Otherside Picnic (Japanese: 裏世界ピクニック, Hepburn: Ura Sekai Pikunikku) is a Japanese yuri science fiction novel series written by Iori Miyazawa and illustrated by shirakaba. Inspired by the novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Hayakawa Publishing have released five volumes of the series since February 2017. A manga adaptation with art by Eita Mizuno has been serialized since February 2018 via Square Enix's shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan, and has been collected in five tankōbon volumes. The novels are licensed in North America by J-Novel Club, and the manga is licensed by Square Enix. An anime television series adaptation by Liden Films and Felix Film premiered in January 2021.
First light novel volume cover
(Ura Sekai Pikunikku)
|Genre||Adventure, science fiction, yuri|
|Written by||Iori Miyazawa|
|Published by||Hayakawa Publishing|
|Imprint||Hayakawa Bunko JA|
|Original run||February 23, 2017 – present|
|Written by||Iori Miyazawa|
|Illustrated by||Eita Mizuno|
|Published by||Square Enix|
|Magazine||Monthly Shōnen Gangan|
|Original run||February 10, 2018 – present|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Takuya Satō|
|Produced by||Satoshi Fukao|
|Written by||Takuya Satō|
|Music by||Takeshi Watanabe|
|Original network||AT-X, Tokyo MX, SUN, BS11|
|Original run||January 4, 2021 – present|
College student Sorawo Kamikoshi explores "doors" which randomly lead into the Otherside—parallel worlds in which internet creepypasta and urban legends are brought to life. Sorawo nearly dies in one of these worlds while encountering a creepypasta monster, but is rescued by Toriko Nishina, another young woman who is skilled with guns and is looking for a lost friend. Sorawo and Toriko, with the help of another woman named Kozakura, return to the Otherside to bring back artifacts and defeat the monsters, but the two are increasingly affected by the conditions of the worlds, meet other humans who are trapped in them, and find themselves increasingly affected by each other.
- Sorawo Kamikoshi (紙越 空魚, Kamikoshi Sorawo)
- Voiced by: Yumiri Hanamori
- A sophomore at a university in Saitama Prefecture. She loves and has a wealth of knowledge about urban legends and real-life ghost stories. She enjoys exploring abandoned buildings, and discovered the existence of the Otherside through a door she found while doing so. She doesn't have many friends, but Toriko, who she met in the Otherside, invites her to go there to explore, research, and earn money. Her mother instantly died in an accident, and her grandmother and father became devoted to a cult afterwards, causing her to repeatedly run away from home and explore abandoned houses to escape her disintegrating family, which was persuading her to join the cult, but after her grandmother and father died, she is now attending college on a scholarship.
- Toriko Nishina (仁科 鳥子, Nishina Toriko)
- Voiced by: Ai Kayano
- A woman who searches the Otherside for her missing friend Satsuki. She appears to be a college student. Both of her parents passed away, but she was a soldier in Joint Task Force 2, a special operations force of the Canadian army, and is familiar with firearms. She has long blond hair and is, in the opinion of Sorawo, "extremely beautiful." Her character in the story is very positive, but she has a tendency to isolate herself from others, and has no friends other than Sorawo and Satsuki, who was Toriko's tutor.
- Kozakura (小桜)
- Voiced by: Rina Hidaka
- A researcher of the Otherside who has a residence near Shakujii Park. A friend of Satsuki's from her college days, she was concerned about Satsuki's investigation of the Otherside because it was dangerous and had warned her many times. When Satsuki ignores her warnings and continues with her research, she goes missing, which makes her angry and frustrated with Satsuki. When Sorawo first meets Kozakura, she looks so young that she gives off the impression of being in grade school, but she appears to be older than Sorawo and Toriko, and is shown drinking and driving a car. As a hobby, she has created an avatar named "Yozakura" (夜桜) on the Internet and has been streaming videos. The image of Yozakura is based on that of her friend Satsuki. In the past, she created another avatar based on her own image, but destroyed it due to the increase in the number of fans who disagreed with her intentions. For Sorawo and Toriko, she is a client of the goods they obtained during their exploration of the Otherside, and is in the position of a consultant. The artifacts that Sorawo and Toriko have acquired in the Otherside are purchased by Kozakura, while the funds to purchase them are provided by the DS Research Encouragement Association, a research organization that Satsuki and Kozakura joined to conduct research on the Otherside.
- Satsuki Uruma (閏間 冴月, Uruma Satsuki)
- Kozakura's peer who was exploring the Otherside. She disappears three months before the start of the story. She is a tall woman with long black hair and thick-rimmed glasses. She invited her friend Kozakura to be her partner in order to expand her investigation of the Otherside, but Kozakura was afraid of the Otherside and refused, so she went to search for a promising replacement partner. Toriko Nishina was one of them.
- Akari Seto (瀬戸 茜理, Seto Akari)
- Voiced by: Miyu Tomita
- A freshman student studying at the same university as Sorawo. She is a karate practitioner and won the prefectural tournament in high school. She is from Saitama, but lives alone in an apartment because her parents moved away for work reasons. Her personality is bright and curious.
- Yōichirō Migiwa (汀 曜一郎, Migiwa Yōichirō)
- A man who serves as the Director General of DS. Although he is not a researcher himself, he once went to Central America during his adolescence because of his devotion to Carlos Castaneda, and he has a tattoo of Maya scripts on his arm. He is skilled in the use of firearms, traps, and torture, and has a personal connection to a private military company, making him a man of many mysteries.
- Natsumi Ichikawa (市川 夏妃, Ichikawa Natsumi)
- Voiced by: Miyuri ShimabukuroEp. 9 credits
- Akari's childhood friend and confidant. After graduating from high school, she did not go on to higher education, but instead works at her family's garage.
Otherside Picnic is written by Iori Miyazawa and illustrated by shirakaba. Hayakawa Publishing have published five volumes since February 2017, while J-Novel Club have released four volumes in North America.
|No.||Title||Original release date||English release date|
|1||Their Strange Exploration Files|
Futari no Kaii Tanken Fairu (ふたりの怪異探検ファイル)
|February 23, 2017 |
|September 23, 2019|
|2||Resort Night at the Beach of the End|
Hate no Hamabe no Rizōto Naito (果ての浜辺のリゾートナイト)
|October 19, 2017 |
|January 11, 2020|
|November 20, 2018 |
|April 12, 2020|
|4||Overnight on the Otherside|
Urasekai Yakō (裏世界夜行)
|December 19, 2019 |
|December 27, 2020|
Hasshaku-sama Ribaibaru (八尺様リバイバル)
|December 17, 2020 |
T wa tera umare no T (Ｔは寺生まれのＴ)
|March 17, 2021 |
A manga adaptation by Eita Mizuno was announced in November 2017. The manga began serialization since February 2018 via Square Enix's shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan, and has been collected in four tankōbon volumes. In July 2020, Square Enix announced that they would publish the manga in North America.
|No.||Original release date||Original ISBN||English release date||English ISBN|
|1||August 22, 2018||978-4-7575-5805-2||August 31, 2021||978-1-64-609106-5|
|2||January 9, 2019||978-4-7575-5973-8||—||—|
|3||August 9, 2019||978-4-7575-6235-6||—||—|
|4||March 12, 2020||978-4-7575-7000-9||—||—|
|5||December 11, 2020||978-4-7575-6548-7||—||—|
|6||March 12, 2021||978-4757571501||—||—|
The 12-episode anime television series produced by Liden Films and Felix Film was announced on March 5, 2020. It is directed and written by Takuya Satō. Ayumi Nishihata is designing the characters, and Takeshi Watanabe is composing the series' music. The series premiered on January 4, 2021 on AT-X, Tokyo MX, SUN, and BS11. The opening theme song is "Ugly Creature" (醜い生き物, "Minikui Ikimono") performed by CHiCO with HoneyWorks, while the ending theme song is "You & Me" performed by Miki Satō (佐藤ミキ, Satō Miki).
Funimation has licensed the series and is streaming it on its website in North America and the British Isles, in Europe (minus Germany) through Wakanim, and in Australia and New Zealand through AnimeLab. In Germany, the series is licensed by KSM Anime. Medialink has licensed the series in Southeast Asia and South Asia, and is streaming it on their Ani-One YouTube channel and Bilibili in Southeast Asia.
|No.||Title [a]||Directed by ||Written by ||Original air date |
Transcription: "Kunekune Hantingu" (Japanese: くねくねハンティング)
|Tomoe Makino||Takuya Satō||January 4, 2021|
|College student Sorawo Kamikoshi is trapped in a bog pool in another world, afraid she'll die alone, when another woman named Toriko Nishina stumbles across her and pulls her out. The two then encounter a monster called a "Wiggle-Waggle" that will supposedly turn them insane if they look at it for too long. Toriko throws some rock salt at the monster and it turns into a strange cube with reflective surfaces. The next day, in the real world, Toriko tracks down Sorawo and asks her to help hunt more Wiggle-Waggles to sell them to a specialized researcher. After encountering another Wiggle-Waggle, the rock salt does not work, and neither does the pistol that Toriko carries with her. After staring at the Wiggle-Waggle for several seconds, Sorawo perceives the real form of the monster long enough for Toriko's pistol to shoot it.|
|2||"Surviving Lady Hasshaku"|
Transcription: "Hasshaku-sama Sabaibaru" (Japanese: 八尺様サバイバル)
|Kōji Aritomi||Takuya Satō||January 11, 2021|
|After the events of their last trip to the "Otherside", Sorawo's right eye now turns blue and Toriko's left hand turns translucent at random. The two head off to sell their mysterious cube to a girl named Kozakura, who specializes in Otherside phenomena and pays handsomely for the cube, but has no solution for their recent body modifications. Toriko tells Sorawo that she's raising money to fund her Otherside expeditions to find her friend Satsuki, who disappeared in the recent past. Back in the Otherside, the two encounter a man who has been looking for his missing wife, and claims that the Otherside has been sending agents into their own reality for some nefarious purpose. The man wanders into a building with Toriko and Sorawo notices a woman who looks like "Hasshaku-sama," but the man thinks she is his missing wife and disappears after touching her. Sorawo suddenly awakens to realize the Hasshaku-sama has been using her feelings for Toriko against her. Sorawo and Toriko then team up to banish Hasshaku-sama and escape the Otherside.|
Transcription: "Kyotō no Mura" (Japanese: 巨頭の村)
|Yūta Takamura||Iori Miyazawa||January 18, 2021|
|Sorawo tries to sort through her feelings about Toriko when the two of them return to the Otherside to visit a shack that Satsuki might have used in the past. As they travel through the Otherside, they remember the man's warnings about "glitches" and toss rocks along the path to ensure they do not die from a wrong step. Eventually, the two come across a desolate village, though Sorawo notices an offering of rice left in the recent past in one of the houses. Suddenly, Sorawo and Toriko are on the run from "Big Heads," insect-like monsters with big heads who chase them in large numbers. Sorawo spots a shrine that provides an emergency exit back to the real world and escapes with Toriko.|
|4||"Space, Time, and a Middle-Aged Man"|
Transcription: "Jikan, Kūkan, Ossan" (Japanese: 時間、空間、おっさん)
|Michita Shiraishi||Yoriko Tomita||January 25, 2021|
|Sorawo receives a warning from the "Space-Time Man", an Otherside being taking the form of a middle-aged man, not to investigate the Otherside any further or she'll be trapped there forever. Later at a cafe, Sorawo asks Toriko if Satsuki is even still alive after three months in the Otherside. Toriko abruptly leaves to go to the Otherside herself. The next day, Sorawo visits Kazakura to tell her about recent events, when Kozakura notices a picture of Satsuki on her phone. Suddenly, some strange people start banging on Kozakura's door. Kozakura unlocks a shotgun to face them, and Sorawo discovers that the door has become another portal to the Otherside, taking Kozakura with her by accident. Sorawo ignores a repeated warning from the Space-Time Man and navigates through some strange plant-like monsters to find Toriko in a copy of her apartment. Toriko believes she has finally found Satsuki, but Sorawo sees another monster and keeps firing Kozakura's shotgun at it until it disappears.|
Transcription: "Sutēshon Feburarī" (Japanese: ステーション・フェブラリー)
|Takanori Yano||Toshizō Nemoto||February 1, 2021|
|Sorawo and Toriko hold an "apology dinner" for Kozakura at a restaurant in Ikebukuro, though Kozakura leaves immediately after running up a large tab. Toriko reveals she kept Hasshaku-sama's hat from their previous adventure, and tries it on in front of Sorawo. As Sorawo tries to split the check, the waiter speaks in cryptic nonsense. Soon after that, Sorawo and Toriko find themselves slipped back into the Otherside, and are soon chased by a giant metal monster carrying wrapped human bodies. As Sorawo and Toriko stumble across some train tracks, they are saved by Lieutenant Drake leading some United States Marines from the Pale Horse Battalion, stationed in Okinawa until they somehow shifted into the Otherside a month ago during an exercise. The metal monster chasing them was formerly a robotic pack mule that got caught in a "bear trap" and abandoned, but somehow grew sentient and started killing some of the Marines. Drake escorts the girls back to their outpost near Station February, a small train station that somehow has electric power.|
|6||"The Meat Train"|
Transcription: "Mīto Torein" (Japanese: ミート・トレイン)
|Takeshi Tomita||Toshizō Nemoto||February 8, 2021|
|Sorawo and Toriko meet with Major Ray Barker, the acting commander of the outpost. After being trapped near the train station for over a month, several men in the Pale Horse Company were decimated. The unit offers the two girls an empty tent. Drake warns the girls not to use their phones, but Sorawo decides to call Kozakura anyway. However, halfway through the call, Kozakura starts yelling nonsense in a different voice. Suddenly, the outpost is attacked by an entire pack of "face dogs," a long body of blue ghostly faces that seems to ignore the Marines' gunfire and mortar shells. Toriko picks up an unused Mk 14 EBR and Sorawo manages to shoot the monster in its weak point with her help, but Sorawo loses her color contact during the battle and accidentally reveals her blue eye. Toriko and Sorawo run to the station and manage to jump on "The Meat Train" before the Marines catch them. Though the two girls are scared by what they find on board, they manage to return to their normal world. Meanwhile, Kozakura doesn't understand why Sorawo started talking nonsense halfway through their call.|
|7||"Resort Night at the World's Edge"|
Transcription: "Hate no Hamabe no Rizōto Naito" (Japanese: 果ての浜辺のリゾートナイト)
|Kana Kawana||Yasunori Ide||February 15, 2021|
|After a night of drunken revelry, Sorawo and Toriko find themselves at a beach resort in Okinawa. Even though Toriko wants to continue their impromptu vacation, Sorawo insists they take a cab back home. However, the two girls fall asleep after seeing a strange hermit crab, and wake up at a beach on the Otherside with the cab in ruins. The two decide to make the best of their situation and enjoy the beach on the Otherside with their swimsuits, their guns, and what few supplies they brought with them. Soon after, they hear a man cry for help as he is being beaten up by bullies, who then attack the girls, but Sorawo puts them down with her gun, revealing that they are really monsters from the Otherside. As night falls on the beach, the girls find themselves nearly overwhelmed by monsters until Sorawo remembers packing Hasshaku-sama's hat. Sorawo guides Toriko and uses the hat to send them back to their world on a beach in Okinawa.|
|8||"Attack of the Ninja Cats"|
Transcription: "Neko no Ninja ni Osowareru" (Japanese: 猫の忍者に襲われる)
|Tomoe Makino||Takayo Ikami||February 22, 2021|
|In the university cafeteria, Sorawo is approached by a freshman student named Akari Seto, who claims she is being stalked and attacked by "ninja cats." Sorawo and Toriko have trouble believing her at first, but after chatting with each other and Kozakura, Sorawo tells Toriko she is really afraid of having to shoot cats on the Otherside. The two girls decide to meet Akari in a cafe, and suddenly find themselves in a dimension between the real world and the Otherside where the entire town has been transformed into a cat town. Akari uses her karate skills to defend Sorawo and Toriko tries to shoot the cats, but none of the girls are able to hit them. Sorawo sees a mysterious object in Akari's chest with her blue eye, and gets Toriko to pull it out, revealing a good luck charm Akari forgot she had. After throwing it away, the ninja cats lose interest in them, and a bunch of white cats smother them. After the girls wake up in the real world, Akari remembers the charm was a gift from her former tutor, Uruma-sensei, less than a year ago. Toriko recognizes Uruma as the surname of Satsuki.|
|9||"Mrs. Sannuki and Karateka"|
Transcription: "Sannuki-san to Karateka-san" (Japanese: サンヌキさんとカラテカさん)
|Michita Shiraishi||Takayo Ikami||March 1, 2021|
|10||"How to Go to Yakiniku by Elevator"|
Transcription: "Erebētā de Yakiniku ni Iku Hōhō" (Japanese: エレベーターで焼肉に行く方法)
|Kōji Aritomi||Iori Miyazawa||March 8, 2021|
Constance Sarantos of CBR says that the series breaks the mold of the yuri genre, avoiding common stereotypes of the genre and creating a unique narrative, defying, in their view, "expectations for a yuri anime" as it delves into the horror genre and has a "Relationship built on crime and survival" rather than a slice of life about "interpersonal romantic drama." Sarantos also said that the series shows how well the sci-fi and yuri genres can mix, combining themes of fear and romance, something which isn't often used in yuri anime, with the protagonists having to "work together to defeat frightening foes." Even so, Sarantos stated that while the anime doesn't "deconstruct the yuri genre" it shares storyboarding which "emphasizes intimate moments and loneliness" with Bloom Into You, Just Call it Love, Fragtime, Liz and the Blue Bird, and Adachi and Shimamura, among others, utilizing the "emotional scenery one would expect from a yuri series." In that respect, Sarantos said that it is similar to Kemono Friends and Girls' Last Tour, adding that there is an expectation it will "nail the aesthetic of yuri" even though it is an "unconventional yuri narrative." Reviewers for Anime News Network shared the sentiment of Sarantos.
Caitlin Moore called the series "one of a kind" and a welcome addition to a series of yuri anime about "teenagers falling blushingly in love for the first time," with neither of the protagonists, Sorawo or Toriko, not based on stereotypes. Even so, Moore said that the chemistry between them "could have come through stronger," called the visuals a "mixed bag" and said that there has been "a real lack of queer genre fiction in anime" recently, meaning she is "all the more excited to explore it." James Beckett, on the other hand, said that he was only lukeworm to the anime and said that while he is "not asking the show to answer all of my questions upfront," he would like "a little more context" and that he hopes that it "manages to live up to its potential." Similarly, Nicholas Dupree said that he feels the show lost him the premiere, even while he called the two protagonists a "charming central couple," and can't "click with the episode as a whole" while Theron Martin was more positive, saying that the series could be "worth watching" just for the interactions between the two protagonists. Just as positive was Rebecca Silverman, saying that the series was fascinating and creepy, saying it will likely be a faithful adaptation of the yuri manga it is based on, while saying there are "a few little missteps" and would like to know more "about the whole urban legend/internet myths piece" too. Additionally, Hannah Alton of CBR argued that the series stands apart from the "usual fare" of the isekai genre because it is a yuri series, with the protagonists not trapped in the other world, but can easily move from the real world to the fictional world known as the Otherside, with the danger within the Otherside, which is "populated by monsters from Japanese urban legends" which can be killed unless someone looks directly at them.
Alton further says the two protagonists standout in the genre, with Sorawo as a college student who "keeps to herself" and Toriko who is experienced at using a gun, something which violates existing Japanese law, which tightly controls firearms. Alton concludes by saying that while the anime falls into the isekai genre, it is different "from the usual high fantasy adventures in empowerment." Others have praised the anime, along with Moyasimon and Genshiken, saying that this prove that college anime can "offer a different take on "coming of age" storylines than the standard high school tropes" while focusing on "serious adult issues" like interpersonal conflict, struggles over identity, and mental health. Additionally, Christopher Farris reviewed the anime's fourth episode for Anime News Network, noting that the vibes and ideas of the episode fit the series, while pointing to inconsistencies with the storytelling, and stating that within the theme of fear, everything else "works wonderfully," praising the sound design and how it taps into people's fears. Jordan Ramée of Gamespot praised the anime for starring adults, unlike most anime, calling it a "a refreshingly wonderful series" which has a "pretty cute and wholesome romance."
Erica Friedman had a mixed view of Otherside Picnic, which she reviewed on her blog, Okazu. She praised the novel series as "an overt mix of Japanese netlore, science fiction, action and horror tropes and a big scoop of Yuri", but she was a "little disappointed" in the anime, specifically criticizing the animation style, disliking what she described as "comedy-action" in the series, and the pacing. Even so, she called the anime "very enjoyable" and praised the voice acting as "superb." Ultimately, she called the animation "unsatisfying," said the story was not "compelling," criticized what she saw as "pointless service" in the series, and said that the anime "feels like a children's version of the novels," giving the anime an overall rating of 7 out of 10.
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- "裏世界ピクニック──ふたりの怪異探検ファイル" [Otherside Picnic: Their Strange Exploration Files] (in Japanese). Hayakawa Publishing. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- "Otherside Picnic: Volume 1". Kobo Inc. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
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- "裏世界ピクニック ３──ヤマノケハイ" [Otherside Picnic: Mountain Presence] (in Japanese). Hayakawa Publishing. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
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- "裏世界ピクニック ４──裏世界夜行" [Otherside Picnic: Otherside Night Trip] (in Japanese). Hayakawa Publishing. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
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- "裏世界ピクニック ５──八尺様リバイバル" [Otherside Picnic: Hachishaku-sama Revival] (in Japanese). Hayakawa Publishing. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
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- Pineda, Rafael Antonio (November 11, 2017). "Spiral Manga Artist Eita Mizuno Launches Otherside Picnic Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- Pineda, Rafael Antonio (January 13, 2018). "Spiral Artist's Otherside Picnic Manga Launches on February 10". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
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- "Otherside Picnic, Volume 1". Square Enix. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
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- "裏世界ピクニック 3" [Otherside Picnic 3] (in Japanese). Square Enix. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
- "裏世界ピクニック 4" [Otherside Picnic 4] (in Japanese). Square Enix. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
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- "裏世界ピクニック(6) (ガンガンコミックス)" [Otherside Picnic 6 (Gangan Comics)] (in Japanese). Square Enix. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
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