The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Yuru Camp△

Sauna, Meal and A Three-Wheeler: Heya Camp△ OVA Review and Reflection

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” –Henry David Thoreau

When Rin arrives home from school one day, she finds her usual moped is gone, replaced by a Yamaha Tricity. She learns from her father that he’d taken her moped for maintenance work, and the workshop has given her a loaner. Because she had plans to camp that weekend near Hokuto, Rin decides to take the Tricity out. On the open road, she’s blown away by its handling and performance. Rin’s first destination is Enmei Hot Spring, where she soaks in the onsen before recalling a conversation she’d had with Ena earlier, who had mentioned that the trifecta of five minutes of warming up in a sauna, followed by a five-minute dip in spring water and then relaxing in the open air for five minutes has rejuvenating properties. Rin decides to give this a go, and finds that Ena was absolutely correct; she’s also left hungry by the experience, and sets off for lunch. She finds a restaurant named Takaoka and orders the tempura set, featuring a variety of tempura on rice with a side of miso soup and pickled vegetables. Lunch leaves Rin immensely satisfied, and she goes grocery shopping at Himawari Supermarket, purchasing local ingredients for her dinner. Marvelling at the Tricity’s performance, she heads off to her campground at Nyukasa JA House, a 32.5 kilometre journey. As night falls, Rin sets up camp and enjoys a delicious dinner of a bacon and eggplant and tomato sandwich with tomato soup. Under a starry sky, she reflects on the day and smiles, feeling that there is no better way to relax than by means of solo camping. Heya Camp△ had spent most of its run focused on Nadeshiko and the stamp rally that Chiaki and Aoi had put on for her, so Rin was largely absent from the proceedings, and so, in its OVA, Heya Camp△ allows viewers to follow Rin’s excellent adventure. The OVA is described as a bit of a sponsored programme with Yamaha, who wished to promote their Tricity line: a second generation was introduced in 2019 to address limitations the first generation model. Described as possessing exceptional stability and handling, but with a weaker engine for a vehicle of its size and requiring frequent maintenance, the Tricity has not seen the success Yamaha was hoping for. Rin’s experiences with the Tricity are decidedly positive: it is more powerful and stable than her own moped, and overall, the OVA presents a superbly relaxing experience.

Heya Camp△‘s OVA is an immensely peaceful experience that focuses on Rin, who had only made a few appearances during Heya Camp△ proper, and in this special episode, a sense of calm and solitude permeates the entire episode, giving viewers an experience of what constitutes as a trip that Rin considers ideal. While the Heya Camp△ OVA is prima facie a gentle journey, the OVA demonstrates Rin’s growth ever since meeting Nadeshiko: specifically, she’s become a bit more open-minded and flexible. Right out of the gates, Rin’s plans to camp are surprised with a new bike, and she decides to roll with it, immediately finding it to be a fun experience. At the onsen, Rin takes up Ena’s suggestion to try a relaxation technique and is pleasantly surprised at the outcomes, despite the painful cold of the spring water bath. When Rin goes shopping for groceries, her only criteria are that the dinner has to be light and something she can prepare without too much trouble. She ends up picking some local ingredients and using her pie iron, whips up a delicious sandwich. It’s a journey of new discoveries rolled in with the atmosphere that Rin is so fond of. While Rin indisputably enjoys the solitude and quiet of solo camping, the trip that she takes in the Heya Camp△ OVA was one that was filled with surprises, and Rin seems more able to roll with new experiences now to a greater extent than seen in Yuru Camp△. Where Heya Camp△ indicated that Nadeshiko is now more familiar with the Yamanashi area and able to take a more proactive approach in inviting Rin to accompany her and the Outdoors Activity Club, the OVA shows that Rin’s become a bit more open-minded, as well, which sets the stage for what is to come during season two of Yuru Camp△, which was formally announced back in March, shortly before Heya Camp△ concluded. Character growth corresponds with being able to explore new directions, and it will be excellent to see what new adventures awaits a group of friends brought together by their love of Mount Fuji and the outdoors.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Heya Camp△‘s OVA begins with Rin returning home to find a three-wheeled bike in the place of her usual moped. When I published my talk on Yuru Camp△‘s live action adaptation and remarked that I had found the real world equivalent of Rin’s house, I stated that I would not share the location out of respect for the residents’ privacy. Since then, one Izumi Tomiyama went ahead and uploaded the location to Google Maps; Tomiyama is a local and states that the actual building was once a restaurant. Provided that visitors are respectful and only hang out on the outside without disrupting the building’s occupants, I suppose this shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Yuru Camp△ had used a fictionalised portrayal of Rin’s house, which is supposed to be closer to the town of Furuseki in Minobu. This town is a short ways northeast of the Minobu High School, which would explain why the area is portrayed as being less densely populated. The trend of inanimate objects speaking in Yuru Camp△ is one of those subtle but enjoyable aspects in the series, and makes a brief reappearance in Heya Camp△‘s OVA: after arriving home, Rin’s surprised to see a hulked-out bike in place of her usual moped, which greets her the same way pinecones and acorns do. In this OVA, viewers are also introduced to Rin’s father, Wataru Shima, who is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai, of Hibike! Euphonium‘s Taki Noboru fame.

  • As it turns out, Rin’s moped is out for maintenance, and the shop’s lent her an interim bike, Yamaha’s Tricity. Rin’s a little surprised, but otherwise decides to roll with things, continuing on with her trip as planned. Ordinarily, Rin operates a Vimo 50 moped, which has a 50 cc engine: in my area, a moped must not have an engine displacement exceeding 50 cc, and moreover, cannot exceed a maximum speed of 70 kilometres per hour. The Vimo would therefore be something that someone with a Class VII license could operate. In Japan, different laws allow Rin to operate the Tricity, which has a 125 cc engine displacement, although back home, this would not be permissible (she’d need a Class VI license): my province defines a motor cycle as any two or three-wheeled vehicles not meeting the definitions that constitute a moped.

  • Right out of the gates, Rin is impressed with the Tricity, whose larger engine and double front wheels confer superior performance and stability compared to her Vimo. She’s running the Aqua Blue Tricity 125, and compliments the smooth ride she’s getting out of it. Rin’s experience in Heya Camp△‘s OVA brings to mind an adventure I had last year: during the Canada Day long weekend last year, I ended up renting a hybrid for a weekend road trip: while the hybrid does not accelerate or maintain a top speed as well as a conventional vehicle, its fuel economy was incredible.

  • After the cold of the drive up from Furuseki, Rin relaxes in the warm water baths of Enmei, who advertises their baths as having a European influence. The entrance fee is 830 yen for non-locals and 460 yen for residents (who need to produce an identification card). Enmei requires that visitors bring their own towels (or else purchase them at the front desk), but soap and shampoo are provided. Visitors generally praise the onsen for its excellent value and cleanness, but some feel the maintenance could be a little better.

  • The incredibly warm and cuddly-looking smiles of Yuru Camp△ make a return in the Heya Camp△ OVA; it was Ena who suggested that Rin try a variant of the Nordic Cycle technique. Ena is Rin’s best friend and able to elicit the most interesting reactions from her. Gentle, friendly and somewhat mischievous, Ena’s also somewhat lazy, preferring not to join any clubs and enjoys staying up late, as well as sleeping in. While she genuinely enjoys the Outdoors Activity Club’s excursions, she’s not quite ready to commit to a club yet.

  • Saunas are Finnish in origin, making use of high temperatures to encourage users to perspire. In small increments, use of a sauna is excellent for cardiovascular health, since the heat causes blood vessels to dilate, reducing blood pressure and improving circulation, as well as helping stiff joints to loosen up. However, sweating profusely caused by exposure to heat can cause dehydration, and saunas warn their users to spend no more than a quarter-hour inside. Ena’s routine stipulates that Rin is to spend no more than five minutes in the sauna before switching over to the next phase.

  • Cool baths at the Enmei Hot Spring draw water from the aquifer; while an elderly lady is enjoying the brisk water, Rin immediately feels uncomfortable with the dramatic temperature differential between the sauna and cool water as a part of the Nordic Cycle: people who do this routine remark on its positive effects, as the temperatures not only impact circulation, but also prompts the contraction of different muscles and helps with skin health, as well. Experts typically recommend making a shorter cold plunge, since staying in cold water for extended periods can lower the body’s core temperature.

  • Overall, the Nordic Cycle does have its benefits, and the usual caution should be observed (e.g. individuals with hypertension should not do this activity). Ena’s variant of the Nordic Cycle adds a five minute breather in the open air, allowing the body to recover. This additional wait makes the exercise less taxing on the body, and so, after three sets of three, Rin does feel noticeably more relaxed. This first stop represents the sauna piece of the OVA’s title.

  • Heya Camp△‘s OVA has Rin dispense with her longer hairstyle, which is only really noticeable when she enters Enmei Hot Spring: normally, she puts her hair in a bun before soaking in a hot springs, and while some viewers count this change in hairstyle tantamount to sacrilege, I personally don’t really mind at all. This OVA had actually been uploaded to YouTube back in April for a day so people could check it out and was removed after a day elapsed although the OVA was heavily watermarked and deliberately capped at 480p. Discussions of the OVA have been found on Reddit and MyAnimeList’s forums, but do not cover the locations that Rin visits; the OVA’s release to BD means the time is suited for rectifying this.

  • Having spent a morning rejuvenating herself at Enmei Hot Spring per Ena’s recommendation, Rin’s worked up an appetite and sets off for lunch. While Spatio Kobuchisawa Hotel does have a Cantonese restaurant on-site, their offerings are a bit pricier. Knowing that Rin depends very heavily on Google Maps (to the point where she often forgets to apply her own judgement and comes across roadblocks as a consequence), I was able to trace down the route Rin took from Enmei to her destination: she travels along the shortest path that Google recommends, leading her to pass by this otherwise unremarkable field in en route to lunch.

  • Rin ends up having lunch at Takaoka Japanese Restaurant (高岡和食処), located about six minutes away from Enmei Hot Spring by road. Despite being quite out of the way, locals praise the restaurant for its simple but delicious food, good prices and generous portions, as well as a very relaxing atmosphere, although some visitors have noted that the wait times can be a bit long. Like Enmei Hot Spring, I ended up using the kanji on the restaurant to find its location. I admit that normally, when searching up kanji, I actually use a Chinese keyboard since it’s more intuitive for me: 高岡 means “tall ridge” when translated to Chinese.

  • Takaoka’s standard tempura set rolls for 980 yen (about 12.50 CAD) and features miso soup, pickled vegetables and a large bowl of rice along with the tempura centrepiece and tentsuyu, a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, dashi and mirin. Takaoka offers a variety of vegetable tempura in its meal: Rin digs into Japanese leaf tempura alongside eggplant, maitake and jikobo (two kinds of Japanese mushrooms), yam and pumpkin before making her way to sillago (a fish) and last but not least, the prawn tempura. During my trip to Japan three years earlier, I spent one night at Ikenotaira Hotel on the shores of Shirakabako, and dinner encompassed a variety of tempura that proved quite delicious. Here, I also was able to try fiddlehead tempura along with Japanese leaf tempura; the slightly bitter flavour offers this tempura a rather unique character.

  • Rin comments that making tempura during camping would be a bit of a hassle: while the batter is made with simple ingredients (flour, egg and water, chilled with ice cubes), it cannot be prepared ahead of time since the batter can’t be kept at low temperatures for extended periods. The process of frying it would also require a pan and oil heated to around 170-180°C, which can prove tricky to clean up in a camping scenario. Curiously enough, air-fryers can be used to make tempura, and while it may not yield the same fluffy batter as traditional oil frying would, the results look delicious. Having already seen that an air-fryer can be used to make sweet and sour pork even more delicious than those of a restaurant (the home-made approach allows me to use less batter and more meat), it is tempting to go and give some recipes out there for tempura a go.

  • Watching Rin eat her way through the tempura set brought to mind how Adam Richman enjoys a good meal when he’s not under a time constraint to finish, but it also gives insight into Rin’s personality: she eats her vegetables first and then meat, saving the shrimp tempura for last to savour it. This is, coincidentally, exactly how I eat my meals. I always eat my vegetables first before the meat, and when shellfish is available, I tend to save that for last, as well (e.g. in a surf-n’-turf, I eat the steak before the lobster). This subtle detail suggests that of everyone in Yuru Camp△, I’m the most similar to Rin, and there is truth in this comparison; beyond the order in which we prefer to eat our foods, I genuinely enjoy my alone time.

  • Rin thanks the staff at Takaoka for a delicious meal before heading off for her next stop. Local fans of Yuru Camp△ immediately visited Takaoka after the corresponding manga chapter became available a year ago, to experience the same meal that Rin experienced. Through Heya Camp△‘s OVA, the chapter is brought to life and really accentuates the peaceful atmosphere at Takaoka, as well as Rin’s enjoyment of the simple, yet delicious meal that lends itself to the gohan piece of the OVA’s title.

  • From the sounds of things, there’s been a bit of a debate on the intertubes as to whether or not Heya Camp△‘s OVA, サウナとごはんと三輪バイク, should be given as Sauna to Gohan to Miwa bike or Sauna to Gohan to Sanrin bike. The proper romanisation of 三輪 in this context is Sanrin, since the kanji is referring to Rin’s Tricity, a three-wheeled bike. In Cantonese, the jyutping for 三輪 is saam1 leon4, which is phonetically similar to sanrin. Unlike Chinese, however, Japanese kanji can have multiple pronunciations; while miwa is technically valid (and sounds a bit more adorable), it is not correct in this context.

  • By this point in time, given that I’ve found Takaoka Japanese Restaurant, and with the knowledge that Rin’s next stop is a supermarket, all I needed to do with Google Maps was look up supermarkets in the area. The first result that appears is Sunflower Supermarket (ひまわり市場, Hepburn Himawari Ichiba), and taking a closer look, this is indeed the supermarket that Rin swings by to purchase ingredients to prepare dinner with. Thus, despite lacking any background information from the characters’ dialogue or direct references in Heya Camp△, I was able to locate most of the locations Rin travels to using a simple bit of kanji and Google-fu without difficulty.

  • Rin finds Sunflower Supermarket to be very well-stocked, with a diverse array of items; besides local vegetables from the Yatsugatake Mountains (located a mere twelve kilometres north of Sunflower Supermarket) and a bewildering array of spices, Rin’s impressed with their selection of meats. She ends up buying bacon from Hakushū, a small town that was merged with Nagasaka, Sutama and Takane to create the city of Hokuto in 2004. This is why a cursory search for Hakushū will only yield results for the distillery from the area, which has retained its name. Besides a strong selection of groceries, Sunflower Supermarket sells firewood out front.

  • Rin remarks that Sunflower Supermarket looks like a great place to shop for camping provisions, and further to this, has a great atmosphere. It would appear that Rin’s never been to Sunflower before, given her remarks. A panning shot of the interior shows that it would be a great shop for locals, selling a combination of everyday necessities as well as unique locale wares. While most supermarkets have a similar layout, smaller ones often have products that can’t be found at larger ones, and I imagine this is one of the joys of living in a smaller town with access to the freshest agricultural products.

  • Rin’s final stop for the day is her campsite. This was the only location I couldn’t locate with the techniques I described earlier, but fortunately, I was able to track down the official page from Yamaha, which verifies that all of the locations I found line up, and moreover, provides the location of the campground Rin visits. Rin’s journey ends at Mount Nyukasa, and upon finding a special map of the area, it turns out that there’s a very obscure camp ground at Mount Nyukasa, called the Nyukasa JA House. The location is not marked on Google Maps, but fortunately, Google Street View does have reach out here; upon inspection, the still seen in the OVA lines up with what Street View shows.

  • The Heya Camp△ OVA is of a superb animation quality, and enjoying the BD version is the optimal way of really taking in the visuals. The only quibble I have with the OVA is that there are a few places where Rin’s helmet visor, from a distance, takes on an opaque character that makes it resemble the modified helmet with the blast shield that Luke used in A New Hope to train his Jedi reflexes. Naturally, the visor isn’t actually opaque, and this is just a level-of-detail design to simplify the animation. After Rin arrives at the campsite, she sets up camp and goes about making dinner.

  • Darkness has set in by the time Rin’s good to go: with her tent set up and a warm campfire to sit by, Rin messages Ena, remarking that she’s rather enjoyed the Nordic Cycle at the sauna, but isn’t still quite feeling fully rejuvenated yet. The exchanges between Ena and Rin show a more spirited side to Rin’s character; while she’s typically stoic and not outwardly expressive, her monologues show that Rin does have the words for what she’s feeling despite not having a lot to say. Through her text messages, viewers can see that Rin is playful and has her own sense of humour.

  • The time has come for Rin to begin preparing a simple but delicious dinner of tomato soup and a grilled bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich with onion, eggplant and pickled jalapeños. She uses the pie iron she’d used to grill a pork bun during her unexpected solo camp trip during Yuru Camp△, when Nadeshiko caught a cold, which leaving Rin to do an impromptu trip. Since then, Rin’s evidently looked up more recipes to see what can be made with the pie iron: besides sandwiches, one can also make pizza, quesadillas, omelettes and even waffles with a pie iron. Like a cast iron pot, pie irons should to be seasoned before they can be used: besides providing rust-proofing, this also helps to create a non-stick coating.

  • Heya Camp△‘s OVA shows the result of Rin’s effort in vivid detail: Rin’s homemade BLT and soup combo look delicious. Since the global health crisis’s impacts became increasingly felt, there’s been an uptick of creative recipes being published to help people at home craft delicious and uplifting meals. Good food has been touted as helping people to get through these times, and strong morale, coupled with the slowly declining number of new cases is encouraging. For me, creative cooking means being able to do things like a peanut butter French toast (which was so rich that I ended up feeling that all day), as well as shrimp wor wonton with broccoli and cilantro that was remarkably refreshing thanks to how much flavour the soup picked up.

  • For its simplicity, the sandwich is probably one of the biggest innovations in gastronomy since humanity discovered how to preserve food, allowing one to experience a smorgasbord of flavours in every bite: Rin’s sandwich would create a flavour explosion from the savory bacon, crisp onions, refreshing tomatos and a bite from jalapeño from one mouthful. The name “sandwich” is British in origin, and the story is that John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was an avid card player and frequently requested that his meat be placed between two pieces of bread so he could continue playing cards without leaving a mess. Those who played cards with him began “ordering the same as Sandwich”, and became a colloquial way to refer to what had once been known simply as “bread and meat”.

  • While Ena’s Nordic Cycle may not have left Rin feeling fully content, a fully day’s worth of solo activities, rounded off with a delicious dinner, does leave Rin rejuvenated in full. In spending a fully day with Rin, Heya Camp△‘s OVA serves one more critical purpose: it shows how quiet Yuru Camp△ would be had it purely followed Rin and her solo camping adventures. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, although it should be clear that a full-season of this would grow dull quickly, even for the biggest Shimarin fans. With the addition of Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi, Yuru Camp△ takes on a much more energetic feeling. A noisy, rambunctious group of campers being Yuru Camp△‘s pure focus would similarly lose its pizzazz, and this is where the genius of Yuru Camp△ becomes apparent: the simultaneous presentation of group camping and solo camping in different combinations keeps things fresh, creating both exciting and calm moments.

  • As Rin settles down for the evening and enjoys the solitude of a quiet night under a starry sky, I take a quiet moment to reflect on this post and remark that I am rather surprised that it was as lengthy as it was: it was an immensely fun exercise to locate all of the places that Rin stopped along for her solo trip using the Tricity, using nothing more than the kanji from the frames depicting each area. The end result is thirty screenshots worth of material to present to readers, and I hope that the reader had fun with this post as much as I enjoyed looking up and presenting the details about each spot; it feels like I did a virtual tour of the Hokuto for myself right alongside Rin.

  • It should be unsurprising that Heya Camp△‘s OVA scores a well-deserved A+ (4.0 of 4.0, or 9,5 of 10), same as the series proper; the amount of detail that went into showing Rin’s adventure with the Tricity is evident, and while Yamaha might’ve sponsored the OVA to have Rin speak to the Tricity’s capabilities, the OVA itself is never too brazen in being an advertisement for the Tricity. The end result is a clever incorporation of Yamaha’s promotion of their latest Tricity model into an OVA that shows what a flawless solo camping trip looks like for Rin. The OVA is very much a must-watch for anyone who enjoyed Heya Camp and are looking for something to tide them over while awaiting Yuru Camp△‘s second season.

Throughout Yuru Camp△, the girls have only camped during the autumn and winter; Rin had previously stated that this is her favourite time of year because the cooler weather means fewer crowds and a lack of insects. Similarly, since Nadeshiko met Rin, she’d been so excited about camping that she immediately began camping with Chiaki and Aoi in the Outdoors Activity Club during winter, becoming familiar with the specifics behind winter camping, from bringing a good camping pad to keep warm and appreciating the importance of dressing in layers, having the right sleeping bags and carrying a few warmers. Yuru Camp△ was a great success in portraying winter camping, as well as the journey it took get Rin to consent with camping with Nadeshiko and the others during Christmas. As such, the realm of summer camping is territory that Yuru Camp△ has yet to explore, and with the first season concluding with Rin and Nadeshiko meeting one another at Koan Campground by Lake Motosu by spring, the second season will pick off where things left off with the first season: Nadeshiko and the Outdoors Activity Club are doubtlessly open-minded and have no qualms with camping by summer, so it will likely take some effort to convince Rin of doing the same with them, and along the way, both Rin and the Outdoors Activity Club will share new experiences, with a few new characters in tow as well. With Yuru Camp△‘s second season set to air in January 2021, excitement for the series is building despite the fact that the second season is still a half-year away. Fortunately, with Heya Camp△ breaking things up, the wait does not feel to be an inordinate one, and given how consistent Yuru Camp△ and Heya Camp△ have been, it should be apparent that the second season will be an absolute joy to watch.

Yuru Camp△: Review and Reflections on the Live Action Adaptation, or, Les Stroud’s Survivorman meets Adam Richman’s Man v. Food

“各位,而家唔係唔係冇電,又唔係真人登台,係打劫。” –九叔, 半斤八兩

2018’s Yuru Camp△ proved to be a fantastic hit, following the camping adventures of the stoic Rin Shima and energetic Nadeshiko Kagamihama as their mutual love for the scenery surrounding Mount Fuji gradually leads Rin to be more open to camping with others, as well as developing Nadeshiko’s own love for camping. After a fateful meeting at Koan Campground on the shores of Lake Motosu when Nadeshiko found herelf lost, Rin helps her to call home, and earns Nadeshiko’s gratitude. Nadeshiko falls in love with camping and joins her high school’s Outdoors Activity Club, befriending Chiaki Ōgaki and Aoi “Inuko” Inuyama and accompanies them on several adventures. Even though Rin is reluctant to camp with Nadeshiko at first, she begins to accept Nadeshiko and shares in her adventures with her, as well as the Outdoors Activity Club. After inviting Nadeshiko to try out her new portable grill at Lake Shibire and receiving help from Chiaki on her latest solo excursion, Rin agrees to join Nadeshiko and the Outdoors Activity Club on a Christmas camping trip, coming to appreciate that camping with others has its own merits. Originally adapted from Afro’s manga, Yuru Camp△‘s animated adaptation became a runaway success, and besides a second season that is to air in the winter of 2021, Yuru Camp△ also received a live-action adaptation, featuring Haruka Fukuhara as Rin, Yuno Ōhara as Nadeshiko, Momoko Tanabe as Chiaki, Yumena Yanai as Aoi and Sara Shida as Ena Saitō. Announced in November 2019, this television drama aired from January to April this year, and is a largely faithful retelling of the events in Yuru Camp△. It marks the first time I’ve watched a J-drama front to back: Yuru Camp△‘s short length and premise meant I had no difficulty in following the live-action drama’s events, and before long, I’d finished all twelve episodes. The drama acts as an enjoyable bridge between Heya Camp△ and the long-awaited second season, treading upon familiar ground with a fresh new perspective and the extra dimension that live actions offer.

The question of how effectively a live-action adaptation of Yuru Camp△ can capture the atmosphere of the anime is likely the first thing on all viewers’ minds, and the answer to this might be a disappointment for some. In general, the highly exaggerated mannerisms and expressions that characters of an anime exhibit are a deliberate choice, to accentuate a certain emotion or manner effectively to the viewer. This is done because in the two-dimensional medium, nuances in communication are lost. Without things like body language and subtle facial expressions to convey how someone is feeling, anime employs highly visceral means of capturing and conveying those same emotions. For instance, someone with an open posture and focused eye contact on a speaker indicates they are paying full attention, excited about the topic at hand, but this is trickier to capture with anime, so an anime must therefore use wild gestures to capture the same. However, translating the gestures and mannerisms of anime characters into a live-action comes across as being jarring: Yuru Camp△‘s live action adaptation chooses to have Rin, Nadeshiko et al. act similarly to their anime counterparts, and the result is that the girls come across as overacting. Nadeshiko feels even more excitable than her anime counterpart, and even the stoic Rin feels highly expressive. The end result is that anime mannerisms appear strange, exaggerated in real life; because real people have more subtle cues in body language that speak to how they are feeling, porting the anime’s manner into to the live action Yuru Camp△ creates a far more rambunctious environment than was present in Yuru Camp△. The other aspect that the live action drama does not capture from the anime is the incidental music: Yuru Camp△‘s anime adaptation, with a soundtrack from Akiyuki Tateyama, features a section of pieces with a distinct Celtic influence that universally captures the grandeur and wonder of the outdoors. By comparison, the drama’s music is much more mundane and does not illustrate the joys that Rin, Nadeshiko and the others experience in their adventures to the same extent. Consequently, the drama’s soundscape feels subdued by comparison; the anime’s soundtrack created an outdoors feel with its use of the Irish instruments and whistling, which figured in scenes ranging from the panoramas of a campsite to more ordinary moments at school.  Those same moments are not as majestic within the drama.

While it appears that I’ve rattled off a large list of detractors about the live action adaptation of Yuru Camp△, the reality is that the live action has more positives than negatives, and typically, I prefer dealing with the negatives first. The live action drama, on virtue of being set in the real world, offers a new-found sense of realism that exceeds that of even the anime’s. By taking viewers to the real world locations the anime portrayed, Yuru Camp△‘s drama reinforces the feel that everything that happens in the series is something that viewers can experience and enjoy for themselves. The anime had done a spectacular job of portraying real world locations, but this portrayal is a highly idealised one: in a manner of speaking, the anime can be said to make each spot look more impressive than it appears in reality. However, the live action drama presents each location precisely as it appears in real life, and so, the true beauty and splendour of every site is captured without embellishment or modification. This serves to really bring out the sights and sounds that the girls see when visiting each location, bringing to mind the places Les Stroud visits throughout the course of Survivorman. For instance, at Lake Shibire, Yuru Camp△‘s anime presents it as an idyllic spot with autumn colours worthy of a painting, set under the blue sky of a fading autumn’s day. In the live action, however, it is a cloudy day, and the trees are more subdued in colour. However, the reflection of the surrounding forests and mountains in the lake itself is far more vivid: the beauty of Lake Shibire lies not in the autumn colours, but also the lake and its quiet surroundings, perfect for grilling meat under on a brisk day. Yuru Camp△‘s drama adheres to authenticity to an even greater extent than the anime did: whereas Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi visit the fictional Caribou outdoors shop in the anime, visiting by train because that store was near Minobu’s old town, the real world equivalent, Swen, is actually located in Hamamatsu, Nadeshiko’s hometown, which is about 143 kilometres from Minobu Station. By comparison, the live action adaptation takes Chiaki, Aoi and Nadeshiko to Outings Products Elk; located in Kofu, Outings Products Elk is a more manageable 48.8 kilometres from Minobu Station. In reality, it takes around two and a half hours to arrive by train, so it was a very nice touch to have Sakura drive the girls here. Besides capturing the true aesthetics and beauty of the different locations the girls visit, Yuru Camp△‘s live action adaptation also holds one major edge over the anime in its portrayal of food. Owing to the lack of specularity in anime, the glisten of sauces and rich colours on food are not usually captured as effectively; food is a key part of Yuru Camp△, and while the anime had done a strong job with depicting food, the drama holds the clear advantage in presentation. Close-ups of the food in Yuru Camp△‘s drama show the details of every dish, and the girls, especially Rin, enjoy camping food with the same enthusiasm that Adam Richman digs into a dish in Man v. Food to capture their taste. From the spicy gyoza nabe Nadeshiko cooks for Rin at Fumotoppara, the grilled chicken skewers and jambalaya at Shibireko, to the hōtō that Chiaki cooks and the top-grade sukiyaki that Aoi prepares for everyone at the Christmas camp, seeing the girls eating in Yuru Camp△‘s live action adaptation succeeds in conveying the flavour of every dish, even more so than the anime. The live action adaptation evidently has its strengths, and showcases different aspects of Yuru Camp△ relative to the anime adaptation.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • In the live action Yuru Camp△ drama, Haruka Fukuhara plays Rin: an actress, Fukuhara has had roles in television shows and movies, but she also performs some voice work, playing secondary characters in After the Rain and Hello World. Yuru Camp△’s drama replicates the appearances of each character very similarly for the most part, and Fukuhara plays Rin well. I believe this post is the internet’s first and only complete English-language discussion of the drama. While there are a few YouTube videos here and there, as well as a few posts on Reddit, but these are packed with vociferous reactions and obscure memes, making them quite jarring to watch. I use science to take out the memes, leaving readers with what they come for. Before I continue, I’ll briefly explain how this post suddenly consumed the remainder of April.

  • The reason for this post requiring more time to write was two-fold. The first is that I felt it worthwhile to include an inset screenshot of the corresponding moment from Yuru Camp△‘s anime, and therefore, it took a bit of time to ensure that I got an appropriate moment to include, and then create these modified screenshots which showcase the moments side-by-side. Each screenshot thus shows the live action scene in conjunction with the equivalent moment within the anime as an inset. The job isn’t perfect, but I’ve done my best to ensure that the inset images are placed to maximise visibility: there is no pattern to their positioning whatsoever.

  • The second reason is that there’s a bit of material to cover, and I felt that sixty screenshots would be appropriate to ensure I could cover everything to a suitable extent. Even then, there are many moments that I won’t have the space to go over. Sleeping Nadeshiko by the faculties looked hilarious in the anime, and in the live action version, things look a little more ridiculous. With this in mind, it’s certainly not hygienic, and in real life, one would question seeing such a sight.

  • When Yuru Camp△ first aired, I likened the anime to Survivorman for how detailed the series was in explaining techniques for starting campfires, setting tents up and the like. The anime had Rin’s grandfather providing the narration, while in the live action drama, the cast would act out skits that portray how to do certain things. It’s certainly a novel way to keep viewers engaged, and since Rin’s grandfather only has a limited appearance in the drama, this approach also lessens the need for a narrator.

  • Upon seeing Yuru Camp△’s first episode in live action, I wondered how they would handle certain of things, like Nadeshiko tripping on the chain that cordons off the road down to the Koan Camping Grounds off Route 709. It turns out that the live action is a little more tactful, and doesn’t portray what happens next. The first episode had me impressed at just how faithful the series would be towards the original Yuru Camp△, and while there are some changes throughout, the overall thematic elements aren’t changed.

  • In reality, Motosu High School is located nine minutes from Kai-Tokiwa Station, but stands empty. Thanks to Yuru Camp△, the site has seen a surge in visits from fans of the series, and is now counted as a tourist attraction. The anime took some creative liberties with the school’s layout, but the narrow storeroom that the Outdoors Activity Club uses is indeed a part of the school. The anime had Chiaki encounter Nadeshiko looking through the clubroom, but in the live action, both Aoi and Chiaki are present.

  • After accidentally snapping one of the poles on their 900 Yen (11.72 CAD) tent, Ena appears to help the Outdoor Activities Club out, resulting in a similar moment of joy. However, in the drama, Nadeshiko does not run into the window as she did in the anime: such an action would speak poorly to her character. Instead of running into the window, Nadeshiko appears in the library moments later, surprising Rin. The drama makes minor changes to the characters’ actions, improving them in some cases.

  • Rin’s view of Mount Fuji from Fumotoppara in both the anime and drama is a million-yen one. During my trip to Japan three years earlier, I had been in the Yamanashi region, but Mount Fuji was largely obscured by cloud cover. On a clear day, the view really is spectacular, and it’s easy to see why Mount Fuji is the most iconic of all the mountains in Japan, with its distinct shape. There are no equivalents over on this side of the world, and I believe the only other mountain out there with an iconic appearance is the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps.

  • In an earlier post where I compared Yuru Camp△‘s campground and locations with some of their real-world equivalents, I exclusively used Google Maps and Street View to illustrate how faithful the anime had been to the real world. The live action drama has no trouble with its locations, and promptly returns to the same spots seen in the anime: here, Rin photographs a barn at Fumotoppara while out a walk. In the anime, the barn’s door cover is closed, while in the drama, it’s been rolled back.

  • Rin begins to wish she hadn’t been quite so cold to Nadeshiko, and begins to hear Nadeshiko calling her name out. When Rin opens her eyes, she sees Nadeshiko carrying a basket of ingredients and a blanket, set to prepare a camping meal of a calibre that Rin had never made before. Previously, on her solo outings, Rin carried simpler fare like cup noodles, preferring to spend most of her time in a quiet environment. Meeting with Nadeshiko changes her view of camping, and initially, this change manifests as a desire to try more sophisticated (but still manageable) dishes.

  • The spicy gyoza nabe that Nadeshiko prepares appears absolutely delicious, and the real-world version captures the spices readily: gyoza are Japanese dumplings that are, compared to the Chinese jiaozi (餃子), smaller and made with a thinner wrapper. Nadeshiko’s recipe calls for sesame oil, miso, Chili, chicken stock, cabbage, green onions, garlic chives, White Button mushrooms and tofu, as well as some bean sprouts.

  • Nadeshiko’s love for gyoza foreshadows her origins as a resident of Hamamatsu: Shizuoka vies with Tochigi prefecture as the leading consumers of gyoza in Japan, and in these prefectures, the dish is so popular that unconventional fillings, like shrimp, can also be found. Watching Nadeshiko and Rin enjoying their dinner as the evening wears on in the live action was particularly fun, bringing to mind Adam Richman’s early Man v. Food episodes where he would visit two restaurants in a city for some authentic local eats before squaring off against that city’s challenge.

  • I’ve long felt that Man v. Food could’ve been just as fun without the eating challenges, and while shows like You Gotta Eat Here! and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives showcase excellent foods all around (including Calgary’s very own Big T’s BBQ), there’s a magic about Adam Richman and the way he expresses his enjoyment of food that other food show hosts can’t replicate. It is therefore high praise when I say that Yuru Camp△‘s drama captures the taste of food as effectively as Richman does in Man v. Food.

  • I remember Man v. Food best for accompanying me nearly eight summers ago: when I was stating down the MCAT, to cope with the stresses, I would crack frequent jokes about the challenge the MCAT presented in the context of Adam Richman’s stylised portrayal of his food challenges. While this seems a childish practise, being able to make light of a difficult situation is a vital skill in keeping morale and focus up, and this is something Les Stroud supports, as well. With frequently allusions to Man v. Food and Survivorman, the comparisons I draw between these shows and Yuru Camp△ demonstrates the extent of my enjoyment of the series.

  • Yuru Camp△‘s live action uses the library at Motosu High School, but unlike the anime, where the lights are usually switched off, the drama’s library is more brightly lit and inviting. I imagine that for the live action, the producers obtained permission to use parts of the school during their filming. Previously, the old Motosu High School stood empty as a haikyo until Yuru Camp△ brought the site back to life as a tourist attraction.

  • One aspect that I was particularly impressed with was how closely the drama’s actresses matched their anime counterparts: Yuno Ōhara does capture the energy and warmth that Nadeshiko projects, and similarly, Momoko Tanabe does an excellent job with Chiaki in both manner and facial expressions. On the other hand, Aoi is a bit of an interesting character, and while Yumena Yanai does speak with a light Kansai accent as Aoi, her drama counterpart lacks Aki Toyosaki’s soft voice and a propensity towards bad jokes.

  • While viewers have long known that Yuru Camp△ had been modelled after the real world, seeing the drama take the Outdoor Activities Club to the actual locations themselves really drives home the idea that everything seen in Yuru Camp△ could be done in reality. During my trip to Japan three years ago, my itinerary actually took me very close to the locations of Yuru Camp△, and this was a particularly enjoyable visit precisely because so much of it was spent in the countryside. While I get that Tokyo is the home of pretty much everything that’s cool in Japan, there is much character in the smaller cities, towns and inaka.

  • After spending a full day in Yamanashi, I travelled up to Nagano down the same route that Rin took, although unlike Rin, my destination was actually Shirakabako, where there are several resort hotels. I’ve opted to draw a comparison here between what is essentially the corresponding moments between the anime and drama where Rin stops behind another vehicle at an intersection. Rin rides a Yamaha Vino Classic, a moped with an 49 cc engine and impressive theoretical range of 248 kilometres. Because of its engine size, the Vino Classic is classified as a moped, and in my jurisdiction, only requires a Class VII license to operate. Motorcycles, on the other hand, require a special Class VI, while most motor vehicles require a Class V.

  • While the climb up to Fuefukigawa Fruit Park leaves Chiaki and Aoi exhausted, Nadeshiko has energy to spare, and asks the others to take a self-portrait with her before she runs around the open plaza at the park’s entrance. One small detail I noticed in the anime, is that Aoi’s eyebrows are so prominent that they show up through any headgear she’s sporting. This naturally cannot be replicated in real life, but the drama does have Aoi wearing the same hat as she did in the anime, as a nice touch.

  • Even though Rin is fond of her solo camping trips, Yuru Camp△ portrays her as being fond of keeping in touch with others on her travels: Rin may have coldly rejected Nadeshiko’s invitation earlier, but in general, she’s never bothered whenever Nadeshiko exchanges messages with her. One touch about Yuru Camp△ that was subtle, but clever, is that Rin gets to know Nadeshiko (and later, Chiaki) better through exchanging messages on their phones. Rin’s messages with Ena serve as the baseline for how Rin interacts with people she’s familiar with; while her early messages with Nadeshiko are a bit more formal, over time, the exchanges become more spirited.

  • Despite being utterly wasted from the walk up to Fuefuki Fruits Garden, Chiaki and Aoi get a second wind when they learn of the ice cream shop inside the visitor centre. The drama has the girls leaving their stuff behind to indicate how excited they are, whereas in the anime, Chiaki and Aoi have the presence of mind to take their stuff with them. Since the drama does not have the same facial expressions the anime does, it falls to other visual methods of conveying the energy that the girls have.

  • At Korobokkuru Hutte, a small restaurant with rustic outdoors decor, Rin stops for a lunch of her own: a borscht combo that warms her right up. Korobokkuru Hutte’s borscht is 羅宋湯 (jyutping lo4 sung3 tong1, literally “Russian Soup”), or Chinese borscht, which is made from tomato, cabbage, onion and beef broth. This dish is so named because of its origins in Harbin, which is located close to the Russian border. It’s an excellent soup, being flavourful and warming, but unlike true Ukrainian borscht, Chinese borscht does not have any beets in it. Hong Kong restaurants serve this as an appetiser, where the sour and spicy soup helps to kick off the meal. At Korobokkuru Hutte, their borscht set costs 1300 yen and comes with bread, as well as a drink of choice – the borscht itself includes succulent chunks of beef, making it a hearty meal perfect for the cold of Nagano.

  • The last time I wrote about the Kirigamine webcam for Yuru Camp△, Flash was on the way out, and these days, most browsers will warn visitors that their Flash plugin is blocked. Nadeshiko and the others manage to catch Rin waving to them here in the drama, just like in the anime, although I note that attempting to do this in reality would very likely need an Android phone: Steve Jobs was very adamant about Flash never coming to iOS devices, citing bloat and security concerns, and the superior HTML5 has since superseded flash in most applications. I imagine that the prefectural government will need to update their site if fans of Yuru Camp△ are to be able to view their webcam on any smartphone, just as Nadeshiko, Aoi and Chiaki do.

  • While Aoi, Chiaki and Nadeshiko enjoy the warm waters of the onsen at Hottarakashi, which is a little further up the hill, Rin struggles with the cold of Nagano’s Kirigamine Highlands. Yuru Camp△ shows Rin as being relatively new to the idea of ad hoc travel: whereas her solo camping excursions previously took her to a campsite, where she would set up and then take it easy for the remainder of a day, she begins to be more inquisitive and travel around more after securing her moped license. However, on multiple occasions, Rin fails to recall that many attractions, open during the summer, are now closed for the winter, and so, when things don’t turn out to be as expected, she lacks a backup plan of sorts. However, when Rin learns to improvise, she comes to appreciate the joys that accompany maintaining an open mind.

  • Because they plan on having a substantial cook-out later with the ingredients they’ve brought, the Outdoors Activity Club refrains from having a full lunch, but are still tempted by the onsen eggs: these are essentially fried soft-boiled eggs, but cooked within the waters of an onsen that give them a distinct, custard-like taste. They’re traditionally served with soy sauce, but Hottarakashi Onsen has a deep-fried version: fried soft-boiled eggs aren’t too tricky to make, but the unique combination of boiling them in onsen water ahead of time would impart a completely different taste.

  • Yuru Camp△ represents the sweet spot between watching Adam Richman struggle to finish some gigantic burger or burrito for a food challenge, and watching Les Stroud hunting for wild edibles while in the bush: unlike Survivorman, Rin and the others have access to delicious food for camping that is enjoyable to watch, and the show focuses on the enjoyment of just the right amount of food, unlike Man v. Food. Here, Rin enjoys a bacon-vegetable pasta with a white cream sauce: she notes its the first time she’s had something so fancy while camping, and savours every moment of it. In the anime, the narrator explains that the advantage of this recipe is that nothing goes to waste, and with a little bit of preparation ahead of time, yields a delicious pasta that leaves very little mess.

  • By comparison, the Outdoors Activity Club enjoy a full-on curry together. Even when camping, the recipes Nadeshiko uses is more sophisticated than what I typically cook: for me, a good curry involves either chicken or beef, potatoes, carrots and onions. This is the simplest curry to make: one only need to cook the meats, then separately, boil the potatoes, carrots and onions, and mix in everything with the curry. However, Nadeshiko’s recipe adds okra and eggplant as well: eggplant can work out of the box, but with okra, since it produces mucilage, has a slimy texture if not prepared properly. The trick here would be to soak it in vinegar for half an hour before cooking it, or else cook it separately at higher temperatures and then use the cooked okra in the dish of choice.

  • The point of showing a side-by-side comparison of Rin and Nadeshiko’s camping adventure was to accentuate that, despite their differences in camping preferences, the outcome is the same; both get to experience something wonderful, and for the viewer, it means that Rin eventually deciding to accept a group camping invitation isn’t too far off. It’s one of the best scenes in all of Yuru Camp△, and while the drama does a solid job of creating the scene, the superimposing of the two campers, side-by-side is not done. The impact of the scene, while still present in the drama, is not quite as profound as in the anime, though.

  • The differences between the anime and drama are noticeable, and it’s not a 1:1 adaptation, but overall, I would say that most of the gripes I have are to be knit-picking to an unfair extent. In case it was not clear, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the live-action version of Yuru Camp△ – once I got started into the series, I began looking forwards to it each week. The page quote, taken from Sam Hui’s 1976 movie, The Private Eyes, was prompted by my initial reaction to learning that there was a live action version of Yuru Camp△. In The Private Eyes, during the climactic robbery scene at the theatre, villain Uncle Nine (Shih Kien) declares that they’re stopping a movie the patrons are watching, not because there’s a power outage or because they’re switching to a live-action show, but because it’s going to be a robbery. Yuru Camp△‘s live action drama, on the other hand, can be considered to be the “真人登台” (jyutping zan1 jan4 dang1 toi4, “live acting on stage”) that Uncle Nine is referring to.

  • While denied a trip to the onsen in her way to Nagano, Rin manages to find one at a later time, and also buys a souvenir for Nadeshiko, who eats the souvenir buns with zeal once Rin gifts them to her. Here, Rin’s portable grill is visible: both Ena and Nadeshiko wonder if it’s an offertory box (colloquially, a “poor box”), which is a stab how Rin’s highly specialised gear is obscure enough so that its function is not immediately apparent to common folk. This other perspective of the library in the drama, when compared to the anime, shows the differences in lighting, and again, the library of the drama feels much more inviting than its counterpart in the anime.

  • Rin invites Nadeshiko to go camping and try out the new portable grill; this trip takes them to the shores of Lake Shibire, and it’s a bit of a distance, so Sakura will be driving the two. In using a real-world location for Rin’s house, the drama also shows that in Yuru Camp△‘s anime, the Shima residence has been fictionalised: the forest is thicker, and there are fewer other houses around. In the interest of not having droves of Yuru Camp△ fans show up at the real world location and potentially hassling the residents, I’ve elected not to disclose where Rin’s house was filmed in this discussion despite having found the location. I’ve seen discussions on Reddit where some folks from Japan have attempted to find Rin’s house and were unsuccessful in doing so: I note that location hunting is a bit of a talent, and that even residents can have trouble identifying things shot in their area. For instance, Pure Pwnage filmed the infamous FPS_Doug segment in a community in the south of my city, but because I don’t go to the south, I didn’t recognise the neighbourhood.

  • While shopping for meat to cook during their camping trip, Rin discovers that the Selva in Minobu does not have all the exotic cuts she was looking for on account of it being winter: of pork jowl, ribs, kalbi (Korean beef short-ribs), horumon (offal of pork and beef) and other specialty cuts, only the kalbi and ribs are available. In the anime, Rin breaks down, while in the drama, she retains a bit more composure but still looks on the verge of tears. Nadeshiko’s quick thinking sorts things out: the store still has chicken and pork skewers, which go great on a grill.

  • Upon arriving at Lake Shibire, the fellow managing the campsite provides instructions for reaching the actual campgrounds across the lake. Nadeshiko had picked the site out on recommendation from Chiaki, who wanted to check the site out on account of its mysteries. The anime has the narrator explaining the story of a phantom bull that sometimes appears on the lake shores, while in the drama, Rin takes the responsibility of recounting this legend.

  • After setting up camp, Nadeshiko goes exploring while Rin warms up her binchotan coals; these coals are named after Bicchuya Chozaemon, a charcoal (tan) maker who lived in Wakayama during the 1600s. Using Ubame oak in his area, which is tougher and having a smaller grain than other trees, the charcoal he produced burned much more cleanly and for longer than standard charcoal. However, it is also tougher to light because of the charcoal’s composition, and so, Rin finds herself lacking the materials to generate a heat long enough to light them. Fortunately, Nadeshiko’s just met some friendly people, and gets some help in lighting the charcoal from a fellow camper.

  • Binchotan requires at least 25 minutes to fully light, and after that, require around an hour to reach a maximum temperature of 370℃. Rin remarks that food cooked over binchotan tastes better, and there is a fact in this point: because binchotan burns with less smoke than regular charcoal, it leaves a very subtle flavour on food grilled over it that a learned palette can distinguish. This is why Rin was so excited about grilling over her new grill, and in the end, even conventional chicken and pork skewers taste amazing. She decides to share some, along with Nadeshiko’s nabe, with the campers who’d helped them, and receive jambalaya for their troubles.

  • Thus, by camping with Nadeshiko, Rin sees first-hand how rolling with the punches can result in an experience that is enjoyable. Every camping trip in Yuru Camp△ serves a purpose: Koan was where Rin and Nadeshiko first met, Fumotoppara gave Rin a chance to know the real Nadeshiko better, Fuefuki/Nagano was a chance for Rin to see how much the two had in common despite their different personalities through electronic messaging (which allows Rin a modicum of solitude while at once still discovering more about Nadeshiko), and Shibireko gives Rin a look at Nadeshiko’s “play-it-by-ear” style.

  • As evening sets in, Rin and Nadeshiko prepare to turn in. Nadeshiko is still worried about the phantom bull, but ironically, it is Rin who ends up crashing in Nadeshiko’s tent after coming face-to-face with the “bull” (actually Minami Toba, one of the campers they’d encountered earlier). I stand by my old assertion that prior to meeting Nadeshiko, Rin is very much someone who doesn’t have a mind for handling the unexpected, and when problems look like they’re outside of her scope, she tends to panic. This is something that gradually dissipates as she spends more time with Nadeshiko.

  • Yuru Camp△ had Chiaki and Aoi spend a half-episode seasoning a cast-iron skillet and removing the varnish from a wooden bowl for use with hot foods, but the drama skips over this segment entirely: Chiaki and Aoi invite Ena to camp with them for Christmas after exams, and then with Nadeshiko, head straight to Outings Products Elk to check out sleeping pads. This was one of the best changes in Yuru Camp△‘s drama: there is no outdoors product store in Minobu, and Caribou is based off Sven in Hamamatsu. However, it is named after Outings Products Elk in Kofu, and the drama takes the care of having Sakura drive them here, rather than taking the train, because of how far away it is from Minobu and Nambu.

  • When Nadeshiko learns of the price of the gas lamp, she covers her eyes in shock and remarks she’s just looking for now. In one of those rare moments, Nadeshiko’s actions in the anime translate into real life rather elegantly, and the drama’s portrayal of the scene is just as adorable as it was in the anime. If memory serves, the prices are a bit different between the anime and drama: the anime gave the Coleman gas lamp as costing 4690 Yen (61.52 CAD), but in the drama, it’s 5980 Yen (78.44 CAD). This is a ways pricier than the Coleman models available at my local outdoors shop; an equivalent propane lamp from Coleman costs around 50 CAD.

  • Rin actually had another trip planned with Nadeshiko, a sign of the closing distance between the two, but when Nadeshiko catches a cold, Rin is left to travel on her own. She shifts up her itinerary completely, and right out of the gates, runs into problems when her planned route is closed. Fortunately, even though Nadeshiko might be sick, she’s on the mend, and Chiaki decides to visit her, both keeping her company and watching Nadeshiko message Rin, which gives her a better idea of what Shimarin is like. Their guidance and support of Rin helps her to have an amazing time, as well as making it feel as though they were there with her.

  • With her pride as a Yamanashi girl at stake, Chiaki ends up making enough hōtō for the entire Kagamihama family: she had brought some over as a get-well gift for Nadeshiko, but when the entire family shows up, she realises that she can’t just do some basic recipe. One thing that I found surprising about hōtō is that one needn’t quench the noodles with cold water after boiling it: in Chinese noodle soup, I do this to to immediately halt the cooking process and cool the noodles so they don’t cook any further and become a soggy mess. As it turns out, the starch on the hōtō is there to thicken the broth. The entire family enjoy Chiaki’s recipe, much to her relief, and Sakura asks her for the recipe. It’s a fun scene that captures the Kagamihama family’s atmosphere – everyone is easygoing except for Sakura, but even then, she’s still kind-hearted.

  • While Chiaki’s whipped up delicious hōtō for Nadeshiko and her family, Rin is settling in to a soak at Hayataro Onsen overlooking the Minami Alps in Komagane. This onsen is named after an area legend and is renowned for its seamless integration with nature. With odourless water, Hayataro Onsen is popular amongst those looking to refresh their skin, and the drama portrayal makes it doubly clear that these hot springs are beautiful: the lighting in the real onsen gives the baths an even warmer and more inviting feel than that of the anime.

  • After Rin leaves the baths, Nadeshiko and Chiaki have an adorable fight about what Rin should have for lunch: both agree that she should eat something specific to the area, but there are two specialties. As it turns out, there’s a sauce katsu and udon combo that lets Rin have best of both worlds for a mere 1000 yen. After a delicious meal, Rin falls asleep in the canteen and finds herself late for the next leg of her journey. Things rapidly look to go south when the fastest route to her campsite appears blocked, and ultimately, it is Chiaki who walks Rin through what to do next.

  • By having Chiaki provide assistance to Rin during this time, it gives Chiaki a chance to interact with Rin and bring Rin closer to the Outdoor Activities Club itself; until now, Rin had largely conversed and spent time with Nadeshiko, but is otherwise unfamiliar with Chiaki and Aoi. Chiaki’s help shows Rin that Nadeshiko is in a club with friendly and warm people – despite being very boisterous and fond of posturing, Chiaki does genuinely care for those around her and will do her best to help them. Rin is ultimately very grateful for the help: she makes it to the campsite on time, checks in and prepares a simple but delicious dinner of fried pork bun with the tea she’d gotten from some hikers earlier.

  • While Rin initially declines Chikai’s invitation to camp with the Outdoors Activity Club at Christmas, she comes around after giving it some thought: being with Nadeshiko has made her more aware of being mindful of others, and recalling Chiaki’s kindness earlier, she decides that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to hang out with the others. When things get tricky, Chiaki prefers to do voice calls over messaging: hearing a friendly voice on the other end of the line was much more reassuring for Rin when she was trying to traverse the road, and similarly, a voice inviting her to camp ends up being more effective.

  • While the Outdoors Activity Club had been sharing an advisor with the more involved Hiking Club, there was a limit on how much time that instructor could spend on both clubs. With Minami Toba formally arriving as a teacher, she’s made the advisor of the Outdoors Activity Club; Minami is initially reluctant to do anything that might cut away from her free time, but upon learning that Chiaki and the others are fairly independent, she relents. Both the anime and drama present her as being a graceful-looking individual with a not-so-secret love for drinking.

  • We’ve come to it at last: Yuru Camp△‘s anime and live-action adaptation open the girls’ Christmas camp at the Asagiri YMCA Global Eco Village, with a shot of Chiaki and Aoi running up and down the open plains in sheer joy as they marvel at how much space there is. Whereas the anime has Chiaki tripping on Aoi’s foot and then rolling a ways down the hillside, the drama has Chiaki falling on her own and coming to a stop immediately, saving her some face.

  • Since Chiaki and Aoi have arrived so early, they’ve already gone ahead and checked in. Thinking she’d been the first to arrive, Rin makes to check in but aren’t able to find the others anywhere, so she begins setting up her gear. Nadeshiko arrives shortly after, and Rin decides to make some s’mores, a camping confectionery with North American origins: these treats are a simple combination of graham crackers with chocolate and marshmallow melted in between, and the earliest recipe for the “Some More” was published in 1920. They’ve become quite popular for being very tasty despite their simple preparation, and over time, “Some More” eventually became contracted as s’more.

  • Since they’d arrived so early, Chiaki and Aoi walked to the Makaino Farm Resort café, which is located a mere 641 metres from the YMCA Global Eco Village building. After linking up with Chiaki and Aoi, Rin buys firewood as a thanks to Aoi for providing the bulk of dinner, and makes to carry them back on her moped, but leaves one bundle behind because she’s hit her capacity, leaving Chiaki to carry the remaining bundle an estimated 850 metres.

  • Asagiri’s YMCA Global Eco Village was the campsite whose location was most difficult ascertain, since there’s also another YMCA Global Eco Village some ten kilometres north of the one the girls camp at. Fortunately, Ena has no trouble finding the others: her arrival is preceded by Chikuwa’s arrival. Ena’s dog, Chikuwa, is a long-haired chihuahua. In the anime, Chikuwa has brown and white fur, but for the live-action drama, she’s got white fur. Chihuahuas are small dogs that have a large presence, and they’re excellent companions, being relatively easy to train and willing to accompany their owners. There is a bit of a deviation here between the anime and drama: the former has Chiaki breaking out a Frisbee once she and Aoi arrive, while the drama has Nadeshiko encounter Rin’s grandfather.

  • However, there are more similarities than differences, and in both the drama and anime for Yuru Camp△, the girls swing by to admire Ena’s winter-capable sleeping bag before heading off to check out Rin’s gear. Being kitted out for extremely cold conditions, Ena’s sleeping bag cost 45000 Yen (588.47 CAD): while pricey, to put things in perspective the average winter sleeping bag will cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of 600 CAD.

  • The day draws to a close, and the sun begins setting over the Asagiri Plateau, blanketing Mount Fuji in a red light. This phenomenon is best seen during the autumn months, when a setting sun and cloudless sky creates the perfect conditions for scattering red light. Because of the colours in the drama, I feel that a reddish-orange filter was instead used to create the same effect, since the entire scene, and not just Mount Fuji, are cast in a reddish light.

  • The time has finally come for dinner preparations to begin, and Aoi begins to make dinner using the fancy meat she’d won from the raffle. The anime has Aoi and the others cooking after the sun has set, whereas in the drama, there is still a bit of light. Yuru Camp△‘s anime starts the dinner party a little earlier in the eleventh episode, while the drama has Aoi begin cooking in the finale. The difference is that in the anime, the girls spend a bit more time relaxing as well, whereas in the drama, they hit the hay shortly after enjoying the onsen.

  • The special that Aoi’s got in mind is a Kansai-style sukiyaki, where she adds a bit of beef fat to the pot and lightly heats the meat with soy sauce, sugar, and sake. Subsequently, shiitakeenoki, green onions, fried tofu, shiritaki noodles, and greens are thrown in. The resulting sukiyaki is then brought to a gentle boil and eaten with egg. Rin finds herself in food heaven: she describes food as well as Adam Richman does, and while she’s a lot quieter about enjoying her food, both anime and drama show that she’s greatly enjoying every bite. Nadeshiko and Chiaki, on the other hand, are as energetic as Adam Richman, but do not share is eloquence in conveying the quality of their food.

  • With the remaining meat, Aoi whips up a Western-style tomato pasta with fried onion and basil in the same pot that was used to make the sukiyaki, resulting in a flavour explosion that fuses together the richness of the sukiyaki with a kick from the tomatoes. Yuru Camp△ really emphasises that good food is a massive morale booster, bringing warmth to a cold night; the effects of food cannot be understated, and in Survivorman, Les Stroud notes that being able to eat something nice increases one’s will to survive. Of late, I’ve been watching Les Stroud do live commentary of his old episodes, and for me, the #QuarantineLife means getting to go a little fancier with home cooking, such as two recent dishes: an All-Canadian Spaghetti with bacon, white mushroom and an Alfredo sauce, and a savoury sticky rice with Chinese sausage and shiitake topped with fresh green onion.

  • The beef that Aoi brings to Christmas camping is the same sort of beef that I use with another home recipe: after frying the beef in a bit of olive oil, Korean BBQ sauce is added alongside shallots and enotake mushrooms. Back in Yuru Camp△, because it’s Christmas, everyone is decked out in Santa Claus outfits, as well, with the exception of Rin. Subsequently, everyone swings by the onsen to warm up before preparing to turn in for the night. The anime had an entertaining sequence where Nadeshiko images herself to have devised a rocket-propelled tent, but in the drama, this is noticeably absent.

  • As the night sets in and the air cools, Rin and the Outdoors Activity Club wrap themselves in blankets to keep warm. The characters of the drama are more disciplined than their anime counterparts, hitting the hay shortly after, while in the anime, Chiaki breaks out a tablet and introduces everyone to the joys of Netflix. What is consistant are the blankets and hot cocoa: Yuru Camp△ popularised Nadeshiko’s love of using blankets to keep warm whilst sitting around the fire and it’s become something that’s now synonymous with comfort.

  • As dawn breaks, Rin and Nadeshiko get up to help prepare an all-Japanese breakfast for the others to enjoy. Consisting of grilled salmon and natto on rice with a miso soup, it’s a nutritious and hearty start to the day. Of the items I’ve seen, natto remains the one food I’m reluctant to try: I’ve heard it’s a bit of an acquired taste, and while exposure to it could convince me to come around (for instance, I’ve become much more fond of oysters in recent years), for the time being, it’s the one Japanese food I’m not terribly accustomed to.

  • The Outdoors Activity Club, Rin and Ena enjoy breakfast under a swift sunrise, and then subsequently pack up their gear and head home for the remainder of their Christmas break. Yuru Camp△‘s anime had Nadeshiko meeting Rin at Lake Motosu by spring, whereas in the drama, Rin takes off for an unknown destination, and Nadeshiko is admiring her newly-bought, hard-earned camping gear, ready to make use of it on the Outdoors Activity Club’s next adventure. This is where the second season, set to begin in January 2021, will kick off, and I’m most excited to see what directions Yuru Camp△ will go in.

  • Whether it’s the drama or anime, Yuru Camp△ concludes in an immensely enjoyable and satisfying manner, definitely worth the watch. With the drama in the books, this brings one of the longest posts I’ve written in a while to its end (this post spans some eight thousand and fifty seven words). Because of the global health crisis and its impact on all aspects of everyday life, the spring anime season has essentially ground to a halt for me, so in the upcoming month, I will be focusing on the sizeable backlog of shows I’ve accumulated. Bofuri and Nekopara are two shows I plan on looking at, along with an older anime called Sketchbook. Besides catching up on older shows for the remainder of the spring season, KonoSuba‘s movie, and Hello World, are also on the horizon.

When everything is said and done, the live action adaptation of Yuru Camp△ acts as a wonderful companion to the anime and original manga. While the flow of events may differ slightly from the anime, and the characterisation is a little over-the-top, Yuru Camp△‘s drama retains all of the joys seen in the original series, bringing out a different side to the series in its portrayal of locations and the wonderful camping cuisine Nadeshiko and the others bring to the table. The drama also replicates the smaller details seen in the anime extremely well. The girls use the same camping implements that were seen in the anime, and the drama also goes through the pains of ensuring that the actresses playing Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Ena and instructor Toba resemble their anime counterparts (with the exception that Aoi’s actress only vaguely resembles her in manner and appearance). Ena does make “bear hair” out of Rin’s bun, and Sakura drives a Nissan Rasheen of the same make and colour as she did in the anime. The SMS conversations that Rin and the others exchange are faithful to the originals, as well. Altogether, while perhaps not possessing the same fluffiness as the anime, there is a magic in Yuru Camp△‘s drama that makes the series worth watching: the drama accentuates different aspects of the series and brings them to light, augmenting one’s appreciation of the work that went into making Yuru Camp△ as a whole. It’s relatively straightforward to recommend the Yuru Camp△ drama to anyone who enjoyed Yuru Camp△ and is suffering from withdrawal now that Heya Camp△ is done; until the second season airs in 2021, the Yuru Camp△ drama represents the latest addition to the franchise and provides a different, but superbly enjoyable experience for fans of the series.

Heya Camp△: A Review and Reflection

“There is nothing quite so delightfully mysterious as a secret in your own backyard.” –Patrick Rothfuss

After Chiaki and Aoi explain to Nadeshiko the reason behind why the Outdoor Activities Club has a stockpile of tuna fish in their clubroom (for making oil lamps), they decide to take her on a stamp rally, which will take them on tour of the Yamanashi area. Nadeshiko is motivated by the prize (a year’s worth of Minobu steamed buns) and promptly agrees. The girls first visit the Fujisan World Heritage Center and enjoy Mount Fuji-themed dishes, before travelling by bike along Lake Kawaguchi. Meanwhile, Rin heads off to work with thoughts of her horoscope on her mind. When she gets home and helps to prepare a salmon hot pot for dinner, she suddenly thinks of Nadeshiko. Later, the Outdoor Activities Club rides the Tenjō-Yama Park Mount Kachi-Kachi Ropeway and reminisce about how Chiaki and Aoi met. When Nadeshiko loses her stamp book, Chiaki and Aoi help take her mind off things by making hōtō with her. Nadeshiko decides to continue the stamp rally and collect the remaining stamps on paper, then paste them back into her stamp book once it is found. The girls visit a footbath, where Aoi brazenly lies to a foreign traveller about the bath’s origins, and when Nadeshiko attempts to carry a tall tale, Aoi remarks it’s going to take more than a Kansai accept to pull it off. The Outdoors Activity Club later encounter Ena at a restaurant, and when Nadeshiko is asked whether she prefers Yamanashi or Shizuoka for their tuna, Nadeshiko gives a compelling answer, saying that she thinks both places are necessary (Shizuoka to fish the tuna, Yamanashi to prepare it). Later, while visiting the Narusawa Ice Cave in the Aokigahara Forest, Nadeshiko becomes separated from the others, but runs into Rin, who returns her stamp book. Nadeshiko is able to finish the stamp rally and celebrates by going to an onsen, where she reveals that she’d known the rally was something Chiaki and Aoi had set up for her. Later, the girls camp on the school grounds. As they settle into the evening, Chiaki and Aoi explain that the stamp rally was so Nadeshiko could learn about the best of the Yamanashi area – they’d spent their time camping together, but otherwise, Nadeshiko had not seen some of the attractions locals know about. The next morning, an excited Nadeshiko proposes doing another, bigger stamp rally. Released as a short series similar to Yama no Susume‘s first season, Heya Camp△ acts as an intermediate bridge between Yuru Camp△‘s first and second season, the latter of which is scheduled to air in January 2021.

Having spent a semester in Yamanashi, Nadeshiko is still something of a newcomer to the area, having moved from Hanamatsu. In Yuru Camp△, Nadeshiko’s experiences of Yamanashi outside of her classes have indeed been largely camping with the Outdoor Activities Club, and later, with Rin and Ena, so it certainly is the case that she still has not yet seen some of the features in the areas that locals would know about. By having Chiaki and Aoi do a tour of the area, Nadeshiko, and by extension, viewers, become familiarised with the best the Yamanashi region has to offer. This is the outcome of Heya Camp△, which distinctly feels similar to Rick Steves’ Europe, where travel writer and Europe expert Rick Steves covers exploration of lesser-known attractions that locals know of. From cozy villages and relaxing museums, to pubs frequented by locals, Steves emphasises the enjoyment from experiencing things as locals do for a more authentic experience, as it really immerses the traveller in the area’s culture and atmosphere. Hence, by doing the same thing with Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi are showcasing the joys of Yamanashi in a more intimate, authentic manner to really welcome her into the area as a new resident. Heya Camp△ therefore accomplishes something important for Yuru Camp△ despite its short run-time: over twelve three minute-long episodes, Heya Camp△ shows the route that Nadeshiko had taken in becoming more familiar with the Yamanashi area, and in doing so, she’s now more aware of local attractions. The end result is that once Yuru Camp△ enters its second season, Nadeshiko can take a much more proactive role in recommending camping sites and activities to the still-reluctant Rin: while Rin’s been shown to appreciate camping with friends following the events of the first season, she still prefers solo camping and therefore requires a bit of a nudge to participate in group activities. Knowing which spots might appeal to Rin could help Nadeshiko gently push her out of her comfort zone in the upcoming season. Besides setting the stage for the second season, Heya Camp△ stands on its own with a simple but powerful message to viewers, as well: there are joys right in one’s own backyard, and while we might often pass by them because we are occupied with our obligations, it is worth taking the time to explore local attractions, as well.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’m certain that, were Heya Camp△ to be true to its title (部屋 is “Room”), the shorts would not have been anywhere nearly as entertaining as it ended up. As it stands, once Nadeshiko learns about the purpose of tuna oil in canned tuna as a viable emergency lamp, Chiaki and Aoi take her out of the club room on a trip to complete the stamp rally challenge for a year’s supply of Minobu steamed hams buns. A common prize offered, there is actually no legal definition of what constitutes as “a year’s worth”, but what is constant is that steamed buns from Minobu, a confectionery filled with red bean paste, are delicious.

  • The Fujisan World Heritage Centre is the first destination on the Outdoor Activities Club’s stamp rally. Not to be confused with the ultramodern Mount Fuji Heritage Centre in Shizuoka, the Fujisan World Heritage Centre in Yamanashi is located in Funatsu by Lake Kawaguchi. Opened in 2016, it is around three hours away from Minobu by train, and among the museum’s key attractions is a light-up model of Mount Fuji and a vast library of literature and works pertaining to Mount Fuji. Before delving further into the party, I’ll explain the page quote: the girls spend Heya Camp△ exploring what is essentially their backyard in Yamanashi and all of the wonderful things of the area that only a local would know about.

  • The overall road distance from where Nadeshiko and the others live to the Fujisan World Heritage Centre is around 45 kilometres. It is a shade under an hour away by car, but assuming that the Outdoor Activities Club takes public transit, that time is doubled: from Minobu’s Hadakajima Station to Kawaguchiko Station along the Minobu line is around two hours and twenty minutes. Because of the four-hour round trip, the time scales of Heya Camp△ suggest that the entire stamp rally is done over the course of several days, and therefore, is something to be savoured: the first few episodes are set on the first day in the area around Lake Kawaguchi.

  • Yuru Camp△ has always been faithful in reproducing real world locations to a high accuracy, and indeed, there is a cafe on the second floor of the Fujisan World Heritage Centre. Nadeshiko orders curry rice shaped into Mount Fuji, while Chiaki orders fried chicken made to look like igneous rock. As Nadeshiko finishes off her curry rice, the mountain begins to resemble different mountains, and demonstrating her encyclopaedic knowledge of Japanese mountains, Chiaki identifies them for Nadeshiko, Aoi and the viewer’s benefit.

  • While the girls’ view of Mount Fuji are spoiled by heavy cloud cover, they visualise the mountain’s outline just beyond the clouds. When I visited Japan back during 2017, my first view of Mount Fuji was actually from Gotemba’s Fujiheiwa Park. It had been a beautiful morning, but the entirety of Mount Fuji itself was shrouded in cloud. Curiously enough, the entire surrounding area was clear. This results from Mount Fuji’s topography impacting air currents and condensation patterns. By the afternoon, some of the cloud had dissipated: at Oshino Hakkai looking back to Mount Fuji, I had a better view of the mountain.

  • Afterwards, we ended up driving up to the Eighth Station (which was seen in Yama no Susume), and then prepared to head over to Shirakaba Lake. This was a lengthier ride, so we stopped at Rinsaku Park along the shores of Lake Kawaguchi for a breather before undertaking the journey. It was, admittedly, curious that my trip to Japan took me to the places that brought me very close to the locations seen in Yuru Camp△.

  • Along the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi stop for a breather of their own and encounter a couple who’s travelling. After helping them take a picture, the couple gives them some Mandarin Oranges. The couple reveals they’re experienced travellers and have many fond memories of their journeys, which date back to their high school days. For Nadeshiko and the others, such an excursion will invariably be a treasured memory as well.

  • It appears that when Rin isn’t solo camping, her days are much quieter: she works a part-time job at the local bookstore to fund her hobby. She’s an early riser for those days when she goes camping, but on more ordinary days, she is afforded a chance to sleep in. Heya Camp△ chooses to portray the latter: she’s seen sitting down to a delicious looking breakfast of a sunny-side up egg, bacon, salad, what I think is natto and toast before heading out, and during breakfast hears her horoscope (be careful of unexpected surprises).

  • Ena swings by the bookstore to see how Rin is doing, during the quiet hours of the day. She draws a mountain on her smartphone and suggests it’s Nadeshiko: the phenomenon of recognising faces from non-human objects is known as pareidolia (Rin misidentifies it as a simulacrum, which broadly speaking, can refer to an image or representation of something).  Pareidolia arises from the way our brains are organised and is a normal tendency. Later that evening, when Rin helps to prepare dinner, she subconsciously arranges the ingredients of their dinner in a way that resembles Nadeshiko’s face and even hears her voice. This is the unexpected surprise her horoscope referred to, and would suggest that despite outward appearances, Rin does care about Nadeshiko.

  • The Outdoor Activities Club’s members have an active imagination: on their way up the Lake Kawaguchi Mount Tenjō Ropeway, they talk about an old legend surrounding the Kachi-Kachi Yama, and mix in elements from The Hare and the Tortoise. It’s an adorable re-telling that mixes both elements together, and it catches the attention of the other patrons sharing their gondola. The cost of admissions is 900 Yen (11.71 CAD) for an adult on a round trip.

  • Unlike my travels, there are no clouds, leaving the Outdoor Activities Club with a fantastic view of Mount Fuji: the girls rush off to the rooftop terrace almost as soon as they arrive. While in Kawaguchi, I was on a bit of a schedule: the Shirakaba Resort Ikenotaira Hotel is 116 kilometres away from this point in Kawaguchi and takes roughly one and three-quarter hours to reach by the shortest route possible. As such, I did not have the time to come up the Mount Tenjō Ropeway on that particular trip, but it would be nice to visit the area again in the future.

  • When Nadeshiko asks two of the girls who’d overheard the Outdoor Activities Club’s conversation earlier to take a photo, they find her and the others to be amusing for striking funny poses for their photo. However, they end up doing the same, suggesting that the joyful and happy vibes Nadeshiko et al. give off are very compelling. There is indeed a raccoon-dog and hare statue at the observation point, and the lack of a tortoise is explained by the fact that Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi have completely butchered the original story.

  • The dumplings at Tanuki Teahouse are baked in-house over a charcoal fire and come in two different varieties: the tanuki dumplings that Aoi, Nadeshiko and Chiaki are enjoying here cost 400 Yen (5.20 CAD), and there are also usagi dumplings, which also go for 400 Yen and are prepared differently. Besides dumpling skewers, the girls also are seen with a matcha float, which run for 500 Yen (6.51 CAD). It’s the perfect close to what I imagine be a brisk day on the tail end of winter.

  • Closer to home in Minobu, Chiaki and Aoi reminisce on how they’d first met as they collect stamps, visiting the Kuonji Temple as one of the destinations. It turns out that they’d been neighbours since childhood, and even shared the same class together, but until an accident where Aoi nearly torched Chiaki during the Nanbu Fire Festival (an area tradition that happens every August and features exciting displays with fire, set along the banks of the Fuji River), they’d never really interacted much.

  • Nadeshiko becomes disheartened to learn that she’s lost her stamp book, and the girls backtrack, looking through the vending machine bank and the riverbank near the Fuji River around Route 803 where the Nanbu Fire Festival is held. Unable to find it, Chiaki decides to take things in a different direction and invites Nadeshiko over for dinner, arguing that when the weather is cold, nothing beats hōtō. This noodle dish is popular in Yamanashi, made with flat udon noodles and vegetables in miso soup. Aoi mentions that her family has their own variation of the receipe, in which the soup is boiled away, and then the resulting dry hōtō is seasoned with shichimi and olive oil.

  • Chiaki feels that the true Yamanashi spirit of hōtō is that as long as the noodles are correct, the dish can be prepared in almost any way possible: she’s definitely got a more open-minded approach about hōtō preparation (a trait she picked up from her mother, who includes random ingredients for convenience’s sake), since the original hōtō dish was originally meant as a simple and filling fare for Yamanashi locals during times of rice shortages. Variations of hōtō add crab, turtle or oyster meat to the dish, but because they embellish hōtō, Yamanashi residents often regard these variations as heresy. Of course, Heya Camp△ counts ingenuity as a virtue, and the Outdoor Activities Club end up with several variations of hōtō, all of which are delicious. Meanwhile, Rin’s grandfather recovers Nadeshiko’s missing stamp book.

  • The next day, Chiaki, Nadeshiko and Aoi head out to complete their stamp rally: Nadeshiko’s decided to continue on back stamping sheets of paper, and her spirits are restored. Their latest destination is near the Shimobe Onsen Station: after locating the stamp station at Shimobe Onsen, the girls return down the hill, and Nadeshiko notices the Shimobe Golden Foot bath, a small hot springs feeding a foot-bath near the Kaiogonmura Yunookukinzan Museum. Both attractions are remarkably out of the way, and would only be known to locals or inquisitive travellers.

  • The museum itself details a history of gold mining in the area, which lends itself to the foot-bath’s name, but Aoi spins up a wild tale about a farmer whose sandals transformed into gold when he’d stopped in the area. Her tall tales intrigue a foreign traveller, and shows that Aoi knows no shame, and no boundaries when it comes to fibbing. For folks who are looking for the real story, the area is named after Takeda Shingen, a famous military leader, in honour of his conquest during the Sengoku Period.

  • While it’s somewhat mean-spirited to lie to a traveller, Nadeshiko notes that the matter-of-fact and reassuring way Aoi presents her story creates smiles, too. After parting ways with the traveller, the girls swing by the Plum Moon (Umezuki), a hole-in-the-wall that makes kakushi monaka. Umezuki’s variant has raisins mixed in with the red bean filling, creating a delicious result. It is here that Nadeshiko tries to pull a fast one on Aoi, but fails. Having Aki Toyosaki voice Aoi resulted in Aoi being hilarious with her lies: Toyosaki voices her characters with a soft voice, and it’s easy to be taken in by Aoi’s lies thanks to Toyosaki’s exceptional delivery. Of course, with her experience, Aoi is immune to her own tricks: うそやで!

  • As the girls prepare to head north on the next leg of their stamp rally, they stop at the Nambu Roadside Station: here, they stop at a gift shop, where Chiaki again demonstrates her uncommon knowledge of mountains. Because Moutn Fuji is not uniformly shaped, one can determine which angle they are viewing the mountain from based on the presence of certain features, and Chiaki concludes that the Mount Fuji prints at the roadside station depicts Mount Fuji from Kofu, Yamanashi. This makes sense, given that Nambu is in Yamanashi. Of everyone, I wager that Chiaki would get along swimmingly with Yama no Susume‘s Hinata Kuraue, although I would imagine that Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena would swiftly befriend Aoi Nakamura, Hinata, Kaede, Kokona and Honoka on very short order if a Yuru Camp△ and Yama no Susume crossover were to be made.

  • There is a bistro of sorts at the Nambu Roadside Station, and here, Chiaki asks if Nadeshiko favours Shizuoka (her old home) over Yamanashi. Nadeshiko is the sort of person who embodies the Yuru Camp△ spirit and so, she ends up suggesting that both prefectures have their merits, especially when it comes to tuna (Shizuoka for fishing them, and Yamanashi for preparing them). Coincidentally, the Outdoor Activities Club runs into Ena here, who is enjoying a tuna bowl. Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi decide to get some, but realise they’ve insufficient funds.

  • This time around, the girls use a bus to reach their destination: the Narusawa Ice Caves. It’s a 50.7 kilometre journey by road that takes around an hour, and on the journey, the girls begin telling ghost stories of what happens to travellers and frighten Nadeshiko out of her wits. It’s not explicitly mentioned, but the girls are travelling to the Aokigahara Forest: I’ve long joked that Aokigahara Forest, alternatively known as the Suicide Forest, would be far too inhospitable and hostile a location for Yuru Camp△‘s adventures. Indeed, the area has no known campsites, although it is popular amongst hikers.

  • The use of horror elements in Heya Camp△ thus subtly references Aokigahara’s frightening reputation. Formed from a lava tube, the Narusawa Ice Caves is very cool, with an average temperature of 3°C, and there is ice in here year-round. When the girls enter the Narusawa Ice Caves, Nadeshiko is taken aback by how beautiful it is, but she very quickly gets lost. Speaking to the spooky atmosphere around Aokigahara, the skies suddenly darken, and a shadowy figure appears. Fortunately, this is Rin, who happens to be in the area.

  • It turns out that Rin’s recovered Nadeshiko’s missing stamp book, and returns it to her. Rin’s here because she’s on a camping trip, and when she sees the colourful stamp book, she notes that Nadeshiko’s adventures sound fun. There are a few campsites in the area just north of the Narusawa Ice Caves towards Lake Saiko, and it perhaps speaks to Rin’s love of the paranormal that she’s here. Ironically, Rin’s actually a bit of a greenhorn when it comes to real horror: in Yuru Camp△ proper, Rin’s response to anything scary is to bolt off as fast as she can run.

  • The final leg of the stamp rally takes the Outdoors Activity Club to Ichikawadaimon, a small town in Yamanashi north of Nambu. Here, they visit Seishu Park, and it took a bit of digging around to find the park: this statue is not an official attraction and therefore, proved tricky to find. The only clue I had entering was that it was probably within walking distance of Mitama Hot Spring (renamed Misato Hot Spring in Heya Camp△).

  • Upon reaching Mitama Hot Spring, Nadeshiko’s journey comes to an end, and it is here that I note that folks with a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Quest can actually reproduce most of the Outdoor Activities Club’s stamp rally to a reasonably accurate extent: while VR headsets won’t be able to give one a taste of the foods the girls experience, the flip-side is that one can get up close and personal to many of the locations they visit, free of charge, in the comfort of a good chair.

  • By day, the onsen at Mitama Hot Springs offers stunning views of the Minami Alps, Yatsugatake, and Chichibu mountains, as well as a view of the Kofu basin. The waters at Mitama are slightly alkaline and good for the skin. This onsen is open every day of the year save five days, and the entrance fee for adults is 770 yen (9.87 CAD), slightly more expensive than admissions for either Radium’s Hot Springs )6.30 CAD) or Banff’s Upper Hot Springs (7.30 CAD).

  • As the girls soak in the warm waters of Mitami onsen, Nadeshiko reveals that she’d known that Chiaki and Aoi had specially created for Nadeshiko. The logistics would imply that the table Chiaki and Aoi had carried with them is super-portable, but even then, it had been a bit of a race to get things set up; the two had counted on Nadeshiko being excited by most everything and not noticing them. Chiaki is absolutely right in that a stamp rally was a more fun way to show Nadeshiko around the area, and over the course of the past eleven episodes, viewers have been given a local’s tour of Yamanashi.

  • Heya Camp△ ends the way it began, with the girls returning back to their school for a small-scale camping trip. As the evening sets in, Chiaki mentions that the places for the stamp rally were handpicked from her and Aoi’s favourite spots. To put things in perspective, I have an equivalent number of places in Southern Alberta that are worth visiting, speaking to what living in a place can have on one’s perspective. One thing I’ve not mentioned up until now is the soundtrack for Heya Camp△: it released earlier today, and features a total of twenty-four tracks. Despite being for a short, Heya Camp△‘s soundtrack is of the same quality as the soundtrack to Yuru Camp△, featuring plenty of cheerful, upbeat Irish-style melodies, and adds much to this already-excellent short series.

  • Overall, the only complaint I have to level against Heya Camp△ is that it is far too short of a series, and had it been a full-length series, Heya Camp△ would’ve easily worked. Of course, this is to take away from the staff, who are hard at work on the second season. Heya Camp△ is an excellent extension of Yuru Camp△ and earns its A+ grade several times over (a perfect 4.0, or a 9.5 of ten): existing fans of Yuru Camp△ will definitely enjoy this, although folks who’ve not seen any Yuru Camp△ will also find this short series enjoyable, and perhaps a gateway into Yuru Camp△ itself.

I happen to have a few examples of local attractions that I pass by, but to keep readers from falling asleep, I’ll only share one personal anecdote. There’s a delicious barbeque house in Calgary called Booker’s BBQ and Crab Shack. Located close to the shores of the Bow River, Booker’s is known for their ribs and crab, but for me, it’s simply a place I pass by every time I go downtown en route to work or my dōjō. However, curiosity led me to have dinner there one evening, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover a fantastic restaurant that made excellent ribs. Appreciating local attractions means making an effort to find the time of experiencing them, and those who take this route can make discoveries right in their backyard. This is something everyone could stand to take a leaf from: there might be attractions outside of one’s home city or country, but those local attractions can often be just as fun to experience. This is really what Heya Camp△ was going for, and the short’s decision to have Chiaki and Aoi do a stamp rally for Nadeshiko speaks to the original Outdoor Activities Club’s members and their ingenuity: rather than a standard approach of simply taking Nadeshiko to points of interest and talking about them, Aoi and Chiaki’s work creates a highly memorable experience for both Nadeshiko and the viewers, giving justification to drive certain elements forward – the detour for hōtō noodles when Nadeshiko loses her stamp book, and the fact that Rin’s grandfather recovers it, allowing Rin to return it to her, serves to illustrate both the adaptiveness of the Outdoors Activity Club, as well as the fact that for better or worse, Rin and Nadeshiko’s paths are connected by a bit of fate. It certainly made Heya Camp△ well worth watching, and despite its short length, Heya Camp△ shares in common with Yama no Susume‘s first season a sense of earnestness and sincerity that makes it incredibly fun to watch. Heya Camp△ succeeds as a standalone anime short that brings back all of the things that made Yuru Camp△ so enjoyable – folks wondering if they can just drop into this series without having watched Yuru Camp△ previously will be pleased to learn the answer is a resounding “yes”, but for veterans of Yuru Camp△, this anime short represents both a pleasant return of familiar characters on a new adventure, as well as laying down the groundwork and showing the character growth that begins the story to be told in the upcoming season.

Christmas Camp and Mount Fuji: A Yuru Camp△ Christmas

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.” —Bob Hope

Once the Outdoors Activity Club is fully established, they decide to camp together over the Christmas break. Meeting at the Asagiri Plateau, the girls set up camp, play with fellow campers. Once evening sets in, they don Santa outfits and prepare their evening meal. Rin heads off to purchase propane when they run out of gas and recalls Ena’s remarks about the joys of camping in groups. The girls spend the remainder of their evening watching shows on Chiaki’s tablet before turning in. Christmas is a magical time of year, characterised by spending time with family and friends, partaking in good food and great times. Traditionally, the word Christmas evokes imagery of a fresh snowfall, sipping hot chocolate by a fireplace and sledding. Yuru Camp△, however, has Rin and her friends celebrate their Christmas in a unique manner in a camp site on the plains adjacent to Mount Fuji. It seems quite far removed from the Christmas festivities that I am familiar with, but watching Nadeshiko and the others camp find that this is only a prima facie observation: as the sun sets and the girls begin preparing their Christmas dinner, it turns out there is a considerable overlap in what they do while camping, and what I traditionally do for Christmas. After working together to prepare dinner and decking themselves in Santa outfits to channel the holiday spirit, the girls savour a warm meal under the evening skies, before breaking out Chiaki’s subscription to the Japanese equivalent of Netflix. Their manner of celebration may differ, but at its heart, the girls are sharing time together, resulting in a treasured memory of Christmas that particularly stands out for Rin, who spends Christmas together with her friends doing something that she’s long loved – Christmas is a season of togetherness, and as such, I’ve found that so as long as people are together, the notion of a Christmas spirit will continue to endure.

The meaning of Christmas is two-fold: it is a winter celebration of Jesus Christ’ birth, and is a season to spend with family and friends. Although its precise origin is unclear, Christmas was not widely celebrated until the ninth century, and prior to the spread of Christmas, European nations with a pegan culture had long been celebrating the Winter Solstice. By the Middle Ages, Christmas festivities were much more common, and concerns about Christmas as an avenue for commercialism and excesses began arising. As early as the seventeenth century, Christmas was banned in England for resulting in drunkenness and rowdy citizens. In the early twentieth century, Coca-Cola modernised the image of Santa Claus and this led to the view that Christmas was a time of gifts, of materials. Charles M. Schultz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas captures this concern, having Charlie Brown discover the meaning of Christmas while those around him concern themselves with a big, commercial Christmas, filled with expensive gifts, cash and aluminium Christmas trees. While attempting to direct a play, he picks up a shaggy tree that his peers mocks. But, upon learning from Linus that the original meaning of Christmas is not forgotten, Charlie Brown attempts to give the tree another chance. His peers later reappear to properly give the little tree love, and their animosities set aside, perform Hark! The Herald Angels Sing together. In the years following, while it may certainly seem that commercialism and consumerism permeates the Christmas holidays (in Canada, retailers aggressively advertise for Christmas on November 12), the true meanings of Christmas have continued to endure; the holidays continue to be a time of goodwill and togetherness for people.

Screenshots and Additional Commentary

  • Consider this a Christmas gift from me to the readers; I’ve been incredibly busy for the past while, and my posting frequency has been dramatically reduced as a result, but Christmas Day means down time, a chance to sleep in and really rest up. This is my favourite Christmas gift: the chance to sleep in and wake up feeling really refreshed is incomparable. As such, I am sufficiently motivated to write a Christmas post for Yuru Camp△.

  • The last time I wrote about Yuru Camp△ was back during the summer, and I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that the Survival Camp OVA was not particularly well-received. OVAs are usually intended to deviate from the style and approach of a season proper, hence the differences, so to see people not accept this was rather off-putting. This year, I chose to go with a Yuru Camp△ Christmas talk because its portrayal of Christmas is as unique and enjoyable as that of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?‘s Christmas.

  • It continues to impress me just how tasty a prime rib roast can be despite its simplicity of preparation: black pepper, salt, olive oil and oregano is rubbed generously onto the meat, which is then cooked for 25 minutes at 500ºF (260ºC). After 25 minutes, the heat is turned off, and the roast is then allowed to warm in the oven for two hours. Since Rin and the others don’t have access to a 2400 Watt power supply, making a roast on the plains of Mount Fuji is not feasible, and so, they make nabe with fancy meat that melts in the girls’ mouths..

  • For me, 打邊爐 (jyutping daa2 bin1 lou4, the Cantonese equivalent of nabe) is a New Year’s Eve tradition: this time year is typically quite cold, and there’s nothing like the rush of eating something hot on a chilly night. Unusually, this year’s been remarkably warm, and this is the first Brown Christmas I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s only -3ºC out there at the time of writing, and overcast; I’m hoping we could get some snowfall today.

  • If Christmas Eves are a time for food and company, then Christmas Day for me is a quiet day spent relaxing. After the exchange of gifts with family by morning, I spend the afternoon taking hikes, reading books or gaming; because it’s overcast right now, my inclination to walk has diminished, and I think that I will enjoy some of that tea I got with a good book or movie later…provided that I am not gaming.

  • The rush of eating too much is a familiar nemesis during the holidays: after the girls down their first pot, Aoi reveals that she’s also got a tomato broth and more meat. The girls reluctantly agree to continue with their Christmas dinner and eventually hit a food wall, although Nadeshiko is fine and is okay even when noodles are brought out. On my end, we still have the leftover prime rib beef bones from the prime rib, so tonight’s dinner will invariably include that.

  • Yuru Camp△ was one of the strongest slice-of-life anime of the past year, and was met with near-universal acclaim. Sales figures for the series were solid, so it is no surprise that second season and series of shorts was announced a ways back. With its occasional instructions for camping and a generally relaxing atmosphere, Yuru Camp△ took a familiar concept, applied it to camping and then showcased the joys of exploration very well, making it particularly standout.

  • Yuru Camp△‘s portrayal of Christmas is, like Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?‘s, a highly enjoyable and distinct one. Far from using the holiday as the basis for jokes or even fanservice, the story in both is tailored to say something specific about the Christmas spirit. Besides this, I admit that Yuru Camp△ made a fine choice for a blog post because I had a pile of screenshots that I never got to use in my earlier posts.

  • Even working on the basis that I would not duplicate screenshots, I had no difficulty in picking out the screenshots for this post: my approach for picking screenshots is to take far more than a post requires, and then from this set, trim it down to the moments I can find something to say something about.

  • After Rin returns from her trip to pick up additional propane, she returns to find the others speculating about the future. The use of space and lighting in this scene create a sense of warmth amongst the group and convey to viewers that the girls themselves represent light and warmth in an otherwise dark cold world. The night scenes of Yuru Camp△ are incredibly well done, and throughout the season, audiences are treated to spectacular night views.

  • One aspect of Yuru Camp△ that I am very fond of, but have to made a particular mention of, are the voices. Soft and gentle, they contribute to the relaxing tone of the series; for the most part, I have no objection to what are colloquially referred to as “squeaky anime voices”.

  • A classic question that is invariably asked around Christmas is whether or not one believes in Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a modernisation of Saint Nicolas, a wealthy bishop who was known for his generosity. However, after reforms, the concept fell out of popularity, even though gift-giving, especially to children, endured: Victorian writers rekindled interest in Saint Nicolas, and Clement Clarke Moore really sparked off the modern incarnation of Santa Claus that we know, with his 1823 poem “T’was The Night Before Christmas”.

  • Santa Claus as we know him, with his flying reindeer and ability to visit several billion households over the course of 24 hours, remains relegated to the realm of fantasy. Some engineers working for The City of Calgary’s department of building codes set out to mathematically indicate Santa’s existence is implausible assuming conformance with macroscopic physics (i.e. the speed Santa needs to move at to accomplish his feat would have him burn up into a carbon cinder before he finished visiting his third house), but of late, folks studying quantum mechanics suggest that this field might allow Santa to exist.

  • As the evening wears on, Nadeshiko and the others exchange their Santa outfits for something more comfortable amidst the falling evening temperatures: at the time of writing, the temperature at Asagiri Plateau also happens to be -3ºC; it can get quite chilly here in the winter, necessitating the proper gear in order for one to keep warm.

  • The smiles in Yuru Camp△ are some of the most adorable I’ve seen in any slice-of-life anime, and believe you me, I have seen a non-trivial number of these shows, so I can make such a claim with confidence. Seeing these smiles is equivalent to hugging a large stuffed animal, and if it were not evident already, I have a fondness for all things adorable despite my profound love for first person shooters.

  • Christmas is a fantastic time to sit back and watch shows; Chiaki’s brought a tablet and subscription to a media services provider. As the evening winds down, the girls kick back and watch shows before turning in. A miniature Christmas tree adorns the table: traditional trees are eight to ten feet in height and take an entire morning to properly decorate, whereas the smaller, desktop-sized trees can be put together in under ten minutes. I plan on using these small trees for Christmas until such a time as I need a larger tree to house Christmas gifts under.

  • Nearing the end of this post, my mind turns towards wondering what a second season of Yuru Camp△ could entail; the first season was about Nadeshiko’s discovery of camping and its attendant joys, as well as Rin’s newfound perspective on group camping. One wonders where precisely a second season could go: the introduction of more members or new camping locations is likely to be the case.

  • Regardless of what a continuation entails, I would be more than happy to watch it: Yuru Camp△ was consistently relaxing and enjoyable throughout its run. With solid visuals and an excellent soundtrack, every element in Yuru Camp△‘s adaptation was able to bring the manga to life.

  • I’ve decided to wrap up with another angle of Rin and the others enjoying the sunrise by breakfast: this post has a “mere” twenty screenshots for ease of reading (and also because it’s faster to write). For all of my readers and visitors, Merry Christmas! I will be returning to wrap up The World in Colours before the end of the year, but until then, have a good one, and take it easy 🙂

Consequently, watching the girls of Yuru Camp△ celebrate Christmas in their own unique fashion, without expensive gifts or highly intricate parties; their best gift to one another is a memorable camping experience spent together with everyone for the first time. Having spent the majority of Yuru Camp△ trying to convince the solo camper Rin into the joys of group camping, Yuru Camp△ frames Rin’s acceptance of Nadeshiko’s invitation as the surest sign of change in her character. For Nadeshiko, this is a Christmas miracle of sorts, and so, creates an additional magic for Yuru Camp△, an already solid and enjoyable series. For me, camping on Christmas day with my friends seems quite difficult to fathom: my Christmases are characterised by spending the day with family and taking some down time from my usual obligations and responsibilities. Christmas Eves see a dinner with family, and the Christmas Day is about relaxing at home. There is one exception: four years ago, I spent Christmas Day on the observation deck at Taipei 101 overlooking the capital of Taiwan, and then Boxing Day was marked with a drive from the Monster Village to Kaohsuing City along the plains of Western Taiwan. While far removed from my usual hot chocolate and quiet mornings, that Christmas was still spent with family, doing something exciting; I imagine that since it is commonly accepted that Christmas is about togetherness and people, concerns about consumerism displacing the true meaning of Christmas are likely to not be as severe as some might be inclined to think. As long as there is this goodwill and togetherness, the meaning of Christmas will continue to endure into the future.

Survival Camp!, or Surviorman’s Pacific Island meets Yuru Camp△: An OVA Review and Reflection

“No one wants to find themselves in a survival situation; you just want to go home, but sometimes, the ordeal becomes long-term survival, longer than seven days. Whether in a life raft, on a mountain, in a desert, or on a tropical island, long-term survival is always about maintaining the will to live, and then becoming familiar with the surroundings.” —Les Stroud, South Pacific, Survivorman

En route to Australia for some winter camping, Nadeshiko and her friends find themselves bailing out of their private jet when the pilot reports that the controls have become unresponsive. They land on an uninhabited tropical island, and after getting themselves oriented, set about trying to find food. They are unsuccessful, and morale plummets, although the girls do their best to remain positive. The next morning, Chiaki is able to find a large number of bananas, and Rin succeeds in catching a large fish that the girls cook later that evening. As they explore other options for cooking their food, they girls also enjoy the tropical weather, but when Nadeshiko begins recanting phrases and terms that remind them of home during a game of Shiritori, Chiaki and the others realise that they need to be rescued. Sprinting to an outcrop, the girls desperately shout out for rescue while Ena sleeps on. Running for half the length of a conventional episode, Survival Camp is a fun addition to Yuru Camp△ that sees Nadeshiko and the others stranded on a beautiful island, reminiscent of Survivorman‘s second season, where Les Stroud survives on a week on an island. I’ve long drawn comparisons between Survivorman and Yuru Camp△, a complement to Yuru Camp△‘s attention to detail and providing practical information on top of a highly relaxing adventure for audiences. While this comparison is not unique to me, the other, perhaps unintended, consequence of comparing Yuru Camp△ to Survivorman is that this blog is prominently featured any search whenever keywords pertaining to Yuru Camp△ and Survivorman are used in conjunction with one another. As a result, upon viewing the contents of the latest Yuru Camp△ OVA, I cannot help but wonder if C-Station’s staff have seen discussions on the ‘net, especially from here, about Yuru Camp△ and decided to take a look at Survivorman, then realised a tropical setting, akin to Les Stroud’s time on a Pacific island, would provide a suitable opportunity to portray a novel story within the latest of the OVAs.

Yuru Camp△‘s original run was an impressive showing, but the Survival Camp OVA takes survival to the next level, drawing numerous parallels with real-world presentations of survival; despite featuring high school girls in place of an experienced outdoorsman, Yuru Camp△ never strays far from reality, and as a result, the Survival Camp OVA is all the more enjoyable for it. After a bailing out of a plane and landing on a tropical island, the girls immediately take stock of their surroundings, and build a shelter. In every episode of Survivorman, Les Stroud runs through the tools and materials he has available to him, before constructing a shelter. Because the island Stroud landed in had a sizeable rat population, he builds a shelter from a derelict boat to keep him off the ground and also, away from the blistering tropical sun. He subsequently creates a rain trap for water, and explores the island in search for food. In Yuru Camp△, after they handle shelter and gain a better idea of their situation, the girls are faced with the struggle of finding food and the attendant decrease in morale: Stroud notes constantly that in a survival situation that a lack of food is one of the biggest struggles he faces, as the reduced energy can impede judgement. Nadeshiko and Chiaki are particularly hard-hit by the initial lack of food, but immediately after Chiaki’s discovery of bananas on the island, and Rin’s success in fishing, the mood turns around immediately. In the South Pacific episode, Les Stroud is in a rare situation where food is not a major concern: he finds coconuts and birds on the island, as well as clams and palm shoots. Once the matter of food and shelter are dealt with, both Stroud and the girls of Yuru Camp△ have the energy to further their situation. This is where Yuru Camp△ deviates somewhat from the Survivorman approach: Nadeshiko and the others take it easy, nearly forgetting that they still need to be rescued, while Stroud will either set about creating a signal for escape or craft transportation to facilitate an exit out of the area. In spite of this, the methods that are seen in Yuru Camp△ is largely consistent with the basics that Stroud recommends in Survivorman. It is important to note that while assessment, shelter-building and finding food is common sense in a survival situation, the aspects that Yuru Camp△ excels in depicting are the subtleties: from notions of morale, to the incredible rush of finding food, Yuru Camp△ captures highly realistic responses amongst the characters, which really gives the sense that Yuru Camp△ could be seen as another take on Survivorman.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I open with an apology: my last post on Harukana Receive was a bit of a tirade about people acting like they know more than they actually do. So, to make up for that, this post will deal with none of that. Featuring thirty screenshots, I will delve into the latest Yuru Camp△ OVA and bring some fun to the table. Ena outwardly does not seem to be wealthy, and the only indicator otherwise was that her father bought her a four hundred dollar sleeping bag so she could camp with her friends in Yuru Camp△ proper, but this OVA seems to suggest otherwise: the girls are on a private jet here en route to Australia. However, when the plane suffers from an unknown problem, Chiaki immediately bails out, prompting the others to follow.

  • The pilot is a rather comical fellow, speaking English, but the girls’ reactions to the plane’s malfunctions are even more over-the-top. Evidently, none of Chiaki, Rin, Nadeshiko, Aoi or Ena have read Patrick Smith’s Cockpit Confidential, an excellent book that explains all of the withertos and why-fors of air travel (specifically, that some “big deals” for passengers are routine for pilots). With his wit and approachable manner, Smith’s book provides insight into why air travel is the way it is and is a reassuring companion for anyone who dislikes air travel.

  • Shortly after their landing, Aoi discovers that she has no cellular signal, and Chiaki concludes that they are on a remote, uninhabited island. This is the proper depiction of a desert island: comical portrays show such islands as being only a few metres across, with a single palm tree and just enough room for two people. This particular visual gag originated in the 1930s and became quite popular in the late 1950s, a consequence of trying to fit an entire island into a comic panel. The image has since endured. However, such islands physically cannot exist: islands in the Pacific are part of atolls and belong to chains of islands.

  • While the others managed to make it to the ground, Rin finds herself stuck in a tree. When Nadeshiko and the others find her, they are immensely relieved. The process of getting Rin down is never shown, although from the height seen in this image, it should be clear that extricating Rin is probably not an easy feat. Nadeshiko’s crying is absolutely adorable, and one of Yuru Camp△‘s most distinct features is being able to capture the almost child-like innocence of youth while simultaneously providing a solid series on camping.

  • The first order of business is setting up shelter to provide cover from the elements. In Survivorman, Les Stroud mentions that tropical islands may have a large rodent or insect population, standing in contrast of the paradise image that such islands typically conjure, and so, having ground coverings or something to elevate one above the ground becomes important in a shelter. For Yuru Camp△, we can suppose that such hazards are not present, allowing the girls to put a simple lean-to shelter together to cover them from the tropical sun.

  • Both Nadeshiko and Chiako become a little loopy from the lack of food. On some of his more difficult survival challenges, Stroud has minimal food, and the impact on his psyche is immense, equaling the physical fatigue. The act of finding food is an energy expenditure, and is very frustrating to come up empty-handed. In some episodes, a lack of food also impacts Stroud’s ability to clearly communicate to audiences what he’s doing: during one survival challenge in the Colorado Rockies, Stroud begins swearing after messing up his sentences, before saying that his goal now is simply to get some food energy before continuing.

  • In almost all episodes of Survivorman, Stroud emphasises the importance of having a good fishing tackle in one’s kit. Having the right equipment allows one to catch fish for survival, and in many of his experiences, from his time in the Colorado Rockies, to the South Pacific and Baffin Island, having fishing lines has proven critical to helping Stroud survive. In Baffin Island, for instance, a narwhal corralled Arctic Char closer to the shore, allowing Stroud to catch four fish back-to-back.

  • While Rin focuses on fishing and is initially unsuccessful, Chiaki and Nadeshiko make to gather wild edibles. Ena and Aoi gather firewood. Unlike Stroud, who does many of his Survivorman episodes alone or with one other companion, Rin and the others are together, which makes possible the division of labour. Yuru Camp△ also removes the necessity of having to haul sixty pounds of camera gear around, allowing the girls to focus entirely on survival.

  • When Chiaki and Nadeshiko recover some of their provisions, it turns out that there was a single cup of instant noodles (and perhaps, a bottle of water, since they are able to cook the instant noodles) that the girls provision. By the time the cup reaches Chiaki, it’s nearly empty. She attempts to open a coconut and only gets a limited amount of juice out of it. One of the aspects that Survival Camp did not depict is the acquisition of fresh water; surrounded by ocean, desert islands do not always have a readily-available supply of fresh water for use. However, some islands have a freshwater lens that can be reached by digging a well, and other islands may be large enough to have flowing water, so it stands to reason that there’s freshwater somewhere on the island that the girls are on.

  • As food stores are depleted, the girls wonder about their odds of survival and become gloomy in disposition. Stroud notes that one of the biggest make-or-break factor in survival is the will to live, and as morale fades, so does the desire to continue living. Contributing to this is boredom, which is why in some episodes of Survivorman, where Stroud has a few free moments, he spends it making makeshift items, such as oil lamps or fishing floats that can help him out. Besides occupying his time and giving him focus, crafting things also gives him additional tools for survival.

  • Because Nadeshiko and the others are in a group, however, this confers on the girls an advantage: they can support one another and boost one another’s morale. Watching Ena sleeping peacefully also gives everyone a sense of normalcy: that Ena can rest easily reassures the girls, as well. Aoi mentions that their situation is no different than camping, albeit with less gear and in a place they are not familiar with, giving everyone a second wind and taking their minds off hunger for a moment.

  • The next morning, Rin awakens bright and early to fish. Meanwhile, Chiaki’s found a massive store of bananas somewhere on the island. A member of the musa genus, Bananas are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are thought to have first been domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Rich in starch, bananas become sweeter as they ripen, and are good sources of potassium. It is my go-to fruit when I’m in a hurry.

  • One of my biggest questions is how Chiaki is able to go bananas finding seedless bananas: in commercially-available bananas, the seeds are tiny, but in natural bananas, there are large, tough seeds that would prevent the bananas from being eaten as we normally would. This inconsistency is a minor detail I am willing to overlook, since this is a Yuru Camp△ post and not a post on the history of banana cultivation in human civilisation: the fact is that Chiaki has found bananas and this gives the girls renewed energy.

  • Rin, meanwhile, succeeds in catching a very large fish, enough to adequately make a delicious dinner. Different fishes have different flavours and textures, and similarly, different fishes have different nutritional contents, as well. However, in a survival situation, most fishes are an excellent food source, being rich in protein and fat, and survival guides also note that fishing is less energy intensive than setting up traps or going hunting for small game or birds with makeshift weapons. Les Stroud would say that one should always be mindful of their surroundings and do whatever is necessary: proactive survival is how one gets through difficult situations, and just because one has fish does not mean they can’t continue finding alternative food sources, as well.

  • With Rin’s catch, the finding of suitable coconuts and a steady supply of bananas on the island means that food’s been taken care of. The process of cleaning out the fish is likewise skipped over in Yuru Camp△ because it’s a bit of a bloody operation, and Survivorman has a disclaimer saying that gutting a fish might not be suitable for all audiences. In a survival situation, almost all parts of the fish can be eaten, including the heart and liver. The intestines, on the other hand, should be discarded or recycled as bait.

  • Because Chiaki received the short end of the stick earlier, I’d figured that I’d have a screenshot of her taking a bite of fish and savouring the moment. Nadeshiko suggests using the banana leaves to cook the fish in, and it’s shown that the girls managed to find some coconuts with more edible components than they previously had. At different stages, coconuts may provide oil and meat that both can be consumed. Rich in carbohydrates, fats and proteins, coconut meat is also high in manganese, zinc and iron.

  • The last time I saw people eating fish by night on a beach in a survival situation was in the Costa Rica, where Stroud survives on a coastal beach. Here, he uses a deliberately broken ballpoint pen and fashions a makeshift spear that he uses to catch a fish. Cooking it and enjoying it under moonlight, Stroud remarks that one of the hazards he faces while preparing fresh meat and fish for consumption is that the smell of blood can attract predators to his location. Yuru Camp△ again abstracts out this element, allowing the girls to enjoy their dinner in peace without imminent threat from sharks.

  • After their fish dinner, the girls decide to cook some bananas over the fire, and end up with a melt-in-your-mouth dessert that is delicious beyond words. Chiaki is elated that her bananas are delicious and fashions herself a Pacific-style dress, dancing about joyfully. While grass skirts are long associated with Hawaiian culture, they originate from the Gilbert Islands and Samoa, being brought to Hawaii by immigrants. The banana crown and staff are a bit excessive, and are likely present in Yuru Camp△ to indicate the girls’ carefree approach to all things.

  • Nadeshiko is seen here holding a frisbee made from banana leaves, attesting to their versatility. Besides their applications in cooking (banana leaves leave food with a slightly sweet flavour), their resilient, flexible, waterproof structure means they can be fashioned into a variety of things, including roofing materials and plates. Natural materials are often well-suited for human constructs; being able to use the environment so well (and communicating what works to future generations) is what allowed people to inhabit every part of the world.

  • Early trailers for the Yuru Camp△ OVA portrayed Chiaki, Aoi, Rin, Nadeshiko and Ena running around in swimwear on a tropical island, leading folks to wonder if fanservice was going to be a major component of the OVA. However, with the OVA in the books, it’s quite clear that Yuru Camp△ has no intent of going down that route. Consider that the well-endowed Aoi is wearing a shirt, and so, despite the opportunity for animators to draw in viewers, their choice not to signifies that Yuru Camp△ is very much about camping, not unnecessary fanservice.

  • In Yuru Camp△, the fanservice is largely confined to the variety that viewers find enjoyable; besides a high attention to detail, Yuru Camp△ also presents various environments beautifully. Here, Nadeshiko swims underwater adjacent to corals, with reef fishes visible in both the foreground and background. Although I cannot readily identify the fish in the foreground, it is clear that these are coral reef fishes; these fish are characterised by a flat body, which is evolved for maneuverability and sharp turns among corals.

  • The imagery seen in Survival Camp’s latter half is what most people think of whenever tropical islands are mentioned, being warm paradises fitting to live on. However, as Les Stroud constantly mentions, beautiful settings often hide danger underneath. Tropical islands may be surrounded by shark-infested waters, or else lack a good water source. Intense sunlight can quickly lead to a heat stroke, and food may be scarce.

  • Of course, strict adherence to realism makes for a much less interesting work of fiction. This fiction presents sound in space, fireball explosions and uncommonly distinct gunfire noises. Similarly, had Yuru Camp△ elected to go with a completely realistic approach, the series would not have the same appeal that it did: Yuru Camp△ is realistic to a reasonable extent, but is completely authentic. In fiction, authenticity refers to how faithfully things create (or recreate) an environment, design or feel for something, while realism is how faithfully behaviours, conditions and situations are. Works can be authentic without being realistic, and for the most part, an authentic and unrealistic work would typically be very enjoyable.

  • Yuru Camp△ is a series that is very authentic and largely realistic, which contributes to its entertainment value. The OVA is a lot less realistic, but being an OVA offers writers some creative freedoms that end up giving viewers twelve minutes of fun. Here, Chiaki displays a hitherto unknown skill in surfing, riding a wave on a piece of driftwood as a makeshift board.

  • Enough time has passed for the girls to craft comfortable beach chairs for themselves. Here, they begin playing Shiritori, a word game where players form the next word using the previous word’s kana. It’s frequently seen in anime and requires at least two players. Players can only use nouns, and using ん or repeating a word results in an instant loss. More sophisticated versions of the game involve using specific subsets of words or kana patterns, and the most similar equivalent in English is called “word chain”. Variations of this game also exist, and it’s typically used as a teaching tool.

  • Amidst the warm tropical weather, Ena’s fallen asleep again. What was a survival situation has turned into a very laid-back camping trip for the girls, and it is perhaps this reason that high school girls are more able to create a highly relaxing atmosphere in an anime version of SurvivormanSurvivorman episodes can be a bit stressful to watch, especially when Les Stroud finds himself in difficult situations brought on by weather conditions, wildlife or bad luck.

  • As tempting as a tropical paradise would be for a vacation spot, and as much as I enjoyed Cancún’s unparalleled weather and waters, I find that my ideal vacation spot would be the West Coast Rainforests and Inside Passage of British Columbia, coastal Alaska, or the Fjords of Norway. There’s a charm about coastal mountains, and having visited Alaska some fifteen years previously, I would love for an opportunity to go back.

  • When the girls realise that they’ve been stuck on the desert island for some time, they immediately make to get help, leading to the scene seen in the episode’s beginning where Nadeshiko, Aoi, Rin and Chiaki are running through the forest, seemingly in a panic, for some unknown destination. The ending of the OVA makes it clear that the girls are trying to be rescued, and so, after sprinting to the island’s outcrop, where Rin had been fishing earlier, they shout out in an adorable manner for help.

  • The incidental music is intended to remind audiences, who remain unconvinced otherwise, that they are supposed to find this moment funny and pitiful, as well. The English seen in Survival Camp is passable, and while I know that folks may criticise Engrish (a phenomenon where a lack of familiarity causes a speaker or writer to butcher English, often in hilarious ways), the fact is that people should be commended for trying to use a language they aren’t familiar with. For instance, I have great respect when people try to speak Cantonese when they are learning it.

  • The episode closes by zooming out and revealing that Nadeshiko and the others are located quite close to Mount Fuji, suggesting the island is located in the Sagami-nada Sea. Given the proximity of the coast, and the shape of the island, I would guess that the desert island of Yuru Camp△ is modelled after Hatsushima, which is located six kilometers off the coast of Japan and in real life, is home to around 215 people, a resort and no volcanic mountain. From the air, at around the same angle the island of Yuru Camp△ is shown in, Mount Fuji is indeed visible. This brings my talk on Yuru Camp△’s third OVA to a close, and not a moment too soon: it would turn out there’s another closed alpha for Battlefield V starting later today.

Survival Camp’s runtime, at twelve minutes, might be shorter than that of a standard episode, but nonetheless manages to fully occupy its runtime with the high-energy, adorable antics and adventures that Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena find themselves in while on a tropical island. The premise of ditching a plane and landing on an tropical island within visual sight of Mount Fuji is a little whacky, and the OVA’s place in Yuru Camp△ proper is difficult to pinpoint, but none of these elements seem so relevant when audiences see the girls doing their best to survive in their own way, all the while making the most of the moment to have a good time. Yuru Camp△ has long been counted as one of the strongest anime of the Winter 2018 season, and while we’ve had two modestly enjoyable OVAs following a solid finish to the first season, the Survival Camp OVA demonstrates that Yuru Camp△ is a series whose characters and set up are versatile enough such that they can be applied to a variety of situations and settings. That Nadeshiko and the others’ time on the tropical island progresses with equal measure hilarity and adherence to what is realistic shows that the sky is the limit for what OVAs in Yuru Camp△ can be about. Of course, I do not anticipate that C-Station would have the rights to remake Survivorman and switch out Les Stroud for the likes of Nadeshiko, Rin, Chiako, Aoi and Ena, but the fact remains is that clever writing and resourceful use of camping as a premise has allowed for Yuru Camp△ to remain highly engaging. I greatly enjoyed the OVA, and strongly recommend it for everyone who has seen Yuru Camp△ and found it agreeable: given the strong sales of this series, and the fact that the manga is ongoing, a continuation seems very likely, but until then, OVAs such as Survival Camp will be a fine way of extending the fun from watching this series.