The Infinite Zenith

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Winter’s End and the Day of Departure: Yuru Camp△ 2 Review and Reflection at the ¾ mark

“I like to think of innovation as upgrading your current self. This upgrade helps you to more effectively deal with changes happening around you and to be able to think in a more complex manner than before.” –Daniel Willey

Nadeshiko recounts her solo camping experience with Chiaki and Aoi, noting that the calm of a solo camp has gotten her excited to group camp again, and she’d be interested in alternating between the two modes. When the Outdoor Activities Club becomes excited about their next trip, they speak with Minami about a possible time and place; Minami suggests holding off until after exams have ended and suggests the Izu Peninsula. Besides having gone their previously and enjoying the scenery, Minami also intends to visit the Iidas as thanks for having looked after her students. Rin decides to attend, feeling it a good chance to explore Izu properly, and Aoi surprises everyone when she asks if Akari, her younger sister, is welcome to join. Minami has no problems with this and notes she’ll be borrowing her sister’s van for this trip. The girls subsequently busy themselves in February, studying for their exams and working to earn the funds for their trip: in no time at all, March arrives. On the eve of this camping trip, Rin and her father install a new rack and phone holder for Rin’s moped. Later, Rin’s grandfather shows up with a windshield to help Rin out on her drives in Izu, and also heads off to pick up relay upon noticing that Rin’s moped continues to charge her phone even when switched off. By the time he returns and helps install things, it’s nine in the evening. Rin has dinner with her family and learns her mother was also once a biker. Before Rin can see any photographs, however, it’s time to turn in. The next morning, Rin’s grandfather accompanies her out on the first leg of her ride to Izu. They stop for a hot drink at a convenience store, and Rin’s grandfather notes that he’d always wanted to ride the open road with Rin. The two bid each other safe travels, and Rin sets off to join the others on the Izu Peninsula. In the post-credits, it turns out that Ena had heard about Rin’s trip to check up on Nadeshiko from Nadeshiko’s mother while working her shift at the local convenience store.

This week’s episode of Yuru Camp△ 2, at the series’ three-quarters mark, is a relaxing chance to regroup and prepare for Yuru Camp△ 2‘s big finish. It is becoming increasingly evident that Yuru Camp△ 2 is bigger and bolder than its predecessor; thanks to everyone being familiar enough to count one another as friends, the possibility for larger adventures is now very much within the realm of reality. From the small steps Yuru Camp△ had established, each of Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi, Rin and Ena have grown as a result of the time they’ve spent together, and even though they’re only a short way into the new year, they’re consistently finding new experiences and making new discoveries. The trip to the Izu Peninsula is the culmination of this, as Chiaki mentions that this’ll be their fanciest camping trip ever. Ahead of this outing, Rin’s moped gets an upgrade, allowing her to travel with more convenience than ever before. Yuru Camp△ 2 indicates that with this experience, larger-scale adventures are feasible, and together with what was shown in the first season, shows how all adventures have humble origins, but folks with an open mind and a willingness to experiment will come away stronger for it. In the process, these discoveries also make dreams possible: it was very touching to see Rin spend more time with her grandfather this episode. While season one demonstrated that one could always have fun even when keeping things simple, the second season shows what is possible with more experience, resources and people: Yuru Camp△ 2 has been building up to the Izu Peninsula for quite some time, ever since Rin had commented on her wish to visit during the New Year’s and in the opening sequence. Now, she’ll have an opportunity to both spend time with friends and enjoy the solitude she’s fond of at the same time.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It looks like Yuru Camp△ 2 ended up skipping portraying the scene of where Sakura and Rin shared dinner together, per one of the key visuals released before the second season started. There is something about Sakura and Rin spending time together that is incredibly heartwarming; this is a part I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of. Instead, the ninth episode opens with Nadeshiko sharing her experiences with Chiaki and Aoi – from what Nadeshiko says, she found solo camping helped her to appreciate group camping more, the same way Rin found a newfound enjoyment of solo camping after the Christmas camp. It speaks to differences in how people do things, and that at the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy an activity provided one is doing so safely.

  • When Aoi, Nadeshiko and Chiaki speak with Minami, it turns out Minami already had a trip of sorts planned out for the club; it is implicit that Minami would like nothing more to visit the Iida liquor store and buy the best sake this side of Japan, but at the same time, she’s also aware of her responsibility to her students – they’ve got exams coming up, and rather than going on a smaller trip sooner, Minami figures it could also be fun to save up and do a larger trip later. Chiaki, Aoi and Nadeshiko immediately see the value in this, although Chiaki’s grades appear to be questionable.

  • Ena surprises Rin with the revelation that she knows about Rin’s decision to check up on Nadeshiko over the past weekend – Rin hadn’t told anyone of this and wonders how on earth Ena could’ve found out. Yuru Camp△ 2 continues on in its predecessor’s tradition of using funny faces to convey smugness, shock, and other emotions. This is the one area where the live action cannot compete against the anime, but beyond this, I’ve found the live action drama to be highly enjoyable for portraying the real world locations completely faithfully to how they appear, as well as showing food off in ways that even C-Station cannot.

  • The live-action drama for the second season must’ve been made in conjunction with Yuru Camp△ 2, since it’s going to begin airing in April. It is possible to watch the drama without subtitles simply because it is a very faithful adaptation of the manga, right down to the dialogue and choice of words. Once the girls finish their conversation with Minami, they express their excitement for March’s arrival. As it turns out, Nadeshiko and Aoi both share the same birthday (March 4, which happens to be today).

  • Akari’s never had too significant of a presence in Yuru Camp△, only appearing on a few occasions (most notably, when she helps Aoi prank Nadeshiko in an OVA). Akari is voiced by Risae Matsuda, whose roles are for anime I’ve not seen, and she’s Aoi in minuature (to the point where Chiaki calls her chibi-Inuko). Unlike Aoi, whose pranks are restricted to elaborate lies, Akari’s pranks can be very physical in nature, so it’ll be interesting to see how she gets on with the Outdoor Activities Club and Rin. Her interest in this trip is motivated by a desire to see the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), a rodent species native to South America. In Japanese zoos, capybara enjoy the onsen during the winter months.

  • Once Minami runs the intended plan past everyone, Rin asks if it’ll be okay for her to take her moped along for the trip. With an affirmative, Rin is all smiles. She explains her reasons for undertaking such a trip, and Nadeshiko mentions that Rin might be interested in reproducing the feel from Moped’s Journey. It is becoming more and more likely that Rin is modelled after Kino from Kino’s Journey, which I found an interesting commentary on society and how travel reveals the best (and worst) in the world. Like Kino, Rin is very insightful and stoic in nature, and while perhaps lacking Kino’s gunslinging skills, otherwise have a similar personality.

  • When the Outdoor Activities Club, Ena and Rin learn of Akari’s desire to check out the onsen-going capybara, they’re taken in and have no qualms adding this as a part of their itinerary. Everyone in Yuru Camp△ is partial to all things adorable, but Rin expresses herself quite differently; when on her own, her eyes take on the same fuzzy quality as the others’, whereas when in a group, she does her best to remain composed. Ena, having known Rin the longest, is able to tell that Rin is just as excited as everyone else, even if she doesn’t show it outright. It suddenly strikes me that Rin and Nadeshiko have very similar eyebrows, reminiscent of Hina Tsurugi’s from Houkago Teibou Nisshi.

  • With the camping trip for Izu Peninsula lined up, the girls are excited and promise to work hard to make this trip an enjoyable one. This ninth episode of Yuru Camp△ 2 acts as a bit of a breather episode: while this may be a bit of a misrepresentation since Yuru Camp△ is peaceful everywhere, the episodes of the girls’ ordinary lives in between their travel are relaxing in their own fashion. For me, it means there is no special need to go out of my way to hunt for locations this week: while it’s definitely fun, it can also be quite time-consuming.

  • By now, Nadeshiko has settled into her job at the soba place. I’ve heard people expressing worry about Nadeshiko’s solo camping trip on account of her traits (mirroring Rin and Sakura’s sentiments), but despite her mannerisms, Nadeshiko is reliable and capable when the moment calls for it. In this way, she’s a lot like K-On!‘s Yui Hirasawa, who was similarly airheaded, a glutton and clumsy to a fault. However, like Nadeshiko, Yui’s mistakes are innocent, and major part of the charm in K-On! was watching Yui grow as she spent more time with the light music club. Similarly, taking up camping has led Nadeshiko to grow, as well, and having now completed her first solo trip, it should be clear that Nadeshiko is capable, no longer a novice.

  • Of course, when it comes to hitting the books, both Chiaki and Nadeshiko find it more difficult. Here, they study as a group, while Rin solos her studying but quietly looks on, amused at what’s happening. Despite a few moments like these, I imagine that everyone got by alright: even Chiaki, whose grades are only described as “passable”, makes it out of her exams okay, scoring an 86 on one paper. As a high school student, I always strove for 90 points of a hundred or better, but looking back, the learnings (and learning how to learn) were much more important than the grades themselves.

  • In the blink of an eye, March is upon the girls, and Nadeshiko struggles to come up with a suitable set of meals for their travels in the Izu Peninsula. Her father suggests that waasabi, alfonsino and deep sea fish are things the area is known for, so a recipe with fish could be nice. He decides that Nadeshiko could use a bit of extra money so she can pick up the dried fish the area is known for and bring some back after her travels. Shortly after, Nadeshiko comes across a recipe that she’s excited to try out.

  • Meanwhile, after Rin returns home, she finds a new package for her: she’d ordered a bag rack and phone holder to help make her travels easier. Rin’s father had also gone ahead and retrieved the moped from maintenance: Rin is amazed at how shiny it now looks. With this moment, I can say with confidence that Rin’s outing during the Heya Camp△ OVA with the three-wheeled bike must’ve been late February, a ways after the Christmas camp, which means that the stamp rally in Heya Camp△ would’ve taken place after finals, just prior to the Izu trip. The weather seems to line up, along with the time frames, and with this in mind, Heya Camp△ definitely can be seen as a part of the series’ timeline.

  • Once Rin and her father are done with the installation, Rin’s grandfather shows up with the windshield attachment for Rin’s moped. He tests the phone charger and finds that even when her bike is powered down, the phone charger is still drawing battery, which could be problematic if Rin ever forgot to take her phone with her. His solution is to swing by Kofu and hit a shop that sells relays, which are electrically operated switches that are used to control several circuits by a single switch. Rin’s mother notices how new the windshield is and believes Rin’s grandfather went out of his way to buy it, showing how much he cares for Rin, as well.

  • Rin’s grandfather is voiced by Akio Ōtsuka, who is best known for his reassuring and deep voice: Ōtsuka’s voice acting career is impressive, and outside of anime, he’s also provided the dubs for Samuel Jackson and Nicholas Cage. In a bit of a twist, it turns out Ōtsuka also voices Sounan Desu Ka?‘s Jōichi Onishima (Homare’s father, himself an expert survivalist and outdoorsman). I would imagine that if there ever were a Japanese dub of Survivorman, Ōtsuka would be well-suited to dub Les Stroud, as well.

  • As the Shima’s late dinner continues, conversation soon turns to the topic of motorcycles; it turns out both Rin’s mother and father were bikers in the past, having toured Japan with Rin’s grandfather. While Rin’s father has no trouble with this bit of his past, Rin’s mother is mortified that Rin might see the photographs. I imagine that more than anything, she’s worried about Rin’s safety whenever she travels and probably feels that if Rin were to learn about her past, it may weaken her position. This is only natural, and while Rin’s mother might not be as taciturn as Rin, the pair do sport the same expression whenever something embarrassing or worrisome come up.

  • Before anything can happen, Rin’s grandfather suggests that she call it an early night, since she’ll be waking up early to start her trip. At three in the morning, Rin wakes up, finishes preparations and is surprised to see her grandfather already geared up and ready to roll. He’d been longing to ride the open roads with Rin for the longest time, and it seems like the time has finally come to do so. It’s a very touching moment in Yuru Camp△, and as the two drive along the deserted mountain roads under a night sky, the use of framing and music serve to speak volumes where dialogue could not.

  • I’ve mentioned this previously, but the ability to convey very specific emotions and thoughts in the complete absence of dialogue is a talent: there are some things that are indescribable, difficult to put into words, and although we may know precisely what that feeling is, there can be a challenge in finding a way to articulate said feelings. This is where moments without dialogue shine: they’re able to convey those intangibles effectively for us. In Yuru Camp△ 2, with the short drive that Rin and her grandfather share, the choice of music and time of day creates an infinitely peaceful, timeless feeling.

  • I am very envious of the world presented in Yuru Camp△: here, light pollution is practically nil, and the skies are pleasantly dark. In reality, the Minobu Valley in Yamanashi averages a Bortle Index of 4, which is only conducive for seeing stars up to magnitude 6.5. A proper dark sky would allow magnitude 7 stars to become visible, and the Milky Way can be fully discerned. Conversely, in my neck of the woods, with a Bortle Index of 7, practically nothing but the brightest stars are visible.

  • The scene was likely composed to mirror the feeling that Rin’s grandfather has during the course of the ride: once the two reach a convenience store and stop for a hot beverage, his words convey to Rin the significance of this ride. It’d been something that he wished to share with Rin for the longest time, and here, his smile says it all. Yuru Camp△ 2‘s greater emphasis on family is something that I’ve come to appreciate. This is something about slice-of-life anime that appeals greatly to me; far beyond comedy, the true value about anime such as Yuru Camp△ is the fact that it neatly captures life lessons and wraps it up in a novel environment.

  • Rin and her grandfather bid one another safe travels before heading off for their own destinations. Next episode, the Izu Peninsula (home of Amanchu!) will be shown in greater detail as Rin links up with the others and set off for a camping trip even grander than the Christmas camp trip. I am, of course, greatly looking forwards to seeing what comes out of everyone’s journey together, and what places they end up visiting in what is a series first: three whole episodes are dedicated to the Izu camping trip (and previously, trips comfortably fit in the space of two episodes), leaving plenty of room for Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club to really go exploring.

Yuru Camp△ 2 is a series that consistently hits home runs in its execution: each and every episode of the second season has proven exceptionally enjoyable, rather like how the first season was twelve episodes of warmth and discovery. It therefore becomes unnecessary to wonder how the remaining quarter will turn out; this Izu camping trip is easily the biggest adventure in Yuru Camp△ thus far, and the fact that the end of the ninth episode already has Rin setting off means that for the remaining three episodes, it’s going to be all-out adventure as the series balances portraying camping with a generous side of travel programme. That Yuru Camp△ 2 continues to impress, even more so than its predecessor, is because this series essentially Survivorman meets Man v. Food meets Rick Steves’ Europe given anime form: there is a particular catharsis about watching people in the outdoors and exploring the things that we might otherwise pass by and take for granted. Thus, as Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s excellent adventure continue, I am confident that Yuru Camp△ 2 will stick its landing and succeed in creating an experience for viewers that will certainly match, and potentially even surpass what the first season had already done so well.

15 responses to “Winter’s End and the Day of Departure: Yuru Camp△ 2 Review and Reflection at the ¾ mark

  1. Fred (Au Natural) March 4, 2021 at 16:27

    That windshield will make Rin’s exploits much more comfortable and expand the times and places she can travel in. I’ve ridden a bike enough to know how a cold wind can suck the heat right out of you no matter how well dressed you are.

    IMHO, it is the best anime in a year of very good anime.


    • infinitezenith March 4, 2021 at 19:31

      Yuru Camp△ 2 is easily my favourite show of the year thus far (which is, of course, an unfair statement since we’re still only in the winter season!). That Rin’s moped received such a substantial upgrade was a fantastic metaphor for me, showing that she’s got what it takes to ride alongside her grandfather now. The gear definitely does help from a practical standpoint! I think Rin was mentioning how she’d been freezing back in episode three, and there’s nothing like a cold wind to really take it out of someone: in my area, a brisk breeze will immediately sap me of any will to take a walk outdoors, even when it’s comparatively mild.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. David Birr March 4, 2021 at 17:17

    Considering reference to the key visual depicting something the anime never actually shows us….

    What first brought *Laid-Back Camp* to my attention was a key visual which portrays Ena and Aki running (and Aoi, judging by the position of her legs, only ambling) toward Mount Fuji along a strip of lakeshore, with a fenced woods at one side. The terrain, and the view of the mountain, is much like that in a photo the three sent to Rin from Lake Yamanaka, at 22:29-38 in Episode 6, as well as another Ena shows Rin at 2:06-10 in Episode 7. Not quite as much snow is on the ground in the key visual, however. Neither the anime nor the manga ever, that I could spot, shows a scene of the three walking or running along this particular bit of land.
    Unlike with *GochiUsa*, it wasn’t a _touching_ image, but the scenery was beautiful enough to pique my interest.

    It’s been revealed in the first season that Aki doesn’t do well on exams. Midway through Episode 8, while riding the train to the Caribou store, text came up on the screen describing Aoi’s exam scores as “No problem,” Nadeshiko’s as “Meh” (“So-so” in the manga), and Aki’s as “Barely made it” – while she brazenly claims “It was a piece of cake.”


    • infinitezenith March 4, 2021 at 19:38

      Chiaki’s unsteady academic performance has always been something of a joke, so I was very happy to learn that this time, she’d put on a fair showing this time around 🙂

      As for the key visuals, I think they’re merely just visuals: oftentimes, we see art from things like Megami Magazine and it’s only ever tangentially related to the show itself. With that being said, the two posters you refer did indeed show up in some form in the anime (or at least, can be reasonably inferred to have happened). With Sakura and Rin enjoying okonomiyaki together, this one is a bit more implicit, and I’ll admit that it was bugging me a little because on the official Yuru Camp△ Twitter, they did imply that the scene might show up in the anime.

      That’s perfectly fine, though: Yuru Camp△ 2 has consistently delivered this season, and like how Rogue One never had Jynn staring down a TIE Fighter like the trailers in the actual film, what we’ve gotten in Yuru Camp△ makes up for this 🙂


  3. Fred (Au Natural) March 4, 2021 at 18:22

    Isn’t Rin and how she relates to her family absolutely precious?

    How many anime do we see where the family is unimportant and even nonexistent? Her relationship with her grandfather is especially touching. Their ride together was exquisite! It is enough to bring tears to this old man’s eyes.


    • David Birr March 4, 2021 at 18:29

      Some viewers on Crunchyroll left comments during the first season expressing shock that we actually got to see various girls’ parents. “Wait, Nadeshiko’s mom is LIVING?! She’s got a FATHER?!!” That sort of thing.

      I noticed in this episode that Rin addresses her dad with “-san,” but her grandfather with “-chan.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • infinitezenith March 4, 2021 at 19:41

        I think the reactions on CrunchyRoll might’ve been based on Chiaki’s remarks to Aoi during the first season’s eighth episode:

        “You’ve got a FAMILY?!”
        “What’s your deal?!”

        The different honourifics are a subtle but pleasant hint to how Rin views her grandfather 🙂


    • infinitezenith March 4, 2021 at 19:39

      The emphasis on family in Yuru Camp△ is very touching. Having said this, I do wish we’d see Chiaki and Ena’s families, too: for Ena, we know her family definitely loves her dearly, as seen with their purchasing her a bloody expensive winter sleeping bag, but for Chiaki, she never mentions her family.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fred (Au Natural) March 4, 2021 at 22:40

        I don’t mind that this is kind of turning into “The Rin Show” for episode. She’d be my waifu if I were a teenage boy. Occasionally Nadeshiko’s family shows prominently as well.

        Maybe expanding it to show everyone’s family would eat up too much screen time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • infinitezenith March 5, 2021 at 08:41

          It’s true that showing everyone’s families in Yuru Camp△ would be time consuming, but I think small, subtle details would work fine (as they have for Ena and Aoi, for instance).

          On Rin, I’ve long seen myself as being more detail-driven, less likely to take risks and slightly more talkative version of her (once I warm up to people): I think a great part of Yuru Camp△‘s charm is in its loving and accurate portrayal of how folk like us tend to do things.

          Of course, pursuing a relationship with someone like Rin could be interesting: my propensity for organisation and planning would complement Rin’s ability to find fun things in a moment even when things don’t turn out as planned, and the two of us would probably be able to share moments without words. I’ve heard that Sakura is probably more of a carbon copy of myself than even Rin is, and if these past few episodes are indicative, it means I’d certainly get along with Rin just fine 🙂


  4. Chris W Toledo March 4, 2021 at 19:18

    Did anyone else think that Rin got a windshield installed in the first season, or am I just remembering something from the manga and getting it and the anime confused. (I am up to vol 8 in the manga)


    • infinitezenith March 4, 2021 at 19:44

      I looked through season one, and I believe that it only goes up to the fourth volume. You’re probably recalling the equivalent moment in the manga’s 42nd chapter (volume eight)! Having said this, Rin does get a loaner three-wheel motorcycle during one of the OVAs, during which her usual moped was in for maintenance. This bike is a Yamaha Tricity, and it did have a windshield. Hope this helps!


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