Building on a strong start A Place Further Than the Universe, aka Yorimoi, delivered a superb resolution to Shirase’s story, and a solid finale to wrap it up afterwards.

I’m not crying, it’s just very dusty in here.

Getting There

Episode 8 Howling, Maddening, Screaming and Antarctic Love Story (Blizzard Arc) continued the relatively fast pacing of the earlier episodes and brought the cast to Antarctica with four episodes to spare. I’m still impressed by the pacing of this show, it wasn’t messing about, but still had time to show the friendships of the girls deepening in a very real way.

There’s also some genuine comedy in there. The poor girls do not handle sea travel through the latitudes referred to in the Howling, Maddening, Screaming episode title at all well. And it isn’t helped by other crew members gleefully pointing out that they’ll then be landsick for weeks after getting off the boat[1].

Helping Each Other

Each in their own way Mari, Shirase, Hinata, and Yuzuki are all a little bit broken, all a little bit in need of a friend who can see their problems clearly, and help out. One of the joys of this show was seeing who was helping who in each episode, and how. Episode 10 Partial Friendship put Yuzuki on the spot – are the others really her friends? Will she lose them if she takes up the drama role that’s been offered for her return.

Episode 11 Bash That Drum Can! Dropped Hinata in it[2].

Each time, the other girls rallied round, and the resolutions within each episode were consistently satisfying. This is true going back through several of the earlier episodes as well.

Once it really got going Yorimoi rarely put a foot wrong throughout its run.

A Place Further Than the Universe

However, to stick the landing, Yorimoi needed to deal with Shirase’s grief, with the way she had been frozen in time since her mother disappeared, and Shirase needed to the other base where Takako disappeared.

Episode 12 A Place Further Than the Universe nailed it.

Almost ironically[3] Yorimoi gets it right by having Mari, Hinata, and Yuzuki back off to give Shirase the space she needs to work it out on her own. In the middle of this section of the episode the expedition cook Yumiko points out that giving her that space is proof that they are friends; that they understand each other’s feelings enough to know when to not intervene.

Then there’s a beat. Another beat.

Then the meaning sinks in on Yuzuki and her face lights up in pure joy. For me this is one of the moments that makes the episode.

That moment of joy, of Yuzuki finally believing that she really has friends, is the perfect spice to season an episode about Shirase’s grief. It frames the grief, and possibly inspires Mari’s quiet words later in the episode that do help Shirase find perspective.

The core of the episode, of how Shirase faces her grief and begins to move on, I won’t be spoiling here. Suffice it to say if you enjoy Yorimoi up to this point, you will adore this episode[4].

We’ll Go On Another Journey Someday

Episode 13 We’ll Go On Another Journey Someday isn’t up to the level of A Place Further Than the Universe, but very few series ever have two episodes at that level, and fewer still would have two in a row. That said, Another Journey does have a few moments with real emotional punch to them, particularly when goodbyes are being said.

Another Journey neatly ties up the series and delivers a solid ending with the girls returning to their lives in Japan. Whilst there’s sequel bait in this episode, and I admit to wanting to see more of Yorimoi, overall I think this story is best served by leaving it here.

Overall I thoroughly recommend Yorimoi, it is well worth your time.

[1] Although Yorimoi skipped showing that bit because there were more interesting things to do.

[2] I don’t have enough time to address Bash That Drum Can! properly, but it raised some of the status/entitlement issues that Hibike! Euphonium tackled, and they didn’t get resolved nearly as well for Hinata.

[3] It’s ironic given that the previous episodes which because the girls intervene. Here they don’t… and it’s exactly the right thing to do.

[4] Minor technical details that stretch credibility notwithstanding. The emotional core for that scene is what it needs to be so let it go.