Posted on 1 January 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Girls' Last Tour

Girls’ Last Tour falls within my favorite new trend that emerging the anime medium over the last decade: a dark moe anime. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the human race has almost extinct, our two girls wandering around the world in their kettenkrad looking for food and shelter. If it sounds a bit bleak and minimalism, rest assured that Girls’ Last Tour is at its heart a slice-of-life show about those girls having relaxing time in that world. And did I mention that those girls are real moeblobs? Their faces can go rounder and squishy, but strangely they never feel out of sync with the more realistic industrial setting. The show could be entertaining and soothing enough with just those factors, but it has more tricks under its sleeves. More often than not, Girls’ Last Tour addresses some simple philosophical issues that provides another perspective since the girls have no idea how normal society works. Moreover, while I consider the source material an already solid manga, the anime adaptation enhances this show further with a consistent visual audio production and great attention to details. It’s a beautiful and solid production all around.

I always consider a certain show a great piece of art when they know how to fuse seamlessly between two seemingly contrasting or opposite factors, because then the show can produce some unique chemistry, while at the same time balancing these extremes out – just like how yin and yang work in general. Girls’ Last Tour certainly is amongst this group. Take how the cutey designs of the girls both contrast and complement to the vast wasteland on the verge of totally destroyed. Or how despite the low-key depression of hopelessness that linger to wherever the girls go, the main theme is about how our girls find their little joy and keep moving on. I also want to stress on the small number of the living beings in contrast to the huge remains of weapons and dysfunctional machines. This show is one of the most minimalistic cast I’ve seen in anime medium, with only our two girls Chi and Yuu command the screen most of the time, and the number of people and animals they encounter along the way can be counted in two hands. For other shows it’s a recipe for disaster but in Girls’ Last Tour the girls never stay out their welcome in spite of (and I could argue because of) the vast world of nothingness. The last episode when the stream of many people appear on screen before the destruction, as a result, bring a powerful, overwhelming emotion to the table. This mastery in controlling over the general tone makes this show so relatable, sharp and grounded, despite the show is at its core a moe girls show.

Chi and Yuu make a great pair with their contrasting (again!) personality. Their chemistry is natural and sometimes the show explores the different mindset between Chi-chan who is academic but timid and Yuu who just like eating but quick to adapt. In one sequence for an instance, when arguing about the signs that give them directions to the destination, Chi argues that who would ignore signs that would help them to the destination, in which Yuu responses that it’ll be boring that way. Their difference in the way they approach life complement each other and bring the best out of each of them. Their bond and fondness to each other, in addition, is highlight through the completely comfortable in their close physicality and in the last episode that bond is further developed into satisfying payoff.

The worldbuilding of this series is another highlight, too. We get a hint of how the world come into destruction several times before, but it never at once come into a forefront. The city is displayed as an industrial, vast with multiple layers that the higher the level, the more advance the technology. Ancient people in that world had an advance in technology that now become long lost. Our girls travel that world without a proper knowledge about the remaining technology, and to a greater degree have absolutely no knowledge about how society works and many several topics regarding society like religion, war, home and death. These philosophical questions often pop up randomly, but they all serve the purpose of seeking a bit deeper about our own existence, our purpose in life and even what lifeform is itself. Ultimately, the answer to these questions are just as simple: the best way to die is to keep on living and enjoy little happiness in life.

While comparing the manga to this anime adaptation, I noticed in the manga, the sense of hopelessness is more apparent, thus make it a fair bit darker than the anime version. That’s not a jab against the anime at all, as I consider the production of Girls’ Last Tour a nearly flawless work. The shots are greatly composed, they know when to use natural sounds and when to let the score kicks in. The background art is always appropriate and striking. The direction, the editing make the show as natural as possible, and believe me it’s a goddamn hard job to pull. Girls’ Last Tour is just down right cinematic most of its time. Moreover, the voice acting work for the two girls are exceptional. Bravo White Fox for this wonderful adaptation where I can feel their love and their passion run right through every minute of the run.

While Girls’ Last Tour might provide no definitive ending to the girls’ last tour and sometimes might feel like nothing is really at stakes, I am myself surprise the whole trip never feel boring or repetitive, and Chi and Yuu’s chemistry is strong enough to carry the show. Depressing and comforting at the same time, Girls’ Last Tour is a rare show that produce its unique charms and distinctive tones, while always maintain its feet firmly on the ground. It’s the best of its slice of life dark moe genre and I certainly miss those girls and their kettenrad.

Posted on 26 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

I am glad that this little dark moe show that mostly flies under the radar in this Fall 2017 ended in a high note, and Girls’ Last Tour has been really consistently solid to begin with. This is a fitting ending for a slice of life show like this, further reconfirming many elements that make Girls’ Last Tour stand out in the first place: its intriguing world setting, the bond between our two girls Chi-chan and Yuu, and still manages to surprise us in many ways. The only element was missing in this last episode is, surprisingly, its laid-back slice of life theme. This finale takes a look back to the past where humanity was still dominant, then to the present with those no-leg white caterpillar turn mushroom creatures, while at the same time give those girls a push to realize the importance of each other in their lives.

This first half is easily my favorite chapter of Girls’ Last Tour. As the girls taking pictures of themselves, the camera’s automatically syncing with the big screens and all sort of pictures, and videos from the past come into play. The girls obviously don’t aware much about those old storages, so it’s a nice surprise for them to witness the old world, the traditions, the people that no longer exist in the world. It’s a whole world’s history that play in front of the them: a group of girls presenting their latest project, a newborn baby, a sport event, the ongoing war… and the toss and mix between the tones of those events that gather a grand and epic feeling to the girls, and to us the audiences as well. Here I must compliment the precise editing of Girls’ Last Tour. Those video segments from the past play out seemingly out of order, but they hold the emotions very well, even the music helps strengthen the feeling. Those videos play a nice contrast to this wasteland the girl’s living right now. Full of people, full of life with vibrant colors in contrast with this dull, grey world, but in essence the dull world is one part of the rainbow color that makes life so interesting and full of wonders.

The second part focuses on the new creatures that appear out of the blue, swallow whole Yuu. At that point of time Chi-chan has to experient the important of losing Yuu in her life. Those creatures turn out do not look for human flesh, but rather the energy left over after the human race destroyed itself. Their objective is to swallow and “clean up” all the remnants of warfare, and effectively put the world into an inactive state, and that will be the new state of the world (they need to destroy all the bads before resetting the world again), albeit at the cost of the human race, and our two girls in particular, who were deemed as the last human on Earth by their calculation.

Those creatures transform into a flying Mushroom is weird but pointed criticism towards the consequences of war (Mushroom smoke anyone?). They are, after all, the very product of the destruction the human race had left behind. Their companion Cut is gone way too soon too, and now, with nothing better to do except knowing full well that the world is going to be destroyed, the girls confirm their bond to each other and continue on with the journey to the highest level. I had never expected Girls’ Last Tour to be this consistently great so it was a nice surprise for me and I love every moment watching and blogging this under-the-radar show. Amidst the post-apocalyptic hopeless world, the girls prove once again that all you need to do to survive is enjoying the little things in life and keep moving on.

Posted on 19 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Despite its moeblob nature of our two girls, Girls’ Last Tour still keeps up its lowkey depression – such element that make this show so grounded in its world. In this episode, that stark, depressed nature of the world comes in full light with the focus on weapons and destruction. It starts small with a bullet and our weird animal friend “Cut” who can digest such bullet. Whimsical nature aside, it has its point on how that creature survives and evolves in this dead world. “Cut” is a product of this post-apocalyptic world, with shells of bullets and corpses of machine scattered all over the surface. In other to survive, what is the better source of meal than those bullets? (whether it’s nutritious is another story). Moreover, this episode we can see our animal friend having some basic communication with the girls (which is freaky when you think about it), and their hands can serve as a power supply and/or key to start up the systems. When it comes to the war stuffs, our adorable pet surprisingly knows its way around that it makes me feel it was their roles all along. Now, even Chi-chan notices the resemblances between the pet and the stone statue, which my guess for now is that they’re probably one. Despite its cute voice and its even cuter reactions, this pet is one of the freakiest animal that I’d be happy to stay away from.

Yeah, this week in Girls’ Last Tour starts small with a bullet, but then it progresses to something bigger, and much more destructive. The girls find themselves inside the machine that fire missiles. Yuu, in her normal curious state, presses another button, and the whole city is down in flame caused by the laser beam. That intensify of destruction is used fairly well in this episode, starts with some dysfunctional tanks, to the collapse of a machine, and then to the destruction of a whole city in mere seconds. That was a shock, and I imagine what happen if there were any life destroyed by that careless action. What if there were a person or a plant? Yuu quickly laughs it off because it’s fun, but then when the blame game begins she blames the machine first, then the old people who used that machine, then to herself. Sometimes mass destruction can be easily caused like this, powerful weapons in a hand of irresponsible people. Girls’ Last Tour goes even further though, as the girls’ next destination ends up being the forest of windmills (or are they antennas?) and the nuclear submarine that still functioning. It’s not a pretty sight at all: even when the world is destroyed, the weapon that could destroy the world all over again is still waiting for its chance to launch. That pretty much the reasons why Girls’ Last Tour is so balance. It blends smoothly between its moeblob, slice of life nature and its really dark, destructive settings. That balance makes the show still have its footing on the ground, while at the same time hopeful and light-hearted enough to remind us the beauty of keep on living and enjoy little moments of life. With only one episode left I really hope we have a finale that close this magnificent show in the most satisfying note.

Posted on 13 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Girls’ Last Tour examines the concept of time and space this week, as the girls riding on a lonely moving train. The train design fits right in with this world: a long metal box that functions all by itself and contains many now-dysfunctional robots – corpses of the machines. Since last week we learnt that they are capable of thinking on their owns and sharing the empathy with human, it’s a sad sight to witness that they are now basically a worthless junk. What even sadder is those that still remain: the train’s still functioning despite no one else need a ride, the clock’s still running despite it loses all its meaning. It’s a neat trick from Girls’ Last Tour to insert the robots’ perspective imaginary to remind us about its past lives, just like the graves the girls saw the other day. Yuu wonders if they actually go faster now that they’re on the moving train, in which Chi-chan snaps back that theoretically they don’t, since they are always on the moving Earth. Time goes pretty much the same way. Technically, they don’t go any faster, but since the concept of hours is long forgotten it doesn’t matter either way.

And then Girls’ Last Tour address something that transcend both time and space: the wavelengths, in the form of radio waves and in the form of light. Yuu picks up a noise in the radio that she took from the filing cabinets. That noise becomes clearer the more they get closer to the surface; and it turns out to be a melancholic tune. It feels like the memory of the old people still linger in there. Moreover, there is a reason why cinematography and photography regard sunset as the golden hour, as it produces a magical and dreamlike effect. Light is technically a wavelength, and for this particular moment, both the music from the radio and the red sunlight create something sad, something that still relevant and can’t be lost through thousands of years. That beautiful, quiet moment is also an acknowledgement to the transience of life – that the moment only last for a short period of time – it’s a true sense of Mono no Aware if I’ve ever seen one.

The last segment, however, ends this episode in a much lighter and opening note, as the girls encounter a strange creature, whose they thought was a cat. This mascot animal looks very similar to the stone statue. Long, thin, white and somehow can repeat the girls’ words through the radio. It’s nice to see the girls take something in for a change, instead of many one-offs they have encountered so far. Girls’ Last Tour still produces a pretty solid, albeit a bit lacking in weight this time. Now, the journey of two and a half girls, continues on.

Posted on 3 December 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Leave it to Girls’ Last Tour to not only address the meaning of life in their lifeless world, but also what does life itself even mean. “What is life?”, that question is asked several times during the episode, and the girls can only come up with the most direct, simplest answer to this grand question. We are the life form, robot sure isn’t. Even us, the viewers, in this age and day, don’t even consider robot as a lifeform, do we? Since life is organic, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, something that a mere robot doesn’t have. Girls’ Last Tour challenges that notion, as the show follows our girls into the one of the remaining fishery. The place is still automated functioned by a giant robot, and further inside is another robot who takes care of the last remaining fish in this fishery (if you noticed we’ve seen a lot of “last” in this series: the last flying airplane, the last potato few episodes back). The girls argue robots don’t have consciousness, yet their coding POV pretty much suggests that they process a consciousness of their own. The girls argue they can’t think on their own, yet in this episode they manage to do just that: talking to the girls, managing to keep on going even though the human race is gone. The girls argue that they don’t have feeling, yet they share a level of empathy that eventually touch them. Don’t those make the robot, then, a fully animated being?

And in fact, the concept of life that the robot explains is far beyond the life-concept of human being. The living things, organic and non-organic being include, inside the world forms a wholly giant organism. That world used to be “alive”, but now all we see is the remains of this death world. One of the main takeaway from the girls about “life” at the end, is that “maybe “life” means something that has an end”. That takeaway again aligns so well with Girls’ Last Tour main theme’s and its outlook of life. Throughout this episode, Chi-chan experiences herself in a brink of death by nearly get drowned in the fish pool. The plot soon thickens as the big robot decides to demolish the building, meaning the little robot and the last living fish will be soon dying as well. As soon as the girls acknowledge that the robots have life, they have to end the life of the big robot in order to save other lives. Killing it so to speak. This sequence won’t be as affecting without the moment when the big robot looks back, right before the Chi-chan pulls the trigger. That moment is an acknowledgement about the life the big robot has, as well as the acceptance that eventually everything will have to die, so the best way to die is to live on and hang in there (to borrow the lines from Kino’s Journey few episodes back).

The sense of empathy is another theme Girls’ Last Tour successful raises this week. Just look at how Yuu changes her attitude towards the fish: at first, she just wanted to eat the goddamn fish, then she is allowed to feed the fish, later on when she knows the fish is in danger, she decides to step in to save it. Empathy also plays a significant role in small robot part, as it sounds and behaves the most humane out of anyone in the cast so far and to the big robot, as I can see the empathy level of the robot towards the girls: it knows Yuu tries to kill it yet it seems to understand the reason behind it and gives in. It’s when you are truly alive that you can feel empathy. Girls’ Last Tour, once again, says so much by showing so little, asks so much about the deeper meaning of life with its low-key yet sometimes ambiguous approach. Another real winner episode for me.

Posted on 26 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Girls’ Last Tour again addresses many things about the meaning of life through its very minimalist method. This week, the girls encounter massive filing cabinets that remind me a great deal to the terrific Terry Gilliam’s visual style. Most of them are secured, but in the only few that are opened, there are only useless items: a dysfunctional radio, a button, a piece of cloth, an empty shell. The girls have no idea what those objects even mean, until they encounter the stone statue that it hits them. These items serve as a remnant, a memory to those who passed away. Here, the idea of memories is discussed and admittedly the one that I am sometimes wondering myself: when we get to the end of our lives, isn’t our existence defined by the memories of people we meet in our lives, and those people will be soon gone as well? Memories can be easily fade away, with the faces and the even the names you no longer recall. Our mere existence is goddamn futile. In this episode, Yuu already has a difficult time remembering Kanazawa and Ishii, despite just met them few episodes ago (and in the world where they hardly meet another human being, it does strain some credulity here. But we’re talking about Yuu after all, so it could happen), but she does remember Kanazawa through his camera, an item he gave to the girls as a parting gift. As long as the camera is there, the girls will remember him, just like the various unusable objects in that filing cabinets.

Then our girls head their ways ascending to the upper level. The way the girls spiralling around and around is a great metaphor for their lives, and pretty much our lives, are structured in the same model. We keep doing our daily routines in circle, in an endless loop that finally lead up to the final destination – our death. Well, Girls’ Last Tour isn’t that kind of bleak, pessimistic show so we also have Chi-chan getting dizzy with her cute dizzying expression and they escape death by the touch of hair trying to get across the unstable track (and effectively destroyed their track as well, I feel sorry for the next guy who go upon this path). Once they reach the next level, the new ruined landscape looks more organized, and less tumbledown than previous lower levels, with the sight of full moon to boost. They discover a golden liquid named “Beeu”, drinking them and dancing under the moonlight. Drunken Chi-chan might be the best version of Chi-chan ever. Moreover, the girls always have that close physical relationship with each other, the way they feel utterly comfortable lingering beside each other, and that quality again shines brightly under the spell of the moonlight and alcohol. I love the way Chi-chan breaks her character, to be even more expressive and active than Yuu. Just look at the girls enjoying those little happy moments despite the vast emptiness of the world around, whatever the end of this last tour might be (I’m starting to think we might have a very sad, bleak ending here), I know that they won’t have much regrets whatsoever.

Posted on 19 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

After one of the most plot-heavy episode last week, Girls’ Last Tour goes back to its minimalist root this time, with only the girls and two interior settings. This could be Girls’ Last Tour’s simplest episode, with the plot can be summed up as those girls go to the ration production facility, at first slightly get lost in the labyrinth of pipes until they find the clear path with arrow signs and once they reach the facility, they bake their own ration using the left ingredients from the place. That’s it. But by all mean, this is another solid episode of Girls’ Last Tour. This show truly can’t do no wrong in my eyes. This episode also furthers demonstrate the strengths of the voice acting of both Inori Minase (Chi-chan) and Yurika Kubo (Yuu) (they also sing the OP and ED, both gorgeous by the way). As it goes without saying they have to carry the show by their own voices – being the only voices in the show – and they do it magnificently. Chi-chan and Yuu have incredible chemistry together with their natural banters and well-timed comedy.

What also interesting is how different in the way they approach life that they somehow complement each other and bring out the best from each other. In this episode, Chi-chan feels comfortable with the idea of arrow signs “What kind of person would ignore signs that would help them get to their destination?”, but that very idea makes the trip boring in Yuu’s eyes. Or their banters about the need to eat food, Chi-chan feels it’d be much better if human doesn’t have to eat, in which Yuu responds that isn’t living at all. Once again, we see the ruthless Yuu who turns on the potato grinder machine while Chi-chan is still on the conveyor belt, TWICE (and whose idea was it that the red button is on, while the green one is off?? No wonder that world is extinct now). Look at Yuu’s face who has no sign of remorse at all, makes me really wonder how Chi-chan can survive living with Yuu for so long. All jokes aside, both the girls have grown a lot on me. And those happy moments in the end where the girls make their own ration from what they learnt baking bread before further display little joys those girls have in this ruined world.

There’s one point that I notice while comparing the manga version with the anime last week, and again it’s more apparent during the first half of this episode, it is the feeling of hopelessness is more visible in the manga version. In the manga, that hopelessness feeling plays as a centre tone whenever the girls place themselves in this dead, vast world; whereas the anime adaptation use that feeling of hopelessness as a backdrop to produce a calming, healing experience. It comes as no wonder when I learn that many of the mangaka’s arts are quite depressing in nature, makes me really question how she going to finish this show off. As of now, one version doesn’t necessary better than the other. I enjoy both versions of Girls’ Last Tour to be honest and it’s one of the rare case where the anime production really understand about the strength of the source and strengthen many aspects that makes this show stand out in the first place. Girls’ Last Tour is as consistent as ever.

Posted on 13 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Some might say futility is an essence of life. That we spend our life wasted away for complete nothingness. And some might argue that what their life worth is based on how much they contribute to the society. Not here in Girls’ Last Tour, the world where the concept of society is long vanished, ultimately what do the surviving people all live for? That question is more relevant here this week with the introduction of another additional character to this minimalist cast. Unlike Yuu and Chi-chan who survive for the sake of being survival, both Kanazawa from episode 3 and Ishii this week have their own missions. For Ishii, she determines to build an airplane based on old records so that she can fly to another city. For the reason she builds it, unlike Kanazawa who regards making map as his purpose of life, she does it to escape the hopelessness of this dying city (“you’ll just end up dying along with this city”).

And if you still haven’t caught on with what I just described, hopelessness is the main theme of this episode. We see in the world of Girls’ Last Tour, where food, fuel and electricity are all scarce, the human left in this ruin barely survive the day. Wherever they go, they will likely end up with more, and more wasteland. The very act of making an airplane, as a result, is as nonsense and hopeless as it can get. It’s the plane that she self-designs based on the scattered blueprints within the base (which mean there’s a huge risk), it takes her a large amount of time to finish, and eventually the next city over might have been worse than the one she lives in right now. Yet she does it because she doesn’t lose hope. True hopelessness, after all, is not having anywhere to go. Ishii also wants the girls to serve as witnesses for the actual take-off (“If someone is watching, then I’m sure it will become a history”).

Although I love the inclusion of Ishii as she’s a wonderful inclusion for Girls’ Last Tour, I feel the pacing is too rushed at times. We don’t spend that much time watching them making the airplane, for example. With this episode, we also get a hint of the overall world-building of Girls’ Last Tour. Apparently, the girls only travel in one big abandoned industrial city with multiple levels as of now, the more they go to an upper level, the more food (hopefully) and electricity they can receive. Will they ever make it to the next city? It remains to be seen.

As staying true to the down-to-earth nature of Girls’ Last Tour, Ishii’s plane flights steady, and then crashes and burns. It was all pipe dream in the end. But Ishii feels relieved, and smiles to her heart’s content. It’s not the destination, but the ride that worth spending time for, and I’m quite sure that she will survive wherever she falls. And when you did your best and still failed, all you can do is just accept it.

Posted on 6 November 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

Although Girls’ Last Tour can be described as a dark moe, there’s no denying that the show is the most comforting, healing anime of this season. What Girls’ Last Tour achieve flawlessly so far is its appreciation for small happiness in life, for little magical moments in an otherwise bleak and empty world. Episode 5, even more so than previous episodes, depicts those magical moments on screen, something that they haven’t done before. Case in points, remember last week, the girls crashed into one of the stone statue (they are the only vehicle left in the world, I must add)? That moment played mostly for slapstick humor, but this episode when Yuu hits Chi-chan in the head (to see if her head is empty, my my), there’s colorful sparkling symbols out of her head. Or when the two sitting comfortably in the chair and imagine the furniture they want to fit in the room or most noticeably during Chi-chan’s dream sequence; these moments are brightly, almost too cartoony, something that contrast with the natural, wash-out world Girls’ Last Tour has established so far. Yet, those moments somehow never feel out of place. I suspect they get away with those moments because they never intend to be real. Those are happy thoughts, quirky dreams that again speak to the “enjoy the little happiness” theme without betraying the bleakness of its world.

Again, Girls’ Last Tour is succeeded on addressing the most mundane everyday questions, but because they live in the world where those concepts have lost its meaning; their topics, therefore, are simple but straight to its core. This week, the girls find themselves a “house”, a cozy room where people used to live in. A room with a view, with sofas, functional water, and most importantly, with a door and a roof. They imagine themselves living in the place; and fill in whatever they want into the room. A bookcase for Chi-chan, a pantry for Yuu, a bunk bed for both. That moment really drives it home for me because it what “house” really is: a place to return to, a place to settle down, where they can sit down and relax. But in this vast place of nothingness, the only mean to survive is keep on going, and the girls know it. The last section, music, plays out equally impressive. Music is always considered as an expression of emotions. As the music grows more complex and layer, sometimes we forget that it can come from some something so natural and simple: the sound of rain, the sound of random noise from bottles. It’s not the arranged set of sound, but rather it’s the music for those who have keen ear for natural sound, and the music is the music of their hearts. I’m ashamed to say this consider how much I love dense, complex and progressive music, but the sounds the girls manage to capture right there is music in its purist form.

I have to say that the manga by itself is a pretty formidable beast. After all, asking many deep, philosophical theme in a casual manner like this is a hard string to pull, and yet Tsukumizu (not sure about the gender of the mangaka, anyone here has any idea?) manages to pull it off. But the direction of this anime not only keep the right spirit of the source, they also enrich the manga with the advantage of visual and sound. This episode, once again, speak to that strengths that make this anime even more impressive compare to the manga. I read the manga chapters where this episode adapted from, and one thing I noticed is that with the lack of visual flare (like in “Nap” chapter) or sound (in “the Sound of Rain” segment), the manga can’t come off as alive as in the anime. That ED song in the end, for example, is a great addition to the source and it really captures the magic and ends the chapter in a literally high note. The colorful, playful visual in first and second chapters, in addition, strengthen the magical feel of the show. Girls’ Last Tour has received a top-notch adaptation from White Fox, who obviously love every moment of making this show into something so comforting, yet consistently great. I really have no complain whatsoever with Girls’ Last Tour at this moment.

Posted on 29 October 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Girls' Last Tour

We have another solid entry of Girls’ Last Tour as this weeks the show focuses back to the dynamic duo with some light philosophical touch. In Girls’ Last Tour, they run around the idea that civilization is a foreign concept. Those girls are stripped away the existing knowledge of the past era, our girls can only rely on Chi-chan’s limited knowledge to figure out the world around them, and at large the very core of our civilization’s sophistication loses its meaning. Usually, Girls’ Last Tour addresses the meaning of high-concept terms (like “war”, “God” this week) through the eyes of our main duo. Due to the fact that those girls have little to no understanding about the concept of tradition, society and civilization, they explain those concepts based on their practical and logical reasons. “War” for example, is just a glorified term of “Conflict”. “Gods” that were once worshiped, likewise, are nothing more than stone statues and in that sense, “What is Cheese” is equal to “What is God” since those girls don’t understand the context of it.

Yuu struggles to comprehend why people put so much efforts for a fake paradise, in which Chi-chan argues, Pascal’s Wager style, that the belief is based not on an appeal to evidence that God exists, but rather that it is in their interests to believe in God and it is therefore rational for them to do so. Like the way Yuu freaks out when she is left alone in the dark. When she has no one else she can rely on, she holds on to her gun (such good metaphors here) and realizes the importance of Chi-chan’s company. The same can be said with the worshipers. For the unknown and terrified afterlife, believing in God they will receive a good reward in the other side of the world. A heaven paradise.

This episode also features the stone statues quite prominently. I guess that the higher the level Chi-chan and Yuu explore, the more modern and complex civilization they encounter. In this level, religion was keep popping as they go along since those stone statues represent worshiped gods. If you haven’t noticed, all the stone statues’ look to the left, only the one “God” who looks to the opposite side. I love such tiny bit of details like that. Also another tiny detail that blink and you miss is that the camera that Kanazawa gave them last week signifies the year they might live in:  year 3230. Talking about the camera, the first half we have the girls playing with their new toy: taking pictures as they move along. The girls then make a pointed comparison about the food will be all used up one day, but the pictures are there forever. When the world breaks down and there will be no more living person left, those pictures are still there, preserved by the moment it was taken. Chi-chan then has an idea to preserve that very moment: the two of them together. The moment they move slowly closer to each other is pretty intimate. The girls still have a rock-solid chemistry together. To answer all the philosophical, deep questions these girls find themselves into, Yuu nails it the most:

“What is Cheese – food”

“What is God – not food”

“Why do people live – food”

CHANGE USERNAME
Anonymous1828545
Travlos here: 91 Days was not too bad.
Anonymous1828545
Travlos here: Thanks for those two historical manga's head-up.
Anonymous1828434
Akumestu soo satisfying to read
Anonymous1828321
Thank you
Lenlo
A shame. Kokkoku had the first truly dull episode this week. Suppose one had to come eventually, but this one was mostly an info dump.
AidanAK47
Like lightning, I strike. Junji Ito is basically interesting ideas with deeply flawed execution. It's not scary, doesn't really capture Ito's style and the animation is bare bones. While the stories themselves can have there interesting points, they are often not fleshed out enough. Honestly I am getting rather bored with it.
Lenlo
Holy bejesus Aidan. Nice triple post. :P

So overall how is Junji Ito? From what ive read so far, it seems pretty hit or miss on the horror/gore front. Failing to live up to the manga. I havnt read it though, so im curious what ya think
AidanAK47
Akumetsu?
Anonymous1828142
Wearing a mask
Anonymous1828142
What was the name of the manga where the main character is some superhuman high school student who goes around fighting Japanese politicians
Lenlo
On a side note, I should really start Violet Evergarden at some point...
Lenlo
"Anime is dying" is just a meme that gets thrown around because of Miyazaki.
Lenlo
Maybe. I dont think average score per year is a good metric though, as the cash ins are increasing, but I doubt the passion projects are decreasing. For instance we had /alot/ of duds this year, but people only really remember/care about the good ones of which there was a fair number. It wasnt a bad year for decent/good anime.
AidanAK47
Well yeah, but they didn't have as many Animation studios back then as we do right now. So it's not so much that we lost artistic merit but rather the number of studios cashing in on popular trends for a quick buck have increased. Even then, I am willing to put money on there being just as much harem anime in yesteryear as we have cute girls shows in present.
Lenlo
Perhaps, but I would argue those were on smaller scales, and even then, thats not so different from Western animation or movies. Just look at Warner Bros and their DC push after the success of Marvel. Every industry has those who chase successful trends, yet they arnt failing
AidanAK47
@lenlo, the thing is though that before Moe crap there was eva copy crap and before eva copy crap you had space opera crap and before space opera crap you had hyperviolet OVA crap. The industry has always tried to cash in on a popular trend.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel people went apeshit over, say highschool of the dead because they never saw a bunch of old B/exploitation films, thus that show was never special to me and even failed at an imitation of such.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think people getting to excited for it being unique to a single medium or for, its setting themselve up for disappointment.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I just think its incredibly limited thinking to base it all on just ONE medium, you CAN hold up anime to film when anaylzing anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Why should 91 days get a free pass just because its an anime about gangsters? Go watch a film about it instead which theres probably many of, joker game fail you as the mature spy thriller it ended up not being, who cares, Tinker tailor soldier spy exists.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I dislike this "Its unique for an anime/manga to do this, so instantly lets latch on to it, despite fact that same something is already extremely prevalent in other mediums "
Kaiser-Eoghan
Case in point 91 days and Joker game "It has adults, lets pre-rejoice before the show even came out"
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel though because of the level of dissatisfaction with said moe shows that people are going to leap far too quickly on anything just slightly different, getting their hopes up too high and end up feeling let down.
Lenlo
That, or it all comes crashing down around our ears. With stuff like Houseki no Kuni and Made in Abyss from last year however, I think its going to be ok. We are just getting inundated with crap right now.
Lenlo
I do think that some of the artistic part of it has been lost, its gotten diluted in the never ending river of Moe crap. But that doesnt mean its gone. Just harder to find. Eventually all the random moe shows no one cares about will fail and stop getting made. But the anime audience will still be around, to enjoy the better stuff thats left.
Lenlo
Same thing happened in the mid/late 90's and early 00's to American cartoons.
Lenlo
Eh, I dont think anime is dying. Changing no doubt. Its going through a rough growth stage right now. It has a bigger audience than ever and people are trying to cash in on that with lots of shows that are basically the same
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Tank you and damn you for posting screencap of loli-tachibana, I now have cuteness overload a diabeetus =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
I realize thats a very minor detail to focus on though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats why I can really really get into a history manga if the art is top quality, the costume designs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the historical thing, I have a massive I repeat massive thing for full body medieval armoured characters hacking the shit into things or just the armour in general , especially templar armour designs. I also have an little obsession with male aristocratic army uniforms from the Prussian era and world war 2.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That recent Urasawa manga Travlos mentioned is ending also
@Mario: We might get a complete adaptation of after the rain, the manga is ending.
Kaiser-Eoghan
More historical manga I found, haven't read the second one however, I didn't hear those two mentioned on here either before.
Kaiser-Eoghan
[link src="http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Hawkwood
http://kissmanga.com/Manga/Ad-Astra-Scipio-to-Hannibal"]
AidanAK47
@Anon, yes clearly you know better than everyone else on the planet despite having no evidence whatsoever to back up you claims. Thank you nameless Stranger, we owe you a debt for telling us the same thing we hear every year. Let me congratulate you by kicking you out the door.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I can generally come up with an opinion for what I follow/watch/read , but I don't really have one on kokkuu.
KTravlos
Well we watched the first episode of Kokkuku. Interesting. The ED theme is quite the fanservice.
SuperMario
@Ktravlos: If your like to check out some other shows this season then I'd definitely recommend After the Rain.
SuperMario
@KTravlos: at least Kino is thought-provoking. I can't say the same for Violet Evergarden. In fact I remain skeptical with VE
KTravlos
I am quite enjoying both Violet Evergarden and Mahoutsukai. Violet gives me similar vibes to the first Kio series, though obviously Kino was a better series.
SuperWooper
EPIC post, anon!
Anonymous1825128
Of course, as ardent fans of anime, the writers of this site would not deign to agree or even entertain the idea that their passion is no longer the same artisanal endeavor it once was.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Oh. Actually surprised I forgot about that. Yeah, when it comes to something being described as edgy I think Goblin Slayer fits that definition perfectly.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, You can still throw down your take if you want.
Anonymous1824209
AidanAK47 - Or the women shields.
Lenlo
You know, sometimes I dont regret forgetting about this chatbox. Missing the "anime is dying" conversation? One of those times
AidanAK47
Oh, Goblin Slayer is getting an anime adaption. I was rather lukewarm on it but I wonder how the anime is going to handle the rather unsavoury aspects. Like the rape. Lots and lots of rape.
AidanAK47
I remember the last guy said he would make a chart and I thought it was a brillent idea as at least something useful could come out of this old dead horse. Then his chart turned out to be a useless jpeg with series thrown to the left or right.
AidanAK47
It does stir up conversation but it's really just the same conversation repeated. I remember stating the exact same points Nayrael and Bokusen are saying around a year ago when this last came up.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Indeed Ratings are subjective but it would at least be a general mainstream consensus of the quality of anime over the years. Not final but at least it's better evidence than one persons general assumption. And other factors are impossible to quaitify.
Nayrael
A good parody of the "Anime back then and now - what happened? meme (if the links are not blocked here): https://i.imgur.com/JZqxz6f.jpg
Nayrael
Not to mention that back in the olden days you didn't see every Anime that aired. Official translators and fansubbers selected the best stuff, which resulted in you seeing the best shows and never even knowing about the shit-tier shows.
Bokusen
I think that people who say "anime is dying" are just getting too nostalgic. It's easy to remember the hit series from earlier seasons. It's less easy to remember all the forgettable generic series that you dropped after 1 episode, and so anime tends to "seem better" back then because of people's tendency towards selective memory.
Anonymous1820731
Why are there more bad anime? Because there are more anime being made. That means the good ones are buried under the lots of bad ones. But saying "anime is dying" from that is like saying "music is dead because I don't like Britney Spears." Why does this conversation always come up, its obvious conversation bait.
Anonymous1820589
@Aidan: You are the first to obsess over the fact that reviews are subjective. And since they're subjective, looking at anime 'ratings' over time does nothing to gauge the measure of effort and artistic talent that goes into making anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Which I got my answer by the way.
SuperWooper
>average review scores
What do those have to do with whether anime is "dying" or not? You'd need to look at the money.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Want to add that I agree with both you and Aidan, only brought up those two topics back there because I wanted to know what shows now will be popular in the future.
SuperMario
I'm on the side of Aidan regarding to this. For me it's not neccessary means the anime industry has become "better" or "worse", it's just that it takes new shape and trends and based on the number of anime produced, the industry isn't going down soon
AidanAK47
Am I really going to draft up a chart gathering average review scores of the past 25 years just t shut up this talk of anime dying?
But even if I did that won't toss aside this nonsense.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know this is complete guesswork.
AidanAK47
Plus the industry is dying? Bloody hell, we got major companies FUNDING anime. Streaming services and more anime coming out that ever before. You can argue that this new anime is weaker but honestly it's just misguided. It takes time but great shows are still coming out. Just like back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Well thats kind of what I meant, what, when passage of time comes into it are going to end up being classic based on that, speculatively speaking.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Thats probably a much better way of phrasing it, inheriting mantles. I'm going to say that promised neverland is presently along with Titan a BIG modern shounen.
AidanAK47
Anyway my point is that the shows of the past, the so called classics, are just as flawed as the shows of today. It is only through the passage of time that they become classics. When Stein;Gate finished airing, I seen no one call it a classic. Same goes for Madoka and Fate/Zero. Now, you have people putting up the pedestals.
AidanAK47
Though if anything has inherited the Shounen mantle, it's likely Boku no hero.
AidanAK47
There is no big three Shounen and that's honestly for the best. Because in generally the declining aspect of Naruto and Bleach was mainly due to the pressure on the mangaka to put out chapters on a weekly basis. In fact it's pretty much the primary factor in Bleachs decline.
AidanAK47
Bebop is great but even it is hit and miss by nature. Doubt many remember much about the casino episode and the Alien spoof episode is likely not anyone's favorite. Eva is massively flawed but no one wants to admit it due to the massive amount of praise it receives and influence it has on the industry.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But what is the new big three shounen?
AidanAK47
If we go further back to DBZ, that has tons of issues with filler, dragging out episodes, animation shortcuts, and even complaints of it doing the same thing over and over again with it's story. No to mention the underutilised cast and the everlasting act up putting Goku on a greater pedestal.
AidanAK47
But let us dissect this viewpoint of yours. You claim the Shouen-jump canon as a great, guessing that refers to the shounen big three. But aside from One piece, the other two are emmensily flawed. Naruto is 50% filler and Bleach drops seriously in quality after soul society.
AidanAK47
Also Fate series is trash? That definitely seems aimed at me. What first series are you referring to? Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night 2006? Fate/UTW? The same thing over and over again? Sure each series has a holy grail war, but none of them every turned out the same. I am more than willing to admit that the spinoff series outside of the main canon are lesser. Calling them trash however is hyperbole.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Not this crap again. The old "Anime isn't as good as it used to be", how many times have I heard that over the years, and each and every time it proves more untrue.
Kaiser-Eoghan
One point I'm trying to get at is, I don't get throwing the word bad taste around when I know I was probably in the same position as that other fan years ago.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Another thing, for shows we talk up and obviously I've been just as guilty of this, how many of these am I going to be able to recite off by heart years down the line?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't like Madoka but thats a good example of a modern classic that'll keep in peoples minds, people still care.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*its a
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: The reason I want to see a new show become a modern classic is because I'm tired of this "fleeting masterpiece" way of thinking, where I a show is super popular during the season and gets talked up as if it'll stick in the mind years on, then weeks later it disappears from memory.
Anonymous1819907
And anime watchers tend to be attracted to series that are just plain boring. The Fate franchise is case and point. The same thing over and over again. It really is a disgrace, to be honest--in my opinion. The first series was great, and I look forward to the movie. But everything in between is trash. But they still get the views, since people are sheep.
Anonymous1819907
The shonen-jump canon, shows like bebop and eva were huge in their time. The industry is just not the same--it's really dying. There isn't the same desire to blow shows up like there used to be. Shonen jump is still at it, but those shows are rarely worth watching, even if they're popular
Anonymous1819907
its a good anime, but it doesn't have the same staying power since it was not an entire industry
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for the long post, I want to get people talking again here.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would love for this to happen with, say, made in Abyss, that becoming a show that we remember decades from now and still talk about.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something else I want to bring up, what shows do you all REALLY believe will still be talked about in the future . Bebop and Eva still come up regularly to this day, what new shows do you think will become big classics.
Kaiser-Eoghan
To base taste on things you watched ages ago doesn't really work.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I bring that up because I remember a comment somewhere I read that said, the people who trashed guilty crown, forget geass was 10 years ago and if guilty crown had came out back then instead of geass they would have embraced it instead at the time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the bad taste thing, I could easily say Mahouka or sword art are terrible, but back when I watched and loved code geass people where probably bashing it as overhyped shit in the same way people like to do with sword art/mahouka now.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I sure years ago I would have been all over violet evergarden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
For example most anime/manga melodrama has lost its effect on me, I hate Clannad and Kanon now and I won't watch the new code geass season because I want to crop it and death note both up to a teenage error and mistake.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And in some cases it only takes five or so years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If not that, it’s the show no one gave a shit about that you loved or it’s a recent gem.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And it hit me, the stuff you often end up loving, becoming a measure of your true taste, in my case at least are the re-discoveries, the show you HATED or didn’t get the first time round, maybe you watched it again soon after or years later, but then it does something for you that tops anything you watched in your early days.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Then I remember theres a huge amount of big shounens I never cared for and popular writers that I never liked or if I did found somewhat overated.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Given that I’m in my thirties and have been watching anime, reading manga since I was 11, that’s led to a very very large re-watch list, something things I will NEVER get the time to go back to re-assess , for all I know they could actually be terrible series. Then there’s when I DO go back on shows and let’s face it most DON’T hold up (of course its good when they do hold up).
Kaiser-Eoghan
This has been on my back/mind for a bit now, to where I’m actually somewhat confused by this “tastes” thing in relation to myself.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Out of nowhere comment don't you think? Besides it ain't that I have perfect taste. It's just that my taste is the only one that matters.
Anonymous1819624
@Aidan you don't need to keep pretending you have perfect taste in anime. we are all aware your taste is often questionable, as all of ours are at times.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its kind of a pity because there were moments where I saw potential in it and thought maybe this would be some kind of exception.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But to more calmly review this, I do think its possible to present topics like this, though in a more accessible way, I think even someone more versed in this would be bothered by this presentation, in addition to this manga never flowing properly, the dialogue just feels it was ripped directly from an article or book.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose in all fairness, its right to say I never studied any of these subjects in much detail that it brings up and never did anything sciencey for more than two years at school so I was probably doomed from the start.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I know the expected response to what I said there is "why do you read/continue to read things you know you won't like" but if I don't come out of my comfort zone theres no chance of me being surprised.
AidanAK47
Hehe..well Kaiser, I don't remember saying it was good. I just said it was an insane ride. I found its concept interesting but the presentation was just terrible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry for ranting but this makes my blood absolutely seethe and boil.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I got to the last two chapters and just stopped caring, the info dumping, the multiple lives thing, especially the my own father/mother thing and magical girl part....fuck...
Kaiser-Eoghan
And yes I'm talking about Qualia....this...was....abject...punishing headwrecking agony to read.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay fuck it, just fuck it, I refuse, absolutely refuse to touch anything involving many worlds interpretation, time travel, shared memory,multiple runthroughs/loops ever again under any any circumstances, this is the worst form of storytelling I can possibly sit through from my perspective , I cannot finish this its impossible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've given away/sold/thrown out anime/manga before, including figures and posters while keeping others , can't remember off hand, but it was to free space.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Together we make....tiger and dragon....Toradora =O
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: To be clearer, any interesting series/films they threw out?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Anything else interesting they threw out?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I'm year of the tiger, Aidan is year of the dragon.
SuperMario
And today is the Lunar New Year, happy new year guys! It's a year of the Dog so for those who is born in the year of the Dog... my condolenses since it is supposed to be your bad luck year
SuperMario
I think they move away so they just throw all their dvds there. There were other live action movies and series in there
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Strange that if he truly didn't want it that he never decided to just sell it.
SuperMario
@Aidan: I tested it and all of the DVDs are playable. The package includes the whole show and the movie. Not a scratch either
Kaiser-Eoghan
pppftt, not leaving it in the trash and instead going out and getting the blurays instead =P
Lenlo
Ha, shouldnt be surprised you read it to
AidanAK47
Everytime I read a newly translated Re:Zero chapter I just hunger for a new anime season. The latest chapter would be fantastic animated
AidanAK47
@Mario, Maybe the discs got scratched and the don't work anymore? Otherwise this is blasphemy if the highest degree.
SuperMario
Don't know how should I feel about that :))
SuperMario
Can you believe it? Someone in my apartment just threw away the Cowboy Bebop boxset. Normally I don't pick up someone's trash but it's a crime NOT TO in this case. %$^&&
Kaiser-Eoghan
I will hearby read Murasakiro Qualia!
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Very good voice casting decision with hourou musuko, the voice actor for the protaganist was an actual 14 year old and sounds kind of androgynous anyway.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it comes as no surprise for me if the mangaka of Housou Musuko is a lesbian, since the show has a honest feeling if someone who actually experience those issues
Kaiser-Eoghan
So that probably came after or something.
Kaiser-Eoghan
None of those episodes 30 involved this ant-arc Aidan mentioned as I recall.
Bokusen
0_o What the heck...It must take a long while to get good then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
All I was told by a hunter x hunter fan on here was after I said I'd watched 30 episodes was "I wonder if the next arc will change your mind"
Bokusen
Does Hunter x Hunter really take 40 eps to get good? I've been thinking of watching it since I really liked YYH & it's the same mangaka. I got hooked on YYH by episode 7, but if HxH takes 40 eps to hook me I might get tired of it before then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And in some cases it can represent an temporary escape from the self.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As an odd, maybe interesting relevant point, in some cases, well I think most a non-mtf , both a physical and psychological male, if they wear female clothing, the body reacts as if its like contact with a woman.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: Or for a very old manga on that theme: http://mangakakalot.com/chapter/claudine/chapter_0
Kaiser-Eoghan
The anime worked suprisingly well despite the decision to start in the middle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As much as I absoslutely love hourou musuko I do need to raise some flaws with the manga, the ending is rushed and underveloped and it is true the characters are too precocious.
Anonymous1811397
Is very slow, and I did reach a point of feeling nothing was happening. I did like the anime pacing things faster. Also like with the anime Aoi Hana it did have a poignant line. In Aoi Hana was the response to the tomboy that wanted to reengage with the MC, and in Hourou Musuko was coming out with his girlfriend.
Anonymous1811397
@SuperMario - Yep, it's maybe the most innocent yet mature take on transgender themes I've seen on a manga. I like it also tackles both genders, since we see women can wear more masculine clothing and be fine with it, but a man doing it is still weird, and unfitting. Also I think it's also the first time I've seen someone going to a catholic church to pray in a japanese setting. However, the manga
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although I was reading Qualia as it was being translated then fell behind, something that needs to be read in one go probably.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*musuko
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I believe the author of hourou mysuko is a lesbian.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I believe that was discussed on here some years back between myself, you and wicked and how the manga could alienate readers with the sciencey dialogue.
AidanAK47
So I read a manga called Murasakiiro no Qualia. And boy, that was one insane ride.
SuperMario
it addresses such a touchy theme with so much grace
SuperMario
boy, just one episode into Housou Musuko and I already fall head over heels for it. Only one issue is the character designs are kinda similar, which took me quite a bit to follow the cast
SuperWooper
Hey, anon. ;)
Kaiser-Eoghan
I feel there's too much pressure on people to watch the "YOU HAVE TO WATCH" because its popular anime.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just comparing level Es art to hunter x hunter shows how he isn't playing at his A-game with Hunters artwork.
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