Otherside Picnic

Otherside Picnic

Otherside Picnic anime series cover art
Otherside Picnic

Series Overview

Otherside Picnic (Urasekai Picnic / 裏世界ピクニック) is a very strange anime series. The genres it’s tagged as include sci-fi, adventure, mystery, fantasy, and shoujo ai. The shoujo ai genre being included is interesting, and that’s actually why I watched this series.

However, I’d like to say that the anime of this series definitely isn’t something I would call shoujo ai (girls’ love). Maybe the manga has more of those themes in it, but the anime does not. There’s a very tiny amount of awkward sexual tension between the girls, but that’s it.

So, obviously, I was pretty disappointed when I learned that the shoujo ai tag was a lie. As for the other genres, though, I think they’re all fair game. Sci-fi may be a bit of a stretch since I think most sci-fi-ish things in this series could fall under general fantasy. But, I’ll allow it.

As for what this series is really about, there’s a mysterious parallel world that exists alongside our own. Sometimes, people accidentally find that they’ve wandered into this other world, known simply as the Otherside.

The Otherside is an extremely dangerous place where urban legends and myth become reality and “glitches” in space-time can instantly kill anyone who encounters them. This is the world which our two protagonists, Sorao and Toriko, like to explore in their free time.

So, how does one get to the Otherside? Well, the easiest way to get there is via a location tied to an urban legend. For example, the girls frequently use an elevator to get there by pressing the floor buttons in a specific order. But, it’s also possible to accidentally wander across the border between the two worlds.

Naturally, those who accidentally enter the Otherside often don’t know how to return to our world.

Main Characters

Sorao Kamikoshi is the first of the two protagonists. At the start of the series, she’s someone who doesn’t have any friends and spends her time exploring on her own. It was during one of her explorations that she found the Otherside, and has semi-regularly made trips there ever since.

Toriko Nishina is the other protagonist and is the opposite of Sorao in almost every way. She’s beautiful, popular, outgoing, and everything else Sorao isn’t. She frequents the Otherside in search of one of her friends, Satsuki, who went missing there.

Now that we have the basics of these two characters down, I’m going to get into some spoiler content about them. Really, the rest of this review is going to include spoilers for the series, so you can skip to the conclusion if you want to avoid them.

Toriko and Sorao from the anime series Otherside Picnic
Toriko and Sorao

Sorao and Toriko meet by chance in the Otherside and develop a friendship after escaping from it together. However, this friendship is very much based on risking their lives within the Otherside.

What I mean by this is that after her near-death encounter, Sorao is afraid to return to the Otherside. But, because Toriko is her first friend (and crush, I guess), she continues to enter the Otherside with her. Toriko isn’t afraid and seems to enjoy the thrill of the Otherside.

But, their return trips to the Otherside cause anomalies within their bodies. One of Sorao’s eyes gets affected and allows her to spot “glitches.” As for Toriko, one of her hands becomes transparent and is able to interact with the unknown.

Towards the end of the season, it’s also implied that Sorao is Toriko’s lost friend Satsuki. But this doesn’t actually go anywhere from what I remember. That was a bit disappointing.

Almost Horror

Something that’s a bit confusing to me is that Otherside Picnic isn’t tagged as a horror anime. I mean, it’s much more horror than shoujo ai. Some of the urban legends associated with the Otherside are pretty creepy, as are the things Sorao and Toriko encounter there.

Honestly, the pieces of a good horror series were all there. The issue is that Otherside Picnic apparently didn’t want to be a horror series, and so it didn’t use them effectively. And when you consider how 99% of the urban legends are horror stories, that’s kind of impressive in its own way.

The way this series used horror elements was to include them simply as things that exist within the Otherside. The monster girl who rushes the elevator taking the girls between worlds? Yeah, she never really matters. We get a jumpscare or two with her, but Sorao and Toriko aren’t all that worried about her after their first encounter.

Sorao Kamikoshi in the Otherside from the anime series Otherside Picnic
Sorao Kamikoshi in the Otherside

As far as Sorao and Toriko are concerned, the Otherside is just like the wilderness, and the monsters that live there are like wild animals. Sure, wild animals can be dangerous. But as long as you leave them alone or know how to avoid them, you’re going to be fine.

Of course, there are a few times when the girls really do have to worry about the horrors they encounter. But, they inevitably learn how to deal with them, and then these encounters become no big deal. Even some of the most dangerous monsters are dealt with rather easily once the girls decide to stand and fight.

How do they fight these monsters? Well, Sorao and Toriko are packing. They have a lot of firearms. And if Sorao is looking at a monster with her special eye, their bullets can hurt the monsters.

Conclusion

Otherside Picnic is a 2/10 from me. It uses some janky 3D animation at times, the animation isn’t all that great otherwise, the characters are pretty boring, the story isn’t very engaging, and it wastes its best elements by not going full-on horror.

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