[Review] Girls’ Last Tour – episode 1

Civilization is dead, but Chito and Yuuri are still alive. So they hop aboard their beloved Kettenkrad motorbike and aimlessly wander the ruins of the world they once knew. Day after hopeless day, they look for their next meal and fuel for their ride. But as long as the two are together, even an existence as bleak as theirs has a ray or two of sunshine in it, whether they’re sucking down their fill of soup or hunting for machine parts to tinker with. For two girls in a world full of nothing, the experiences and feelings the two share give them something to live for.

Source: Anime News Network

It’s rather unfortunate that this show came up for review on the same day as the Kino’s Journey reboot. Both are shows about young people traveling through the world and finding what makes life worth living. Kino’s premiere came within spitting distance of the original’s masterpiece status. Girls’ Last Tour… does not measure up to that watermark.

But that’s not fair. Let’s start again, and try to give Tour a fair shake on its own merits.

close up of the two girls' faces as they drink cups of soup
HER FACE IS MELTING

Oh. Oh, boy. First we have to contend with those designs. Girls’ Last Tour’s leads are meant to be part of the tradition of cute, innocent children wandering through a world of horrors. You know, like last season’s Made in Abyss (which, whatever my frustrations, walked a masterful line with its visual design). No, wait, I’m doing it again. Got to stop comparing and start looking at the show itself.

The trouble with Tour is that so very little happens in it. Not in the sense that “this is a mood piece and you’re meant to soak up the atmosphere” (although I think that might be what it’s aiming for), but in simple lack of coherence. The girls drive through an abandoned cave/factory/warehouse that they get lost in (during which the integration of their jeep against the landscape is…not great). They get out and eat soup. They wander around a battlefield doing target practice and stumble upon some preserved rations in an abandoned bomber. They fight over them. They play in the snow. End of episode.

a grainily filtered scene of the girls, younger, looking up at a soldier

A show needn’t have an action-packed premise to be good, but the trouble is in the execution. This premiere is divided into two shorter episodes, and there seems to be very little sense of continuity between them. Chito dreams about the wartorn world and apparent parental figure she and Yuuri left behind in the first half; then in the second half, the girls talk about war in entirely theoretical terms, because So Innocent yada yada.

The show also has trouble finding a balance between “cute” and “cutesy,” and falls into the latter far too often. The girls’ designs aren’t so much rounded and soft as literal moeblobs, and Yuuri’s constant complaints about how hungry she is make the problem seem far more like the typical bottomless stomach-type character than an indication that these kids might actually starve to death.

a young girl aims a WWI era rifle while the other girl looks through a small spyglass at the target

Tension is briefly achieved in the latter half when Yuuri holds Chito at gunpoint and steals the last ration, capitalizing successfully on the idea that for all the musings about how fighting doesn’t make any sense, there’s something brutally human in fighting over low supplies. Unfortunately, the show can’t carry this into any successful payoff. A legitimately harrowing moment where children play with tools of death devolves almost instantly into a lighthearted fight in the snow, which Chito caps off by declaring that War Is Bad.

That brief moment and a few other nice, quiet beats (like Chito and Yuuri bundled together, watching falling stars) make me want to check in for another episode, but I’m not sure that’s a compliment. I want to see if this show is going to do something. Something good, bad, or anything. The premiere is a pile of mush with a few brief hints of promise, but keeping your audience hooked by implying that “next time we might do something interesting” is not a sustainable approach.

 

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  • ML Tyler

    Please with first impressions, let the reader know which streaming platform the show is on. Thanks!

    • TheSojourner

      It’s on Amazon’s Anime Strike.
      And yes, it would be nice if the reviewer listed that fact.

      • The reason we don’t do that is that streaming platforms vary drastically between countries – for example, Anime Strike doesn’t even exist in the UK, where I’m based. For another example, earlier this year we were able to see Anonymous Noise on Crunchyroll while Americans could only view it through Anime Strike. I decided early on that it would exclude fewer people to let readers find out through because.moe or other avenues how they can best access it in their country.

        We could, in theory, list all options for the biggest English speaking countries as because.moe does, but reviewing premieres is extremely time-pressured. 11 new shows aired yesterday! Dee and Vrai have other work to do (both for AniFem and for their day jobs) and I can only pay them $20 a review right now. I won’t add anything else to the review to-do list until we have more reviewers and/or can pay them more, especially when the information is easily accessible elsewhere.

        • TheSojourner

          Ah. Okay. That makes sense.

  • TheSojourner

    This one does look interesting to me, but hard to tell if it will be good or not. I can certainly see how it might be a show that takes a few episodes to find its stride.

  • ImaniToo

    Oddly enough, while the Made in Abyss’ character designs were an instant turn off, I was interested enough in GLT’s premise that I didn’t care and even enjoyed how their faces were so amorphous.

    I’m still intrigued so far. The “So Innocent” moments only made me more curious about their knowledge gaps. Everything implies that they have familiarity with living in a war zone yet they talk about it in such a distant manner that I assumed there were more complex reasons for that in play. Ha, here’s hoping.

  • anony

    I really loved this. I like the idea of peace and rebuilding in an apocalypse, as opposed to the endless conflict that’s in something like The Walking Dead, so I liked the scene where they parodied that with the ‘fighting’ over food.

  • Pedro de Moraes

    The thing that bothered me the most in this first episode is some aspects of the art direction, which looks a bit too inspired in nazi symbolism. The Kettenkrad the main characters drive is a vehicle produced during WWII Germany, and the helmet Yuuri wears looks a lot like the ones worn by the SS (including the cross that is really similar to the Iron Cross). I don’t know shit about the manga, so I don’t know if that has a deeper meaning or is just some fetishist stuff, and I really hope it’s just coincidence because otherwise I enjoyed the show. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2cfa6d85edfb0252cb80b1f99471b85ad542944a293b684764b1153071c5465a.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d10a5758200d2014d7f6a86a961dfbf4c27188c56149e3180833c2d827b90cd9.jpg

  • kotarou inugami

    I wouldn’t place much hope on anything happening, because this anime is obviously (as of 2 episodes) a Cute Girls Doing Cute Things anime. Which somehow works in a post-apocalypse.