Are You Lost? Series Review: Endurance or Survival?

Original Run: July 2, 2019 - September 17, 2019
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Based on the Series Created By: Kentarou Okamoto and Riri Sagara

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Are You Lost?. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

While on their school trip, Homare Onishima, Mutsu Amatani, Asuka Suzumori, and Shion Kujou (voiced by Mao Ichimichi, Kiyono Yasuno, Hiyori Kouno, and Azumi Waki) find themselves in an unthinkable situation. Following an accident, the four high schoolers become stranded on a deserted island.

Although Mutsu, Asuka, and Shion are desperately scared and have no idea what to do, the same cannot be said for Homare. Ever since she was a child, Homare was trained by her father to survive in the most hostile environments. To her, this is just like any run of the mill weekend.

The three other girls will need to rely on Homare’s expertise to get them through this ordeal. However, that will also mean having to do what is necessary to live, and sometimes necessary isn’t always pretty.

Series Positives

Are You Lost? was one of those series that got better as it went on. Although it didn’t start from the dead bottom, it wasn’t much at the beginning either. Rather quickly, though, the show grew to become something unignorably interesting.

First and foremost, Are You Lost? was a comedy. It was silly, there were plentiful amounts of slapstick, and everything was more or less lighthearted. That said, this series never treated its core dilemma as a joke. The four main characters were stranded on an island. Not an ocean oasis, not a meager but still habitable plot of land, not a future beach resort with unbelievable natural resources. No, Homare, Mutsu, Asuka, and Shion were stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing except their wits and determination.

Naturally, for the sake of comedy, some conveniences were available to the girls. For example, they did manage to find a hot spring, their island had a reliable source of freshwater, and there were plentiful amounts of wild game. Plus, it certainly didn’t hurt having Homare’s thorough training on hand. Are You Lost? wasn’t the most accurate depiction of the hardships of survival (assuming you were, for some reason, thinking it was going to be), but it also didn’t make the experience look like a vacation.

There were moments in this show that were a stark reality check. For instance, the main four’s island had roots, nuts, and shellfish to provide basic nutrition, which is better than nothing. However, for the long haul, that wasn’t enough. The girls needed protein; they needed to reclaim the energy they had lost. They needed something bigger, and their island had rabbits on it.

Homare being the exception, Mutsu, Asuka, and Shion had no idea how to hunt, and they, at first, didn’t fully appreciate all the steps involved with it. The thought of a full, delicious meal rabbit meat could provide enticing, and setting the traps that would fill their stomachs was exciting. Then to their delight, they caught one. Unfortunately, they suddenly realized they had caught one, and there was still one more step, and Homare wasn’t around to take care of it.

Are You Lost? was very good at differentiating between enduring and surviving. Homare, Mutsu, Asuka, and Shion had to do the latter to have any hope of coming out alive, and that often required doing what was necessary.

And sometimes, what’s necessary isn’t very funny.

For this series, it needed a character like Homare. It needed someone who was, in theory, capable of taking care of the entire group. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say there aren’t many teenagers who are survival experts, but if this show didn’t have one, it would have fallen flat on its face.

Assume for a moment that all four of the girls had no idea what they were doing. Additionally, assume Are You Lost? retained its humor if that were indeed the case. Thus, we have four city girls suddenly thrown into the wilderness, and their story was filled with silliness. As a contrast, this series would have needed to make living on a deserted island look like the easiest, most relaxing thing anyone could do. The show would have lost its entire uniqueness, and we would have been left with nothing more than an excuse to have four good looking girls lounging on the beach for twelve episodes.

Homare’s survival knowledge and near-superhuman level-headedness allowed Are You Lost? to be as fun as it was and still retain the direness of its situation.

And where Homare was needed to keep this series balanced, Mutsu was required to keep it from being annoying.

In the beginning – and really throughout the show – Mutsu was hesitant to do what had to be done to survive the island. She wasn’t thrilled about eating bugs, skinning kills, and rolling around in the mud. But, she was no more hesitant than the average person who has lived their whole lives in the comforts of modern society. The thing about Mutsu was, although she wasn’t keen on doing all that, she did them regardless because she had to.

Unlike her fellow average teenagers, Asuka and Shion, Mutsu recognized the reality they were in and adapted accordingly.

So, quite unexpectedly I must add, Are You Lost? managed to be a lot better than I had initially thought it would be. In fact, I’m surprised this show was only thirteen-minutes an episode. I believe there was plenty of material that could have filled a full-length series.

Series Negatives

Given how the last section ended, you might already have a pretty good idea of where this one is going.

I mean, sure, Are You Lost? had a bunch of fanservice that was out of place, unneeded, and forced, but at least it never felt like it was the sole point of the show. Like jump scares in a campy slasher movie, you expect it to happen since it comes with the territory.

No, Are You Lost?’s most significant problem was Asuka and Shion. If you want to see two of the laziest, most self-centered, and most sheltered characters of 2019, look no further than this pair.

In comparison, Mutsu did her fair share of complaining. However, she had the determination to step out of her comfort zone before things went south. Asuka and Shion, on the other hand, were more worried about dying of discomfort than they were of starvation.

On multiple occasions – as in, more than one – both Asuka and Shion would throw a tantrum to get out of doing the work that was crucial to keeping the entire group alive. They would complain, drag their feet, and rely on Homare to bail them out. Then they would have the nerve to question why Homare would choose Mutsu to join her on a scouting mission instead of one of them.

As the series went on, Asuka and Shion started to realize how childish they were behaving, and slowly they got better at pulling their weight. But even near the end of the show, there were times when these two would revert to their hissy-fit ways.

On the plus side, Asuka and Shion turned Homare and Mutsu into much stronger characters, and the two slackers would often reap what they sowed. Regardless, that didn’t change how dangerously helpless Asuka and Shion were.

If someone can be picky with their food while trying to survive, then they are asking to fail, and they don’t seem to care that they might be bringing their friends down with them.

Final Thoughts

I could go for a season two. I am curious to see what comes of the girls.

This show could have not tried. It would have been so easy for this series to give us the bare minimum and call it a day. Granted, this story probably won’t blow you away, but there was enough to it for it to be well worth your time.

Are You Lost? has earned a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Are You Lost?? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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I’m LofZOdyssey, and I will see you next time.

About The Author

LofZOdyssey

LofZOdyssey has been an anime reviewer since 2015, an anime fan for much, much longer, and is currently based in Osaka, Japan. As a rule, there is no anime he is unwilling to review, and any series he starts, he must finish. Leave all the feedback -- positive and negative -- in the comments. Also, be sure to follow LofZOdyssey on Twitter @thelofzodyssey for more anime related content.