“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.” –J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Upon their arrival in Fremantle, Australia, Mari and the others assist with preparations and provision acquisition. They learn that the expedition is understaffed and lacking in funds, only proceeding forwards because of Gin’s motivation to return to Antarctica. Their journey takes them on rough waters towards Antarctica: as Mari and the others help out on board their ship, they quickly learn that it’s going to be no cruise. Besides lacking the physicality of the other crew, high waves render Shirase, Hinata, Yuzuki and Mari seasick. However, their spirits and resolve are restored with time, and the ship reaches the ice sheets surrounding Antarctica. Gin worries that Shirase might hate her since Takako’s disappearance, and she shares a conversation with Shirase, learning that Shirase is still a bit conflicted as to how she should feel. When they touch down on the Antarctic ice sheet, Shirase yells out jubilantly: against all the odds, she’s done what her peers thought impossible. The crew head towards Showa Station and begin bringing the facility to life. Yuzuki is offered a role in a television drama and worries that she might have to leave Mari and the others behind. With their reassurance that their friendship is very much real when they celebrate her birthday, Yuzuki decides to accept this role. Later, Shirase spots in irate Hinata, who reluctantly reveals that she left high school from an incident with the track team. While on an assignment, Shirase encourages Hinata and delivers a tongue-lashing at those responsible during a live broadcast. As the expedition continues, Shirase wonders if she’ll lose a sense of purpose once she learns the fate of Takako. During a snowcat ride to an observatory station, Shirase and Gin recall Takako’s final words and spirit. When they arrive, Mari and the others find a laptop belonging to Takako. Shirase realises that her words to her mother will never reach her and dissolves in tears. When the time comes for the girls to leave, Shirase promises that they will return again someday. She leaves Takako’s laptop with Gin, who sends her one final email from Takako’s drafts, and while riding back, Mari and the others see the aurora australis. Upon their return to Japan, the girls go their separate ways and resolve to cross paths again. Mari learns that, spurred on by her, Megumi has joined an expedition to the Arctic.
The size of the summary, ladies and gentlemen, is why I likely should have broken up the talk on A Place Further Than The Universe, which proved to be a superbly enjoyable anime. However, things are what they are, so focus will return to the thematic elements in A Place Further Than The Universe and how they contribute to the anime’s high enjoyment factor. The key reason why A Place Further Than The Universe stands out is because of its four characters, all of whom have a different story and reason for being. Mari signs up because she’s tired of backing down from adventure and longs to do something meaningful before her time as a high school student expires. She represents the average viewer, acting as the eyepiece from which the Antarctica expedition is presented from. Innocent, energetic and cheerful, Mari stands in for the audience and provides grounding for the adventures she and her friends embark on. Her simple determination and optimism is sufficent to inspire Megumi to do the same, speaking to the influence friends have on one another. Shirase’s story is one of closure and search for a purpose in its aftermath: having long endured ridicule and logistical challenges, Shirase’s dreams of going to Antarctica remained a fool’s dream until she met Mari and Hinata. When the combined efforts of her friends allow her dream to be realised, she is able to defy expectation – her first words upon hitting the surface of Antarctica is to taunt those who doubted her. However, with this purpose now fulfilled, Shirase begins wondering about her mother and whether or not she will find closure. Ultimately, it is in the company of her friends and their warm encouragement that Shirase comes to terms with Takako’s death, accepting that she’s now got her own memories of Antarctica and goals of her own. With one journey over, Shirase prepares to set out on another one.
Hinata participates in the Antarctica expedition to escape from her troubles and similar to Mari, do something remarkable: after leaving high school and forging her own path independently, Hinata admits that she was envious of the focus that Shirase and Mari had. When she learns to rely on others once again and opens up, however reluctantly, to Shirase, she finds that companionship is being able to trust and be trusted. Letting her friends know the reason as to why she left high school, and seeing the dedication her friends have for her allows Hinata to see friendship from a new light. Finally, Yuzuki learns that friendships are very fluid and open-ended in nature. Far from being a formalised construct, it’s a relationship with its highs and lows, bound together by a sense of camaraderie that survives challenging times. Being with Mari and the others allows Yuzuki to experience the things that she’d long to do, and she comes out with a much stronger sense of what friendship is, which may impart a newfound perspective that changes her acting. Overall, each of Mari, Shirase, Hinata and Yuzuki are fundamentally changed with their time in Antarctica, having come out of their journey with a profoundly different view of the world. However, each girl experiences their journey differently and leaves with an unique life lesson learned. There are, in effect, four separate themes in A Place Further Than The Universe, one for each of the characters, and while they share the commonality of friendship and overcoming challenges together, the differences that make Mari, Shirase, Hinata and Yuzuki unique also means that they get correspondingly unlike experiences despite sharing them together. Through its short run, A Place Further Than The Universe manages to weave each of these four stories tightly together to form a cohesive and moving narrative that was entertaining, moving and refreshing.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Because I’ve been away from the proceedings of A Place Further Than The Universe for quite some time, I pay the price by having a lot more ground to cover: this post will have forty images. We open with Hinata filming an interview for their project, which entails presenting their travels in Antarctica as a part of Yuzuki’s promotional work. While Hinata and Mari are comfortable on screen in general, and Yuzuki is experienced with such things, Shirase becomes embarrassed very quickly, and here, can be seen blushing furiously even from this distance. Prior to continuing into this post further, I mention that I’m aware that A Place Further Than The Universe is referred to as Yorimoi for brevity, but it’s only got a Hamming Distance of five from the Moyamoya disease. Characterised by clots in the blood vessels of the brain, Moyamoya is so-named because on X-rays, these clots resembles puffs of smoke (moyamoya is onomatopoeia for puffs of smoke in Japanese). This didn’t really sit well with me, so I’ve opted to refer to the show by its English title in full.
- Mari and Hinata marvel at the view from on board the ship while they tour it in advance of departure. Of the characters, Mari and Hinata are more spirited and cheerful, while Shirase and Yuzuki are more reserved. With their distinct personalities, I’ve long felt that A Place Further Than The Universe is really four stories wrapped up in one, unified by a shared goal, and as such, this is what lends itself to the post’s title. It’s inspired by Gundam Unicorn‘s sixth episode, titled “Two Worlds, Two Tomorrows” in English. Being four characters, each with their own insights and perspectives, there are correspondingly four separate worlds and four futures, one for each of Mari, Hinata, Shirase and Yuzuki.
- During a departure party, Shirase and Gin share a conversation about their mutual interest in returning to Antarctica while Mari, Yuzuki and Hinata have a fine time on board. Although Gin is ever-stoic as the captain of the expedition, she opens up to Shirase about her motivations for returning and later admits that seeing Shirase’s youthful passion was what led her to accept and push the operation forwards even in light of limited resources.
- During the talk I did for A Place Further Than The Universe‘s first half, most of the screenshots were set in Japan or Singapore. For this talk on A Place Further Than The Universe, this has changed, with all of the screenshots being either in Antarctica or on board the ship. Admittedly, the ship-borne episodes brought to mind Mighty Ships, another Discovery Channel programme that I frequently watched during the year that I did my MCAT.
- Here, Shirase tries to interview one of the ship’s crew on their functions and roles. A central part of the Mighty Ships program focuses on the vessels and their crew; from operations to technical capacities, unique points about each ship are shown in great detail, with the show interviewing crew to gain insights into their duties and associated challenges. A Place Further Than The Universe is not a documentary, however, and consequently is not expected to detail life on board the ice breaker to the same level of detail – if I were seeking that, I would watch the episode on the CCGS Henry Larsen, a Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker that’s been in service since 1988.
- As the ship moves through the waters of the Southern Ocean, the girls notice increasing amounts of rocking. The adults are used to it and roll with things; here’ Mari and the others are peeling potatoes under Yumiko’s eye. The ship’s designated cook, Yumiko brings the girls under her wing and teach them the ins and outs of cooking when she observes that some of their number are unfamiliar with cooking.
- I could not help but laugh at the fact that each of Yuzuki, Shirase and Mari are so out of shape that curling five pounds and doing sit ups puts them on the floor. I’ve frequently alluded to the fact that I lift and do Gōjū-ryū; having trained for around eight and seventeen years, respectively, I consider myself in slightly above average shape. That Hinata is able to keep up without too much trouble foreshadows at her background, and she keeps an eye on the others while they train. Fortunately, necessity soon pushes Mari and the others; as Place Further Than The Universe progresses, their low physicality no longer seems to be an issue, suggesting they’ve improved.
- Crew remark in Mighty Ships that a ship’s galley is the heart of a ship; keeping the crew well-fed and watered is essential to morale on board, and some large commercial ships have top-tier galleys that serve up gourmet or homemade meals that ends up being something crew members look forwards to after a tough shift. Being immensely complex machines, Mighty Ships shows just how involved running a large ship is, from ensuring the engines are running to keeping track of cargo and equipment on board. What impressed me most is the professionalism all of the crews display under very stressful conditions.
- Seasickness is no joke, and I’ve only ever encountered the Strait of Georgia’s waves twice: once during a cruise fifteen years ago and another during a school trip twelve years ago. I managed to stave off seasickness while my classmates were put out of commission by sitting out on deck and looking into the distance, but the Strait of Georgia is relatively calm compared to the likes of the waves in the Southern Ocean, so more involved measures are required to keep one’s dinner. Unaccustomed to things, audiences are treated to funny faces from Shirase and Mari as they struggle to endure the rough seas.
- While in the throes of another tempest, Mari, Hinata, Shirase and Yuzuki break out onto deck, where they take in the waves for the first time. Resolving to endure it as best as they can, their spirits allow them to recover and acclimatise to life at sea. This moment here, captured right as they exit the ship’s interior, provides yet another example of the funny faces seen in A Place Further Than The Universe – I’ve become quite fond of Madhouse’s style, and their upcoming movie (by home release standards), Kimi no Koe wo Todoketai, is set to feature a very similar art style.
- As their ship moves closer to Antarctica, Hinata and the others decide to interview Gin when they learn that Toshio’s developed feelings for her. Naturally, Shirase wants no part in things and resorts to her signature move: clinging to a bunch of stuff. It typifies A Place Further Than The Universe‘s approach in being able to employ both comedy and drama to equal extents within the anime; fiction that strike this balance tend to yield characters that audiences can empathise with, by illustrating that they are human and subject to the same emotions as the rest of us.
- In its light-hearted moments, A Place Further Than The Universe delivers moments that make audiences smile. The only other anime of the season with such welcoming smiles is Yuru Camp△; that A Place Further Than The Universe is a close second speaks volumes to how effective its art style is at conveying emotions. I’m especially fond of Yuzuki’s smile in this moment as the girls prepare to interview a reluctant Gin, and note that upon seeing trailers for Kimi no Koe wo Todoketai, I had some reservations on watching it owing to the art style. Having seen A Place Further Than The Universe and coming to embrace the way characters look, I’m now fully looking forwards to Kimi no Koe wo Todoketai, which will release on May 25.
- During Toshio’s pursuit of Gin’s heart, he’s constantly rebuked by Yumiko. Watching the interactions between the two was at once amusing and also a bit disheartening. One might be forgiven for thinking that Yumiko is interested in being with him; as this is not the focus of A Place Further Than The Universe, the anime has Toshio stand down and that’s about as far as things go.
- Gin’s concerns are far removed from the comings and goings of her crew and their love lives: she’s spent most of the journey worried about Shirase’s well-being. Flashbacks show that she was the last person to be in touch with Takako prior to her disappearance during a blizzard, and since then, while doubtful that Takako is still alive, nonetheless resolves to Antarctica in order to continue with her work and also for Takako’s sake. Here, Shirase and Gin simultaneously react to the sight of penguins on the ice packs as they near Antarctica.
- Vast white landscapes evocative of Hoth and endless blue skies are the imagery that characterise A Place Further Than The Universe, and so, it wouldn’t be a satisfactory talk on Place Further Than The Universe without at least a handful of images that illustrate the scale of things down in the Antarctic.
- The culmination of Shirase’s efforts with her friends lead her to this point: encouraged by the others, Shirase prepares to take the first step onto Antarctica’s ice pack, and in doing so, she starts on a new adventure with her friends. It was only together that the girls have made it this far: the sum of Yuzuki’s connections with promotional work and Shirase’s ties with Gin, paired with unending support from Hinata and Mari is what allowed them to reach Antarctica. None of the girls could have done this alone, so seeing them stand at the edge of a staircase with all smiles was an immensely rewarding scene.
- Standing on the ice cap at Antarctica, Shirase shouts out that she’s done it, against all of her detractors’ claims that such an undertaking would be impossible. When the girls step off the boat, they are immediately hit with the cold: the average temperature at Showa Station during the summer is around 0ºC, with a low of -4ºC. During the winter months, temperatures range between -14ºC and -20ºC. These temperatures are well within the realm of what I count as ‘comfortable’ – I’ve mentioned previously that any real Canadian would count temperatures above -15ºC as warm. However, being in the most extreme places in the world, the Antarctic cold is no joke.
- With the initial rush of arriving in Antarctica past, the crew prepare to ship their supplies out to Showa Station. Established in 1957, it is Japan’s permanent research facility in Antarctica and is located at 69º00’16”S 39º34’54”E. This is probably one of the most remote locations that have been shown in any anime, and while it is unlikely that civilians will be able to tread the same walks that Mari and her friends do, travelling to Antarctica is not outside the realm of possibility. Organised tours and cruises down to Antarctica, complete with shore excursions, start at around ten thousand CAD per person, which, incidentally, corresponds with the million yen that Shirase had.
- With the hard numbers in mind, travelling to Antarctica is a matter of money: the price range is definitely outside my reach for now (it does not include the air fare), but it might be worth considering. If I do decide to make such a trip, if I still write for this blog in the future, I’ll be sure to write about the experience and attribute it to having watched A Place Further Than The Universe. For now, I’ll return to A Place Further Than The Universe, where Kanae introduces Mari and the others to their quarters at the Showa base.
- After arrival, the expedition crews work tirelessly to activate station functions. They stop to celebrate Christmas here: most of the heavy lifting (i.e. research, operation of heavy machinery) is left to the adults in the team. Mari and the others take on everyday tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, as well as distribution of foodstuffs to other crew. While their roles might be seen as minor, they nonetheless are incredibly important in keeping morale and spirits up amongst the station’s crew.
- When Yuzuki tries to get Mari and the others to sign a contract reminiscent of Sheldon’s “Friendship Agreement” from The Big Bang Theory, Mari and the others try to convince her that friendship isn’t something that can be codified. They manage to impart on her that friendship is a matter of trust and togetherness, and when they throw her a birthday party, she’s moved to tears. Having spent most of an episode troubled by whether or not she should accept a new assignment that might separate her from Mari and the others, she eventually realises that friendship can be a powerful force and so, accepts her assignment in a new drama.
- Exposure to UV radiation while wearing goggles leaves Mari with a goggle-shaped tan that persists for the remainder of one of the episodes, leaving Shirase, Yuzuki and Hinata attempting to conceal peals of laughter, much to Mari’s embarrassment. The solution would’ve been to wear a full face covering: as none of the girls have eyewear, fogging up shouldn’t be a problem. On an unrelated note, I attempted to recreate the sort of clothing that the expedition team might wear in The Division after seeing the masks and goggles. I ended up quite close with my reproduction, although since I don’t have any hard hats or white jackets with orange highlights, this is as close as I got.
- Once in Antarctica proper, Yuzuki, Hinata and Shirase get their own episodes in which their own personal challenges form the underlying story. After live streaming to viewers back home, Hinata runs into folks she once knew. Despite maintaining a cheerful façade, she hulks out – Shirase bears witness to this and spends the remainder of the episode trying to get Hinata to be truthful about how she feels.
- It’s a clever touch that Mari’s tan remains visible throughout an entire episode and fades away by the next. Aside from cooking and cleaning duties, Mari and the others also help out with setup of research facility equipment. In between all this, they recount their experiences as per their original agreement. Here, Shirase measures the depth of a hole in the ice, bringing to mind a remark that Les Stroud had while traversing a glacier in one of his earlier episodes. While taking a shortcut over a glacier to reach a meadow, he encounters numerous crevices in the ice. Formed by the movement of ice, which opens up cracks, he says that some of them are deep enough so that if he’d fallen in, he’d never be found.
- Is it possible to drink meltwater from ponds on the surface in Antarctica in real life? With its cold conditions suppressing bacterial growth and almost nonexistent exposure to pollutants, save for traces from the atmosphere, this water is quite clean and would be something that Les Stroud would recommend making use of in a survival situations. Mari and the others find it very refreshing to try. Here, Hinata reminds the others that whatever troubles she’s experiencing should not have any bearing on the others, befitting of her usual manner; while admirable, her friends genuinely worry about her.
- While helping out with the deployment of solar panels and placement of satellite markers, Shirase manages to get Hinata to open up about how she genuinely felt over what’d happened in high school: she explained earlier to Mari and the others that she was an exceptional track student who incurred the jealousy of senior students, who retaliated by spreading rumours that lead her to leave high school. While she maintained a cheerful outlook on life after, she has trouble deciding whether or not she can forgive those who simply stood by and watched, and it takes developing trust with her friends, especially Shirase, before Hinata is able to openly confront how she feels about things.
- Shirase doesn’t forgive easily and during their next live broadcast, delivers a tongue-lashing towards Hinata’s former teammates, calling them out for their actions and stating that Hinata’s moved on. Hinata is moved to tears by the spectacle of how deeply her friends care for her. I personally do not forgive easily – while some contend that only the strong can forgive, I maintain that forgiveness is something that must be earned. I do not give out free passes, seeing it as a key indicator of weakness when forgiveness is handed out too easily. Conversely, when an individual demonstrates they have earned forgiveness, I will regard them as I would anyone else who has earned their respect.
- Shirase and Gin share another conversation about Takako. Shirase’s internal conflict about Takako is brought to bear in the penultimate episode – her entire reason for coming was to learn of her mother’s fate since her disappearance three years previously, and she feels that once this is done, her entire raison d’être will evaporate. Fearing this loss of purpose, she hesitates to go on an excursion to the site where Takako was last seen. With much support from Mari and the others, Shirase decides to go.
- The girls help Kanae set up the snowcat convoy by lashing the vehicles together and attaching the required provisions. Once they set off, a ferocious blizzard strikes: Antarctica may be classified as a desert, but blizzards are not uncommon, and once they set in, visibility drops down to zero.
- Ice crystals in the air create a spectacular phenomenon for Mari and the others to behold: known as a sun pillar, this results when hexagonal ice crystals align in the air to create a large mirror of sorts that reflects the light. While the sun is the most common light source for sun pillars, the moon and even street lamps can create light pillars. They can be observed with a nontrivial frequency where I am: owing to the climate, airborne ice crystals create all manners of observable optical phenomenon. Besides sun pillars, sun dogs and halos are also commonly seen during the winter.
- In general, reception to A Place Further Than The Universe is very positive, with some people counting it as the strongest anime of the season. Discussions have gone in interesting directions elsewhere, from Shirase’s conflicted feelings about being up close and personal with penguins (the real deal, not the Pittsburgh Penguins) to whether or not the anime could’ve been better with more episodes. Aside from some incoherent ramblings from one “Verso Sciolto” (who’s plagued talks of Kimi no Na wa previously with pseudo-intellectual banter of no substance), talks have been reasoned, well-thought out and generally show that behind the enjoyment factor, is a show that’s clearly taken the time to ensure it strikes a balance between realism and narrative advancement.
- Takako vanished during a blizzard, and while nodding off to Gin recounting Takako’s final words, Shirase sees her mother’s Force Ghost. Mari thanks Shirase for having allowed everyone to have come so far. When the girls enter the observatory, Mari tearfully sets off, feeling that Shirase’s trip would have fulfilled its purpose only if they can find any hint that Takako was once there. They scatter into the facility and locate a laptop that Takako used.
- There’s a bit of waterworks in A Place Further Than The Universe, some of which is warranted and some of which might feel a little excessive. When Shirase opens Takako’s laptop and it hits her that her mother never received and never will read any of the messages, the finality of her death hits her in full. The tears come out, while outside of the room, Mari, Hinata and Yuzuki silently cry for Shirase, and audiences also feel the impact of what’s going down. This is one moment where the tears are appropriate.
- As their time in Antarctica comes to an end, Mari enjoys a shaved ice made from glacial ice: the dissolved air bubbles in the ice date back several millennia, and while not tasting any difference than standard ice, when one considers that they are ingesting something that’s been untouched for such a period time, it is interesting compared against the “ordinary” water and air we drink and breathe. Once each of the characters have overcome their own individual barriers, the finale is much more light-hearted in nature, and back at base, the adults unveil a banner thanking Mari and the others for having helped out.
- Shirase cuts her hair short, signifying a renewed outlook on the world and a fresh start. A major change in hairstyle has long associated with a change in relationship status, but the practise is actually a global one – longer hair might represent the past, and to cut it indicates a willingness to let go and move on. While Shirase’s not suffered any heartbreak, she’s nonetheless feeling like a new person with the sum of her experiences in Antarctica.
- The time has thus come for Shirase, Yuzuki, Mari and Hinata to leave Antarctica, bringing their trip to an end, and it is here I explain the page quote. A long time ago, some of my readers felt that the quotes I picked had hardly any relationship to the post in question; while I can see the connection immediately, I understand that my non sequitur thinking means that parallels that I intuitively draw are not apparent, hence this practise. Today’s quote comes from J.R.R. Tolkein – he refers to Bilbo’s adventures and involvements with the Quest for Erebor, stating that it is challenge and adversity that is worth recounting. From struggling to begin their adventure to fighting amongst one another, from seasickness to the challenges of Antarctica itself, Mari and the others have experienced their share of adversity on the journey to Antarctica.
- Had Mari chosen to remain idle and live in the status quo, it is likely that none of the events in A Place Further Than The Universe will have occurred. Audiences are therefore happy that Mari took the initiative to step out of her comfort zone: while she had no real learnings in Antarctica, her internal conflicts were presented early into the season and as a character, she reaches her resolution once the trip becomes realised and she parts ways with Megumi.
- Having eaten shaved ice made with All-Genuine Antarctica glacier ice and walked amongst the penguins, the only thing that Shirase and the others have not done is experienced the aurora australis, the southern equivalent of the aurora borealis. As they rest on the deck of the icebreaker, a stunning display begins, filling the skies with curtains of shimmering light. Coincidentally, Gin sends Shirase the final email that Takako had intended to send Shirase before she passed on; it was that the southern lights are much more beautiful in person.
- Mari’s journey in A Place Further Than The Universe ends where it began, and she returns home. She sends a message to Megumi, who replies that she’s in the Arctic. Unlike Frodo, who’s tribulations in Middle Earth and exposure to the One Ring’s evil has a permanent effect on him, Mari will have no trouble resuming her old life. The epilogue shows each of Hinata, Yuzuki and Shirase going their separate ways, having come back from Antarctica with a profoundly changed world-view and presumably, a newfound appreciation for what they do have. When their journey began, each of Mari, Yuzuki, Hinata and Shirase were longing for something more: A Place Further Than The Universe shows how their travels help each of the girls fill the gaps.
- I’ll close off with a screenshot of Megumi in the arctic, mention that this post has 5426 words, and as is customary, give A Place Further Than The Universe a numerical score. With a score of A+ (9.5 of 10), A Place Further Than The Universe ties with Yuru Camp△, but the distinction here is that the presence of a more cohesive narrative and clear objective means that I could recommend A Place Further Than The Universe to anyone. With the last of my March posts in the books, I look ahead to the shows of the Spring season, mention that I’ll be writing about Violet Evergarden once the firefights on that settles, and return to Battlefield 1, where a new patch fixes mid-round balancing, changes visibility when looking outside from inside a building and also makes the PTFO skins legendary rarity along with other UI improvements.
As per my original expectation, Mari, Shirase, Hinata and Yuzuki’s friendships are tested and through trial by fire, the girls come out stronger than they entered. While I previously was unsure whether or not A Place Further Than The Universe would take a more plausible or fairy-tale like approach in dealing with Takako, the later aspects of the series also answered that question, choosing to go with a realistic approach that simultaneously serves as the catalyst for Shirase’s maturation. Overall, A Place Further Than The Universe has many positives going for it, being a show that I looked forwards to each and every week once I got into it. In conjunction with its riveting story, highly engaging and likeable characters and technical excellence, the only thing that one can really hold against A Place Further Than The Universe is the fact that the waterworks come out a bit too frequently than one might reasonably expect of high school girls. While the dramatic might be occasionally placed into situations more often than necessary, it does not serve to detract from A Place Further Than The Universe‘s story. Consequently, I am confident in giving A Place Further Than The Universe a strong recommendation: the biggest draw is simply watching Mari, Shirase, Hinata and Yuzuki grow as they spend more time together, work together to overcome challenges and ultimately, gain a broader view of the world together. With A Place Further Than The Universe now over on such a decisive note, I do not expect there to be a direct sequel, although the possibility of a spin-off dealing with Megumi and her path to the Arctic following Mari’s departure would be a story well worth telling.