The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Yuru Camp△

Yuru Camp△: Review and Reflections At the Halfway Point

“When you’re this hungry, anything tastes good.” —Les Stroud, Survivorman

The Outdoors Activity Club begin preparing for their first-ever camping trip together. After attempting to create their own solution for keeping warm in the brisk autumn air using a variety of insulators, the girls end up purchasing the appropriate gear online. They decide to camp at Pine Wood in Fuefuki and after hiking uphill, stop at an onsen to relax. Quite separately, Rin passes her operator’s license exam, and sets off for a trip to Nagano, where she relaxes at a rustic restaurant and waves to the others on a real-time webcam before continuing on to her destination. While the onsen is closed, Rin nonetheless continues exploring the area, finding a spectacular view awaiting her at the top of a peak. As the evening sets in, Rin enjoys a pasta, while Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi cook curry rice at their campground. Rin and Nadeshiko share photos of the scenery that they gaze upon later in the evening. When the weekend concludes, Rin returns to her duties in the school library and wonders how to go about giving Nadeshiko a gift that she’d bought for her. She also finds a book-sized package in her bag that her mother had picked up – upon opening it, she finds a compact grill that she’d ordered prior to setting out for Nagano. Ena arrives and wonders if it’s an offering box, then suggests to Rin that she find Nadeshiko before her gift expires. However, Rin immediately finds Nadeshiko, who’d fallen asleep in the library while waiting for Rin and Ena to finish their conversation. Seeing the joy in Nadeshiko prompts Rin to invite her to give the new grill a whirl, and Nadeshiko decides to go camping at a site that Chiaki had found intriguing. They pick up the ingredients at the same store that Aoi works at, and while the precise ingredients Rin was seeking are unavailable, Nadeshiko is not particularly concerned. Meanwhile, Chiaki spends her weekend scouting out some prospective campsites and encounters an elderly gentleman who is camping. He shares some grilled meat with Chiaki, who becomes excited about the prospect of buying a cast-iron skillet. Later, Sakura drives the two to Lake Shibire: Rin and Nadeshiko go around the lake, and Rin shares with Nadeshiko some supernatural folklore surrounding the lake.

At the halfway point, Yuru Camp△ has focused on the dichotomy between Rin and Nadeshiko’s approaches towards camping. Rin’s preference for camping solo affords her with unparalleled solitude and the ability to freely control her itinerary, allowing for her to actively choose how to make the most of her adventures. By comparison, Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi, despite their relative inexperience in camping, have a fantastic time on their first run because they’re able to consult in one another and share their experiences together. These two different camps both have their unique advantages and drawbacks: Rin faces dejection and frustration when things do not go as planned, especially amidst the frigid air, while Nadeshiko and the others must ensure that they stick with one another and make decisions as a group. However, in spite of these differences, both camps see their participants making the most of things to create a wonderful memory – Rin adds her first-ever long-range trip to her list of camp sites visited, while Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi gain their first-ever camping experience under the stars. The deliberate choice to show Rin and Nadeshiko’s camps together in parallel suggest that, for all of Rin’s enjoyment of camping alone, there’s more similarities in their adventures than Rin is presently aware of. Thus, when Rin openly agrees to camp with Nadeshiko, she might initially be viewing it as a courtesy – she’s still a bit hesitant about meeting up and hanging with the Outdoor Activities Club for the present. However, seeing Nadeshiko’s boundless happiness seems to be having an impact on Rin, drawing her intrigue and leading her to slowly consider the positives about spending time with others.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Beyond the more general summer and winter classifications, sleeping bags can be broken up into four classes: Class I bags are suitable for use in the summer or in an indoors environment, while Class II sleeping bags are intended for use in late spring or early autumn. Class III sleeping bags are rated to keep users comfortable in milder conditions, and Class IV sleeping bags are necessary for cold conditions. Sleeping bags of each class further have comfort ratings (the temperature ranges that the user can reasonably expect to be comfortable) and an extreme rating denotes the temperature that the sleeping bag can prevent frostbite or hypothermia. Class IV bags can be quite pricey and overkill for what Chiaki and the others are looking to do, but upon seeing the price of a winter sleeping bag, they attempt to create their own solution, using Chiaki as a test subject.

  • While they find that their homemade solution of bubble-wrap, tin-foil and cardboard is effective, it is not functional, and so, the girls relent, purchasing their sleeping bags online. With their camping trip to Fuefuki Park now a reality, Chiaki, Aoi and Nadeshiko begin preparing, purchasing supplies and provisions at a local store. Having taken a look around at other discussions on Yuru Camp△, I think it’s safe to say that this anime is universally enjoyable and agreeable: from Random Curiosity to AnimeSuki and even Tango-Victor-Tango, viewers have nothing but good things to say about this anime. There is one notable exception where one individual attempted to apply Jungian psychology to explain why Rin’s not keen on camping with others, but the reality is that the individual in question seems to have missed the bigger picture in Yuru Camp△ – the series is meant to show how people can change given the right influences.

  • Having acquired her operator’s license for a moped recently, Rin prepares to set off for Nagano. It’s the longest distance she’ll have traveled for camping, and her mother reminds her to be careful on the journey, as all parents are wont to when their children set off for great distances. In Alberta, the requirement for operating a moped is a Class VII license, and these licenses only require that one be older than 14. While attractive for their size, mopeds in Alberta are generally not the most comfortable considering the distance between things, and the fact that it’s winter here for eight months of the year.

  • As Rin discovers, driving about on a moped is remarkably chilly; I frequently joke that anyone who finds anything above -10°C “cold” to be lightweights, the truth is that continued exposure to even a mildly brisk day of around 2°C can be quite cold. The temperature is not apparent in the scenery: as Rin makes her way to Nagano, the cold that she faces is not conveyed in the environment, and the anime instead chooses to have Rin mentioning the cold often to reinforce that it is indeed thus. On my end, the cold of Yuru Camp△ requires no stretch of the imagination: during the past week, the daily temperature has not risen above -10°C, and at least 35 centimetres of snow had accumulated as a result of recent snowstorms that brought the city to its knees.

  • Nadeshiko, Aoi and Chiaki set off for Fuefuki park by train. After a grueling hike up the mountainside, Chiaki and Aoi are exhausted, but Nadeshiko remains ready to roll, running around the area in excitement in spite of having carried the most gear of anyone. While fine for an anime such as Yuru Camp△, in a survival situation, Les Stroud recommends taking it slowly and methodically for several reasons. Doing things at a measured pace prevents injury, especially when the mind is racing and therefore, not as attentive, and moving quickly increases sweat, which invites hypothermia in cold conditions.

  • After Chiaki and Aoi regain their energy, they stop at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park. This attraction was built to emphasise Yamanashi’s role in fruit production and features a large greenhouse that holds tropical fruits, as well as a fruit museum and hotel. Nadeshiko, Aoi and Chikaki enjoy ice cream at the Orchid Café, whose menu items are made with local fruits, and here, I note that the Outdoors Activity Club’s first camping trip bring to mind the sort of outdoors activities my parents are fond of: they much prefer shopping around the various shops and doing short hikes to attractions in the mountains.

  • Rin arrives at the Korobokkuru Hutte in Suwa. Located along the Venus Line road en route to Shirakaba Lake, this cottage is a cozy location that opened in 1956, and since then, has become best-known for its coffee and cheesecake, which they serve to hikers in the area. As Rin finds out, their Borsch is also excellent, if somewhat pricey. The prices of menu items at Korobokkuru Hutte are comparable to food prices at Columbia Icefields owing to the costs associated with transporting ingredients out there. Yuru Camp△ captures the rustic feel of the cottage remarkably well, and the Korobokkuru Hutte brings to mind the Lake Agnes Teahouse, located 3.5 kilometres from Lake Louise.

  • Their break over, Aoi, Chiaki and Nadeshiko continue to their campground. Along the way, Rin sends Nadeshiko a link of her waving in front of a webcam in front of a gas station at Kirigamine, which is used to help motorists gauge road conditions before setting off for the Lake Suwa region. There are similar webcams located around Banff, and I used them to great effect when I visited the mountains a few days before the year ended. I note that the web page hosting the live footage uses Adobe Flash, and on mobile devices running stock browsers, the video stream is not visible (having tried with my iPhone 6). The installation of Flash-capable browsers onto one’s device would overcome this particular barrier, although given the nature of Yuru Camp△, it is unlikely that Nadeshiko would be using a mobile browser beyond the default one. We can therefore suppose that their website in-universe is using an HTML5 video player.

  • The girls visit Hottarakashi onsen, whose name approximates to “left alone hot springs” for the fact that beyond the basic facilities, there are minimal staff and amenities at the site. There are two major hot springs here: Aocchi and Kocchi – the girls bathe in Kocchi, which have a head-on view of Mount Fuji. Before we get to the scenery that Yuru Camp△ is famous for, I’ll leave readers with a view of another sort that some will find entertaining.

  • The view from Hottarakashi onsen is nothing short of spectacular; overlooking the countryside northeast of Kofu, the geothermal waters form what comes close to being an infinity pool. Late in 2017, I was considering taking a soak in the Upper Hot Springs of Banff, but I’ve heard that in winter, the water sources can occasionally become depleted, forcing the installation to make use of municipal water. Coupled with the temperature differential, I decided against doing so at the last minute, and it turned out to have been a wise decision on the whole, given how the entire day was frigid and snowy. Instead, I sat down to a hearty brunch and then foolishly drove the Icefields Parkway amidst a winter storm.

  • While taking in the warm waters, Aoi remarks that she’s disinclined to leave, and this brings about the challenge I brought up earlier – I’ve long wondered how bathing in onsen work in winter, since getting out of the warm water and becoming exposed to the frigid outdoor air would be extremely painful…for you. Therefore, I have a request for readers: if you’ve been to the onsen or hot springs by winter, what’s the trick for not freezing to death while moving from the warm waters back into the locker room in an outdoor hot springs? Once this particular issue is dealt with, I may give the Upper Hot Springs of Banff a shot during the winter, although I’ll be careful to only go when the skies are fair and the temperature not unreasonably cold.

  • Having long anticipated an onsen visit of her own, Rin finds the one she was looking for to be shut down, and when she reaches Mount Takabocchi, the skies have clouded over, covering the land in a fog. For a few moments, Rin wishes that she’d gone somewhere closer to home. She stops by the Yatsugatake Chuushin-kogen farm here, where cattle roam during the summer and decides to make the 400 metre walk to the summit of Mount Takabocchi. It is here that I am strongly reminded of that day where I decided to hit the national parks during a winter snowfall.

  • While the heavy snowfall obscured all the usual scenery at Peyto and Bow Lake, in the dead of winter, both lakes were free from any other visitors. The entire area was completely silent, and when I closed my eyes, the complete lack of sound was a magical experience that gave the sense that the world was hibernating. That’s an experience I’m not likely to get again, so in retrospective, maybe that trip was not a total waste of fuel, even if I have very few photos to show for it. As Rin continues her hike, the sun breaks through the clouds just in time for the evening to set in, and she’s treated to a wonderful view of Lake Suwa (the basis for Itomori Lake in Your Name) and Matsumoto.

  • Under the setting sun, Rin prepares her first-ever camp dinner made from scratch, a pasta with bacon, onion, asparagus and shimeji (a mushroom). In conjunction with spaghetti, sliced cheese, some water and milk, Rin seasons her dinner with black pepper and parsley. The end result is a piping hot pasta perfect for the brisk autumn evening, and Rin savours her dinner, sharing the results with Nadeshiko. The narrator reminds viewers that using thin noodles is easier, as the lower pressure at high altitudes corresponds with a lower boiling point in water, reducing the temperature meals cook at. While Rin prefers to travel light with her equipment, I’ve read that a cast-iron skillet is a versatile cooking utensil for campers: pancakes and campfire nachos are just a few of the possible recipes.

  • Back at Pine Wood campground, Nadeshiko and the others have settled in, having set up their campfire and received a free 10-litre supply of water. The site is around a klick from the hot springs where they’d soaked earlier, and the owner’s easygoing, friendly nature is a mirror of Pine Wood’s real-world counterpart. The special fire bundle that Chiaki sets up here is known as a Swedish Torch or Canadian Candle, developed by the Swedes during the Thirty-Year War. As Chiaki mentions, it’s efficient, quick to set up and burns off the ground, allowing it to be set up even if the ground is wet. I’ve largely seen examples making use of heavier-gauge wire to prevent the bundle from falling apart, much to Chiaki’s surprise.

  • Rin relaxes with a book on UFOs as the evening sets in. While I’m quite skeptical of the paranormal, I admit that I do have a fondness for stories surrounding cryptids, UFO sightings and ghosts (provided that it’s all text). It’s a subtle bit of foreshadowing as to what goes down later, especially when taken in conjunction with Nadeshiko expressing discomfort at the thought of walking through a darkening forest.

  • Nadeshiko prepares campfire curry and rice for Chiaki and Aoi. Like Rin’s dinner, which turned out quite nice, Chiaki, Aoi and Nadeshiko savour their curry while overlooking the Kofu basin below. Made with the bog-standard pork, potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions, Nadeshiko adds orka and eggplant to liven her recipe up. It is evident that Yuru Camp△ will continue on with its spectacular depiction of food: besides curry, Nadeshiko, Aoi and Chiaki enjoy fried whole eggs at the Hottarakashi hot springs earlier. These are a specialty cooked in the onsen waters, allowing the egg whites to coagulate while leaving the yolk solid. When deep fried, the eggs take on a new dimension in taste that would likely impress even the likes of Man v. Food‘s Adam Richman.

  • As noted previously, every Yuru Camp△ post that I write will feature at least one image of the girls by nightfall, sitting beside a campfire or electric torch. When the girls turn in, they realise that their tent is only really able to comfortably fit two, and Nadeshiko draws the short straw in a game of rock paper scissors. It turns out that Nadeshiko’s rather afraid of the dark, and to take her mind off things, she messages Rin. who recounts her day’s adventure to Nadeshiko. Their conversation soon turns towards the night view, and Nadeshiko decides to share the view over the Kofu valley with Rin.

  • More often than not, night photos turn out blurry because of a low shutter speed, which results in minute hand shaking propagating into the image. To mitigate this, it is recommended that one use a tripod and reduce the exposure. There are some apps out there that also assist with taking night photography. With an iPhone 6, I’ve found that these simple tricks will suffice in capturing a reasonable-quality image: I usually crop and scale my images down for publishing, so they appear acceptable. After Nadeshiko captures her image, she sends it to Rin, whose mild irritation at being awoken turns to amazement when she sees Nadeshiko’s photograph.

  • Rin subsequently gets back up, hikes up Mount Takabocchi again and takes a photograph of her own, overlooking Lake Suwa. Suwa is visible on the far side of the lake, with Okaya in the foreground. Mount Fuji is just visible on the left hand side of the image. As the crow flies, Rin’s around 106 kilometres from the summit at her current position. She sends this photograph back to Nadeshiko as thanks for sharing.

  • With a distance of some seventy plus kilometers (as the mole digs) separating Rin and Nadeshiko, the two nonetheless feel as though they are camping together. The imagery in this moment makes this abundantly clear, and while perhaps a testament to how technology can connect individuals together over vast distances, the parallel camping trips of the fourth and fifth episodes were really intended to show that despite their different preferences (Rin’s enjoyment of being alone to Nadeshiko’s love for being with others), the two’s adventures are similar in the sort of experience that they confer upon each respective character.

  • After Ena finds Rin in the library, she notices Rin wearing all smiles while daydreaming about the possibilities that have opened with her new compact camping grill. The compact camping grill that Rin purchased is a Showa Press A-4 Boy, which retails for 12000 Yen (140 CAD). Its stainless steel construction and design makes it quick to assemble and disassemble, giving it durability on top of portability. While Rin intends to use it as a means of grilling meat, the A-4 Boy’s top grate can be removed, allowing it to be be used as a portable campfire container, as well.

  • Despite having reservations about finding Nadeshiko and meeting the rowdy bunch that is the Outdoors Activity Club, Rin finds Nadeshiko in the library and gives her the souvenirs from her own trip. Nadeshiko notices the compact grill, and mistakes it for an offerings box. After Rin gives her the rundown of its function, she invites Nadeshiko to a cookout, and when Nadeshiko ups it to a camping trip, Rin accepts.

  • Rin outlines her desire to grill with a high-carbon wood to maximise flavour, and while she initially planned to buy a wide array of pork cuts and short ribs, the winter season means that the supermarket doesn’t have her preferred cuts available. Nadeshiko, on the other hand, is blown away by what the supermarket does have, and so, suggests yakitori and kebabs to Rin, who accepts the idea. Here, the contrasting personalities of Rin and Nadeshiko are brought to light: like myself, Rin like sticking to a set of plans, while Nadeshiko is a free spirit who goes with the flow. These conflicting personality types end up complementing one another; free spirits like Nadeshiko allow rigid-minded folks to loosen up a little, and organised people like Rin encourage others to be themselves more organised.

  • Rin and Nadeshiko run into Aoi while paying for their groceries. A glance at the grocery store that they visit shows that it is the Selva Food Garden in Minobu, thirty minutes north of Nanbu, where Nadeshiko lives. This grocery store is a part of a small chain in the Yamanashi area that prides itself for using locally sourced produce and close ties with the community. The choice to have Aoi work here seems to suggest this, and here, I note that although we’re at the halfway point in Yuru Camp△, very little of Aoi’s personality has been presented insofar. I’m hoping that future episodes rectify this.

  • At this point in November where I am, the autumn leaves have long fallen off the tree branches. Standing on the banks of Lake Shibire, the autumn leaves are especially pleasant-looking.  The equivalent time of year where the trees are looking their best during autumn in Cowtown is usually mid to late September, and depending on the temperature, early October. Of course, it’s February now; it’s my least favourite month of the year on account of being the coldest, greyest and most miserable all-around. The flipside of all this is that the bitter cold makes food taste better, and yesterday, as the second snowstorm to hit the area began, I enjoyed cuts of lamb sauteéd with onions, enokitake and Korean hot sauce.

  • As it turns out Nadeshiko’s interest in coming here is a result of the Outdoor Activities Club wanting to scout out the area, having heard many rumours and myths about it. Located at the heart of Shibireko Prefectural Natural Park, the lake is about 320 metres across. After reaching Lake Shibire, the two check in and make the walk to Shibireko Ryuunso Camping Ground. A quiet site, visitors note that walking the distance with a great deal of gear can be quite cumbersome, even with the provided carts, and the high altitude makes the place quite cold, but the scenery and tranquility are well worth it.

  • Sakura is the opposite of Nadeshiko, being calm and composed. With the exception of the first episode, she’s definitely presented as a kind older sibling who is willing to drive her younger sister around to places. I suppose now is a good time as any to note that Sakura is voiced by Marina Inoue, who has previously performed as Valkyria Chronicles‘ Alicia Melchiott and Laura Bodewig of Infinite Stratos. She orders a chai tea here and takes in the autumn scenery of Lake Shibire.

  • While walking around the lake to reach their campsite, Rin casually shares with Nadeshiko a story about a “Ghost Cow”, which I’m almost certain is a reference to the urban legend of the same name, causing Nadeshiko to face-plant into the ground. With this episode, we’ve reached the halfway point of Yuru Camp△, who is maintaining its title as the most relaxing anime of the season. I will return when we pass the nine-episode mark in a few weeks to write about what adventures Rin, Nadeshiko and the others go on next, so for now, that’s pretty much it for Yuru Camp△. Upcoming posts will deal with Slow Start and A Place Further Than The Universe.

While it is not immediately apparent, the act of sharing their adventures allows Rin to feel some of that closeness to the Outdoors Activity Club’s members, even if Rin herself is not ready to be with them just yet. The slow pacing in Yuru Camp△ works to the anime’s advantage; the portrayal of one journey from enjoyment of activities alone to enjoyment of activities with others is allowed to progress at a very natural pacing. Yuru Camp△ is reasonably expected to see Rin making small steps towards sharing her hobby, time and knowledge with the others; the upcoming episode will see Rin spending time with Nadeshiko on her initiative: up until now, Nadeshiko’s been driving things forward and actively spending time with Rin, so it is quite welcoming to see Rin taking charge, as it signifies the beginning of her journey towards the camping trip seen in Yuru Camp△‘s opening. Yuru Camp△‘s journey will culminate here to illustrate just how much of an impact Nadeshiko has on Rin, and so, now that we are halfway through Yuru Camp△, it will be very interesting to see what sparks the events that really open Rin up to the prospect of camping with Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi, as well as what leads Ena to join in with the others, as well. Yuru Camp△ has maintained its consistently solid visuals and music, so it is indubitable that each upcoming episode will be immensely relaxing and satisfying to watch.

Yuru Camp△: Review and Reflections After Three

“Oh, what’s this, instructions…on how to survive, excellent.” —Les Stroud

Nadeshiko is excited to learn that her school has an Outdoors Activity Club, but when she enters their clubroom, she finds it quite empty. The Outdoors Activity Club’s two members, Aoi Inuyama and Chiaki Ohgaki, arrive, and after mistaking Nadeshiko for an intruder, quickly warm up to her when she expresses an interest in camping. They introduce her to the fundamentals of camping and attempt to set up an inexpensive tent, but one of the poles breaks during assembly. Rin has been watching this from inside the library and is reluctant to join them, but Rin’s friend, Ena Saitou, steps in to assist them, leading Nadeshiko to learn that Rin attends the same school. When the weekend arrives, Rin sets off for a camping trip on her own. She encounters Nadeshiko, who learned of Rin’s plans from Ena, and spends the evening enjoying nabe with her. Rin apologises for having given Nadeshiko the cold shoulder back at school when the Outdoors Activity Club tried to recruit her, and agrees to take Nadeshiko on a proper camping trip. Nadeshiko later awakens to watch the sunrise at Mount Fuji. Meanwhile, Aoi and Chiaki secure part-time employment to earn money and fund the Outdoors Activity Club’s future events. This is where we stand in Yuru Camp△ thus far, and insofar, Yuru Camp△ has proven to be superbly cathartic and heartwarming in showcasing the two main characters as they slowly warm up to one another.

Rin’s enjoyment of camping in solitude is the first element that Yuru Camp△ explores: it is well-established that Rin is fond of going on her adventures on her own, and she frequently comments on how she prefers campsites to be devoid of people, hence her choice to go during the winter, when the cold weather dissuades other campers from visiting. While seemingly indicative of a misanthropic mindset, Rin’s evidently shown to be quite friendly and expressive with Ena. Rin’s desire for solitude is one that I share – some folks simply recharge and rejuvenate themselves by taking time off for themselves, and I often take walks or go to coffeeshops on my own. Of course, with Nadeshiko’s introduction, the status quo is disrupted, and Yuru Camp△ has shown its aims are to illustrate how there is a great deal of joy in sharing one’s experiences with others. Nadeshiko is the opposite of Rin: she’s energetic, talkative and open compared to the stoic, reserved Rin, and while perhaps a bit absent-minded, Nadeshiko’s shown to be kind and caring, as shown when she brings in everything and the kitchen sink to prepare a nabe for Rin as thanks for having looked after her previously. Rin begins to accept Nadeshiko’s friendship, marking the first step towards her transition towards enjoying the company of others while camping.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The first thing that comes to mind when Nadeshiko enters the Outdoors Activity Club and its narrow confines is the Industrial Hallway seen in The Matrix Reloaded, which contains back doors that allow one to access any part of the Matrix instantaneously if one possessed the appropriate key. In Yuru Camp△, the reason why the Outdoors Activity Club’s room is so limited is because the club is relatively new and lacking in members. Although Chiaki maintains that their small room is a non-issue owing to their intentions to spend time outdoors, Chiaki and Aoi are quite thrilled when their visitor is interested in joining the Outdoors Activity Club.

  • Chiaki Oogaki and Aoi Inuyama are the two present members of the club. Of the two, Chiaki is more enthusiastic about the outdoors and originally founded the club to be a more relaxed, laid-back version of the more athletically-inclined hiking club. Conversely Aoi is along for the ride and her dynamics with Chiaki suggests that she’s longtime friends with her. Aoi is voiced by Aki Toyosaki of K-On!‘s Yui Hirasawa, and in Yuru Camp△, Yui’s aural properties are quite visible in Aoi, who seems to also possess Mugi’s eyebrows and Mio’s physique.

  • After brief introductions, Nadeshiko accompanies Aoi and Chiaki out to the school yard, where they set up an apparatus for boiling water. In Survivorman, Stroud uses a similar setup during one of his episodes to boil water in a plastic water bottle so the water heats up sufficiently to kill off pathogens without melting and rupturing the bottle. Because plastic bottles contains various chemicals that leech out of the plastic when heated, the technique has been said to be somewhat risky, but on the flip-side, drinking contaminated water with pathogens such as giardia and cryptosporidium could prove lethal in a survival situation.

  • The topic of how realistic the prices are of the various tents that Nadeshiko finds in the catalogue were the topic of no small discussion off-site, with some folks expressing surprise that tents could cost in the neighbourhood of 82000 Yen (942 CAD), but evidently, said individuals have never been to an outdoors store before: some of the larger tents out there can cost upwards of 950 CAD, such as the eight-person Atmospheric Plus Airbeam sold at Canadian Tire. These are the premium tents for large groups, and most high quality four-person tents roll for around 250 to 300 CAD.

  • Chiaki brings out a tent costing 980 Yen (11 CAD) that they’d purchased online to try out. The same people above are similarly surprised that tents can run for that little – evidently, reasoning is not their forte. While a cursory glance shows that the most inexpensive tents will roll for around 30 CAD, it is possible that online, there could be a sale driving the price down by two-thirds. Tents of this price range tend to be made of a lighter material and intended to be used as a one-person tent, but for the Outdoors Activity Club, its the perfect way to become familiarised with setting up a tent.

  • During the second episode, viewers are introduced to Ena Saitou, the friend that Rin enjoys a spirited conversation with over their phones during her travels of the first episode. Who Rin was chatting with during the first episode was the subject of speculation, and owing to the conversational tone, I guessed that it would be with a friend. Score one for me, since Ena is that friend: I reasoned that a conversation with parents would likely sound quite different. She’s messing with Rin’s hair here, sculpting a bear with her skills.

  • Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi manage to set up their tent outside on the school grounds, but one of the poles snaps cleanly in half from the stresses. The girls begin panicking, and inside, Rin looks up from her book to find them. She’s reluctant to help them, worrying that Nadeshiko will recognise her and invariably drag her into the Outdoors Activity Club, thereby taking away from her coveted weekends camping on her own. The most common methods of repairing a broken pole is either tape or ferrules, which can be used to link the broken pieces back together.

  • Ena herself seems to know a thing or two about camping, and in Rin’s stead, goes out to help the Outdoors Activity Club. It is here that Rin shows her “scary face” to Nadeshiko, discouraging her from asking Rin to join the Outdoors Activity Club, but later, it is shown that Rin isn’t doing this out of malice: she’s rather forward about how she feels and isn’t too sure about how to express that she enjoys her solo camping trips.

  • With a bit of assistance, the inexpensive tent is rigged up and good to go. While the narrator’s dialogue conveys a sense of surprise, inexpensive tents can do their job provided that the weather is not too unfavourable. It seems quite capable of fitting three people inside, as Nadeshiko discovers when she decides to take a look inside. Noticing Rin in the library, Nadeshiko rushes off to greet her, only to paste her face on the window. Such a behaviour in reality is highly implausible, but in anime, it’s presented to be an endearing action: to take a leaf from Mythbusters, don’t try this in real life!

  • Rin’s latest camping trip takes her to Fumotoppara Camp on the West-Northwest side of Mount Fuji and 15.9 km south of Koan Camp by road distance. This camp is a bit pricier compared to Koan, being 2000 yen for solo campers. Set on a plateau that can get chilly by morning, the camp’s managers suggest visitors bring additional clothing to stay warm, and while the facilities at the site are a bit older, the scenery is beautiful: visitors love the wide open expanse of plains that afford them with another beautiful view of Mount Fuji.

  • Celtic elements make their way into some songs in Yuru Camp△‘s soundtrack: the use of flutes and fiddle evokes imagery of the rugged terrain, green fields and castles common to Ireland and Scotland. This stands in stark contrast with the distinctly Japanese landscape. The dichotomy between these differing images (i.e. the ones that audiences see, against the ones they expect to see in their minds-eye from the music) yields a very unique atmosphere to the anime that suggests the feelings of joy and catharsis from being in nature are universally shared amongst humans, independently of their culture.

  • On the topic of the price of camping implements, I managed to track down the gear that Rin rolls with on each of her adventures. Her tent is a Montbell Moonlight Tent Type 3, which costs 32800 Yen (370 CAD). Rin sleeps in a sleeping bag of an indeterminate build, and underneath is a Logos Self-inflating mattress (6500 Yen, 73 CAD). The portable stove Rin has is a SOTO Windmaster Stove (8000 Yen, or around 90 CAD, but it’s discontinued), and she uses a Captain Stag Aluminium Table (3500 Yen, 40 CAD). She cooks with the Coleman Pack-Away solo cooker set, which is 4298 Yen (48 CAD), holds her water in a 800 mL Clean Canteen Classic water bottle (3000 yen, 34 CAD). Finally, Rin’s chair is an A-Lite Mayfly Chair, which typically sells for 11000 yen (124 CAD).

  • The sum total of Rin’s existing gear, minus her bike, is 779 CAD, and coupled with the price of admissions to a camp ground, it becomes clear that camping is a bit of an expensive hobby. The manga states that Rin’s gear is inherited from her grandfather, who also taught her the fundamentals of the outdoors. Here, I note that while the price tag is a bit of an eye-opener, being a PC gamer is just as expensive: a good entry-level computer costs around 900-1000 CAD, and this is before the monitor, keyboard, mouse and a good library of games to play.

  • There’s a very subtle but impressive indicator of accuracy here in Yuru Camp△: Fumotoppara’s website states that the price is 500 yen, and Rin believes she’ll spend 1500 Yen in total to keep warm. Of course, prices are subject to change (likely increase), but the fact that Yuru Camp△ is taking the time to use current prices is yet another indicator of their commitment to making sure the details are correct. The barn that Rin visits is a part of the facilities at Fumotoppara camp: besides camping spots, there’s also a lodge of sorts here that visitors can stay at.

  • Inspection of satellite imagery and images that visitors have posted show that Yuru Camp△ is going to continue its impressive depiction of real-world locations. There is indeed a small pond adjacent to the barn, and a wooded area nearby where Rin is shown to take a walk. She sends her photographs to Ena by means of a messaging system, and here, stops by the pond. Fumotoppara’s website has a request to patrons, asking them to not fish or swim in the small pond.

  • While Rin’s enjoying the quiet of a brisk autumn morning, Ena’s in her warm bed with her dog. She contemplates getting up, but decides against it, and I find myself a bit envious of folk who can spend weekends sleeping in. Either a consequence of foolhardiness or discipline (or a combination of the two), I wake up a full twenty minutes later than I do on workdays during weekends so I can hit the gym, and I go lift weights most weekends unless the weather is particularly unfavourable (read “unless it’s lower than -35°C before windchill or lower than -40° with windchill”), so I don’t really use my weekends to sleep in.

  • It speaks volumes to just how greatly Rin enjoys her solitude when she considers this to be “crowded” at Fumotoppara Camp. It’s hardly ever this quiet out in the mountains, but this year, with the complementary park passes expired, the standard admission fee of 20 CAD per family has returned, which could reduce the attendance once more. The crowds last year meant that for both hikes I took, I needed to wake up at the crack of dawn in order to secure parking: casuals and families would otherwise overwhelm parking spots.

  • As the evening light casts the land in the glow of longer-wavelength light, she begins to regret having given Nadeshiko the cold shoulder earlier. Rin’s status as a seasoned camper is further show in this moment: she’s bundled up and quite ready for the cold mornings that are common to the area. Early in the second episode, Rin considers bringing some ingredients to make a more substantial camping meal, but a lack of grocery stores en route means Rin’s prepared to fall back on her standby.

  • Nadeshiko appears in person after Rin begins thinking about how to best approach her, with a large basket of vegetables and cooking implements in hand. As it turns out, Ena had sent her the campsite that Rin was hanging out at, and feeling that the time has come for her to properly thank Rin for having helped her during the first episode, shows up to cook Rin dinner as the day ends. Having spent much of the day trying to find her camping gear, Rin requests a ride from Sakura to reach Fumotoppara.

  • Amongst the viewers, Sakura’s quickly won MVP for being the most considerate sister: she drives Nadeshiko to Fumotoppara and then heads off the chill with her friends, before returning to the parking lot, where she and Nadeshiko spend the night. It’s a far cry from the physical beating she dispensed on Nadeshiko the previous episode, and I earlier remarked that could’ve been a one-off. By episode three, both Rin and Nadeshiko’s personalities have been established, but for the other characters, more time will naturally be required to accomplish the same.

  • Rin asks to help Nadeshiko prepare things, but Nadeshiko insists that this time, she’ll handle things as thanks. While Rin had earlier decided against the purchase of firewood, Nadeshiko’s choice to make nabe means that there will be warmth nonetheless, and while quite touching a gesture, Nadeshiko also implies that her enjoyment of nabe is partially because it’s easy to cook for: one simply needs to add all of the requisite ingredients into the pot, put the heat on and wait for things to cook. To help Nadeshiko stay warm, Rin provides her with some heating pads.

  • Elsewhere, Chiaki applies for a position in a liquor store located in Minobu. The employee interviewing her remarks that her timing is fantastic since one of their previous employees had left, and their talk immediately turns towards Chiaki’s availability. During the course of her interview, Chiaki is understandably tense, a bit of a contrast with her usual gung-ho, energetic self. She seems to take after K-On!‘s Ritsu Tainaka and Azusa Nanako as far as designs and personalities go.

  • When Chiaki learns that the employee interviewing her is also a graduate of Motosu High School, she stands up in excitement and sits down promptly, right into the box and finds herself stuck in the same manner that Bender of Futurama is stuck when he’s knocked onto his back. Audiences cannot help but laugh at her misfortune here, but it turns out that Chiaki managed to get the position. Aoi was similarly successful, and with the funds coming in from the two, it looks like the Outdoors Activity Club will finally have some cash flow to drive their adventures.

  • Encouraged with this fact, Aoi and Chiaki look forwards to doing a proper camping trip in the upcoming winter with Nadeshiko. This aspect seems to suggest that a camping trip with everyone, including Rin and Ena, will be the end-goal of Yuru Camp△‘s first season, with the remaining episodes dealing with Rin’s gradual entry into the Outdoors Activity Club and how she’ll help bring everyone up to speed with the fundamentals of the outdoors.

  • As the skies darken, Nadeshiko’s gyoza nabe is finally ready, and she passes a bowl to Rin, who finds the spices and flavour to be perfect for warming her. She describes it as ぽかぽか (romanised “pokapoka”), and very soon, finds the heat to be quite sufficient so that she can remove her hat and scarf. A good 火鍋 can do exactly thus: mine was with beef, lamb, chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, squid and vegetables, plus yi mien, seasoned with generous helpings of hot sauce, that warmed me up on New Year’s Eve. 火鍋 is the Chinese version of nabe and differs only in the sauce: our homemade variation involves a combination of 蒸魚 soy sauce and hot chili oil, which provides flavour and a bit of a kick.

  • Rin remarks that Nadeshiko has the unique talent of making everything she eats look fantastic, although she loses out on the top spot to Les Stroud of Survivorman, who has eaten critters and all sorts of interesting things on his Survivorman show. His reactions to drinking fresh water, or eating a fish are absolutely priceless, and there are some episodes where he catches things like scorpions or Witchetty grubs for eating. Stroud notes that some creepy-crawlies actually don’t taste half had, and in general, he prefers cooking everything he catches for safety reasons.

  • Readers dropping in to my Yuru Camp△ discussions will probably do well to remember that every post is going to feature at least one screenshot of the characters by their tent, underneath the stars with a single light source, whether it be a campfire or electric torch, illuminating the scene. Curiosity about the sky conditions led me to take a look at light pollution maps: Koan Campground has brighter skies than Fumotoppara. To put things in perspective, one would need to travel 20 kilometres west of Calgary’s city centre, to reach skies of a darkness comparable to those at Lake Motosu, and Fumotoppara’s skies are as dark as those of Bragg Creek, a small hamlet 30 kilometres west of Calgary.

  • Nadeshiko’s smile is one of the most cheerful I’ve seen in any anime, conveying to audiences fully the sense of bliss and content she is experiencing in the moment. Nadeshiko is evidently someone who knows how to appreciate the smaller things in life, from the taste of food to the comfort conferred by a good chair. Three episodes in, Yuru Camp△ is proving itself to be a solid slice-of-life anime and differentiating itself from the other shows in a season where the number of slice-of-life shows are non-trivial: it has the same gentle atmosphere as Flying Witch, which I thoroughly enjoyed for the similarly calming mood.

  • A beautiful sunrise awaits Nadeshiko, who manages to wake up at the crack of dawn to see it before turning in once again. Thus, this post is in the books, and I remark that Yuru Camp△ is the sort of anime that I’ll write about every three episodes, to offer some comments on the depiction of scenery, the journey that Rin and Nadeshiko go on as friends, and whether or not Yuru Camp△ merits the moniker of “Survivorman The Anime”. In the meantime, DICE has released the Battlefield 1 Apocalypse maps to the CTE, and it’s time to drop in and see how the new maps play out.

After three episodes, it is quite evident that Yuru Camp△ is probably not a suitable substitute for Survivorman as far as survival tricks go: Les Stroud certainly has not carried a propane stove and cooking ingredients into the wild. Similarly, the girls are unlikely to require the advanced survival techniques that Stroud outlines in Survivorman. With this being said, the narrator occasionally steps in to explain some of the basics in camping, helping audiences quickly ascertain what the characters are doing, and in keeping with Stroud’s ability to improvise during his journeys, the girls in Yuru Camp△ have demonstrated similar abilities to make the most of things. In conjunction with the superb landscapes and a soundtrack that conveys a sense of relaxing calm, Yuru Camp△ definitely lives up to its name of being a laid-back camp to the same extent that Survivorman is about a man who survives in the wild. Looking ahead, it seems that Rin still has yet to formally join the Outdoors Activity Club and allow the club to be fully activated, so I’m rather curious to see what process is taken for Rin to do so, as well as how Nadeshiko might influence this. Furthermore, with Aoi and Chiaki gearing up to fund the Outdoor Adventure Club’s activities, it’ll be interesting to see just how the different individuals come to meet and what sort of antics ensure.

Mount Fuji and Curry Noodles- Yuru Camp△ First Episode Impressions and Review

“Alright, magic: a little steel wool, a battery, and we got fire.” –Les Stroud

During a cold autumn’s day, Rin Shima bikes to Koan Campground on the shores of Lake Motosu, where she encounters a girl sleeping on a bench in front of a public washroom. Feeling this individual might get a cold, Rin pushes the girl out of her mind and turns her attention to setting up camp, from pitching her tent to preparing all of her cooking gear. With the beautiful view in front of her, Rin feels that there is no better time than the off-season to go camping, when she can have the entire site to herself. As the chilly autumn winds pick up, Rin relents and builds a campfire, collecting both kindling and firewood to maintain her fire. Evening sets in, and Rin encounters the girls who had been sleeping earlier. After a chase results from a misunderstanding, the girl introduces herself to Rin, who shares with her some instant noodles. It turns out that the girl had gotten lost while biking, and with Rin’s help, manages to get in touch with her sister, who picks her up. Before she departs, she leaves with Rin her phone number and name: Nadeshiko Kagamihara. When classes resume, Nadeshiko makes her way to her new school, which happens to be the same one that Rin is attending. Slice-of-life anime can present seemingly ordinary activities in an extraordinary fashion, and for this season, Yuru Camp△ is doing so with camping: the first episode introduces veteran camper Rin, whose shown to be no stranger to setting up equipment and enjoying the sights of Mount Fuji. Accustomed to camping alone, her chance meeting with Nadeshiko sets in motion things that will eventually lead her to meet new friends with which to share in adventures into some of the most beautiful parts of the Japanese countryside.

I remark partially in jest that Yuru Camp△ is merely an anime version of Les Stroud’s Survivorman featuring high school girls in place of a Canadian survival expert and outdoorsman; the contents of Yuru Camp△ indicate that the anime’s main theme will be friendship and how adventures shared are more memorable than those undertaken alone. However, there is some truth in calling Yuru Camp△Survivorman The Anime” – the first episode goes to considerable lengths to showcase some of the smaller details that Rin is familiar with in camping. From her setting up shelter while it’s still light out, to the process of gathering both forest duff and firewood for her campfire, the writers have evidently done their homework on the basics of the outdoors. The anime also takes the pain of explaining to audiences Rin’s actions to familiarise them with camping essentials: Rin’s collection of a dry, easy-to-ignite agent to warm up the fire and careful stoking of the fire to ensure that she doesn’t accidentally blow it out are consistent with what outdoorsman guides recommend. In getting the details right, Yuru Camp△ does indeed feel like Survivorman, where Les Stroud explains his actions in a survival situation, and while Yuru Camp△ is unlikely to put the girls in a situation where they must survive for seven days without a consistent supply of food and water, the first episode does set the precedence for what audiences could expect from Yuru Camp△ – a combination of heartwarming moments between a group of friends, and what might be considered an introduction to the fundamentals of camping.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • From left to right, we’ve got Nadeshiko Kagamihara, Ena Saitou, Aoi Inuyama, Chiaki Oogaki and Rin Shima: the first scene of Yuru Camp△ has all of the girls roasting marshmallows together by a campfire. The composition suggests a reasonable familiarity with both one another, as well as the fundamentals of camping: this is something audiences will see later in the series. For now, however, viewers will require an introduction to where things first began.

  • The scenery of the lakes and hills in the Yamanashi Prefecture are spectacular. During my visit to Japan last year, while I did not pass by Lake Motosu on my travels, I did visit Mount Fuji’s Fifth Station and had a fantastic yakinuku at a restaurant on the shores of Lake Yamanaka. Yuru Camp△ does a fantastic job with the scenery, and the locations within the first episode are all derived from their real-world counterparts.

  • There’s an indescribably endearing and amusing feeling that stems from watching Nadeshiko sleep. She’s described as being an avid cyclist despite her appearances, and while the first episode focuses on Rin, promotional images and artwork feature her as the central character. It is therefore not a particular surprise to know that Yuru Camp△ will be told from her perspective: while the season previews make no mention of this, Nadeshiko is new to the area, which is intended to correspond with viewers who are similarly watching the anime for the first time.

  • My cursory Google-fu finds that admissions cost 1000 Yen per stay if one is pitching a tent at Koan, and parking is an additional 1000 Yen: spaces are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, and reservations are not accepteed. The public facilities Nadeshiko sleeps outside of is a hundred metres to the northeast of the Koan Cental Lodge, where Rin purchases her admission to the Koan campground. A further 315 meters’ walk is required to reach the spot where Rin has set up camp, so on each occasion where Rin answers the call of nature, she would take a 415 metre walk (which would take roughly 5 minutes one way), which some folks have found a bit inconvenient.

  • Koan campground is very popular and so, this is why Rin’s chosen to go camping in November: the lack of crowds means that she has the entire area to herself. A quick glance at reviews of the Koan campground find that visitors are generally satisfied: the facilities and grounds are well-maintained, and the scenery is naturally one of the draws. Folks interested in visiting should note that there are no grocery stores or convenience stores nearby, so anyone looking to have a cookout here would need to bring their food in advance, and from what I’ve heard, the coin-operated showers leave something to be desired.

  • Exceptional attention is paid to replicating the surroundings of the Koan Campground, right down to the placement of the chain cordoning off the path leading to the campground and the sign on the roadside from the 709 route. The extent that Yuru Camp△ reproduces real-world environments will almost certainly result in a large number of anime fans in Japan paying the area a visit, and suggests that other locations that the girls visit in Yuru Camp△ will likely get a similar treatment.

  • Here’s an interesting bit of trivia: the shores on the opposite end of Lake Motosu stand adjacent to Aokigahara, a undisturbed, pristine forest whose trees have grown very dense thanks to the volcanic soils, and deep in the heart of the forest, fauna and flora thrive in the absence of human activity. The location is better known for being home to yūrei, Japanese ghosts from the spirits of those who have perished there either by choice or against their wills.

  • In fact, Aokigahara is the second most popular suicide site in the world, and officials are tasked with removing bodies from the forest as they are found. Of course, such a macabre topic is better suited for a horror novel rather than the likes of Yuru Camp△, and so, I’ll return the discussion to the point in the episode where Rin begins debating whether or not she should build a campfire. While she’s initially against it, already having settled in with her book and not feeling inclined to smell smokey, the brisk wind changes her mind.

  • Whereas Rin uses pine cones to light her fire, Stroud often uses a variety of materials, from cotton lint to punky wood, to light a fire. After the fire is started, Yuru Camp△ and Survivorman both continue applying larger branches to the burning fire. One of the key differences is that Rin’s not in a survival situation and so, is able to use matches to light her fire, while Stroud often is dropped into a survival situation with few or no matches. One of the more clever actions Stroud has used include starting a fire with nothing more than chocolate and an empty soda can, and he recommends splitting matches in half to double one’s stock of quick fire starters. I’ve heard from some folks that pine cones don’t work as fire starters, but it is more likely the case that individuals with this experience were attempting to light pine cones that had a bit of moisture in them.

  • The shores of Lake Motosu are beautifully rendered, and it is here that Rin finally settles down, messaging a friend and reading a book under the cool autumn skies. Lake Motosu is one of the Fuji Five Lakes, being the middle of the pack in terms of surface area and have the greatest maximum depth. One of the lake’s more interesting attributes is that its temperatures do not drop below freezing, allowing the lake to stay unfrozen even during the winter.

  • Evening begins setting in over Lake Motosu: by November, temperatures remain in the positives, but when the breeze picks up, it can become quite chilly, and so, Rin’s decision to set up a campfire turns out to be a wise decision: Stroud usually will go about setting up a fire immediately after his shelter is prepared, and cites a good fire as being important for maintaining warm when temperatures plummet during the night, helping in keeping insects and other animals away, and providing a psychological boost with its light.

  • On one trip to the bathroom, Rin notices that the sleeping girl has taken off and turns around, coming face-to-face with a crying Nadeshiko. Frightened out of her wits, Rin drops her torch and runs off, with Nadeshiko in close pursuit. However, it turns out to be a misunderstanding, and after hearing Nadeshiko’s situation, Rin tries to work out a way of getting her back with her family. The situation isn’t quite so hilarious in reality, but in anime such as Yuru Camp△, one cannot help but feel bad for characters who suffer misfortune.

  • The weather where I am has been remarkably warm as of late, reaching as high as a balmy 9°C: it’s a testament to my Canadian spirit that I consider -16°C “warm”, and anything above zero during this time of year reminds me of spring. However, forecasts are stating that as of tomorrow, winter is going to be back in full force, with a daily high of -20°C. The colder weather certainly does amplify feelings of hunger, and evolutionary theory suggests that it’s a trait we developed to survive colder weather, using the extra calories to keep warm: mid-conversation in Yuru Camp△, Nadeshiko certainly feels the effects of hunger, and fortunately, Rin’s on hand to assist with some instant ramen.

  • Nothing beats hot food on a cold night, and while Nadeshiko enjoys her ramen with what J.K. Rowling would describe as “indecent enthusiasm”, I met up with a friend and former colleague from my graduate student days at BIg T’s BBQ, a local institution. Amidst conversation about just how radically different the lab’s been since I graduated, conferences, thesis papers and games, I enjoyed a beef short rib with spicy Andouille Sausage, fried green tomatoes and yam fries. Their BBQ never fails to impress: the meat fell off the bones and was smoked to perfection, being tender and tasty, while the sausage was spicy enough to give a much-needed kick on a cold winter’s night. The Flames game tonight against the Minnesota Wild was being shown, and we’d gotten our first goal of the night shortly after I finished off the last of my fries – the game ended in overtime with a Flames victory.

  • Of course, eating ribs in a warm restaurant is a world apart from eating hot ramen under the star light: with Nadeshiko introduced now, I inexplicably feel as though Nadeshiko is supposed to be Yuru Camp△‘s version of Cocoa or Yui. Much like how military-moé anime feature a protagonist sharing similar features, slice-of-life anime do the same, and while some viewers are quick to dismiss these characters as generic, I’ve long held the perspective that such characters provide grounding for viewers, encouraging (or allowing) them to focus on the world the story is being presented in.

  • Nadeshiko’s original goal was to bike to the “nearby” Lake Motosu so that she could see for herself the beautiful scenery of Mount Fuji, having been inspired after seeing it on a 1000-yen bill. having tired out and fallen asleep, Nadeshiko found herself in the darkness and panicked. However, with Rin’s help, she’s able to view Mount Fuji under an autumn’s moon and get in touch with her sister: a quick glance at moon phase calendars finds that Yuru Camp△ took the care to get the moon phase correct, as well.

  • From the first episode of Yuru Camp△ alone, it’s quite tricky to gauge the characters’ personalities properly, so Sakura’s physical beating of Nadeshiko might just be a one-off rather than something that happens frequently. With this being said, I have a feeling that what I colloquially refer to as “funny faces” will be seen in Yuru Camp△ with a non-trival frequency. For the folks who’re new around these parts, one of the things I’ve come to enjoy in slice-of-life anime are exaggerated facial expressions that are a world apart from their usual characteristics.

  • In frustration, Sakura throws Nadeshiko bodily into the back of her SUV, but Nadeshiko later gives Rin some kiwis as thanks for the instant ramen from earlier, along with her phone number. In meeting Rin, Nadeshiko’s interest in camping is kindled, and she asks Sakura whether or not they have any camping supplies at home. While both Nadeshiko and Sakura are named for flowers, I’ve long felt that focusing extensively on names in an anime is not particularly conducive towards understanding what the anime’s messages are, and imprudent analysis certainly isn’t a requirement for a show to be enjoyed.

  • With the excitement of the evening over, Rin returns to her camping trip. I’ve heard folks say that the scenery in Yuru Camp△ is not quite up to snuff against anime with truly spectacular artwork, but overall, Yuru Camp△‘s art is of a good quality in general. With this first episode post out the gates, I remark here that even though only Rin, Nadeshiko and Sakura appear, I’ve tagged everyone in preparation for future posts, and further to this, I will be referencing Les Stroud and Survivorman frequently as I talk about Yuru Camp△. This is intended to drive discussions down a more interesting direction.

  • Nadeshiko’s bike ride to school really showcases the Yamanaka region’s beautiful landscapes: besides Lake Yamanaka and the fifth station on Mount Fuji, I also visited Oshino Village, Fuji Busshari Heiwa Park at Gotemba and stopped briefly on the shores of Lake Kawaguchi’s eastern end before heading north towards Shirakawa Lake. I occasionally wonder what it would be like to live in Japan close to their mountains, and I’m sure that there are folks in Japan who would wonder what it’d be like to live an hour away from the Canadian Rockies: Japanese tourists love Banff, and this is evident in the Japanese language signs and number of Japanese staff who work there. This is the consequence of a Japanese soap opera that made the location a popular one to visit, which speaks to the power of how fiction can drive up tourism in an area.

The meeting between Rin and Nadeshiko ended up being a riot to watch: despite her quiet nature, Rin is a caring individual. By comparison, Nadeshiko feels to be a bit of a klutz, which suggests that she could be Yuru Camp△‘s main protagonist (this seems to be the trend for a non-trivial number of manga run in Manga Time Kirara). Taken in conjunction with Yuru Camp△‘s focus on details of camping, loving portrayal of the scenery surrounding Mount Fuji and a fitting soundtrack that captures the splendour in nature, Yuru Camp△ is this season’s anime for catharsis. Similar to Slow Start, this season’s other Manga Time Kirara adaptation, things in Yuru Camp△ are taken very slowly, encouraging viewers to take in all of the small elements that are present while Rin is camping. Such anime are not everyone’s cup of tea, but considering the speed of the world that I live in, casual, carefree anime represent the suitable form of relaxation that I’m certain I’ll need as this year progresses. Unlike Slow Start, however, the topic of camping and outdoors activities in Yuru Camp△ is conducive towards some interesting discussion, and as such, I will be writing a bit more frequently for Yuru Camp△: it’s not every day that we have what is essentially Survivorman The Anime, and as I greatly enjoyed watching Survivorman, it’ll be curious to see what sort of parallels exist between the two.