While I loved all the Antarctica girls, I could relate to Yuzuki Shiraishi the most.
In case I never made it clear, I'm not a high school girl and I was never a child celebrity. I'm just a guy in my twenties who studied English in college and enjoys watching anime in his free-time. So why did I relate so much to a character like Yuzuki Shiraishi?
Yuzuki first appears in the third episode of A Place Further than the Universe. While Shirase, Hinata, and Mari were struggling to find a way to get to Antarctica, Yuzuki was trying to get out of going on a trip to the South Pole. She comes off as awkward and easily annoyed by the smallest inconvenience. To those on the outside, she seems like a girl who has everything and could get anything.
The reality is that Yuzuki longs for friendship. She wants people who she laugh with while having fun, and to cry with when life gets difficult. Being a celebrity since she was a child made it difficult for her to find friends which is why she doesn't have any friends when she meets the trio of girls trying to go to Antarctica.
Seeing Yuzuki become the best of friends with the other girls was one of the best moments of the series, though the show has a lot of great moments. I enjoyed watching her make new friends and be able to laugh and have fun reminded me of how it felt when I found my own friends.
I didn't grow up a child actor, constantly having to move from place to place. I was home schooled growing up and while I did interact with others kids my own age, I never had close friends. Besides my siblings, there was never really anyone I grew a bond with through my childhood and high school. It wasn't until college that I actually made friends, some of who I still talk to even after graduation and who I'll probably still be seeing in the years to come.
I liked Yuzuki as a character because she reminded me of that joy. The joy of finding people who are completely different from yourself, but who love you and want to be by your side. That's why I found it so sad but so relatable when Yuzuki wondered when all the girls officially became friends. She was confused because she had no idea how to tell when people were friends and she thought there would be an official declaration or an agreement.
Like Yuzuki, I am never 100% sure how friendships are supposed to work. I don't know when to reach out to friends and sometime I think I'm a bother to them. Fortunately, I have friends that will reach out to me and invite me to join them on their adventures. Yuzuki and A Place Further than the Universe reminded me of the value of friendship in a way that felt very real to me and reflected my own experiences. Even though it sounds corny, whenever I hang out with my good friends, it feels like I'm going to a place further than the universe.