Girl’s Last Tour is a show that I never expected to love as much as I am right now. In fact, this is probably my favorite show that is airing this season. It was Made in Abyss that gave me the state of mind to watch it. Made in Abyss is an anime series that focused on two kids traveling down a pit of hell where they face one trauma after another day by day, and yet are finding a way to survive it all somehow. The character designs are extremely young, but the story and writing are incredible. When I read about Girl’s Last Tour, it sounded similar. Two young girls traveling around a world ruined by the apocalypse on a big motorcycle. Similar in concept to Made in Abyss, but the execution couldn’t be anymore different.
Our two girls episodic journey around the apocalyptic waste land is always a unique and special thing to watch every Friday night. For one, the extensive and well-drawn backgrounds that are mesmerizing to look at and provide a great backdrop. Then there is the rediscovery of items that we know about. This is a very big reminder that this an end of the world scenario and some things are common knowledge to us are rare commodities. Even a simple item like chocolate is lost to them, which says a lot with only a little. Despite the world around our two girls, the show’s tone is more mellow and happy then you would expect.
This show does a great job of representing the little moments in Chi and Yuri’s travel that stand alone from just driving from place to another. There are simple things like putting down pots and metal objects in the rain to create sounds they’ve never heard of before, fun day dreams, cooking, or just simple day to day moments that feel natural. In fact, that’s a great way to summarize this series. While these two can be characterized as being the brains (Chito) and the brawn (Yuuri), each situation or segment of the show brings out a lot more nuance and intrigue to these characters then one would realize. I know that it doesn’t sound like it, but a series were two girls talk to each other about what they encounter day to day is incredibly interesting.
Chi and Yuuri’s dialogue sometimes lead to some interesting pieces of philosophy. For example, there was a part of an episode where Chi and Yu enter a long-forgotten temple. This is a temple that has that religion’s view of what the after life looks like. While stumbling around the dark sometimes and look at the pretty sights in others, the two have a conversation about gods and what they think the after life would be like. It is deeply philosophical in nature, but it feels like completely natural dialogue between the two. There are a quite a few segments like this one and they never truly have a conclusion or solid “this is how it should be” kind of thinking. Even if there is, it’s always for characterization purposes and not laying down this show’s ultimate opinion. Girl’s Last Tour has mastered the art of subtlety.
The best example I can think of this subtlety and philosophy comes from episode 9. Beware, some will be said from spoilers from this point on. Episode 9 plot is rather simple. Our two girls show up at a strange factory of some kind. While Yuuri and Chito have some fun with the machinery in the first part, the real meat of this episode comes in the second half when they meet a robot with excellent intelligence and empathy and a robot that can’t communicate at all and can only build or destroy. The two are shown around the facility from that first robot and they are surprised to find out that it used to be a fish hatchery, though only one fish exists now. I am skipping over some parts, but at the end of the episode, that bigger robot starts destroying the facility. Yuuri and Chito destroy the manufacturing robot in order to save the fish. Now you can take that two ways. The first one is that they just wanted to save the fish. The second thing is you can call the fish and the destruction of the facility as symbolism for the apocalypse and how humanity is barely holding to living right now. Either way, I think this is a pretty great episode.
I feel strange saying this, but Girl’s Last Tour is Kino-ing better then Kino (2017), if that makes sense. I would be even far bolder and say that this show is a better successor to Kino (2003). It does a lot of the things that the original Kino’s Journey did, but in a different way. Kino’s Journey (2003) takes the direct approach for directing its philosophy about the human condition. Each country Kino encounters represents a different concept for discussion. Girl’s Last Tour takes a different approach by having aspects of the human condition appear during natural situations. With all the previous aspects in mind and the Kino aspect too, I can’t help but call this series my best of fall 2017. Please give this series a watch, if you haven’t already. It’s amazing, solid, and definitely worth your attention.