The winter 2021 “monster anime season” is on-going, and with 15+ potentially excellent anime series for me to cover this season, I’m doing my best to get ahead of things as quickly as possible. One show that caught my eye immediately was Otherside Picnic (Japanese title Urasekai Picnic). It’s the yuri isekai anime that we all needed!
Why You Should Watch Otherside Picnic
In terms of the “mechanics” of isekai worlds, most stories fall into one of several categories, including
- Tensei or death and reincarnation in another world (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)
- Shoukan or being “summoned” to another world through magic (Zero no Tsukaima)
- Immersion through some mechanism inside a video game-esque world (Overlord, Sword Art Online)
- Doorways or portals that connect different worlds together (Gate, Outbreak Company, Stephen King’s novel 11.22.63)
Otherside Picnic uses the last system, a series of doorways that allow characters to move between our world and an ura sekai (literally “the world behind this one”), where they can have adventures, or go on a picnic if they desire.
A university student named Sowawo has discovered a special doorway that leads into a parallel world that seems like ours but is filled with decrepit and run-down buildings…and scary shadow-monsters called Wiggle-Waggles (in the novel, Kunekune) which drive you mad if you stare at them for too long. Sorawo nearly dies but is saved by a wandering girl named Toriko, and the two of them manage to fight off one of the creatures. They discover a strange cube that reflects everything except the two of them and hatch a plan to get more of the cubes, becoming “partners in crime” together.
The relationship between Toriko and Sorawo is part of the charm of the show. Whereas Hollywood has the classic “buddy cop” formula of a by-the-book policeman paired with a partner who can’t keep from breaking the rules on a daily basis, the anime version of this seems to be the “super shy Japanese introvert and her ultra-outgoing new friend who follows her own rules.” The vibe is very similar to Glipnir, an anime that featured the inward-looking boy Shuichi and super-outgoing Clair, a half-Japanese girl who took the lead in all things, despite being two years younger than Shuuichi.
When I start watching a new series, I like to avoid doing any research ahead of time so I can form my own first impressions. Among other things, I like to guess whether a work is based on a manga or light novel series, is it derived from a mobile game, or is it an original story? While Otherside Picnic is based on a Japanese light novel series by Iori Miyazawa and illustrated by artist Shirakaba, I was surprised to see the book is itself based on the Roadside Picnic sci-fi series of novels by Soviet-Russian writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, which was certainly unexpected. All the guns in the show are classic Soviet-era weapons, an interesting gesture to the original work. (The Otherside Picnic novels are published in English by J-Novel Club.)
Thanks for reading this overview of the Otherside Picnic yuri anime. Will you be watching the show? Tell us below or on Twitter!
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