I’ve always had Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou on my manga to-read list but never had the time to continue past early chapters. Girls’ Last Tour immediately reminded me of it due to the post-apocalyptic set-up, with a bit of Sakasama no Patema. I am always left surprised how I am missing these good shows during the seasons so I am always grateful of the Secret Santa recommendations.
Girls’ Last Tour (Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou) is what I hoped Sora no Woto should have been. That was what I’ve been thinking when I watched the first episode. While the synopsis of the plot seemed dark – There are moments when I am fooled by the light-hearted iyashi-kei scenes that I sometimes get ARIA vibes from it – especially during the self-made bathtub episode. There was even that silly rain episode which was quite coincidental as I actually watched that episode while it was raining. It makes you think that there are still mundane things you can appreciate despite the post-apocalyptic setting. Maybe because it is set in post-apocalyptic world that people couldn’t care less anymore — that they can now focus more on the things that matter. The moments.
The more I watch the series – the more it reminded of Kino no Tabi as Yuu and Chi traverse different places – while encountering these peculiar places/people as we learn that current state of its universe. The weird and good thing about it was I never felt it going for an ‘episodic’ way of narrating the story unlike Kino.
The series covers a lot of topics about life in general (the journey mainly, but you get pieces about culture, and even religion). I particularly liked the episode about the fish. The show does not come across as sci-fi due to its post-apocalyptic setting but that episode tugged my Eve no Jikan heartstrings when it went for a story of a lone robot and its mission of keeping a fish alive – even after almost all parts of the facility became out of commission. The message about life and empathy, involving a robot and a fish, makes it more especially impactful thanks to a universe, void of people.
Other than our two protagonists, we get to meet Kanazawa and Ishii – both of which, are remarkable addition to the story. As much as I wanted Yuu and Chi to meet more humans – I feel very conflicted. In a setting where most of humanity have died – meeting fewer makes these fateful meetings more precious. At the same time, both Kanazawa and Ishii presents that human connection and interaction that I was hoping to further explore, on top of the usual ramblings mostly just by Yuu and Chi. As an example, I got older sister vibes from Ishii when she was around the two and wanted to see more of that dynamic.
True despair is not having anywhere to go, right? – Ishii
Kanazawa and Ishii both gave light towards the passion and reason for living despite loss and failure, especially in a stagnant world. Kazanawa being a cartographer explains how the act itself has become a raison d’être in a desolate world. After he lost his maps – we see him dejected for quite a while but still made a promise to himself to continue making maps of the new upper level as he parted ways with our duo. Ishii’s goal to reach a distant land by constructing a plane speaks more about hope and zeal for achievement. My heart sank when her plane fell apart. Why did I ever think it will go smoothly in a world where almost nothing ever worked? We see her smiling in her parachute even after that failure – a consolation that I am not sure I’d be happy about considering that she’ll be landing to the lowest levels where there’s no longer any civilization.
The relationship between Yuu and Chi has its moments. I was particularly a fan of Yuu’s gesture of drawing Chi’s sleeping face on her journal as an apology when she accidentally burned one of her treasured books. I would like to think that Chi only started doodling on her journal after that. But of course, my favorite was when they were imagining how their ideal home would look like. Even in that fantasy, they are together in a double-deck bed. It just shows us how glued these two are regardless of what world you put them in. (And of course – who wouldn’t enjoy the drunk scenes!)
I often forget that the story takes place in a distant future after a world war ravaged the entire humankind. I don’t think the tech was executed appropriately, since there’s hardly any weird machinations present in the series, other than the weird revolving device that was never explained. Other than that, most of the tech we see are what I would call enhancements only like facilities for mass potato production, and a camera that seems to have a pretty long-lasting battery life, and very big memory storage (I wanted one!!). Sci-fi was never the show’s strong suit and focus so I was not expecting much from it though.
The other thing I was not pretty convinced by the show is how it handled the concept of war and its lasting effect to people, partly because no one ever talked about it. The duo sounded like they’ve been desensitized to a default that it did not warrant any back story of how these two came about — with Yuu particularly being good with guns. I feel like they could have done more on this – but I know as well that it was never the focus.
As cliche as it sounds – It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. That is indeed the case in Girls’ Last Tour. You have these duo aiming to reach the surface/higher level of the city – without the assurance that they will even find other people. We’re shown highlights more on how these two protagonists interact, spend their day, and discover more about the world, despite the terrible undertones of what could have happened in the past.
Overall, the show has been a great watch. Girls’ Last Tour is a heart-warming tale of friendship and discovery, amidst a post-apocalyptic world. It brings about the message of hope despite the ill-fated ending of the world. It is something I would personally struggle to imagine – and yet here I am, hoping the best, happiest and longest possible life for the last two humans in the universe of Girls’ Last Tour.
The only time I see someone hating on the show is if you highly prefer an ensemble cast of characters since you only have two main, and two other supporting that would only appear on single eps of their own.
If there’s anything I must do after writing this post – that would be finding out if the manga had a similar ending, as I gathered that this finished airing Dec 2017, but the manga ended its serialization last Jan 2018. If you know the answer – let me know below in the comments!
Thanks Secret Santa for recommending this one!
PS. I am very sorry for being very late posting this. Can I just say as well how I really like how Yuu and Chi are dabbing in the OP?
image credit: pixiv users さきの新月, ウミロク, 泉彩 and 电车喵