Title: Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou
English: Shoujo Apocalypse Adventure
Publishing Years: 2014-Ongoing
A pair of young girls explore the ruins of a city in a quest to find brighter futures. Note that I did not say “survive” or “escape” the setting they are in. Despite the title leading to thoughts of epic battle scenes with cute girls against hordes of zombies, the manga is actually lightly paced and garners no conflicts, aside from the two girls, Chito and Yuuri, having a squabble every now and then.
But it still is an adventure; they traverse a large abandoned city filled with strangely designed structures, stairs, paths, corridors, and platforms. Their travels are aided by a Kettenkrad, a small tractor-like vehicle that can take on rough terrain because of its continuous tracks. Their attire also compliments the vehicle (and the era it came from) with matching military uniforms, combat helmets, and a bolt action rifle.
The real mystery is the timeline they are in. There is no background as to how these two became the explorers they are, or what their goals are. Little clues are left in the city besides some working lights and infrastructure that is much like our own. Sometimes their dialogue includes such things as wondering what a “fish” is and pondering how “music” worked. So, their timeline is likely in the distant future where cultural heritage is long gone. Did a tragic war happen? Was there some catastrophic disaster? It’s fun to guess and hopefully it may get answered in later chapters.
The art style for this manga seems a bit rough, almost incomplete in nature. Sometimes objects and props are not fully drawn and look clunky. But it’s not abstract as there is a clear perspective and a well defined horizon line in most scenery panels. The look of scribbled shadows and sunburst swirls of light make the city glimmer in its vast emptiness. The art is beautiful in this respect.
As for the characters, their design is even less intuitive. Both Chito and Yuuri are proportionally drawn correct but their faces are quite amorphous. Their heads seem to be stuck in super deformation, reminiscent of a certain wideface. But for their nature, the look is fitting. Yuuri’s blank half-pupils show apathy and an aloof demeanor. She doesn’t take her part seriously and likes to joke in Chito’s disfavor. Set as the most easygoing one, Yuu cares less about the details and only gets rambunctious when she’s hungry. As for Chito, her “dots for eyes” are set in a slanted upper eyelid, usually showing a concerned expression, sometimes at an extreme angle to fully express her anxious feelings. Chi makes sure her surroundings are safe and usually thinks ahead in most situations. She remains calm and collected most of the time but can get irritated at times, especially if provoked by Yuu.
I recommend this manga for a good light read. Things don’t get too exciting yet there is a good sense of mystery leaving me guessing and wanting to read more. The art may look jagged but overall the design works well for the setting. The relationship dynamic between the two main characters is not something new, but works well as a base for beginning character development. The manga is still in its early stages, hopefully we’ll get to see more background with a dynamic plot in future chapters.
Check it out!