Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho

Title:Sora Yori Mo Tooi Basho
A Place Further Than the Universe
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
Mari Tamaki often plans daring trips to faraway locales, but tends to chicken out at the last moment. But a curious experience in a train station puts her on course for a visit not just to Hokkaido or Okinawa, but to Antarctica.

13 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 7 8 7 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:3468#1552]
A Place Further Than the Universe explores four teenage girls from different walks of life coming together to try becoming part of an expedition out into Antarctica. This series is more a journey for each of the girls as they each carry their own different issues they come to deal with while venturing on the expedition, each one able to positively grow as they overcome said issues and appreciate the friendship they develop with one another. Also, the series is quite believable and accurate with delving into the elements of the Antarctic expedition in regards to preparations, laws, and environment with the serious commitment faced by the older expedition members. Plus, the anime's scenery is quite gorgeous to partake, especially when Tamaki and the other expedition members reach Antarctica to marvel its beautiful environment. In addition, the show's efforts with comedy actually come across rather well for the most part as it did grant me some laugh-out loud moments as I'm typically indifferent with the comedy delivered in many anime titles, and Place Further Than The Universe does a great job at balancing out its laughs with the more serious moments delivered in the developments of its main teenage cast. Overall, I must admit that I legitimately got a great deal of enjoyment out of this series as it delivered some engaging character-driven drama mixed with solid comedic timing and believable exploration of what goes into such a unique expedition. This is definitely one of the better anime titles I've seen for the year thus far and would highly recommend checking it out at least once.

Last updated Sunday, September 02 2018. Created Sunday, September 02 2018.
Watch Stretch [series:3468#628]
(Watch+ or Rent-)

(All episodes watched):

SYMTB, as I abbreviated it, was a generally good show which unfortunately had a problem which handicapped it to a certain extent. The problem was that exactly what the daughter of a female scientist who is missing in Antarctica hoped to accomplish was decidedly unclear. Early on, we get the impression that she believes that her mother might still be alive down there. How a person could possibly survive three years in the frozen continent was beyond me. Perhaps the girl is in denial and can't accept the inevitable conclusion, but if so that, too, was not made clear. Nobody seemed willing to firmly declare her to be dead, either. So, this motivation of a main character, which is at the heart of the show's plot, seemed garbled and confused to me, and as a result I had a hard time making sense of the plot in general. Right up to the end it was difficult to say exactly what the girl's goal had been and whether she had fully accomplished it.

I watched episode one of this show just after watching episode one of the new anime about the girl who loves Ramen, and the differences were striking. Whereas that anime had completely lacked an intriguing, ongoing plot, this show most certainly had one. How will four schoolgirls find their way to Antarctica? Will they somehow sign on as crewmembers of the icebreaker that is visiting Japan? Is there really any chance that the mother of one of them, who went missing in Antarctica a good while ago, is still alive? I would like to know the answers to these questions. I guess the idea here is to put forward what would seem an out-of-the-question goal and have the four girls struggle to achieve it. It sort of reminded me of the anime in which a Japanese girl becomes an astronaut in an unlikely manner. What's more, while the Ramen show was supposedly a pure comedy, I found this show to be funnier than it was. The jokes, while not uproariously funny, are on a higher level of sophistication and cleverness so even though one would think they are secondary to the main plot, they were still better than those of the aforementioned show. So, I was onboard for SYMTB.

Episode two didn't impress me as much as episode one had; perhaps I got the impression that this show wasn't going to be as 'deep', as psychologically sophisticated, as I had thought. That was important, because while the jokes are OK, they are not LOL funny and therefore I need a decent story as well. In episode three the team of four girls comes together and we get a plausible explanation of how they will be accepted as passengers on the trip to Antarctica. One problem was that I was confused about whether this was going to primarily be a search for the missing woman or essentially a matter of tourists getting a look at the wonders of Antarctica. With the show taking a sort of happy-go-lucky attitude, it was hard to believe that the answer they would ultimately get would be that the mother has died somehow. So, while I continued watching, this show didn't seem to be living up to my initial expectations.

Around the midpoint I noticed that the tension and excitement I felt had fallen off somewhat. The fact that the search for the missing mother theme was so confused meant that it hadn't really registered in my head as the main plot thread of the show, so I figured the question of whether the girls would ever reach Antarctica or not must be that. But now that the girls have been given permission to tag along on the trip to expedition, that question seemed to have already been answered. Something might always go wrong, but it's now far more likely that the trip will come off without a hitch than that they will fail, which isn't exactly conducive to drama. The girls discover that this expedition isn't as professional and the people behind it aren't as confident of success as they had assumed; still, it's hard to believe that it will fail to reach Antarctica, in part because there are so many scenes of that continent in the OP sequence.

But nothing much else--nothing dramatic and exciting, that is--happens either; the girls never find themselves in such a situation that they might meet the same fate as the missing scientist. It's a pretty realistic, slice-of-life show, just set in an unusual situation. The nearest thing to drama seems to be a lukewarm misunderstanding about just what friendship entails. I didn't sense any looming climax as we neared the season's end, which makes me wonder if there would have to be a second one. With things as mundane as they were, I was not looking forward to that. It finally dawned on me that the daughter's making peace with herself and accepting her mother's loss were the actual climax of the show; I just wish it had been a little easier to grasp that earlier on. But the show was by no means a complete wreck; the characters were fairly likeable and interesting, the adventures they underwent were kind of fun and I learned a good deal about Antarctica and how scientific research is conducted there. Even if the main thrust of the plot had been made more clear, I doubt if it would have radically improved my viewing experience, which was still more good than bad.

Last updated Wednesday, April 04 2018. Created Sunday, January 07 2018.

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