I was commenting on the sudden influx of outdoor animes. This is another of those outdoor shows, but, boy howdy, what a place to be going to! “A Place Further than the Universe” (“Sora Yorimo Tōi Basho”) is certainly grand in its scope and reach, although certain aspects fizzled a bit. But, let us venture forth!
Mari Tamaki (the leader of the pack; second from right) is a second-year high school student who wants to make the most out of her youth but is usually too afraid to do so. She wants to; she really wants to, but fizzles and folds at the last moment, and so, ends up with nothing. As she walks home from another bailed-out idea, she stumbles across an envelope with ¥1,000,000 in it! What gives? She eventually finds Shirase Kobuchizawa (on her right hand), a girl who had been saving up to travel to…Antarctica! Her mother, Takako, who was an explorer, disappeared down there three years ago and she wants to find out the truth.
Mari decides she wants to do this and begins working at a convenience store to generate funding. Her co-worker, Hinata Miyake (far left), decides she wants in on this as well. An attempt to crash the expedition is foiled by Gin Todo. She is the head of the expedition and was there three years ago when Takako went missing. She turns them all down.
An opportunity arises when child actress Yuzuki Shiraishi (camera at the right) is chosen to go on the expedition as a reporter. She, however, does not wish to. After convincing her to take the job, they all join the Civilian Expedition for the Antarctic.
The show is broken into two segments, as you might surmise. The first portion is all the trials and tribulations they are put through in order to get TO Antarctica. Then, what they do once they are there. Wait! Did I give a spoiler as to how it turns out? No, as the bulk of the show is revealed THROUGH THE OPENING CREDITS! So you know, you know, they make it on board. This doesn’t mean you do not see the perambulations they must go through to get down there, but they ARE going to get down there. The only real drama was how Shirase would handle the idea about trying to find out about not only how her mother died, but why.
We also see what life is like at Ice Station Zebra or whatever the name of their Expedition station is and that these things are a lot of daily grunt work to keep things going and that, since life here runs differently, the changes that you have to be aware of, as if you mess up here, it affects a ton of people. But we do see the maturation process of all of these ladies, as much is expected of them and they have to produce in a climate that does not brook sloppiness or being unaware of your surroundings.
I, like Shirase, would have liked to learn more about the final day of her mother. There are a ton of tantalizing clues as to what may have happened, but the actual nub is deflected from us. And there is a strong possibility that her very well preserved body could be found, but it is an ever-shifting landscape and there is no genuine way to make that discovery, so it might have to wait for another season. And the ending gives a very strong indication that more adventures are on the horizon.
Without a doubt you can chain this show. You can really feel the tension and concerns as crisis after crisis is met and overcome and things play out far better with the forces that want to say no to all of this. Yeah, especially with the Antarctic portion of things.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Good work on the backgrounds and environment)
Plot 7 (Would have been better if not fully tipped)
Pacing 7 (Got frenetic in parts)
Effectiveness 8 (Strong use of flashbacks)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Bingeability 9 (Helps things along)
Overall 7 (So much promise not adequately fulfilled)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Where is your passport?