The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Surprise Camping and Some Deep Thoughts: Yuru Camp△ 2 Third Episode Impressions and Review

“I’m Nadeshiko Kagamihara, a food fanatic who’s eaten nearly everywhere in Hamamatsu. And now, I’m on a mouth-watering journey to find Japan’s greatest pig-out spots, and take on the country’s most legendary eating challenges. I’m no competitive eater, just a regular girl with a serious appetite.” –Adam Richman, Man v. Food opening

Rin messages Nadeshiko with an update, planning to meet up with her in Hamamatsu. With a day to herself before Nadeshiko arrives, Rin relaxes by the beach with a book and marvels at how the sand is still warm, even though it’s January. She later swings by an onsen and admires the sunset over a torii on a beach. The next morning, Nadeshiko wakes up earlier to catch a train to Hamamatsu. Rin stops by a shop to buy strawberry daifuku as a gift for Nadeshiko, but with other patrons placing large orders, Rin wonders if she’ll be able to buy anything at all. Later, she meets up with Nadeshiko at Sakume Station. The two exchange New Year’s greetings, and Nadeshiko shows Rin a curious site: a flock of black-headed gulls, before treating her to top-tier eel from a local restaurant. While Rin balks at the price, Nadeshiko says it’s her treat; her parents wished to thank Rin for looking after her. After savouring lunch, Nadeshiko brings Rin to her grandmother’s place, where they meet Nadeshiko’s childhood friend, Ayano. They swap stories, and it turns out that in middle school, Nadeshiko’s eating habits rendered her so rotund, that Sakura eventually forced Nadeshiko to lose some weight. While Ayano is busy with work, they agree to meet up at the local observatory and admire Hamamatsu’s cityscape. Here, Rin remarks that while her Christmas camp experience was phenomenal, her love of solo camping comes from her enjoyment of solitude. The three share cocoa (or in Nadeshiko’s case, instant noodles) before parting ways, with Ayano promising to visit Nadeshiko in Yamanashi once things get warmer. Rin’s grandfather arrives to pick her up the next day, and with Rin headed back home, it appears the first chapter of Yuru Camp△ 2 is drawing to a close. This third episode brings Rin and Nadeshiko back together, and attesting to how Rin’s changed in the past few months, she’s now very receptive of the energy Nadeshiko brings, learning more about the merits of hanging out with friends and how it complements her preference for individual activities.

Indeed, Yuru Camp△ 2‘s third episode gives viewers insight into Rin: Yuru Camp△ 2‘s tagline had been “fun but lonely, lonely but fun” (“たのしいも, さびしいい, “さびしいいも, たのしいも。”), and this curious phrasing speaks entirely to Rin’s way of doing things. There’s a melancholic ring to it, suggesting that while Rin is having a great time exploring, and taking things in at her own pace, a part of her might also be longing to share this with others. However, sabishii can also mean “solitude”. Solitude and loneliness simultaneously refer to the state of being on one’s own, but whereas loneliness implies a sadness to it, a wish to be with others when alone, solitude has a very calm, pleasant tone about it. Solitude is when an individual chooses to be with themselves and nature, to regroup and spend time with the one person they are always with. In this third episode, Yuru Camp△ has Rin openly define her reasons for enjoying solo camp: it’s a time for her to have quiet time and look back on things, as well as explore on her own. The introverts of the world immediately see Rin’s appeal in Yuru Camp△ for this reason: not everyone necessarily refreshes themselves by going to a sports game, concert or local shopping area, preferring the quiet of a good mountain trail, solo movie or quiet fireside with a book. Viewers who empathise with Rin’s way of doing things immediately relate to her adventures, and by episode three, Rin indicates that there are merits to peace and quiet, hence her pursuit of solo camping trips. Her Christmas camp, then, helped her to recall that solo camping is something she definitely enjoys, but in characterising things as lonely, Rin suggests that solo camping also helps her to appreciate group camping. I imagine that this is where the tagline comes from: in a positive feedback loop, enjoying solo camping helps Rin to enjoy group camping, and vice versa.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • In case it were not clear, I’m very much an introvert who prefers solo activities, from hiking trails and visiting libraries, to grabbing a tea or chilling by the river. There’s a sort of joy that’s quite indescribable about being on my own: I never feel lonely per se, but rather, find that having alone time is remarkably cathartic. With this being said, there are situations where I prefer company, and the biggest one is work-related. In-person contact is the best way to communicate and get things done, and while the technology accommodates remote work, I find myself more efficient when I’m in the same room as my team.

  • This still captures the essence of Rin’s solo camping in Yuru Camp△ 2: for the whole of Yuru Camp△, Rin had camped inland, in mountainous and forested areas that were very cozy and closed-in. Conversely, Shizuoka offers a much more open expanse, and the uninterrupted horizon really conveys a sense of solitude. Use of winter colours further accentuates this, and it is easy to see why the first journey to Yuru Camp△ 2 feels a little melancholy. While I’ve no objection to adventures such as these, having seen Yuru Camp△ and the Outdoor Activity Club’s wild adventures as precedence, Rin’s trip in Yuru Camp△ 2 is lonelier by comparison.

  • After spending a day outdoor, Rin wraps up with a soak in the onsen at Kaishunro, a hotel located by Bentenjima Seaside Park. This hotel is a relatively new one, having opened in 2018. Of the characters in Yuru Camp△, Rin’s been to the most onsen of everyone, and it appears that she makes a point to stop at one on each of her camping trips. Between the brisk winter air and the fact that onsen admissions are generally reasonable, this practise means that Rin’s really able to enjoy her trips; here, she’s got her signature look of bliss; her eyes become fuzzy lines that create a sense of warmth and contentment in viewers.

  • It is not lost on me that each and every episode in Yuru Camp△ 2 has offered numerous spots for location hunting: aside from Caribou being a fictional location, every single spot in Yuru Camp△ had been meticulously recreated in the anime, from the campsites and attractions, to the routes needed to get to these destinations. I’ve just wrapped up a project for Koisuru Asteroid, and while the motivation to do a multi-part special on Yuru Camp△ 2‘s locations is present, these projects are also very time intensive, so I’m looking for a suitable time to begin looking at an Oculus-powered Yuru Camp△ 2 tour.

  • After seeing a crowd gathered on a promenade, Rin makes an inquiry as to what’s going on, and learns that at this time of year, sunsets will be perfectly framed by Bentenjima Red Gate. The sight is famous, and the unusual placement of the torii gives the impression that it is floating on the lake surface, creating a magical scene. This is one of the most iconic places in Japan, and guests of the Kaishunro are located in the perfect spot to see this. Visitors note that it’s a good idea to bring a coat, since things can get a little chilly here in late December and early January, when the sunset is visible. In the background, Hamana-Ohashi Bridge can be seen.

  • Because I do intend to write about locations more extensively in a later post, I’ve chosen not to look too deeply into the different spots this time around: my episodic posts for Yuru Camp△ 2 will be largely driven by talks about the characters and their experiences, especially the foods they enjoy. Back in Nambu, Nadeshiko prepares to head out on her own. It turns out that Sakura and her parents will join her a day later; Nadeshiko fully intends on using this time to meet up with Rin.

  • Whereas Rin had been a little cool towards Nadeshiko early on, and was reluctant to find her in order to give her a souvenir, by the events of Yuru Camp△ 2 (which really is just a few months after they meet), Rin’s fully warmed up to Nadeshiko. Before meeting up with her, Rin swings by a confectionary store known as Shizuka after looking up some Strawberry daifuku online. She arrives to find the place packed, and with other customers ordering daifuku to the tune of fifty at a time, Rin wonders if there’d be any left by the time her number was called. Daifuku are mochi with a filling, and the kanji 大福 translates to “great fortune”.

  • In between a transfer, Nadeshiko picks up some cream-filled buns from a vendor for the next leg of her journey. Appreciation of food in Yuru Camp△ is an integral part of the series, and no one in the series appreciates food more than Nadeshiko, who enjoys everything with vigour and enthusiasm, the same way Adam Richman does on Man v. Food. However, one of Adam Richman’s biggest suggestions for eating well is to eat slowly – besides aiding digestion, it also increases satisfaction after a meal, allowing one to really taste their food.

  • Appreciating food transforms even a simple sandwich into something to look forwards to: earlier today, I decided to whip up a Buffalo-chicken-and-cheese sandwich with Frank’s Hot Sauce. Despite its simplicity (grilled chicken, shredded marble cheese and a generous helping of hot sauce), I was surprised at how rich the flavour profile was: the juiciness of the chicken and richness of cheese is offset by a kick from the hot sauce. For me, all foods are to be appreciated and enjoyed, and although I burn through my breakfasts on most days, I make it a point to slow down for the other two meals of the day.

  • Outside Hamanako-Sakume Station, Nadeshiko shows Rin a wondrous sight: a large flock of black-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) have made the train station a stopping ground, only flying away when a train pulls up to the platform. These birds have a large distribution, being found in North America, Europe and Japan, and are long-lived, with a lifespan of around thirty two years; as Yuru Camp△ 2 shows, black-headed gulls are very sociable.

  • Eel (ウナギ, Hepburn unagi) are a Hamamatsu specialty, but for Rin, such a lunch seems extravagant – as a result of the unexpected extension to her travels, her expenditure has gone up slightly. By the time she meets up with Nadeshiko, she’s only carrying 1290 Yen (about 15.50 CAD), and so, when Nadeshiko orders the Top-Grade Eel set for the two at Sakume Unagi, Rin’s eyes literally drop to the ground. I don’t abuse “literally” as a hyperbole, so when I use it, it means that what was metaphorical actually happened: in Yuru Camp△ 2, after Rin sees the price for the Top-Grade as being 4000 Yen (48.79 CAD, on par with a six-ounce filet or twelve-ounce ribeye from the local steak houses), her eyes pull a Looney Tunes and fall off her face as though they were stickers. This bit of visual humour was unexpected, and gave a few good laughs.

  • As it turns out, lunch is Nadeshiko’s treat: for having helped make Nadeshiko feel at home in Yamanashi, her father asked Nadeshiko to treat Rin to the best eel in Hamamatsu, an area speciality whose price results from the cost of preparations and freshness of ingredients. This moment exemplifies how kindness and patience has its rewards – while Rin had been mildly annoyed upon meeting Nadeshiko on the shores of Lake Motosu, the two become closer following a series of adventures together, and it is really through Nadeshiko that Rin begins to appreciate what group camping could be like. While she would’ve dismissed Chiaki’s advice at the start of Yuru Camp△, that she decides to keep an open mind shows the changes this chance meeting had on Rin.

  • Upon taking her first bite of lunch, Rin finds herself in flavour heaven. Nadeshiko, on the other hand, blows through lunch in the blink of an eye. Eel has a firm, flakey texture and a sweet flavour profile, being quite distinct from most fishes. I find it delicious, although having grown up in a land-locked area, I do not have the palette to appreciate different qualities of eel. Conversely, I can tell different cuts of beef apart quite readily, and similarly, I’ve become something of a poutine connoisseur; a good poutine has squeaky cheese, a rich (but not salty) gravy, and thick-cut fries that are crispy outside and soft inside.

  • After lunch, Rin and Nadeshiko make their way to Nadeshiko’s grandmother’s house. Here, Ayano Toki greets them: Ayano’s known Nadeshiko since childhood and, after seeing Nadeshiko enjoying eel pies, has a hilarious story to tell Rin. It turns out that in middle school, Nadeshiko had been quite out of shape owing to her love for food, and one summer, Sakura’s patience ran out. Nadeshiko was made to bike circuits around Lake Hamana until she’d had lost weight. Nadeshiko became fitter, and thankfully, her love for food remained intact. This is a heart-warming story, and brings to mind Adam Richman’s story, where after filming Man v. Food, Richman lost seventy pounds as a result of intensive training.

  • Richman reports feeling considerably better, and Nadeshiko similarly enjoys the benefits of being fit, biking to Lake Motosu from Nambu and meeting Rin. Of course, Nadeshiko’s cheeks are still round, and Ayano, Rin and even Nadeshiko’s grandmother spend a good moment tugging at them for fun. Ayano seems to get along with Rin just fine, and after hearing about Rin’s adventures with Nadeshiko, becomes interested in camping, as well. Ayano is voiced by Tomoyo Kurosawa (Hibike! Euphonium‘s very own Kumiko Oumae and Itsuki Inubozaki from Yūki Yūna is a Hero).

  • Since Ayano is now curious about camping, Rin decides to give her a small experience of what camping does for food. She sets up her portable camping grill and roasts some mochi over it – while the three enjoying hot food on a chillier day, Nadeshiko notices Ayano’s ride, a Honda Ape mini-bike. The three spend the remainder of the afternoon under the kontatsu and playing board games. When evening sets in, Ayano heads off for work, but agrees to hang out after her shift ends. Having not slept in a futon for a while, Rin has trouble waking up when the time has come for the three to get together owing to how comfortable things are.

  • The observation deck that Nadeshiko suggests is located at Okuhamanako Park, which is found on the northern end of Lake Hamana. Up here, there’s a sense of tranquility, bringing to mind the view overlooking Nagasaki Harbour in Iroduku‘s first episode. I count myself lucky that there’s a similar vantage point in my area within walking distance: a fifteen minute walk is all that’s needed to ascend the nearest hill, which overlooks the northern edge of the city, and a forty minute walk south brings one to a viewpoint from which the city centre is visible. These spots are immensely peaceful, being the perfect place to be when one is in need of some quiet.

  • Above the city below, Rin has a chance to share a bit more about herself with Nadeshiko and Ayano. Her remarks here are what motivates the episode title, and succinctly summarises Rin’s way of doing things throughout the series. It is worth reiterating that “lonely” and “solitude” are two different concepts; the former suggests a yearning for others while alone, and the latter indicates that one is actively seeking out being alone. Society tends to misunderstand solitude, although in recent years, wellness experts suggest that all folks could do well to have a balance of solitude and excitement in their lives, and as Rin states, solitude allows one to be alone with their thoughts and contemplate the world more deeply than if they were in a group.

  • This is primarily the reason why I’m so fond of solitude: when I’m on my own, I can explore things a bit more deeply during hikes, meals, et cetera. Ayano notes that she’d initially been surprised that Nadeshiko had taken up camping, but having now spoken with her and Rin, she’s beginning to understand the appeals of camping. Yuru Camp△ had particularly succeeded in showing viewers the joys of camping, and after its airing, folks began gearing up for their own trips, travelling to the same places that Rin and the Outdoors Activity Club had.

  • After enjoying their beverages (or in Nadeshiko’s case, noodles), Ayano, Rin and Nadeshiko part ways. I imagine that Ayano will be returning at a later point Yuru Camp△ 2, and once Rin’s grandfather shows up, Rin heads back home as well. Next week, the party will return to the Minobu region, as Rin and the Outdoors Activity Club begin their winter term. Before this post concludes, I will add that Yuru Camp△ 2’s soundtrack will be releasing on March 31, consisting of two CDs and retail for 3520 Yen (42.97 CAD). I am rather looking forwards to the music, which has changed in style somewhat to capture the different atmospheres surrounding places the series is taking viewers to. Some of the incidental pieces also have a city-pop feel to it, suggesting that the series is going for a more nostalgic, laid-back feeling during its run.

A third of the way into Yuru Camp△ 2, the series has begun exploring new directions with its setup, cleverly framing each of Rin and Nadeshiko’s experiences such that viewers come away with a meaningful message. While the series has long been admired for its cathartic atmosphere and emphasis on the ordinary, as well as faithfully portraying bush-craft and outdoor techniques, life lessons are often overlooked as a result of Yuru Camp△‘s doing so much, so well. However, these themes and messages are not to be forgotten, with things like friendship and camaraderie being just as important as quite activities for self-care. The sum of Yuru Camp△ 2‘s message is evident after three episodes: solo and group activities must both be experienced so one can fully immerse themselves in the merits and joys of their preferred activities. The seemingly-cryptic tagline, “fun but lonely, lonely but fun”, thus becomes a much warmer, welcoming message: Yuru Camp△ 2 is going to continue doing what had made Yuru Camp△ so successful, but at the same time, the series is also maturing enough to begin exploring the psychology behind why different people prefer different activities, and moreover, present the idea that regardless of whether one is an introvert or extrovert, an open mind is ultimately what will allow people to make the most of the present and have experiences that are worth remembering. Yuru Camp△ has always been considerably more than the Secret Society Blanket and “comfy” memes that have spawned around the series, popularity, and this third episode of Yuru Camp△ 2 serves to remind viewers of that.

7 responses to “Surprise Camping and Some Deep Thoughts: Yuru Camp△ 2 Third Episode Impressions and Review

  1. Fred (Au Natural) January 22, 2021 at 00:15

    It is refreshing to have a female protagonist who appreciates solitude. I hope she will keep that appreciation as the story progresses. Maybe Nadeshiko will grow to appreciate it more.


    • infinitezenith January 23, 2021 at 10:07

      I heard people suggest most series would have Rin’s counterpart embrace group camping and leave it at that, so for Yuru Camp△ 2 go in this direction was definitely a rewarding and meaningful path the series has chosen to take! I have a feeling this is going to be the route: Yuru Camp△ had wrapped up its last episode with Nadeshiko fully intent on camping at Lake Motosu with her newly-bought gear, and I think that her love of the outdoors, sparked by her meeting with Rin and spurred on by the Outdoors Activity Club, means she represents the viewer, new to everything and open to all sorts of experiences, solo or group!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fred (Au Natural) January 23, 2021 at 11:30

        Yeah. The standard view is that there is something “wrong” with you if you enjoy solitude. The standard arc would be to have her discover the joys of communal camping and abandon her solitary ways and thereby fix her “problem.” That would be a terrible and shallow direction to take the show.

        Far more interesting would be to have the other girls discover the good things to be found in going solo. There is not reason why the two approaches cannot be complementary.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. David Birr January 24, 2021 at 18:36

    One of the Crunchyroll viewers commented about this episode: “As a true connoisseur of loneliness, I now feel that Rin is officially my spirit animal.”


    • infinitezenith January 24, 2021 at 22:00

      When I think about it, Rin technically isn’t ever lonely in her travels, but she is solitary, and she enjoys what that solitude brings. Even back in season one, Rin was in touch with Ena, bouncing messages and jokes back and forth, so I don’t think “lonely” is an appropriate descriptor (while “lonely” is an appropriate translation of 寂しい, it can also mean “solitary”).

      Having said this, there are a lot of folks relate to Rin precisely because she finds fun in being able to really have fun on her own, and I wonder if this is what the commenter is referring to 🙂


      • David Birr January 25, 2021 at 10:43

        I believe that yes, it *is* what that commenter meant. What really amused me about the line was the use of the phrase “spirit animal” instead of something like “role model.”


Were we helpful? Did you see something we can improve on? Please provide your feedback today!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: