Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

April 28, 2018

Imagine a free and easy tour around the world. You can take your time going wherever you want and do the things you want to do without ever having to stick to that strict and tightly scheduled tour guide. No tourist gimmicks or frauds to worry about too. Best of all, it is all for free and without money! Wow. A deal so good, so where can you find such great tour? Well, there is a catch. Only if the world has been devastated and you are the last humans left on Earth! Oh my. That escalated quickly. Basically this is what Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou is. A pair of girls only have themselves for company as they slowly trudge through the devastated civilizations, scavenging what they could use for survival while trying to find meaning and hope from it all.

Episode 1A
Chito AKA Chi and Yuuri AKA Yuu are riding their bike-cum-tank vehicle, Kettenkrad through a large abandoned factory. They have been going through this place for days that Yuu is complaining about the darkness despite it was her idea to explore this ‘hole’. Plus, they are running low on rations and fuel. Who knows how long they’ll have to trek through. They take a break and fall asleep. Chi dreams of some war they were in and what it looked like their superior sent them away. She wakes up crying. Then she notices a breeze. If they can follow it, it might lead them to a way out. Eventually they do so and finally find the exit. They’ll finally have some light! But it’s night time. Funny, the light at the exit was so bright that I thought flood lights were shining at it. Anyway, the starry sky is definitely a sight to behold. Don’t mind the decimated city below, no siree. To celebrate their exit, they have some soup. That’s already a luxury given the circumstances. So nice and warm! Yum!

Episode 1B
The duo are having target practice. Uhm, I know there is nothing to kill but aren’t they wasting precious bullets? After that they explore the devastated battlefield and stumble upon a tank. It’s like a graveyard for these war vehicles. They ponder the question if food was scarce back then, shouldn’t more food be produced instead of weapons? Oh well, you know mankind making wars the utmost importance to food. Then they stumble into a bomber plane. They search its contents and Chi believes the explosives are more useful than guns since they can use it to blow up walls or obstacles. But the best discovery ever: Rations! Man, I hope they’re not expired. They load as many as their vehicle can carry. Not sure why they are trying to make the plane fly by turning its propeller and of course they failed. It made them hungry. Have some rations. They equally split it until they realize there is a last odd piece. Chi thinks of splitting it but Yuu snatches it and points her rifle at her! OMG! This is war?! When Yuu gulps the whole thing down, Chi gets mad and beats the crap out of her! I suppose they have moved so much that now they are hungry again. So hungry that they eat snow? Mmm… Not bad. I thought there were so many ration packs? Unless they want to ration the rations…

Episode 2A
The girls are moving through some thick blizzard. Yup, they’re lost. They even wonder if they’re dead and this is the afterlife. Not really. You’re supposed to feel warm and good in that. And it’s freezing now. They arrive at some abandoned facility. Looking around, they noticed a pipe doesn’t have snow covered and some hot liquid is leaking. Yuu shoots at it. Many times. Miraculously the ricochet didn’t hit them. Finally it goes through and comes gushing out is hot running water. Time to take a nice bath. Is this heaven? Not a good thing to say since they just ‘came back from the dead’. But how or who is using this hot running water if there was no one around?!

Episode 2B
While camping for the night, Chi writes in her journals as records. She then explains to her carefree friend the importance of books and pivotal to mankind’s progress. Too bad many have to be sacrificed as fire fuel. Yuu wasn’t listen and tossed one of her journals into the fire! Chi quickly saves it but it is burnt badly. After smacking her, Chi immediately goes to sleep. I guess that means not talking. Next morning, the snow has stopped and everywhere is covered in thick snow. Chi isn’t mad and tells Yuu to move on. When Chi reads her journal, she sees a scribble from Yuu. What’s this? It’s a sleeping face of Chi! Doesn’t look like her at all. Yuu is being bitten by the drawing bug and wants to draw more. Too bad Chi tells her not to waste paper…

Episode 2C
The duo are at a big dam. Apparently with the warming days, Chi can tell the exact moment melted snow will gush out from these giant pipes. They leave their vehicle and trek down to some island rubble because apparently today is a good day to do laundry. While they wash their uniform and Chi talks about oceans, suddenly something caught Yuu’s attention and it made Chi trip into the water. Apparently she caught a dead fish. Well, this is their first time seeing a fish. Of course they want to eat it but if this is their first time, how do they know how to cook it? They take turns eating it and it tastes good. Thankfully it doesn’t taste like chicken. Hmm… If this is their first time eating fish, why didn’t they get choked by the bones and how do they know how to eat one because they actually picked to bone clean. No meat left. Just perfect shining bones.

Episode 3
The city is divided by a huge chasm and the girls can’t find a way to cross over. They then spot a live cigarette butt on the ground. Somebody must still be around! As they be alerted, suddenly the building next to them explodes! Luckily they survive and they are shocked to see another person. He introduces himself as Kanazawa and was trying to get himself across so what better way than to blow up a building and use it as a bridge. Yeah, almost killed them had the timing been slightly off. As the girls’ goal is to get to the tallest tower on the other side to get to the next level, Kanazawa hopes they could let him ride across with them. But crossing isn’t easy since Kanazawa and Yuu have to clear the debris for Chi to move Kettenkrad across. After they managed to do so, Kanazawa has maps that pinpoints exact locations like the refuelling station. It seems he used to make maps of this area before the bridge was destroyed and went around on his bike till it could no longer move. His maps allow them to head to the tower. Although the tower has real mechanisms for an elevator, nobody actually knew how to make it work and made a makeshift one outside. Looks flimsy but thankfully still working. Chi has acrophobia and laments why no safety parts were installed and they ‘quip’ it was probably a waste of resources. When you worry so much that this elevator might tilt and fall, it is sure to jinx it. Yeah, it happened. Kanazawa manages to stop it in time but his bag of maps slide off. He is crazy to jump off to grab them but the girls grab him. Sadly his hard drawn maps scatter below. Now he laments why no safety parts were installed. Yeah, waste of resources probably. They manage to fix the elevator and get to the top. To ease Kanazawa’s depression, they share their rations as they watch the beautifully lit street lamps on this level. Kanazawa then gives them his camera and part ways. He plans to head north and continue making maps. The girls continue their journey to the centre where the brightest light is shining.

Episode 4A
Because Kanazawa didn’t teach them how to use a camera, the girls experiment taking pictures with it. So much so they crash into a little stone statue! Don’t worry, no big damage. It goes to show that you should not take pictures and drive! They continue their journey to the bright centre. They rest at night as Chi tries to figure out more on the camera. From the reducing number, it looks like they can take around 52,000 more photos! Chi has figured out how to use the timer so the girls stand a pose for a picture.

Episode 4B
The girls arrive at the building in which the brightest light supposedly originates. There are lots of those stone statues so Chi thinks this is a temple. Confirmed when she reads writings on the wall that this temple is dedicated to Gods for the afterlife. Yuu doesn’t really like this afterlife paradise and Gods thingy because the hotspring bath seems like a better paradise. Suddenly Chi’s lamp goes out. All dark. Yuu is stunned and tries to call out to Chi but no response. She fumbles around and ponders what she will do without Chi. Then she trips on Chi. Why didn’t she say anything? She wanted to see her reaction. Wait. In this darkness? Suddenly bright lights light up the place. Hmm… A huge God stone statue, weird shape frames hanging about and a fake pond with fake lily pads and fake fish. I guess this makes Yuu even more disappointed because what is the point of making everything so nice like this when it is still all fake and disappointing. Nobody knows what the afterlife is. Chi reminds her what she said earlier about the afterlife being a dark world. That is why people created this temple with bright lights and fake things just to feel better. Yuu notes she felt more at ease after finding her. Yuu then realize the God statue looks a bit like Chi. So is Chi a God? In that case, she must offer her food to God. Please give me your food. No way. Now Yuu thinks herself as God. Nope. I can see where this is going… Please give me your food. No way. Food now! No, no, no…

Episode 5A
The girls enter a residential area and ponder about houses. They enter a room and try it for size how people used to live in one. They start fantasizing the things they want if they have a house of their own. Quite a vivid but yet simple desires. They stay for the night and the next morning continue their journey. Yuu suggests making their vehicle a moving house but Chi rejects it outright.

Episode 5B
Chi dozes off at the wheel and if not for Yuu smacking her up, they would have crashed into the wall! Folks, remember not to drive when you’re tired. They take a break and play a game of balancing rocks (discount jenga). Yuu won 10 times in a row and Chi always blame the wind. The next game they bet on their ration and again Chi lost. Then they take a nap as Chi has this strange dream. She is balancing on a giant rock while a giant Yuu tries to blow her off! Chi then falls into the ocean and finds Yuu as a giant fish trying to eat her! Because if Chi was going to get eaten, wouldn’t it be better to be eaten by her best friend? That’s one messed up logic. Luckily Chi wakes up from this nightmare and since Yuu is sleeping noisily, Chi stuffs a rock in her mouth! Take that!

Episode 5C
It starts raining in this abandoned concrete steel beam ‘graveyard’. They take shelter in some makeshift cave. Bored Yuu starts hitting things with a metal pipe and the echo becomes unbearable. This has Chi quip about echo because it is empty. Like Yuu’s head. Yuu then cheekily hits her head to prove she too is empty but Chi strikes back that hers is even more. As they gather water, they realize the raindrops make different sounds on different objects. So they gather what they can and make music! Sounds a bit cacophony at first but then it sounds good enough (and an excuse) for us to listen to their rainy song. It ends when the rain stops.

Episode 6
The Kettenkrad just broke down. Chi is having a tough time fixing it and Yuu won’t help. She’s lazing around and loving this feeling of helplessness! I guess it’s better that way. If Yuu tries to help, she’ll make things worse! They notice a plane flying by and a person chasing after it. As they catch up, they realize the plane is a mini prototype and was made by Ishii. She was so engrossed in testing its flight that it took her a while to realize they were standing right next to her. Chi asks her help to fix her vehicle. She could but in exchange they help her out. She takes them to her base which is an abandoned plane hangar. She shows them a real plane she is making and is almost at completion. She plans to leave this city and if they help her fix it, she’ll help them with theirs. Ishii lets them take a bath and treats them to delicious potatoes (that’s all the rations she’s got). She also tells them she found blueprints of planes of the old technology and so far as to say alien technology. So she has been gathering the blueprints and making one. After the girls help fix the plane, Ishii helps fix their vehicle. Then it is back to putting the final touches on the plane. They celebrate and she lets them have more yummy potatoes. They ask where she is going and it seems she saw some city on a bright clear day. She must use this nice and warm weather to get there or there will be no chance. The chances might seem remote but it is better to die trying than die along with this city. The girls see off Ishii as she starts and takes off in her plane. Ishii thanks them for not only helping her but also witnessing this because doing so will definitely make it go down in history. The girls are delighted seeing the plane take off to the edge of the city. But then it just dismantles in mid-air! OMG! It looks like a blooper but it’s just tragic! However, don’t panic yet. The girls see Ishii floating down safely in a parachute. That’s what you call thinking ahead and making preparations. Although disappointed, Ishii couldn’t help smile and feel better that the burden is off her shoulder. The girls wonder why she is happy so Yuu thinks she has resigned herself to the feeling of helplessness. Feels… So… Good… The girls pack up and make their way to the next level while Ishii slowly floats her way down to the lowest level.

Episode 7A
Following Ishii’s map to a ration production facility, looks like the girls are lost in some pipe labyrinth and the worst part is how Chi is being scared walking on the pipes because they’re really high. Yuu comes to the rescue to help guide her but the more they trek forward, the darker it gets and Chi realizes she forgot to bring her lamp. That is when they realize they are really lost. Chi will not rest in the dark and forces to trudge forward. Despite warning Yuu to watch her step, it is Chi who falls through a metal fatigue portion of the pipe. Hey, there are lights down here! There are even arrows guiding them. I guess they somehow missed the path that Ishii travelled inside these pipes as Chi laments if only life has such arrows to guide them.

Episode 7B
The girls finally arrive at a potato farm. Thrilled of course. They explore more of the facility and upon sliding down the chute, they arrive at its production site. Yuu messes around with the switch and makes Chi run like a hamster on wheels because otherwise she will be grinded and squashed by the machine! They deduce this machine grinds the potatoes into powder. Noticing sugar and salt packs, Chi remembers these are the ingredients used to make rations. They decide to use what they have and make their own rations. First they kneed the grinded potatoes before stretching it out and then cutting them. Now to bake them. Sorry Yuu, you have to wait a bit longer for it to bake properly. Once it is done, they taste their hard work. Delicious. Sweetness is happiness indeed. So as not to waste the remaining ingredients, they bake more. Yuu gets creative by making her rations in different shapes and also faces of those she knows.

Episode 8A
The girls are in some huge strange area. Rows of slabs that are actually lockers. So far they found a few useless items in the ones that they could open. Trekking on, they stumble into a stone statue. Yuu is relieved to see it that she starts taking pictures. This prompts a conversation about Kanazawa whom Yuu almost forgot about! They talk about the likelihood of never meeting him again when Chi realizes the lockers have name on it. It was too small to read. It’s not that they forgot about the things they put in here but rather it is so they wouldn’t be forgotten. Hence these lockers are actually graves. But seeing this world has no one else left, who would pass by and remember them? Maybe that is what this statue is here for. Chi believes they should return the things they took back to their rightful graves as it would be meaningless for it to leave this place. Good luck trying to remember where they took it from.

Episode 8B
The girls are going up an endless tower in a spiralling fashion. It is so hypnotic that Chi almost fall over a broken path. Luckily somebody built a detour outside. Too bad it looks flimsy. Will it support the tank’s weight? Only one way to try out. Chi sums up her courage as they move on. However their worst fears come true as the nuts and bolts start loosening and falling apart! Step on it! They manage to detour back inside the tower before the flimsy scaffolding breaks apart totally. They finally reach the top and Chi is glad they can go back to their usual fashion of sleep, wake up, eat and travel. This makes Yuu quip that perhaps their life is like a spiral too.

Episode 8C
At the tower top that has abandoned buildings and rooms haphazardly built so close to each other, they examine a room as Yuu finds a strange antenna. Not sure with the moonlight, she goes a bit crazy and starts smashing things with it. Then she hits Chi. Payback time. That is when they discover a few bottles of beer. Under the moonlight, they drink beer for the first time. Another bottle? Oh no. Chi is drunk. Is it lesbian time? Yuu attributes this to the power of the moon. Then both girls merrily dance like a carefree drunkard under the moonlight while humming in the strangest but funny fashion. While they’re at it, Chi now dreams big and wants to go to the moon. Oh, she is eating Yuu’s hair too! Next morning, Chi has a big hangover while Yuu is like nothing as usual.

Episode 9
Arriving in some area, they notice the machineries are still running. This has them pondering if there is life. What is life anyway? Then they get a shock when a big robot crosses their path. AT-AT Walker rip off? Luckily it passes and they continue. Also more pondering if machines are life because that one seems to be running on its own. Then they stumble in an aquarium. A fish! Sorry, you can’t eat it. Says this mini AT-AT Walker spoof. In exchange of not eating the fish (to Yuu’s disappointment), it will tell of this place. It seems this mini robot and the big one are the only operating AI machines around. The small one does maintenance and the big one does the construction so they are safe from any harm. As Yuu wants to swim, it lets them used an unused aquarium tank. This place was a fish production facility. Of course it was abandoned and this is the last fish. No, you still can’t eat it. After Chi does the laundry, she takes a dip. But in her underwear instead of being naked? Well, there’s somebody watching. You mean the robot? Yuu forces her in as Chi panics because it is deep. She almost drowns but is saved. Not after that weird fish dream. Next, they feed the fish and talk about evolution and stuffs. Yuu helps feed the fish and thinks they can be friends! Hard to believe her with that drool. The robot suggests the girls sleep between the pipes since warm water is running through them. More talk about how the robot is as alive as humans perhaps because of empathy. A big rumble wakes them up before the big robot breaks in and starts tearing the place down. Mini robot communicates with it and it seems it will continue to deconstruct this area deemed unnecessary to preserve materials. Yuu is mad this means the fish will die as the debris will contaminate the water. Yuu then wants to save the fish. You mean not to eat it? Yes, save it. Mini robot tells its weakness so Yuu becomes the heroine to drop explosives there. This makes Chi wonder if they are killing something despite being a machine. It all depends on your definition of life. Yuu succeeds and the destruction stops. Mini robot says now the fish’s life is prolonged a little. Yuu then wonders if life means something that has an end. Mini robot stays behind and can only stop the water leaks. The girls part ways and hope they will live a long life. Bye fish.

Episode 10A
The duo board a huge train. During its long journey, they ponder about moving and rotation, hence the talk of how fast Earth is spinning that just confuses Yuu. They see a broken clock and hence begin a conversation about time. Noticing their time is constrained by food, Yuu is happy to note that as long as they have food, they can move forward.

Episode 10B
The girls disembark after a long journey. They have been travelling in this facility ever since they got on this level so they wish it’s nice to see the sun. Yuu picked up some strange radio but the transmission isn’t clear enough to hear the voices. Though, Chi believes it is what is called music. They arrive at an elevator and after taking the fast express trip up (it could almost kill them), they finally get to see the sun. The radio becomes clearer but it is playing a sad song. Because of that, the red colour dusk also makes them feel sad. Especially Chi starting to cry. Maybe she looked at the setting sun too long so her eyes are itching?

Episode 10C
Arriving at a very devastated battlefield, they follow the source to get some water. They take a break as Yuu ponders she would like to eat fish. Especially the one in the aquarium. Eat it, then save it and now eat it again? Yuu then spots a strange critter in one of the pipes. After luring it out and capturing it, they think this creature is a cat. Well, personally it looks closer to a mole rat, this strange alien critter. But we’ll go with cat for easier reference. Oh, they call it Nuko so I’m going with it too. Guess what is on Yuu’s mind? Can we eat it? Bake or roast?! Somehow Nuko can communicate via the radio albeit it is just repeating what they say. Chi believes it is best to leave it behind. Can’t eat anything that talks. But after a while, Nuko starts following them. It takes a liking for Chi so she decides to let it follow them since it is nice to add to things (they’re always losing things so this is a nice change in pace). I guess Yuu can only see it as some food as she starts rubbing on its smooth body…

Episode 11A
Nuko loves eating bullets! The bigger the better! Also, it seems to have learnt quite a few words and is able to converse basically with the girls. At a tank depot, Chi sees a book on a ground. She is fascinated with it although she cannot understand its language (it’s in English and about war). She decides to keep it so Yuu ‘admonishes’ her about picking up useless stuffs since that is what Chi always told her.

Episode 11B
Arriving at a strange machine where its mechanism is still running, the radio picks up a song and Nuko can pinpoint its source. As they head over there, they talk about culture and ecology. Yuu questions the need to wear helmets since it isn’t like anything will hit them. If anything would, it just means they’re very unlucky. You don’t say because debris start falling on them! Thank goodness for helmets, right? Suddenly more debris start falling and they manage to get out of there in time before a giant robot comes crashing down! Then inside a building, Nuko seems to be able to act as some power source and powers up the HUDs of some control room. Yuu is fascinated with the button and presses one. A missile destroys part of the city! Feeling fun, she presses another one in which a huge laser beam razes the entire horizon!!! Oh sh*t!!! Are they trying to subtly hint that this is what happens when power falls into the wrong hands? While Chi is shocked, Yuu starts laughing at how funny it is! Chi punches her! Oh. Not funny. With the sea of fire raging, they sleep where they are. Chi looks through the photos and drawings. She sees the similarity between Nuko and the stone statues. Could they be…?

Episode 11C
Nuko seems to like eating fuel too. Because it can eat like anything, they wonder if it will eat them too. Then they discuss about the food chain as they enter a strange area of strange windmills. At the end of this area, Nuko points out the source is definitely coming from this huge landed submarine. Nuko seems to be able to unlock locks and it is still okay when it gets squished by heavy things. The girls head inside to further explore.

Episode 12
While looking around and talking about loneliness, suddenly the camera starts synching with the control board. All the pictures they have taken pop up on screen. They notice other folders containing photos that were taken by Kanazawa. They are filled with life and many people. For the first time they see a video. In fact I think for that few minutes they saw the entire history of mankind! From birthdays to funerals to sports events to court sessions to concerts and eventually the big war. Wow. The duo must be in shock. But they could quip how less lonely they feel. They dream of how grandpa made them go on a trip in the midst of the war as they are smaller and able to fit into smaller openings. Plus, with a small body size, they require less food. Next morning as Yuu wakes up first, suddenly there is a huge Nuko next to her. Suddenly it eats her and leave! OMG! Chi panics but feels the need to go after her. In the meantime, flashbacks of their time together. Outside the submarine, she sees the giant Nuko sunbathing with Yuu sticking out? Then she is spat out. Yeah, she might not taste good. It then starts talking to them (telepathically?). It claims it does not eat living humans and only ate her radio so it can communicate with them. This is also why they used the equipment on this ship. It transforms into its true mushroom form. More of its kind pop out nearby. It seems their role is to ingest weapons and devices that produce high energy. Those that are unstable like bullets and missiles, they ingest and dismantle them internally into a stable state. Once they have ingested all of the weapons, Earth will go to slumber and so will they. As they have surveyed all the higher levels, it seems the duo are the last humans left! Thanking them for bringing the little Nuko back to them, they want it to come along with them as they must travel in a group. Nuko is reluctant and prefers to stay with the girls but they want it to return to its group where it has friends. Nuko returns to them as they all float away. The girls note the world is going to end but don’t care as long as they have each other. Yuu believes the singing voice is from them. The world is going to end, probably that’s why they’re singing a sad song. After the Nuko group leaves, all devices in the area stop working. The girls pack whatever food they have and prepare to leave for the higher level. They hope to find something there. Yuu suggests maybe they’ll aim for the moon once they get there.

On The Last Leg Of A Lifetime Tour
Let’s be honest here. This series is walking a fine line between intriguing and boringness. Although personally I feel that it is currently on the former, there is always that danger at any moment where I could fall into the latter and never recover. But the ending somehow leaves a bit of a bittersweet ending for me instead of being confused. It is sad to hear that the girls are the only ones left but what about Kanazawa and Ishii? Are they dead? Well, I supposed those Nuko aliens have been going from top to bottom and haven’t met other survivors at the bottom yet. At the same time it is a good thing that the girls have seen this end of the world thingy in the same if not a new light. Because they have been together for the longest time and will be till the end of their lives so what difference does it make? Carry on, girls. Carry on. After all, there is nothing to stop them in doing whatever they want.

Watching this series somehow makes me think that this series blended in a few ideas from past anime series. Having a pair of main characters just travelling about with no particular destination in mind? Did that already in Kino No Tabi. Mankind being devastated by war until nobody is left and eventually the end of the world? Sounds like Saishuu Heiki Kanojo to me. Military girls in a post-apocalyptic world? Reeking a little of Sora No Woto here. In a way Kamisama No Inai Nichiyoubi too because of a seemingly dying world that has been abandoned.

One of the most intriguing and baffling things about this world that kept bugging me is the people. I mean, where are they? What happened to them? Although it is greatly hinted that mankind could have destroyed themselves in a war but if that was so, where are all the bodies? You see the girls entering the supposed battlefield and find all sorts of destroyed weapons, vehicles and debris. But none in the form of human corpses. Therefore I must be thinking that everyone has just got up and left. They abandoned the place. But to where? However my conspiracy theory is that this situation seemed like everyone has been abducted by aliens! I mean, look at this way. In what reason did everybody had the same idea to just abandon the town and leave the facilities running? Oh yeah, we don’t care anymore. Let’s just leave the machines running and get out of here. No time to switch them off. No, siree. Besides, in areas which are not directly affected by the war, many of the abandoned buildings and things left behind look dilapidated over time instead.

This also has me ponder on how long have the place been left abandoned. How long have the girls been travelling. Watching through their endless journey, it also made me question what kind of technology they were exposed to. Because there were so many current day items and stuffs like clocks and videos in which the girls are unfamiliar of. Chi somewhat knows it because of the books she read. This either show that the girls were never exposed to such simple inventions (and could have been living a very sheltered military life) or if the technology in this world has advanced so much (proof of all the weird automations and machineries everywhere). But if it was the latter case, such objects should not be lying around anywhere and would have been stored in the museum or something. Hence how long has it been since the duo have not have any proper contact with other humans? Were they also raised isolated?

Hence there is this short animation clips lasting 1.5 minutes each known as Shoujo Shuumatsu Jugyou, which transports our girls to a normal modern day classroom. With a dozen episodes to go with it, our girls are the students in an empty classroom while the ‘teacher’ of the episode would be one of the items or things that was the main focus in the episode proper. While some episodes we have quite a brief but educational and insightful information such as aerodynamics and photosynthesis, others are just mainly about fooling around while trying to make sense of things. I bet this is all just a dream because if a fish could talk and even a dead fish only in bones too, I figure out this must be all a fantasy in Yuu’s head. Oh right, the stone statues don’t talk… Well, thank goodness they get a graduation ceremony in the final one. Sort of.

Also, the other mind boggling thing is how many of the machineries are still in good running condition. I mean, you see that certain places the girls go, there is still running water and food that are not expired! It might show that it has not been long since mankind disappeared but then again when you look at all the abandoned stuffs and building, it really shows that time has made its mark on those manmade objects. Sometimes it is like trolling with us if there are any life nearby. Then something would pop up and scare the sh*t out of us. And then for once we could see Yuu could put her rifle to good use. If not, Nuko’s food fodder it will be. Or it could all be just red herring because nothing eventually happens. A let down?

So many questions and yet so little answers. My guess is that this series is not meant to solve the riddle of what happened to mankind. You are to draw your own conclusions on what have happened because it doesn’t matter what happened to civilization of the past. Even if there are records but nobody to notice them, it is as good as vanished and gone forever. So I suppose one of the interesting aspects of this series is that some of the things that Chi and Yuu ponder along the way based on their logic and understanding of things, it makes you think for a while that from their perspective, it could be true too. However it is not such a deep thought that you would lose sleep over with. More like shower thoughts for you to ponder a bit and then you move on. Because if you try to answer to every question in the universe, what is the meaning to life then? Yeah, another thought to ponder upon.

There is not much on Chi and Yuu themselves for us to know more about. We don’t get to see anything deep from their past that brought them about their current situation. Because if almost everyone in this world is gone, how on earth did they become one of the very last few survivors? Did they miss the boat or something? Maybe they were playing in some rabbit’s hole when Armageddon happened or when aliens abducted everybody. Even if they were sent away, did all the missiles and bullets miss them in their escape? I mean, they had to drive Kettenkrad along, right? Personally, I feel that duo have emotions like robots. Chi is pretty obvious but Yuu despite being the troublemaker and the ‘livelier’ one, her enthusiasm too feels robotic. Even when Chi is afraid of heights, somehow I couldn’t feel that fear of hers is genuine. Perhaps it is genuine for her but watching her in fear doesn’t make it look so convincing. Perhaps they have not interacted with other humans for so long that they lose their ability to have a myriad of emotions. Sure, they have each other but they know each other inside out so well that it makes them like robots.

But still, watching their little banter among themselves can be quite amusing because after not seeing any human interaction for so long (can we all live without a minute of social media nonsense these days?), it is still good to know they haven’t entirely lost their entire humanity. With Yuu being more blunt and honest about her thoughts, personally I see her as the more amusing one. As long as have food, everything is okay. Or rather, she sees food in almost everything! Well, can’t argue with that. I am not sure if it would have been better had we know their goal in reaching the top. Wherever that is. Is it to find another civilization? From the final episode we clearly know the situation. But still, it doesn’t change the girls’ goal. But I suppose we never get to learn their true goal because like the saying goes, it isn’t the destination but the journey. That is why we get to enjoy and be intrigued at the adventures they go through. However the saddest thing that I can think of now is that assuming they are the last humans on Earth and if they are now happy with each other’s company, I wonder what will happen if one of them dies… Too grim and dark to think further! Come to think of it, I don’t think being lesbians can produce any offspring although as females they have that capability. Heck, I don’t think the girls know what being yuri is. Unless they stumble upon such manga… Common sense dictates their natural instincts would kick in but given the nature and direction of this series I don’t think procreation is anywhere on the top of their list either.

It would have been a really boring affair if this series only had the duo as the only characters in its entirety. So that’s why for a little variety and surprise (if you may call it that), they stumble into a couple of more humans. Too bad we don’t get to know more about them and they are only featured prominently for that single episode they appeared in. It is unfortunate that all of them have different goals and hence do not eventually travel together. It shows that perhaps this world devastation is not as bad as it seems to be. Because if it was, wouldn’t the survivors be happy to find other survivors and band together? Kanazawa and Ishii were already travelling alone and have their own goals to achieve. By going their separate ways, it shows that perhaps the world void of civilization isn’t so dangerous after all. Yeah, man is the most dangerous thing in the world and looks like the world has rid them all of it and hence true world peace!

Hmm… Is it me but do I see a trivial pattern here? In every third episode, the girls encounter somebody or interact with some artificial intelligence? But… Then the Nuko encounter broke that combo. And of course the final episode that has a myriad of other humans although they are all confined to the playback of the video. Is this consider human interaction too? Well, if it made the girls feel less lonely. Hence the biggest questions from the final episode stems from the origination of Nuko. What are they? Are they aliens? I don’t think they are the ones who ended humanity as it is greatly hinted the war did. If they only appear after the destruction of mankind, why are there various (creepy) stone status of them almost at every level? Are they some sort of ‘God’ because they eat and stabilize dangerous weapons? If they are really cats evolved, that could be scary. Nui… Perhaps these are what you call the guardian angels of Earth. They clean up the mess and menace that is made and known as men before everything goes into slumber and perhaps another millions of years before any life form can have a chance of evolving and living again. Besides, how did that little Nuko got separated from the main pack again?

I have this mixed feelings of the art and drawing style. At first glance, the girls look cartoonish. Somehow they look like characters from Hidamari Sketch, that chibi trademark look. But with the girls looking this simple, it somehow takes away the gloom and doom of the world’s devastated settings. There are many scenes in the series where it is dark as well as this eerie sense of emptiness in the sense that everything is just abandoned. Personally, it would have had a scarier feel had the girls look more like your typical conventional 2D Japanese anime girl. So having them looking this way takes a bit of the tension and avoid making you be depressed and blend into this forsaken world. Yeah, sometimes I feel that there are jump scares waiting to scare the hell out of me. Even those stone statues look helluva creepy if you give it too much thought. Although their drawing is so simple and didn’t put any effort into coming up with at least a decent design. Looking at you too, Nuko. Its mushroom form feels like, WTF. Honest. But this world is also strange enough as the cities are built upon layers and layers on each other. It makes you wonder how far into the sky the civilization has tried to reach. This series is animated by White Fox who did Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka, Akame Ga Kill, Steins; Gate, Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu and Jormungand.

I believe this is one of the very few animes in which there is a very few number of casts involved. Gakkou Gurashi comes to mind. Although Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 has only 3 main casts, there were other very minor background characters. And this series would have been a record 2 seiyuus only, Minori Inase as Chi (Rem in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu) and Yurika Kubo as Yuu (Hanayo in Love Live!) had they not met other characters during their journey. Of course the final episode with all those videos and different unrelated people making a short cameo in it, can it be considered as racking up the seiyuu list? I think not. While I recognized Akira Ishida as Kanazawa and Yuuki Kaji as that mini AT-AT Walker rip-off, the most surprising one to me is Kana Hanazawa as Nuko! OMG! Is that really her?! Damn radio interference that interfered with her voice so I can’t really recognize it’s her! But hearing it again and knowing it is her now, so true that it is really her behind it. No wonder there was this sense of familiarity behind that voice but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Slightly reminding me of those days when she did the titular character in Potemayo… The other cast is Kotono Mitsuishi as Ishii (Boa Hancock in One Piece).

Ironically for a show that is mostly slow and mundane, the opening is quite lively and cute. Sung by the main duo, Ugoku, Ugoku has all those cute sound effects that would have your feet tapping a little too. Because the girls do a little jiggle themselves in the opening animation credits. But the most amusing one goes to the ending theme, More One Night by the same duo. A cuter, livelier and catchy piece because of this hip hop and rap feel infused into this song. So if you’re feeling gloomy from the overall of this series, just hear this piece because it will definitely brighten up your day and also make you want to get up from your seat and do some embarrassing dance. Thank goodness nobody is here to see me rave this big fail. The special ending song for that raindrops and final episode, Amadare No Uta is also not bad and quite creative using different beats in the background. But for many of the other BGMs in the series, most of them have this melancholic feel. One of the more ‘conflicting’ BGMs is the one with angelic choir-like voices. They feel so out of place but yet so calm. Like as though everything is dead and this is heaven.

Overall, despite looking like a slow boring show, it is not entirely one and it keeps you intrigued with the mysteries of the world (unless being a bloodthirsty action junkie is your thing because this series has nothing of that sort). Though it served like a double edged sword because it is those unanswered questions that helped keep the romance of this series alive but at the same time that unsatisfied feeling that we will never get to know them. At least not in this season. Despite the pensive mood and the very desolated world, we get to see how a pair of youngsters manage to keep surviving on hope (and food too). It makes us want to dream and think putting ourselves in their shoes, what will we do if we are the last humans left on this planet? I’m sure we’ll have fun going ballistic doing all the things we want without restriction before reality hits us if this is what we want from life. But you know what? I would prefer to be the last surviving human on this planet with nobody else compared to be the last surviving human in a zombie apocalypse! Free and easy at my own pace indeed. I would definitely sign up for this final world tour package for the ultimate peace and quiet (hooray! No social media spam!). It is not that we’re scared of being alone but rather we are not alone!

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