Although the two words are often used interchangeably, surviving is different than living.
Girls’ Last Tour sews together two-to-three short vignettes in a single episode. There’s “Laundry” where they discover a fish and eat it, “The Sound of Rain” where they make music out of rain and varying surfaces (tin cans, their soldiers’ helmets), and “House” where they imagine their ideal home. It’s both relaxing and melancholy.
As the series wears on, it simultaneously widens the scope of what Chito (Chii) and Yuuri (Yuu) experience together while also remaining focused on the two young women and their experiences. The backdrop is a desolate, post-apocalyptic wasteland, but Chii and Yuu are alive, and trying to figure out just exactly what living means to them.
One of the frequently-cited limitations to the human imagination is an inability to imagine certain things beyond the scope of experience. More often than not, the act of dying in a dream leads to the dreamer waking up suddenly. We know of death as a concept, but it’s difficult to imagine because there is no way to simulate the experience in real life other than actually dying. Your brain will not only instinctively fight to keep you alive, but it also — being the organ tasked with coordinating your existence — naturally eschews the idea of non-existence.
In sixth grade, I joined concert band. I was the only girl in the trombone section. There were only about five of us in total, including a kid from my elementary school, Ben. We were friendly acquaintances but not close friends. Ben was the funny kid, and as the funny kid, he thought it would be cool to gross out the rest of the band by waiting to release his spit valve until it was as full as he could make it. He would then release it on the floor in front of the section.
Spit has grossed me out ever since.
When Chito (Chii) pulls her hand out of Yuuri’s (Yuu) mouth in the first episode of Girls’ Last Tour, there is an audible pop. Yuu’s face stretches before releasing Chii’s hand and a trail of spit shines in the air. It’s a disgusting and funny scene to watch. Chii puts Yuu’s spit to good use — it allows her to pinpoint the direction of a breeze that eventually leads them out of the tunnel — but these slime trails of spit are also visceral reminders of Yuu and Chii’s existence.
“It’s such an ancient pitch.
But one I wouldn’t switch,
‘Cause there’s no nicer witch than you.”
-Frank Sinatra, “Witchcraft”
It’s always easy to write about something emotionally resonant, something socially relevant, something that wishes to make a specific point. Regardless of whether these types of series actually succeed, I’ve always found that they leave me with something to say, be it complimentary or not.
More difficult is writing about something that’s consistently good — something that, at every level, delivers exactly what it promises in a charming and pretty package. I rarely write about series that simply please me because there’s often not much more to say aside from, “This is really good. Go watch it.”
Keeping my own writing inadequacies in mind, I’m going to make an attempt at writing about the most delightful series of this past spring: Flying Witch.