Sorao’s journey into the Otherside wasn’t meant to end this way. She lies in a puddle on the ground, unable to move, as the translucent, red-eyed wiggle-waggle (don’t ask about the name) wobbles through the air towards her. Of course, Sorao had heard of the monster while reading about the Otherside on the web, but those were urban legends. Here it was real—terribly real. And as the shadow slowly inches closer to her, she closes her eyes, thinking that perhaps this isn’t such a bad way to go, after all.
Then she hears a voice. A human voice, calling out to her. A girl’s voice—something she’s never heard in the Otherside before. Sorao cries out for help, and through a stroke of sheer luck, the two of them manage to destroy the miasma. The girl introduces herself as Toriko, a fellow journeyer through the Otherside. Together, they escape from the dangerous realm into the real world, where they part ways. Sorao resolves never again to return to the Otherside, fearing a similar fate should she encounter another monster like that one again.
But one day, as she’s eating lunch at university, a familiar voice—a girl’s voice—calls out to her from across the cafeteria…
Well, Ura Sekai Picnic‘s first episode certainly did pique my interest. The first interaction between Toriko and Sorao served quite well as a foil with which to introduce the Otherside, a mysterious fantasy realm that in some ways reminds me of Made in Abyss with its haunting beauty. I can definitely see myself getting into the lore of this show if it continues to develop its isekai world. Unfortunately, though, I don’t see that happening. The show seems more interested in extrapolating drama from a tenuous link between its main leads than exploring the intricacies of the world it’s created as a stage for that drama. And the character interactions don’t feel natural at all. Sorao and Toriko are essentially complete strangers, but they act as if they’ve known each other forever, trusting each other with a haste that seems unwise to me. I’ll probably keep watching Ura Sekai Picnic, if only to see more of those panning stills of the Otherside. But I feel like the show’s focus lies elsewhere.
Otherside Picnic can be streamed through Funimation.