A Place Further Than the Universe - Episode 2 Review
The second episode of A Place Further Than the Universe introduces a quirky character, continues to be effectively funny, and shows us that it intends to be more than just a mindless slice of life.
Continuing from where the previous episode left off, Shirase announces her travel plan to Mari, getting her excited for the trip. However, Mari's friend convinces her that it might not work out too well. Shirase thinks they'll be able to hop aboard a civilian ship to Antarctica, but because of the expedition's shady history, Mari becomes doubtful.
The series introduces a new character, Miyake Hinata, and she's a fun addition. She's not particularly original, but her quirks keep the show's sense of humor fresh and allows for a number of entertaining bits. One of her most prominent gimmicks is how her existence seems to be an attempt to flip the "dumb blonde" trope on its side. She's attractive, social, energetic, and blonde, but instead of being full of obnoxious stupidity, she's actually a genius. Even though she's sixteen and should be a sophomore, she's already graduated from high school. It seems to be her goal to outmatch everyone around her, and she hates the idea of not standing out.
The cheesiness hasn't gone away, but it has changed. Instead of being centered around blurred shots and heavy winds blowing through characters hair, it tries to make every serious scene seem visually significant. When it shows the cast running for their lives, Mari realizes she's actually having fun. The following scenes were shot in slow motion and the lighting seemed awfully bright. Exaggerations like these work best when we have some emotional attachment, so overusing the effect could be problematic.
There's also a scene where Hinata claims she always wanted to be friends with Mari and Shirase because they seemed "different" from other high school students. This felt forced, as the writers try to convince us that their relationship is "honest." However, Hinata's reasoning behind this was confusing. We weren't exactly given anything to compare that "honesty" to, and we had no reason to believe that their relationship was honest to begin with.
Regarding the humor, it's revealing itself to be a lot less casual than expected. It lingers on the jokes it exaggerates, and the performances of these moments work very well. The animation also creates a hilariously ridiculous atmosphere at times.
The series also seems to be foreshadowing something larger regarding the disappearance of Shirase's mother, but we can only wait to see what future episodes will reveal.
The series' second episode gave us an even better look at its sense of humor, along with a likable new character to go on the expedition to Antarctica. Although some story bits still remain cheesy and forced, it's shaping up to be a fun adventure series.
|Gorgeous Animation||Quite Cheesy|
|Amusing Humor||Some Forced Dialogue|
|Likable New Character|