Posted on 22 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Welp, I never would have thought Girls’ Last Tour can get any better, but this week’s episode is straight up phenomenal. Episode 3 manages to make some new tricks to its well-established formula: introduces another human survivor to the mix, askes a deeper philosophical question about the meaning of life in that stark world (and manage to execute the theme very well), and constructs many details about its fascinating world-building. I have no problem regarding it as the best Girls’ Last Tour’s episode we’ve seen so far. The inclusion of the new character, Kanazawa, adds a fresh air to this so far two-girls show. He’s the first human the girls come into contact for God knows how long, but what particularly sells me is the tension. The girls’ first instinct when realizing there’s another human around is to stay on guard. That level of highly cautious reaction comes to a far greater extent that Yuu points the gun at him all the time until she trusts him. It might sound grim regarding that they’re all fellow human and they cannot come to trust each other at their first glance, but it fits to Girls’ Last Tour narrative because it’s the human war that singlehanded destroyed the world. But these earlier doubts make their whole encounter far more powerful. It’s a process of gaining trust, after all and as soon as both Chii-chan and Yuu see no harm in his intention, they both invite him to crash the tank.

And that’s a beginning of a fruitful partnership. Kanazawa draws maps as a living breath and he uses his knowledge to lead the girls to the petrol station, and then to the Great Tower, in exchange for a little lift to the upper level. Here’s the foundation of human behavior: cooperation for the same goals. He helps the girls to clear path/ make a stable path for the tank to pass through his man-made bridge. Although appear to be just one-off only, Kanazawa is a welcome addition to this cast. Not only he fits well with the girls, his approach to that world: making maps as he explores the world, and the act of making maps gives his life purpose. The purpose of life was the question both Chii-san and Yuu asking as they drive along, finding foods and just barely making their ends meet. Aren’t their lives then, a string of continuous journey to find food and survive, is there any meaning beyond survival? Kanazawa’s live has a meaning, at least he has something worth spending his effort with, something he can look back proudly once he reaches the end.

Knowing that, Girls’ Last Tour eventually delves even deeper. As the three are in the elevator to the upper level, it tilts and his suitcase of maps falls off the lift, meaning all his efforts up until now are gone, with the wind. He’s depressed and wants to give it all up, echoing what Yuu mentioned earlier: If the maps are what you live for, let’s burn them to see if you’d really die. But the same with the silence of God, sometimes hardship in life (in his case, the loss of his maps) is meant for him to have a fresher perspective and then moves on. He still has a drive for making more maps and sometimes to live is to enjoy the little beautiful moments like the streetlights to the wonderworld and having fruit-flavor ration bar together. He gives the girl his camera as a gratitude, embarking on his own way. And that’s the end of the fruitful friendship… until the next time they meet again, if ever.

Although always serve as a backdrop and I’m pretty sure it will remain that way, the world-building of Girls’ Last Tour is even more realized now, now that we reach to the higher (and hopefully, better) level. One certain thing that differentiate this level with the lower one is the presence of electricity. Another detail we learn through this episode is that the bygone era, the ancient times was the period that human civilization had the greatest technology advance and high population. Then humanity had declined (hah!) and the technology advance had lost and human managed to fight each other until the whole race was destroyed. The generation before those girls and Kanazawa couldn’t figure out the way to function the elevator inside the tower, for example. It’s a fascinating world because we are just like those girls, know little to this world, the bygone world and thus, making their last tour feel like an adventure with so much wonder. At least for now, the girls are heading to the great light in the distance. I, for once, hope that this last tour will never end.

Posted on 15 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Here’s for the most comfort food of this season. One thing you will notice when watching this show: despite its dark, post-apocalyptic settings, Girls’ Last Tour is a slice-of-life moe show at its heart. There will be no deep implication of the dark world, and those girls will not develop much by the end. But then, only two episodes in and I can confidently say that this show will stay as one of the best of its genre. First, it fuses seamlessly between its dark theme and light-hearted tone, making it a well-balanced show about two girls finding small wonders in this grey world. It helps that the source material is strong, depicting two (and only two) characters who have rock-solid chemistry and the ruined world with great eyes of details. The small stories so far vary greatly, and moreover they’re heartfelt.

But its best assets so far lie in the direction. Girls’ Last Tour is the only anime show I’ve watched this year (aside from Scum’s Wish) that makes me feel it would be right at home in live-action movie medium. Apart from the girls’ round (and getting rounder) moe faces – which have its own charm – it feels downright cinematic. Great shot composition everywhere, they nail the right color palettes (whether its dusty world, the warm of fire, or the coldness of snow), make a perfect choice regarding the use of sound (they know when to insert the scores, when to just let the natural sound – like the sound of the tank – take up its noise), and the pacing is just about right. It’s a goddamn perfect production in my eyes.

In order to fit with the slice of life nature of this gem, where they more likely produce the same atmosphere every single story; thus give me a difficult task of repeating myself over again, I will blog it as a written account for its chapters. It’s note-worthy to mention that the three main titles of this week’s chapters are all mundane everyday activities, but of course in Girls’ Last Tour, “mundane everyday activities” are as far-away as normal activities as possible. Hence when those moments happen, it feels like a special occasion.

“Bath”

Our girls Chii-chan and Yuu encounter a big snowstorm and they look for a shelter – a Japanese power plant (in which Chii-chan can’t understand the sign, suggests that our current civilization is long, long gone). The girls are still freezing until they notice a pipe that isn’t frozen – the pipe that contains hot water. Yuu blasts it apart with the help of Chii-chan to steady the gun (man, I love their teamwork) and voila – they make themselves a man-made hot spring. Time for a hot bath, something that those girls don’t have a luxury to do often since they left their “Grandpa” (they only took bath three times before that).

“Journal”

This is the chapter where we can see the difference in the way the two girls approach life: Chii-chan wants to reserve the memories by writing these events down in her journal. Yuu, on the other hand, voices her opinion that memories only get in the way of living. That contrasted philosophy is neither right nor wrong, and it’s precisely the reason why they make such a good team as they balance each other out. But Girls’ Last Tour goes even further by having the careless Yuu literally destroys a book by unintentionally throws it into a fire. Chii-chan saves it just in time but of course she’s mad as hell. Yuu then says sorry with the only way she knows that will make Chii-Chan smile: drawing her sleeping face with a mispronounced written apology: “I’m sokky”

“Laundry”
One of the factor that Girls’ Last Tour chapters have been succeeded so far is how they blend the interior settings (those girls doing something together, like the previous two chapters) and the vast exterior setting. This time they stand above a massive building with a still-functioned drainage system. The lost city used to be a grand industrial city, now only filled with ruined, scrapped metals… and a dead fish. It further suggests that there’s still a life-form left in the post-apocalyptic world beside our two heroines, but those poor girls don’t even see a fish before, let alone know how it taste. Doesn’t matter at all since they grill the fish and eat it anyways. Then, with a full stomach, and a laundry’s job done, those girls lie there in the vast world and take their good nap, leaving behind all the worries to God’s hand.

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