Antarctica 10-12

Last time, I said Antarctic Girls was obviously going downhill, and with good reason! The episodes of the trip to Antarctica (Ep 6-9) were a lot weaker than the first third of the series introducing the girls (Ep 1-5). The conflicts either felt petty and small or were getting resolved too quickly.

In contrast, episodes 10 and 11 were the best we’ve seen so far.

Yuzuki’s episode 10 was a great portrayal of a girl who’s never been able to make friends. I loved seeing her insecurities about their friendship, to the point where she draws up a physical “friendship” contract. And building on this, Hina’s episode 11 reaffirmed the four girls’ friendship in the best way possible. And the way it broke all the tropes I was expecting…

At the beginning of episode 11, I saw Hinata come on screen and couldn’t help blurting out, “it’s about time.” Her character was by far the shallowest, acting as nothing but your average genki girl. Along with this expected energetic personality came an expectation that she would confront and defeat her past demons.

BUT SHE DIDN’T HAVE TO. Instead of the expected scene of Hinata yelling at her old clubmates, Sora Yori chose to focus entirely on the four girls’ friendship. Shirase’s speech was kinda long and really preachy, but when it ended and cut out Hina’s clubmates entirely, I cracked the biggest grin. I had thought that seeing the old clubmates’ dumbfounded looks would be so vindicating, but by removing that expected scene, Sora Yori made the moment so much more meaningful.

Episode 12 was a bit different. Instead of an in-your-face conflict like the rest of the series, this time it was all about Shirase’s apathy and hesitation. Most of the episode was slow, yet very emotional… yet when the moment actually came at the end, it went way too fast. Maybe it’s a reflection of Shirase’s frantic feelings, but the last three minutes felt like it should have been fifteen. Before I could properly understand and relate to Shirase, it was all over. Come on.

Anyway, it’s been a great joy to see the tangible progression of the four girls’ developing friendship. This central point has sometimes been obscured by an over-emphasis on one girl at a time, but episodes 10 and 11 properly wrapped them all in there. The last two episodes may suffer from this same problem, but it’s too late. It’s a 10/10.


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