Oh wow, I finished it today. It was beautiful and the ending wasn’t open ended as I expected before, at least it seemed like that for me. I cried a whole lot, but the more I thought about it, the more peaceful and happy I became. It was really a good ending for them, I think. The death of their vehicle was really sad too, Chii and Yuu became so alive for me, I started loving them a lot closer to the end.
The only thing I didn’t really get is probably from earlier volume, is when that recording from camera was playing and showing two similar looking girls. Omg thise scribbles. Also was it explained how they got there in the first place? And why the world is like that, where are they, why is it layered like that? I like lore okay
Ohhh, finally someone I can talk about the ending with.
Like… what? After all that, everything was just futile - I mean, there’s wabisabi and all, but then there’s this. They almost would have been better off staying in their home village with all those soldiers. The big message of this is pretty much literally “the real journey was the friendship we made along the way”.
I’ve just got one crackpot theory, though: they were, like, uploaded into that cube, right? Like in The Silence in the Library, the Doctor Who episode? Those lines that appear on the cube in the final panel are similar to the lines we’ve seen around other computers throughout the series, most notably the elevator AI at the end of volume 5.
I think it’s somewhat implied that the girls - or more speficially, the girls’ self-replicating robot - brought about the end of the world. Or at least, the uninhabitable mega-city. The anime’s version of the chapter shows a lot more videos from the camera, which go into a fair bit more detail regarding the history and backstory, but still don’t explicitly explain where the city came from.
I am a sucker for bad endings, and in many ways I loooove this ending. I feel there’s a intrinsic brilliance to its ruthless realism.
There’s a lot left unexplained, but I feel this goes very well with the overall theme of the manga; a lot of my enjoyment came from being just as clueless and surprised as the girls about the mysteries of the dying world.
With some help from the anime, I added all the scribbles to a post in the volume 4, in case you are curious.
As @Belthazar mentioned, the anime has a few more scenes that explain a few more details, though nothing too drastic.
Considering ヌコ and his kin tell them at some point there’s no one left alive in the lower layers, it is hard to know what would have happened to them had they stayed at home. Of course, from a practical point of view, they’d have just died sooner, but I believe there was value to their trip beyond just strengthening their friendship. I believe that through their journey both of them found some meaning to having been alive, and in the last chapter they openly say they enjoyed being alive.
XD That’s a fun theory. It was indeed intriguing to watch the panel with the cube and its abstract circles and squares in it, and I still wonder if the author wanted to say something more with that.
I was half-hoping that ヌコ would appear to consume their corpses in the last scene… though of course that doesn’t make any sense since ヌコ and his kin didn’t go to the upper layer nor did they consume any organic matter.
Yeah, that’s my hunch too… that somehow the robot brought the manufacturing chain to a halt causing a huge famine that led to war.