裏世界ピクニック (TL: Otherside Picnic)

Brief Synopsis

Tags: Adventure, Guns, Isekai / Other World, Paranormal / Supernatural Mystery, Psychological Horror, Uncanny Valley, Yuri (Subtext / Implicit)

Laconic Synopsis
Girl meets girl and they explore the isekai full of psychologically horrific entities. It’s okay, they have the power of yuri subtext and guns.


There will be unmarked spoilers in this thread. It’s a little bit of an analysis (more on the simple compare / contrast side, not a true in-depth research paper) and a some gushing.

It’s very rare that a manga or an anime moves me enough to inspire any sort of (long) writing, even within the yuri genre. Most of the time, I just think, “Oh, that was a neat / heartwarming / awesome series.” and leave it at that.

[Deep breath.]


If anyone has any plans to read or watch 裏世界ピクニック (Otherside Picnic), or if anyone prefers not to have a second opinion clouding their first impressions, I would suggest to proceed no further in this thread / article.

First impressions are important!

I’ve only read the manga, which covers events up 'til the light novel’s Volume 3, File: 11. Thus far, there are eight light novel volumes, and the series is ongoing.

There’s also an anime, which – as I understand it – includes some filler / additions as well as the main story.

As enamored as I am with this series, I am hella not watching it’s anime form. It’s psychological horror, and my sanity already fluctuates by the day. :laughing:


  • Adventure: Adventures take the form of escapades to the Otherside – both planned and spontaneous. Expect many psychological traps and close encounters. Between Sorawo’s pragmatism and Toriko’s survival know-how, they seem to fare decently well surviving in a nonsensical, sometimes hostile world.
  • Guns: The manga includes enough details about guns, shooting, and military vehicles that would convince an unfamiliar reader the author’s a bit of a gun / tactical enthusiast. Firearms are depicted and used, but are not a central story theme, however.
  • Isekai / Other World: The Otherside is mostly expansive terrain untouched by civilization, with landmarks pocketed around the landscape. Landmarks partially mirror their real world’s counterparts but usually in a dilapidated, post-apocalyptic form.
    • Similar Environments: Personal interpretation, but I got major The Backrooms and Touhou vibes.
  • Paranormal / Supernatural Mystery: Most named otherside entities or occurrences take inspiration from Japanese folklore or urban horrors, but often deviate on commonly-established details or depictions. Horrors can also be spontaneously crafted, or may not have an obvious link to existing stories.
    • Paranormal Science: Otherside entities, objects, and events are actively studied by a funded occult organization, but nothing definite has been established, and explanations and theories seem to boil down to (fallible) interpretations of past occurrences. Occassionally, sequential events occur independent of a common or logical cause. Refreshingly, the protagonists and the occult organization are sort of cooperating together, consensually and professionally, on otherside research (contrast with Steins;Gate).
  • Psychological Horror, Uncanny Valley: The in-universe explanation is that otherside entities and events alters a person’s perception and taps into their fear on a neural level. On paper, this is depicted as unrecognizable language, sensory anxiety, and figures with that unnerving “uncanny valley” feature – faces in particular can be exeedingly creepy. Note that while there is definitely a psychological horror element, there isn’t much gore or on-screen torture.
    • Dark Themes: Otherworld entities, events, and related stories can contain thematic descriptions or depictions of body horror, confinement, death, eye horror, insanity, murder, paranoia, possession, stalking, suicide, etc.
    • Jumpscares: Prior to any horrific otherside encounter, a character will usually have a face frozen in shock, or an unresponsive hesitance. This is the only warning / clue that the next page will be a full-page or half-page depiction of facial creepiness. I’m uncertain whether the anime contains jumpscares or not – again, I have not watched it and will not watch it.
  • Yuri (Subtext / Implicit): I’d place Sorawo and Toriko someplace beyond friends, with perhaps a foot into romantic interest territory. Lots of mutual compliments, flustered glances, and hand holding, but nothing concrete (yet). There is also at least one canon F/F relationship (Toriko’s parents), so I think the author’s at least comfortable with portraying or integrating yuri into the canon plotline.
    • Social Environment: It bears mentioning, since authors that dip into yuri or LGBTQIA+ vary wildly between Bury Your Gays to 404: Men Not Found. Almost all major characters are female, though men do exist as named supporting characters and unnamed / anonymous figures. Supernatural entities can also take feminine, masculine, or ambiguous forms. Thus far, all emotionally meaningful relationships seem to be exclusively between women.

Mentioned Horrors / Folklore

Most of these don’t have English Wikipedia entries, though they are mentioned elsewhere on blogs, forums, and videos.

I’m familiar with Hasshaku-sama and Kisaragi Station, but the rest are new to me.

Parallels with Touhou

東方Project (Touhou Project) is a massive franchise, but I’m only going to talk about (and I usually only care about) a small section of it: 秘封倶楽部, or the Secret Sealing Club.

Laconic Synopsis
Girl and girl both have mysterious (but different) abilities, and use those abilities to explore an isekai inhabited by dangerous entities.

Sorawo and Toriko from Otherside Picnic, and Renko and Maribel from Touhou’s Secret Sealing Club.

  • Basic Profile: The most superficial and unexciting comparison, but I’ll include it for context. Sorawo and Renko both have short / medium-length black hair and are Japanese. Toriko and Maribel both have blond hair – long for Toriko, but short / medium-length for Maribel – and are foreigners. Keep in mind that Sorawo and Toriko are set in contemporary Japan, while Renko and Maribel are in Japan in “the near future” (no specific year is stated).
  • University Students: All four characters are uni students, and similarly prioritize isekai excursions over their academic studies. For Sorawo and Toriko, it’s profitable as they have a buyer for otherside artifacts, but I don’t think Renko and Maribel don’t use their Gensokyo experiences for any monetary benefit until Dr. Latency’s Freak Report. If we want to get into the nitty-gritty: Sorawo’s in the General Studies track, I’m not sure whether Toriko’s major is mentioned (in the manga, at least), Renko’s a Super Unified Physics major, and Maribel’s a Relative Psychology major. Sorawo and Toriko don’t apply their university studies to their adventures, but Renko and Maribel often have discussions on various phenomena and draw on their academic interests for trivia and quips.
  • Afterparties and Beer: The one-on-one kind. Sorawo and Toriko seem to have developed a celebratory drink party habit, while Renko and Maribel have gone drinking together once in canon (Dateless Bar “Old Adam”), but quite frequently in fanworks. Might be because of the whole witnessing incomprehensible otherworldly experiences thing. Unless I’m reading too much into it, and it’s actually common university student behavior (dating?!) that I’m hilariously unacquainted with. Also notable is that, while Renko and Maribel are usually isolated and don’t meaningfully interact with other characters, Sorawo and Toriko bond with other friends and acquaintances as the series progresses.
  • Personalities: Hm. This is where everyone deviates from each other, I think. The only commonality is that all four characters eventually develop no hesitation exploring the other world (reminder: it’s dangerous), and that both pairings tap into the opposites attract trope a little bit. Sorawo’s pragmatic wariness of the Otherside and apathy for strangers runs counter to Toriko’s sometimes reckless initiative and compassion for others. In terms of Renko and Maribel, the former is often the decision maker and the more optimistic of the two, while the latter is often distracted by her dreams / other world visions and the more cynical of the two.
    • Mental Stability: A constant concern in Otherside Picnic, though Sorawo and Toriko often suppress it under their desire to engage with the Otherside. Short-term Otherside influences manifest as unintelligible speech (though Sorawo and Toriko can often understand each other just fine), irrational behavior, spacing out, lapses in concentration, or a dramatic change in personality (e.g. Karateka). More extreme or prolonged exposure to the Otherside has irreversible and transformative effects on both a person’s mind and body. For Touhou, Renko plays the observer role in analyzing and discussing Maribel’s psyche, which is hinted to be deteriorating (or recovering?) in Neo-Traditionalism of Japan. In Maribel’s case, mental instability is implied in her vivid dreams and her spacing out, with Renko extrapolating / interpreting that Maribel could potentially become more youkai than human. Touhou doesn’t seem to elaborate on Maribel’s mental state after that episode, but fanworks like to play it up for dramatic effect.
  • Mysterious Abilities: What’s an isekai without mysterious superpowers? Sorawo’s eye unveils the true (or perhaps alternate?) forms of otherside entities, while Toriko’s hand can interact with otherside phenomena. Renko can tell the time and location of any place based on the sight of the stars and the moon respectively, while Maribel can see boundaries to Gensokyo. Note that none of their mysterious abilities are inherently offensive, and are most often only used to interact with isekai oddities or to avoid paranormal obstacles.

Other World, Myths, and Folklore
The Otherside is the isekai world for Otherside Picnic, while Gensokyo is that for Touhou.

  • Physical Landscape: Depictions of both the Otherside and Gensokyo are of massive swaths of natural terrain, with the occassional landmark or otherwise important feature (e.g. transportive gateway, village, mansion, etc.). Notably, the Otherside has transportive gateways between it and the real world, but almost no sentient population and thus no civilization, while Gensokyo has feudal-style towns and villages but no permanent portals between it and the Outside World. Technology exists in both isekai worlds – brought in from the real world or paralleled from reality for the Otherside, and simply brought into existence or built by people for Gensokyo.
  • Myths and Folklore: Otherside Picnic and Touhou approach myths and folklore somewhat differently. In Otherside Picnic, most references derive from urban horrors or ghost stories, and almost all are designed or modified to elicit fear or madness (whether this is deliberate or not on the Otherside’s part is still up for debate, though). Gensokyo, though, is more a collection (or dumping ground) for myths, folklore, and other legends that the Outside World has simply forgotten (and maybe disbelieved into nonexistence, like magic); this includes locations, concepts, gods, people, physical objects, and stories – benevolent, malevolent, and neutral phenomena. For defenseless humans like Renko and Maribel, encounters with Gensokyo’s youkai can be life-threatening, but nonviolent inhabitants do exist.
  • Distinguishing the Isekai / Reality Boundary: Boundaries between reality and fantasy are constantly played with in both series (perhaps as a metaphor for a character’s sanity level?). In Otherside Picnic, the more excursions that Sorawo and Toriko go on, the more they encounter otherside influences spontaneously manifesting in the real world (though, it’s unclear whether this is due to their experiences / mentality, or the actions of another actor). Sorawo is able to distinctly perceive whether something is an otherside entity or has otherside influences thanks to her special eye. However, this skill isn’t infallible, and others often can’t distinguish between illusion and reality, which sometimes leads into a shared delusion experience. For Touhou, a discrete barrier separates Gensokyo from the Outside World, though rare, determined people with certain abilities (e.g. Maribel) are able to manipulate said barrier to enter, or bring back isekai artifacts to the real world.
    • Interacting with the Isekai: In Otherside Picnic, otherside experiences are entirely material and lucid. The Otherside has no barriers to entry, so humans can pass between the real world and other world freely. Catch is, gateways are indistinguishable from regular objects / places and are obtuse to activate, requiring a specific sequence of actions or Toriko’s hand. People can also completely unintentionally pass through an active gate, to the demise of many unfortunate victims. By contrast, in Touhou, humans from the Outside World often can only interact with Gensokyo via dreams. Gensokyo is separated from the Outside World with a constructed, regularly maintained barrier, though persistent people with abnormal abilities can sometimes slip through. In both Otherside Picnic and Touhou, people are able to carry isekai artifacts with mysterious, physics-defying properties back to reality.


  • Otherside Picnic and Touhou’s Secret Sealing Club have enough similarities that anyone engrossed with the latter (hello, that’s me) will probably take an instant liking to the former.
  • But Otherside Picnic deviates sufficiently from the Secret Sealing Club’s activities such that the protagonists and plot developments are refreshing and exciting to read through. Otherside Picnic emphasizes its psychological horror / mystery theme (with actions and guns peppered throughout), while Touhou remains philosophical and discussion-centered.

Recommended Audience

People with…

  • Interest in Japanese Ghost Stories, Mythology, and Urban Legends
  • Interest in Psychological Horror
  • Interest in The Backrooms
  • Interest in Touhou’s Secret Sealing Club
  • Interest in Yuri
    • I can reassure yuri-enjoyers that the author will not leave readers hanging on a “will they or won’t they.”

Horror Level Pointers (Manga-Only)
Take these with a grain of salt, since I haven’t consumed the series in its entirety yet, and the manga is still ongoing.

  • Definitely Facial Horror / Uncanny Valley
  • Definitely Morbid Themes
    • Themes: Body Horror, Confinement, Death, Eye Horror, Implied Violence, Murder, Paranoia, Possession, Stalking, Suicide
  • Some Eye Horror
  • Some Jumpscare Pages
  • No Excessive Bloodshed
  • No Excessive Gore
  • No On-Screen Torture

Unrecommended Audience

People with…

  • Extreme Aversion to Close-Up, Unnerving Faces
  • Extreme Paranoia
  • Extreme Sensitivity to Morbid Themes
  • Prone to Nightmares
  • Prone to / Afflicted by Scopophobia

Closing Comments
Anyone that’s watched or read Otherside Picnic, do feel free to comment! :grin:

I-It’s also okay if peeps watched / read it and didn’t find it impressive, I can take it. :smiling_face_with_tear:

I’m not watching the anime, you can’t make me watch the anime, I was already freaking terrified of static soundless manga images scaled down to a 480 × 800 px browser window, and now my overractive imagination is seeing unnerving human anatomy and faces, thanks brain, always glad to know you like tormenting my fragile psyche.

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