Girls' Last Tour takes place in a frozen wasteland where two girls struggle for survival after civilization has fallen. This week in anime, Michelle and Steve explain how this bleak premise resulted in such a soothing and heartwarming show instead.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
You can read our weekly coverage of Girls' Last Tour here!
Hey Steve, I think we have an AOTY.
Nay, it's GOAT. I'm calling it now.
I actually have a very important question pertaining to this: is this the first canonical anime dab? Has Girls' Last Tour finally given us this gift? Because if so, it truly does deserve to be immortalized.
Dunno, does this count?
Scholars more versed in the subject than myself will have to answer that.
Perhaps this isn't the best place to get into a debate on the tautology of dabbing. But seriously, how is Girls' Last Tour so good?
I think this is the perfect place to dab debate. BUT you're right, that isn't what we're here to discuss today. We're here to talk blobs, not dabs.
w i d e b l o b s
That's the show! Yuuri gets horrible ideas and Chito tries her damnedest to keep her from following through, lest they both die in a bleak post-apocalyptic hellscape.
They're good blobs however you choose to categorize them, and Girls' Last Tour is a surprisingly pleasant and poignant show that I've been delighted to follow each week.
Iyashikei certainly wasn't what I expected from an anime about girls surviving after an apocalypse!
I'm actually super glad it's so easygoing! My initial worry, just based off the premise, was that it was going to be oppressively dark and upsetting. Not that there's anything wrong with making shows like that, but after Made in Abyss, I'm fine with taking a break from the "children suffering" genre.
Girls' Last Tour: the most goddamn healing, feel-good cup of hot cocoa we all needed after 13 weeks of agony. I've been really impressed at how deftly it's been handling its tone. It's a quiet, contemplative show about the little comforts in the world that make life worth living, and I think that's a great thing to have in the year 2017.
Everything about the story is understated, and it works much better for that. It's not constantly hammering you with the bleakness of the post-apocalyptic setting. Rather, it's mostly the background details that communicate the vast starkness of the world, and how that contrasts with the small and bouncy presence of our main characters.
The main focus of the show isn't on how horrible the world is. It's about the bond between Chi and Yuu, and the small moments that both question and define what makes us human.
you know, moments like
Not gonna lie, the banter between Chito and Yuuri is exactly the kind of stupid bullshit I wonder about at 3 am. That's a pretty good description of the show's tone actually: the dumb jokes and weirdly profound conversations you get into with friends when it's 3 am on a cold evening.
It's thoughtful, but not in a performative way. It's quiet.
Like, when you're trying to keep your mind off how lonely it gets when everyone's asleep. That kind of understated thoughtfulness.
I think the most obvious its commentary gets is in the first episode, when the girls are talking about the meaninglessness of war.
But even that is punctuated with Yuu trying to eat a tank.
It's heavily implied that they grew up during wartime, and that definitely affects their outlook on life (Chito moreso, perhaps), but at the end of the day, they're still goofy kids who like hanging out with each other. Yuu's the bigger goofball of the two, having little on her mind but food, but she's also perceptive in a childlike way. And Chito's kind of an asshole. In a fun way, of course!
If I had to spend the rest of my life putting up with Yuu, I'd probably look like this too.
But I love them both, and their rapport is fantastic! I could listen to them talk about nothing for hours. They very much feel like two halves of a whole.
They're really charming characters that don't feel manufactured at all, which can be a stumbling block for healing-type shows. Neither of them are terribly complex characters, but their chemistry is fun and they complement each other well.
Yuu: Let's look at the sky, isn't it pretty?
Chi: look where ur walking dumbass ur gonna get urself killed
Chi: where's all the food
For all Yuu's bad decision-making though, she's important as the half of the duo who really knows how to appreciate life. She doesn't need a reason to keep going; she just does.
That's another thing that's really interesting about the show! While we've seen some shorter-term checkpoints reached, we still don't know what the girls' long-term goal is, if they even have one. They're constantly moving from place to place, presumably to find food so that they can keep going. And sometimes they find something neat that they want to check out. That's about it. And I like how the show presents this as a perfectly valid reason for them to keep going. They don't need to work toward some big anime-style climax. They're just working to survive together, and there's something quiet and beautiful about that.
Yeah! The show's not afraid to dwell on several minutes of them driving and taking in the sights. Like in the first episode, they don't say a word to each other for almost three minutes; we just get to watch them drive through city ruins in silence. They're all about living in the now, taking the time to really appreciate what's in front of them. Which I guess is what makes the show so comforting.
The background art is constantly lovely too, so I don't mind having to dwell on it.
Oh yeah, the show's gorgeous.
We really get a sense of how tiny these characters are in the grand scheme of things. Ruins all around, not a person in sight, the rest of humanity probably somewhere else entirely, but they still continue because they can.
It's a dangerous abandoned world, but luckily they have their helmets and blobby compositions to help them absorb blows to the head.
As you can see, the show also has a great sense of slapstick.
Y'know, you'd think the stylized moeblob faces would feel out of place in a bleak setting like this, but it works somehow. Perhaps because they're squishy without being ero-cute? There's something about their simple designs that grounds them.
I think it also works because the moeblob look is used sincerely? Girls' Last Tour isn't showing you these cutesy characters and then making them go through fucked-up psychological gauntlets to be edgy. They're just normal girls trying their best and looking out for each other. Cute girls doing cute post-apocalyptic things.
Normal girls who are also very stretchy.
We have to go w i d e r . . .
But yeah, Girls' Last Tour is really about the small joys in life, like food and goofy photos with friends and the weird shit you see on the road.
Small blobs, small joys, big comfort. Also dancing. Best OP/ED combo of the season, for sure.
We might never know what happened to humanity or how the world became this wasteland, but we're on this quiet little journey with these two lovable characters and maybe that's what's important. Complaining about how your best friend is a dummy who needs to get her shit together, that's the relatable content. Even if we're constantly tired and hungry and fed up with this bullshit world, there's always more shenanigans to be had with our buddies. Maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel, maybe there isn't, but either way it's alright if you've got people with you.
That's really why I love the show so much. It's uplifting even when it's bleak.
It's a different kind of healing anime for sure, but it's definitely healing, and I can't wait to spend the rest of the season with these two lovable dorks.
Who needs the world when you've got a tank full of gas, a crate full of food, your best friend in the whole world, and the skeleton of the fish you both just ate.