The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Yuru Camp△ Movie (Eiga Yuru Camp△): An Anime Film Review, Reflection and Full Recommendation, Remarks on Reconciling Agency and Responsibility in Adulthood

“The day you graduate from childhood to adulthood is the day you take full responsibility for your life.” –Darren Hardy

While watching the fireworks together during a summer camping trip, Nadeshiko, Rin, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena discuss the future and how they look forwards to finishing school; working will allow them to continue enjoying camping with fancier equipment and with more freedom than they had as students. Nadeshiko, however, still wishes to be able to camp with everyone again in the future. A decade later, everyone’s settled into their careers. Rin’s now an editor for a publication in Nagoya, while Nadeshiko works at an outdoor goods store in Tokyo. Aoi’s become an elementary school instructor, and Ena’s a pet groomer. After work one evening, while she’s browsing around for places to visit on a weekend, Rin receives a message from Chiaki, who’s visiting Nagoya. The pair end up catching up: Rin comments on how she’s been so busy with work that she hasn’t been camping much, and Chiaki reveals that she ended up resigning from the event company she was working at and is now with the Yamanashi Tourism Promotion Organisation, assigned to a project to redevelop an unused space in Takaori. After off-handedly suggesting such a space could be a campsite, Chiaki ends up hauling Rin over to Takaori to show her the site. Although Rin is initially reluctant to help out, Chiaki explains she’s more than willing to talk to Rin’s supervisor, and the project had appealed to her because it sounded meaningful to bring an open space back to life and see people enjoying it as they once had while camping. Recalling her own experiences in camping, Rin ends up changing her mind and agrees to help Chiaki out. Nadeshiko arrives shortly after, having also received an invitation from Chiaki. The three drive over to the Kagamihara residence, where they enjoy crab nabe and unveil Chiaki’s project to Aoi. After Rin’s motorcycle receives maintenance and she assures her supervisor that all of her usual duties will be completed on schedule, she heads over to Kofu, meeting up with Nadeshiko, Aoi, Chiaki and Ena at the Yamanashi Prefectural Government Office. The five are given a small storage room to work out of, reminiscent of their time as students, when the Outdoor Activities Club also operated out of a small storage room. The five immediately get to work and brainstorm ideas for the campsite, before heading back out to Takaori so they can begin maintaining the grounds. They find that it’s back-breaking work, but thanks to help from Okazaki, a local farmer, the five end up making progress and gradually clear the overgrowth away. While Rin promises to incorporate any ideas she has on an assignment to travel Yamanashi campgrounds as a part of her work, Chiaki receives approval to proceed with the campsite concept. After the New Year begins, the five begin landscaping the site further. One day, Aoi learns that an animal has gotten into their food and refuse. Although they are worried that wild boars might be in the area, making it unsafe as a campsite, it turns out that their intruder is a tanuki. As the site becomes ready, Chiaki and the others decide to camp here together, marking the first time everyone’s gathered for a camping trip together in some time. As everyone relaxes after their evening meal, Chikuwa ends up digging up a pottery fragment, piquing everyone’s interest. Chiaki decides to get the fragment sent in for analysis, learning that it dates back to the Jōmon Period.

Because the excavation has unearthed a large amount of pottery, it turns out that the camping project is to be suspended for an indefinite period of time. Rin, Nadeshiko, Aoi and Ena are disheartened by this news, but everyone chooses to push forward in their lives. After a particularly gruelling workday, Rin receives a package from her mother, with a hand-written note asking her to eat well, as well as an invitation from Nadeshiko to check out an onsen. The hike and onsen invigorate the pair, who reflect on how their lives have changed as adults. The conversation spurs Rin and Nadeshiko to arrange for a meeting with Chiaki and the others. They meet up at the Yamanashi Prefectural Government Office in Kofu, but are terrified out of their wits when Ena uses a remote control to start up the tourism robot in the storeroom. Once the shock wears off, the five set about updating their proposal to incorporate the archeological dig into their campground revival project. To this end, a part of the project proposal includes working alongside the archeologists to accelerate the process: the archeological process is short on staff, so with Rin and the others lending a hand, excavation progresses much more quickly. Rin and Nadeshiko also develop an interest in Jōmon Period pottery and ask some of the researchers to learn more. When Rin explains her situation to the chief editor, he allows her to continue participating so long as her usual work doesn’t suffer. Meanwhile, Chiaki pitches her updated proposal to the Yamanashi tourism committee members, and in the presentation, shows the video Ena had made. Impressed, the committee members agree to approve the project, and by summer, the excavation work concludes, allowing Chiaki and the others to continue on with their own project, integrating the archeological sites into the grounds along the originally-planned playgrounds and dog park. By autumn, the newly-christened Fujikawa Matsubokkuri Camp Base is complete. Although they’d forgotten to put up the signs pointing visitors to the campground, causing visitors to lose their way on opening day, Rin heads out to help guide the visitors in. Rin and Nadeshiko’s families have shown up to check things out; Rin greets her grandfather, who’s impressed with the work Rin and her friends have done. As the campers settle in for the night, Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena are pleased that their visitors are happy. They promise to camp together here again for their New Year’s Eve trip. When Nadeshiko asks if Rin will be joining them, Rin replies that she’ll give it some thought, surprising her friends.

Major Themes

In a series that has placed considerable emphasis on appreciation and gratitude, it seemed quite unnecessary for Yuru Camp△ to explore any other avenues because the series had already done a phenomenal job of selling the importance of preparedness, expressing thanks, exploring all of one’s options and being open-minded towards new experiences. In the context of camping, applying all of these lessons result in memories that last a lifetime. However, in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, it is shown that the lessons learnt from camping have relevance when one becomes a full-fledged member of society, as well. In this film, with the project of creating a new campsite at former Fuji River Youth Nature Centre, an opportunity to showcase what it means to be an adult is utilised to convey the idea that adulthood is a double-edged sword. Being an adult means fulfilling one’s responsibilities and obligations to the best of one’s ability, while simultaneously having a much greater set of experiences and skills to realise one’s visions. During its run, the Yuru Camp△ Movie suggests that as adults, there will always be constraints, limitations and unexpected challenges that crop up in life. This is seen with each of the characters individually, as well as when the share a common goal. As a writer, Rin’s articles are occasionally rejected by the head editor, requiring she go back to make revisions or explore new avenues. Aoi enjoys the time she spends with her students, but she must prepare to transfer schools when her current school is preparing to close down owing to a low number of new enrolments. Ena’s work as a dog groomer allows her to fulfil a dream of working with animals, but is also a reminder of the fact that Chikuwa is aging and that he will inevitably pass away in the future. Despite having an extensive knowhow of camping gear, Nadeshiko sometimes finds that the store she’s working at doesn’t stock precisely what customers are looking for, and Chiaki similarly decides to change jobs after her previous position proved to be unfulfilling. In spite of these setbacks, each of Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiako, Aoi and Ena demonstrate remarkable resilience and an ability to see the pluses in what they do. These attitudes carry over with them to the larger project at the Fuji River Youth Nature Centre. Although the project starts off smoothly, after Chikuwa uncovers Jōmon-era pottery, there is an interest to examine and excavate the site, putting the restoration plans on hold. The cast are understandably discouraged by this, but the Yuru Camp△ Movie also shows how adults respond to adversity. Together, Chiaki, Nadeshiko, Aoi, Rin and Ena work out a proposal to incorporate the archeological dig into their camping concept after helping out with the excavation and spotting that there is an educational aspect that could make their campsite especially unique. In this way, the Yuru Camp△ Movie shows that adulthood allows people to be at their best – many anime are set during the high school years because the timeframe is when one has no major responsibilities and can live in a carefree manner, but in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, it is shown that the best is yet to come, and that there is a sense of fulfilment in taking advantage of all of the tools and options available to one as a result of their experiences to do things ever better.

While setbacks occur in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, the portrayal of conflict here is a remarkably mature one. In place of drama and tension, problems are solved in a pragmatic, stepwise fashion. At her workplace, Rin is no stranger to having her work turned down and returned to revisions stage. Despite finding things frustrating at times, Rin simply responds by putting in additional hours and effort to ensure that what she sends in next is of a superior standard. Nadeshiko treats all of her customers fairly; those who can’t find what they’re looking for will be given a nudge in the right direction, and those who wonder about the efficacy of their products are treated to a demonstration to give them a better understanding of things. Aoi is unable to do anything about being transferred to another school, but she sees this as a opportunity to meet other students and work in a new environment, one that may broaden her horizons as a teacher. Chiaki is broad-minded, accepting failures as a part of the process, but also spotting when to capitalise on opportunity, as well. Because the cast are able to handle adversity with a calm resolve, the Yuru Camp△ Movie indicates that, strictly speaking, drama isn’t necessary to create a compelling and moving story. Watching people deal with things with a measured assuredness and a methodical approach acts as a fantastic instructor: the Yuru Camp△ Movie presents viewers with a vivid example of what professionalism looks like – all too often, people are often told to be more polite, calmer, more professional, et cetera, only to never be shown what this would look like. Leaders don’t just tell people what to do, but they show people how to get things done, and in this way, the Yuru Camp△ Movie exemplifies how instruction appears. When adversity finds Chiaki, Aoi, Ena, Rin and Nadeshiko, the five regroup by focusing on their tasks and where appropriate, talk it out with the people around them. In one instance, while struggling with a tough assignment at work, Rin ends up accepting an invitation from Nadeshiko to go on a hike, allowing her to clear her head, and later, when Rin’s motorcycle develops a problem, she listens to her father’s advice about getting it looked at. Similarly, the Yuru Camp△ Movie also shows what taking a step back and regrouping looks like. While their restoration project is suspended, Rin and the others end up helping Chiaki on the archeological project. In getting their hands dirty and seeing how important the Jōmon pottery is towards understanding Japanese history, the group suddenly has an epiphany: if they could be intrigued by Jōmon-era pottery, then there is merit in using the grounds as a chance to increase public awareness of things, too. Again, this revelation is reached not through drama and disagreement, but by exploration and an open mind. The Yuru Camp△ Movie may not have the drama and conflict in other works, but it achieves something of far greater value – this movie is a powerful reminder that in reality, problems are often solved calmly and professionally, as well as by accepting inspiration from even the most unlikely source and knowing when it might be good to take a step back.

One of the Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s most significant conversations is set during Rin and Nadeshiko’s hike to an onsen high in the mountains. Here, in the rejuvenating waters of a hot springs, Nadeshiko reflects on how as adults, they’re working as fully-functioning members of society and have more resources available to them. With this comes additional freedom – Nadeshiko enjoys being able to save up for and buy camping gear that was out of her reach when she’d been a student, while Rin’s earned her full operator’s license and can travel anywhere in Japan. However, even with this newfound freedom, there are still limitations. Rin puts it best: as an adult, freedom comes with an attendant responsibility. In order to have the funds to realise one’s dreams, one must fulfil their obligations to society through their work, and also look after those around them. Similarly, the more one wishes for in their life, the greater responsibility they must undertake. While this does sound overwhelming, Rin acknowledges that the reason why things aren’t overwhelming is precisely because there are people around oneself. At her workplace, Rin has coworkers who support her. With the campground revitalisation project, Rin is working with Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena. She’s never really alone, and this gives her strength. Nadeshiko’s response is that the reward for taking this responsibility is that one is able to bring more joy to others because they now have the resources and know-how to do so. This is why Nadeshiko has no problem in putting in the extra effort, if it can make others smile, and looking back at my own thoughts, this is what gets me up in the mornings, too. I’m an iOS developer by trade, with some experience in Android now, and for me, the joy about mobile development is the fact that I’ve got the knowledge to deliver value to someone, in turn making their day smoother. In my spare time, I tinker with computers, and over the years, I’ve accrued a general set of skills on troubleshooting everything from printer drivers to wireless networks. In the process, I have turned my interests and passions into something that brings home the bacon, while at the same time, generating value for others. It is rare to see an anime movie speak so strongly to my own worldviews, and here in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, it was quite moving to see that the approach I’ve taken in life, a product of both my parents and mentors’ instruction, is the same one that Yuru Camp△ presents as having merit. For me, being an adult is simply the state of being in a position to find fulfilment in delivering value to others and possessing the skillset needed to fulfil one’s obligations and responsibilities to those around them.

Personal Thoughts

In its execution and pacing, the Yuru Camp△ Movie resembles a documentary, not unlike a NOVA special or a Discovery Channel series. Because the Yuru Camp△ Movie lacks any drama, the rising action, climax and deneoument is less pronounced, and as a result, the story feels a lot more relaxed. While perhaps unlike a conventional film, the Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s approach actually ends up being a clever one. In documentaries, filmmakers observe and record with the aim of informing. Because documentaries feature real people, rather than actors, things that are shown are true-to-life. NOVA, for instance, combines interviews with domain experts with archival footage, re-enactments and computer-generated imagery to visualise a concept. In this way, NOVA documentaries are incredibly gripping, walking viewers through complex, intricate disciplines in a highly accessible manner. Oftentimes, NOVA ties in a concept with a narrative. In Lightning!, a NOVA documentary dating back to 1995, lightning research is motivated by a desire to better understand its properties, and a team conducting research on how lightning affects the power grid is shown. Mighty Ships portrays life on commercial vessels, and in some episodes, the focus is on a particular segment of their work. North Star, for instance, was shown on a journey to Anchorage from Portland, and while the journey is fraught with challenge, most severe of which is an engine shutdown resulting from an oil leak, the crews remain professional and composed even when their schedule is threatened. Documentaries are immensely relaxing and educational, making entire worlds accessible to viewers, and for this, NOVA has won awards for their writing and pacing. The Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s portrayal of Chiaki, Nadeshiko, Rin, Aoi and Ena’s journey of reviving a campsite and incorporating a major archeological discovery into their project is strikingly similar, and while the Yuru Camp△ Movie elects to remove the explanatory piece in favour of showing the characters’ daily lives, the film nonetheless ends up evoking the same feeling as a documentary would. It is not difficult to imagine the Yuru Camp△ Movie as a documentary: if the slice-of-life scenes were replaced by interviews with Chiaki and the others, and a few educational vignettes were shown, the film would easily be an engaging piece on Japanese archeology. In this regard, the Yuru Camp△ Movie can be regarded as a quasi-documentary, capitalising on its slower pacing to give insight into details that faster-paced films often skate over and again, speaking to Yuru Camp△‘s overall message that there is merit in taking things slowly, and methodically.

Presenting a larger project that utilises everyone’s interests and skillset is ultimately how director Yoshiaki Kyogoku answers the question of scale within the Yuru Camp△ Movie. The silver screen format represents both opportunity and challenge for anime; a given work is able to explore concepts that benefit from a single, continuous runtime. In the absence of interruptions, momentum can be built up towards a pay-off for viewers. At the same time, having more space to work with also can result in a movie feeling underwhelming if the story doesn’t capitalise on this chance to tell a larger story. Naoko Yamada had expressed that for K-On! The Movie, she wanted to do something of a much larger scale than anything K-On! had previously done, resulting in Yui and the others flying over to London for a graduation trip as she, Ritsu, Mio and Tsumugi worked out a song for Azusa. Here in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, depicting Rin and her friends as adults originally came about as a desire to explore the concept further: in Yuru Camp△‘s first season, Nadeshiko had briefly imagined what things might be like, and Kyogoku ended up feeling that this idea could be utilised to produce the scale he’d been looking for. By presenting the characters as adults, the Yuru Camp△ Movie is able to do something with its story that is suited for the silver screen: everyone now has the skill set and autonomy to participate in a project to create a campsite in a plausible manner, and in turn, this allows the Yuru Camp△ Movie to emphasise how, despite the characters now bearing the hallmarks of working professionals, there is still time for the same heartwarming and joyful experiences that everyone had shared together while they’d been students. The end result is a film that works extremely well for existing viewers: the Yuru Camp△ Movie is an immensely enjoyable ride from start to finish, respectfully incorporating elements that had made Yuru Camp△ so successful, and at the same time, making the most of the movie format to tell a much larger story that is simultaneously encouraging and motivating, definitively showing how after their time as secondary students, each of Nadeshiko, Rin, Ena, Chiaki and Aoi have all done well for themselves and found their own place in the world.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It’s been a while since I last wrote about Yuru Camp△: after the second season concluded, it was announced that there would be a film, but beyond this, very little information was given. Sharp-eyed viewers guessed that, based on the promotional art, the film would be set in the future. By the start of this year, the official Yuru Camp△ Twitter account revealed the movie would come out by summer, and, in an unprecedented move, the Yuru Camp△ Movie remained in theatres only for four months before being available on Amazon Prime Japan. For folks who are curious to watch this movie for themselves, the Yuru Camp△ Movie will become available on Crunchyroll in ten days, on the 24th of November.

  • The fact that overseas viewers had a wait of only five months is nearly unheard of, and in fact, the last time an anime movie came out this quickly was 2010’s Gundam 00: Awakening of the Trailblazer. There doesn’t appear to be any patterns to reliably draw upon when estimating how long it takes for an anime movie to become available on BDs or a streaming service, but with the Yuru Camp△ Movie coming out in just a shade under ten days, I am glad that overseas viewers will have a chance to check things out for themselves now without a brutally long waiting period. Here, the girls camp together during the summer, and Nadeshiko’s beloved gas lamp is visible, being put to good use.

  • Once the Yuru Camp△ Movie sets the stage, things fast forward several years: Rin’s become an editor at a magazine based out of Nagoya, and I would imagine that Rin’s earned a degree in communications or equivalent. A quick look around finds that the average editor makes about 4.9 million yen per year, and given Rin’s practically-minded, I would imagine that she’s doing well for herself. She certainly seems at home with her job, even if there are occasions where work becomes a little trickier. Here, Rin shares a conversation with Kirigaya, a fellow editor who’s a little more experienced than Rin.

  • Nadeshiko is stated to be working in a Tokyo outdoor goods store by official sources, and lives close enough to her workplace so that she can bike there. On a morning with good weather, she can see Mount Fuji from her balcony. Despite working in different parts of Japan now, Rin and Nadeshiko are still close, sharing messages over instant messaging on their smart phones. An indeterminate amount of time has passed, and it’s actually a little tricky to estimate this amount because the Yuru Camp△ Movie gives few indicators of things. For one, the smartphones and tablets are about as sophisticated as they are in the present day.

  • Nadeshiko’s exact position at the Tokyo outdoor goods store isn’t stated, but I imagine that she is an assistant manager, given her conversation with her manager, Komaki. Here, she finishes setting up a floor model for a tent, and when Komaki asks about her upcoming weekend, Nadeshiko states she’ll be visiting family, since Sakura’s back in town. During the events of Yuru Camp△, Sakura had been a post-secondary student, and while somewhat strict towards Nadeshiko, she’d also been quite doting, being willing to drive her to various campsites. Nadeshiko’s conversation with Komaki suggests that she’s still kept up with camping, showing how for some people, their careers and hobbies line up very nicely.

  • Back in the Yuru Camp△ movie, when a young family appears, and the father asks about portable fire stands, Nadeshiko introduces them to some of the models they’ve got in stock. While he’s impressed, the price is a little on the steep side, and the mother asks if it’ll be alright to go camping during the winter with their daughter, when it’s so cold. Nadeshiko suggests that, if they intend to bring their daughter with them on a winter outing, a simpler fire stand may suffice, and while they don’t have more the inexpensive models in stock, a Coleman store across the way will have what they seek.

  • In Yuru Camp△, Nadeshiko had been presented as being fun-loving, but also a bit air-headed and absent-minded. To see her expertly handle some customers and point them in the right direction shows how much she’s grown in the past few years, and while their store won’t be making a sale today, I imagine that the young couple will remember Nadeshiko’s helpfulness and return later if anything does catch their eye. Moments like these are fleeting, but they do much to inform viewers of someone’s character. Coupled with the fact that Nadeshiko’s likely an assistant manager, she is able to look after the necessities, save for the future, and have enough left over to camp with some frequency.

  • By setting up everyone so that the basics are taken care of, the Yuru Camp△ Movie ensures that audiences are able to keep their entire focus on the film’s events, versus worrying about other aspects of the characters’ lives. In a gentle callback to how things started for Nadeshiko, when three secondary school-aged girls walk into the store and begin browsing, one of them takes an interest in a similar gas lamp the same way Nadeshiko had. For their benefit, Nadeshiko gives the three a quick demo, creating a bit of a magic moment that lights their interest in camping gear and the outdoors.

  • After a long day at the office, Rin finally arrives home. With a weekend to herself, Rin’s immediate inclination is to pull out her tablet and begin looking for a potential campsite to check out. I relate to this; whenever I’ve got upcoming time off, I break out Google Maps and begin setting up an itinerary for that day. However, Rin’s plans are interrupted when she receives a notification on her tablet: it’s from Chiaki, and she’s in town. Rin is surprised but ends up heading out to meet her. Here, I note that use of a UIAlertController for delivering a message notification is poor UX: since UIAlertControllers block user interaction, it becomes very disruptive. Apple and Android both use dismissible banners so notifications are seen, but easily dismissed.

  • As it turns out, Chiaki has settled into her new role as a member of the Yamanashi Tourism Promotion Organisation, leaving her previous job as an event planner. The reasons for this aren’t specified, but Chiaki was probably unhappy with where her career was going, and so, desired a change of scenery. After working as a Yuru-chara (ゆるキャラ, literally “loose character”, referring to mascots that promote a region in alight-hearted and approachable fashion), Chiaki is assigned her first full-scale project, Chiaki shows up in Nagoya to brainstorm with Rin and gauge her thoughts on what could be done with a site that has large grounds.

  • Rin suggests a campsite, and this fires Chiaki up immediately. Despite being an adult now, Chiaki is still boisterous and energetic: this part of her personality had been quite off-putting to Rin, and during this meet-up, Rin does show mild signs of irritation at how forward Chiaki is, such as when Chiaki gets closer to Rin so she can take a selfie. When interacting with Chiaki during the first season, Rin had found her unfavourable, but came around after Chiaki walked her out of a trouble spot, Rin’s come around. However, Chaiki’s spontaneity still takes some getting used to, and Rin is surprised that Chiaki has just hailed a taxi bound for Takaori, a small district in Yamanashi located immediately north of Minobu.

  • The drive from Nagoya to Takaori is about three hours, covering a distance of 250 kilometres if one were to take the Kakegawa PA Expressway. Chiaki ends up dropping 92930 Yen for the drive, which corresponds to 860 CAD at the time of writing. By the end of the drive, Rin is left exhausted, although Chiaki is still quite chipper and is quite eager to show Rin around, at least until she falls asleep from exhaustion. Prior to dozing off, Chiaki notes that the area had been a former campsite, but closed five years earlier because its location made it difficult to visit. While Rin warms up with a drink, a quick look at the satellite imagery finds no such campsite here in Takaori: in reality, the site is home to a farmer’s field, and the location seen in the film was tailor-made for the Yuru Camp△ Movie, giving the writers the freedom to push the story in any direction of their choosing without being impacted by real-world constraints.

  • After warming up, Rin takes a look around the site and determines that with a good fixer-upper, the grounds could be rendered suitable as a campsite. She stops to admire the sunrise, and when Chiaki wakes up, she remarks to Rin that she had also thought the could be restored to its former glory as a campsite. Explaining that a job in Yamanashi to promote her home prefecture’s joys seemed more fun, although this did require that she leave Tokyo before she could fully explore the city and its amenities. When Chiaki formally asks Rin to help her out, since the project was going to be given limited resources, Rin says she’ll give it some thought. Longtime viewers of Yuru Camp△ will know that coming from Rin, this means “yes”. Moments later, Nadeshiko appears: it turns out that Chiaki had sent her selfie with Rin to her, along with Ena and Aoi.

  • Awaiting Nadeshiko’s first visit home in a while is a gorgeous crab nabe: this appears to be snow crab sourced from Hokkaido, which is counted as a local delicacy. In contrast to Dungeness crab, snow crab is significantly meatier and has a distinct, briny flavour, whereas Dungeness crab is a bit sweeter. I am a fan of crab and shellfish; a decade earlier, I frequented the Chinook Dining Room’s Sunday Brunch at the Banff Park Lodge Resort Hotel. This was an annual tradition, and besides the usual suspects, the Chinook Dining Room also had all-you-can-eat snow crab, which was remarkably delicious with clarified butter and a dash of lemon juice.

  • Unfortunately, the Chinook Dining Room is now permanently closed: I will need to look up an alternative if I wish to treat my parents to a Sunday brunch with snow crab. Back in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, Nadeshiko and her friends catch up with Sakura and Nadeshiko’s parents for the first time in a while. By the Yuru Camp△ Movie, Sakura’s resemblance to her mother is apparent, although it’s clear that even now, she’s still fond of her sweaters. We recall that Sakura had not particularly liked the cooler winters in Yamanashi and had gone through hand-warmers very quickly, at least until Nadeshiko bought her a reusable hand-warmer.

  • Because of how much time has passed, one can surmise that the Kagamiharas are now fully settled into life in Yamanashi. Here, I will mention that the Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s soundtrack is befitting of a film: composed by Akiyuki Tateyama, the incidental music still has the same aesthetic as the soundtracks for Yuru Camp△‘s two seasons, but there are moments where the music appears to convey, in the mind’s eye, a feeling of scale that is larger than that of the TV series. Until now, I’ve avoided looking at the tracklist, since soundtracks can give away critical story elements in a film.

  • Watching everyone eating something home-cooked, and the ensuing joy it brings all of them, was a reminder of why Yuru Camp△ had been so enjoyable. Food’s long been an integral part of the series, and I’ve found that numerous viewers have similarly found such scenes to be an iconic part of Yuru Camp△: there is something indescribably pleasant and comforting about sharing the food one’s made with the people around them. I am of the mind that food speaks to a people and their values, so seeing the portrayal of food in Yuru Camp△ was a reminder that food is more than just sustenance; it’s an expression of togetherness.

  • Granted, crab is delicious, but separating the meat from the shells is a time-consuming process. Doing it by hand is quite tricky, and over the years, I’ve found that using a nut-cracker and butter knife can make things much easier. In fact, I consider de-shelling them to be a part of the enjoyment. While Chiaki and Nadeshiko’s parents have no trouble using tools to get the meat out of their crab, Nadeshiko struggles with doing things the old fashioned way. It’s a humourous moment that also evokes a feeling of pathos: Nadeshiko loves food, but until now, has only been shown eating things that don’t involve de-shelling, and the process did look like it was giving her some trouble initially.

  • It would appear that Rin’s colourful description of food, on par with Adam Richman of Man v. Food and Noah Cappe of Carnival Eats, has not left her over the years. From her first bite on, Rin savours every moment of this nabe. It’s always fun to watch Rin eat, since her eyes become rendered as fuzzy lines, and her world melts away as she gives herself over to the bliss that pure flavour conveys. As far as food goes, my response is a cross between Nadeshiko’s and Rin’s – I’m not as expressive as Nadeshiko is, but I do give voice to my enjoyment in the same way Rin does.

  • Aoi had been absent from the proceedings, but shows up in time to also partake in the snow crab and nabe. Once lunch is cleared away, they head into Nadeshiko’s old room to discuss Chiaki’s project. Nadeshiko’s belongings have been moved to her new home, but the old furniture is still present. A sight like this speaks volumes to the amount of time that’s passed, but attesting to the Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s focus on the present, the meeting begins immediately, with Chiaki assigning roles to everyone. Nadeshiko becomes the site supervisor, and Aoi takes on the role of scheduling. Ena will take on PR, while Chiaki plans to do the behind-the-scenes work (project management, speaking with committee members and paperwork). Thanks to her knowledge of camping, Rin becomes the project leader.

  • In the time that’s passed, Ayano’s become a motorcycle mechanic, and she works at the same workshop that Rin now takes her bike to for maintenance. Ayano had been an avid motorcyclist, and it appears that her interests have endured; she ends up making a career of her love for motorbikes. Speaking from personal experience, this actually isn’t too far-fetched: when I was in middle school, I was fascinated by all things computer-related, and by university, I ended up choosing a programme that allowed me to study both computer science and biology. This allowed me to eventually pursue a career in mobile development.

  • Computer science is an infinitely fascinating field, and while I am an iOS developer, I do occasionally dabble in other areas. Through things like computer vision, I was able to quickly work out that Chiaki is working out of the Yamanashi Prefectural Government Office in Kofu. Location hunting for the Yuru Camp△ Movie has not been on my mind: the film’s primarily set in Takaori, and Chiaki ends up walking Nadeshiko through how things came to be. During her explanation, a map of the area was shown, and this made it easy to find the campground Chiaki and the others intend to work on. For other locations, using computer vision allowed me to find similar images, and since the Yuru Camp△ Movie follows its predecessors in faithfully depicting real-world landmarks, it was straightforward to find the government office in Kofu.

“Easy, Chiaki. Let’s try not to get fired on the first day.”

–Maverick during the first dogfighting exercise

  • The room Chiaki secures ends up being similar to the Outdoor Activities Club’s old room at Motosu High School, being a narrow space reminiscent of The Matrix Reloaded‘s Industrial Hallway. Perhaps speaking to the fact that everyone’s more mature now, the room is a ways wider, and has a larger window, too. After running into Ginger, a robot designed to play scissors-stone-cloth with people, the brainstorming session begins. Rin’s broken the project into three stages, and to start things off, the kind of visitor best suited for such a campsite must be identified. To make things more efficient, Rin suggests that while they’re researching their target demographic, they can proceed with preparing the site for use. Rin also believes that a registration system for campers would be helpful. Although this lends itself to the work I’m most familiar with (setting up a database and then creating a client for users to interact with), this aspect is not shown in the Yuru Camp△ Movie.

  • When the time comes to get out into the grounds and begin removing the old overgrowth, viewers quickly find that despite being adults, everyone’s still more or less how they had been back in secondary school. Such a moment was done in the story to remind viewers that everyone’s still their old lively selves despite being older, and this firmly establishes that the Yuru Camp△ Movie is stil Yuru Camp△. With this being said, people do retain much of their personality traits from when they were younger. My friends from the health sciences programme and in graduate school, for instance, are still the same people now as they had been when I’d first met them.

  • Initially, Nadeshiko and the others find that it’s back-breaking work to remove the vegetation from the fields, and Rin similarly struggles to remove old branches off the trees. However, as a result of working in the area, Chiaki’s befriended some farmers, including Okazaki. Once he shows Chiaki and her team how to properly operate their scythes and saws, work goes a lot more smoothly. Although brief, the moment shows the importance of being open to knowledge and wisdom from folks who’ve been around the block.

  • When I wrote about the Yuru Camp△ Movie and my expectations for the film back in July, one of my readers commented on the fact that Rin and the others were wearing matching work overalls. Back then, I didn’t have any context as to what was going on, and merely replied that I was glad that spoilers for the Yuru Camp△ Movie were, thankfully, making themselves scarce. In this way, I was able to watch the entire movie at my own pace and appreciate what was going on. As it turns out, the moment mentioned in the aforementioned comment comes after the team’s first day together.

  • To help her with determining how to best layout the campsite at Takaori, Rin decides to kill two birds with one stone; one of her assignments for work is to go and interview some of the staff at various campgrounds for an article she’s working on, and this gives Rin a chance to better understand how each campground is set up to capitalise on its location to appeal to campers. The others are shocked and wish Rin would’ve mentioned this sooner, but grow excited at the prospect of being able to check out Rin’s work. Although Rin notes that her magazine is local to Nagoya, she promises to share the article with everyone once it’s published.

  • Thanks to this assignment, Rin is able to visit the campsites that were seen in Yuru Camp△: besides Koan Campground (where Rin learns the campground manager prefers to take a hands-off approach and keep the site as pristine as possible), Rin also swings by Pine Wood (which Nadeshiko visited with Chiaki and Aoi) and Suimeiso Camping Ground on the shores of Lake Shibire. These moments are a clever callback to Yuru Camp△, the same way that Top Gun: Maverick featured references to the original Top Gun, such as bringing back Danger Zone in the opening, and Tom Cruise’s signature aviator bomber jacket. After her assignment comes to a close, Rin feels that it might be a good idea to repurpose existing facilities and structures in creative ways, as they’re already a part of the area. When reading Rin’s messages, Aoi wonders if they might be able to incorporate a play area and jungle gym so the site is also children-friendly, feeling that recycling elements would be budget friendly, too.

  • As the group shares messages, the list of ideas begins to grow, and Ena feels it’d be nice to have a space for pets, too. Chiaki ends up compiling them and suggests that talking to locals about scavenging any unused items that could be used would be a good idea. With everyone’s suggestions accounted for, Chiaki’s supervisor approves of her proposal and gives her permission to push on ahead. In this scene, Chiaki’s heartbeat can be heard, showing that how, despite her confidence when speaking with her friends, there’s always that uncertainty and doubt associated with presenting an idea to a superior. A year ago, I experienced the same when pitching an idea to gradually introduce MVVM and current libraries into our mobile offerings. This meeting was with the company’s top brass, and while I was confident that this approach would improve maintainability in the project, a part of me wondered if there’d be resistance.

  • In the end, my proposal was approved, and I was given permission to begin swapping out the old code. In the past year, I’ve been able to replace an ancient networking library with a newer one, and added a wrapper on top of this using the decorator pattern, making it much easier to make network calls now. In addition, the authentication system has been decoupled, making it much easier to add new steps like 2FA once it’s needed. Taking risks like these and stepping up is how one grows in their career, and it’s fantastic to see the everyone in the Yuru Camp△ Movie doing this. Here, Rin is working on this side project while visiting her parents back home as the New Year approaches.

  • With everyone so focused on their project on top of their usual work, time flies, and in the blink of an eye, it’s the new year. I imagine that for this group of friends, visiting the shrine at Mount Minobu has become something of an annual tradition. In Yuru Camp△ 2, Nadeshiko had been absent since she’d been out delivering New Year greeting cards, but here in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, she’s able to join everyone. Just like old times, Akari also joins, and she’s now attending an arts institute in Tokyo. Akari was a primary student back in Yuru Camp△, and a decade later, she’d be 19.

  • Akari’s age is how I estimated the amount of time that’s elapsed between Yuru Camp△ and the Yuru Camp△ Movie: since the characters’ ages are never stated to ensure the story is timeless, one can still work things out with a little bit of reasoning. As a post-secondary student, Akari is more mature, but retains her playfulness, and evidently, still remembers hassling Chiaki for New Year’s money as a bit of a light-hearted joke. For this New Year’s visit, instructor Minami is able to join them, as well. I imagine that Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi had left a favourable impression on Minami, since they’re still in touch. Again, I draw on my own experiences: ever since graduating from secondary school, I’m surprised my old instructors still remember me: in one instance, I still act as a volunteer judge for the in-school science fair for my old biology instructor’s current school.

  • While ascending the stairs, as the others discuss their plans for the campsite, Minami shares a conversation with Aoi about the latter’s school seeing a decrease in enrollment. Although this would mean Aoi’s school may face closure as the student population declines, Aoi appears to be prepared for this and thanks Minami for her support. However, the moment contrasts sharply with Chiaki promising to hang out with Minami for a drink in the future: Minami’s love for alcohol hasn’t changed, and now that Chiaki’s above the age of majority, she’s able to partake, too. Moments like these are what make the Yuru Camp△ Movie fun: they highlight how things may change in our lives, but at the same time, other things remain comfortingly familiar.

  • As the six make their New Year’s prayers, a calm steals over the Yuru Camp△ Movie; Chiaki and the Outdoor Activities Club had been the rowdy, rambunctious side of things back in Yuru Camp△, so seeing everyone during a quieter moment creates a significant contrast with the anime’s original run. Showing a New Year’s shrine visit here in the Yuru Camp△ Movie was also meant to act as a reminder of how quickly time is moving. In a process such as bringing a new campsite to fruition, the passage of time is often blurred. In a documentary, a narrator will often provide an indicator of how much time has passed, but here in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, more subtle cues are used.

  • One of my favourite moments in the Yuru Camp△ Movie was when Nadeshiko operates an excavator, which really drove home the point that as adults, Nadeshiko and her friends have access to more tools than would’ve been possible during their time as students. Here in Alberta, one must have certification in order to use an excavator, but the requirements aren’t terribly steep: one can take a programme and get certified over the space of 90 hours. In Yuru Camp△ 2, Rin had worried about what would happen to Nadeshiko should she ever try for a motorcycle license, but as it turns out, Nadeshiko now has a driver’s license and earned her certification to operate heavy machinery, too.

  • Similarly, Chiaki uses a bladed trimmer to accelerate clearing away the old vegetation. The grass cutters I’m used to using have a string, and although the string breaks easily, such trimmers are lightweight and easily manoeuvred into tight spaces: for small jobs, a string trimmer is more than enough, whereas a bladed trimmer is suited for heavy duty jobs. Showing that even the boisterous Chiaki adhering to best practises in using a bladed trimmer is one more sign that this team is prepared for their tasks, and better equipped to handle things. We recall that back in Yuru Camp△ 2, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena had underestimated the winter temperatures at Lake Yamanaka and found themselves in a bit of a bind until Minami bailed them out.

  • While enjoying afternoon tea alone, Rin catches up on her friends’ progress. With the power tools and heavy equipment at their disposal, Ena, Chiaki and Aoi feel that the landscaping work will finish more quickly than expected. Rin begins to feel a little pressure now that the campsite is getting closer and closer to being ready for the new elements to be installed, but here, she’s still looking as relaxed as can be. Her old habits of enjoying sweets clearly hasn’t changed, and it suddenly hits me that being an editor for a local publication would be a superb occupation, since it would allow one to experience a variety of local attractions and event in order to write about and promote them. With this being said, I’ll stick to my current career path: while I love exploring and trying things out, my writing style is ill-suited for magazines and the like.

  • Slowly, but surely, the formerly derelict grounds begins to transform into a campground. For the viewer’s benefit, Akio Ōtsuka provides the narration to give an additional bit of context as to what everyone’s doing: once the overgrowth is cleared away, both with machines and by hand, Nadeshiko uses the excavator to level the ground and ensure that the camping space is comfortable for visitors. Because the area has steppes, stairs are added in to make it easier to climb the slopes, and work begins on the old building to transform it into a usable space.

  • In Japan, haikyo (ruins) are commonplace because of abandonments resulting from overly-ambitious projects failing to generate profits, and excessive costs associated with demolishing unsuccessful developments. Back during the Price Asset Bubble, developers sunk fortunes into projects, hoping that their investment would yield a hefty return, but when the bubble burst in the 90s, developers were left with constructions that they had no idea what to do with. More often than not, it was easier to abandon their projects and leave them to the elements. However, the Yuru Camp△ Movie shows that old structures can be renovated and refitted for reuse, saving on construction costs. Here at the campground, it’s clear the old facilities are still structurally sound, so reusing them allows Chiaki and her team to save on costs.

  • While work is important, so is taking strategically-placed breaks. This aspect of the Yuru Camp△ Movie was another indicator of how far everyone’s come since their secondary school days: although Nadeshiko and Chiaki, in particular, appeared to be slackers who much preferred having fun to focusing on their studies (Aoi, Ena and Rin are more serious about their studies, and grades were never a problem for them), as adults, both Nadeshiko and Chiaki are shown as competent, hard workers. I have long felt that academics is by no means a gauge of one’s ability, and while some folks may not have a good head for numbers, they will certainly possess other skills and talents.

  • This is why I have a great respect for folks in trades and services: those careers require skills that I lack (for one, I’m terrible with my hands), and society require people to fill those roles. When I watch people working with their hands, there’s always a sense of satisfaction in seeing them succeed; here Rin tests the newly outfitted plumbing and is pleased to see things working, reminding me of Steven Rinella bringing his Alaska cabin back online for a fishing and hunting trip in MeatEater. With his experience, he quickly gets the water flowing, although in his haste, forgot to close one of the valves to the water heater. This moment shows how even deft hands sometimes make mistakes, and moreover, shows that while mistakes are a part of the process, experts know how to swiftly handle things.

  • In the Yuru Camp△ Movie, Chiaki and the others forget to account for the fact that there’s wildlife in the area, and in becoming careless with their food and waste, attract animals into the campsite. This poses a problem for visitors; if wild boars show up, it would make the campground quite unsafe. Unsure of what their culprit is, Aoi, Ena and Chikai decide to rig Ginger up for a reconnaissance mission. In my neck of the woods, campgrounds and parks usually have bear-proof trash cans: all park visitors are required to dispose of their waste in these containers, which are extremely rugged and prevent odours from getting out. However, while it is tempting to suggest these for the campground, buying enough of these containers could become quite expensive, with each container going for anywhere from 1600 to 2600 CAD.

  • In the end, it turns out that their intruders are Nyctereutes viverrinus, or more commonly, the tanuki. While wildlife can be a concern, the tanuki isn’t outright dangerous like wild boars, and proper measures in keeping food and waste secure will be enough to ensure the comfort and safety of campers. By this point in time, the wiring has also been back online, and there’s electricity at the campsite buildings now. Enough of the basic infrastructure is in place for a rudimentary campsite, and everyone decides to give the site a test run.

  • Ena brings Chikuwa out to accompany them on this test run. Back in Yuru Camp△, Chikuwa had been young, but a full decade later, Chikuwa has become an elderly dog. Although he’s still adorable, his age is apparent: he walks more slowly and is no longer quite as easy to excite as he’d been previously. Back in Yuru Camp△ 2, Rin and Ena had shared a conversation about mortality: for Ena, while she knows that Chikuwa’s time is finite, she plans to simply make every day count. Chikuwa is a long-haired chihuahua, and chihuahuas have a life expectancy of anywhere from twelve to twenty years, so it was nice to see Chikuwa still around by the events of the Yuru Camp△ Movie.

  • Halfway into the Yuru Camp△ Movie, viewers are treated to the first bit of camping as everyone prepares to camp together. Recalling the 980 yen tent that Chiaki and Aoi had initially run with, it’s clear that things have come a long way, and Chiaki’s now brought all of the equipment needed to comfortably accommodate five. In secondary school, Chiaki, Aoi and Nadeshiko had become quite envious of the fancier setups some of their fellow campers had, especially when compared to their more basic gear. However, Yuru Camp△ had placed a great deal of emphasis on ingenuity and utilising what one has available to them to the best extent possible.

  • The Yuru Camp△ Movie differs in this regard: as adults, since everyone’s got more resources available to them, equipment and cost are no longer an issue. This opens the floor up, and here, Ena, Rin and Chiaki admire their handiwork after setting up their five-person tent. I still remember a time when the Outdoor Activities Club had rocked two tents when going on their first-ever adventure together, and thanks to Nadeshiko losing a game of scissors-stone-cloth, she wound up sleeping alone. Similarly, when Rin and Nadeshiko had camped at Lake Shibire, Rin initially turned down Nadeshiko’s request to share a tent, only to end up sharing a tent with Nadeshiko after spotting what she believed to be a yōkai.

  • The Nadeshiko of today is likely to have overcome her fear of the darkness, and here, Aoi and Nadeshiko head off to buy ingredients for dinner at the nearest Ogino (Hagino in Yuru Camp△). When it turns out there’s a big discount on salmon, Aoi and Nadeshiko gain a stroke of inspiration and end up picking up several packages. The idea of buying something on discount because it’s close to its best before date is a well-known “life hack” (any action that makes housework, cooking or everyday activities more efficient, popularised by blogger Merlin Mann in 2005), and I do this all the time: if I’m going to eat something that night, or the next morning, saving 30 percent for it is fantastic.

  • If I had to guess, it’s probably February or March by this point in time: the local vegetation is still quite dead-looking, and the characters’ outdoor wear suggest that it’s a little brisk. Winter camping is a mainstay in Yuru Camp△, and in regards to this, I do wonder if the upcoming third season will give the characters a chance to camp together during the warmer months of the year. The Yuru Camp△ Movie had opened with everyone together during the summer, so it’s clear that Rin and the others are willing to camp during the summer; perhaps the third season will portray how Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club warm up to summer camping.

  • I imagine that, ever since the brush with disaster at Lake Yamanaka, Chiaki’s been a lot more mindful of the weather and meticulous about keeping an eye of temperatures so they can prepare accordingly. In the Yuru Camp△ Movie, Chiaki’s purchased a wood stove, similar to the one that the Iidas had. While an inexpensive model can be had for as little as 85 CAD, higher-end wood stoves for tents can cost up to 500 CAD.  Serious camping is a bit of a pricier hobby, but more sophisticated equipment can make it easier to maintain comfort. For this reason, I find that when it comes to one’s career and hobbies, there is merit in investing in better gear if one has the means to do so. This is why I ended up going with an iPhone 14 Pro: the additional capabilities may come in handy somewhere down the line.

  • Since it’d been quite busy as of late (I’ve spent most of my work hours investigating an algorithm for automatically populating stack views), and with the cold weather really settling in, I’ve not had much of a chance to test the iPhone 14 Pro’s Photonic Engine, but over the past weekend, I capitalised on the gorgeous weather to go for a walk in the park I’ve not been to since moving in. The Photonic Engine appears to be making my photographs significantly more vivid: whether it be the mountains, or the old side of town, the skies in my photos are much bluer than I remember seeing. Back in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, after most of the work is done, Rin goes around looking for firestarter and comes upon the adorable talking pine cones that had appeared in both seasons of the anime.

  • Par the course for Aoi and Nadeshiko’s cooking corner, once the salmon soup’s been squared away, Aoi brings out round two: ishikari nabe with yuba noodles. Ishikari nabe, or, Salmon Hot Pot, originates from Hokkaido and is named after the Ishikari River, which is famous for its salmon run. Despite its relatively simple mode of preparation, ishikari nabe is flavourful and perfect for warming people up on brisk days. Over in my neck of the woods, salmon isn’t quite as common on account of us being a land-locked province, but on the other hand, we do have beef as a hearty component of a winter meal. This past weekend, I ended up hanging out with my best friend, and we swung by the farmer’s market. Having enjoyed poutine here on several occasions this year, I decided to try their Korean BBQ place instead and ordered the La Galbi special, which consists of Korean-style BBQ beef short ribs with tempura shrimp and deep-fried vegetable dumplings on a bed of fresh coleslaw and rice.

  • This meal was as delicious as it was colourful, and it took me a while to make my way through the savoury dumplings, fluffy and crispy tempura and the succulent, flavourful galbi, which I enjoyed as much as Rin did her meal. My best friend went with another vendor’s Nashville Fried Chicken Poutine. Over lunch, we shared conversation about local eats and our enjoyment of music from the 80s, which had been playing in the background. Once lunch concluded, the skies cleared up, and we swung by the Devonian Gardens before making our way over to Chinatown; my friend had been looking to pick up a few Gundam model kits from the shops down there. We haven’t done this since our university days, so being back down there and browsing through the kits was quite nostalgic, reminding us both of a time when our obligations were primarily to study and perform well in our courses.

  • As the evening sets in, the campers begin exchanging thoughts on how their campground is handling, and Chiaki notes that one thing they’ll probably have to address is the distance campers must walk to the nearest bathroom, while Ena finds that some of the paths are still a little bumpy, making it easy to trip. Similarly, Nadeshiko believes the stairs could make it difficult for campers on the higher terraces if they have lots of luggage. While this camping trip appears to be for fun, it actually serves an important function and is equivalent to end-to-end testing, ensuring things work as expected. While there aren’t any breaking issues, some valuable points of feedback have been identified.

  • For Rin, however, the lingering question of what to do with the dome-like structure remains on her mind. When the five swing by during the night, they find that underneath the stars, it looks like a planetarium of sorts. Here, Nadeshiko comments on how sometimes, with the right mindset and creativity, one can find joys even in the challenges. The Yuru Camp△ Movie is a ways more direct with its messages than its predecessors: subtlety has been one of Yuru Camp△‘s many strong points, but I imagine that in the context of a film, director Yoshiaki Kyogoku and author Afro wanted to be more forward about why the camping project speaks to the relationship between freedom and responsibility that accompanies adulthood.

  • According to Chiaki, the structure had formerly been used as a bird enclosure, but flaws in its design led to the birds escaping. The suggestion that this enclosure could be a planetarium is an intriguing one and would, in fact, bring to mind the heated Aurora Domes seen in Kiruna, Sweden. These are a form of glamping and provide visitors with a highly luxurious experience. Incorporating such a structure at Takaori would provide a unique experience, but the materials to cover the dome and render it comfortable would be pricy. For now, the group finds that the structure continues to remain an enigma with respect to how it’ll eventually be used.

  • Thanks to her imbibing a little too much alcohol, Chiaki falls asleep shortly after, and things take a turn for the unexpected when Chikuwa manages to find a piece of ceramic at the site. Although Nadeshiko believes it’s an ordinary flower pot, Ena wonders if it’s worth taking a closer look on the off chance it could be something of value. Everyone subsequently turns in for the evening, and again, viewers are given a look at how different things are for this adult group of campers; previously, Chiaki would suggest they watch Netflix late into the night, but by now, everyone’s responsible enough to look after themselves, and they turn in at a reasonable hour.

  • When Chiaki returns to the office and has a chance to check their Gantt chart, she finds things are proceeding ahead of schedule. However, her supervisor arrives and informs her that the ceramic fragments that Chikuwa found may potentially be pottery from an earlier period and therefore, of archeological interest. To this end, work on the campground is to be paused for a few weeks while experts examine these fragments to determine their origin. The gloomy skies here signify a bit of a turning point in the Yuru Camp△ Movie: things had been very smooth until now, so this announcement comes as a bit of a curve ball.

  • As a pet groomer, Ena is very busy, and for the first bit of the Yuru Camp△ Movie, she’d been swamped and unable to show up. Ena now lives in Yokohama, and she clearly enjoys her work. A quick look around finds that in Alberta, there are no special qualifications one must have  in order to be a pet groomer, but folks looking to get into this profession benefit from having a fondness of animals and the know-how in handling them, as well as certification. Assuming something similar holds true for Japan, Ena is probably certified and licensed, with some post-secondary education in biology to help her along in her career.

  • For Aoi, another school day draws to a close, and she says goodbye to her students. I’ve heard surprise at the fact that Aoi’s become an primary school instructor: it’s a fulfilling but tricky occupation in that children can be quite unruly. Back when I’d been of a primary school age, I’d given the instructors at my school no shortage of trouble when I was in my first year. When my second year instructor figured out the fastest way to get me focused was to task me with reading a book or exploring a topic at my own pace, they found that I was no longer a trouble student and in fact, had a modicum of talent. To this day, I credit my primary school instructors for having the patience to determine how to bring out my best, so Aoi’s profession is one that definitely has the potential to shape future minds.

  • When the experts return with the results and indicate that the pottery fragments actually date back to the Jōmon period, and moreover, how the entire site is littered with these artefacts, the entire campsite project is put on indefinite suspension as experts come in to excavate them. Chiaki struggles to break the news to Nadeshiko, Rin, Ena and Aoi, feeling that she’d gone and wasted their efforts as a result of how things had turned out. This is the Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s tensest moment, but because the film is quite unlike a conventional story, it comes just a shade over halfway into the film.

  • Ordinarily, in a film of this genre, the rising action segues into the climax closer to the end as the protagonists face an unexpected hurdle as they near their goal, but in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, the film’s documentary-like setup means that the surprise happens much earlier. The pacing in the Yuru Camp△ Movie is actually quite unique in this regard: Rin, Ena, Nadeshiko and Aoi are heartbroken to hear this news, but everyone also realises that they still need to focus on their other commitments, bringing to mind how professionals and experts handle adversity in reality.

  • While the pacing in the Yuru Camp△ Movie comes across as a bit slow because the story doesn’t have rising action in a conventional sense, it is not an issue because the movie is more similar to a documentary. As such, I disagree with Anime News Network’s assertion that the Yuru Camp△ Movie “runs a little too long given the plot’s simplicity” consisting of “two hours of just pure vibes”, suggesting that the only viewer who will enjoy this movie is “who can eagerly watch half a season’s worth of material in one sitting”. The problem with this claim is two-fold: first, the reviewer is being dismissive of the learnings that accompany Rin, Chiaki et al. as they go through the process of bringing a campsite to life as “simple”. The problems the five face aren’t crippling and do not create drama, but they represent a mature, measured portrayal of how adults go about problem-solving.

  • In addition, Anime News Network’s reviewer implies that the Yuru Camp△ Movie is not likely to be enjoyable for most viewers. The tilt towards negativity is off-putting to readers, who may end up skipping the film altogether if they accept Anime News Network’s review at face value. I prefer to let readers know of who would enjoy a given work the most instead, since this leaves readers with the agency to determine if they fall into such a group. Here in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, the film is evidently for anyone who enjoyed Yuru Camp△, as well as folks who like coming-of-age stories like The Aquatope on White Sand. I find that this is the more sincere way of doing a review, since it is respectful to readers, versus preemptively judging them and telling them how they ought to think.

  • Back in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, Aoi bids her old school farewell: since she works out of a rural area, declining attendance means it is more economical to have Aoi transfer over to a school with a larger number of students. Although Aoi is sad to say goodbye to her first post as an instructor, she’s also aware of how moving will provide her with new opportunities. This secondary story was reminiscent of The Raccoons‘ “Making the Grade” episode, which had something similar happen, and like Aoi, Ms. Primrose ends up encouraged to take advantage of the move to learn new things after being spurred on by Bentley. In the Yuru Camp△ Movie, Chiaki is here for Aoi, and despite the melancholy weather, the conversation the pair share lightens up the moment considerably.

  • The largest aspect of the Yuru Camp△ Movie that Anime News Network skates over completely is defining what precisely being an adult means. The Yuru Camp△ Movie is very direct about this, but the reviewer only mentions that “adult responsibilities play a big part in the film”. What exactly constitutes “adult responsibilities” is never mentioned, and as such, I’ll step up to the plate instead. The Yuru Camp△ Movie indicates that as adults, people have full agency to conduct themselves in the manner of their choosing, and in fulfilling their obligations, they are afforded with the freedom of experiencing the world to the fullest extent possible.

  • In the context of the Yuru Camp△ Movie, it means that, even when the characters are dealt a bad hand, they roll with things, drawing upon experience and support from one another to make the best of a situation. Back at work, for instance, Nadeshiko encounters the three secondary students again. While doubtlessly saddened by the campsite project suspended, she still has a responsibility to put in her fullest effort at work: after speaking with the students, who want to go a camping for their graduation trip but don’t have prior experience, Nadeshiko walks them through how they can start small and get a feel for things. Hearing the students thinking of bringing instant noodles brings back memories, bringing a smile to Nadeshiko’s face.

  • Anime News Network suggests that, even if the campsite project hadn’t succeeded, the film would still succeed in conveying its themes. Upon closer inspection, this is untrue: had this happened, the Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s theme would change to be “a part of being an adult is knowing how to handle disappointment”. Some documentaries do have this occur: immensely complex projects may fail to go exactly as planned, but the participants will still have gained something valuable, whether it is new data that creates the basis for a new approach or attempt. However, in the case of the Yuru Camp△ Movie, this wouldn’t work because the film already shows how the characters handle failure; stopping things here would leave the movie feeling empty. The Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s ability to convey its messages is contingent on Nadeshiko and her friends succeeding in completing their campsite project: this ultimately serves to illustrate how important it is to be able to take a step back and regroup before returning to an especially challenging problem.

  • When Rin finds herself exhausted from an especially busy period (which gives her a vivid dream), she finds herself accepting Nadeshiko’s invite to a hike. I can speak to the importance of doing this: back in June, I began working on modernising some networking libraries, but one of the challenges I faced were the fact that some of the endpoints constantly returned errors. I set that project aside since it was an improvement, turned my attention to other work and returned a month later. Since I had some time to give things some thought, I was able to clean my code up and use the right method calls in my own networking wrapper, resulting in something that worked. This is something that mental health guides recommend, and seeing this portrayed in the Yuru Camp△ Movie was an encouraging show of how taking a step back and coming back later with a fresh set of eyes is an effective method for problem solving.

  • While Nadeshiko and Rin are out on their hike, Ena takes Chikuwa out for a walk, and here, Ena encounters another dog-walker taking her puppy for a stroll. While the puppy is energetic and lively, Chikuwa feels laid-back, content to take things at his own pace. However, mid-walk, Chikuwa suddenly breaks into a trot, and while Ena finds this unexpected, her world suddenly becomes warmer. This shows how life can still be full of surprises. The symbolism in the Yuru Camp△ Movie might not be uncommonly poignant or ground-breaking, but it is well-done and speaks well enough to the messages that the film seeks to convey.

  • As it turns out, while Nadeshiko had been taking a break one day, Sakura had messaged her about a hike that may interest her: it’s to Yatsugatake Honzawa Hot Spring in the Yatsugatake mountains of Nagano. Advertised as the highest outdoor onsen in Japan, it’s got an elevation of 2150 metres, this hot spring and is rich in sulfur, calcium and sodium. The journey here is a lengthy one, requiring a two-and-a-half hours to reach from the trailhead. Since the Yuru Camp△ Movie was nice enough to name the location, finding it proved to be a breeze, and here the pair stop to enjoy some instant noodles. While Nadeshiko’s excellent cooking means that Rin’s been able to enjoy wonderful meals with everyone, sometimes, even the more inexpensive, convenient options can be quite tasty, too.

  • As it’s still early in the year, snow covers the higher elevations, requiring that the pair don crampons and make use of trekking poles to continue. Attention to details like these is what makes the Yuru Camp△ Movie a worthwhile watch: I’ve previously mentioned in my Yama no Susume posts that, as a casual hiker, I don’t make use of trekking poles because they’re one additional piece of equipment to carry while out and about, and I primarily hike during the spring and summer, when the trails are relatively free of ice and snow. Having said this, winter hikes can be beautiful, although for safety’s sake, things like crampons and trekking poles would be useful.

  • Here, Rin and Nadeshiko reach the Honzawa Hot Spring Lodge. The accommodations up here are spartan but cozy, the lodge serves meals to visitors, and there’s actually a campsite nearby, as well. This location isn’t Rin and Nadeshiko’s final destination: the outdoor onsen itself is located a little further down the path, and while Rin’s finding that she’s sucking air at this point, Nadeshiko’s still in fine spirits: since she bikes to work, she’s retained her fitness over the years, and even as Rin stops to catch her breath, Nadeshiko is all smiles.

  • For me, Rin and Nadeshiko’s trek up to Yatsugatake Honzawa Hot Spring, and their subsequent conversation as they soak in the waters, was the magical moment in the whole of the Yuru Camp△ Movie: it encapsulates the whole of the film’s messages, with respect to being an adult, and what it entails, in a clean and forward manner. After the pair strip down and bathe in the onsen‘s waters, it does feel as though being enveloped in warmth allow the tensions both have experienced to melt away. Although Rin had loved visiting onsen in her youth, she now appreciates them more than ever.

  • The conversation subsequently turns to what being an adult means, and here, I am reminded of my own experiences over the years. Society tends to view adulthood as the point where one’s established themselves in a career and own their own home, as well as being fiscally responsible, but the definition has shifted. Today, I imagine that, were I to speak to ten different people about their thoughts, I’d invariably end up with eleven different thoughts of what makes someone an adult. For me, being adult simply means being someone who is able to generate value to those around oneself. When Rin and Nadeshiko’s conversation reached a similar conclusion, I found myself a little surprised.

  • Nadeshiko indicates that being an adult means being the one to make someone else smile. I believe I’ve mentioned this previously in The Aquatope on White Sand: a child is someone who receives magic, while an adult is someone who delivers magic. This is a remarkably mature and elegant way of describing things, and one I wholly agree with. The only addendum I’d make here is that being an adult also entails accepting, and embracing the fact that one doesn’t need to be “right” all the time, and moreover, it’s okay to be “wrong”; an adult is someone who understands that, in Mark Manson’s words, growth is “[going] from wrong to slightly less wrong” in an incremental fashion. Uncertainty fuels growth, and in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, Rin and Nadeshiko discuss these aspects of their lives.

  • Accompanying the uncertainty and unexpected challenges everyone faces in their respective day-to-day lives is the fact that they’ve got more agency over their choices. As such, the conversation Rin and Nadeshiko share is significant because it clarifies why the Yuru Camp△ Movie exists at all: anime often stop at graduation, since leaving secondary school and either pursuing post-secondary studies or work means to become a full-fledged member of society. This leaves out the responsibilities and obligations that come with being a member of society, and slice-of-life anime set in high school invariably convey a feeling of nostalgia and a yearning for a simpler time. By showing how Rin, Nadeshiko and the others are as adults, the Yuru Camp△ Movie also demonstrates that as an adult, while one’s duties are larger, so too is the opportunity to explore the world on one’s own terms.

  • The conversation viewers see ends on the note that Nadeshiko still looks up to Rin as someone who’d inspired her, and the pair are completely rejuvenated after this adventure. With a fresh set of eyes on things, Nadeshiko and Rin determine that it’s too early to give up without taking at least one more shot at seeing if they can turn things around. I’ve experienced, time and time again, that after taking such an opportunity to regroup and refocus, the “one more shot” ends up being successful. This is because by allowing the mind and body to rest, our challenges are pushed from conscious thought into the unconscious, and the brain has a wonderful talent for running processes in the background. Once the conscious brain stops worrying about a problem, one may find that there may be unexplored solutions to a given problem that is worth trying.

  • Once they’ve had a chance to refresh themselves, Nadeshiko and Rin head back over to Kofu to meet up with Chiaki, Ena and Aoi. The scene here is reminiscent of the first season, when Nadeshiko had headed over to the Outdoor Activity Club and surprised Chiaki by being there. Throughout the Yuru Camp△ Movie, there are numerous callbacks to the original TV series, but speaking to the quality of writing in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, the original TV series is not a prerequisite to follow the film. Both director Kyogoku and Nao Tōyama, who voices Rin, had stated that the film was meant to be a standalone experience.

  • While the Yuru Camp△ Movie had been intentionally written to be a self-contained story that didn’t require a priori knowledge of the series, I remark that any well-written work should be able to stand on its own in this fashion. I had watched both The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers without having seen the previous films in their respective series, and the stories themselves meant that in both cases, the themes were apparent. Instead, watching earlier films simply provides a more profound and complete experience, as well as call-backs that make for an enhanced experience.

  • To drive a bit of humour, Ena’s taken control of Ginger and gives the impression that the Singularity has arrived, creating pandemonium inside the storage room. The Yuru Camp△ Movie remains consistent with the original series with respect to its humour, and each of Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi’s reactions mirror their respective personalities. Seeing the resulting reaction from everyone leads Ena to spot that she’s perhaps gone a little too far this time, and she promptly apologises for the trouble caused. Despite her being a soft-spoken individual, Ena’s got a fondness for pranks.

  • Once things settle down, Chiaki reveals that the solution to their problem is a compromise. By taking a step back and giving things some thought, it becomes clear that rather than seeing the archeological work as an obstacle, they should see it as a feature. Historic artefacts are often seen as attractions, and the fact that this campground has Jōmon-era pottery means people would be curious to see it. As such, selling the idea that this campsite could be a fantastic way of promoting an interest in history would kill two birds in one stone. In order to drive this idea, the archeologist’s work must first conclude, and since they’re behind schedule owing to limited manpower, Chiaki suggests that they also help out with the process.

  • The advantage of doing so is two-fold: besides accelerating the excavation work, Chiaki et al. would also gain some hands-on experience with understanding what the archeologists are doing, as well as learn for themselves the significance of these findings. Keeping an open mind is of great importance, and I’ve long felt that the best way to learn is by getting one’s hands dirty (in a positive sense); being able to get hands-on experience means fully appreciating how different parts of a process relate to the system, and the resulting insights only serve to further one’s knowledge, allowing them to become ever better. This is why, even though I’m primarily a mobile developer, I do my best to learn about the backend and server code supporting my own work.

  • With Chiaki et al. helping out, the excavation proceeds much more quickly, and along the way, everyone learns more about the significance of Jōmon pottery: the Jōmon period is regarded as the earliest major period in Japanese history where there is a significant record of an advanced culture, and Jōmon pottery is characterised by a corded pattern. They are significant because they provide tangible evidence of the transition from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle into an agricultural society: pottery is generally bulky and difficult to move around, and the larger the article, the more likely it is that a given people were settled. While the Jōmon people were once considered unremarkable, today, interest in the people and their culture is revitalised.

  • One of the biggest advantage about helping out was that Chiaki also gained some direct knowledge of the excavation’s significance, and she’s able to create an updated project proposal for the tourism committee. Using Ginger to present everyone’s work up until now, Chiaki suggests sharing and celebrating the site’s historical significance in conjunction with retaining the campground idea, with the site’s “special sauce” being the pottery fragments. Although Chiaki is worried this proposal will be denied, she is surprised, but pleased that it’s been accepted.

  • Now that the campsite project back in full swing, it’s a straight shot to the Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s ending: once the excavation work completes, Chiaki and company will have full access to the grounds again. Like a documentary, this part is the final hurdle to clear, and once past, the film is able to fully focus on everyone’s efforts towards realising their original goal. Here, I remark that, since I’ve long been fond of documentaries, the format the Yuru Camp△ Movie took was not detrimental to my enjoyment; I am aware that I tend to be a lot more easygoing regarding what I enjoy and don’t enjoy, but this is a luxury afforded by the fact that I don’t need to answer someone above me: I have the freedom to write in whatever manner I chose.

  • As summer sets in, Yamanashi’s landscape really comes to life, with verdant vegetation and vivid blue skies signifying the beginning of long days and warm weather, perfectly suited for spending long hours at Takaori ahead of the campsite’s opening to the public. Because Yuru Camp△ had originally been set in the autumn and winter, the landscape in Yamanashi and surroundings are faded. Seeing Yuru Camp△ with such colours was a pleasant surprise and shows just how full of life the prefecture is. The winter colours of Yuru Camp△ had allowed the series to really focus on its characters, and by evening, the world managed to look inviting anyways thanks to the warm, golden-orange glow resulting from lanterns and campfires.

  • Seeing the world a positively aglow with life by summer does have a noticeable impact on the artwork: having grown accustomed to seeing the characters and their food stand out from the background, Yuru Camp△‘s portrayal of summer means that the characters almost get lost behind the greenery and endless summer skies. The sharp contrast between summer and winter means I’m left wondering where season three will go: we had previously seen Yuru Camp△ in the summer, when Rin reminisced about how she first came to begin camping, but these scenes were short-lived, and Rin would only start camping come autumn. However, if a third season leads viewers into spring and summer, the anime could become a lot more colourful.

  • With everyone fired up, it’s time to make the final push ahead of the campground’s opening. Chiaki both organises some of the project staff and helps out with tasks herself. One details I particularly liked was how the implements from the playground at Aoi’s previous primary school were recycled and brought over to Takaori, where they can continue to be used by joyous children alongside the other. The cage-like structure is given a paint job, and Ena’s dream of incorporating a dog park at the campsite becomes a reality, allowing dog owners to let their furry companions run around in a secure area.

  • In this way, summer passes in the blink of an eye, and autumn returns to Yamanashi. With sustained effort from Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi, Ena and other members of the community, the formerly-derelict grounds has become revitalised and refreshed, ready to see its first visitors. Along the way, everyone ends up creating wonderful memories of the project they’d worked so hard together on. The success here is not too different than having an App Store submission pass Apple’s review, watching one’s drafts accepted for publication, or seeing a customer smile, but it is a ways more tangible, making it a powerful way of driving the Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s messages home.

  • After a full summer’s effort, the last element is added to the campsite, turning it into a fully functional destination. A new glass sign is installed, designating this as the Fujikawa Matsubokkuri Camp Base. By this point in time, the reservation system is also online and ready to roll. News of the campsite travels quickly: the families and friends  of those closest to the project have made reservations for opening day, excited to see the project for themselves. Rin’s parents are excited, and are shown preparing ahead of their visit, but when Rin makes to head out first, she notices that her motorcycle’s “Check Engine” light is on.

  • It speaks volumes to how long I’ve been around the block, since I’ve got a “Check Engine” light story of my own to tell: five years ago, when I was driving from Yoho National Park back to Canmore, the Mazda 5’s “Check Engine” came on. Having never dealt with this before, I immediately pulled over at the nearest roadside turnout and phoned home, and after we returned from our trip, we took the Mazda 5 in for an inspection. It turned out that a faulty thermostat was the culprit, but the moment was still quite surprising. In the Yuru Camp△ Movie, Rin’s father suggests that they’ll need to do the same: lacking a code-reader, the problem could be more severe, so he figures it’ll be safer to take Rin’s bike in, and in the meantime, he brings out Rin’s backup ride.

  • On opening date, excitement runs high as Fujikawa Matsubokkuri Camp Base prepares to receive their first guests. However, when the first of their guests report having difficulty finding them, Ena learns that in their excitement, they’d forgotten to put up signs pointing to the campsite. A call from Akari confirms that without the signs, Fujikawa Matsubokkuri Camp Base is tricky to find. There’s no time to put the signs up, so Rin offers to drive out to the intersection where the signs were originally placed and help the visitors find their way. The time has come for an old friend to make a return:

“It’s been a minute, huh, Rin?”
“Oh my God, this thing is so old!”

–Maverick and Rooster’s responses to the Yamaha Vino

  • This is none other than Rin’s old Yamaha Vino, which her father had kept in storage. In a moment that was evocative of Top Gun: Maverick‘s climactic battle, where Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw steal a vintage F-14 Tomcat and get it into the skies, where they manage to take down the pair of hostile Su-57s, Rin uses her Vino to save the day. The return of these museum-pieces was probably the best bit of fanservice in Maverick and Yuru Camp△, respectively showing how both works utilise callbacks to their predecessors as a respectful acknowledgement of how past lessons apply to the present. While there are some similarities between the two films in terms of story and emotional impact, I have heard that Hinataka of Netobaro considered the Yuru Camp△ Movie to be a superior film to even Top Gun: Maverick.

  • I categorically disagree, but the reasons for why will be left as an exercise for later, since this post is already massive. I will say that, luckily for Rin, there’s no flight of Su-57s to engage – unlike Top Gun: Maverick‘s thrilling canyon fight, Rin has no trouble getting out to where the visitors are, and she’s subsequently able to point them in the right direction. To help things along, Chiaki also steps out to guide everyone to the campsite’s parking lot. Once the visitors begin getting a measure of where things are, the launch of Fujikawa Matsubokkuri Camp Base is quite successful. As guests make their way in, they’re greeted by Ginger, the tourism robot Chiaki had been working with. Here, I remark that Sakura’s operating a vehicle with a left-hand drive; in Japan, such vehicles are rare, usually imported, and as such, are higher end, perhaps speaking to Sakura’s love of the road.

  • Fujikawa Matsubokkuri Camp Base’s attractions prove to be a hit. Some of the guests take an interest in the archeological attractions, while the children immediately have fun on the playgrounds. Ena and her father share a moment at the dog park, watching as Chikuwa enjoys the park with other dogs. Although Ena’s father has no speaking role in the Yuru Camp△ Movie, I imagine that he’s proud of his daughter, too. Aoi runs into Minami here, and as it turns out, Aoi’s already settled in with her new position, getting along with her students well.

  • As evening sets in, Rin has a chance to catch up with her grandfather, who praises the campground. As a veteran camper and a man of few words, Hajime’s words carry a considerable amount of weight behind them. Seeing the once-derelict site being put to use here in the Yuru Camp△ Movie brought to mind the idea of revitalisation, a theme that other anime with adult characters have covered: because Japan is seeing a trend where rural youth move to urban areas, the countryside is slowly depopulating. Whether it be Yoshino’s journey to help Manoyama out in Sakura Quest, or Rin’s contributions to Chiaki’s campsite project here in Yamanashi, stories like these are a reminder that with a bit of creativity, the worth of rural areas won’t be lost to people even as the world continues urbanising.

  • Seeing all of the families camping together would be the greatest reward of all following a tumultuous, but instructive and memorable project. The Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s final moments show everyone camping in their own way: from the Kagamihama’s use of a grill, to the Shimas enjoying a nabe, and Minami drinking (in moderation!) with her sister and Akari. Here, I remark that this is probably one of the largest posts I’ve written in a while (16240 words) – although the Yuru Camp△ Movie may prima facie be simple in terms of its story, the film covers a very broad range of topics in a respectful manner, and I did wish to do things justice by affording each topic with a corresponding amount of respect.

  • The Yuru Camp△ Movie had begun with Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena promising to camp together again one day as they’d watched a fireworks display many years earlier. With this major project in the books, the film draws to a close: while stopping to take in the scope of their achievements, the five friends promise to camp together by New Year’s here at Fujikawa Matsubokkuri Camp Base. This time, since everyone’s enthusiasm has been spurred on by this project, it’s evident that these five will have no qualms in planning ahead and fulfilling this promise to one another.

  • Overall, the Yuru Camp△ Movie earns a well-deserved A+ (4.0 of 4.0, and this time around, a perfect 10), having successfully taken the Yuru Camp△ concept and scaled it up for the movie format in a manner that is compelling. Acting as a wonderful show of what responsibility and privileges accompanying being an adult looks like, as well as demonstrating how stepping back and regrouping is so important as a part of the problem-solving process, the Yuru Camp△ Movie is a touching movie that definitively shows that, even after the third season concludes, Ena, Rin, Nadeshiko, Aoi and Chiaki will be doing well. In conjunction with the same level of attention paid to detail as the TV series, the Yuru Camp△ Movie is a worthy experience for fans and newcomers alike. Of course, these are merely my thoughts on the movie, and once the film becomes available to viewers on Crunchyroll, I am hoping to hear from you, the readers, regarding your experiences.

Whole-Movie Reflection and Closing Remarks

For students, the Yuru Camp△ Movie acts as a source of motivation, compelling them into stepping up and doing their best. Throughout Yuru Camp△, it was shown that Chiaki didn’t really have a talent for academics, and Nadeshiko tends to be easily distracted. In spite of this, their passion and energy meant that they found something which works for them, which is an encouraging thought. For folks who are already in the workforce, the Yuru Camp△ Movie is a reminder that they’ve come a long way, and that the responsibility adulthood demands is accompanied by freedom, too. While Rin and Chiaki both occasionally hit roadblocks at their workplaces, being an adult means being able to work out a solution. The film was originally created to be something that both new and veteran viewers could get into; the storyline doesn’t demand any a prior knowledge, and is relatable to a wide range of audiences. However, there are enough callbacks into Yuru Camp△ so that folks familiar with the series will immediately spot them. While the writers indicate that they had wanted to create a film that didn’t require any previous familiarity and deliberately set the series several years after Yuru Camp△ ended, in this regard, the Yuru Camp△ Movie ends up being similar to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises in this regard – both films are are part of a longer series and require some degree of familiarity, but even in the total absence of any sort of background, one could still watch both and follow them well enough. Rather than anything to do with the setting, both The Dark Knight Rises and the Yuru Camp△ Movie succeed because of excellent writing that compels viewers such that they cannot help but become curious to see how their respective work’s problems are resolved. In the Yuru Camp△ Movie, the combination of lovable and familiar faces, coupled with a story that is respectful of everyone’s abilities while at the same time, still within a realm everyone is comfortable with, artwork and animation that is of an even higher quality than had been seen in Yuru Camp△, and solid music and voice acting, the Yuru Camp△ Movie ends up being a home run. This film was a bit of an unexpected surprise, since it technically is an epilogue set after the series, but on the other hand, it clarifies that, even after the events of the upcoming third season, everyone in Yuru Camp△ will land on their feet, allowing said third season to focus purely on the adventures that follow Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s experiences after their trip to the Izu Peninsula without troubling viewers with what happens in post-secondary and beyond. This aspect of the Yuru Camp△ Movie made it especially enjoyable – it felt as though the characters are growing up alongside the viewers, creating a very strong bond to the series and its events.

20 responses to “Yuru Camp△ Movie (Eiga Yuru Camp△): An Anime Film Review, Reflection and Full Recommendation, Remarks on Reconciling Agency and Responsibility in Adulthood

  1. Michael E Kerpan November 14, 2022 at 18:28

    Thaanks for the review. I look forward to this showing up eventually on Crunchyroll — as it does not seem like this will get any sort of theatrical distribution (unlike the Takagi-san movie).

    Like

    • infinitezenith November 14, 2022 at 19:25

      November 24 is the date to mark on your calendar 🙂 I actually wish more anime movies would do what the Yuru Camp△ Movie did, since it makes it significantly more accessible; when they do any sort of theatrical screenings out here, I always get shafted, without exception.

      I remember back with Madoka Magica: Rebellion, the only screenings in Calgary were those I couldn’t make. One screening ran on the night of an exam, and the other ran on a Sunday afternoon, when I was helping out at the dōjō. Similarly, when Your Name was shown, there was a single screening on a Wednesday afternoon at two. I was at work, and I wasn’t about to take a vacation day just for this movie, especially not when they only announced the screening day a day before it was set to happen (and I need to notify my supervisor of one-day vacations about a week in advance!).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fred (Au Natural) November 15, 2022 at 00:18

    This is going to be great! I loved the series.

    Like

    • infinitezenith November 16, 2022 at 20:34

      I hope you will enjoy this one! There’s only eight more days left before it hits Crunchyroll (along with a few other movies) – besides rewatching this, I’m also curious to check out Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night. This is the best way to get anime movies out to us overseas viewers: a short theatrical period, and then making it available on streaming services!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. David Birr November 15, 2022 at 19:03

    A translator’s note in Volume 12 of the manga reveals that Japanese has a term for posting delicious-looking pictures such as that crab nabe: “meshi tero” (飯 テロ), “food terrorism.”

    “…Rin finds herself exhausted from an especially busy period (which gives her a vivid dream)…”
    Right; I’m imagining the first landing by humans on a planet of another star, and … “It’s her again; Shimarin’s beaten us to Alpha Centauri!”

    Like

    • infinitezenith November 16, 2022 at 20:31

      I’m actually very fond of doing this with some of the food places I check out. Here’s some examples of the things I’ve enjoyed on some of my adventures.




      Like Nadeshiko, I rather enjoy eating, and it’s always fun to cherish these memories. I guess that makes me an expert menshi tero, then!

      Regarding Rin’s dream, it’s actually a bit of a funny one – I don’t think it counts as a spoiler, so I’ll go ahead and describe what happens: she’s at work and eating some of the sweets Kirigaya brought her, but they multiply and come to life, performing a bit of a musical and convincing Rin to head out. This is an adorable moment that suggests how busy Rin’s been, and once she wakes up, she receives a care package of sorts from home, and a message from Nadeshiko.

      Shimarin and dancing peanuts

      Like

      • David Birr November 19, 2022 at 14:54

        You FIEND! [chuckle]

        That issue of the manga, by the way, features an extended flashback … with open admission that some of the details are NOT as they actually happened. It takes a wrecking ball (or a load of dynamite) to the fourth wall, as well.

        Like

        • infinitezenith November 20, 2022 at 22:43

          I’ve fallen a little behind on the manga, but with the fact that I’m being asked to use all of my remaining vacation time, I expect to have time in December to myself. I hope to continue with the manga (I’ve finished everything up to volume ten so far) and look forwards to reaching twelve!

          Like

        • Michael E Kerpan November 28, 2022 at 17:31

          The latest volume of the manga was definitely a hoot. The most audacious ever for the series in the way it presented its story.

          Like

  4. Amyus November 20, 2022 at 07:47

    A delightful film, in my opinion, and I can’t fault a single second of it. In a way it has a bittersweet quality, seeing the, now adult girls moving on with their lives and yet still managing to join up again to take part in a worthwhile project that will not only benefit them, but also the community at large. However, I had the feeling that this was a signing-off for the franchise; a love letter to the many loyal fans who have taken this journey with the girls. If this proves to be the case then at least Yuru Camp has gone out on a high…although Rin’s proposed ‘How Far Will My Scooter Take Me?’ project may have some mileage in it yet! We’ll just have to see. Thank you for your lengthy analysis. It was a joy to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • infinitezenith November 20, 2022 at 22:46

      If memory serves, there is going to be a third season of Yuru Camp△: this was announced with the movie’s release to Amazon Prime Japan.

      I imagine that the movie was meant to be a capstone of sorts, but one intended to show viewers that everyone finds their way as adults. Since we know for a fact that everyone’s futures are assured, it leaves the third season to give everyone a chance to camp to their heart’s content without leaving open what the future brings. This is merely my speculation, but if it holds any weight, then Yuru Camp△‘s third season will continue in the vein of its predecessors: relaxing, informative and adorable 🙂

      Like

  5. Michael E Kerpan November 28, 2022 at 17:35

    Finally managed to see this courtesy of Crunchyroll.

    I knew this was going to feature the camping crew as grown-up working women. But the nature of the story was not at all what I would have imagined. Lots of focus on their non-camping lives and on their special lets-make-our-own-camp project. A few spots were a little slow, but mostly this was utterly delightful. Looking forward to the next anime season,,,,

    Liked by 1 person

    • infinitezenith November 29, 2022 at 21:56

      The release to Crunchyroll was probably the best decision anyone’s made in a long time: the Yuru Camp△ Movie is precisely how anime movies need to be scheduled. It ensures the maximum number of viewers can see it, and in a timely fashion (i.e. while everyone’s excitement is high). The folks distributing Girls und Panzer: Das Finale could learn a thing or two (or three or four) from the em>Yuru Camp△ Movie‘s release patterns.

      The film felt more like a documentary for me, what with the pacing and adult characters handling things professionally. Because I love documentaries, the Yuru Camp△ Movie felt like an old friend. I was a little surprised by the twist, but I imagine that they wanted to add a hurdle in there, otherwise, things would be a very straightforward path to the finish line. That third season can’t come quickly enough 🙂

      Like

  6. AK November 30, 2022 at 19:17

    I like very much the whole story played out in the movie. Crab really does have that effect as well. I’m a big fan of both that and lobster, but both can cause a lot of pain if you’re eating one whole and cracking it. Still worth it.

    I also think I got the age/time progression wrong. I was thinking this was more like five years past the end of the second season, just out of university (or that a few of them didn’t attend university, which I think isn’t unusual in Japan from what I’ve heard? Certainly seems like Chiaki and Rin would have attended, and likely Aoi too for some kind of education degree or teaching certification.) But I was assuming that Akari wasn’t yet college-aged — maybe I was thinking of an art high school with dorms like in Hidamari Sketch. But I’m really not an expert.

    Finally, I like the inclusion of a little history in here with the archaeology. I don’t know much about Japan pre-Sengoku period and barely anything about the Joumon period, but it would be interesting to learn more about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • infinitezenith December 7, 2022 at 19:12

      Crab and lobster are the centerpieces in Cantonese banquets, and as a result, I’m no stranger to crab and lobster. The key is to have good tools for cracking the shell and extracting the meat; a nut cracker and what’s called a “leg pick” make things significantly easier. In the absence of these tools, a good butter knife and even chopsticks will work in a pinch. Of course, with the market prices being what they are right now, enjoying whole crab or lobster for one feels a little pricey, but I won’t deny that fresh crab and lobster is absolutely delicious. I might just have to splurge a little and treat myself at some point!

      Regarding Akari’s age, I made the estimate based on the conversation that she and Ena share during their New Year’s Shrine visit: Ena asks Akari “東京の美大はどう?” (Hepburn “Tokyo no bidai wa dō?”), and here, bidai becomes key: it specifically refers to an art college, a post secondary institute, because of the dai (大). Together with the fact that Akari is seen enjoying a drink with Minami and her sister late in the film, and the legal age of drinking in Japan is 20, I estimate that at the movie’s end, Akari is likely 20, as well. Assuming that Akari was 9-10 in Yuru Camp△, a decade must’ve passed by the time of the Yuru Camp△ Movie, so she’d be 19-20 by the time of the shrine visit. At the very least, these are the assumptions I made in order to draw my conclusion.

      I’ve always been fond of the history piece of humanity: the Jōmon era is especially fascinating because the appearance of pottery marks a transition from a hunter-gatherer society into an agrarian one (evidenced by a growing need to store stuff in one spot). Although the Yuru Camp△ Movie is focused on the Jōmon, earlier humans have equally impressive and fascinating adventures; in The Great Human Odyssey, scientists describe how humans spread to every corner of the globe, and it’s such an incredible achievement to see our forerunners braving the elements to reach new lands. I think stories like these, and similarly, stories like Yuru Camp△ are worth watching precisely because they show how ingenious people can be, which is always inspiring 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark December 1, 2022 at 23:07

    Please do a review of the soundtrack. I love this score just as mush as the ones for seasons 1 and 2.

    Like

    • infinitezenith December 7, 2022 at 19:15

      I thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack, which combined the fiddles from Yuru Camp△‘s first season with more grandiose orchestral elements to create a richer sound that’s befitting of the film, but classic elements also make a return to balance out the bigger moments with the smaller ones. Having said this, I’m not sure I can devote a whole post to talking about the music of the Yuru Camp△ Movie; while excellent, the soundtrack is meant as an accompaniment to the movie, accentuating the different moods and enhancing a given scene’s aesthetic.

      Like

  8. David Birr December 15, 2022 at 06:58

    I was taking my time about watching this, taking it in fairly small increments to draw out the enjoyment. I finally couldn’t hold back any longer, though, and I’ve finished it. My reaction mingles satisfied happiness with “Oh no; it’s over!”

    Rin’s dismay during the train ride to her office, each time the motion makes everyone sway, was a hoot. And, much later of course, her blank white eyes when Nadeshiko said there was no changing room at the mountain hot spring….

    That jump scare with the tanuki was shocking, even though another viewer’s comment had let me know exactly when it was coming.

    Another very nice historical reference, I felt, is the part when Chiaki is in a meeting at Yamanashi prefectural offices, and the view zoomed in on the Fūrinkazan on one wall: “as swift as wind, as gentle as forest, as fierce as fire, as unshakable as mountain.” Since Yamanashi used to be Kai province, ruled by Shingen Takeda, it makes complete sense that the motto from his battle standard would be prominently displayed. I recalled, as well, that when Chiaki was psyching herself up to cook the best hōtō she could for Nadeshiko and family, the vision of an armored samurai with Takeda insignia appeared. According to Wikipedia, some accounts claim Shingen personally invented hōtō (not just a great warlord; he cooked, too)….

    The warm fuzziness was strong in this one. As expected of Yuru Camp △!

    Liked by 1 person

    • infinitezenith December 16, 2022 at 20:37

      When the Yuru Camp△ Movie came out, I finished about half the movie in my first sitting, needed to go out to tend to some shopping, and then finished the rest when I returned home later that day. The film’s like a good documentary and compelled me to keep watching; I normally space my movie viewings out over two to three days, so the fact that the Yuru Camp△ Movie was good enough to watch in one sitting speaks to its enjoyment 🙂

      I relate with Rin wholly: on days where I do go into the office (I typically work remote), and the buses are that crowded, it can feel quite suffocating, and similarly, while I’m comfortable with my body, I wouldn’t be too keen on changing outside without some cover!

      Regarding the tanuki, that part was actually quite suspenseful: wild boars are incredibly aggressive, and if one had been present, it would represent another challenge for the team to deal with. A raccoon-dog is more manageable, and I breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing it.

      It’s been some years since I’ve done any Japanese history; I took a course on it during my gap year almost a decade earlier, and only vaguely remember what I learnt, so I appreciate the information. Small details like these reiterate Yuru Camp△‘s commitment to accuracy, and history fans would almost certainly enjoy these references. Having said this, I would not be surprised of Shingen Takeda was as accomplished of a cook as he was a formidable warrior. I am reminded of Steven Rinella’s Meat Eater; Rinella is an avid hunter, and outlines how to prepare, store and cook the results of his hunts. Good food and an appreciation of the process go hand-in-hand, and someone who’s very active will see the value of a good, hearty meal.

      This was definitely a wonderful movie, and as others have noted, we are extremely fortunate that there’s going to be a third season of Yuru Camp△. While we don’t know when exactly this season will come out, the fact we’re getting a continuation is awesome!

      Like

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