Otherside Picnic is a twelve episode anime adaptation of the yuri science fiction novel series written by Iori Miyazawa.
It was directed and written by Takuya Sato, though notably Iori Miyazawa also wrote for two anime original episodes. It was produced by Liden Films and Felix Film.
It aired during the winter 2021 season of anime, and is available to watch on Funimation.Otherside Picnic‘s story begins with one of its lead characters, Sorawo Kamikoshi, almost dying in a parallel world known as the Otherside. She is rescued by Toriko Nishina, who is braving the Otherside in an attempt to find a lost friend.
Sorawo and Toriko explore the Otherside together, encountering all sorts of strange phenomena, based upon urban legends and internet ghost stories.
Something to bear in mind: I have read the first omnibus of Otherside Picnic, which has affected my opinion of the anime. Unfortunately, it looks to be another case of something that I may have enjoyed more if I had not read the novel first.
Not to say I got no enjoyment out of it; the anime is definitely watchable.The way in which the various phenomena that Sorawo and Toriko encounter are depicted is definitely a point in favour of the anime. Though there is something to be said for what one’s imagination can conjure up from text on a page. Still, the anime does a decent job of doing just that.
Shame the show doesn’t always look particularly good, though. It becomes pretty apparent from the first episode that Otherside Picnic may have benefitted from a bigger budget. It’s not a deal-breaker or anything, but the switch to the CG is quite jarring when it happens early on.
There’s also at least one chase scene that looks more like something out of Scooby-Doo, kind of killing any tension.
The show may not be the prettiest anime out there, but the problems are scattered here and there rather than a constant throughout.
The dynamic between Sorawo and Toriko is fantastic. A lot of the praise I have for Otherside Picnic admittedly comes directly from the novels, but hey, if the anime depicts it well enough, I’ll recognise it.
The pair have great chemistry together, and I’d say it is the Iori Miyazawa written anime original episodes where that actually shines through best. The banter between the pair is great, and they steadily grow closer as the series goes on.
Whilst the anime original episodes are great, some of the episodes that adapt actual chapters are a bit lacking. A chapter that would’ve benefitted from being adapted into two episodes is squeezed into one. However, the biggest point of contention of the adaptation has to be the order in which the chapters are adapted.
It actually throws up a couple of inconsistencies with the chapters being shifted around. Sorawo acquiring a certain gun before she supposed to can be easily forgiven, but then you have a plot relevant item being destroyed, and then suddenly showing up again later like nothing happened.
Going back to the good stuff, Kozakura is a fantastic character. She plays so well off of both Sorawo and Toriko. It’s always a joy when she’s on screen, with plenty of great expressions and amazing comebacks.
Feels pretty safe to say that the characters are one of the best things about Otherside Picnic, and the anime adaptation at least gets them right.
It’s a shame that the anime chose not to adapt the final chapter of the second novel (well, I suppose we did get a tiny bit of it), particularly as it has a strong connection to the person that Toriko is searching for.
The anime is decent enough, but it does not quite manage to convey the same tone as the novels. There’s something more comedic about this adaptation, which doesn’t always work in the show’s favour.
Whilst I may have had my problems with the odd thing here and there in this anime, I will hold my hands up and say that I did get some enjoyment out of it. Not as much as I got from the novels, but that’s just me.
Sorawo and Toriko’s adventures into the Otherside prove to be decently entertaining. Not a perfect adaptation by any means, but it does just about enough to keep you engaged.