Happiness In Hopelessness: Girls Last Tour Review [Remastered]

Hi, Future Lumi in bold, here yet again. Since I haven’t been able to watch anime consistently lately, I’ve taken to remastering some of my older posts for my new and old readers alike. Today, we’ll be talking about my favorite anime of 2017. At this point, it’s just one of my top anime of all time in general. Today, we’ll be talking about the not-so-distant future, of Girls Last Tour.

As always, Future Gab in bold.

Well, I’ve been horribly busy, but I have finally managed to finish watching Girls Last Tour, and I have to say, it’s a strong contender for my favorite anime of yesteryear, tied up with Made in Abyss.

No, not like that.

When 2017 ended and I looked back fondly on the shows I watched from that consistently good year for anime, I always kept on coming back to Girls’ Last Tour. While I loved Made In Abyss, it was unfortunately a clearly unfinished story. Girls’ Last Tour is also unfinished, but in that series, the narrative wasn’t as important as the rest of the show.

The atmosphere of Girls’ Last Tour was less “The great adventure continues” and more “a day in the life after the end”. While Made In Abyss has the potential to be even better by hindsight when the movie comes out, Girls’ Last Tour manages to leave an impact that didn’t leave me with a huge cliffhanger.

Back to old Gab.

It’s interesting how similar and different they are in so many respects. Both are about two little potato children against a beautiful, mysterious but also harsh and unforgiving world. However, the biggest difference lies in the setting, because while Made in Abyss was rife with tropical weather, plant life, strange creatures, and a flourishing civilization, Girls Last Tour is the complete opposite.

Monolithic structures, complex machinery, cold winters (in both the weather and nuclear sense), and the complete lack of human life is what defines this show. It’s a combination of Metro 2033 and Fallout, but somehow simultaneously more bleak and terrifying. You really feel how alone these two really are in this world, and yet you see them take all of it in stride. It takes a lot of skill to make a show about the end of humanity be a relaxing experience, but Girls Last Tour captures that feeling masterfully.

A lot of that is thanks to the dynamic between Yuu and Chi. They’re not very deep characters by any stretch of the imagination, but when you live your entire life just driving around in endless snow and eating from time to time, there’s not a lot TO develop. It’s their bond that makes the show so fun to watch.

The upbeat and melancholic soundtrack lends itself to this very well, and of course the striking wasteland alongside it. Yuu and Chi’s reactions to the last vestiges of humanity, things we took for granted, is incredibly powerful and critical of what we as humans should really find important in life.

The show is really good at showing how little these two really know about the world. Yuu’s thirst for books is a huge driving force to her character, and we unravel the mysteries of the world alongside them.

Let’s talk about the visuals of this show, because by golly, it is breathtaking.

This show has a talent for making bleak imagery look absolutely beautiful.

The contrasts of beautiful imagery such as this Nier Automata as heck shot:

To post-apocalyptic destruction:

is a feat in of itself.

I used a lot of “show, don’t tell” in this part of the review. That was a good call, because describing the scenes wouldn’t be doing it justice. However, I want to talk about how well the show can shift tones.

It’s a slice of life set after the end of humanity. Tonal shift was always going to be a given. What Girls’ Last Tour does well is giving even the lightest of moments a sort of melancholy. My two absolute favorite scenes in the whole show is proof of that.

Past Gab will talk about the house scene, so I’ll be talking about my other favorite scene, the rain orchestra.

As a reviewer, I know I should be able to put my feelings into words, but this scene just hits me right where it works. The calm and almost silly atmosphere of the scene is juxtaposed with the crippling reality of their situation. These are two girls who have never once heard music in their life, and now they’re hearing the closest thing to it in the form of dirty glass bottles and rain.

It puts the entire show into perspective, how much excess humanity has made over the years. I love this scene so much, and I can’t even fully explain why. I just do.

Next up, our two main potato leads, Chi and Yuu, are just the absolute best.

It’s a classic pairing, the joker and the straightman (though the straight in this context is debatable)

But it’s made more interesting because of the setting they are in.

What drives Chi is curiosity, while Yuu’s is simply eating. This is already pretty much an allegory for humanity as a whole, really. Do you choose to live in the moment, or look towards the future?

To further add to the point, Yuu and Chi represent two sides of humanity. The everyman and the trailblazers. Yuu represents the everyman, those who are content to live in the era they live in.

Image result for girls last tour yuu

While Yuu doesn’t have any high aspirations past her next meal or making fun of Chi, she is still an important pillar of support for Chi, and she genuinely cares for her well-being. Chi, on the other hand, represents the trailblazers in history.

Image result for girls last tour chi

Chi is the one who documents everything they come across. Her curiosity and drive to find out what is at the top of the tower is the driving force of the story. It’s these two who constantly argue about what’s important. It’s easy to side with Chi on this, but try to see this from Yuu’s perspective. As far as they know, they’re the last vestiges of humanity left. They’ve met very few people since they left their village.

To most people, it would be silly to document things for future generations because there IS no future generation. Within the context of this story, we know that Chi’s curiosity is driven by loneliness and boredom. Unlike Yuu, she can’t just take things as they go, because she wouldn’t survive otherwise. That’s what makes the show so interesting despite only having two characters for most of its runtime.

We see that their beliefs clash, but they never really “fight” as they really do care a lot about each other. Something that humanity before them sadly lacked.

My absolute favorite moment in the show, however, was when they played house.

This episode lays out everything that I love about this show. We see the differences in Chi and Yuu’s priorities, but they still get along. We see that real deep down, all these two want is somewhere they can call home and be comfortable, not much more. And most importantly, at the end of the day, the house is still an abandoned house, and they eventually have to get over their wishful thinking and continue on in this bleak and lifeless world.

That was a very powerful scene to me, and I actually teared up while they were listing off the things they each wanted. So simple, but it is truly all that they need. Really makes me think of all the things I take for granted, and how much I don’t actually need to be happy. If I can eat, If I have people I love and things I love doing, then that’s enough. I forget that sometimes, but this show reminded me of why I love anime and what they can do for me.

Lastly, I wanna talk about the adorable and catchy OP and ED.

The dab is dank and all, but the rest of the OP also encapsulates the feel of the show incredibly well. It’s still the post apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look good. Plus they use the dab as an actual dance move and for the quick-sighted, you actually see that they were just mimicking the idol show they saw in the videos of the camera in episode 12.

As for the ED, which was animated by the mangaka herself, it’s about the same as the OP, and is most likely what a usual day looks like for the girls when they aren’t exploring graves or doing laundry in craters. I like this ED because it shows what happens between the interesting episodes and gives us a better sense of how long they’ve been travelling.

If you haven’t watched this show yet in 2019, I really implore you to, you won’t regret it. Beautiful visuals, great leads, and a catchy soundtrack, it’s a solid anime to get you into an existential crisis in the comfort of your own home.

Watch it here on Amazon, or if you’re in Japan, here is the Netflix link.

I still legitimately prefer Girls Last Tour to Made In Abyss to this day. Both are on the same level to me in what they accomplish, but I just like the setting of Girls’ Last Tour a lot more. I love me some nihilistic slice of life.

Image result for oyasumi punpun
Pic definitely unrelated.

-Lumi

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9 thoughts on “Happiness In Hopelessness: Girls Last Tour Review [Remastered]

  1. Do you follow the mangaka on Twitter? She still posts art of Chii & Yuuri all the time & it’s really cool. A lot of what she posts looks like it was done in MS Paint & it’s kinda awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Girls’ Last Tour really did strike the right note for me. It isn’t my usual kind of thing and yet I found myself captivated by it while watching. Thanks for sharing your review of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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