A Place Further than the Universe Review

aplacefurtherthanuniverse

If money were no object, what distant land would you like to visit? Let me know in the comments section below. Perhaps a trip to the sunny Bahamas, where you can soak up the rays, would be nice? Maybe you would elect to go on an anime merchandise-spending spree in Japan instead? If so please buy me some body pillows as a souvenir! For high school student Shirase Kobuchizawa her destination of choice is Antarctica. She dreams of seeing the South Pole as her late mother vanished there during an arctic expedition. It’s either that or she just wants to hang out on a continent where cute penguins are bountiful.

OVERVIEW

A Place Further than the Universe is a thirteen-episode anime produced by Madhouse. To be clear, that’s the veteran animation studio… in case some of you think that the show was created inside a loony bin! Anyways, the series chronicles how Shirase teams up with three other ladies to make her chilly dream a reality. The first person that joins her cause is fellow Tatara West High School student Mari Tamaki. In the first episode viewers learn that Mari wants to go on adventure, as she hasn’t done anything memorable during her young life. She has a history of backing out of things. So much so that she doesn’t even have the courage to skip class.

Convenience store clerk Hinata Miyake is the next person to sign up for the Antarctica trek. She opts to tag along after overhearing Shirase and Mari discuss their journey during one of her shifts. For her, the voyage sounds like a fun distraction before she has to knuckle down with college entrance exams. The problem is that going to Antarctica isn’t something you can book at your local travel agent. Shirase is aware of a scientific expedition that is going to the region soon, but persuading the crew to take three untrained girls with them won’t be easy. Neither bribery nor awkward flirting can convince the researchers to give Shirase and company passage.

Thankfully for the determined trio the impasse is broken when they befriend teenage idol Yuzuki Shiraishi. It’s revealed that Yuzuki has been hired to go on the abovementioned expedition, where she can broadcast news reports relating to the trip. She isn’t keen on the assignment though, as she despises the cold. In the end she only agrees to accept the job under the condition that Shirase, Mari and Hinata accompany her. Like many actresses, Yuzuki is lonely. Constant travel and a packed itinerary have prevented her from making friends. She hopes that Shirase’s group will fill that void. Her craving for chums is so strong that in one episode she even begs the girls to sign a friendship contract with her!

VERDICT

My rating for A Place Further than the Universe is a four out of five. On the surface this appears to be another generic “cute girls doing cute things” series. In actuality the anime has more substance than that. The show is blessed with good production values and well written characters. I expect that many viewers will relate to the heroines’ struggles with bullies, shyness and loneliness. For the most part the tale is a lighthearted coming of age affair, packed with moments that will make you smile. On occasion it does however manage to tug at the heartstrings. Episode twelve in particular is guaranteed to make sensitive types blubber. Even on a frozen land there is no escaping those onion-cutting ninjas!

30 thoughts on “A Place Further than the Universe Review

  1. I didn’t watch a lot of winter anime, but this one I feel like I really need to watch. I would love to travel everywhere and I don’t know if I could ever have enough time in Japan. I would buy so much manga if I could read Japanese… Weird goal to learn another language so I can read manga…

    • Several people have told me this was their fave anime of the season so I think it is worth checking out. Learning to read Japanese would be awesome. That would allow me to import all the cool RPGs that never got localized. Sadly it’s not realistic as I have yet to master English, let alone another language.

  2. Knew you’d enjoy this one despite not being a Girls Club person yourself. So much goodness to be found alongside the usual fun stuff in these shows. Dem feels of course and four awesome leads. Best girl for many I imagine is Hinata but to me the leading lady Shirase will always be #1.

    Oh and speaking of ninjas…

    • Haha, that “ninja” scene made me laugh. Shirase is my fave character too. I was impressed by how hard she worked to make her dream come true. As someone who blushes easily I could also relate to her bashful moments, when going on camera.

      • As long as I know what I’ll be talking about I can handle a camera. But yes being scared to go in front of a live crowd is nothing to be ashamed of and tough to overcome.

    • The trailer I linked to does a terrible job of explaining what this series is about. Then again, keeping things mysterious is better that giving away everything, like many movie trailers do.

  3. If money were no object, I’d have my own tropical island fortress, with every video game ever, and a great internet connection 😛

  4. This anime might be something my friends would enjoy.
    All of my friends love to travel more than me. I live mostly inside of my head. But of course, it is nice to travel to some place foreign, preferably away from human civilization.

    • When I was a kid I loved visiting other countries. These days however it’s tough to convince me to step out of the front door haha. Holidays are much more stressful when you have to worry about travel arrangements.

    • The moon and Antarctica are out for me too, as I cannot handle cold. Japan would be cool. I would bankrupt myself buying anime merch and would put on a load of weight eating the different flavored Kit Kats.

  5. This was a nice little show. I did get concerned when they arrived on the boat and the captain had to tell the men that as they were school girls they “weren’t legal” and some of them looked disappointed. That was a bit creepy and unnecessary but overall this was a charming outing.

    • I wouldn’t dwell too much on that remark. From what I recall it was a jokey comment aimed at the kid who was asking everyone out. With respect to being legal, isn’t the age of consent in Japan thirteen? I’m guessing age of consent doesn’t exist at all in Antarctica.

      • The national age of consent in Japan is 13 but each prefecture has the right to set their own limit which is usually 18.

        My complaint was that it felt incongruous in relation to this particular show, given the pleasant, laid back, accessible nature of it. Had it expressly been an ecchi/fan service show then I would have simply eye rolled and left it at that.

        It wasn’t enough to spoil the show for me though. 🙂

  6. I’d go to a private desert island resort, so that I could soak up the sun without being bothered by anyone 😀

    Going to the South Pole would be interesting (might be a bit on the cold side, though) 😀 Sounds like a really cute anime 🙂

  7. I’ve said before that basically every possible subject has a manga on it. I guess that’s starting the spread to anime, too. I wouldn’t have seen a whole show about a trip to antarctica happen without it being the context for some other adventure. But here we are, and that’s a great thing.

    • Anime is a bit like The Simpsons. By now they have covered every imaginable subject. When anime exists about a guy who has a girl for a hand you know that all the normal plot ideas have already been done.

    • The series is mostly funny, but occasionally it does blindside you with a bittersweet moment. I watched the show on Crunchyroll. No idea if it will appear on Netflix. I guess there is a chance as the site hosts various anime titles.

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