Healing anime come in all shapes and sizes, from shows about sitting down to a home cooked meal to moving out to the country. So, why not a show about going on an Antarctic expedition, with A Place Further Than The Universe?
A Place Further Than The Universe follows Maki Tamaki, a high school girl who is afraid of not making the most of her youth. When she learns another of her classmates, Shirase Kobuchizawa, is planning to get a spot on a civilian Antarctic expedition from Japan, Maki decides to help her out and hopefully go along on the trip along with two other girls: Hinata Miyake (Maki’s co-worker from her part-time job she takes on to pay her way), and Yuzuki Shiraishi (an actor and child star who is going on the trip to cover the voyage).
This is a healing anime in a couple senses. On the one hand, it’s a very chill, laid back show with not a lot of dramatic tension – with a lot more focus on the girls going on their adventures. Certainly, there are moments of stress for the characters, but they’re never in peril. On the other hand, it’s also a healing story in the sense of each of Maki’s friends are coping with some degree of minor trauma. Hinata’s is a minor spoiler, but Yuzuki is coping with the stresses of trying to have something of a normal life while also being semi-famous, and Shirase’s mother died on an earlier Antarctic expedition and she wants to go to make peace with her mother’s death.
The animation of the show is absolutely gorgeous, with Studio Madhouse producing some tremendous work, particularly on the Ice Breaker going to Antarctica, and at the Antarctic outpost itself. This is couple with some glorious writing, telling a YA adventure and coming of age story which is not maudlin (which is a direction it could go in with the death of Shirase’s mother), nor cloying or mawkish. The leads are very fleshed out people who have a significant weight for the characters, particularly considering this is a single cour series.
In short, A Place Further Than The Universe is a show that I really wish I’d seen sooner, and I’m glad I finally got around to it. I’m definitely putting this show on my list of anime to show out to people who have less experience with the medium.
A Place Further Than The Universe is currently available for streaming on Crunchyroll.
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