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krofire

  • United Kingdom
  • Joined Aug 8, 2020
  • 52 / M

This Madhouse 2018 slice-of-life drama-comedy has quite a novel story for an anime production. Although it launches from the typical coming-of-age viewpoint of high school age girls it pits them against the desire to go on a mission to Antarctica. Those two are hardly compatible ideas. Even in your wildest imaginations you know that no tourists are going to Antarctica and no one will recruit teenage girls for such a mission. The story is told from the point of view of Mari Tamaki who dreams of escaping her life and travelling to somewhere new. All her dreams come to nothing as she is too timid to realise them. Yet this will change after a chance encounter with fellow student Shirase Kobuchizawa. Shirase has been saving for three years to get herself sent to Antarctica after her mother failed to return from her expedition there. The two team up and are quickly joined by a third girl Hinata Miyake, a work colleague of Mari. However, all their attempts to get on a trip to Antarctica descend into farce until they meet a young actress Yuzuki Shiraishi . Yuzuki is being forced to go to Antarctica as a reporter, but she is reluctant. This opens up a world of possibilities for them all.

A lot of the story is consumed by the girls trying to get themselves on an expedition and then their journey to Antarctica. The last few episodes cover the mission itself. It all sounds too unbelievable but the story is well written and the logic, by which they get on the expedition, seems sound. It is almost believable. The girls all have unique personalities and their friendship gels quickly. Each has to overcome personal fears and conflicts to take the trip. The journey being as personal as it is physical. Everything else looks like a Discovery Channel documentary complete with penguins. The whole package is charming and out-of-the-ordinary. It feels fresh and original. The audience will quickly start rooting for the girls and their ambitions. And yes, you will probably cry too at the end. One of the girls, after all, is looking to come to terms with the loss of her mother, someone she has been sending emails to every day for three years… This drama is also pretty funny at times and carefully crafted to be quite moving. You will enjoy it. It is a pure joy to watch. But don’t expect anybody to appear in a bikini! It was very well received by the critics too earning itself a lot of praise from far and wide. If you like your anime far removed from the usual tropes then this is the story for you. You will love it.

10/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall

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