Written by: Gabriel Castillo | Published on: January 6, 2021
Yuri with a sci-fi twist; a budding romance is born in an outlandish world filled with unknown perils and spooky mysteries. What awaits on the Otherside?
The series starts off strong with the introduction of lovable characters, an intriguing premise, and the Otherside. Expect puzzling questions and mysteries, unraveling of characters, development of relationships, and light horror with some psychological themes as thoughts and feelings are twisted.
Series Synopsis via MAL
Her first encounter with Toriko Nishina was on the Otherside after seeing "that thing" and nearly dying. Ever since that day, exhausted university student Sorao Kamikoshi's life changed. In this Otherworld, full of mystery, which exists alongside our own, dangerous beings like the Kunekune and Hasshaku-sama that are spoken of in real ghost stories appear. For research, for profit, and to find an important person, Toriko and Sorao set foot into the abnormal.
Sorao Kamikoshi first meets Toriko Nishina on the Otherside as they narrowly escape an encounter with a strange being. The two meet up in the real world and decide to cross to the Other Side once more to hunt the Kunekune. Will Sorao and Toriko succeed?
Kamikoshi Sorao (voiced by Yumiri Hanamori) is a shy and socially withdrawn curious cutie. The character’s reserved demeanor and appearance works well with her more logical and calculating style of doing things. Thinking things through and devising a strategy are Sorao’s strong points.
Nishina Toriko (voiced by Ai Kayano) is a forward and headstrong beauty with a kick. Toriko’s blue eyes and blond hair paired with a friendly demeanor effectively mask the strong personality beneath (and the Makarov she’s packing). Nonchalantly dealing with whatever comes up and pushing forward are Toriko’s strengths. Also, she's probably part of the "can-run-a-marathon-in-heels" club.
Individually, the two are delightful but also seem typical. However, magic happens when Sorao and Toriko interact; the chemistry is evident. The pair’s playful banter is very pleasant and engaging. Undoubtedly, the two mix perfectly. Perhaps it’s the classic “extrovert meets introvert” scenario that makes their pairing extra appealing. Sorao and Toriko seem to share a bond that is fun to watch as their story unfolds together. This well-written and well-executed relationship can elevate this series.
Production (Animation, Sound, and Design)
The series is co-produced by Felix Film and LIDEN Films and their style does a good job of creating an appropriate atmosphere for the story. The animation contains some CGI bits thrown in which work pretty well with the drawn scenes. Fortunately, the CGI is not overbearing (but it might take some getting used to).
The Otherside is a mix of dirt roads and tall abandoned buildings while the regular world is a bustling city. Despite the difference in infrastructure, both share an uneasy familiarity in design, adding to the creepy vibe as it begs the question “How thin is the border between the two?”.
Overall, the design is intriguing. A mundane background allows the odd elements to stand out. The Kunekune (which roughly translates to “wiggle wiggle”) is depicted well despite its abstract concept. Despite the potential, some of the scenarios are lacking in creepiness.
The sound effects and eerie music work brilliantly in building tension when necessary (the elevator scene is a great example). The sounds are done well and timed appropriately creating a fuller atmosphere that adds to the immersion.
Music (OP & ED)
Opening: Ugly Creature performed by CHiCO with HoneyWorks. This song intoxicates with its energetic beat and lively vocals. The opening gives off an adventurous feel which invites viewers to join in. The sequence is filled with all kinds of scenarios and emotions foreshadowing many interesting things to come.
Ending: You & Me performed by Miki Sato. The aptly titled song captivates with a delightful mix of mellow feels and a catchy beat all brought together by the intimate vocals. The ending sequence does a good job of highlighting the romance.
Author's Rating: 8/10
The episode felt rushed as it jumped from one scenario to another without giving viewers a chance to be immersed in the world. Despite its pace, the pilot episode succeeds in luring viewers with a promising romance and a bizarre premise. Fans of the light novel are excited for the anime adaptation and this pilot does a decent job of bringing the story to life. Seeing a bit of the Otherside in color definitely makes viewers want more. To the adventurous, this invitation to the unexplored Otherside cannot be refused! Additionally, the characters are instantly likable and even relatable; expect to fall in love with the pair and invest in the relationship. By the way, the songs from the opening and ending are fantastic!
Sorao and Toriko’s enjoyable dynamic can easily capture viewers’ hearts, but what about their own? What new horrors will come to life? What kind of romance is expected: sweet and simple or spicy and surprising? Will there actually be a picnic? With all these questions, there is no choice but to cross back to the Otherside.
Official Anime Website: Otherside Picnic
Official Anime Twitter: @OthersidePicnic