Girls’ Last Tour Episode 12: Parting At The End of the World

Review:

For a final episode of a slice of life/post-apocalyptic anime this episode this episode of Girls’ Last Tour hits all the right notes. First we look back at the journey the girls have taken courtesy of their catalogue of photos that they have taken since receiving the camera. Also, throw in the most overt reveal yet of what happened in the past to get the world to this point.

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Add in a dash of danger and a threat so that this final episode feels just that little bit more dramatic than previous ones. This sends Chito into action in a way we haven’t really seen previously from the character who usually freezes in the moment. It was a wonderfully done segment and also gave us a glimpse as to how Yuuri and Chito’s journey started.

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Then we get a glimpse of the future and this is probably the weakest part of the episode because even though we’ve had plenty of build up this explanation still felt weak and rushed. I would have liked a little bit more from this part of the episode and yet it was still narratively sound and certainly does what it needs to do as part of rounding out this series.

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Finally, we have our feels with the girls reaffirming what we’ve known all along. These two belong together as they perfectly compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses. There is no doubt that neither girl would be alive without the relationship of trust and understanding that they have. And then they set off continuing their journey upward through the layers even with no knowledge of what they may find or even if there is anything to find.

This show has been beautifully done from start to finish and there is no cause for complaint with this final episode. I look forward to writing my series review for this one.

In the meantime, the reader’s poll for best and worst anime of the season will close at the end of this week. If you haven’t voted click here.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episode 10: Not Answers But Insight

Review:

Girls’ Last Tour continues to avoid the trap of exposition dumps as it doesn’t explain in detail how the world the girls are exploring came to be. Instead, we continue to be immersed in the world, gaining some insights as we go along and being left with many questions to ponder. It helps that neither of the two main characters really know what happened or why things are the way they are, but they haven’t felt the need to cheat by having them read a history book or find someone who simply spells it all out. The narrative has actually been better for the lack of explanations.

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This episode is pretty straight forward with the girls catching and riding a train, finding themselves somewhere new, the radio Yuuri has smuggled along coming to life, and then finding what might be a cat (I am hesitant to agree that it is a cat, but okay). Still, this show hasn’t been about what is happening, but more how the girls reflect on life and interact and that remains very well done in this episode with many good moments.

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It is amazing how such a seemingly light hearted story can take place in such a bleak setting and how the show manages to remind the audience of the situation the girls are in through subtle reminders such as the nearly empty ration container. These girls aren’t road-tripping for fun. They have to keep moving and looking for supplies in order to survive. Despite the fairly heavy themes, this remains pure joy to watch.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episode 9: Asking the Hard Questions

Review:

Girls’ Last Tour continues to probe at why people are the way they are, what our purpose is, and what it even means to be alive. That said, this isn’t the get a simple moral at the end of the episode kind of thing given the themes of this show are intrinsically woven in to every single thing that happens as Chito and Yuuri continue their mostly endless tour.

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As I mentioned last week, this show continues to draw on ideas and symbols introduced in earlier episodes to continue building cohesion in the world. So even though destinations are not revisited, the ideas and encounters from those locations are not forgotten and all of this makes the world they are exploring make more sense. They don’t leave one area behind to end up somewhere completely disconnected from the reality we were previously exploring.

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Basically, there’s been deep thought put into the construction of this world and narrative but very little clutter as the story delivers thematically complex episodes hidden beneath cute simplicity. It is a really magical combination for a truly relaxing and yet worth while viewing experience.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episode 8: What Is Left Behind?

Review:

This week we get three short stories in the episode where the girls first visit a grave yard of sorts and start thinking about what people have left behind. Yuuri, as usual, has some interesting insights which she then contradicts with her next breath, but she’s still amusing and thought provoking. I also like how the camera continues to be used (and the return of the statues) as the series progresses so even though there’s no real over-arching story here there does feel like forward progress as the girls gain knowledge, memories, and items.

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The second story gives us another rare brush with action and danger as the girls climb another tower. Again, this links back with the previous story climbing the tower including looking at the lift that was broken which is what forced them to try to drive up the spiral. This was a nice break from the usual sleepy nothing and once again showed why the girls make such a good team and the strengths they bring to the partnership.

Lastly, what to do at the end of the world after you explore and don’t really find anything? Try the random golden fluid you found in a bottle of course. I’d be a little more cautious about drinking random liquids, particularly ones that look and smell more like petrol than water, but the girls down quite a quantity of beer under the shining moon light for a very relaxed and cute ending.

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This show continues to be a fun and relaxing watch with just enough poignant moments that you can’t dismiss it as fluff but it seldom gets too serious for too long. Very good watch so far this season.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episode 7: Two Types of People

Review:

It is always a bit of a risk having such a small cast but Girls’ Last Tour has managed to craft two characters that despite their moe like appearances really give the audience plenty to like and to relate to throughout their travels. Their contrasting views on a number of things lend themselves to numerous discussions that border on philosophical but don’t become preachy because both girls fairly readily admit that they don’t really know what is right in the end.

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This week begins with a hunt for the ration factory that Ishii mentioned in the previous episode and it sees Chito facing her fear of heights once again. This gives Yuuri some very good moments as it isn’t often that she gets to be the voice of reason and the calm and collected one of the pair. We also see why this partnership remains in-tact because sometimes it is difficult to see what Yuuri brings to the party but scenes like this one remind us that Chito would pretty much curl up into a ball and never move without Yuuri’s reassuring and fairly strong presence.

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However it is the discussion about the arrows that really brings their personalities into sharp relief. Chito believes it would be easy if life had arrows pointing the way but Yuuri disagrees pointing out it would be boring and wouldn’t it be more fun to see if you could get there a different way. She points to a hole on the other side of the pipe and suggests it would be better to see if they could go that way instead. I found Chito’s question of who wouldn’t follow the arrows quite amusing because I could relate so well to it. I like clear pathways and processes and when I have a marked path I’m not going to stray off of it, so I’ve found myself asking the same question of people. Why wouldn’t you follow the arrows? Yuuri however simply points out she’s a person who wouldn’t follow the arrows. The show doesn’t cast judgement on either side so regardless of whether you like marked paths or prefer to find your own way (or even if you sit on the fence) there’s something in this scene for you to relate to and to contemplate.

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All of this is wrapped up by the cooking sequence where the girls essentially make biscuits and their contented expressions here kind of says it all. They still don’t know where they are going next and they have to first find their way back to their transport. They can’t stay here because the food is almost gone but they have managed to get some supplies. Still, for the time being there is food covered in sugar so these girls are pretty happy with life. Honestly, it is impossible to watch this show and not feel better about things.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episode 6: Look! There’s a Person/Plane

Review:

The girls encounter another person in this episode, just when they need some help because their vehicle has broken down. Chito tries very hard to repair it but unfortunately she lacks the parts they need and Yuuri’s solution is less than helpful.

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And yet, you can’t help but feel that maybe she has a point. This is clearly something the writers wanted the audience to contemplate because hopelessness becomes the theme of a song Yuuri ends up singing throughout odd moments in the episode and we return to this idea of getting along with hopelessness after seeing the end of Ishii’s (the woman they met) story.

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But while the episode gives the audience something to consider, this anime hasn’t become about preaching a message. Merely providing food for thought and contemplation as the girls continue their journey to a destination they don’t yet know and probably won’t ever reach. The viewing therefore remains relaxing but thought provoking. While Ishii’s presence this week leant the story a bit more direction as they all worked toward a common goal for a large chunk of the episode the girls themselves continue just to deal with situations as they occur as they take the audience along with their exploration.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episode 5: Beauty in Simplicity

Review:

Normally I would be the first to describe something like Girls’ Last Tour as dull. The plot does not exist other than two girls travelling around seemingly deserted world occasionally looking for food but mostly without any kind of direction. The two characters, while charming, aren’t anything particularly note worthy. Even the setting, post apocalyptic or abandoned world, doesn’t have anything really striking about it. This show should bore me to tears and yet the execution of this show has been so beautifully done that this world has come to life, these characters are truly engaging, and all in all, this has become a completely engrossing watch this season.

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I would never have believed that two girls sitting in a room imagining what it would be like to have a bed, a bookcase and a pantry could be that enthralling, but Chito and Yuuri pull it off. There’s something utterly compelling about the blend of optimism and emptiness that comes across in every exchange between the girls. They aren’t wallowing in their circumstances, but they aren’t deluded into thinking everything is just fine. It is a curious mix of harsh reality with an odd contentment that comes from accepting circumstances as they are and it is something I don’t feel I’ve come across before in an anime.

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The final segment of this episode had the girls sheltering from the rain and we once again get to see how young they are and how starved for anything resembling play and entertainment. Yuuri notices the sound of the rain on her helmet and soon the girls gather cans and other things to stack under rain drops. At first it is just noise but then they blend that sound seamlessly with the music for the closing credits and to be honest it was fantastic. And yes, I am aware  I just said that watching two young anime characters put tins under rain drops and listen to the sound was fantastic.

Girls’ Last Tour is not to my usual taste, it is slow and sleepy and I’ll probably never rewatch, but I am absolutely loving this viewing experience right now.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episode 4: Is This A God?

Review:

The low key entertainment continues this episode with the girls continuing their journey to the bright building. As a diversion they have the camera they received last episode to play with and so they begin to look a little bit more like tourists.

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However, survival is never far from their minds as the consider the situation knowing that they can take pictures that will last forever but their food will only last another thirty days (7 if they leave Yuuri in charge of it). There’s a constant balancing act in this show as it really looks at survival in this very harsh world, but also humanizes the girls and makes them fairly cute at times as they act just like kids when it comes to the camera.

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Eventually they get to the temple and not so subtly discuss the notion of religion and the after life. While it works, it actually seems kind of like a let down after the build up to arriving at the bright building. The best moment in this sequence comes when Yuuri asks Chito if maybe she’s a god.

This continues to be a very fun watch. The slow pace kind of perfectly fits the emptiness of the world we are exploring with the girls and even when nothing is really happening the banter between the girls remains charming.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episodes 2 + 3: Can We Eat That?

Review Episode 2:

I’m just going to start by saying Yuuri should be glad Chito doesn’t carry a gun because given Yuuri tossed her book on the fire… immediately after Chito had explained how important books were… Well, our character count could have dropped from two to one if this were a different kind of story.

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Outside of that, the sweetness of the characters continues to carry through very well even as we get a larger look at this world they are in. The levels intrigued me and I’m very curious as to what has happened and why there are no animals and even why these two are travelling alone. There’s no pressing need for these details given the story really is just these two girls getting by each day (escaping the cold, washing clothes, finding drinking water, etc) but this episode kind of makes me hopeful that we will learn little bits about the world as we go and that would be really lovely.

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All and all, another nice episode. This one is a little slow paced for me, but I’m still being fairly charmed by the characters so as long as Yuuri doesn’t set any more books on fire I should be right to keep this one on the watch list and enjoy.

Review Episode 3:

They found another person (and it looks like Chito isn’t over Yuuri burning her book yet, good for her). I wondered at first where they were going with this but it actually ended up being a really sweet encounter.

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The addition of someone new momentarily gave us a little more information about the world but wasn’t very character revealing as clearly Chito and Yuuri aren’t exactly going to open up to a stranger and share their life stories. Still, it gave us a new voice and ensured that the journey to the next level didn’t take as long as it might have.

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Despite being fairly confident they weren’t about to send the entire cast of this show to their deaths after a critical elevator failure, they still managed to add some nice tension in the later parts of this episode. Also, Yuuri actually send something fairly profound at the end lifting the man from depression.

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So while we are still don’t know why there are levels and who built them and what happened to the world, the trickle of information continues and the characters continue to make this barren land feel pretty warm. Really enjoying so far despite the fairly slow pace.


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Girls’ Last Tour Episode 1: Deceptively Charming

Okay, I kind of decided to give HiDive a go given it has a couple of series from last season I want to watch and this season it picked up a few titles I wanted to try. Not sure if I’m keeping the subscription long term but we’ll see how it goes.

Overview:

Civilization is dead, but Chito and Yuuri are still alive. So they hop aboard their beloved Kettenkrad motorbike and aimlessly wander the ruins of the world they once knew. Day after hopeless day, they look for their next meal and fuel for their ride. But as long as the two are together, even an existence as bleak as theirs has a ray or two of sunshine in it, whether they’re sucking down their fill of soup or hunting for machine parts to tinker with. For two girls in a world full of nothing, the experiences, and feelings the two share give them something to live for.

– From MAL

Review:

I’m not big on slice of life, but slice of life post apocolyptic style had a certain appeal and so I’m kind of glad I got to check this out. The first episode, while bringing you face to face with the horror of civilisation being dead, is utterly and completely charming.

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This is kind of helped along by the two leads who are adorable and their interactions, while fairly sparse considering they are the only two characters we see, are fairly grounded and yet both sweet and revealing. At times the themes seem to hijack the dialogue with some heavy handed anti-war statements but all and all, this is a pretty solid first episode.

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I’m looking forward to watching a bit more with these characters.


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