Girls’ Last Tour, Volume 2 is the second collection of Tsukumizu’s Girls’ Last Tour manga.
Just because the world has ended doesn’t mean the struggle to stay alive one more day is over. Just ask Yuuri and Chito. Driving through a vast, unnamed city after some event removed or killed most of the population, they live hand-to-mouth, salvaging supplies in an empty world.
Chito is the dark haired smart one. Yuuri is blonde and rarely burdened by excessive introspection.
Armed with a digital camera given to them by their friend Kanazawa (episode in volume one) the two girls record the enigmatic ruins around them. The images stored on the camera may prove to be the only lasting record of this era, not that there seems to be much chance that anyone will ever look at them.
I’ve not read volume one, but if Kanazawa bothered to explain how the camera worked in volume one, there is precious little evidence of that in this story. This seems to be a quiet apocalypse story like YKK; interesting that a digital camera plays a role in both stories.
The girls explore a vast temple to forgotten gods and speculate about the purpose of the building and the nature of religion that built it.
If all life is doomed, why bother with finding ways to hope. Why bother having friends?
The girls get a taste of the comfortable life they might have had, had the world not fallen apart. It is a pleasant interlude but survival needs intrude. Goodbye brief respite.
Chito has a bizarre dream.
The sleep of reason produces monsters. Never sleep. After the first few weeks, you will hardly miss it.
Waiting out a downpour in a leaky shelter, the girls find a way to transform the leaks into an impromptu musical instrument.
Creating music seems to be a basic human characteristic.
When their Kettenkrad breaks down, Chito discovers that while she can use the vehicle, she cannot fix it. Fate spares them; they will not become obligate pedestrians. They encounter Ishii, who is willing to fix the Kettenkrad … for a price.
This is as a good a time as any to talk about that Kettenkrad, a WWII-era German light military tractor, of which around 9000 were built between 1943 and 1948 (or 1949). It’s not clear if this Kettenkrad is an original or a replica. It’s not clear where the girls get their fuel, although whatever reduced the human population to a tiny remnant seems to have been much harder on humans than their machines.
Ishii is a dreamer and what she dreams of is flight. It’s not just for the sake of flying. The city is slowly dying and any who do not find their way out before it grinds to a halt will die with it. It is fortunate that Ishii happens to live in a vast, abandoned airplane factory. With the girls’ help, Ishii believes she has a chance of making it to a distant city, there to try her luck.
Ishii’s one-person plane seems to be a scaled up version of a model plane.
Ishii’s belief that the other city may still be functional seems to be as silly as hiding under one tree during a rain with the intention of fleeing to a nearby one once the first tree is saturated. It is likely that both cities are doomed. But perhaps she can enjoy a little hope on her way to disappointment.
Assuming that this manga is set on Earth, that other city cannot be all that far off. If we assume that Ishii was a kilometre up in the air when she spotted the other city, the second city could be as close as 100 kilometres. That does not seem so far … depending on what’s roaming the countryside.
Ishii’s plane’s maiden flight is a mixed success. Yuuri and Chito are now free to continue their travels, secure in the knowledge that they must escape the city or die with it.
This volume is a cornucopia of unanswered questions.
If there are any hints as when Girls’ Last Tour is set, I have missed them. On the one hand, it must have taken a very long time to build a city as large as the one we are shown. On the other hand, a lot of the technology the girls use is little more advanced than ours. The Kettenkrad is obsolete by 21st century standards.
Similarly, it’s not clear where the people went; there do not seem to be windrows of corpses lying about. Of course, this world’s answer to roombas may have cleaned them all up.
Readers looking for the Japanese answer to Mad Max should look elsewhere. This is much closer in tone to YKK. A world has ended, humanity is probably doomed, but the handful of people left still have to get on with their lives. The girls will not survive, but they can still experience moments of happiness.
I am again reminded of the Isa haiku:
This dewdrop world
Is a dewdrop world
And yet, and yet …