Girls’ Last Tour’s Deathless End of Days

Girls’ Last Tour’s Deathless End of Days

Introduction to the Concept of Death

Last week, I discussed how Chi and Yuu were innocently ignorant about the world that came before them. This week, I’ll be continuing on my journey of discussing Girls’ Last Tour by breaking down the surprising lack of death featured in the series.

Something you may or may not have noticed while watching the anime or reading the manga is that Girl’s Last Tour tends not to show death. What I mean by this is that throughout the travels of Chi and Yuu, we never actually see the bodies of the deceased.

Why is this odd? Because these girls are exploring a massive city at the end of the world shortly after humanity’s final war has taken place. We even see that this final war was still waging during their lifetime. So, why are there no bodies strewn about the city? Surely there should be some from both the war and the starvation that ensued afterward.

A dead fish from the anime series Girls' Last Tour
A dead fish

I think the best explanation of why there aren’t any bodies depicted in this series is because we’re seeing the world through the eyes of Chi and Yuu. It’s as if the girls are blocking out all of the death that surrounds them on a daily basis as a way to cope with their grim situation.

But, as early as the second episode, the girls do come face to face with death in the form of a fish. I think they mentioned death in the first episode, but it’s not until episode two that the reality of death is shown.

And from here on, there are many hints about the mass death in the world. It’s these hints that I want to focus on today.

The Graveyard

After the dead fish in the second episode, it’s actually not until episode eight that the girls have their next encounter with death. We can assume that both Kanazawa and Ishii died, but they didn’t die where Chi and Yuu could see them. They died sometime after parting ways from the girls.

But in the eighth episode, the girls find themselves in a graveyard. At first, they don’t understand what the graveyard is, but as they spend more time in it, Chi eventually figures it out.

It’s at this point that the girls are first confronted with the idea of leaving something behind to commemorate their lives. Throughout their journey, Chi has been keeping a journal. However, she seemed to be keeping the journal more so because she thinks that keeping records of things for the future is important, and less so because it proves that she existed.

Interestingly, even in the graveyard, we were shown no signs of physical death. This graveyard is actually a nokotsudo, or columbarium. The lockers depicted would normally house an urn or other container with the deceased’s ashes inside along with other items belonging to the deceased.

However, the girls make no mention of finding remains within the lockers. Instead, Yuu notes that most of them are empty except for the few items they found inside some of them. Was this another case of the girls ignoring the death around them, or were the lockers truly empty?

Do Machines Die?

In episode 9, the girls are confronted with death of another kind: That of the machines. Unbeknownst to the girls, they had actually come across other “deceased” machines in the past. Notably, the structure they sought shelter under in episode 5 was actually the remains of a giant machine.

However, it’s not until episode 9 that they meet a living machine and discover that although they’re not “alive,” they too still have a life. The room in which the girls first encounter the machine is littered with the remains of other machines that have broken down. And the machine they meet says that it too will end up that way one day.

It’s in this episode that the girls also take their first “life.” Although it can be argued that the machines aren’t really alive, Chi and Yuu seem to want to believe that they are. Their world is barren, so believing that there’s more life than just them may be a comforting thought.

The giant machine the girls destroyed from the anime series Girls' Last Tour
The giant machine the girls destroyed

In order to save the lives of the fish and the small machine, Chi and Yuu destroy the giant machine that’s dismantling the facility. I found this to be a very interesting scene from the perspective of how it may have affected the girls.

Yuu is the one who plants the explosives on the giant machine, and when she does so, she apologizes to it for what’s about to happen. Then, after Chi detonates the explosives, she comments on how perhaps “life” extends even to machines and the city as a whole.

Based on what they both say here, you might expect the killing of the giant machine to affect them emotionally. However, that’s not the case. It would seem that at this point, the girls have become skilled at compartmentalizing the death within their world.

Evidence of Death

Throughout all of the anime, we never see a single dead human. But what about in the manga after the anime concludes? Well, there is actually direct evidence of death in the manga. Specifically, it comes after the final chapter, in the extra chapter from the volume 6 tankouban.

Technically speaking, we do see Chi and Yuu die, but at the same time, you could argue that they aren’t yet dead when we last see them. I’m not saying that they don’t die. They definitely do and this is confirmed by a panel of them in the afterlife. I’m just saying maybe they’re not dead yet in the last panel we see them in before that.

They probably are dead by that point though, and are no longer simply asleep.

The first dead human of the series from the manga Girls' Last Tour
The first dead human of the series

In the panel shown above, after the deaths of Chi and Yuu, we get our first evidence for human death in the entire series. We see what appears to be some kind of animal skull, some other bones that are probably animal in origin, and a human skull.

It’s this panel in particular that makes me think we were seeing the rest of the series through Chi’s and Yuu’s “rose-colored” eyes. Why? Because it’s not until after they die that we see human remains scattered around the city. Once we’re no longer seeing the world through their eyes, we can see it for what it really is.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this discussion has made you think more about how the lack of death present throughout Girls’ Last Tour was used as a way to illustrate the perspective from which we as the viewers/readers were seeing the world. While it’s not the first series I’ve seen that does something like this, I do think it did a very nice job of revealing it at the end.

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