354th G-View: A Place Further Than The Universe

Girls Club show about a group of cuties going to Antarctica. That is what drew me towards this show at first glance. Little did I and others who picked the show up know we were in for much more than that. So much more. Find out what as we take a look at A Place Further Than the Universe.

a place further than the universe.jpg

Alternate Titles:

  • Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (Japanese)
  • Yorimoi

Genres: Adventure, Drama, Comedy

Themes: Expedition, Coming of Age, Antarctica

Number of Episodes: 13

G-Rating: 10/10

Plot Summary: Mari Tamaki is in her second year of high school and wants to start something. It’s then that she meets Shirase, a girl with few friends who’s considered weirdo by the rest of the class and nicknamed “Antarctic” since it’s all she ever talks about. Unlike her peers, Mari is moved by Shirase’s dedication and decides that even though it’s unlikely that high school girls will ever go to Antarctica, she’s going to try to go with Shirase.

Mari and Shirase discussing the situation

While the show has plenty of funny moments at its heart it is an emotional drama piece.

Right off the bat the interested will need to know this anime is not all about cute girls going to Antarctica. In fact the expedition does not arrive there until around the fourth quarter of the show. At its core the show about the coming of age story of four girls, basically their interpersonal relationships and intrapersonal reflection. The people they meet (besides each other) and the people they knew long ago had or will strongly influence on how they perceive their paths to their respective futures. Let me put it this way, friendship plays a strong role in the story. Some would view this as not meaning much as the “power of friendship” is seen as a anime cliche/trope outside of Girls Club shows. However, this anime shows WHY making or having friends is so important in most people’s lives. Meeting the right people will work wonders for one’s existence. It also shows the bad side of certain friendships be it through selfishness or craving a person’s spotlight. Going back to interpersonal relationships viewers will see how a single encounter affected our heroines’ perspective worldviews, for example bullying or the aforementioned selfishness. The intrapersonal will be discussed when we go over the four leading ladies. Basically the drama on the show is presented exceptionally well without going into heavy/telenovela territory, instead focusing on very powerful character-driven narrative as each girl gets their time to shine and overcome personal obstacles on their way to becoming stronger people. Expect several emotional moments that can cause ocular leakage in all but the strongest of minds.

Antarctic Ninjas

Arctic/Antarctic Ninjas. One of the funniest parts of the show.

Besides the excellent emotional drama there is also the aforementioned comedy. So many of the jokes were well timed and executed, better than some other anime that are 100% comedies. Humor is difficult to explain why it works but take my word for it. The above Arctic/Antarctic ninja example is one of many well done humorous scenes. Even the few running gags do not get stale because the writers found ways to make the same joke/gag funny every time by adding a different flavor to it.

Terrified Shirase

The animation on the show is commendable.

Besides the delivery what helped the comedy and drama is the stellar presentation via great animation and voice acting. First up the animation. It reminded of another really good show with similarly great animation, Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko). From the Grade A quality facial expressions and the adorable eyes of both the youngsters and adults the emotions conveyed during fun and serious moments. Helping further enhance the scenes is the delightful voice acting. Personal highlights are fan favorite Hinata and personal favorite Shirase. The soundtrack is as excellent as everything else I described up this point.

Antarctica Coats

Expedition training.

I have no talked much about the Antarctic expedition part of the show so let us get to it. It does a good job giving viewers a beginner’s guide to what it is like going on an expedition to the Arctic region from the training regimen, the necessary tools, braving the harsh oceans and the routine activities once there.

Fun fact: The show became famous for highlighting a certain country our heroines visited on their way to the ship they would be taking to Antarctica. They even got the landmarks right.

Moving right along to the four leading ladies:

First up is Shirase the definitive main character since her character arc is the most important and the journey really starts with her once Mari meets up with her. She is a fair beauty who comes off as cool and aloof at first glance but deep down she is actually timid (Mainly toward strangers.) and has a lot of pent up frustration not only against naysayers and doubters of her quest but also a deep desire to go to Antarctica to find both her mother Takako who went missing years ago and what she went there to search for. Highlights of her character are her reactions to everything. Speaking of Takako despite Shirase being the one who motivated Mari to go on the journey Takako is the catalyst of everything that happened on the show despite her not appearing very often.

Next up is Mari, a girl who, once she got into high school, lost her ambition to accomplish something great in her life. It was thanks to her encounter with Shirase that her spark was reignited. Highlights are whenever she teamed up with Hinata and her own arc thanks to a certain someone.

Third is Yuzuki, the youngest of the group. To better get her character the viewer must understand where she came from once it is revealed. Of the four girls she is the one whose character arc is the most connected to the word “friend”. Highlights are her sarcasm and bluntness.

Lastly there is fan favorite Hinata, the most energetic of the four. She often makes sure the gang is up for any challenge leading her to sometimes show them a bit of tough love, especially Shirase. However, there is a VERY IMPORTANT reason why she is so optimistic and energetic. She may have the second most hard hitting character arc of the show. She has no major discernible highlights because for most she IS the highlight.

Gin Todo

Very important side-character both on the show and to the Nation, Gin.

As far as yuri goes, without giving away spoilers, all I will say is pay very close attention to Gin’s role in the story. The clues begin to pop up once the flashbacks kick in. Then around the fourth quarter it all starts making sense. In a way, depending on how the viewer looks at it, this show made as much history as Slow Start did. There are ships as well that are less difficult to notice. As far as the other side-characters only one irked me. I need not go into detail saying who it is. Viewers will know when the person starts being a nuisance.

I discuss the yuri further HERE. Spoiler warning!

Overall A Place Further Than The Universe, for the lack of a better description, is an incredible journey of personal growth and discovery. The characters are wonderful and their arcs are emotionally gripping, Most of the side-characters are also cool. When the journey to Antarctica eventually starts it is an interesting one. The yuri is most certainly there but viewers will have to pay close attention. Highly recommended to viewers looking for a little extra in their Girls Club shows. Heck, as some peeps below have pointed out almost anyone can pick this show up and enjoy it. It is that good and accessible.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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35 Responses to 354th G-View: A Place Further Than The Universe

  1. cirno9fan says:

    Anime of the season!!!!
    This is one of those shows you can show anyone practically. They don’t need to like anime. They don’t need to care about yuri. The show carries itself by itself. It doesn’t rely on any fandoms to go forward. And it carries so many powerful messages. The main cast are all amazing and develop throughout.

    My personal favorite was actually Yuzuki ❤ But again, all of them were fantastic. Every episode is just so full of heart. And I could ramble and ramble and ramble, but it would never really capture quite what the show is. it’s something that also can be really fun to watch again, as you start to notice hints that you missed about certain things, and some things will make more sense. Plus, it doesn’t lose the fun and charm it had the first time.

    I just cannot recommend this show enough to people. The studio nailed everything so well, and with even such a short time slot. Few shows can tell this complete of a story without it feeling rushed in just 13 episodes. They really made use of their time well~

    So many moments in this show can bring tears back into my eyes just thinking about them T_T

    And, like you said, the comedy was spot on. handled with the utmost of care.

    I’ll stop there XD Please, if you’re reading this and haven’t seen it yet, SEE IT

    It’s an experience no one should miss out on

    Liked by 4 people

    • cirno9fan says:

      And thus, I continue to wade through the murky waters, alone and unaided. Opposition is on every side. Most don’t even realize it; they don’t even see the goal I am working towards. It is a truly grueling and tiring march, but I will not give up! For it is within sight. And i will not be taken down by those around me. And, finally it is time, we are reunited. The goal has been reached! I was worried that it was over for her, I was prepared for it really. In the end, my worry has been for naught. Sadly, she still faces opposition, but I am fine, because I know, nothing can sink the SS YuzuMari ~

      😛

      Serious lack of Yuzuki love on this wall…

      Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Undoubtedly the anime of the season for most who watched it. Hopefully even more peeps will pick up.

      Like

  2. Giack31 says:

    What a great anime. Definitively Anime of the Season for me.

    I think one of the best quality of this anime is that even people that normally don’t watch or are putt off by anime can enjoy it since it doesn’t have any of anime’s trademarked “weirdness” and tropes.

    I love how it’s able to have both comedic moments and really emotional moments. The music is also really good

    I liked how they stuck with the realistic nature of the show and din’t pull a “Takako is actually alive for some unknown reason” because that wouldn’t have been believable at all. I think the “email scene” was a much better way way to handle the topic.

    As for the Yuri i ship
    Shirase x Hinata because of certain scenes (the passport misunderstanding and the way Shirase defended Hinata from her other “friends”).
    Mari x Megumi (the end of episode 5 is still my favourite scene, “breakup rejected”) and I wanted to see more development between them but the “plot twist” at the end was also pretty good (maybe setting up for a sequel?).
    Gin x Takako because how could I not? I like how casual they were about the reveal (also mahjong and Yuri seem to go well together)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Basically one of two AOTS contenders for me. Still have to see the last 2 episodes of Violet Evergarden to see if it surpasses Sora Yori, since Evergarden Ep10 made me cry the most this season out of anything, even after Ep9 could¨ve already been a great ending to the series. But Sora Yori is still amazing in so many ways.

    The comedic timing was always spot-on.

    All the main 4 are in their own ways wonderful. And indeed all characters pretty much, save for that one mentioned, are great. A rare feat for a cast so big. And so many of the character interactions were amazing and memorable. Especially Gin & Shirase’s moments throughout the series/their relationship-character arc, as it were.

    Some moments, especially Hinata’s character-arc conclusion, hit me so hard in the gut.

    So much attention to detail, so much realism in a way, and yet so magical, and wonderful. A “journey to a place further than the universe”, indeed.

    The animation style had me make the same comparison to Hourou Musuko too, as I watched it pretty recently and thus it was fresh in my mind.

    Such a wonderful show to be blessed this season as well. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Mauron says:

    That one line at the end of the first Mahjong scene was spectacular. Before that, it was “I can definitely see how these two could have been like that”, and after it was “THEY SAID IT THEY SAID IT THEY SAID IT IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS”. I would seriously watch a prequel on their backstory.

    I liked how some of the smaller gags got repeated over multiple episodes, like Kimari’s hair, which came up in the boatride down, and in the final episode.

    Said irking side character would have been more likeable if he listened the first time, and didn’t do what he was told not to.

    Kimari and Shirase hit all the right first episode moments for a possible ship, but the only further development for them was the durian scene, which really killed anything. I fully agree with Giack31 on the end results.

    It was definitely a good show, and Hinata’s sayings weren’t as bad as everyone else said.

    Liked by 5 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Your continued glee over that scene amuses me.

      Yup. They came up several times but never felt repetitive.

      He was a nuisance to the very end.

      Hinata’s words of wisdom are quite valuable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mauron says:

        I’ve been wanting a series focused on that kind of relationship for some time now. This was a step in the right direction.

        It felt like they were a step between one off gags and running gags.

        Like

  5. Zack says:

    I was looking forward to this. In my opinion, A Place Further Than The Universe is the best anime of the season. Who would have thought that an anime about cute girls going to Antarctica would have so much drama in it? And the four main characters all have great interactions with each other.

    As for the yuri, there isn’t really any between the main characters. However, as you stated, there are hints that Gin (the captain in charge of the expedition) may have been in love with Shirase’s mom, Takako. In one episode, one of the characters even refers to Shirase as being Gin and Takako’s daughter. And after thinking about it, I don’t think the feelings were one-sided on Gin’s part. This might just be me, but I suspect that Takako might have loved Gin as well. After all, she constantly left her daughter alone with her. It almost kind of seemed like she wanted Shirase to see Gin as another parent.

    And now for the characters:
    *Mari: Mari (or Kimari if you prefer her nickname) is what TV Tropes refers to as a decoy protagonist. In other words, someone who seems like they’ll be the protagonist at first, but is for one reason or another replaced by someone else who takes the role. Not much I can say about her really. Personality wise, she’s the most kind hearted of the four. Her character arc was completed once it became certain she would go to Antarctica and the whole thing with Megumi was resolved.

    *Shirase: She’s the true protagonist of the series, and her desire to find closure on her mom’s death is what drives the series. She’s probably the most entertaining character along with Hinata. What I liked about her is how her personality doesn’t match her appearance. She looks like a typical stoic dark haired girl, but she’s actually really excitable and can get nervous rather quickly. When she finally does find closure by finding her mom’s laptop and seeing all the unread emails is probably one of the saddest moments in the series.

    *Yuzuki: I’ve seen some people complain about her voice actress, Saori Hayami, because she only ever seems to just use one voice for all her characters. But it’s never really bothered me. In my opinion, the voice she uses fits all her characters including Yuzuki. As for Yuzuki herself, there’s not much I can think to say about her. Her arc, as you’ve stated, is about learning to make friends. She’s probably the most serious member of the group besides Hinata. That being said, she also has her moments where she can show off a more excitable side.

    *Hinata: My personal favorite of the four. In a way, she’s kind of the opposite of Shirase. Whereas Shirase looks mature but is a genki deep down, Hinata looks like a typical genki but is probably the most mature of the main characters. Then there’s the way they dealt with bullies. Shirase endured the bullying and focused reaching her goal, but Hinata dropped out of school because it was too much for her. The conclusion to her arc in episode 11 was one of my favorite moments. Normally being told that you should forgive others is a rather typical moral lesson you see in a lot of shows, but this one had almost the opposite of that. The lesson being that there are times where maybe it’s best not to forgive someone. It’s not a moral you normally see, and I actually kind of liked. Those former teammates of hers on the track and field club hurt Hinata by not only doing nothing to stop the older club members from bullying her, but also spread rumors about her as well. It’s no wonder that Hinata wanted to tell them to piss off. And I have to give props to Shirase for telling those girls off in Hinata’s place. Although it’s not given a lot of focus, I kind of suspect that Hinata might be religious. She has several figurines of the Hindu god Ganesha, and she’s shown praying at a shrine at least twice in the series. As a side note, it somehow took me a few episodes to realize that Hinata was the shortest of the main characters.

    *Megumi: I already gave most of my analysis of her character in the comment section of the review of episode 5, so there’s not much else I can say. That being said, I was honestly surprised that she was in the Arctic at the end of the series. Good on her for finally getting some independence of her own.

    *Gin: As I mentioned above, she most likely had a crush on Takako. Like Shirase, she looks like a stoic dark haired woman at first, but she actually shows a lot of emotions over the series. In fact, she’s probably the one person who’s the most upset about Takako’s passing over than Takako’s own daughter.

    *Takako: Shirase’s mom who disappeared in Antarctica. I know there were a few people who thought there was a chance she could be alive, but considering this was a slightly more realistic series I wasn’t holding my breath. She was missing in Antarctica for years. Let’s face it, her chances for survival were not great. Luckily, we do learn a little about her personality through flashbacks. We learn that she was a very energetic person, and that she cared about the people closest to her. As I stated above, I suspect that she may loved Gin as well.

    There are of course other characters, but most of them didn’t really leave as much as an impact as the ones above. That being said, some of the minor characters were entertaining.

    I actually noticed a recurring theme with the main characters: Each one of them was betrayed by a friend or someone they thought was a friend.
    *Mari was betrayed by Megumi who tried to sabotage her attempts to go to Antarctica.
    *Shirase stated in the first episode that others offered to help her in the past,but left because they became convinced it was impossible.
    *Yuzuki attempted to befriend some of her classmates only to realize that they were more interested in hanging out with a celebrity than actually being friends.
    *Hinata’s track and field teammates essentially threw her under a bus to save their own skin when the third year students in the club got mad at Hinata for upstaging them.

    This was a very enjoyable show. There was a lot of drama, humor and heart wrenching moments. I would actually recommend to people to read the fanfic 1101. It was made after episode 12, and is told from the perspective of Shirase’s emails to her mom. It’s a pretty good story for something fanmade.

    Liked by 4 people

    • OG-Man says:

      WHEW. You can tell a fan really loved the show when they have this much to say about it. You always did and it’s been very nice reads every time.

      Precisely why I brought up how the interpersonal relationships the girls had greatly affected them. Your observation of them all having been betrayed was well done good sir.

      Will check out that drama when able.

      Like

      • Zack says:

        Sorry, I just really enjoyed the show and had a lot I wanted to talk about. Believe it or not there was actually more I wanted to say about the series, but didn’t think about it until after I posted my comment. Things like the awesome soundtrack for example. And I personally feel like I didn’t put as much analysis into the other characters as I did with Hinata (or my analysis of Megumi in the episode 5 review).

        I will say this though: This show was not cute girls doing cute things. It was a heartfelt drama that just so happened to have cute girls.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OG-Man says:

        I can imagine you having even more to say a you pointed out. It happens when someone runs into a show they absolutely love.

        Like

  6. Pingback: Yuri Talk: A Place Further Than the Universe: GT (By Remyfool and a little bit by OG-Man) | The Yuri Nation

  7. OtakuGamerGirlT says:

    Wow, I feel like everyone pretty much said it all lol. I agree! Definitely my anime of the season and Gix x Takako is otp for me in this show. Shirase best girl, Hinata second. It really is a show anyone could love and I’d never hesitate to recommend it to others, especially those who have a negative connotation of anime. This was another win for Madhouse.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dante Smith says:

    I’m praying for 3 things after the show’s end: Takako still alive somewhere in the Antarctic (probably living like Eskimos or something), ShiraHina become an actual thing 🙂 (Ep.11 in case people forgot) and Shirase getting ALL the penguins she wants.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Umedyn says:

    This was my second favorite show of the season, Yuru Camp beats it by JUST a little (and I attribute that to my absolute LOVE for camping) but this show was as much a journey as where they go in the show. The atmosphere, characters and information about Antarctica is absolutely wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. LuzeriP says:

    This show was perfect. Inspirational, god tier animation. Emotional roller coaster with deep meaningful story. I laughed a lot and I cried a lot. Also it’s taking yuri to another level. It’s a perfect show to people who started watching anime.

    As for the shipping part. Beside the obvious one Takako x Gin, Yuzuki would be a good wife for Mari. And also Shirase and Hinata, there were some good moments between the two. Lastly, I can see my self watching this show over and over again.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. The Otaku Judge says:

    Sounds like this show has a bit more substance than the promotional material suggested.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. yurimylove says:

    all that good drama, and penguins too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Exactly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yurimylove says:

        I congratulate the girls successful Antarctica journey… in spirit!

        I have a confession to make: I’m so ashamed of myself I haven’t yet started on the spring season — not a single episode yet. But these past 3 weeks haven’t been a total waste, I at least marathoned Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter. And tonight I’m starting on Ne no Kami part 2 for realz!

        Like

  13. piano_cello_conducting says:

    Just finished this. While everyone is shippable, I thought the yuri wasn’t strong enough for me. Stil , with or without yuri this is a good show that I recommend. I doubt there will be a second season as there is nothing else to tell.

    Like

  14. Pingback: OG’s Top 10 Favorite Anime of 2018 | The Yuri Nation

  15. Pingback: Sora yori mo Tooi Basho

  16. Finally got around to bingewatch it. And man, can’t remember the last time I sobbed this much over an anime. A million thanks for bringing it to my attention, OG!

    Liked by 1 person

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