An anime based on a story about two young women going on crazy adventures to a hostile other dimension full of unspeakable danger and scares all while slowly developing feelings for each other. Sounds like a winning concept to me. Question is how was the show in question? Let us find out as we take a look at Otherside Picnic.
Note: This review is by someone who has not read the source material. For a review by someone who has check out Sir Rory‘s.
Alternate Title: Urasekai Picnic (JP)
Genres: Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Thriller, Yuri.
Themes: Urban Legends.
Number of Episodes: 12
G-Rating: 8/10 (Solid yuri and good action-horror) 7/10 (Fans of the source material)
Plot Summary: Sorawo has been exploring the strange dream-like world she calls the Otherside ever since she stumbled upon it during her days as an urban explorer, but her most recent trip has gotten her into serious trouble. That’s when she meets Toriko, a strange young woman searching the Otherside for her missing friend. Toriko helps Sorawo out of her predicament, and Sorawo falls into helping Toriko in her mission. But each journey into the Otherside brings strange new dangers and skills, and Sorawo isn’t sure that the search is worth it.
I already described the gist of the show in the introduction and for the most part that is the majority of what viewers can expect from it. Most of the time our main duo travel to Otherside through various means exploring the almost post-apocalyptic world, encountering terrifying otherworldly creatures from creepy crawlies to enormous monsters based on urban legends and even Creepypastas. Depending on how much people can handle scary monsters and atmosphere along with lighting and the time of day watching, it can be a genuinely scary viewing experience. I watched most of it with the lights on and chills ran down my spine a couple of times. Along with the monsters’ inspiration the setting and some of the adventures were inspired by the video game series S.T.A.L.K.E.R that in turn was inspired by the Russian novel Roadside Picnic (I was unaware of this at first but fans of one or both quickly name dropped the titles as soon as I began my weekly coverage of the show).
The show has an episodic format. Most episodes feature a contained adventure with a few two-parters. There is an ongoing narrative, Toriko’s main mission. While it becomes clearer as the story progresses do not expect to see a conclusion nor a climax to that plot. Approach this show as more of an episodic adventure with a story brewing on the side that may or may not get an animated continuation in the future. From past experience the odds of a 2nd season are slim.
To combat the threats of Otherside Sorawo and Toriko come equipped with not only firearms, Toriko has a reason why she often comes with a solid supply of them, but supernatural abilities. Besides well done creep factor and scares the action scenes are good too, ESPECIALLY in the 3rd quarter when a certain character makes her debut. Two of my favorite fights on the show featured her.
Going back to the abilities, bear in mind that in Sorawo’s case she acquires a few somewhat not well explained additional abilities alongside her primary one. Viewers may have an idea what I am referring to around the 3rd quarter of the show. Besides that there may be one or two plot inconsistencies or plot holes here and there. From what I gathered it is related to which chapters were adapted. Again I have not read the source nor am I here to compare them. I am reviewing the anime as its own thing. Do not expect me to reply to any Light Novel or manga references in the comments.
The presentation is good. I am certain fans would have wanted it to be great but what we got was good in my book. Usually means the Blu-Ray will ramp up the quality. The soundtrack is solid with tunes that fit the mood. The OP and EDs are nice.
Before we get to our lead duo let us briefly discuss the side-characters by highlighting the most prominent one, Kozakura. She is grumpy and a petite cutie bur deep down cares for people she likes. There are other side-characters but I will leave them for viewers to meet them personally. Trust me, they are worth anticipating.
Time to talk about our lead duo, Sorawo and Toriko. Sorawo (Initially translated as Sorao) is a grumpy loner who has good reason to want to be alone. That all changed upon meeting Toriko. Initially unwilling her adventures with Toriko help her slowly but surely come out of her shell and reveal/learn interesting things about herself. Toriko meanwhile is a confident, brave for the most part and beautiful half-Canadian young lady (That is the only big spoiler I will reveal about her). Sorawo is a sexy lady in her own right but Toriko’s beauty is more noticeable early on. She is of course the opposite of Sorawo, meaning more open and honest with her feelings. As mentioned earlier in the review there is a reason why she usually packs heat. However, there are some things that haunt her and are difficult to share. Basically this is a classic partnership where both women help each other grow, in more ways than one.
Without giving too much away, one woman’s feelings are obvious whereas the other is somewhat subtle. I will not say which is which but readers who also watched/read Adachi and Shimamura may have a good idea.
Overall Otherside Picnic is a cool and creepy time with a dash of slow burn gayness on the forefront and maybe a little extra on the side. Some inconsistencies aside it is an enjoyable watch. I recommend the interested approach this one as an episodic adventure instead of focusing on the main narrative as there is no final resolution this season to the main mystery. I would like to see another animated season but the odds of that happening, as usual. are slim.