Hello, welcome to the movies! Hope you’re ready for some close encounters of the fourth kind. No that’s not an unwarranted Spielberg sequel, let me explain. Today I present you with Episode 2 of a series review of Otherside Picinic, a fun Yuri anime with a supernatural spin.

I spent so much time on my thumbnail but deep down we all know that this is the perfect click magnet

You might think your eyes deceive you or something otherworldly is at play as I introduce you my guest. Honor to have supernaturally talented anime blogger, Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime. Episode 1 was reviewed over on her site, so I highly encourage you check that out here, before going onto this one. That said, how are you Irina? Hope the start of the winter anime line-up has been treating you well?

Well the honor certainly is entirely mine. That is quite an introduction. I’m not sure I can live up to it in any way. The pressure…

I’m alright, all things considered. I’m saddened by world events and I do hope things will settle down soon but personally things are going pretty well. I also continue to be very excited by this new season of anime. Last week was a generally strong start and so far this week is continuing the trend. Ok, so we’re Tuesday morning and I’ve only seen Otherside Picnic and the New World Trigger yesterday but what can I say, I’m an optimist.

I forgot to add graciously modest to my description. Since Otherside Picnic is a show about unraveling mysteries of sorts before we jump into the episode, I just wanted to let you know about a secret easter egg on my blog. If you go on my homepage, there’s a nice header image, but little do people know that there’s a call-to-action button to “Follow The #1 Blogger”. I think most people assume it is to follow my site, but it’s actually a link. The button doesn’t lie so if you haven’t given it a try…maybe you should.

Awww that is so cute! Now I feel bad. I also have an easter egg on my front page. I’ve had it since I made the blog but very few people have found it. But it’s nothing as sweet and generous as yours. 

Unlocking New Abilities

Ohhh, subheadings. Crow and Google keep telling me to add those but I still haven’t gotten the hang of it….

(I mean you seem to be doing fine in traffic but it is a good SEO practice. When I choose to write for Movie Babble they have a Yoast plugin that gives you frowny faces when you do suboptimal things. It’s maybe something to check out as it’s great at conditioning good habits but sometimes you just want to write without having to worry about sentence length percentage)

The main focus of the episode seems to be these new abilities or side effects that occur after their encounter with the Wiggle Waggle. I think one of the more fascinating teases from the OP was these supposed powers the girls obtain. Toriko appears to have a phantom hand, while Sorao appears to have a Sans Undertale eye. Honestly, I was a little surprised that both of these things are being introduced this early.

I was a bit surprised by the very early shojo-ai scene. It occurs to me that Otherside Picnic is a single novel that was adapted into five volumes of manga. So that’s pretty much a guaranteed single season show. Which is not a bad thing at all. A lot of fantastic shows are 12 episodes, some are less.

It does mean however that in the next 10 episodes, they have to explain what the otherside is, develop at least the two main characters and evolve their relationship (and they seem to be introducing new characters) and bring some type of satisfactory closure to the disappearances. So it makes sense that they want to get a movie on.

Sidenote: I went to wikipedia to make sure there weren’t more novels and the demographic for the original is just :male. No age group, no nationality, just male… For some reason I found this funny. Also for the record, I am enjoying the show so far. I’m not sure why it’s only got a 63% on AniList.

That’s very interesting, I never would have guessed that about the demographic. I don’t why some people are quick to judge this series, I’m reserving judgement for now.

It makes sense that Sorao would obtain some ocular ability after the events of the first episode, I think it would have been interesting if Toriko got her ability from a different source. I like that it reiterates sort of the dynamic duo aspect of these characters that they’re certainly better together. My one worry is that their powers seem limited in potential, in that I don’t know if it limits every combat/confrontation to be concluded in a similar fashion. What did you think of this development?

It does fall a bit apart if you think about it too hard, at least with the information we have at the moment. Toriko was tearing at that alien skin coral with both hands. Why did just one get affected? Both girls looked at those monsters and Toriko was also closing one eye and aiming carefully, why didn’t she get corralled. Why didn’t the guy they met have any visible side effects, he was established as a seasoned veteran of the place. Why isn’t it a better known phenomenon since no one seems in the least bit surprised about the existence of Otherside.

We might get answers later on or maybe this will be the type of show that doesn’t bother with answering things like this. Either is fine by me. I took it as a little flavour. A drop of otherness to make our characters more special and an open door to introduce a ticking clock for some added conflict later on if needed. 

The Emergence of Allies?

This episode we meet our first supporting cast in Kozakura. It’s a quite simple but effective introduction. Kozakura sort of serves as the mission control character. Not really going out to the Otherside but a knowledgeable source of insight. I’m conflicted because I like her character design as she reminds me a lot of Nao Tomori from Charlotte. I think she comes across as a really dainty kind of a slouch that they successfully portray her character well visually.

At the same time, I feel like they aged up her appearance a bit so she appears to be less loli. Like there’s this light novel cover with Kozakura holding a gun, and it looks ridiculous. I think some of the humor is lost that this expert they go to looks like a fragile innocent child. Maybe you disagree?

That’s sort of a super common anime archetype. I guess I’ve seen it so often it didn’t even register. Just seemed like stock character design to me. And I liked it. I enjoy gray coloration. 

Then a lot of the big additions are people we have yet to meet. When we meet an older man, who suffered the tragedy of his wife turning into a highly acclaimed Ghibli film; he mistakes Sorao for Michiko. I don’t know to what depth, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Michiko could come back later or at least that parallel has something to it. 

Then of course we have Satsuki, Toriko’s old mentor/friend who has vanished in the Otherside. I think Satsuki is an interesting player in all this. A lot of development in Toriko’s motives, some world building of the dangers of the world, and a complication to the girls bond all due to the introduction of this character. What did you think of these missing people?

I think Michiko was a one off. I don’t think we’ll hear about her again. I think the introduction of the disappearances injects a moral urgency and an emotional center for searching the Otherside. They are no longer risking their lives merely for profit, that would be crass, they are looking for their lost friend and trying to put a stop to the disappearances of innocent people, like the noble heroines they are. I don’t mind this addition but I do think it’s a bit cliché.  I thought it was more fun when they were just daredevils in it for giggles and dollars. It added a bad*ss component and subverted the pure heroine trope nicely. 

As for Satsuki in particular. I figure that if they actually decide to develop this into a sapphic romance, then Toriko learning to accept Satsuki’s loss and love again will be the framing of it. Those are just my guesses though.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I agree with what you’re saying especially about the motivation being cliche. It’s interesting to me because it almost feels like a season 2 plot. Let’s recontextualize or retcon the girl’s adventures in a way that fleshes out backstory and raises the stakes. Still an interesting storyline and I’m curious to see where it goes. It just is a somewhat odd time to introduce it, but I understand that to be expected when you’re a 12-13 episode anime.

The Emergence of Aliens?

Mashiro Mitsumine | Wiki | Anime Amino

So, I guess this is my tangent conversation right on schedule. But since the show brings up close encounters of the third kind, I was wondering if you have any interesting Canadian or other UFO, extraterrestrial or alien tales that you know of? I know here in the States we have a lot of theories about Roswell, the alien autopsy hoax and Area 51. Even have one that hits close to home with the Phoenix Lights.

There probably are. I don’t really know them. They probably involve inviting some aliens over for dinner because it’s cold outside, having a lovely conversation but unfortunately no one understands the other’s language but it’s quite pleasant nonetheless and everyone goes home happy, with some left over tourtière for the aliens. 

Not very exciting, I know. But that’s how we roll…

In case it isn’t clear, I love my country.

That sounds amazing. If you ever get sick of blogging I’ll be the first in line to read your Sci-Fi novel, “Unidentified Flying Thanksgiving Turkey”.

Image

Then of course I had to research because just like the Ophelia image from last week this show has a specific reference. So when they discuss aliens, they show an image of what looks to be two men holding hands with a small alien creature. This is actually completely based on or is the photo of the silver man. The Silverman is this weird tiny, aluminum man and as the origin of this photo got obscured it became a widely believed alien evidence. Unfortunately, the origin is discovered to be The Cologne Neue Illustrierte a German Newspaper that featured it in their April 1st paper.

Though I still question how they pulled it off. It looks like some sort of puppet or sculpture, but it does look similar to another hoax known as the Martian Monkey. That hoax was committed by applying hair remover and green food dye to a deceased rhesus monkey to give it a jarring look. I love these little reference visuals the show drops in, I’m sure those interested in these topics are extremely excited to see them.

It’s one of the most famous alien artifacts out there. I’m pretty sure if you knew how they pulled it off, they would have to make sure you never talked.

A Ghoul and a Twist!

The monster of the week this time is Lady Hasshaku. Visually the offspring of The Ju-On Grudge girl and Slender Man, Hasshaku-sama is a scary image. At least scary is the picture I get, oddly enough she is often portrayed as a big titty waifu according to a quick Google image search. It seems that people really love their Lady Hasshaku, did you love this ghoul as much as her “devoted” fans?

I actually only recently learned of the legend of Hasshaku-sama. She was one of the entries in my latest Halloween scarier in Japan series: Even Urban Legends are Scarier in Japan 2!

Sorry about the self-plug there. I just got so excited that I knew exactly what they were referring to the instant the character appeared on screen. I do quite a bit of research on regional urban legends. I find it to be a great way to understand the culture a bit better. 

As for buxom women as monsters, it’s a staple in pretty much every culture at every epoch. It seems that humans in general are very scared that attractive women are going to eat them. 

I would never, fear something so absurd. But if I don’t return for episode 3 then go ahead and assume that Irina ate me. Then of course there was a really clever twist that I didn’t see coming! What did you think of the reveal that Sorao had to be snapped from the trance and not Toriko. Personally, I thought it was a skillful subversion that was a good reveal of Sorao’s true feelings and displaying limitations to her seeing eye.

I liked it as well. Sorao seems to be the more fragile of the two, although it’s not yet clear why exactly. I can understand that she would get swept along. And I really liked the entire scene.

Still I can’t help but think, why? As in why do these creatures need the trickery?. They didn’t in the last episode. Maybe these are different. They seem powerful so why go through the trouble. Also the gentleman whose name I forget got disappeared. I really loved the effect! Not eaten or taken, just disappeared when he got too close. This scene brought up so many questions. Which is what it was meant to do doubtless. I look forward to the answers.

There was one thing that disappointed me was after reading up on the Creepypasta. The Hasshaku does this really weird vocal tick or laugh, and it doesn’t make its way into the anime. I understand that “popopo” is a weird sound to add, but I think it would have been a really cool auditory thing to incorporate. I’m sure anyone who saw Hereditary will understand that if they made clicking noise really chilling so if they did something similar here it could have been nice. It was a really cool ghost to include I just wish they would have done a little bit more to make it feel more specifically the Hasshaku and not just a spooky tall ghost lady.

The Bus Ride Home

So, that was another exciting episode of Otherside Picnic. All things considered I thought it was a delightful episode that shows a lot of promise for the future while doing a lot of neat things. Is there anything that I didn’t choose to discuss that you would like to add? As typical with this series there’s a lot of stunning visuals so the floor is all yours if you’d like to share any particular screenshots or topics.

I’m really enjoying both the OP and ED music. I was rocking out to it. I love how light hearted it is.

With that said, it was a tremendous honor to host you Irina. One of the utterly amazing anime reviewers who is always my go to person for anime or drink recommendations. Be sure to follow Irina, to get more of our collaboration for the rest of the series. You won’t regret it! I will give Irina the final word. 

So far, Otherside Picnic seems to be racking up the questions. And it’s doing a great job at getting me curious about what’s going on. In my experience this can go one of two ways. Either it manages to get the pacing right and to create satisfying reveals or it just escalates the mysteries and doesn’t know how to wrap things up so you end up with a boring or nonsense explanation.

I hope it’s the former. In any case, for the moment I’m thrilled to discover this strange universe with Toriko, Sorai and mostly K!

3 thoughts on “Otherside Picnic Episode 2 – Close Encounters of the 4th Kind

  1. Looking at the TOCs for the four volumes of the LN in English, there’s a total of 15 chapters (‘files’), plus one more volume in Japanese (so maybe 19 published so far?). Episodes 1 and 2 each used a single ‘file’. Judging from the OP, they plan to use most of the first three volumes. Which means it’s unclear if they plan to throw away/combine some files, or stretch the last eight or so fit a second season.

    Liked by 2 people

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