#1 Cute girls survive the apocalypse
Chito and Yuuri may well be the last two people alive. If not that, then they are certainly part of a dwindling number of survivors. Sometime in the past, cataclysmic events unfolded that led to the destruction of civilization. And now these girls traverse the wasteland that was left behind, unsure if even a single other person is still out there.
I don’t usually care much for survival stories, especially not of the zombie kind. Put some adorable anime girls in there and suddenly I am 100% invested. I took an immediate liking to Chito and Yuuri thanks to their cute, rounded designs, little military outfits, and lovable personalities. As the story went on and we learn more about them, I became legitimately concerned about their well-being. I started desperately hoping for a happy ending to their story, no matter how unlikely such a twist would be.
#2 The kettenkrad
Tanks are mankind’s greatest invention, of this I am convinced. Despite being a pacifist, I have a love for military hardware and any media that features it. Girls’ Last Tour is an interesting case, because Yuuri and Chito rely on a kettenkrad to get them from A to B.
It’s a bizarre little vehicle, but one that I grew very fond of throughout the show. It’s really a home on wheels for the girls; containing all of their stuff and keeping them safe. It’s not much and it often suffers mechanical problems, but it feels homely and you gotta respect such an ancient vehicle that is still up and running years after humanity faded away. I was constantly rooting for the girls’ survival, yet I also hoped they would never have to abandon the kettenkrad to pull it off.
#3 The melancholic tone
Girls Last Tour is a show that I found difficult to watch because it calls up strange emotions in me. On the one hand, there is much fun to be had in seeing Chito and Yuuri interact and it’s great to see them succeed. Such as a scene where they manage to create a hot bath by breaking some pipes in a powerplant.
However, there is a heavy sense of dread looming over the entire show. To see a world so empty and desolate makes me uneasy, to see all these great cities and technological marvels, now cursed to slowly fall into decrepitude due to a lack of… us. It truly feels like this world has already ended and we are just seeing the last stragglers of a bygone era attempt to deny it by living on.
Chito and Yuuri are the perfect protagonists for this story. Already in episode 1, there is the vague sense that these girls are already doomed. That no matter their decisions, the circumstances of their world have already condemned them. Yet it’s in their childlike curiosity that Girl’s Last Tour finds… something else. Not so much hope as it levity. Chito and Yuuri have adventures and they explore, they make astute comments about the world and the habits of those who came before them. Even if there is no future for them, they make the present count.
#4 The strong bond between Chito and Yuuri
Chito and Yuuri both have a very different view on life and ways of handling things. Chito is very reserved, careful, and studious; she takes a keen interest in the world as it was before and values skills like being able to read. Yuuri is more carefree and reckless, only minding immediate concerns like food and being able to shoot something when necessary.
The girls want different things from life and they want to approach their survival in different ways. They even bicker from time to time, but they always stick together. Through this dynamic, the show does a great job at showing how deep their friendship is. They are kids and will get into some petty arguments, but Yuuri will jump to Chito’s defense at the slightest hint of danger. Meanwhile Chito diligently does all she can, even as Yuuri sleeps in the back and rations keep mysteriously disappearing.
Scenes where Yuuri gets to shine were some of my favorites; it’s easy to see how Chito contributes to this team, but Yuuri’s qualities are less obvious despite being just as integral to their survival. I was also fond of any scenes that just have the girls talk about things, share their thoughts about what they encounter, or even just goof off and have fun together. It does a lot to alleviate the heavy atmosphere of the show when you get chapters like “The Sound of Rain.” Where the girls take a break and experiment with making music.
#5 The World That Was Before
So… what really happened to get the world to where it is now? How long ago did things go to shit and why? The journey of our two protagonists is certainly plenty interesting to follow, but I was just as curious about what happened to the world to even get us to this point.
First impressions were that it was related to one of the world wars, again due to that beautiful kettenkrad and the very early-1900s style of vehicles and weapons we see in the early episodes. However, the anime then takes Chito and Yuuri to a ruined city, which hints at cultures that don’t compare to anything we know in our world today. Great things were happening in this land. It was a place of religion and architectural wonders. There was remarkable technology available and some of it continues to work even now. Some of it might have even rivaled the Kettenkrad.
What kind of people lived here and what were their government and lives like? It really kept me wondering and I applaud the original author for his (or her) excellent world-building, even when the world itself is no longer important. The final episode does shine some light on this in an amazing scene, but so much remains shrouded in mystery and that is enthralling to me.