Image Source: Anime Herald
Typically a show whose setting takes place in a world after the end of the world would be filled with drama, emotional ups-and-downs, and possibly even action. Few of us think of the day-to-day mundane life that would crop up around the need just to survive. But Girls’ Last Tour addresses that in an enjoyable, atmospheric show about two young girls out in the world just to survive. Their adventures show the depth of destruction, the loneliness of humanity’s near-extinction, and the reality that the two of them have had to adapt.
Chi and Yuuri are the two main characters, and their dynamic with one another creates the real touching dynamic of this anime. By the end of episode one plenty of different angles into their friendship are shown. It is made clear that their existence in this desolate world means the nuances of their personal relationship are different. There sits that ever-lurking threat that there might only be enough food for one or enough resources for one. But Yuuri manages to find the fun in even that.
The feature of Girls’ Last Tour that sticks out the most is the way it depicts its setting. After the death of civilization many things just grind to a halt and then begin their slow decay. We are seeing this world in the midst of its slow decay. Things are still usable. One scene has the girls try to spin the propeller blade on a prop jet to try and get it to fly. The very first scene in episode one shows rusting pipes, and then slowly the sounds of an engine are brought in. This is a world no one should survive in, but in spite of that there are Chi and Yuuri riding around in the wreckage of a world that ended. They wear clothes fit for soldiers, they ride on a tank/motorcycle made for war, and they play with guns found lying about. But in spite of all of this darkness and decay, the two girls and their enthusiasm for enjoying life make this apocalypse feel brighter.
It is a weird blend of end of the world nihilism and positivity that makes the end result of Girls’ Last Tour so endearing. The back-and-forth between our two heroines is necessary for providing us with subtle narration. We are aware what’s going on because of what we see on the screen, and told how we should feel by what is being said. They dive into the philosophical, questioning and learning about the world once dialogue at a time. Since there isn’t a lurking endgame the girls will have to face, the strength of this show rests solely on their ability to make each adventure engaging. And because of the likeability of the characters, combined with the bleakness of the setting, exactly that is accomplished.
Naturally, one cannot give the lifeless a sense of energy and life. The world is inert, sitting as it does until Chi and Yuuri find it. I’ve found that particularly strong in the overall theme of the show. It’s something that holds meaning well beyond this particular story. For us, we are used to world where everything is moving in every direction. We miss this or that by five minutes, or we’re late for work because someone else was running late for work and caused an accident. Nothing is going to sit still and wait for us, but here Chi and Yuuri have all the time in the world to see as much of the world as they can. Despite civilization being destroyed, there is nothing stopping them from taking every minute to appreciate what is around them. But when civilization is alive, that task seems mountainous and we’re lucky when we attain that brief appreciation.
This is an anime that is perfect for that late-night, right-before-bed slot. I know I review a lot of shows that fit this kind of mood, but it’s something that I genuinely find anime does better than any other media. It’s got that atmosphere from both its music and its art to lure you into a feeling of comfort. And then Chi and Yuuri are there to keep you at peace. No depiction of a post-apocalyptic world has any right to be positive, but few have come as close as Girls’ Last Tour.