So far I’m 3 episodes in.
Sounan desu ka? is a short anime with about 12 minutes per episode. I’m not really feeling super excited for this one.
I can see where the inspiration came from. Yuru Camp and Yama no Susume and “A Place Further than the Universe” are anime featuring cute high school girls choosing to do difficult things and the personal growth that comes from that. “Sounan desu ka?” involves cute girls doing sort of difficult things but it isn’t something they chose. They are the survivors of a plane crash in the ocean and are stuck on an uninhabited island and somehow must stay alive.
And like the two other anime, there is a didactic function here. One of the girls happens to be the child of a world explorer and survivalist and has absorbed his lessons perfectly. She explains to the other girls what needs to be done and ends up doing most of it herself.
Unlike the other anime I mentioned, this is a fan service fest.
Total spoilers for eps 1-3!
Homare Onishima is “survivor girl”. Daddy (Jōichi Onishima) has taken her across the globe and instructed her in all manner of survival skills from chasing away sharks to testing potential food for edibility. She is a complete kuudere, about as flat in aspect and emotion as she could be.
Mutsu Amatani is a very intelligent, redheaded Megane. She is naturally shy and realizes her school learning is not useful in this situation. However, she’s a quick learner. Personally, I find her the most interesting character.
Asuka Suzumori is a busty brunette athletic girl who plays basketball.
Shion Kujō is a wealthy girl who hasn’t contributed much so far except for a shower scene. She is the official blonde ditz.
The soup thickens because the plot is still thin.
We start out with them washed up on a tiny island with no resources. They must swim to a larger nearby island for its resources.
They have almost nothing with them but the clothes on their back. This is the exact plot to an episode of “Naked and Afraid” I saw once – except unfortunately the girls are not naked nor does each of them have a couple of tools and a map.
Now it gets gross. Shion is desperate for water. Homare is about to urinate in her mouth but “misses”. And this is a survival myth, one that Bear Grylls perpetuated on his idiotic show, “Man v. Wild“. He even said later he did it for the gross-out factor and ratings and not because it was a good idea.
It is true that fresh urine from a fully hydrated person could be used for hydration. But it is also a fact that these girls are quite dehydrated, including even Homare who at least got some liquid from squeezing the juices out of a fish. (That is a valid method of hydration.) Their urine is going to be dark, dank and full of salt and waste products. Might as well drink a cup of sea water for all the good it would do.
If you were in a very dry environment, that urine is better put to use wetting clothing to keep you cool. This isn’t a dry environment and saltwater will cool you down fine.
A shark shows up. The one possession Homare has is an older cell phone. She pulls the battery out and tosses it in front of the shark. Later she explains that sharks have the ability to sense electrical currents to locate their prey and the battery discharging in the water is enough to disrupt it.
I suggest you not depend on this in a real shark emergency. This article discusses electric shark repellants. They cost hundreds of dollars and have to be attached to your body to “usually” work.
Now they’ve made it to the bigger island. Mutsu is suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Homare introduces them to the “rule of threes”.
- You need air within 3 minutes or you die. (unmentioned in her list)
- Control your body temperature or die in 3 hours.
- Find water to drink or die in 3 days.
- Find food to eat or die in 3 weeks.
The “rules” are very crude approximations. Most people can live for months without food. Everything is linked to a 3 for memory’s sake.
She goes thru a list of ways to make drinkable water but they are reduced to looking for a spring or creek. Turns out she is a true survival expert with experiences around the globe.
There is no coastline in the world that doesn’t accumulate flotsam and jetsam. Even in the arctic litter washes up on the coast. Plastic bottles are common. They can be used as emergency water containers, funnels, even cooking pots. If you are careful about it you can suspend a water bottle over a fire to get the water inside hot enough to Pasteurize it.
You don’t need it to boil. Just 60 °C (140 °F) for 20 minutes or 71.5 °C (160.7 °F) for 15 seconds will deactivate any pathogens. But you have to drink it quickly because without refrigeration it will go bad, just like milk. You haven’t killed off everything, just weakened it to where it won’t hurt you.
One is not likely to have a cooking thermometer handy nor a stopwatch so it is best to bring it as close to a boil as you can without melting the bottle. A clear bottle can also be used to purify water using a combination of UV and solar heat just by leaving it in the hot sun all day. This is known as the SODIS method. It works faster if you have a shiny reflector under it.
Oh yeah. Homare gives Mutsu a locust to eat via mouth to mouth so she could share some saliva. Not useful IRL but a bit of fantasy food.
Even though Asuka is supposedly a great athlete, Homare easily outpaces her in anything they do.
Using an insect as an aid in locating water is a good idea. Many insects are drawn to water including bees, yellowjackets and wasps. Mosquitoes are a 100% certain indicator of standing water somewhere near. You can also follow game trails. They will tend to intersect at feeding areas, bedding areas, and water.
If you are in a dry creekbed with no sign of moisture look to where there is thick greenery. If there is water it will be there.
They are unable to find any surface water but Homare finds an empty creekbed with some mud in it. You can extract the water from wet mud by the same technique she used for the juice from the fish. Use a cloth to wring it out. But it is better to dig a hole down to where the water is somewhat liquid and let it trickle into the hole. Then you scoop it out
or improvise a straw. This isn’t an area where I’d expect water flowing underground to have any kind of contaminants.
Shion removes her panties and offers her urine to the dehydrated Mutsu. And then, fortunately for everyone concerned, it rains.
Homer wants to get a shelter up but the other girls are demanding food, so Homare provides.
By now it is pretty clear that Homare is in charge here. Nobody else has a clue about what to do and they’d all be dead in days without her. And yet she continues helping them selflessly.
I am reminded of a 1968 film I saw called The Admirable Crichton a remake of a better 1957 film, Paradise Lagoon. The original play is by a fellow by the name of J.M. Barrie, who also spun a little tale called “Peter Pan”. It is the story of an aristocratic family stranded on an island. The only one of the lot who had a clue how to survive was the butler, a Mr. Crichton. The point of the play was to stand the traditional class structure on its head by having the butler end up in command of them all.
A sea urchin, a wad of seaweed and a couple of cicadas aren’t a particularly filling meal for 4 girls. But it is a start. On “Naked and Afraid”, the particpants often go the entire 21 days with about that much.
There is a joke about her father making her eat raw Moose testicles. Well, that sounds just like an episode of “Man v. Wild”. Bear was in North Africa when he was fed raw goat testicles as a “delicacy”. He instantly vomited. (I read in another source the Berbers who fed him this were laughing their asses off afterward.)
Determining the edibility of a wild plant is not an easy process. A patch test is just one step in a process.
- Start with one part of the plant at a time. Sometimes one part will be edible and another poison.
- Smell the part carefully. Edible plants usually do not have an odor or smell good. Nothing foul is allowed.
- Cook it. Try boiling first. Some plants are poisonous until cooked. One example is the nut from the Holly Leafed Cherry
- “Patch test” it next on your lips. After 15 minutes and no burning, tingling or numbness then take a small bite and chew it. Don’t swallow. Bad taste? Spit it out. Rinse. Good taste? Swallow and wait 6 hours.
- Do not “pig out” on it until you’ve eaten small amounts for several days and no ill effects. Even then you might still get the runs. Prunes would pass all the tests and then you get hungry and eat a whole bunch.
You could still die. A poisonous mushroom could pass all the tests and kill you on the final step or the step before it. You’d die slowly as your liver slowly started to fail.
The shelter is finally done. It doesn’t look like much to me but I am sure it symbolizes more than it is. An all-weather good shelter for four would take them an entire day with doing nothing else and still be very cramped. You’d keep working at it for many days (weeks months) after that until you had a thatched hut.
Oh… how’d she cut those poles so neatly without a knife, saw, or hatchet?
That lean-to that might block the wind as long as it came from behind them but there is no way it would keep them warm at night or dry in the rain and only somewhat out of the sun during the day. You’d want to put a fire in front of it so it would reflect some of the heat back to you and even then you’d have to tend the fire all night or you’d get cold.
Some bedding would be really useful. If it got really cold at night the best thing to do is form a big dog pile to share body heat. That sounds… so … yummy!
They must like this pose…
Shion gets an improvised solar shower while Homare shows Mutsu how to collect shellfish. And yes, while you can start a fire with a clear water bottle on a bright cloudless day it is not as easy as it is shown. But it does happen sometimes accidentally. Someone tosses a full bottle onto ultradry grass on a hot day and leaves it there. They can cause a wildfire that way.
I don’t have a latitude or longitude or even an ocean but the weather seems tropical or semitropical. Without knowing the location it is impossible to predict what the climate is like. Hope they aren’t in an area with frequent hurricanes.
Some of the survival info is ok and some of it is nonsense and some of has inadequate detail to be useful. OTOH the info presented in Yuru Camp and Yama no Susume was always spot on. It doesn’t look like they have explored the interior to any great degree. Probably since the food supply and most of the excuses for fan service are at the beach. I think I read somewhere it was going to be only 6 episodes.
Character development is nonexistent. Homare has been declared the “Master of the Island”. Mutsu has shown some interest in learning from Homare but so far the other girls are just passive participants. I hope that changes. Most of the pleasure of Yuru Camp and Yama no Susume is watching the girl’s character arcs and their desire to tackle bigger challenges. And also a refreshing lack of fan service.
Here the challenges are thrust upon them and 3 episodes in I’m still not seeing a lot of development – except for their breasts. Those are very developed.
I’m still going to watch it though. It might improve. Episodes are short. Survival science is an interest of mine. Mutsu is really cute. Something about Homare’s kuudere personality makes me want to see her lose some of her perfect composure. There may be a bit of anger lurking under that flat facade.