Taking relatable characters on an impossible journey, A Place Further Than The Universe connects with viewers in a way that few other stories can.
A Place Further Than The Universe is an underrated anime currently available on Crunchyroll that every fan of motivational stories should check out. Motivational stories aren’t uncommon in the anime industry, with some of the most well-known series revolving around underdogs and outcasts going from zero to hero, pursuing their dreams relentlessly in spite of any obstacles they may encounter. Yet, as numerous as they are, there is no story quite as inspiring as that of A Place Further Than The Universe.
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A Place Father Than the Universe follows a group of four high-school girls who, despite having different reasons for doing so, decide to embark on a journey to Antarctica together. Naturally, such a journey is full of difficulties and hurdles to overcome that start long before their ship departs. In fact, their dream seems so impossible to achieve that even their peers are shown to mock them for it. As such, seeing it through to the end requires tremendous resolve and willpower, both of which they possess in spades. Even when facing issues that would convince most to turn around, they keep pushing through and searching for solutions.
A Place Further Than The Universe Makes An Impossible Journey Possible
As an original anime (not based on any manga, light novel, or similar) that chose to break new grounds as opposed to adapting a true story, its production involved taking a lot of risks. On the other hand, it clearly showed promise from its very inception, as it was produced by Madhouse, a studio known for immensely popular titles, and directed by Atsuko Ishizuka, the same director behind No Game, No Life and The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. The main cast is one of the biggest selling points of the story, with every girl being a fleshed-out and compelling character.
The main reason behind the group’s strength is Shirase Kobuchizawa, the one whose dream has always been to go to Antarctica, following in her late mother’s footsteps. While the other girls all have their personal motivations as well, and they all contribute with their own strengths and experiences, it’s her passion that draws them in and unites the group. To achieve her goal, she has not only proven herself to be extremely hard-working, taking different jobs to save up one million yen, but also resilient, enduring ridicule from classmates who never believed in her. Fortunately, her luck changes for the better when she finally meets like-minded friends.
The Girls’ Motivations Are Surprisingly Grounded And Realistic
Perhaps the most striking factor that makes this story so impactful is just how relatable it can be. The first protagonist that viewers are introduced to is Mari Tamaki, whose driving force is the desire to make the most of her youth. Tired of doing the same things every day, she yearns for a chance to experience something new. However, in spite of her constant attempts to try new things, she keeps holding herself back. Every time she makes up her mind to start a new journey, she stops herself before she goes too far, afraid of failure and uncertainties.
The overarching journey is one that few would dare to attempt, which may make it more difficult to connect to. However, it is in the most mundane moments that this show proves just how inspiring it can be. For instance, a scene as simple as running is easily one of its most memorable ones, not so much for what it is – although it is certainly solid from a technical and cinematic perspective – but rather for what it represents. To these girls, running allows them to approach their goals, to be free, and to finally take charge of their lives and making the most of their youth, which is a universally human desire.
Of course, there are plenty of other factors that make the show enjoyable. From the well-designed characters and their interactions, to the intricate plot that will occasionally surprise viewers, not to mention the wonderful art and music, this is a genuinely worthwhile experience that no one could regret having. Still, it is the profoundly inspiring story that makes A Place Further Than The Universe one of the best anime ever.