Sora yori mo Tooi Basho – 08

The girls are understandably excited to be shoving off for their great life-changing expedition, but not a one of them, even Shirase, really gave much thought to how life would be aboard an icebreaker at sea.

Of course, none of them have any experience being on ships period, so that’s to be expected. And at first, things don’t seem that bad: sure, they’re four to a room, and they’re almost immediately put to work peeling potatoes and the like, but it’s not that bad!

Then the crew is invited to go topside for exercise, and the girls learn just how much toughening they’ll need to function aboard ship. Between the drudgery below and the training above, wasting even small amounts of time (and they waste a lot in the bath) is like digging a hole of lost time from which they’ll never return.

As if settling into an efficient routine in which not a moment in the day is wasted (or night, as they need good sleep to be ready for the day) wasn’t enough on their plate, their anti-seasickness medicine wears off, and once they’re on the high seas, that becomes a devastating problem for the entire quartet.

Okay, I told myself, now they’re going to start to feel the challenge they set for themselves when they agreed to do this. And they do, the poor wretches…they do. They lie in bed, unable to sleep, unable to keep down the food they have to try to keep down, dealing with the unceasing rolling of the ship as they sail further south, where there’s nothing stopping the currents.

This is all great stuff, both pre- and post-seasickness. It never feels like the girls are being tortured, because the whole time they’re enduring all these problems, the rest of the crew, far more experienced as they are, seem completely unaffected by the changing conditions. They are a constant reminder that while it may be tough now, given enough time and perseverance, the girls will get through this.

Heck, when the ship starts hitting some really serious waves, Gin shows her “old salt” side, like the captains of the age of sail, standing on the deck of their ships, fighting with the ocean as if it were an opponent in the boxing ring. She’s ready to take some licks, but she’s not going to be counted out.

Similar sentiments come to Shirase as the four lie in their bunks, miserable and exhausted. Gin and the crew may seem like a “different kind of organism” as Yuzu puts it, but all the girls can do is their best; they have no choice. Mari corrects them: they did have a choice, and it was to do exactly what they’re doing. (Hinata seems inspired by Mari’s words, but in truth she just has to use the toilet).

Before heading back to their bunks, the four open a hatch to take a look outside…which seemed like an extraordinarly bad and reckless thing to do considering how little experience they have being on the deck of a ship during such severe conditions. But they all manage to hold on, and even revel at getting pummeled by the waves crashing over them.

The experience changes them for the better; the next day when things calm down they have their sea legs and are full of energy. A big part of the transition is a matter of one’s state of mind; one’s attitude. Mari knows that no matter how tough or harrowing things might seem in the moment, she knows they’ll all look back on these times as some of the most fun and exciting of their lives.

And things are only going to get more exciting, and harrowing, and possibly miserable and painful and terrifying, as icebergs start coming into view on the horizon. This episode does something truly clever: depict how hard it is to adjust to life on a boat, all the while implying that a boat is nothing compared to Antarctica.

Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

5 thoughts on “Sora yori mo Tooi Basho – 08”

  1. I could really sympathize with those girls. Icebreakers like that one have rounded hulls with no bilge keels or fin stabilizers. They roll like a barrel according to a several co workers who went on a science trip on the USCG Polar Star. BTW from my own experience nothing cure seasickness in rough weather like going out on the deck in the freezing cold windy weather.

    1. I’ve never been on a ship of the size or configuration of the Penguin Manju, so I can’t imagine how I’d fare…but the girls give a pretty reasonable extrapolation! The news that they’ll get landsick as soon as they’re back on land only made me feel worse for them!

  2. Was I the only one who thought Mari’s remark about having a choice didn’t make sense? I mean, Shirase didn’t mean they didn’t choose to make this trip off their own accord. Of course they did. What she meant is that now that they’re part of this crew, they have not choice but to get better so they won’t be a bother, and she’s totally right. Mari kinda misses the point Shirase was trying to make.

    I don’t know. The whole moment felt like the writers were trying a little too hard to have a Kimari pet talk but the way they went about it didn’t make sense.

    1. After thinking about it, I agree with you completely; Shirase’s point was that they’ve made their choice and can’t go back on it.

      I still feel the moment is redeemed when that whole Mari pep talk, complete with sweeping dramatic music, came to a screeching halt when it was clear that Hinata wasn’t reacting to Mari’s words…but simply answering the call of nature.

    2. I think the talk made sense, what she wanted to do was remark their active role. It was just a way to shake the girls from the passiveness they were falling into due to the seasickness, to say “look, we ARE badass enough that we managed to get here, so we ARE going through this as well”.

      Of course then we got the bathroom thing and that was hilarious in its own right XD.

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