There’s a Clive Barker book that starts: The great grey beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive. I’ve always loved that as an opening line for a novel. The book is called The Thief of Always by the way. I think it’s very underrated. It’s quite different from what Barker usually writes so maybe that’s why it had trouble finding an audience but if you feel like reading a slightly modern fairy tale, you should give it a try. If nothing else, it has a great opening line. The chapter title is Harvey Half-Devoured which is equally great in my opinion.

That’s not what we’re here to talk about but whenever someone mentions February in an ominous context, I can’t help but remember that line. This is a curveball but any feelings about Clive Barker, K?

The Price was never quite right without him. That’s a joke of course. Clive Barker is a really talented writer as well as filmmaker. Interesting that Thief of Always came out the same year as Candyman. I need to watch a couple Barker films but I’ve always found his work to breed some immaculate imagery and designs. Very good at crafting his own lore behind the stories whether in a world building or allegorical sense. I’m sure we could talk about Clive Barker all day.

Don’t worry guys, you didn’t click the wrong post, we are here to talk about episode 5 of Otherside Picnic. Although if you would like us to turn this into random author discussions, I’m sure we can do that as well. 

The very first thing I thought of as I watched was…man I miss restaurants. I’m a huge introvert and they will have to physically drag me back to work kicking and screaming if we go back to the office someday. But one of the rare social activities I have always enjoyed is going to restaurants with friends. And sharing a few drinks while we’re at it. Looking at Toriko and Sorao doing just that had me a little jealous. 

It is the universal social activity ain’t it. Some people might not enjoy certain activities or leisures but everyone can go grab a bite to eat. Hey, if I’m ever in town in the distant future I’ll be sure to treat ya to something nice. Just don’t get your hopes up. I have no plans to be in your neck of the woods, and I doubt I’ll be as much fun as Toriko and Sorao appear to be.

Random fact, Canada does not have a marine corp so I’m not sure where Toriko got basic training. I’m thinking she’s a spy! Maybe an Otherside plant sent to invade Tokyo by befriending a local!

Ohh what a twist! I do like the way you think and it would definitely thicken the plot. Maybe it’s a bit of a goof on the shows part. I certainly wouldn’t mind the spy angle, it makes sense now that we’re getting a military presence that maybe Intelligence agencies would have a field day trying to figure out the inner workings of the Otherside. 

I’m jumping around a lot. OK so Toriko and Sorao are friends again and as an apology, Sorao is treating Toriko to a meal. A kindness she might regret as Toriko decides to take more than full advantage. After drinking and eating everything she could manage, Toriko mentions she can get home alright, after all, she did manage to complete basic marine training. Now you’re all caught up!

I gotta say, as I watched tipsy Toriko walking home surprisingly well on high heels and just being a general goofball, I realized that I must have done that to my poor friends so many times. I’m not proud of it. It sort of really hits you when you see someone else do it on a screen like that. And despite it all, I’m pretty sure I’m going to do the exact same thing as soon as restaurants open. I’m stuck in a loop here, K help me!

Haha, well I’m sure what company you were in found it rather amusing. I mean hey, rather do the tipsy tip-toe than drive drunk like a real idiot. At least you don’t have to worry about accidentally waltzing into the Otherside. I really enjoyed this sequence, it was a nice change of scenario and as we’ve seen the Otherside pull plenty of tricks you never quite knew if danger would arise or if the girls would find themself in an assortment of peculiar circumstances. 

The girls eventually stumble into the Otherside without noticing. We are assuming that Toriko being a dork with Hasshaku-sama’s hat is what opened a portal but we don’t really know. In any case, I gotta say that mutated mule/stockade monster was genuinely freaky. It’s an unusual design that creeped me out more than anything I have seen in recent anime. 

And honestly, the otherness of that creature, coupled with the empty field and the panic of the characters created some really great tension. Even though not that much happened in this part of the episode, it just sort of flew by and I would have been happy to have it go on for longer. Is that just me?

I mean it finally feels like we’re starting an arc instead of the typical episodic adventure this time around. It’s common in these kinds of stories but I like the underequipped, heightened danger adventure which is the case this time. No guns, and at night when the Otherside is even more dangerous than it typically is. This also paints a picture of Satsuki who’s either definitely dead or at the very least is probably a hardened Otherside veteran. Could you imagine surviving non-stop in this creepy landscape. I guess I also hadn’t questioned why Satsuki went alone? What could be out there that would force someone to go seeking it alone with all this danger running around?

Eventually, the girls meet up with “American” soldiers that also got accidentally transported to the Otherside and one thing becomes uncomfortably clear. There is no obvious way out for any of them at this time. The elevator is nowhere in sight and the soldiers seem to have been stranded for some time. The girls are oddly calm about this but then again, they are oddly calm about a lot of things.

Which is why I figure one is an Otherside plant and the other is being indoctrinated. But I’m just an optimist that way!

Why not, it’s certainly a possibility. Maybe they just think Sorawo can use her ocular powers to eventually discover a portal they can jump through. I’m not expecting it to be that deep, I expect it’s just the voyeurism of the fantasy. Who doesn’t think of hunting monsters with their friends would be fun. Sort of that we’re all waiting for the zombie apocalypse type of deal. It’s fun to run around like a video game and fight the cool different enemies and just ignore the trauma, anxiety, and death that would surround it.

This show is interesting in the fantasy department. It almost seems too perilous. Having to constantly be watching your step seems to take the fun out of running around and exploring. Similar shows like In/Spectre or Infinity Train or even I believe Natsume’s Book of Friends (oh sorry am I stealing your thunder?) show a wide diverse spectrum of spirits and specters. There haven’t been any allies or gentle spirits to flesh out the universe. In fact I would agree that they all seem malevolent and borderline omnipotent thus far.

I enjoyed Sorao’s weird facial expressions this week. On a couple of occasions, she looked just out of place. My headcanon is that she has a huge thing for guys in uniform and she’s just trying not to drool. Because there are a place and time for these things, you know?

You seem really happy in this life or death situation Sorao…

I must say, your head canon is sounding better and better than the actual episodes! Will Irina ever bless this world with her own original story as I’m sure me and many others wouldn’t mind seeing what you’d come up with. Maybe she also had a thing for American accents as they were clearly speaking with. 

I was going to try to find the mule monster in Japanese urban legends or maybe that weird horned giant (which also looked hella cool design wise) but at the last minute it was made obvious that our creepy pasta tie-in for the week is Kisaragi Station. I have also talked about this creepy pasta before, and I quite like it. You can read the origins here

I have to admit, right now, what I’m enjoying most about Otherside Picnic is discovering local Japanese legends. The pacing and development of the series are a bit off for me. How about you K?

I tried to figure out more about the antler man, but the Otherside wiki didn’t express much about him. The closest I could find was maybe the Yatsukamizuomitsuno who I couldn’t find much on but his most famous appearance is as the Forest Spirit in Princess Mononoke. Although his appearance does look more like the Germanic Waldgeist or the Russian Leshy. Could have just been an unspecific oni given the size and the horns.

I agree this show has all the ingredients to be something great, I believe that. Yet, it’s been a little disappointing to see it all come together. I was thinking maybe the direction is just off a bit, and was wondering what else Takuya Satou has directed and….Steins; Gate. Can’t chalk it down to inexperience or not being able to maximize concepts that the work offers.

Overall, it doesn’t feel right. The art is pretty but I wouldn’t exactly call it breathtaking or the animation exceptional. The characters are fun, but I don’t think I would place them as high favorites. The plot is interesting and it’s fun to explore all the fun monsters. Yet, I feel a lot of that comes from our discussions and willingness to explore what the series has to offer instead of what it is directly giving us. 

Again, we’re still not even half-way yet but it’s been a far cry from a perfect series but I can’t call it irredeemable either. It’s a show that I definitely am enjoying because I get to listen to your head cannons, and anecdotes. What can I say, but you’re the perfect partner in crime for this so I hope we can survive what the show has to offer and get through it together.

There is one thing I really agree with though. Everything’s better with a friend, including an Otherside Picnic. 😉

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8 thoughts

  1. I’ve seen Clive Barker’s films (I especially liked Nightbreed), but I’ve never really read much by him (I think a short story or two). I do like his writing style; those are pretty lines.

    As for the tipsy way home: I’m usually the sole sober person in a group, since I don’t drink at all. It’s easy to handle one person, but multiple? Let me just say, I’m far more likely to be in Sorao’s shoes in such a situation. And tipsy in the street is far, far better than full on drunk while walking up a hill…

    It’s interesting that they introduce the military now. Our two protagonists modus operandi doesn’t seem very… compatible. And I’m not sure how some of the more suspiscious minds among the soldiers will react to their hand-eye combo. I mean, they might have to tear open a gate with Toriko’s hand, and then what? Thanks and good-bye doesn’t seem the most plausible reaction in that case.

    1. Thanks and goodbye works for me. I’m not sure how they would mesh narratively either. Unless they just find an excuse to slaughter the soldiers.

      And you’re such a good friend! I have never been blind drunk but I have had friends that got there and it’s a huge pain to deal with

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