Onward to the third volume of stories in Tsukumizu’s Girl’s Last Tour series.
Following instructions left by their friend Ishii, Yuuri and Chito find themselves forced to navigate a confusing, dangerous labyrinth of pipes.
Unnecessarily, as it turns out. There was a crucial step that Ishii left out because she thought the girls would stumble across it sooner than they actually did. It is another story for the “proper documentation matters” file.
Tragedy strikes when the girls discover that the potato factory for which they were searching has but a single potato left in it. But there are sacks of mysterious powders, sacks whose labels are familiar to literate Chito from the precious ration packets.
How many post-holocaust stories involve working out how to bake from half-memories and first principles?
Wandering through a network of mysterious slabs, each with small drawers containing apparently random items, the two girls slowly comprehend the structure’s purpose.
It’s a vast graveyard, one dwarfed by the vaster graveyard of a world that surrounds it. Pity that the people who ruined the world invested so much effort in a memorial to the dead and so little on leaving a functional world behind them. Once the girls starve, get washed away, or die of an infected cut, there won’t be any people left to marvel at the memorial.
What is this mysterious thing called “beer”? Whatever it is, food and drink are rare enough that the two girls won’t let any of it go to waste.
And then the girls get to explore the mystery known as “a hangover.”
The girls are forced to take an extremely dangerous detour.
On the one hand, I admire the way they are not deterred by hazardous, rickety, kitbashed ledge. On the other hand, this could very easily have been the final chapter in the book. The girls are remarkably laid back given that they lead lives of utmost precarity. A lesson for us all.
The girls encounter a still-functioning relic of the lost world: a wandering robot as tall as a building.
It turns out there are two functioning robots. The second one is the size of a large dog, intelligent, and able to speak. Although its programming will not let it leave the fish farm it is charged with maintaining (or let Yuuri eat the lone fish left in said fish farm), it is happy to converse with the girls.
Calamity looms when a wandering construction-bot decides to dismantle the fish farm. Lucky for the maintenance-bot, not only does it have two new friends, those friends have an ample supple of explosives.
And yet if I suggested that every outing would be improved by a supply of just-in-case explosives, you would just roll your eyes at me. Which I would not see, so I guess that would be OK.
One of the more disquieting moments I had while reading this was the realization that Yuuri’s memory issues are not just her way of dealing with change and precarity. She may be suffering the neurological effects of chronic malnutrition.…
There is a certain level of on-going anxiety in GLT, given that the girls are wandering a world in the last throes of collapse. At some point they will get crushed by debris, or catch a fever and die. That understood, the subtext is a bit more overt in this volume. The girls are aware their story will not end well, even if they don’t often discuss that. Possibly not recommended for people who don’t care for inherently melancholy stories. It is, at least, happier than Threads.