A Place Further than the Universe or Sora yori mo Tooi Basho or Yorimoi was a pretty well-received anime that aired in this year’s Winter season; and it deserves all the praise. And I will unpack what I have to say about this show in a loose format in this post… so yeah, prepare for a lot of ellipses…


Yorimoi is a character-centric story that follows a group of four high school girls as they embark on a journey to Antarctica- with each character having their own reasons why. Sometimes an anime can subvert your expectations in a very positive way- and this was one of them. I thought Yorimoi was going to be just your regular “cute girls doing cute things” only with a “but they are in Antarctica” gimmick tacked onto it. But after watching the first two or three episodes, I was convinced otherwise. Sure, the “cute girls and their shenanigans” aspects are there, but the organic feel of the character interactions and the realistic writing to them are what that made this a refreshing and, quite frankly, a pretty unique watch in a while.

Mari Tamaki (Kimari) is in her second year of high school and she realizes that she isn’t living her ‘youth’ to the fullest, so she decides to take a hike and bunk school for a bit to take a trip outside… but only to get cold feet at the last minute. Shirase Kobuchizawa has been saving up a million yen in order to afford a trip to Antarctica since her mother’s disappearance during an expedition there. These two get acquainted with each other when Shirase loses her envelope of 1 million yen, only to be recovered accidentally by Mari.

Through some natural events, the two girls acquire two more members in their team- Hinata Miyake, an energetic non-school-goer who wants to stand out and show off the school-goers that they have been slacking off, and the polite celebrity Yuzuki Shiraishi- whose existence allowed the other three to go on this trip in the first place.


The premise is unconventional and one I am not familiar with at all, but it felt like the anime did a nice job of making the whole process of joining and being in an expedition authentic and realistic- right down to the daily life stuff in those conditions. Sure, it could have been portrayed even more realistically by inserting in a training camp arc- but that would take away from what the show’s about in the first place… it’s about the spirit of adventure, friendship and feeling better about yourself.

From the get-go, the character writing in the show was done with care. Kimari is your trope-y genki girl who seems ready to take on anything… except she doesn’t have the will to actually do it in the end- and that’s one small example of how the show subverted my expectations of a character. And it’s not just Kimari, Hinata who’s another bubbly energetic girl who seems like she doesn’t have any emotional baggage… except she’s actually the most mature one in the group and can read moods of others better than most high schoolers; and also, we find out in one of the final episodes that she’s really good at keeping her emotions buried deep beneath her personality.

[Strong spoiler warning for this paragraph and the next… why am I doing this after all these spoiler-infested posts?]


The girls aren’t saints, they have disagreements, they have organic interactions (well, maybe not as organic as in Orange) most of the time… and because they are flawed, normal teenagers in their tender age, their emotions come out so raw and unfiltered. Like during the final scene of episode 9, where Shirase shouts out “In your face!”- I cringed a bit from the sappiness because of the teenage angst juxtaposed with those heroic orchestral strings in the soundtrack, but at the same time, I felt a lump in my throat as I heard the rest of the crew join into the ‘In your face’ chant… it wasn’t just teenage angst but a chant of victory for overcoming that thick sheet of ice to get to the mainland… so I thought, “Damn. They did it.”

Another example of this unfiltered display of emotions is when Shirase stood up for Hinata and sacrificed her million yen to change flight times when Hinata ‘lost’ her passport… that was the first emotionally potent moment; then Shirase stood up for her again when shooing off Hinata’s ex-schoolmates who were responsible for her dropping off from school. Now, that I think of it- Hinata and Shirase is a ship I wouldn’t mind shipping for… or however you would use that term. Their character chemistry makes my heart warm. And of course, there’s that predictable yet excruciating scene when Shirase discovers that her emails were never read by her mom, and we see the other girls outside, just bawling their eyes out… such a short series, yet quite a handful scenes that would make your throat lumpy.


The character arc of Yuzuki seems like the best presented in the show- probably because it revolves around a core and recurring theme of the show- friendships. Yuzuki is kind of a sociopath- well, not necessarily in a malicious way, it’s just that she doesn’t know her way around making friends. She takes her first steps towards making long-term friends during the third episode thanks to Kimari’s sudden hug due to her blind sympathy that does kind of come off as somewhat shallow. But Yuzuki takes that as a really warm feeling that she wants to get more of. And she doesn’t get the real, vague value of friendship until much later in the series when she learns that she cannot be with the other three forever and that they don’t really have anything tangible to ‘show proof of that’ (Damn, watching that friendship contract scene was something else). But in the end, she realizes that friendships are more like experiences than possessions- and that’s both a sad and a beautiful thing.


Shirase’s character arc is also interesting as it turns out that coming to Antarctica wasn’t really to find her mom, she was well aware that she was being unreasonable thinking that her mom was still alive. She went to Antarctica to find some piece of her mother, and see what’s so entrancing about it that made her mother so passionate about going on expeditions there; and she did find a piece, a laptop and with that came her a peace of mind. But in the end, the journey wasn’t just about her seeing that beautiful aurora that her mom has seen during her last breaths… rather see the aurora with her friends. Their warm friendship melting their icy obstacles on their way back home.


So yeah, the characters are the best parts of the show. Period.


The art style with the water color-ly palette on the character designs seemed weird at first, but when contrasted with the wonderfully lit Antarctica and other bright places, I understood the choice of slightly toning down the color saturation of the designs. Shirase’s reaction faces are well drawn. Hell, even the CGI modeling of the Shirase ship is one of the best CGI models I have seen in anime… I guess that’s Madhouse for you.


The soundtrack sounds nice and adds to the emotional feel of those potent scenes I talked about earlier. The insert songs are nice acoustic, nostalgic ballads. The opening is actually really catchy and the ending has some cool artwork.

That’s about everything I have to say about this show for now. I highly recommend it, if you have been avoiding this because of the CGDCT tropes and the slice-of-life elements- give it a chance, it’s more than that.