Tamaki Mari vowed at the start of high school to go on a journey and have a fulfilling youth. However, every time she tries to take the train going away from school, she gets cold feet, and so she made it to her second year feeling unfulfilled. She has a chance encounter when she picks up one million yen that a girl dropped, and finds out that girl, Kobuchizawa Shirase, saved up that money to go to Antarctica, to find her missing mother who went on an expedition there. Everyone keeps telling Shirase she will not be able to go, and she wants to prove them wrong. Mari declares that she will support Shirase, to which Shirase responds by inviting Mari to join her. Can Mari summon the courage to make the long journey to the other end of the world… or at least the long train ride to Hiroshima for an expedition ship exhibition?
This show reminded me of another show in which a girl who longs to make the most of her life but is too scared to go out of her comfort zone finds inspiration from another girl to step into a new world. That is not at all surprising, as the director of Hanayamata, Ishizuka Atsuko, is also directing this show. And given how much I loved Hanayamata, for A Place Further Than the Universe, a.k.a. Yorimoi, to remind me of that show is a Very Good Thing. To put it simply, I absolutely loved this premiere. This first episode works really well as its own little story of a girl overcoming her fears to live out life, while also setting up for what could be a wonderful story of discovery of both geography and self. Shirase is a great co-lead whose aloof appearance belies a much more expressive character, and Mari’s friend Hinata and a random convenience store worker foreshadowed to join the group later both look like promising additions. Add on a nice watercolor-like art style and an overall strong presentation and we are kicking off the Winter 2018 anime season strong here. I will most definitely be keeping an eye on this show, and while you are waiting for other shows to debut, I would definitely recommend checking this one out!
A Place Further Than the Universe is available to stream on Crunchyroll.