 at 12:39 pmStilts

      Almost correct. Shirase was experiencing this pain all along. She just bore it, and this episode is where it crashed down around her forcibly enough for her to cry and reach her closure. You’re right, though. This pain is on a different level than the others, though they be no less legitimate. Little holds a candle to losing your beloved mom.

  • March 21, 2018 at 12:34 pmIncognito

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2010.jpg
    “Lovely Snow Angel Yuzuki-tan!” (Had to get that seiyuu joke out of my system… *gets kicked*)

    Had a chuckle at the image of the instant ramen that went from piping hot to frozen solid in the Antarctic climate. More fun stuff that can only be done in the Antarctic, haha! That being said…

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2047.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2049.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2050.jpg
    Man, any more of these ocular gushers and I’m gonna drown in my own tears… *inelegant blubbering* And I’m still reeling from last week’s episode of Violet Evergarden, damnit! (Also, apologies for going over the three-screencap limit. orz)

    It would be nice if Takako’s laptop turns out to have a digital diary or a nearly complete final draft of her next book about the Antarctic with photos taken during that last expedition, and Shirase stumbles upon it. (Spoilered for wild mass guessing.)

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Then again, the reveal that Takako’s laptop password was Shirase’s birthday (never mind that such passwords are ill-advised) did feel like a decent enough closure to Shirase’s journey. Briefly yet meaningfully, it showed Shirase was still in Takako’s thoughts even in that faraway place.

    It does make me wonder how the finale will top today’s episode, or if next episode will simply be the epilogue complete with a “Where are they now?” montage. Time to wait and see.

  • March 21, 2018 at 2:03 pmyoloalchemist

    ……My eyes betrayed me. It looks like my tear ducts weren’t feeling the pain and emptiness my heart was certainly feeling, because I didn’t shed a single tear, even though I really wanted to cry. I don’t think it was necessary to shed the amount of tears I shed over Koro-sensei or Kushina or Edward preventing Winry from dirtying her hands over Scar, but some tears would’ve been nice from me. It’s only appropriate, isn’t it? I’ve been following these girls from the very beginning week after week. It really felt like a journey. With people, not characters. I don’t know why it didn’t happen that way, but I have a theory. Maybe it’s because I already knew Takako is long gone (it’s only inevitable), so maybe the impact was that much lessened, and this is someone who died off-screen before the story began, so I didn’t connect with her directly. It was only gonna be for Shirase to deal with it. None of this is a knock on this episode, none of it at all. It’s entirely a knock on myself. That is how powerful this anime is. I laughed and laughed and felt so very alive with each episode prior to this one. Had I been here only for the fun this show gave me, I would’ve just turned this episode off and gone to watch something like Family Guy. But I stayed, because I owed these girls, I owed Shirase, to see though this pain. That’s how connected I am to this story, to these…. humans.

    • March 21, 2018 at 2:50 pmStilts

      I wouldn’t beat yerself up about that. That’s the same concern Shirase had—of not feeling what she felt she ought to feel. It doesn’t strike us all the same; for example, the previous episode got me a lot more sharply than this one did, whereas this one had more of a weighing down effect as I digested the reality of what had happened while writing the post. Don’t beat yourself up. That’s Shirase-chan’s game, haha

  • March 21, 2018 at 3:33 pmGars

    As a widower and single dad this episode hit hard, was watching on the train home after work and sure was glad no one was in the seats around me. I expected that this episode would bring the feels but I didn’t count on just how well it was done.
    That beautiful montage of the girls enjoying Antarctica combined with Shirase’s mail, then the lap top began to download all the e-mails that Shirase had sent over 3 lonely years (and that one unsent mail in the outbox!) , and then there was just the anguish of a child who has lost her mother. I broke then and there, for a few seconds it was just a bit too real.

    I really hope that Shirase does not realise why her mother made that splint second decision which cost her her life. There is a lot of guilt down that road. The circumstances of Takako’s death also bring home just how unforgiving and lethal Antarctica is, it truly is a merciless place.

    They did so many things right this episode that I am really curious about how they will wrap this up the next episode. This episode will be a hard act to follow.

    • March 21, 2018 at 10:18 pmStilts

      Quite possibly the most ringing endorsement of this episode, and this series. Cheers, sir. Keep being amazing.

  • March 21, 2018 at 5:34 pmRedRocket

    Thanks to the impact of this episode I think several interesting and good moments were missed.
    This Japanese crew has probably ignored advice from other cold nations to only take hard liquor to Antarctica as the beer is never as good after defrosting. I will remember to take some Whisky, Gin or Vodka if I get crazy and go somewhere that cold.
    It was fun that the girls were running the bar, not quite what minors should do but I don’t care and I doubt an Antarctica crew would either. It was also fun that they probably had no ice to keep the drinks cold either.
    Antarctica gets ‘s nastier as you go inland as everyone got colder. Most bases are on the coast certainly for easier supply delivery but I’m sure also for the fact that it get’s rougher in the interior. There are very few deep inland years around bases with the US taking the South Pole and Russia and France/Italy the only inland year around.
    Blizzards are no joke, I guess you can’t just huddle the moment you get lost as you will freeze but then you end up wondering way away from where you should be.
    They searched hard for the mother when she disappeared so she must have gone some distance or as they said fell in a hole. The producers got expert advice if the experts say it’s very hard to find a body after the snow is moved around the experts must be right. Have to assume that the last communication was in a temporary die down of the winds and then there was a resumption of the Blizard otherwise they would have found the mother. They probably had a good idea how long someone could live and thus known when to give up, took a bunch of time longer and nearing the limits of their supplies is when they gave up. At some point building the observatory another Blizard might expose the body.
    I loved we doing major hard exploration sight of the Snow Cat convoy working its way into a place that does seam farther than space in some ways.
    Banana’s as hammers is a really old concept I think long before I ever heard the word meme, I’m 55 and that seems like something from childhood. The banana is just a way to show how f-word cold it is.
    Considering how hard and long it took for the film crew to dress to go out for the penguins in winter movie I wonder if Space Suits might be better and easier to use. Have to drag along replacement air and battery packs but might be worth it. Space suits don’t depend on insulation only to keep you warm, can’t do it in the dark of space, the suits use heaters and air circulation. Gods, it’s hard to be outside there in winter.
    Cute that someone’s flying problem came up unexpectedly for her.
    Loved the best friends moment.

    • March 21, 2018 at 10:21 pmStilts

      Hammering a nail with a banana, and frying an egg on the sidewalk. We humans are absolutely silly.

  • March 21, 2018 at 6:39 pmAudacity

    Okay, can we stop crying for a moment and see this?
    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2029.jpg

    Secret Society BLANKET has now established its Antarctic Chapter. I see the influence is spreading fast. (And here’s wishing they do a crossover with the Yuru Campers)

    • March 21, 2018 at 9:13 pmFerrier

      Main characters sitting down, using blankets have been used many times before: K-On, Aria, Honey and Clover, to name a few. Main difference is that here and the ones that I mentioned, emphasis is about the characters’ dialogues at the backdrop of dawn, dusk, the moon, an ocean or a combination of these. In this case, Shirase’ s monologue.

      In Yuru Camp, the emphasis is about how cold their environment is for the main characters. Which is simpler.

      • March 21, 2018 at 10:07 pmAudacity

        Still doesn’t turn from the fact that they’re actually a secret society lurking in plain sight the whole time.

    • March 21, 2018 at 9:51 pmIncognito

      Well, here’s the best Yorimoi x Yurucamp crossover image I could find on the ‘boorus so far:

      http://safebooru.donmai.us/posts/3043355

      And speaking of crossovers:

      http://safebooru.donmai.us/posts/3046153

      It makes me wonder if a Yorimoi viewing marathon will become an annual tradition for first-timers at the real-world Syowa Station.

      • March 21, 2018 at 10:14 pmAudacity

        The Scott-Amundsen station had The Thing for the winter, so yeah Syowa sorely needs one too. On November 1.

  • March 21, 2018 at 9:26 pmSMinstrel

    Maybe I was too tired to the point of emotional exhaustion, this episode didn’t hit me as hard as I’d expect. I will rewatch it at a later time to see the effect.

    Still, a fitting conclusion to this masterpiece.

  • March 21, 2018 at 9:26 pmonion warrior

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2046.jpg
    Nothing is more savage than this picture. I still feel like bawling inside ma office while checking on this post. God damn Shirase, y’know ive been waiting for this closure ever since ep.2. I really really loved it how they wrapped up Shirase’s part…its so on-point. It really felt like her, the intro and how she felt about her mother when she first heard the news. Then comes her thoughts about it. And lastly how she came to accept her passing, to finally come to terms to the reality that Takako is dead and she wont be replying those emails anymore. That was one huge slap on Shirase to see more than 1101+ unread emails. Goshhhhh im crying T,T

    http://randomc.net/image/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho/Sora%20Yori%20mo%20Tooi%20Basho%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2034.jpg
    I wish i was tearing as elegant as Gin did in here lol…last night was cruel, im literally suffocating with ma silent sobs

    So i was right after all,… all these Winter 2018 series are seriously wrestling against each other for the most tearjearking-mother-centered-episodes ever. XD Magus Bride–Violet Evergarden–YoriBasho…im ready for the fourth one, come at me you train of feels!

  • March 22, 2018 at 11:58 amDavid

    On those emails, every previous time we saw Shirase with that lead-in on her phone/email app, I thought she was always *not* sending the email. It was always blank, and it felt like she couldn’t bring herself to hit ‘send’. But she has been, every time. But probably always blank, except for that last one.

    This continues to be a near-perfect show.

    • March 22, 2018 at 4:03 pmStilts

      I always thought she wasn’t sending them as well, but I wasn’t sure if that was just a misunderstanding because I don’t read Japanese good. If I was better at Japanese and more familiar with how their phones are laid out, I might have realized she was sending them, or at least suspected.

      Still didn’t detract from the moment, though! Such a good show ;_;

  • March 23, 2018 at 4:18 amGmoney

    A moment that really got to me is when Shirase was looking back at the jobs she had to take to collect the money. remembering each job as she places the notes on the floor.

    • March 23, 2018 at 4:20 amGmoney

      Plus the fact that this week’s mother’s day really added to the emotions

  • March 23, 2018 at 2:51 pmBig Daddy

    I normally don’t inject my real life into the internet but I need to take a moment that happened to me back when I was off kicking doors and taking out bad guys. We were spending a year in this little sandbox and we had a Joe on our team that his mom had cancer. We knew going over her time was short but she insisted that he go save the world. A couple months in we get the Red Cross message it’s time for him to go back. Unfortunately it took a week for him to get back and by that time the family had already had the funeral. He came back and we continued the mission of saving the world. A couple of weeks go by and a package arrives for the Joe from his mom. Based on the postage date it was a couple of days before she died. He was sitting in the mess tent when he opened it up and it was her netbook. Of course we are all nosy about what was on the computer and when it booted it had all of her family photos and (I want to say hundred because the documents folder was packed) of letters she had written. We read along with him as he went thru the letters.
    It’s been ten years and those are still raw emotions. Then to see Shirase find her mom’s laptop… damn those onions!
    Cherish the time you have with your family. I lost my dad several years ago and I still email him random silly stuff because I don’t want him to be gone. I’m doing my best not to get choked up writing this. Show Spoiler ▼

    Dang it Stilts why do they have to blindside us with all these feels??

    • March 23, 2018 at 2:59 pmStilts

      They just wrote something true. That’s all. As your story shows, the emotions inherent in this kind of moment are very real. They just said a true thing, and executed on it well. We’re just lucky enough to be able to enjoy the dividends, onions and all.

    • March 25, 2018 at 5:48 amAudacity

      Oh my god, it ain’t Tuesday already and yet the damn onion ninjas have ambushed me again. Please be well mate.