Let's talk about the apocalypse! It's kind of a scary thing that a lot of people are way too worried about, but if you're into action-fantasy entertainment, you probably know about all the creative things that people have done with the idea. It's an artistic and stylistic way of wiping the Earthy slate clean and present the world we know and love -- or knew and loved, I guess? -- in a different light. The muscle-bound, anarchic power struggles of Fist of the North Star. The desperate and seemingly futile wars for survival of Mad Max. There's something inherently fascinating about the end of the world, and what surviving the end would do to people and culture.
Welcome to the other end of the spectrum. Say hello to Girls' Last Tour, which I can only describe as a post apocalyptic slice of life??? It follows the journey of two girls, Chito and Yuuri, as they explore dead landscapes and abandoned cities in search of food and fuel. That's it. That's the plot. Occasionally, they'll see something interesting in the distance and decide to head in that direction. The show is less about the journey and more about the bizarrely philosophical conversations between these girls.
Chito is an analytic, tactically-minded girl. She's knowledgeable of the old world, but has little to no understanding of it. She seems to prefer quiet, but will always humor Yuuri's boundless curiosity with the best answer she can muster. Her expression doesn't change much throughout the show, and her look in general is plain and uninteresting, which work well to reflect her thoughtful, introverted nature.
Compare that to Yuuri. The way her eyes are drawn suggest a carefree, possibly vacant personality. And, indeed, she is a little stupid. Unlike Chito, she is illiterate, and struggles with understanding simple concepts that, to us, would be common knowledge. However, it's this same lack of knowledge that makes her curious, and her curiosity is what drives almost every conversation and discovery in the show.
These two work well with each other. Chito is smart, but physically weak. Yuuri is stupid, but isn't afraid to take risks. Putting their strengths and weaknesses together, you come to understand that these two need each other, because without one, the other would be unable to survive on her own.
The world these girls explore is a character in itself. It's long dead, indifferent, and, as the show progresses, it becomes more and more bizarre, almost abstract. It gives the viewer a sense of unease and confusion; just what happened to this world? Why is the city built like this? It creates a stark and terrifying backdrop to the cute and philosophical explorations of the foreground, and adds a feeling of urgency to the adventure. Danger is real. Food is limited. There is no destination. There is no hope. And the city doesn't care.
It's cute, charming, and funny, and it's easy to forget just how bleak and terrifying the setting really is. The world is dead, and there's no fixing that. It's a strange and surreal environment for such a light-hearted adventure, to be sure; when we think about the end of the world, do we usually stop to consider the world we'll leave behind? What if society never rebuilds? What if what's left of humanity doesn't know how to rebuild? It's scary to think about the world we understand and, frankly, take for granted being stripped down to a search for essentials, where humanity is given a time limit based on how much food is left. Pop culture has made us see the post apocalypse as an anarchic fight for survival, jam packed with explosions and gunfire, and it's partly in subverting expectations that Girls' Last Tour really gets it's message across: cherish what you have, because nothing lasts forever.
In a less literal way, Girls' Last Tour is also a show about growing up in a world that truly doesn't make sense. I can relate to this, personally: it's been a struggle for me to learn and understand how to simply live on my own, let alone understand how our societies, governments, and laws got to be so confusing. If you've ever struggled with life, be it little things like paying bills, or big things like finding a job without a college education or finding your place in a demanding and unforgiving world, it's easy to put yourself in the shoes of these girls: truly understanding how the world around you works is a herculean task, but in the grand scheme of things, that doesn't really matter. What matters is the moment. If you know enough to get by, and you can find joy in little things, even simple, aimless conversation with a loved one, you can be happy. There's beauty in the world, no matter how bleak it might seem.
At just twelve total episodes, Girls' Last Tour is easily digestible, and it gets its' message across without taking too much of your time. Honestly, this meager blog entry hardly does this show the justice it deserves. This show had my full attention from episode one, and it didn't let me down. It takes it's time, has no action whatsoever, and consists almost entirely of conversation between just two characters. If you're okay with that, then this is definitely worth a watch. Also, the show gets gay at the end, and I'm a sucker for cute gay things.
This is why I like the thing! Girls' Last Tour.