Why Girls’ Last Tour is the Most Existentially Depressing Manga

Why Girls’ Last Tour is the Most Existentially Depressing Manga

An Uncertain and Unknown Future

Before anything else, I need to warn you that this article is going to be full of spoilers for both the Girls’ Last Tour anime and manga. If you haven’t watched the series and read the final volumes of the manga after the anime, I highly recommend you do so before proceeding with this article.

With that warning out of the way, I was originally going to focus on both the anime and manga in this discussion of existential depression in Girls’ Last Tour. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the manga chapters after where the anime ends are where the true existential depression comes into play.

Chi wondering about the allure of exploration from the manga series Girls' Last Tour
Chi wondering about the allure of exploration

Throughout the entire series, Chito (Chi) and Yuuri (Yuu) don’t really know what to expect from their adventure. They continue to travel through and up the city, but what’s their goal? They know they want to reach the top layer, but they don’t know what they’ll find there and don’t even remember why that’s the goal they’re attempting to reach.

Eventually, it’s revealed that their “grandfather” is the one who initially told them to travel upward, not downward. But even with this bit of information, their purpose remains unclear. Why were they told this? Will they find civilization at the top?

While that’s their hope, it becomes clear that the girls don’t really expect to find civilization clinging on at the top of the city. They’re aware that the farther up they go, the more scarce the resources they need to survive become. And yet, this is the uncertain journey that Chi and Yuu have committed their lives to.

A Forgotten Existence

You could say that the uncertain and unknown future of the girls is exactly what drives them. Perhaps it’s the thrill of exploration. But, that’s clearly not the case. They explore their immediate surroundings out of curiosity, but it’s survival that drives them to keep moving forward.

However, throughout their exploratory detours, especially towards the end of the series, the girls do go out of their way to leave their mark on the world around them. And this is what I think is the most depressing part of the entire series.

Just three chapters after the conclusion of the anime is my favorite chapter. Chapter 32, titled “Art,” features the girls exploring a museum and ends with Yuu posting a drawing of her own next to cave paintings that are 36,000 years old today. The first and last of mankind’s art, side by side.

Yuu's drawing next to cave paintings from Altamira from the manga series Girls' Last Tour
Yuu’s drawing next to cave paintings from Altamira

Why is this such a depressing chapter? Because while we see the girls leaving their mark on their world, nobody is left to see it. This is the first time in the series I really thought about that fact.

Previously, we had seen Chi keeping a diary of their travels, and the girls even used the camera to take a picture of themselves. These are obviously ways to document their existence. But Yuu’s art and the poem that the girls inscribe at their final resting place were obviously meant to be “discovered” in the future.

The only problem is that there is no future.

Nobody will ever see Yuu’s art alongside those cave paintings. The impact of the first and last of humanity’s art side by side is lost to the world. And the same goes for their final act of inscribing a poem. Nobody will ever read it and know that two, young girls struggled to survive and made it to the top of the world.

Their entire existence was forgotten as soon as it ended.

Meaningless Lives

Chi and Yuu traveled through an unknown world in order to reach an uncertain goal. Their achievement will never be known by anyone. And in the end, there was nothing waiting for them at their goal other than death. With all that in mind, how could anyone argue that their lives had meaning?

I know that it’s often said that the journey is more important than the end goal. Most people would probably argue that the same goes for life itself. But is that still the case if your life is the final life on the planet?

This is where existentialism really comes into play. Yes, the girls enjoyed being alive. But at the same time, is the enjoyment of life itself really enough? I don’t think so. I think everyone needs a purpose in order to continue striving to survive.

Chi and Yuu questioning their lives from the manga series Girls' Last Tour
Chi and Yuu questioning their lives

After reaching the final layer of the city, Chi has some interesting things to say. She wonders if they made the right choice by continuing to travel to the top layer. She questions whether they might have been better off going in another direction.

For Chi and Yuu, their purpose was to reach the top of the city. Once they achieved this and were ultimately let down by it, that’s when their lives come to an end. Did they still enjoy life? Yes. But as I mentioned, that alone isn’t enough of a reason to keep on living.

Would they have survived if they attempted to descend the city? No. They were out of rations, they were tired, and they no longer had the mobility of their vehicle. They were doomed. But they didn’t even try, and that’s what tells me that once they realized their goal had been meaningless, there was no longer a reason to survive.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this discussion of existentialism in Girls’ Last Tour wasn’t too depressing, because I plan to write more about this series every Tuesday for the next few weeks. Next week’s topic is going to be on the innocent ignorance of Chi and Yuu, something a bit brighter than this week’s.

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