Never Ending, in its winter guise, is perhaps one of the most surprising regions I’ve visited in a while. The work of しゅにん (Syunin Arida), いお (iorri), and TefTef Violet, it not only carries a seasonal theme right now, it does so in a quite remarkable manner, one which may at first deceive the casual eye.
On arriving, you standing close to a little village deep in snow and surrounded by snow-covered hills of almost cartoonish undulations. Bare trees are strung with lights, while bears are sprawled on and against logs and tree stumps in one corner of the village, looking well and truly worn-out by all the exertions of Christmas shopping – or perhaps by trying to catch the raccoon who is keeping an eye on them from the upstairs window of the tower behind them…
Theses are not the only furry inhabitants of the village. Just over the garden fence, Grandpa Raccoon stands on his porch, puffing his pipe, while across the snow-blanketed village green a young raccoon reads outside the local bookshop, Mama bear sitting close at hand, baby bear in her lap. Meanwhile, and next door to the bookshop, Mrs. Raccoon is arriving home with the groceries…
If all this sounds a little twee, don’t be fooled. The little village, with its Christmas tree bearing fairy lights and candles and presents spread under its boughs, is both charming and avoids a feeling of looking just a little too sweet. It offers a lot to see, with seats and cuddle spots inviting visitors to stay a while; but it’s not all there is to see or explore, so don’t be fooled into just taking a cursory look around and skipping elsewhere.
Just outside the village sits a Flea Circus, and wander a little further or cam around and you’ll note there are other places to explore: a frozen lake, a couple of hidden valleys and little nooks shielded from the rest of the region by the steep hills. There even a wooden lodge sitting atop a steep hill awaiting your visit. But unless you’re ready to do some serious climbing (or cheat and fly), how are all of them reached?
The answer lies in a series of teleports which have been scattered around the region awaiting discovery. Some take the form of double doors, other are anywhere doors and still others are photos mounted on display boards. Herein lies another surprise: not all the destinations on offer are at ground level; several are hidden up in the sky, and are themselves a delight to discover and explore. What’s more, quite where you’ll be taken next isn’t always clear when first exploring, which further add to the mystery and charm of the region.
Never Ending is a true delight, with surprises at every turn;, and a visit I’d suggest you not pass on the opportunity to make. Do be prepared to click on things as well; there are several quite charming poses to be found (look for the umbrellas in particular), and a couple of gift boxes on offer from the designers.
- Never Ending, Papillon (Rated: Moderate)