Image source: TVアニメ『少女終末旅行』 on Twitter

Girls’ Last Tour presents us with quite the dichotomy: two girls, left alone in a world nearly devoid of humans and trained as soldiers for a war that has devastated the world, who are still very much children. You would expect that, as potentially the last children left, their traumas and experiences would mean they would not maintain childlike innocence. A key aspect of the series is that they very much have. 

We don’t know much about the world of Girls’ Last Tour. The initial facts presented are that the girls, Chi and Yuu, are sent away from a major battle on a small tank-like vehicle. Both were clearly trained as soldiers, with Chi being a very capable driver, and Yuu being an expert marksman. Seemingly the last ones alive from a great war, they wander a massively expansive snow-covered urban landscape in search of fuel and food. Their daily lives are mostly taken up by focusing on the simple acts of survival. 

Image source: TVアニメ『少女終末旅行』 on Twitter

[This article contains spoilers through Episode Three of Girls’ Last Tour.]

There’s actually very little we are able to say definitively about where Chii and Yuu are. The girls speak Japanese, although only Chi can read and write. Yuu is able to write a few words. They write in a sort of simplified katakana. There are many potential explanations. The simplest is merely that Japanese is a literary device, and not to be taken as the actual language the girls are using. In western Science Fiction, “English” is often not English at all, but a universal language that has merely been “translated” for the readers or viewers. 

Given a Japanese audience, it could very well be that Chi and Yuu, despite their Japanese names and Japanese language, are not supposed to actually be Japanese. It’s also possible that Chi and Yuu, owing to the fact that their “side” in the war has chosen to conscript and train children, simply didn’t have time to educate Chi and Yuu properly. This, however, doesn’t seem accurate because we do see signs and labels at times, and they are written in the same katakana that Chi is able to read and write. This suggests that if Japanese is the actual language of the world or country the girls are from, they’ve since abandoned kanji and hiragana for a simpler form. Possibly due to the war breaking down the general level of education.

Image source: TVアニメ『少女終末旅行』 on Twitter

Frankly speaking, we don’t even know for sure that the world in which the girls inhabit is our own, although we do have several hints that if it is, it’s potentially in the far future. However, it could very well be a parallel universe or a far-flung distant human colony that has fallen into “neo-barbarism” (a common theme in many science fiction stories). The urban landscape goes up several levels beyond what is possible for our current technology, yet much of the technology on each level seems older than our current level of technology. This seems confirmed when Chi and Yuu meet another person for the first time since they were sent on their way, a man named Kanazawa. He explains that much of the technology used before and during the war is much newer (in a time sense, not in an advancement or innovation sense) than the level structure itself. He suggests that ancient people built the level structure, and more recent people tacked on other technology. While Kanazawa may not be a reliable source of information, this does seem to fit the appearances we’ve seen so far. 

Chi and Yuu are products of total war. In the limited flashbacks we have seen, it is quite clear that their experiences are normalized—and likely actually normal. Neither of the girls seem particularly special or endowed with any unique abilities. Chi can drive and Yuu can shoot, but that would be expected after military training.

Given the training they have received and the horrors they have no doubt seen, it is somewhat surprising that they are able to clearly show they are still children. We don’t know precisely how old they are, due to the art style and lack of personal data, but I would say they are likely preteens. Perhaps between the ages of 11 and 13, based on my personal experience with children. They have not become callous, jaded, mean, or traumatized, and in their daily lives, they seem to wonder at the world in ways adults who have seen much, much less awfulness are incapable of maintaining. 

Image source: TVアニメ『少女終末旅行』 on Twitter

Perhaps we see a moment of concern for the girls as children when their commander sent them away from a battle, instead of expecting them to stay and fight. They do not appear to be deserters or cowards—if they would even understand those concepts. It seems very clear they were given an order and obeyed it. In ordering them to leave, their commander no doubt saved their lives.

This is not to suggest their training wasn’t “complete.” Chi and Yuu are both very capable of showing decisiveness and ruthlessness when necessary, yet it is always tempered by a child’s approach. Chi is the more mature of the two. She seems more worldly and more attached to rules, regulations, traditions, and social graces. In the absence of society, she seems to be attempting to create one by keeping Yuu in line. She is a voracious reader and writer, and in a world where books are rare and precious, seems particularly in awe of reading and writing. Chi is clearly someone who has a natural and boundless curiosity and a love of learning, and we can see it sometimes at war with her more practical side. 

Yuu comes off as the more immature of the pair, impulsive and flippant. At times she is completely nonsensical or shows a child’s lack of understanding about propriety, place, and time. However, unlike Chi, who comes off as a potential “staff” type, Yuu was clearly trained as a front-line soldier of some kind. When it comes down to it, Yuu can instantly turn off her silliness and move into killer-mode. She is a sharpshooter, an expert marksman (marks person?), and seems able to assess threats and move with speed and surety to neutralize them. She has been able to become a potential killer without seemingly sacrificing her innocence. 

Although we have only a limited amount of experience with the girls’ lives, they too seem to have little experience outside of the war and its aftermath. They don’t know much about their own world, its history, or their own place in it. As they explore a once vibrant but now dead civilization, I look forward to seeing their reaction to what they discover. 

Girls’ Last Tour can be watched on Amazon’s Anime Strike!

Comments (2)
  1. Why assume that these two were in fact trained as soldiers? From their musings thus far, it seems that they have a very limited understanding of what “war” even is, and certainly don’t have any conception of an outside enemy that they could blame for their plight.

    From what we’ve seen, it seems more likely that the war was fought by the previous generation, and Chi and Yuu are children of the last survivors, possibly the last human generation left before the resources run out for good.

    Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet, it seems that the state of the world is something like this: a superadvanced civilisation either died to an unexpected disaster, or abandoned its works for reasons unknown. The new civilisation then built themselves on top of the ruins, but rather than being sustainable on their own, they were reliant on scavenging the remains of their predecessors for survival. When the scavenged materials began to run out, a war ensued and wiped out even the last remaining resources, leaving behind only few survivors with no means of rebuilding anything, any more.

    • Because we get a flashback of them being ordered away from a battle, because Yuu is an expert shooter (there’s an entire scene just based on how good she is), because Chi can drive a military vehicle, because they both have military uniforms that fit, because Chi is required to keep a duty log… There’s several reasons for my conjecture that Yuu and Chi are child soldiers and not just children of a ramshackle group of survivors…

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