Visual loneliness in Sora yori mo tooi basho episodes 3 & 4

The way characters populate a frame can say a great deal about mood, the relationships of the characters, and rising tensions. I wrote quite a bit about the frequent usage of negative space in episode one and how it emphasized Mari’s fear of the future and her lofty dreams. Episode two also uses negative space to show Hinata’s loneliness and longing while she works another shift at the convenience store and watches Shirase and Mari chat.

Loneliness and isolation comes up quite a bit for our main characters. Shirase is motherless and teased at school. Mari feels like she hasn’t accomplished as much as her peers. Hinata doesn’t go to school and thus has a more difficult time forging relationships with girls her age, and, somewhat similarly, our newest girl Yuzuki hasn’t been able to make a single friend thanks to her overbearing mom-ager.

Yuzuki spends episode three agonizing over a group chat she’s in with some girls she met from school. Here, we see her alone in a hotel room – the bare walls and lack of decorations emphasize that she has never truly had time to settle in and be herself. Moving around from place to place means sitting in lots of empty rooms like this. All Yuzuki has is the dull light of her phone that never even blinks to show her a notification.

She falls asleep in her sad little room and dreams of friendship, only to wake up and find that the girls she tried to force a relationship with have left her group chat. It’s such a simple thing – seeing the notification bubbles that they’ve left – but thanks to all the other insert shots of her phone throughout the episode and the scene shown above of her laying alone in the hotel, the impact is strong. It’s a truly heart-wrenching scene.

Luckily, Yuzuki doesn’t have to be lonely for long.

Now that they’ve all found each other, there’s no longer a need for all those shots of the girls standing alone. Instead, we have more and more shots of the girls being physically close to one another. Rather obviously, this shows that they’ve grown closer to one another emotionally.

There are still wide shots that highlight scenery and show just how huge their dreams are. But now, the girls take up a larger part of the frame because, well, of course they do – there are more of them. They’re not alone in their goals anymore. They’ve come together and became such fast strong friends thanks to Antarctica.

Of course, those four aren’t the only characters in the show…here, we see negative space representing loneliness and longing for Megumi, who’s understandably feeling a bit left out now that Mari has suddenly decided she wants to go to Antarctica with three girls she just met. I’m looking forward to seeing her story in the upcoming episode (and seeing more of these shots!).

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And of course, to close, here’s our No Game No Life cameo. I only saw it slipped into episode 3 and didn’t catch one in episode 4. Is the trend over, or did I just miss it?

See you next week (or maybe in two weeks..whenever I have the time, heh) to talk more about this beautifully directed series and all the different ways the girls fit into the scenery!

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15 thoughts on “Visual loneliness in Sora yori mo tooi basho episodes 3 & 4

    1. Thank you! I actually went to school for radio/tv/film, so I try to apply some of the stuff I learned to anime. It’s more fun applying it to anime than it was applying it to Citizen Kane or Birth of a Nation one million times for class haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. That’s awesome, too. There were cinema courses and film production classes for part of my degree audit back when I was in school. It’s amazing when people with that kind of background can apply it to anime or cinematic reviews. I like it when people know their stuff. I totally agree with you about applying that knowledge to anime compared to those movies. Citizen Kane has it’s place in cinema history, but I found it to be overrated. Don’t even get me started on Birth of a Nation. It’s just sad how an movie like that was the first feature-length film ever and that’s not even getting into the other unfortunate implications of that film.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. oh yeah, Birth of a Nation is a mess. Citizen Kane is way more tolerable for a million reasons. I get that Birth of a Nation still has to be talked about but……….yeeeeeesh. It was the first movie shown in the White House, too, which is! Yikes!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you! Citizen Kane is far from my favorite film, but I’d watch that all day and everyday compared to Birth of a Nation. It is certainly a sad statement about American cinema and I don’t want to talk about it anymore since racism really ticks me off.

            Anyways…yeah! Haha! I certainly like International movies more although I do like some American independent stuff, too. I did enjoy my World Cinema class where we saw stuff from Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman and other creators like that. I also wished that there would’ve been an anime class or at the very least an international animation class where we could learn about some lesser known works.

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            1. Oh yeah, I really enjoyed the Kurosawa films we watched! I should seek out some more on my own time someday.
              I always wish we watched more animated stuff, too. Weirdly enough, I took a Writing Children’s Stories class as an elective & we ended up having a little lesson about anime film background art, so that was a fun surprise.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Nice! Which Kurosawa films did you see? I actually reviewed Yojimbo and Sanjuro on Iridium Eye.

                I hear ya. It’s tough finding good movies outside of Hollywood’s machinated clutches. There’s a ton of good stuff out there, but it rarely ever gets promoted. That’s great how you actually did something anime related for a class even though it was for background art. That must have been really fun.


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