Girls go to the Otherside, but never have any picnics.
Otherside Picnic started off pretty strong. You have two lead characters with good chemistry, and an interesting supernatural setting. Sure, it’s pretty stereotypical to have an introverted character meet her exact opposite who draws her out her shell and takes her on adventures, but Sorawo and Toriko had enough going on between them to make them feel unique. The dialogue and interactions between them were easily the best part of the series.
But about a third of the way in, it started to feel very samey. They arrive in the Otherside, there’s a creature from an urban-legend-of-the-week, Sorawo uses her eye to see its weak spot and they shoot it. Most episodes barely deviated from this formula, which would be okay if the rest of the time was used to develop the characters or progress the plot, but there was little of that either. Sorawo undergoes a gradual evolution, but as the main character of a 12 episode series I can’t say she changed very significantly, certainly not past the beginning.
The Otherside also starts losing some of its luster. The initial episodes did a good job at making the place seem alien and hostile, but after a while it really does start feeling like a picnic. In the second episode, Sorawo almost falls prey to a monster that deceives her senses and uses her feelings against her. This was good. In the last episode, they encounter a snake demon and use the same method that worked every other time and kill it in under five minutes. This was not good. The tension in the show was long gone by that point, and the mild attempts at horror didn’t do much to help that.
The ‘main’ plotline didn’t go anywhere either. Toriko is searching for her friend Satsuki, who taught her everything about the Otherside until she suddenly went missing. Along the way there are several clues that there’s something sinister about her, which makes you feel like it’s building up to something. But the anime just ends. All of those elements were just brought up and ignored. It’s not unexpected for an incomplete adaptation, but without any sort of climax the show just left me feeling unsatisfied.
At no point was Otherside Picnic ever bad, or even boring, but it just wasn’t very engaging either. Something to watch and immediately forget about.