The Scare Factor in Girls’ Last Tour

The problem with Girls’ Last Tour is that it’s implicitly horrifying when it’s not being chill.

Girls’ Last Tour is apparently relaxing to people who watch it…I understood that for the particularly straightforward segment The Sound of Rain, but otherwise the war implications made me fear what would’ve happened in a show that wasn’t as laidback as this one, even though things never really ended up taking a turn for the worse in the end.

From the episode the show begins on, the baggage of the unseen war hangs over the girls with the introduction of the plane. Chito and Yuuri sit on it and Yuuri in particular swings the propeller up and down, not knowing its true purpose. Yet the girls don’t seem to question it when they encounter Ishii later and help her build a plane with the same kind of propeller and everything, showing exactly how clueless – or maybe better words would be “childishly naïve” – they are, despite their need to survive from day-to-day.

The implications of the war that the audience never sees or learns more about hangs over the show for the rest of its run, but episode 11 gives not one, but two examples of the particular brand of implicit horror brought by Girls’ Last Tour. The more obvious one is when Yuuri uses a computer to destroy a simulation city and the girls can’t distinguish reality from what’s on the screen. The bright orange flames reflected in Yuuri’s eyes really drive home what terrible things humans are capable of, especially in war when rules are left behind for the sake of the fight.

This last example is more of an extrapolation (and potentially overthinking) than anything, but Nuko – the “cut” – eats bullets and Yuuri wants to eat it, in much the same manner she wanted to eat the two fish earlier in the show. Certainly, I can’t argue that speaks about how consistent the characterisation of Yuuri is over the twelve episodes and that does speak volumes about how her allegiances lie more towards survival than wanting a companion of another species. However, considering Nuko’s bullet-eating is treated like just another oddity in the world of Girls’ Last Tour and yet there’s no proof on how Nuko could’ve broken down the bullet (or how Yuuri could’ve extracted bullets from its insides), it could be a very black form of humour or, as I took it, just plain ol’ “scary”. I guess it just goes to show you that what’s said on this show is just as powerful as what’s not being said…


So that’s all from me. What do you think about how Girls’ Last Tour treats its horrific elements? Conversely, what is it that makes its particular brand of philosophy calming?

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “The Scare Factor in Girls’ Last Tour

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  1. I never approached Girls’ Last Tour as a run-of-the-mill horror, as naïveté is what prevented the girls from worrying about what they don’t know. In many works of science fiction, such as Frankenstein, horror comes from the conscious awareness that there are things that are outside of a control, and for me, this is the very definition of conventional horror: characters being subject to forces outside of their control. If one could control these forces or manage them, they no longer become terrifying to us. Similarly, because Yuri and Chito are placed into a world where there are no entities actively trying to harm them, Girls’ Last Tour is not trying to scare viewers outright.

    Instead, the series seems to be an introspective: rather than trying to make us viewers terrified, it is a reflection into our capacity for great good and great evil. I found it a sobering reminder of where our science and technology can go if our intents are to use it to cause harm, but the anime also reminds its audiences that innocence and naïveté, coupled with curiosity, does not wreck destruction on its own. You’ve presented an interesting perspective on things, and it is true that the fear factor of Girls’ Last Tour come from thinking about things after one has finished watching it, which is a testament to the good writing in this series 🙂

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  2. I kind of loved how the end of the world and destruction thematically sat behind everything in this series and yet it never really felt the need to make it totally in your face. It was a setting that gave rise to so many thoughts, and gave room for interesting interpretations for the girls actions, but didn’t intrude on the mellow tone of the overall show. Girls’ Last Tour just kind of worked and I normally dislike aimless slice of life shows and yet this one with its setting and premise managed to hold me fairly enthralled.

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