I do appreciate it when a show is honest about its premise, and plays with the tropes of the genre a little.

A Place Further Than The Universe[1] is on some levels a fairly typical “cute girls doing cute things” show, in this case trying to visit Antarctica, but has delivered some refreshing subversions of expected tropes.

The initial structure of the show is basically what you’d expect: opening episode for the two leads to Meet Cute, Debut Queue for the remaining characters, hijinks ensue. From there I was expecting that the hijinks would extend through to about episode 10 or so, with the girls only departing for Antarctica in the final episode.

Yorimoi has been subverting those expectations nicely, including looking likely to deliver a significant chunk of the story in Antarctica.

The Story So Far

The first episode One Mwillion Yen For Youth [sic] introduces Mari Tamaki and Shirase Kobuchizawa. Shirase wants to go to Antarctica to find her mother who disappeared on a previous expedition, the Mari is seeking inspiration as she’s in her second year of high school and has done nothing with it. There’s even references to Shirase attempting[2] to start a club for the purpose, another classic trope for this sort of show.

Naturally the two run into each other over an envelope of 1 million yen[3] in cash that Shirase has earned doing part time jobs but mislaid. Equally naturally[4], Shirase inspires Mari, and the story is on.

Then things start getting subverted in episode 2 Kabukicho Fremantle. Normally the other girls would go to the same school. Hinata Miyake doesn’t. In fact she doesn’t go to school at all, and is going to directly qualify for university etc through exams. Mari meets her when she signs up at a konbini to earn money for the trip, and gets her involved as well.

As for the Antarctic expedition itself, well there are funding issues, and to help address that an idol from Hokkaido Yuzuki Shirase is being dragooned into it[5] as a publicity stunt.

However Yuzuki is desperately lonely – she’s been an idol or child star for years and has no real friends. She doesn’t want to do this, and wants nothing more than the ordinary high school life that Mari no longer wants.

The way she connects to the other three in episode 3 The Follow Backs Don’t Stop is highly amusing, and well played, but actually sets a valid reason for the other three to be on the expedition.

From this point I was expecting several episodes of hijinks, and we did get episode 4 Four Caterpillars in the form of a training camp in this vein.

But then the series timeskips 5 months to a couple of days before the departure.

Wait, what?

This enables episode 5 Dear My Friend to tackle some major issues between Mari and her oldest friend Megumi Takahashi that have been simmering since Mari started showing independence. Incidentally these issues are well foreshadowed if you pay attention in the early episodes.

The episode ends with them setting off to fly to Fremantle to join the ship, albeit with a post credits shot of Singapore.

Interim Verdict

I really wasn’t expecting that time skip, and although the issues with Megu had been foreshadowed I didn’t expect them to be handled that bluntly.

Overall this is really quite refreshing to see. I’m sure there’ll be something happening in Singapore (a missed flight or what have you), but I’m now reasonably confident that Yorimoi is taking its premise seriously and will actually have the girls in Antarctica for at least a couple of full episodes.

With no fanservice to speak of, there’s very little in Yorimoi to dislike, and a lot to appreciate in how Yorimoi is telling its story. Recommended for light viewing.

[1] Literally: Sora Yorimo Tōi Basho, twitter hashtag yorimoi

[2] And failing. Badly.

[3] Call it $11,000 Australian

[4] Because the Plot Said So

[5] At least partly by her mother.