Anime has a lot of things that most viewers assume just come with the territory: awkward shots of female characters, painfully generic character archetypes, and plots that do not get resolved after one season and the show not getting a second season. Even looking as good as the show did from promotional videos, there was always an inkling of worry that the show was just going to be plagued with those aforementioned anime staples. However, not only was A Place Further Than The Universe not that, it ended up going above and beyond my wildest expectations, and is probably going to be in the running best anime of the year.
A Place Further Than The Universe centers around a story of getting to Antartica, mostly driven by Shirase, a quiet and awkward girl who everyone is more than content with just making fun of her for her goal. Mari, a girl who is tired of wasting her youth and doing nothing in high school, runs into Shirase after she drops a million yen in a rush to catch her train. Mari, after returning the money Shirase dropped, tells her that she wants to come with Shirase on her journey. After meeting up with Hinata, a worker at one of the convenience stores near there school, and Yuzuki, a child actor tired of her controlling mother, the group manages to get a spot on the first expedition to Antartica in three years.
Even from the show’s setup, it is compelling. The show first introduces Mari, who remains unsatisfied with how her life is going. She feels like there is so much that she could be doing, but that she is too scared to take the risk. After meeting Shirase and learning about her planned trip to Antartica, she is determined to join her and break away from her normal, everyday routine.
It seems like a generic compliment at this point, but each of the characters in the show feels so human. Mari’s situation is something I can find myself relating to in a lot of ways, especially since I am about to graduate high school. Shirase too is someone that I think a lot of people can relate to. It is hard losing a family member, and when we do it just feels like a natural instinct to carry on their memory in any way we can. Hinata and Yuzuki also play a vital role in rounding out the cast, and are unique and interesting characters in their own way. Hinata, eccentric and lovable, is probably the most compelling of the four. Having gone through bullying from her classmates, she starts homeschooling so that she can take control of her own life, but in the process becomes removed from the world. Yuzuki, on the other hand, is a child actor who has been surrounded by people her whole life, and is used to being in the spotlight. Not content with her life of fame, Yuzuki meets up with the other girls and decides to bring them along on the trip, and simultaneously makes some friends.
Seeing as how there is not a lot of action in A Place Further Than The Universe, most of the show’s budget goes into making every shot look as detailed as humanly possible. Everything, from the details of the ship to the background shots of the artic, and even the random background characters look good in this show. It is kind of amazing when you consider that Saho Yamane, the show’s art director, has only this show on her list of credits. A very good first job, to say the least.
The music is nothing special, but it gets the job done. The best part musically about A Place Further Than The Universe is probably the opening, which I talked about in one of my Opening of the Week posts, so check that out if you want to hear more about it.
I really cannot stress enough how great this show is. It has an infectious, adventurous spirit, and its characters embody everything that makes us human, and all of the things we should strive to be: honest, with ourselves and other, persistent, and courageous. Check this show out. Now.
What do you guys think of this A Place Further Than The Universe? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!