[12 Days of Anime] Day 4: Rhythm and Voice in Girls’ Last Tour

The near-constant stand up comedy in Girls’ Last Tour owes its success to the convincing personalities of its two main characters, Chito and Yuuri. As straight man and funny man, the girls give the viewers a unique perspective on their lives in a world nearly devoid of any other humans. In a way, their seemingly opposing outlooks mirror the very place they inhabit; as empty the spaces and dire the search for sustenance are, Chi and Yuu still manage to entertain one another and see the good things in life, as shown in the snapshots from their camera. As the viewer, we know we should be worried about them running out of food and fuel. What would happen if one of them became deathly ill, or injured? What if they run into someone far less kind than the ones we’ve met thus far? The danger always lingers, as does the compulsion to keep moving onward and upward.

There are many little details that crop up repeatedly in the series, like the fish and the serpentine statues whose eyes always seem to look away from the viewer. In the first episode, Yuu sings a nonsensical song about the darkness, her lilting voice disappearing into the space around them. I didn’t dwell on her song; I was too distracted by their caravan and the never ending road.

In the latter part of episode five, “The Sound of Rain,” the girls discover the rhythm created by raindrops falling on tin cans. They run around moving containers under leaks and marveling at the different pitches and patterns. Soon enough, they realize too many voices create a cacophony of sound.

Rhythm and melody come together five episode later in “Capture” when the radio Yuu kept from one of the earlier levels picks up an oddly familiar noise, part vocal and part structure. Yuu isn’t sure what to call it, but Chi identifies the phenomenon as singing, a form of music that Yuu does often.

I find it interesting that despite creating so many impromptu songs of her own, Yuu is unable to recognize the practice elsewhere. In a way, this undefinable quality makes complete sense to me. As a musician for much of my life, I performed pieces individually and in groups, yet still struggled at times to describe what it was exactly about them that made me smile in one moment and want to cry in another. Even recordings devoid of the performers’ faces and conductor’s baton play on my emotions. What is it about creating music that comes as naturally as breathing? Maybe the beating of our heart and our own range of vocal expressions nurture an inherent desire for the two to come together. Or perhaps Yuu’s struggle reflects the argument that the sounds of nature differ from human song; we consider birdsong music because it sounds familiar to our ideas of melody and harmony. Without that base knowledge of scales, gone are the comparisons of music and noise. Like the world Chi and Yuu wander, full of strange structures and objects, music has lost its meaning to time.


Watch Girls’ Last Tour on Anime Strike.

2 thoughts on “[12 Days of Anime] Day 4: Rhythm and Voice in Girls’ Last Tour

    • I completely expected to feel this way, especially in regards to my husband who I thought wouldn’t even be interested in this anime. It wasn’t until I had seen a couple of episodes while he was on his computer behind me that he asked me why I wasn’t watching it with him. Something about the writing and humor just sits right for both of us, making Chi and Yuu’s conversations and explorations fascinating instead of sleep-inducing.

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