A Place Further Than the Universe continues strong into its third episode. We are formally introduced to the fourth girl of the group, Yuzuki Shiraishi, who briefly made an appearance at the end of the prior episode. She overheard our crew trying to weasel their way into the Antarctic expedition and approaches them at Shirase’s home with a proposition. She is a child actress and has been hired to film a series on the expedition, but she really doesn’t want to go, so she offers the opportunity to our trio.
The high spirits don’t last long, however, as the crushing state of reality appears in the form of Yuzuki’s mother/manager, who refuses to let her daughter/client make such a quick decision. Seeing their opportunity slip by, the trio again scheme up ways to get on her good side and hope they can tag along. We get an endearing second act, in which Yuzuki opens up to the girls, confiding that her acting career has made it difficult to form lasting friendships. She is surprised to learn that the rest of the group has not been friends for long, that the only reason they met in the first place is the Antarctic expedition. As the scene ends, our group’s goal not fully resolved, Mari hugs Yuzuki, wanting to earnestly include her in their friendship and not only has a means to the series’ end.
The third act ties the friendship theme together. Taken aback by Mari’s act of kindness, contrasted with being kicked out of a LINE group chat by her other, superficial school “friends,” Yuzuki decides to go on the expedition, on the condition that the other girls can tag along. The episode ends with our group exploring a polar museum, bonding over the swiftly-approaching trip.
Overall, episode 3 is a great continuation of A Place Further Than the Universe. I was a little worried that the protagonists were already a little filled out, but Yuzuki has proven a fine addition to the group. There is a fair amount of comedy in this episode, especially in the first act, which continues to endear the audience to each of the characters and their quirks—Shirase is still incredibly anxious, Mari still finds the best way to break into people’s hearts, and Miyake is still the practical, if goofy, voice of reason the group needs to get their goals accomplished. A Place Further Than the Universe has shown itself to be both a fun school-age romp and a character-driven coming-of-age narrative that has me eagerly expecting every episode.
A Place Further Than the Universe is streaming every Tuesday on Crunchyroll.