This anime can be summed up in a single word "bittersweet".
The anime is a Slice-of-life of two girls, travelling forward to an undetermined location for no particular reason in a decaying world. A happy story full with love and friendship, and silly childish topics, being set up in a dark, cruel, lonely and depressing background. It's seinen alright and i'm not sure younger audiences will enjoy it as much as older viewers
What I like the most is: it is not only a piece of media, but also a space for audiences to reflect on the meaning of many daily things that we have taken for grant. A real surreal experience.
The animation is good, and set the atmosphere well, but nothing outstanding. The girl was not unique but befitting the story perfectly. The music is probably amongst the best in anime and set the atmosphere perfectly. Overall a 10/10 in my book. Would give 11/10 if I could
“It’s so peaceful. It’s hopeless. Hopeless… Hopeless…” -Yuuri
Iyashikei, despite literally meaning “healing” is a genre that doesn’t appeal to everyone. While the intent of anime from this genre is to calm, relax, and heal the audience after a stressful day of real life, some viewers see these shows as “devoid of anything” and “predictable.” There isn’t really anything I can do to change the minds of those who don’t like the genre, but I would at least like to explain why Girls Last Tour distinguishes itself from similar shows.
The most obvious difference between Girls Last Tour and most Iyashikei is the post-apocalyptic setting and generally melancholic tone. The anime takes place in a world mostly devoid of people, with the two protagonists Chi and Yuu scouring the abandoned cities for food and resources as they try to make their way back home. The premise reminds me of a reversed Made in Abyss, where instead of descending into the abyss towards the unknown, our protagonists are trying to climb out of the abyss towards familiarity.
With such a barren setting, Girls Last Tour is able to focus entirely on the two main characters. Chi and Yuu have a similar dynamic to your typical “straight man/fool” duo, but despite their different personalities, they’re united by a mutual understanding that the other person is all that they have in life. This bond is beyond just familial; it binds their reasons for living together, which makes the challenges they face together all the more dramatic.
Since there are so few other characters in the world, there aren’t any villains in this anime, but our main characters certainly face their share of challenges. With a relatively episodic structure, the tone of each episode can shift to appropriately meet the conflict that is introduced. Some of my favorite episodes were the most dramatic ones, with episode 9 (Technology/Aquarium/Life) questioning the very nature of life itself. On the other hand, there were episodes I liked that were more soothing and relaxing, allowing the audience to appreciate the little things in life such as episode 5 (House/Nap/Sound of Rain).
There isn’t much use in writing extensively about Girls Last Tour for this review, as it should be obvious from the first episode whether you’ll like the anime or not. Perhaps the anime can serve as an introduction into Iyashikei if you’re a fan of war dramas or post apocalyptic settings, or perhaps it can expand what you consider possible with the genre if all you’ve seen is lighthearted shows like Aria and Yuru Camp. It’s a relatively low risk anime to try. Its episodic structure allows for you to watch it at your own pace, and in fact I would recommend against binging it like I did (for the Anime Planet Secret Santa 2020). It’s an anime that is a typical slow burner, leaving you wanting to sit in silence as you reflect upon the tales told by each episode. If that sounds like a good anime viewing experience, then I cannot recommend this anime more.
It's a very difficult anime to review.
Everything the girls did, made me feel warm and cozy.
But every time they talked, I would get an existential crisis.
The setting is more mysterious than Attack on Titan + Made in Abyss, but once they finally reveal something, you just get such a terrible despair strike.
Perfect timing too, right after I get filled with hope from finishing Sakura Quest.
The strongest part of the anime is the contrast between the character design and environments design.
But now that I am done with it, comes the question. Why did I watch it? Why should anyone watch it? You come to watch cute girls do cute things, and yes, you do get a lot of that, but you're also constantly injected with pure unfiltered despair straight into your brain.
If you're looking for something to watch while unwinding from a stressful day, this show is perfect. It's in the iyashikey genre, so there is no action, but it's still interesting to see the girls wander the shattered remains of a city long dead.
Great show, though many people might not be interested cause of the slow pace and minimalistic action.
Another adventure show similar to Kino's journey, pretty calming and chill.
Pleasantly surprised that German Uniforms, a Krettenkrad and even Sturmtigers etc, can be found lots of the scenery.
The art style of the enviroments is also quite beautiful and interesting.
Many of the episodes have a hidden meaning behind them, though not super deep, they're deep enough you leave you thinking.