Girls Beyond the Wasteland
Episode 11

by Gabriella Ekens,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Girls Beyond the Wasteland ?

Last week ended on a pretty surprising twist. It turned out that Sayuki's brother isn't a big name game developer - he has a company, but it's about to be shut down. Wanting to save her brother's career, Sayuki decided to make a game in order to pay off his debt. Fearing that her teammates wouldn't agree to work under those conditions, she neglected to tell them about it. But when her brother pays them a sudden visit, the secret gets out. Angry at having been deceived, they all storm off the project. Sayuki is left to finish it herself, but completion looks unlikely. In the days following the breakup, Bunty tries to resume his normal life, but it all feels so empty. He really cared about the game and cherished his memories of working on it. It hurts that it was all based on a lie. Gradually, the former teammates gather, realizing that they all feel the same way. In the end, they all decide that they can forgive Sayuki's lie and agree to continue working on the game. Bunty in particular realizes that the project has given him the sense of direction that he desperately wanted out of life. That turnaround was a little fast, but alright. Can't complain about this show wrapping up sooner.

That's the first half of the episode. The second half is dedicated to Crunch Time – that final, furious push to complete a deadline-based project. You've probably experienced it yourself: there's no time for sleeping, barely time to get food, the adrenaline is pumping, and everything is put aside in service of final completion. In depicting this, Girls Beyond the Wasteland is accurate yet uninspired as usual. It's not an entirely ineffective portrayal, though. It turns out that the past ten episodes have given me some affection for these kids and their silly game, even if it might just be some sort of review-based Stockholm Syndrome. Maybe I'm just projecting my experiences of having done something similar. Regardless, the final chase scene (they take too long fixing an issue and have to rush-deliver the product before a certain time) did hold my attention. Like the previous Crunch Time episode, you can tell that the writer has done this sort of thing. The afterglow, as I call it - the post-work moment when the stress chemicals begin to flush out of your body – was a particularly satisfying idyllic repose.

There's also still the issue that the Typhoon crew will turn the team into work slaves if they lose the dumb sales competition, but that's barely present anymore. The passive aggressive not-Kinoko-Nasu calls Bunty to be a jerk, and that's the only time it comes up. I still barely know what this game is about, but it's probably good that they're playing down this element. It was lame in the first place, and the show's real draw – the team-based labor of love – didn't need the details. Either way, the game's content will probably be the focus next week.

Grade: C

Girls Beyond the Wasteland is currently streaming on The Anime Network and Hulu.

Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.

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