The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Yuru Camp△

1337 Posts, and Yuru Camp△ 2 Live Action Adaptation: Review and Reflections At The Halfway Point

“Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.” –Sun Tzu

Rin spends time with Nadeshiko and Ayano in Hamamatsu before heading back home with her grandfather. Nadeshiko ends up taking a part time job to pick up the gas lamp she’d longed for, and Chiaki spends some time seasoning her new cast iron skillet, as well as removing the lacquer from a wooden bowl. She later plans out a camping trip at Lake Yamanaka with Ena and Aoi (Nadeshiko and Rin are busy with work). After picking up some gear from Mont Bell and swinging by an onsen, the group head towards their campground at the eastern edge of Lake Yamanaka. They meet a young woman and her corgi, but after settling down for some drinks, they realise the temperature’s plummeting quickly, and moreover, they’ve not prepared at all for the cold night ahead. This is where Yuru Camp△ 2‘s drama after six episodes, coinciding roughly with where Chiaki, Aoi and Ena end up at Yuru Camp△ 2‘s halfway point. By now, it is apparent that Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action has taken several liberties with the order of events and progression: Chiaki preparing a cast iron skillet and wooden bowl originally during the first season prior to exams. However, speaking to the finesse of the writing, the Yuru Camp△ 2 drama never skips a beat, and changes in the events are smoothly integrated with the original timeline to create a very smooth story that stands of its own accord. In its execution, the Yuru Camp△ 2 live action shows how even with substantial modifications to the storyline, by virtue of omission or altering when it occurs, some stories can still flow elegantly. The end result is that I half expect there to be a few more surprises in store for the Yuru Camp△ 2 drama’s second half; seeing these differences (sometimes subtle, and othertimes obvious) has made the live-action adaptation engaging in its own right. While we might be retreading a familiar stories, minor variations keep the experience quite fresh.

In retrospect, Yuru Camp△ 2‘s first half is initially quite similar to the first season in that it covers the experience surrounding local camping, of visiting spots reachable by mass transit or moped. However, the combination of new locations explored and new lessons learnt add depth to the adventures; Nadeshiko is now close enough to get an honest answer from Rin about why solo camping has its own joys, and while the first season’s winter camping had been all fun and games, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena’s lack of research into the nighttime lows at Lake Yamanaka remind viewers of the importance of being properly prepared. The second season’s first half thus speaks to the idea that while the Outdoor Activities Club had become familiar with camping, there were a few things they needed to be made aware of before they could go on larger-scale outings. Having Chiaki, Aoi and Ena learn the importance of research and letting people know of their plans is vital for safety’s sake, and once this lesson is applied, viewers can rest assured that the characters are aware of the procedure to keep safe on their adventures. The messages are consistent across both the live action adaptation and the anime; this is, after all, a central part of the series, and disparities between the two notwithstanding, both the anime and drama do an outstanding job of conveying their messages across. One of the things I did notice about the live-action drama was that, while the episodes seem to space things out more, things never seemed to drag on. This is the mark of an engaging series – camping is a fun activity many partake in, but Yuru Camp△‘s uncommonly powerful presentation has encouraged people to take it up for themselves.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Last I wrote about the Yuru Camp△ live action drama was about a month and a half ago; attesting to how busy things’ve been, I’ve only been able to catch up on the live action recently, having spent almost all of my time finishing up Cold WarSuper CubYakunara Mug Cup Mo and Gundam SEED. Fortunately, shows don’t go anywhere, and so, I was able to pick up with the drama right where’d I had left off last.

  • Having the drama around meant my Yuru Camp△ withdrawal isn’t quite as severe as I initially imagined: I’ve long been impressed with how faithful the live-action adaptation was to events in the anime. Filming this second season can’t have been easy, especially since many of the events were related to phenomenon around the New Year’s timeframe, and in order to keep things authentic, the producers would’ve had to do most of their principal photography in winter. The end results, however, speak for themselves.

  • One of these days, I’d love to watch or read about a behind-the-scenes of how Yuru Camp△‘s drama was filmed: besides showing things like set design, I’m very fond of outtake reels and the like. A well-done movie or TV show is totally immersive, and with strong acting, it becomes easy to forget that we’re watching women and men completely embracing their roles to bring a certain world and its story to life. Being able to watch moments where actors and actresses flub a line or burst out laughing reminds us of the effort that goes into making these show come to life.

  • I did not cover this in my original post, nor did I feature this moment in any location hunt: Hamanakoo Bridge is located immediately north of Nagisaen Camping Ground at the western edge of Hamamatsu, and in both the anime and drama, the observation tower from Hamanako Garden Park can be seen. The lighting in the drama suggests a warmer day than the anime, but being Canadian, I’ve been around the block long enough to know that one cannot reliably ascertain ambient temperatures visually.

  • While waiting for Shizuhana to open, Rin is shocked that there are so many people here to buy strawberry daifuku so early in the day. Like the anime, Rin finds herself hoping that there’ll be enough to go around, since she’s only looking to grab a few for Nadeshiko, and all of the other customers are interested in buying large numbers at a time. The uptick in recent reviews for this confectionary store suggests that more locals are beginning to go out and about; traffic back home certainly has increased of late, and my provincial government have opened things up for people in my cohort to take their second vaccination.

  • I ended up getting my second shot yesterday, and once the vaccine does its thing within two weeks, it means I’ll have an acceptable level of protection against the virus. This doesn’t mean I’m in the clear yet (I’ll probably still carry a mask and hand sanitiser around for a ways after), but having the peace of mind that the most severe symptoms will be prevented is most welcome. At some point in the near future, once case numbers are consistently low, I do look forwards to returning to my favourite poutine joint this side of the world.

  • This moment is why Haruka Fukuhara is paid the big bucks to play Rin: Fukuhara’s portrayal of Rin’s reaction to the insane price of unagi is priceless, being even more amusing than her “eyes fall to the ground in shock” in the anime. Moments like these accentuate the greatest difference between anime and real life; whereas actresses and actors have the advantage of facial cues and body language, anime need to work twice as hard in order to convey the same feelings. Yuru Camp△ has no trouble with this in its anime incarnation, so it was especially fun to see how certain moments were conveyed in real life.

  • Yuno Ōhara herself is no slouch in bringing Nadeshiko’s mannerisms to life, either: Nadeshiko covers her eyes whenever something frightens or surprises her, and this is adorable. Ōhara even nails the facial expressions. The act of watching unagi being prepared is a little much for Nadeshiko, and while I’ve never had a problem with seeing the guts and whatnot from preparing fresh meat, I do appreciate that some people can become uncomfortable with it (Les Stroud mentions this in the opening disclaimer for Survivorman episodes and occasionally cuts away some scenes where he’s preparing something he’d caught).

  • Whereas the anime had Nadeshiko’s grandmother and Rin tugging on her cheeks, the drama has Ayano do so instead. Like Rin’s place, Nadeshiko’s grandmother’s home is not precisely placed; in real life, an empty lot occupies the spot where Nadeshiko’s grandmother’s house is supposed to be located. Instead, the drama uses a building located a hundred and thirty-three metres to the east as the location for exterior shots, and I imagine that interior shots are filmed either on a sound stage or at an undisclosed location.

  • Prior to Nadeshiko’s departure, Ayano had encouraged her to pick up something new, and in the half-year or so since Nadeshiko moved to Yamanashi, she’d picked up camping, to Ayano’s joy. Here, she and Nadeshiko both learn the reason behind Rin’s preferences for solo camping. It was here that Yuru Camp△ really struck a resonant chord with viewers; most anime would opt to emphasise that there’s joy to be had in groups, but Yuru Camp△ ended up saying that people can enjoy solo activities as well, which comes with its own set of merits. Rather than attempt to leave viewers with only one message, Yuru Camp△ therefore suggests that there is no right or wrong way to approach a hobby so long as one is doing so safely.

  • Back home in Yamanashi, Chiaki relives Rin, Nadeshiko and Aoi’s travels in food form, but since the curry requires preparation to enjoy, she stows it away for later use. We’re now back in Motosu, and it’s a welcome return to the school grounds, which had sat empty until Yuru Camp△ popularised the site anew. When I first heard about the drama via social media, I’d only been tangentially interested, but after trailers began appearing, and I noticed that the Outdoor Activities Club’s clubroom at Motosu High School was actually based off the real-world location, I immediately wished to check the drama out for myself.

  • Classic scenes like Nadeshiko acting as a makeshift pole make a return in Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action, right down to the facial expressions. It initially feels a little mean-spirited to suddenly spring a game of scissors-stone-cloth to determine who should be the pole, especially in the knowledge that Chiaki and Aoi have known one another for a long time and roughly know what to expect. Nadeshiko eventually swaps herself out for an easel, and remarks that if Chiaki needs her as a pole again, she’ll have to charge her an hourly rate for such a service.

  • With the money she’d earned from work, Ena ends up buying a dog-sized tent for Chikuwa that costs as much as any tent for people. The price is consistent with what I’ve found for North American equivalents, and camping with dogs does require an extra bit of research to ensure good times – some campgrounds are more dog friendly than others, and it’s probably worth ensuring one’s dog is up to speed on their vaccinations. For now, however, the winter cold means that it’s probably not the best idea to bring Chikuwa out to camp, and Rin is left to wish that she could see Chikuwa and his little tent in person.

  • After her contract with the post office comes to a close, Nadeshiko laments that all of the part time jobs suitable for secondary schools are located in Kofu a ways to the north. I absolutely sympathise with how Nadeshiko feels about things: in my corner of the world, most technology-related jobs are for oil and gas companies, and a majority of the mobile development jobs are either out west or east. However, changing circumstances means that more companies are okay with hiring remote workers, and there may come a future where I’ll have to grow accustomed to working remotely. I joke that so long as I have a computer, power supply and internet connection, I could work anywhere in the world, although in Nadeshiko’s case, practical constraints mean that she’s limited to whatever is available in the Minobu/Nambu area.

  • Sakura comes through one day – she invites Nadeshiko out to dinner at a local soba restaurant that serves a delicious ebi tempura and remarks that they’re hiring, but because they’d only just opened the position, there were no ads in the local classified. For the first time, Nadeshiko is even more excited about the job than she is about the meal she’s about to enjoy, and Sakura asks her to at least have dinner before getting psyched about being able to work hard and earn some coin.

  • With her first paycheque from the soba restaurant, Nadeshiko finally has enough money to pick up the gas lamp she’d long adored. The anime had Nadeshiko trip on a shoebox and nearly drop her new purchase, but the live-action sees her toss the box into the air out of excitement. This minor change did feel a little disingenuous to Nadeshiko’s character – she’d grown quite a bit since the series began, and however excited Nadeshiko might be about the new gas lamp, she’d also realise the effort it took to get here. Fortunately, one of the store’s clerks are on hand to help out. He makes a stunning catch worthy of the Calgary Stampeders and cheers alongside the others.

  • Back home, Nadeshiko lights the gas lamp for her parents. While Nadeshiko had taken a liking to the lamp owing to its appearance, Yuru Camp△ also has it become a tangible representation of Nadeshiko’s maturity. From getting lost on a bike shortly after moving to Yamanashi, to taking up camping and learning the ins and outs, as well as picking up a job so she can pursue camping more throughly, the milestone of earning enough to buy said gas lamp was the surest sign that for us viewers, we needn’t worry about Nadeshiko, since she has the resolve and drive to make discoveries on her own and ask for help when needed.

  • Having this confidence in Nadeshiko thus opens Yuru Camp△ up for new adventures of a much larger scale, and further driving this point home, Nadeshiko’s decision to gift Sakura a reusable hand-warmer shows that, while she may be ditzy and a glutton who lives in the present, she’s also kind and very aware of those around her. The anime and English-language materials don’t say anything about how old Sakura is, but having picked up the Yuru Camp△ official guidebook back in 2019, I ended up learning that Sakura is a university student.

  • The biggest surprise for me about Yuru Camp△ 2‘s drama was that, after Nadeshiko buys her gas lamp, the story switches over to Chiaki and Aoi discussing fancy camping implements; over the weekend, Chiaki had managed to pick up a cast iron skillet and wooden bowl, plus a small table cloth and rack that can be used as a makeshift table. This particular story was a part of Yuru Camp△‘s first season, where Chikai totally procrastinates for her exams by taking some time to season the skillet and remove the lacquer from the bowl. While jarring, the drama ends up fitting things seamlessly into the second season, portraying Chiaki’s exercise as preparations for their next camping trip and also foreshadowing the group that will go camping next.

  • The Yuru Camp△ live action adaptation’s first season had omitted this altogether so everything could be fit into the season, but I’m glad that Yuru Camp△ 2 found a way to incorporate it back in – the segments where Chiaki, Aoi and Ena go through how to properly season cast iron cookware and prepare wooden bowls for holding hot food are reminiscent of the step-by-step processes seen in something like MythBusters, turning a prima facie boring process into an instructive and engaging one. Of course, not shown in the live-action is Aki Toyosaki’s adorable scream of pain when she accidentally comes into contact with the hot skillet: Yumena Yanai’s portrayal of Aoi, while still faithful, lacks the same good-natured antics that Toyosaki brings to the table.

  • With the weekend here, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena set off for their first-ever camping adventure without Nadeshiko: she and Rin were scheduled for work this weekend. Their trip opens at Mount Fuji Station in Fujiyoshida, reachable from Minobu by taking a train into Kofu and then switching over to the bus that takes them to the station. While the drama frames the shot from a different angle, the same energy and excitement from the anime is conveyed – I imagine that the choice to frame the shot this way was also to show how large the world is, foreshadowing what would happen on Chiaki, Aoi and Ena’s Lake Yamanaka trip.

  • The scene of Chiaki slipping and falling on ice at Mount Fuji Station was omitted in the drama: instead of creating a situation that leads Ena to snap a photo of Aoi trying to keep Chiaki from falling, she simply feels the need to sneeze and has the sneeze fail. For some inexplicable reason, sneezes feel very satisfying, so when a sneeze “dies”, it can be accompanied with a strange feeling of frustration.

  • While Chiaki is quite pleased with herself for having secured an inexpensive transit option, the sparse schedule means that the trio must sprint off to catch their bus, lest they’re stuck waiting for another hour for the next ride. Public transit in Japan remains more accessible than anything I’m familiar with back home; the sprawl of Canadian urban design means that infrastructure costs more per capita, and simply put, it costs more to run bus lines when there are fewer riders, causing the price of tickets to rise. In Hong Kong, for instance, the price to ride the tram from North Point to Central is 2.60 HKD, or 42 cents. However, back home, an adult transit ticket costs 3.50 CAD and is only valid for 90 minutes.

  • I’ve long been a proponent of higher-density developments that make things more accessible in the absence of a car; this stands in stark contrast with home developers’ insistence that the 2400-square-foot home is good enough for everyone, and indeed, their resistance to building differently is astounding. A few years ago, my city’s mayor was involved in a lawsuit after suggesting that he would push to increase density and increase the costs for home developers to construct single-family subdivisions. The case was settled out of court, and while the city has plans for sustainable growth, the reality is that I’ll probably continue to see McMansions pop up at the edge of town in the years to come, and will probably need to resign myself to the fact that my city isn’t going to be walkable for a while yet.

  • Chiaki gloats about how nice it feels to go relax while others are working, a clever callback to the idea that she’s still a little salty about having spent the whole of her winter break working. Rather than mean-spirited, however, this moment feels hilarious and speaks to Chiaki’s love for hanging out. The group’s first destination is Montbell, an outdoors store even larger than Kofu’s Elk. Whereas the anime had presented Montbell as a larger Caribou branch, the live-action adaptation shows Montbell in its original glory, right down to the giant stuffed bear at the front of the store.

  • These stuffed bears are exactly what I was referring to while writing about Yuru Camp△ 2‘s fifth episode a few months earlier; the anime had substituted a giant caribou for the bear, and in the manga (as well as one of the Heya Camp△ segments), Aoi is seen to have developed a great fondness for Caribou-kun: after buying the entire plushie, she takes him on camping trips. These giant stuffed animals are a common sight in Banff, and today, being Canada Day, is a time where I spend time with family hanging out in the mountains.

  • This year, we’ve chosen to have a quieter day at home to deal with some household stuff: the temperatures today are expected to top out at 36°C, and it’s been this hot all week on account of the persistent heat dome that’s settled over our area. It’s certainly a far cry from Yuru Camp△ and its wintery conditions; at Mont Bell, where Chiaki attempts to determine what the best option she has for a lightweight hammock with a frame is. After performing a dance of sorts for the clerk, the clerk has just the thing. The anime kept this a surprise for viewers, while the drama simply shows the solution for Chiaki: two low chairs.

  • After their purchases are completed, Ena receives a set of pictures of Chikuwa enjoying his new doggy-tent immensely. This immediately leads Aoi and Chiaki to melt, and then wonder how on earth Chikiwa could be sending the photos himself. It is shown Ena’s father is taking and sending the photos, which was a very clever way of showing the cordial relationship Ena has with her family. In the anime, Ena is never shown as receiving the photos and therefore can be surmised to have taken them before they’d set out for Lake Yamanaka.

  • With an ambient temperature of 1.4°C, Aoi, Ena and Chiaki struggle to leave the onsen. It had been Ena who’d suggested to Rin that she try the Nordic Cycle out during Heya Camp△‘s OVA, suggesting that it’s good for circulation; presumably, after feeling particularly invigourated after leaving the waters and stepping into the brisk winter air, Ena felt it might be something Rin would probably like. This is what led me to surmise that Rin’s weekend trip was probably set after the events at Lake Yamanaka, but before their trip to Izu.

  • Whether it is the drama or anime, Yuru Camp△ has always excelled with its portrayal of enjoying the small moments in life. After unwinding in the onsen, Chiaki, Ena and Aoi enjoy ice creams prior to their next destination. I’ve always had a fondness for Japanese soft-serve: the ice cream out here tends to be very hard and is much cooler, whereas in Japan, their ice cream is creamier and smoother. Moreover, soft-serve ice cream has a lower fat content and is served at a slightly higher temperature, reducing instances of brain-freeze.

  • Chiaki melts into the floor from comfort, prompting Aoi to try and wake her up before she falls asleep, which would set them back on their schedule (this had happened on the Outdoor Activities Club’s first trip to Fuefuki), and with the bus routes as infrequent as they are, this could prove challenging. However, Aoi’s problems are doubled when Ena does the same. The humour of Yuru Camp△ translates well into reality, and Aoi’s frustration is apparent as she tries to get her friends going.

  • Nadeshiko’s expertise with nabe is what allows the Outdoor Activities Club to experience great-tasting hot pot while camping. A bit of ingenuity and substituting out ingredients that are easier to transport and prepare means that the original recipe’s flavours are largely retained, without demanding additional preparation or storage constraints while out on the campgrounds.

  • After one more bus ride, Ena, Aoi and Chiaki finally arrive at Misaki Camping Ground on the eastern edge of Lake Yamanaka. The drama takes the time to show how beautiful the area is, and again, it is apparent that the producers used drone footage to shoot scenes over the lake itself. Drones have definitely allowed producers, both with high and low budgets, to shoot some fantastic footage; Les Stroud began using drones in his later seasons, and with the technology become increasingly inexpensive, he even encouraged his drone operators to go for style, since if a drone was wrecked, he’d simply buy another one.

  • I found that the manager at Misaki Camping Ground resembles Hong Kong’s Jimmy Lai, and the itself moment quite hilarious; while it might be disappointing to Chiaki, Aoi and Ena, there are practical reasons for disallowing campers to set up their tents on the cape itself. While Yuru Camp△ had presented camp ground managers as being quite friendly and polite, here at Misaki Camping Ground, there did seem to be a bit of tension here which again, foreshadows the fact that Lake Yamanaka offers a sort of challenge that previous camping grounds did not.

  • I also ended up purchasing Yuru CampΔ: Virtual Camp for the Oculus Quest today; developed by Gemdrop, I’ve been eying the games since they launched earlier this year. There’s one set at Lake Motosu and one at Fumoto Campsite, retailing for 25 CAD each, so I figured I’d start by playing as Nadeshiko on the shores of Lake Motosu and then return at a later time to give Fumoto a shot, if Lake Motosu impressed. As it turns out, the VR experience is quite compelling; while it isn’t physically demanding as something like SUPERHOT VR, the scenery and character models are well rendered. One thing that became very apparent is that Rin’s character model is absolutely tiny; her height is given as being 144 cm (even smaller than K-On!‘s Azu-nyan, who’s 150 cm).

  • Yuru CampΔ: Virtual Camp shows that a part of the anime experience can indeed be faithfully reproduced in the VR environment, and I wouldn’t mind giving the Fumoto Campsite version a go, as well. Players can navigate between the different scenarios quite easily, but also choose to just lose themselves at a given time of day and admire the scenery. One thing I particularly liked is the fact that Nadeshiko can call out to Rin with her signature Rin-chan~! as the sun is setting, and while the story itself is quite short, I do see myself returning to chill on the shores of Lake Motosu in the future. Having said this, capturing footage from the Oculus Quest is a bit tricky, so it’ll be an experience I can’t readily write about here.

  • While pitching one’s tent may be prohibited on the cape, there’s nothing that says one can’t set up their chairs here and kick back. Chiaki thus goes about setting up a fancy drink, a hot buttered rum, for everyone. The girls’ phones don’t appear to be a problem at this point in the drama; the anime and manga had the phones run out of juice from the cold, which complicates things. Fortunately, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena have a guardian angel in the form of Rin: unlike the others, she knows that Lake Yamanaka can get cold from its elevation, so she eventually becomes worried about the three.

  • Choko and her owner show up after the hot buttered rums are prepared in the drama; here, Chiaki wonders if the Corgi is Nadeshiko manifesting in spirit form. This was originally present in the manga, but was never mentioned in the anime, so seeing it return in the drama was a pleasant touch. After giving Choko pats, they turn back to their drinks, only to find that in the short time Choko was occupying their attention, everything’s frozen solid. As the temperatures cool, Chiaki realises they’re in trouble unless they do something immediately to turn their situation around.

  • While the anime really drove up the stakes by having the group only realise their situation after the sun had set, there’s still a little light in the drama when Chaiki runs off to the nearest convenience store for some heavy-duty warmers while Aoi and Ena attempt to get firewood, only to spot the manager leaving for the day. Such a moment would be quite suspenseful, but since most viewers would undoubtedly be watching the drama after seeing the anime and/or having read the manga, what happens next isn’t too much of a concern. This post has been a fun one to write for, and I’ll be returning at some point in the future to wrap up Yuru Camp△ 2‘s drama. In the meantime, it’s time to catch up on Higurashi SOTSU‘s first two episodes, then spend the next little bit wrapping up talks for Gundam SEED86 EIGHTY-SIX and Higehiro before delving into the summer season’s shows: I only have plans to write about The Aquatope on White Sand and Magia Record at present, with the idea being that a lighter blogging schedule hopefully translates to being able to play more DOOM Eternal.

I’ll briefly stop here to note that with this talk on where I stand with Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action drama with six of twelve episodes in the books, I’ve reached yet another milestone with this blog: thirteen hundred and thirty seven posts. This number is significant and is a callback to the earlier days of the internet – originally, 1337 was a numerical spelling of the term “elite” and had been associated with the hacker subculture, denoting formidable skill and knowledge in the area. The substitution of numbers in some spellings spilled over to the world of gaming, and eventually, 1337 became an adjective for “awesome”. That I’ve written 1337 posts over the past nine-and-a-half years has spoken to two things: the first is that having an awesome reader base, one that provides honest feedback, shares recollections and sets me straight if should I step out of line, has been most encouraging. Without you, the readers, I’m certain this blog and the various misadventures I’ve been on over the years, would’ve never endured for as long as it did. The second is that in the journey of life, there’s always something worth sharing: Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action adaptation is one of them, and I’m certainly having fun writing for these posts and whipping up the images comparing and contrasting a given moment in the drama with its counterpart in the anime. At the end of the day, this is what blogging boils down to – it’s a matter of having fun writing what we write about, and knowing that even if a post has helped one individual’s day in some way, whether it’s answer any questions the reader had about something or giving them something to smile about, the post has accomplished its goal. Similarly, Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action drama consistently puts a smile on my face, and while the series has finished airing, I am a little behind on things, so I’ll aim to continue watching this one and write about my final impressions once that’s in the books.

Mystery Camp: Yuru Camp△ 2 OVA Review and Reflection

“Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.” –Julia Cameron

Aoi shares three vignettes surrounding camping to viewers to encourage them to pick up the hobby for themselves. The first segment has her and Nadeshiko using a handy app to rent camping gear, only to learn that they’re missing Chikai for their trip and therefore, decide to rent a Chiaki-in-a-box, too. Later, Nadeshiko’s solo camping takes her to a dystopian camp where her days consist of working in a factory, subsisting on meagre rations, burning hazardous chemicals for warmth and sleeping in a cardboard box. Later, Rin and Nadeshiko roast some marshmallows, and although Nadeshiko begins thinking of all the different recipes she could make with s’mores, the roasted marshmallows Rin gives her turn out quite unlike what she’d been expecting. After all three stories are told, Aoi invites viewers to head out and give camping a go on account of how one can have some remarkable adventures. This is Mystery Camp, the first of the Yuru Camp△ 2 OVAs that accompanied the second BD collection. The first season’s OVAs were imaginative and fun, being both supplementary materials to the series and sending the characters on adventures that would otherwise be counted as unrelated. Here in Mystery Camp, the trend continues, capitalising on Aki Toyosaki’s excellent voice acting to deliver Aoi’s lies in a compelling manner. The three stories are unlikely to be considered canon in any way, but instead, serve to act as what-if segments that allows the studios to put the characters in unusual situations in the name of comedy. However, unlike the previous season’s OVAs, which were denoted as a part of Heya Camp△, this OVA lives up to its name as Mystery Camp: and Aoi’s stories are so far removed from what Yuru Camp△ had presented as camping that one cannot help but feel that this is yet another one of Aoi’s elaborate lies.

The middle act, which sees Nadeshiko coming across a work camp, was probably the most heart-wrenching of the stories: the reason why it’s so effective is because Yuru Camp△ unfailingly puts Nadeshiko in gentle, easygoing scenarios where she is able to learn and relax, and where any challenge is overcome with creativity. As such, when Nadeshiko enters a work camp instead, traditional camping activities are replaced by something considerably more grim. Seeing Nadeshiko will herself through everything becomes particularly saddening, and while she’s doing her best to hold together, nowhere else in Yuru Camp△ do we ever see Nadesiko look so defeated. Consequently, viewers would be relieved to know that such things don’t actually happen to Nadeshiko as this OVA draws to a close. I appreciate that something similar was done during the first season, when Aoi spent an entire OVA lying to Nadeshiko, even getting everyone to pretend to be Rin and causing Nadeshiko to question reality itself. Because it’s so adorable to see Nadeshiko in this manner, I expect that this OVA was a chance to have Aoi continue on with her tall tales and perhaps drive up the feeling of pity for Nadeshiko, who otherwise has a very happy-go-lucky experience in Yuru Camp△.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Aoi’s pranks are at best, hilarious, and at worst, mean-spirited. This is greatly augmented by the fact that Aki Toyosaki’s delivery of Aoi’s lines is done with a gentle and soft kansai-ben: with her voice, it’s almost impossible for Nadeshiko to tell when Aoi is lying, and this has resulted in a great many jokes throughout Yuru Camp△. I’ve long found Aoi to be an amalgamation of K-On!‘s Yui Hirasawa and Tsumugi Kotobuki: Toyosaki’s voice and Tsumugi’s eyebrows make Aoi quite standout in terms of appearance, although I imagine that Aoi’s other attributes make her notable.

  • The first of the stories indicates that while Nadeshiko and Aoi had made use of a rental service to swiftly get gear delivered to them for their latest winter camping excursion, they’d forgotten to bring Chiaki along with them. No camping trip would be complete without Chiaki, so they decide to rent one, too. This is a hilarious oversight that wouldn’t otherwise happen in Yuru Camp△: of the Outdoor Activities Club members, Chiaki is the most rambunctious of the bunch, and sooner or later, it should have dawned on Aoi and Nadeshiko that they were missing their club president.

  • As far as camping gear goes, Aoi and Nadeshiko have brought almost everything of note in this vignette, from the standard tents and sleeping bags, to chairs, campfire stand and cookware: one of the biggest joys of the series was watching everyone in the Outdoor Activities Club grow; as everyone became more familiar with camping and its implements, they were able to tailor their experiences to their liking. Over the second season, Nadeshiko, Aoi and Chiaki begin buying gear to fit their own style, rather than simply following Rin’s setup. This is a pleasant indicator that everyone’s learning their own style of doing things.

  • Mystery Camp is the first of the Yuru Camp△ 2 OVAs to be released, accompanying the second Blu Ray set which had become available back on May 26. I’d been rather looking forwards to the OVAs, and while my enthusiasm is shared by other fans of the series, I cannot say that I am surprised by the fact that there isn’t more discussion about the OVAs, since it’d just come out (at the time of writing, I think this is the only discussion around for the OVA). I’d originally planned on watching the OVA at a later time, but the realisation that I’d otherwise have a tad too many Cold War posts out in rapid succession led me to change things up.

  • This weekend, it was to thundering skies I’d waken up to, and with this first thunderstorm of the year, I also caught wind that there’d been a small tornado south of the city. The thunderstorms began in the morning, paused briefly during the afternoon and then returned in full force during the evening before ceasing again. I was fortunate that it was during the respite that my haircut had been scheduled: the skies relented long enough for me to finish, and after I returned home, it hailed and rained briefly. Today, while the skies were quite moody, but much of the day remained reasonably dry even though the clouds overhead gave every impression that a storm was going to happen.

  • We did get some rainfall towards the end of the day, and while the sun did appear briefly, it’s overcast again now. Back in Mystery Camp, the second of Aoi’s stories is the highlight; Nadeshiko is geared up for another solo camping trip, but upon reaching the campsite she’d made the reservation for, she’s shocked to find it to be quite unlike anywhere she and the others had previously camped at. Noxious fumes emanate from the site, a far cry from the pleasant mountain air that Nadeshiko had come to expect from camp sites she’d previously utilised.

  • It soon becomes clear that this camp is no ordinary camp: it is a barren field of concrete, pole-mounted CCTV cameras, electric fences and smokestacks. Up until now, Yuru Camp△ had always been about displaying the splendor of nature in all its glory, so to see something so industrial and unnatural was jarring, most unlike the aesthetic that Yuru Camp△ is known for. A drone greets Nadeshiko at the gates, and she reluctantly walks towards the central tower to check in.

  • A row of androids greet Nadeshiko once she arrives: the cold, monochrome environment is quite uninviting, and the absence of other humans creates a sense of unease. A major part of Nadeshiko’s enjoyment of her solo camping adventures came from being able to explore on her own and meet new people in the process, so to completely strip this away would be to take away the very thing that Nadeshiko most enjoys doing.

  • As soon as Nadeshiko’s checked in, she is relieved of her camping gear, given a drab garb and is assigned menial labour as part of camp activities. The look on Nadeshiko’s face is heartbreaking, and she assembles what appears to be an inexpensive plastic toy on the production lines. Because anime are often limited by how they convey emotions, certain cues are retained here – Nadeshiko’s eyebrows speak volumes to how disheartened she is with camp activities. Slice-of-life anime usually feature eyebrows in three distinct styles: ordinary round eyebrows for a neutral or happy expression, v-shaped eyebrows for anger, determination or surprise, and finally, reverse-v-shaped eyebrows for sadness, melancholy or mortification.

  • To emphasise things, Nadeshiko’s eyebrows can be seen through her cap, and of the people at camp, she’s the only person with her eyebrows visible. The moment the camera pulls back out and shows other individuals on the same production lines, it becomes clear that Nadeshiko’s checked into a labour camp. Such a topic is no joke, and it was therefore surprising that Yuru Camp△ opted to use this as one of Aoi’s stories. This can potentially be seen as being insensitive, although in good faith to the writers, I will suppose they’d intended to show the dramatic difference in what “camping” entails through Nadeshiko’s sorrow.

  • The moment that really hit hard was watching Nadeshiko down camp rations in an empty room whilst sitting on a folding chair – this is so far removed from the joyful meals she’s enjoyed while camping that one cannot help but feel an inclination to offer Nadeshiko a good nabe and perhaps a hug. One clever touch about this segment was that, as Nadeshiko’s day progresses, things become increasingly monochrome. The only detail that suggests to me this camp is more in line with Futurama‘s Spa 5 labour camp (and therefore, that Aoi’s story is meant to be taken lightly) was that when Nadeshiko is given a pile of solid fuel to burn for heat, she’s at least given a gas mask to keep her from succumbing to the fumes.

  • While burning these chemicals, Nadeshiko sadly notes that there’s no warmth in the fire. whatsoever. With the day over, a dejected Nadeshiko prepares to turn in, the colour fully stricken from her world. The aesthetics here brought to mind the likes of Girls’ Last Tour, an anime set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with engineering marvels whose purpose were lost to time. Such settings inevitably create a sense of melancholy, and while Yuru Camp△ might not deal in things like finding purpose in a world inherently lacking meaning or similar, there is no denying that when the moment calls for it, the series can create very compelling aesthetics that evoke certain emotions.

  • After spotting a cardboard box, Nadeshiko prepares to turn in for the night with naught more than the box as bedding, remarking it’s at least a little warm and wonders where she’d seen such a box before. This segment reminded me of Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma Tales, during which he remarked that his fellow gulag prisoners lived moment to moment and whose sole joy in the day was determined by if their soup was thick or not. If Yuru Camp△ ever creates a vignette similar to this again, there is no guarantee that I will be able to keep my composure: this was one of the saddest things I’ve seen in a while, and I think that I’ll need to remedy this by watching Nadeshiko experimenting with fire-roasted vegetables again, to convince myself this is only an OVA at the end of the day.

  • I’m always fond of such dinners, since they represent a nice change of pace, and because driving out to the Chinese restaurant is admittedly fun. Hot food on a cooler evening is especially welcome, and with things looking up locally, I am hoping that we’ll be able to return to restaurants, movie theatres and fitness facilities soon. Over dinner, the conversation topic turned to what we’d like to do once things reopen, and while dining out is high on the list, one activity that came up was a potential trip out to the province over: we have our own hot springs here at home, and a year ago, I’d set up an itinerary for such a potential trip before the health crisis put those plans on hold.

  • Excited at the prospect of marshmallows, Nadeshiko wonders if s’mores could be made into other things like a spread for toast, tarts or even in ice pops. Because s’mores are just graham cracker, melted marshmallow and chocolate, their colour and flavour can be easily replicated and previously, anything with these combination of ingredients are marketed as having the same great taste of s’mores, only without the need for a campfire. I imagine that basic s’mores could hypothetically be used as a spread on toast, and that would result in a relatively tasty and easy treat to whip up.

  • Similarly, if one were to go for the pre-made route, smokes could be made into tarts, too, with the crust standing in for the graham crackers. However, I imagine s’more ice cream popsicle would be a little trickier to make, and one wonders if this is something worthy of Binging with Babish. Of course, if Binging with Babish were to do foods from Yuru Camp△, the ajillo from the Izu trip would probably be more interesting to make. Back in Mystery Camp, Rin finally remarks that things are ready to eat and hands one over to Nadeshiko, who is brimming with joy about this camping confectionary.

  • However, Nadeshiok quickly realises that what she’s eating most certainly isn’t a s’more: it’s a King Trumpet Mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii). This reminds me of a classic stunt I’d love to pull off one day using 番薯糖水 (jyutping faan1 syu2 tong4 seoi2): a sweet yam soup. The family recipe calls for Dioscorea alata, or the purple yam, a bit of ginger and rock sugar. The resulting product is sweet and delicious, but when purple yams are used, the soup itself resembles grape juice. The prank would then entail setting aside some of the soup after straining it and the making an attempt to convince people it’s grape juice.

  • Because purple yams don’t have a grape-like taste, the shock people would have when eating it would be hilarious. I approve of low-level pranks such as these because no one gets hurt, and Aoi’s stories very much fall into this category: while Nadeshiko might be quite gullible and falls for Aoi’s lies regularly, I don’t believe that Aoi ever means for her jokes to have a malicious outcome. Instead, her enjoyment of jokes and lies seem to derive from the moment of dawning comprehension that such jokes can create.

  • It should be to no one’s surprise that Aoi’s been lying through her teeth for the whole of Mystery Camp: in fact, the level of trolling here inexplicably brings to mind Higurashi GOU‘s Eua for reasons even I can’t begin putting into writing. However, it’s impossible to feel shafted, since Aoi’s elaborate lies are always so adorably crafted. The way she rolls the ですか at the end is hilarious, and with this, the first of the OVAs for Yuru Camp△ 2 draws to a close.

Altogether, despite a short runtime of only four minutes and forty-five seconds, the first of the Yuru Camp△ 2 OVAs represents an amusing addition to the series. I am aware that in general, reception to Yuru Camp△‘s OVAs have generally been nowhere near as positive as they are for the anime proper, and this is because most of the effort in the series have indeed gone towards ensuring that the episodes themselves are of a very high standard. By comparison, the OVAs can feel more slipshod, being more of an afterthought rather than an integral part of the experience: we’ve seen Yuru Camp△ at its best during the TV series, and the OVAs are instead, a chance to place familiar characters in scenarios that would otherwise not fit with the series itself, with the aim of eliciting a few laughs. Having said this, the OVAs aren’t always about humour: the first OVA had shown how Chiaki and Aoi founded the Outdoor Activities Club with the aim of sharing their love for camping with others, and more recently, Heya Camp△‘s OVA had Rin head up to Hokuto on a loaner three-wheeled moped. With the upcoming OVA being titled Travelling Shimarin, I imagine that there will be a greater focus on Rin and her explorations to some capacity; while it may not necessarily be a straight exploration episode as Heya Camp△‘s OVA was, it could be fun to see more comedy come into a (non-canon) version of Rin’s solo travels, as well. The second OVA is still a ways off, releasing in July 28, so for the time being, I’ll return my attention to the Yuru Camp△‘s live-action drama, which, despite having fallen behind in, is something I’m still enjoying immensely.

Yuru Camp△ 2 Live Action Adaptation: Review and Reflections on the Opening Special

“Celebrate endings, for they precede new beginnings.” –Jonathan Lockwood Huie

While the conclusion of Yuru Camp△ 2 doubtlessly left viewers with a bit of melancholy once it ended, the live action drama has thankfully filled in the void, revisiting the events of Yuru Camp△ 2 in the live-action setting. The second season for Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action drama was announced in November 2020, and began airing back in April. Before the drama’s new season began airing, however, a special episode was released. This episode summarises events from the first season and portrays Rin’s solo camping adventures in Omaezaki and the coastal regions of Shizuoka, as well as Nadeshiko’s part-time job at the local post office and the Outdoor Activities Club’s New Year sunrise misadventures together. Yuru Camp△‘s drama had been well-received amongst both Japanese and foreign viewers: this series captures the spirit of the anime and brings it to life in a different medium, and speaking to how well both the manga and anime were made, the transition into the real world does not impede Yuru Camp△ in any way. The characters are faithful to their original counterparts in personality and appearance, the real-world settings look even more stunning, and the food is more enticing than what was seen in the anime. The positive reception to Yuru Camp△‘s live action drama is therefore unsurprising, and with the first season as the precedent, it became clear that the drama would be of a similar quality and aesthetic. The announcement of a special episode initially proved unexpected, and early in the live action drama of Yuru Camp△ 2‘s second season, I skipped over this special. I assumed it would be a recap of the first season and so, my journey started when the series proper began airing on Prime. I was therefore surprised to see Rin already in Hamamatsu waiting for Nadeshiko to show up. Evidently, I jumped the gun, and hastened to back up a little, starting the journey properly as Rin embarks on her last solo camping trip of the year while the Outdoor Activities Club have their own fun in trying to catch a pair of New Year sunrises.

Having already covered the themes, symbolism and motifs of Yuru Camp△ 2 ad nauseam in my episodic posts for the anime, there prima facie seems to be little incentive to go back and write about the live action drama again, especially given that the drama follows the anime and manga’s events very closely. However, the different formats mean that the aesthetics between Yuru Camp△ 2‘s anime and live action drama become apparent, altering the look-and-feel of every different scene. Yuru Camp△ 2‘s anime had crafted an infinitely peaceful and relaxing setting, using a gentle colour palette and reduced saturation to ease viewers into every moment, whether it be Rin’s introspective solo camping moments or the rowdy adventures that follow Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena. In the live action, colours and scenes are sharper, accentuating the mood of each scene. Rin’s calm experiences are ever more relaxing, while the Outdoor Activities Club’s travels become more rambunctious: together with the fact that the drama is presenting the actual scenery and food everyone enjoys, it creates an unparalleled sense of immersion. If the anime had been about conveying a sense of tranquility and a reminder to appreciate the smaller moments, the drama demonstrates to viewers that what Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena experience is very much a reality, awaiting the viewer’s decision to go and give things a go for themselves. The dramatically different aesthetic in the drama do not degrade themes and messages from the original anime or manga, and as such, for being able to show viewers what things might really look like were one to follow in Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s footsteps while simultaneously being respectful to the original, the Yuru Camp△ drama was very well received amongst viewers. Season two looks no different, and the beginning of a familiar journey from a fresh perspective is off to a solid start.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • A few days ago, a reader commented on Haruka Fukuhara’s excellent portrayal of Rin: Fukuhara does indeed capture Rin’s personality very well, right down to the facial expressions and mannerisms that Nao Tōyama brings to the table when voicing Rin. Altogether, I was very impressed with how closely Yuru Camp△‘s drama characters resembled their anime counterparts: minus the hair colours, and the fact that Nadeshiko usually wears hair in twin-tails, the character designs in the drama are solid.

  • The second season had been prefaced by a 40-minute special that covers moments from the second half of the second season’s first episode before segueing into events from the second episode. Here, Ena and Nadeshiko sit down to lunch together between their shifts at the Minobu Post Office. When Yuru Camp△ 2 aired, I immediately set about trying to locate Minobu Post Office for my location hunts. The Yuru Camp△ drama uses real-life locations precisely as they are, and where the anime and manga could fake locations, the drama must instead find a suitable counterpart.

  • I’d felt bad for Chiaki when she was faced with a heavy work schedule while her friends got some time to themselves, and in the live action, this feeling was amplified thanks to Momoko Tanabe’s spot-on acting. Chiaki lacks the fluffy and warm air that Rin and Nadeshiko convey, and instead, acts as the excitable, energetic club president similarly to Ritsu had been the club president in K-On!. Archetypes in anime are unavoidable, but I’ve never really held it against a series if their respective equivalents for Yui, Mio, Ritsu, Tsumugi and Azusa were obvious: character traits aren’t the sole determinant of whether or not a slice-of-life anime will succeed.

  • While Rin had intended to visit Izu, the prospect of New Year’s crowds leads her to stand down. Her mother suggests Omaezaki and Iwata in lieu of Izu: besides safer driving, Rin’s mother is also hoping that Rin might be able to swing by a special tea shop in the mountains just south of Kakegawa. With her destinations locked in, Rin prepares to head from home out to Shizuoka, a lengthy 126-kilometre long drive. The site of Rin’s house in the live-action drama was posted to Google Maps about a year ago by some enthusiastic fans of the series, although out of respect for the residents, I submitted a report about the inappropriate listing shortly after finding out.

  • Google only got around to processing my report a few weeks earlier, and the location of Rin’s house in the drama has now been stricken from Google Maps. I get that the Japanese fans who created the listing will probably be a trifle disappointed, but especially with current circumstance, hassling a private residence isn’t the best idea at this moment. Back in Yuru Camp△, Fukuhara’s joyous expression is breathtaking, even if it only happens within her mind’s eye: Yuru Camp△ 2 had Rin imagine expressing pure joy at seeing the ocean, but in the anime, Rin’s expression is a little more ambiguous. In the live action, subtle cues like the shape of Fukuhara’s eyes helps one to more readily ascertain that the ocean is positively making Rin happy.

  • Rin was shown as arriving in Cape Omaezaki to check out the lighthouse by mid-morning in the anime, but the lighting in the drama suggests that the scene was filmed early morning. I wonder when the principal photography for the second season was shot: while most of the scenes involve Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club, there are some scenes that feature crowds (most notably, when Rin is buying strawberry daifuku in Kanzanji and later, when Nadeshiko visits an okonomiyaki place in Fujinomiya).

  • Both the anime and drama has Rin swing by Kimikura Teahouse to pick up some tea for her mother. In my post for the anime and location hunt posts, I wasn’t able to actually go inside the teahouse for comparison. The live action drama allows me to remedy this, and it becomes clear that the anime did indeed take the pain of replicating Kimikura’s interior and uniforms accurately. Here, a member of the staff greets Rin, and she recognises Rin from a few months earlier, when they’d met at Yashajin Pass.

  • Like Rin, I’m a complete novice to Japanese tea: she ultimately ends up asking the clerk for a recommendation. On my end, I am better versed in Chinese and other teas: my favourite tea is probably Tieguanyin, an oolong tea that Cantonese restaurants commonly serve. It’s got a mild but distinct flavour that makes it particularly quenching (great for when eating at Guangdong restaurants whose fares are often explosively flavourful). By comparison, my family in Hong Kong prefers Pu’er tea, which has a much stronger taste. Typically, I prefer a good cup of Moroccan mint tea or ginger tea when Chinese teas are not available.

  • Whereas Rin only learns about her mother giving her an additional 1000 Yen to enjoy the café at Kimikura after having made her initial purchase in the anime, here in the drama, Rin finds out as soon as she phones home to inquire about the tea. Instead, Rin struggles to decide whether or not she should live in the moment or put the extra money towards her camping fee. In the end, Rin caves and ends up ordering the tea set. I imagine this was meant to also incorporate the moment in Yuru Camp△ 2‘s anime, where Rin ultimately gives in to temptation and orders a pizza slice from the food truck at Ryuyokaiyo Koen Campground.

  • After Kimikura, Rin heads for Mitsuke Tenjin Shrine in the hopes of meeting Shippeitaro III, a fox-like dog who defeats monkey spirits per Japanese færie tales. Upon arriving, she decides to make this her New Year’s Visit, as well, and prays for another peaceful year. Unfortunately, it turns out that Shippeitaro III had already passed on, and in a moment of contemplation, Rin phones Ena and asks about how Chikuwa is doing. One aspect of Yuru Camp△ that I never noticed during the first season was the fact that Chikuwa is a long-haired Chihuahua – his breed is not explicitly mentioned early on. However, there were hints that Chikuwa is a Chihuahua; he dislikes the cold and loves to burrow in blankets.

  • The founder of the company I’d previously worked for has a long-haired Chihuahua, and back before the pandemic hit, we’d spend a half hour of our day talking her out on a walk with the entire team: our office building had been dog friendly, and having a long-haired Chihuahua around every day was such a morale booster. If I were running into challenges with auto-layout or the Stripe SDK, I could always take a five minute breather, cuddle with the Chihuahua and then return to my desk fully refreshed. This Chihuahua was a mixed-breed and therefore larger than a purebred Chihuahua, but was still a small dog by all definitions. In spite of this, she was always energetic and loved getting petted, occasionally approaching my and my coworkers’ desks and pawing our chairs for pats.

  • Throughout Yuru Camp△, it is shown that dogs have a considerable presence, and despite not having a dog herself, Rin is very much a dog person (the drama shows her as having a shiba inu sticker on her phone case). Rin goes out of her way to pet the dogs she runs into and visit shrines with a dog deity, Nadeshiko waves to dogs on her way to school, and Aoi comments on how Nadeshiko’s enthusiasm is puppy-like.

  • While finding Ryuyokaiyo Koen Campground proved to be a straightforward task, Google Street View doesn’t have coverage down here, and so, during my location hunt, I wasn’t able to simply walk up to the campground and obtain images for the post through Street View alone. Having said this, the drama again demonstrates the original manga and anime’s faithfulness to reality. Everything from terminology to procedure and prices are properly captured – it is unsurprising that interest in camping has increased since Yuru Camp△ aired: with the series’ detailed instructions in camping and the availability of information on the internet, interested parties can purchase the basic gear and look up how to get set up, beginning their own adventure, without too much hassle.

  • Rin swiftly sets up camp and turns her attention to preparing her New Year’s Eve meal; here in the drama, she doesn’t take a brief walk around the campground and take in its sights with the same enthusiasm as the anime presents. Instead, she immediately begins setting up her campfire and evening meal. Previously, I’d commented on how the mannerisms seen in the anime did not necessarily translate so elegantly into real life, where exaggerated actions would feel out of place in a drama and perhaps be more appropriate for a stage play. It’s a bit early to tell, but with this special kicking off the second season, it does seem like the drama has decided to dial some things back a smidgen to make things fit with real life a little better.

  • Rin ends up striking a pose with her blade before beginning the process of creating a feather stick in a drama, as a clever callback to the first season. Shortly after Yuru Camp△‘s drama began airing last year, YouTubers immediately created videos comparing and contrasting the live-action series with the anime, and reception to the series was very positive on the whole. Were I to do video reviews, I would probably be inclined to do things like a Survivorman: Director’s Commentary, with me as an inset, and the events I’m talking about on the larger video. However, as a blog post, I’ll keep to my current format, which has worked rather well for me: the Survivorman: Director’s Commentary series from last year is what inspired me to take this approach for writing about the Yuru Camp△ live action series.

  • Rin’s New Year’s Eve meal looks even more delicious in real life: this simple soba recipe calls for nameko mushrooms, scallions, seaweed, a slice of fried fish and egg, topped with a sprig of shichimi pepper, which is a blend of seven spices that has a citrusy, nutty flavour accompanying the heat that chili peppers bring. Rin enjoys her meal immensely, wrapping up what was an exciting year in style. Yuru Camp△ excels in showing how even something like a bowl of soba can be livened up, and putting in the effort to prepare the food makes it all the more enjoyable. It therefore goes without saying that morale and good food go hand-in-hand: occasionally treating oneself with foods that aren’t commonly eaten is a fantastic way of breaking up the routine, and surprises can sometimes be quite nice.

  • This past weekend, we figured it would be nice to pick up some southern fried chicken for dinner, but since our usual place didn’t have any white meat, we ended up with all dark meat quarter chicken pieces. This wasn’t any sort of impediment: dark meat is tastier, and their gravy was as good as we remember. Today, we used the last of the chicken burgers with a side of yam fries for our afternoon meal and I’ll note here that, having had homemade burgers for the better part of a year, I’ve become a little spoiled by how fresh the ingredients are compared to conventional burgers. Yuru Camp△‘s emphasis on homemade food is therefore not without merit – the girls often shop for ingredients right before heading to their campsite, and even Rin, who usually prepares parts of her meal ahead of time so things can be put together easily at the campsite, uses fresh ingredients. The level of effort that went into preparing the food for Yuru Camp△‘s drama is respectable and shows how this effort contributes greatly to food enjoyment.

  • The surest sign that Rin’s accepted Nadeshiko as a friend occurs when the two are exchanging messages: Rin smiles as she considers how typically, she’d stop camping after January, but having met Nadeshiko and her boundless energy, Rin supposes that the new year is going to be action-packed. This moment set Yuru Camp△ 2 down a path towards the message it wished to convey: the first season had been about open-mindedness, and the second season was about how the act of saying “thank you” can manifest in different ways to really let people know what they feel about the memories they share together.

  • While Nadeshiko’s got work the next morning, Chiaki and Aoi meet with Minami in order to go check out the New Year’s sunrise ahead of Aoi taking off for Takayama. She drives a first-generation Suzuki Hustler, an SUV-crossover classified as an ultra-mini. Japan has a large market for these compact vehicles (ultra-minis command a third of the market share in Japan) owing to their dimensions and affordability, but these vehicles are much less successful overseas: North Americans are fond of larger cars for offering more leg room and more powerful engines, so these smaller vehicles are less popular, feeling comparatively cramped and under-powered for long road trips. Of course, for shorter drives of less than two hours, smaller vehicles are perfectly comfortable.

  • Observant readers familiar with my previous Yuru Camp△ drama post will have noticed that I’ve continued with the picture-in-picture this time around. Despite being a time-consuming process, it was very entertaining to compare and contrast equivalent moments between the anime and drama, allowing me to really highlight similarities and differences between the two. It becomes clear that the drama cannot always capture the moments in areas where the anime excels, such as when Akari jams a snowball up Chiaki’s shirt, although I will remark that Momoko Tanabe does an exceptional job of capturing Chiaki’s character: Chiaki is the most expressive and dramatic of anyone in Yuru Camp△, and I can’t imagine that this was an easy role.

  • While Aoi is played by Yumena Yanai, Akari is played by Aina Nishizawa. I was impressed how the producers cast someone who had looked similar enough to Yanai for the role; Yuru Camp△ has shown that Aoi and Akari are similar in appearance save their eye colours (Aoi’s eyes are green, and Akari’s are blue), to the point where Chiaki calls her chibi-Inuko. Yuru Camp△ doesn’t give Akari’s age, but her mannerisms are consistent with someone who’s eight or nine. Conversely, in the drama, Akari looks around ten or eleven: her actress is, after all, twelve. Mischievous and fond of pranks as Aoi is, Akari’s presence was greatly expanded in Yuru Camp△ 2.

  • Originally, I hadn’t been planning on writing about the second Yuru Camp△ live action drama this early, but after I found myself ahead of schedule with my other posts, I figured that I might as well get the party started now while I’ve got the time, afforded by a long weekend. While the weather on Saturday had been pleasant, yesterday and today had been cold and rainy, perfect for staying in and taking it easy. As soon as this post is done, I’ll turn my attention to finalising the set of screenshots for my final Modern Warfare 2: Remastered post, as gear up for a Terrible Anime Challenge talk on last year’s Kanojo, Okarishimasu, which I’ve got some thoughts about, and kick off Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War: news of Higurashi: Sotsu has reached my ears, and that means I need to write about Higurashi: Gou, as well as the unusual connection that I’ve found Higurashi and Black Ops to share.

  • The yomogi that Aoi, Akari and Chiaki buy at the summit of Mount Minobu look even tastier than they did in the anime. The way the yomogi are grilled here reminds me of shioyaki, the practise of skewering a fish and then grilled over charcoals via indirect heat: hitting the fish with an open flame would cause the juices to evaporate, resulting in a very dry final product, and the same holds true of yomogi, where keeping them around a bed of charcoals on skewers would render them pleasantly warm, making them perfect for a chilly New Year’s morning.

  • While doing her morning rounds, Nadeshiko receives messages from Rin and Chiaki, sharing their sunrises. While she might not be there to see them for herself, it warms Nadeshiko’s heart that she’s still connected to her friends and their adventures. In this opening episode, Nadeshiko doesn’t have too much screen time: she’s played by Yuno Ohara, who captures Nadeshiko’s spirited personality very well.

  • The advantage about real life is that one can capture stunning shots with a drone: anime require highly-skilled animators to capture the same effect, and in Yuru Camp△ 2, the sunrise at Fukude Beach was presented by panning across a wide-angle shot of the scene at ground level. The drama, on the other hand, has the camera flying over the beach towards the ocean. While traditional gear is doubtlessly used in Yuru Camp△‘s filming, I imagine that drones are also used: even mid-range models can equip solid cameras now, allowing for shots that would otherwise require a helicopter to be obtained.

  • I would be quite curious to watch the behind-the-scenes for Yuru Camp△ 2‘s drama to see how things are shot and set up. It feels like that principal photography and edits would require a majority of the time for producing Yuru Camp△, since the series doesn’t require anything like special effects or elaborate costumes on account of its setting. I imagine that anything shot at the old Motosu High School would’ve required props to be assembled and the presence of extras to give the site a more realistic feeling, but beyond this, Yuru Camp△ doesn’t look like it’d require a massive budget to film, certainly not anything approaching what WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier needed.

  • After taking in the Mount Minobu sunrise, Chiaki offers the suggestion that it might be possible to get a second New Year’s sunrise out of the day: because of Mount Fuji’s elevation, the sun doesn’t rise up above the summit for a few minutes. Photographs do indicate that being able to see a Diamond Fuji would be breathtaking, although a quick glance at the topology and road maps of the area suggest that making the drive from Mount Minobu to a suitable observation point could be quite tricky.

  • Whereas Aoi and Akari are content to give Chiaki a dirty look for having gotten the Diamond Fuji time incorrect here in the drama, in the anime, they proceeded to immediately hammer Chiaki with snowballs, and I found Akari’s use of a bowling-ball sized snowball hilarious. Since there’s only a dusting of snow on the ground here, it would’ve felt out of place to have Aoi and Akari suddenly conjure snowballs out of nowhere. I’ve never really been a stickler for 1:1 faithfulness, and always will assess adaptations based on how well they work on their own, so minor details like these aren’t a concern for me.

  • After seeing the first sunrise of the year, Rin settles down for the morning and prepares to head home. Rin’s rush for kohaku manjū and subsequent enjoyment of a pizza slice is noticeably absent in the Yuru Camp△ drama: should the drama take a route that allows the characters to act a little more naturally, I’d be completely okay with this. In the first season, everyone behaved similarly to their anime counterparts, and while this worked in the anime, in real life, it feels a little more exaggerated. Dialing back a handful of these moments would work to Yuru Camp△ 2‘s favour.

  • Rin is shocked to learn that a snowfall in the Minobu Valley is preventing her from returning home, and the funds she had, originally intended to last two days, will now need to be extended somewhat. With the special done, I’ll return to look at the adventures covered at the series’ halfway point at some point in the future. The drama is every bit as enjoyable as the anime and offers a different perspective on familiar events, making it a worthwhile experience for me.

Entering Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action drama, my only expectations for the series will be that it continues to portray camping eats as it did in the first season: Yuru Camp△ 2 gets everything right, but there are limitations to how effectively anime can render food. The contrast in colours and textures on well-crafted dish in real life are unparalleled, and this was where the live action adaptation stood out from the anime. Because Yuru Camp△ 2 had an emphasis on food, to an even greater extent than its predecessor, it would be most enjoyable (and perhaps hunger-inducing) to see all of these foods in the real world. Beyond the food, I am very much looking forwards to seeing how Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action drama brings the events of the second season to life: the first drama had done a phenomenal job in mirroring the camping excursions at Lake Motosu, Koan, Lake Shibire and Fuefuki, to name a few, so I am definitely excited to see new locations (especially the geospots at Izu) brought to life. Finally, while Yuru Camp△‘s drama is typically faithful in reproducing the order of events from the anime and manga, the series has also previously made minor adjustments to fit things a little better, so I am interested to see how any changes to things like locations will be helpful for folks who wish to visit these same places in the future. At present, I do have plans to write about Yuru Camp△ 2‘s live action drama once I’ve hit the halfway point, as well as after the finale airs: while I’ve already covered everything from a thematic point of view, there’s a unique charm about the drama, and I’m certain that there will be enough things to say about it as to warrant a few extra posts.

Yuru Camp△ 2 Original Soundtrack Tracklist, Post-Release Review and Reflection

“In a cool solitude of trees, where leaves and birds a music spin, mind that was weary is at ease, new rhythms in the soul begin.” –William Kean Seymour

Typically, the tracklists for soundtracks come out a ways before the soundtrack itself is released, but with Yuru Camp△ 2‘s original soundtrack, things turned out quite differently: this is why I was not able to do my customary translation of the soundtrack’s tracklist back in March. On the flipside, having the soundtrack in hand means being able to actually speak about the music in Yuru Camp△ 2 with a hiterto unmatched level of clarity and explore what the music does so well. Before I delve into things, there are some housekeeping details to go over: the soundtrack is composed by Akiyuki Tateyama, consists of fifty-six tracks spanning two disks and retails for 3520 Yen (40.41 CAD at the time of writing). This time around, the publisher is MAGES. Inc. While Yuru Camp△ 2‘s soundtrack made extensive use of the Celtic instruments, Yuru Camp△ 2 features a significant South American complement, including the Quena (Andes flute), Zampoña (Andes panpipe), and Charango (Bolivian lute). These instruments create a wild sound that speaks more to the beauty of nature itself, evoking images of soaring mountains and wide open plains, whereas the warm, cheerful demeanour of Celtic instruments convey a blending of man and nature, of enjoying the great outdoors. The different instruments chosen for Yuru Camp△ 2 is a deliberate choice meant to accentuate the idea that the second season explores new themes and directions compared to those of its predecessor, and the end result is not too surprising: Yuru Camp△ 2 completely succeeds in conveying a different atmosphere and aesthetic through both its soundtrack and its choice of locations.

  • Contrasting the first season’s soundtrack cover, which had Rin and Nadeshiko looking onwards to signify the pair’s interest in exploring the future, Yuru Camp△ 2‘s cover art has Rin and Nadeshiko looking at one another: this is hardly surprising, since the second season is all about gratitude and saying “thank you”. This cover art is, incidentally, a walking spoiler, portraying the pair’s conversations together at the series’ end: Nadeshiko had grown worried about Rin not replying to her and asked Sakura to drive her out. It’s a very touching moment, and shows beyond any question that Rin and Nadeshiko, seemingly polar opposites at Yuru Camp△‘s beginning, have fully warmed up to one another now.

For the most part, translation of Yuru Camp△ 2‘s tracklist was a straightforward task. However, no tracklist translation post would be complete without at least a few songs that proved a little difficult to properly convey in English. This time around, two gave me a but more challenge than usual to properly translate. [1] Track eight on disk two, なでしこは電波通じないだけ, translates literally to “Nadeshiko just isn’t communicating via radio signal”, a consequence of 電波 (Hepburn denpa, “radio waves”) being used to indicate cell signal. This sounds awkward in English, so I’ve converted the meaning to “Nadeshiko has no cell signal”, which is what the phrase is intended to convey. [2] The other song is disk two’s sixteenth track: I’ve elected to translate 大ハシャギ ROUTE 136 as Joyful Route 136. ハシャギ is 燥ぎ (Hepburn hagashi) rendered as Katakana, and it’s a verb meaning to make merriment or be in high spirits. Because this song conveys the thrill of adventure and of getting there, I feel that “joyful” is probably how I’d characterise it. Finally, I’m purely going off inference here: ずいずいずいずいずい is rendered as Zui zui zui zui zui in Hepburn, which isn’t something I can easily look up. However, the use of instrumentation and the song’s context in Yuru Camp△ 2 suggests that it’s the motif for the Izu Peninsula, and since Rin repeats “Izu” in anticipation of her trip here, “Izu Izu Izu Izu” seems to make the most sense. Honourable mentions for tracks that gave me trouble include track nine on disk two, しょーもないおしゃべり, which I’ve decided to translate as “Silly Talk” (しょーもない, Hepburn shōmonai, is used to indicate something that’s a non-sequitur, nonsensical), and おしゃべり (Hepburn oshaberi) means “chatter”. The song’s whimsical presentation justifies my choice of words in translation.

Tracklist

Disk One

  1. ゆるキャン△ SEASON2のテーマ (Yuru Kyan△ Shīzun 2 no Tēma, Yuru Camp△ SEASON 2 Theme)
  2. オリジナルドラマ その1 (Orijinaru dorama sono 1, Original Drama Part 1)
  3. Seize The Day (TV SIZE)
  4. オリジナルドラマ その2 (Orijinaru dorama sono 2, Original Drama Part 2)
  5. 初めての本栖湖~はじまりはここから~ (Hajimete no motosuko ~Hajimari wa koko kara~, First time at Lake Motosu ~The Beginning Starts Here~)
  6. 初めての本栖湖~出来たかな?キャンプ飯~ (Hajimete no motosuko ~Dekita ka na? Kyanpu meshi~, First time at Lake Motosu ~Is it done? Camping rice~)
  7. 初めての本栖湖~夕暮れの富士山~ (Hajimete no motosuko ~Yūgure no Fujisan~, First time at Lake Motosu ~Mount Fuji by Twilight~)
  8. 次のキャンプはどうしよっか? (Tsugi no kyanpu wa dō shi yokka?, What about our next camping trip?)
  9. ソロキャンの嗜み (Sorokyan no tashinami, A Taste of Solo Camping)
  10. オリジナルドラマ その3 (Orijinaru dorama sono 3, Original Drama Part 3)
  11. それぞれの大晦日 (Sorezore no ōmisoka, Everyone’s New Year’s Eve)
  12. キャンプ講座の時間です (Kyanpu kōza no jikandesu, It’s time for a camping course)
  13. 浜名湖のテーマ~ゆりかもめに囲まれて~ (Hamanako no tēma ~Yuri kamome ni kakoma rete~, Lake Hamana Theme ~Surrounded by Pewter~)
  14. 浜名湖のテーマ~特上ウナギは誘惑する~ (Hamanako no tēma ~Tokujō unagi wa yūwaku suru~, Lake Hamana Theme ~Allure of top-grade eel~)
  15. 浜名湖のテーマ~古びた展望台~ (Hamanako no tēma ~Furubita tenbō-dai~, Lake Hamana Theme ~Ancient Observation Deck~)
  16. 浜名湖のテーマ~さみしいもたのしい~ (Hamanako no tēma ~Samishī mo tanoshī~, Lake Hamana Theme ~Lonely but fun~)
  17. なでしこ (Nadeshiko)
  18. お姉ちゃんいつもありがとう (Onēchan itsumo arigatō, Thank you for all that you do, big sister)
  19. のんびりキャンプ (Nonbirikyanpu, Relaxing Camp)
  20. オリジナルドラマ その4 (Orijinaru dorama sono 4, Original Drama Part 4)
  21. 山中湖のテーマ~バス旅も良いもんだろ?~ (Yamanakako no tēma ~Basu tabi mo yoi mondaro?~, Lake Yamanaka Theme ~A journey by bus is also good?~)
  22. 山中湖のテーマ~到着、クジラの湖~ (Yamanakako no tēma ~Tōchaku, kujira no mizūmi~, Lake Yamanaka Theme ~We’ve arrived at the whale-shaped lake~)
  23. 山中湖のテーマ~-2℃、ヤバいかも~ (Yamanakako no tēma ~-2℃, Yabaikamo~, Lake Yamanaka Theme ~-2℃ could be dangerous~)
  24. 山中湖のテーマ~薪ストーブを囲んで~ (Yamanakako no tēma ~Maki sutōbu o kakonde~, Lake Yamanaka Theme ~Sitting around the wood stove~)
  25. 山中湖のテーマ~湖畔の朝焼け~ (Yamanakako no tēma ~Kohan no asayake~, Lake Yamanaka Theme ~Lakeside Sunrise~)
  26. なでしこの思い (Nadeshiko no omoi, Nadeshiko’s thoughts)
  27. U・SO・YA・DE (It’s・A・Lie)
  28. 次回予告 (Jikai yokoku, Preview for next episode)

Disk Two

  1. この場所で。(Kono basho de., At This Place.)
  2. オリジナルドラマ その5 (Orijinaru dorama sono 5, Original Drama Part 5)
  3. やっぱグループキャンプ! (Yappa gurūpukyanpu!, It’s group camping after all!)
  4. 野田山公園のテーマ~初めてのソロキャン~ (Nodayama kōen no tēma ~Hajimete no sorokyan~, Nodayama Park Theme ~First time solo camping~)
  5. 野田山公園のテーマ~キャンプ料理は楽し~ (Nodayama kōen no tēma ~Kyanpu ryōri wa tanoshi~, Nodayama Park Theme ~Camping cooking is fun~)
  6. 野田山公園のテーマ~夜景に馳せた思い~ (Nodayama kōen no tēma ~Yakei ni haseta omoi~, Nodayama Park Theme ~Thoughts on the night scenery~)
  7. ふしぎの湖 (Fushigi no Mizūmi, Mysterious Lake)
  8. なでしこは電波通じないだけ (Nadeshiko wa denpa tsūjinai dake, Nadeshiko has no cell signal) [1]
  9. しょーもないおしゃべり (Shōmonai oshaberi, Silly Talk)
  10. オリジナルドラマ その6 (Orijinaru dorama sono 6, Original Drama Part 6)
  11. おじいちゃんはバイク乗り (Ojīchan wa baiku-nori, Grandpa rides a motorcycle)
  12. おじいちゃんとの団欒 (Ojīchan to no danran, Together with Grandpa)
  13. おじいちゃん、また走ろうね (Ojīchan, mata hashirou ne, Let’s ride together again, Grandpa)
  14. オリジナルドラマ その7 (Orijinaru dorama sono 7, Original Drama Part 7)
  15. ようこそジオパークへ (Yōkoso jiopāku e, Welcome to Geopark)
  16. 大ハシャギ ROUTE 136 (Dai hashagi ROUTE 136, Joyful Route 136) [2]
  17. 歴史ある半島 (Rekishi aru hantō, Historical Peninsula)
  18. 海! 山! 岬! 洞窟! (Umi! Yama! Misaki! Dōkutsu!, Sea! Mountain! Cape! Cave!)
  19. 半島の風に吹かれて (Hantō no kazenifukarete, Blown away by the peninsula’s wind gusts)
  20. 魅惑のペニンシュラ (Miwaku no peninshura, Enchanted Peninsula)
  21. 火山の作りし大地 (Kazan no tsukurishi daichi, Land created by the volcano)
  22. 温泉天国ジオパーク (Onsen tengoku jiopāku, Hot spring heaven Geopark)
  23. ずいずいずいずいずい (Izu Izu Izu Izu)
  24. 星空のチャランゴ (Hoshizora no charango, Starry Sky Charango)
  25. オリジナルドラマ その8 (Orijinaru dorama sono 8, Original Drama Part 8)
  26. また行こう、キャンプ! (Mata ikou, kyanpu!, Let’s go camping again!)
  27. はるのとなり (TV SIZE) (Haru no tonari, Next to Spring)
  28. しまリンだんごアイス (Shima rinda n go aisu, Shimarin Dango Ice Cream)

  • When I first did my soundtrack post for Yuru Camp△‘s soundtrack, it was just a shade over three years and a month ago. I like to think that since then, a combination of increasing familiarity and better tools means that translating soundtrack names has become easier than before. I’ve further noticed that the folks at Video Game Music Database (VGMdb) have used my translations for their Yuru Camp△ soundtrack entry: I know this because there are nuances and choices that I made for my translation that were taken verbatim from mine, and here, I note that I am completely okay with this. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if they were to use my translations for the second season’s soundtrack, as well: I don’t mind whether or not they cite me, but it is nice to know that my work helped to make someone’s day a little easier.

Altogether, the Yuru Camp△ 2 is a marvel of musical composition and sound engineering: on a soundtrack packed with amazing pieces of incidental music, a few particularly stand out. 初めての本栖湖~夕暮れの富士山~ captures the magic moment that captivates Rin to solo camp: as she gazes upon Mount Fuji by evening for the first time that night, a familiar motif swells into the song to remind viewers that this is where everything began for Rin. Rin and Nadeshiko’s journey to Lake Hanama is accompanied by 浜名湖のテ一マ~ゆりかもめに囲まれて~, an adventurous piece signifying a new direction. ソ口キャンの嗜み brings a smile to my face every time when I hear it: its use of the lute parallels the solo camping style Rin is so fond of. The lute dominates the song, but the instrumental accompaniment shows that solo or not, Rin is never really alone in her travels. With a combination of accelerando and rallentando to respectively speed up and slow down the motifs, this one song also shows the different paces in solo camping, living up to its name and together with a gentle bit of jazz, adds a very relaxing backdrop to a song that acting as an aural representation of all sides of Rin’s solo experiences. The songs that are played at the Izu Peninsula, are the second disk’s highlights. 歴史ある半島 creates a very languid and gentle tone for the slowest and most laid-back of the experiences, while 大ハシャギROUTE136, 海!山!岬!洞窟!, 半島の風に吹かれて make full use of the Southern American instruments to capture the spirit and energy of the great outdoors. I believe that the choice to use instruments from the Andes was done to deliberately remind viewers that the aesthetics of Izu Peninsula differ dramatically from those of Yamanashi and Nagano. The song I lost composure and cried to during the eighth episode was the second half of 野田山公園のテ一マ~夜景に馳せた思い~, which plays when Sakura shares Nadeshiko’s latest message with Rin. Finally, the inset song that plays midway through the seventh episode is Eri Sasaki’s この場所で。: this song is included as the first track on disk two. It goes without saying that I enjoyed the Yuru Camp△ 2 soundtrack immensely: Akiyuki Tateyama has exceeded all expectations with this soundtrack, and I am now excited to hear what sort of instruments and styles that Yuru Camp△: The Movie will use for its soundtrack.

I’m Home: Yuru Camp△ 2 Finale Impressions, Whole-Series Review and Recommendation

“Home is where one starts from.” –T.S. Eliot

While descending from Mount Daruma’s summit, Rin thanks the Outdoor Activities Club for making their excursion so enjoyable. However, Chiaki and Aoi note that the day’s activities are just getting started. The group thus sets off for the Iida’s liquor store, where Minami, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena thank the Iidas for having helped them at Lake Yamanaka. Aoi, Ena and Chiaki are overjoyed to see Choko again, and the Iidas accompany everyone to Mount Omuro. Because the Yamayaki Festival had already occurred back in February, the entire volcano is a shade of dark brown. They ride a cable car to the summit and admire the scenery: up here, Mount Fuji can be seen. The next stop is Izu Shaboten Zoo, home of the onsen-enjoying capybaras. Akari’s been waiting all trip for this moment. After checking out the capybaras in the hot springs and melting at the sight of them, Minami suggests that Akari go check out the area where capybaras can be petted. This visit concludes with a visit to the gift shop, where Akari is entranced by the selection of capybaras products. Here, the Outdoor Activities Club and Iidas part ways, with Minami promising to make use of the Iida’s mail order service for their products. As the day draws to a close, the Outdoor Activities Club and Rin part ways. The Outdoor Activities Club return home shortly after, and they message one another to communicate this. However, Rin’s left no messages, and Nadeshiko grows worried. As Rin enters the Minobu area, Nadeshiko persuades Sakura to drive her out to check on Rin. It turns out Rin’s fine, and had disabled her phone’s notifications. Rin feels this might’ve been unnecessary, but thinking back to how she and Sakura had similarly checked up on Nadeshiko earlier, understands how Nadeshiko felt. The two share a conversation about their experiences, and promise to go camping together again. It suddenly strikes Nadeshiko that she’d never camped on the shores of Lake Motosu before, and she also wonders what Rin’s first camping trip was like. This finale brings Yuru Camp△ 2 to a close: the ending of the largest experience in Yuru Camp△ wraps up in a peaceful manner, with Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club safely returning home.

With the advantage of having established its premise and characters, Yuru Camp△ 2 is able to jump straight into the meat-and-potatoes of its presentation: this second season continues to cover the different aspects of camping, from purchasing additional gear and safety, to the idea that even simple recipes can be used to greatly enhance one’s experiences, and how both solo and grouping has merits. However, while camping remains in the spotlight in Yuru Camp△ 2, this second season also delves into messages of gratitude. The entire second season is about saying “thank you”, indicating that this simple gesture of making it known that one’s actions are appreciated goes a very long way in building trust and togetherness. Nadeshiko’s father makes it a point to thank Rin for having looked out for her since she’d arrived in Yamanashi by asking Nadeshiko to treat her to Hamamatsu’s best eel. Chiaki, Ena and Aoi thank Rin for looking out after them on the shores of Lake Yamanaka, and the group later also thank the Iidas for having kept them warm. Rin in turn thanks Nadeshiko and the Outdoor Activities Club for having invited her on their tour of Izu, as well as for checking up on her upon her return to Minobu. Knowing that one’s actions are meaningful, and repaying kindness with kindness perpetuates an important cycle: that we care for those around us, and saying “thank you”, taking many forms, remains the single most important way of letting one another know that their backs are covered. In this way, the Outdoor Activities Club are as close as friends can be, demonstrating how the sum of kindness results in experiences that are immeasurably memorable. In fact, after the Izu trip, Rin’s begin to wonder if solo camping can be lonely, and expresses an interest in joining everyone again for future adventures: this simple remark isn’t about solo or group camping, but rather, Rin’s way of saying that the joys of being together means being able to show her appreciation for the others.

Yuru Camp△ has insofar focused purely on autumn and winter camping, and over the course of Yuru Camp△ 2, both Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club have learned a great deal about camping, whether it be safety techniques, being open-minded and flexible in the face of unexpected surprises, and the rationale behind one’s preferences for solo or group camping. All of these discoveries culminate in the trip to Izu Peninsula, where Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club really get to experience the best of Izu together. With a list of destinations worthy of Rin’s solo excursions, and a menu that can only be had when Nadeshiko’s around, the Outdoor Activities Club gets best of both worlds. Thus, Izu represents the summation of how much everyone’s grown and learnt since Yuru Camp△ began. However, there is no upper limit on learning and discoveries: throughout their travels, Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club both encounter things they were not anticipating, but together, handle it very smoothly. They also see how other campers go about their experiences, from the simple camping that the family at Nodayama Health Green Space Park partake in, to the Iida’s sophisticated set-up, complete with wood stove. As such, news of a movie is most welcome: while Yuru Camp△ 2 ends on a very positive and decisive note, the announcement that there’s going to be a film will provide Yuru Camp△ a chance explore one more new direction, and with the scale that the silver screen confers, it will be exciting to see what adventures await Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club, a group of reasonably seasoned travellers with their own unique and memorable way of doing things. It will be sad to see Yuru Camp△ 2 go, but having a movie to look forwards to means that this series will be able to continue portraying camping as being a highly enjoyable, educational and cathartic activity.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Breaking from tradition, this finale post for Yuru Camp△ 2 comes out a full day later than I had for previous episodes. This is because yesterday was my orientation and onboarding, which made yesterday very busy (in a good way). Unfortunately, a massive windstorm swept into my area and gave me a massive headache: winds gusted up to 90 km/h, and I had only enough energy to just watch Yuru Camp△ 2‘s finale. With this being said, Yuru Camp△ 2 is so relaxing that during the finale’s run, I forgot about my headache and spent the whole of the episode with a smile on my face, although I’ve chosen to write about the finale today, without a headache to trouble me. On an unrelated note, a few days ago, I decided to order the Slow Start Official TV Animation Guidebook and Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn Complete Analysis book.

  • Both items arrived earlier today, which is awesome. I ended up paying and arm and a leg for shipping, since my preferred SAL option was unavailable on account of the ongoing global health crisis, but the flipside is that my stuff arrived within a week. Back in Yuru Camp△ 2, nothing warms my heart more than seeing Rin smile. This simple gesture spoke volumes about Rin’s changing perspectives on camping, and much as how Nadeshiko appreciates solo camping now, Rin appreciates group camping. Yuru Camp△ 2 isn’t about the merits of one over the other, but rather, how shared experiences allow individuals to see the merits of different approaches to an activity.

  • Minami’s van can seat seven, although everyone just manages to fit on account of all the gear they’re carrying. To make things easier for Rin, Minami offers to drive her around for the day, knowing that Rin has a very long drive ahead of her on the way back to Yamanashi. Because Rin had been riding solo, only seating six meant there was more space for cargo: when vehicles seat their stated capacity, it does become quite crowded. For instance, the Mazda 5 normally seats four, but can be configured to seat six. At capacity, there’s not much room for cargo, and things do feel a little cramped.

  • Yuru Camp△ never needlessly introduces characters: any character that shows up and interacts with Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club returns in some way. From a production perspective, this ensures that assets can be reused, and voice actors can return to reprise their roles. However, from a narrative perspective, this works exceptionally well because it suggests that it’s a small world: the people we meet can often return to our lives in unexpected ways in the future, and so, it is simpler to be polite, courteous and cordial to all whom we encounter.

  • Nadeshiko and Rin immediately get shafted upon meeting Choko, who makes a beeline straight for Chiaki, Aoi and Ena. It is certainly the case that dogs love the company of those who they know, while being more reluctant to hang out with unfamiliar people. Here, Rin begins petting Choko and mistakenly addresses him as Chikuwa, which the other girls take as Ena going into withdrawal from having not hung out with Chikuwa on their camping trip. The founder of the company I’d previously worked at has a long-haired Chihuahua, the same as Chikuwa, and like Chikuwa, she was fond of burying herself in blankets, as well as flipping herself over for belly-rubs.

  • While Minami is doubtlessly inclined to visit the Iidas to check out their selection of liquors, her motivations also come from wanting to properly thank them for having helped out at Lake Yamanaka. Indeed, this is the first thing that Ena, Chiaki and Aoi do upon setting their foot in the Iida’s liquor store. Yuru Camp△ 2 places an emphasis on saying thank you, as well as keeping one’s word. I’ve always believed that one should be faithful to their word, so to have Minami and the others keep their word to the Iidas in Yuru Camp△ 2 was a very positive and rewarding thing to see.

  • While Rin and Nadeshiko are initially presented as being polar opposites at the very beginning of Yuru Camp△, six months of friendship later, it turns out that Rin and Nadeshiko are actually more similar than different. One of my readers mentioned that this was foreshadowed early on, where it was only Rin and Nadeshiko that could hear the talking pinecones. There is actually one more detail that Yuru Camp△ employs to hint at the pair’s similarities: both Rin and Nadeshiko have the same eyebrows.

  • Yuru Camp△ 2‘s finale has Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club stopping at a few destinations in their final day in the Izu Peninsula, and at some point in the near future, I’ll wrap up the location hunt for the second season, dealing with these last sets of locations in Izu and a few places in Yamanashi that I did not cover earlier. These location posts have been immensely fun to write for, allowing me to really get some mileage out of the Oculus Quest. Until I had the idea of using my Oculus Quest to fuel location hunts, this VR headset sat unused for the most part.

  • Yuru Camp△ 2 returns to Mount Omuro, which is where the Izu Shaboten Zoo (Itō Cactus Park in-show) is located. The last time an anime was at Mount Omuro, it would’ve been 2018’s Amanchu Advance, which saw Hikari and Futaba attend the Yamayaki Festival, which has had seven centuries of history and was done to clear old grass off the dormant volcano so new grass could grow. The festival and its events in Amanchu Advance was the subject of controversy, but here in Yuru Camp△ 2, all is quiet: by March, the festival’s done, so Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club simply ascend the volcano to check out the scenery above. Here at the base of the mountain, Rin and Nadeshiko have some ice cream prior to the ascent, fulfilling Nadeshiko’s wish to get some Izu ice cream during the trip after she slept through the stop for wasabi ice cream.

  • On the way up the mountain, Rin and Nadeshiko are both surprised by a hidden camera used for souvenir photos. Their resulting look of shock are identical, further accentuating the idea that Rin and Nadeshiko are more alike than different, and as such, their growing friendship was only natural. These photos are indeed a part of some locations I’ve visited: mine have turned out from being similar to what happened in Yuru Camp△ 2 to being more ordinary. Once the initial embarrassment wears off, Nadeshiko finds the photo hilarious and makes to buy one, prompting Rin to do the same.

  • Mount Omuro ascends 500 metres into the sky, being a cinder cone composed of pyroclastic fragments: these fragments accumulate as a cone-shaped mountain with relatively sleep slopes. Whenever I think of cinder cones, I think of Parícutin, a volcano in Mexico that formed overnight in a farmer’s field in 1943. After fissures opened in the ground, a 50-metre tall cone had formed an hour later, and at the end of the day, the cone had reached a height of 150 metres. While reaching a maximum of 424 metres in height, Parícutin today has a prominence of 208 metres, being dormant, is a tourist attraction.

  • Yuru Camp△ 2‘s finale doesn’t really have much of an emphasis on food, but the series overall has been a love letter to the wonderful foods of Shizuoka and Yamanashi. On the topic of food, on account of it being Good Friday today, we had several meals planned out for the day. Lunch consisted of a homemade cheeseburger and pub fries. It suddenly strikes me that reduced salt and fat, coupled with fresher ingredients means that homemade burgers are much lighter than typical fast food burgers, possessing all of the flavour but causing none of the crash that accompanies eating fast food burgers; when I went out for burgers a few weeks ago to try the local joint’s grass-fed beef burgers, it was delicious, but my mouth became dry for a while afterwards.

  • Today, a sirloin steak and garlic-seared prawns with fully-loaded potatoes is also on the evening menu. While long weekends have been a time to hit the mountains or local shopping centres previously, of late, they’ve been times to get fancy with cooking. Here, Iida’s daughter comments that praising Mount Fuji while on the summit of Mount Omuro can bring about a curse, frightening Nadeshiko. The scenery up here, however, is undeniably spectacular.

  • Adding Akari to the Izu trip really breathed new life into the group dynamics: the youngest of everyone, Akari brings with her an unbridled sense of joy and energy that rivals Nadeshiko’s. It would seem that she’s only really bothersome towards Chiaki, but otherwise, gets along with everyone just fine. It turns out that Akari’s love of capybaras likely comes from Kapibara-san, a children’s anime about the capybaras. Upon arriving at Izu Shaboten Zoo, Rin and Nadeshiko notice peacocks wandering the grounds, and Minami asks the clerk if they’re free range. It turns out these peacocks have actually escaped, prompting another member of the staff to round them up, which is a good idea. At my local zoo, we do have peacocks wandering the grounds, and in a hilarious (yet macabre) turn of events back in 2017, one of the peacocks decided it’d be a good idea to fly into the lion enclosure, whereupon it was promptly eaten by a lion.

  • This is the moment that Akari’s waited all trip to see: capybaras totally chilling in onsen with yuzu fruits. The sight is so cathartic that those who see things are rendered speechless; it’s a sight for sore eyes, and for a moment, it would appear as though one were inside the onsen with these cavy rodents, which are native to South America. The largest rodents in the world, capybaras can reach up to 134 centimetres in length and 66 kilograms in weight. With lifespans of 12 years in captivity, capybaras are quite friendly towards humans and allow themselves to be petted. Akari immediately sets off to pet them.

  • A year and a half ago, there had been pandas at our local zoo, and consequently, every gift shop was selling panda plushies. It was particularly adorable to see children clinging to stuffed pandas their parents had bought them. I myself have a stuffed panda of the same sort, albeit sporting a graduation hat, which I got for conquering my undergraduate honours degree years ago: plushies are always so soft and fuzzy, so I definitely understand why children are so fond of them. When visiting the gift shop, Akari is immobilised by the sheer selection of capybara products, from plushies to snacks.

  • The Iidas prepare to head back home after visiting Mount Omoru and the Izu Shaboten Zoo with the Outdoor Activities Club. Altogether, Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club visited a total of twelve geospots, but there are a total of over a hundred. It does not take much math to conclude that the concentration of attractions in the Izu Peninsula is such that one could have a few seasons of travel shows purely set here. Prior to heading back, Minami decides to drop by a roadside station, which is where everyone will have a light lunch and prepare for the journey home.

  • Before preparing for her own drive back to Minobu, Minami checks up on Rin to ensure that she’ll be alright. Rin and her moped will be more than okay: the upgrades she’s given the moped have left her better prepared for long range trips. I think that this is probably the first time seeing what fans call a “mid-season upgrade” in a slice-of-life anime: the new additions have made Rin’s trip a lot easier, although practically speaking, a moped isn’t quite as suited for distance driving as a car. A glance at Rin’s moped finds that its speedometer is capped at 60 km/h, and in reality, the Vino 125 has a maximum speed of 89 km/h. While many cars have a speedometer that reaches up to 240 km/h, the reason for this is that speedometer manufacturers make them to fit a range of vehicles.

  • As such, while the Mazda 5 claims it can hit speeds of 210 km/h on the speedometer, the 175 HP engine and vehicle mass means that it would be quite unsafe to push the vehicle that hard. With this being said, cars and their larger engines can hit higher speeds than mopeds, so Minami and the Outdoor Activities Club return home to Yamanashi sooner than Rin. While everyone’s completely burnt out from the trip, Nadeshiko is now fully charged and promises to stay awake with Minami. The drive is about an hour and a half, spanning some 95 kilometres: for me, these distances are trivial because of how flat and open our freeways back home are, but the narrow, winding roads of Japan make this a demanding drive.

  • By the time Rin reaches Fujinomiya, she’s stuck in rush hour traffic. Rin is shown riding on the shoulder of the road adjacent to the other cars here, but mere moments earlier, had been riding normally. This is probably the only animation SNAFU in the whole of Yuru Camp△ 2, so I’m willing to overlook this mistake. In reality, I’ve always expressed irritation at motorcycles and mopeds that ride on the shoulders of the road: as a vehicle driver, I expect motorcycles and mopeds to ride in the centre of their lane as any other vehicle would, and I give them the same space as I would any vehicle. There are dangers to zipping along the shoulder, especially if there’s a possibility that other vehicles are changing lanes, and I imagine that Rin is sufficiently aware of the rules of the road so she wouldn’t do this, leaving me to conclude that this moment was probably an animation bug more than anything else.

  • Once Rin clears Fujinomiya and returns to the rural roads, the drive is quiet again. Rin’s thoughts here perfectly mirror those of mine after I leave a group event; there’s a certain melancholy that comes with being alone, and this creates a bit of an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, I’m completely at home with solitude, but on the other, there’s a sort of positive energy about crowds that does result in loneliness in the immediate aftermath. As Rin reminisces about all the stuff she’d done with Nadeshiko and the others, she doesn’t mind admitting that she’s lonely, but this also contrasts with the infinitely peaceful feeling of being alone. As people, we can certainly have both and feel things from across the spectrum: in this case, the loneliness is simultaneously sad and comforting.

  • I believe that the contradiction Rin is experiencing is an instance of mono no aware, which is a Japanese principle that speaks to impermanence: my interpretation of this is that because feelings are fleeting, it makes sense that things can be contradictory. Back home, after Nadeshiko arrives and unpacks, she shows her parents the food and souvenirs that she’s picked up. Her father is especially thrilled: Nadeshiko’s picked up a bunch of dried fish, and as he sets about preparing dinner, Nadeshiko’s mother wonders how much spending money he’d given Nadeshiko.

  • While everyone’s settling down back home, Nadeshiko begins to worry that Rin’s not messaged the group chat yet. Because the girls find that the Izu trip’s still on until everyone’s made it home safely, Nadeshiko manages to convince Sakura to give her a ride out to the mountain road leading back home, hoping she’ll run into Rin along the way. Sakura, likely recalling Rin had done the same for Nadeshiko, consents to this. At a turn in the road leading into Minobu, Nadeshiko spots Rin, who’s doing well and is admittedly surprised to see Nadeshiko out here. Recalling she’d done the same for Nadeshiko, however, Rin completely understands her concern.

  • From finding Nadeshiko noisy and troublesome on their first meeting, to seeing her as a close friend, the changes that Rin undergoes during the course of Yuru Camp△ has been very pronounced: she begins to open up to others. All of this happens over the course of six months, and Yuru Camp△ thus suggests that introverted, stoic folks can indeed open up to people after spending time with them. In this way, Yuru Camp△ is an excellent portrayal of the process that people such as myself undergo around folks that we come to see as friends: rather than anything misunderstood, we simply just prefer quiet environments to relax in, but otherwise, also enjoy energetic group events and get along with rowdy, spirited people, even if we don’t always the words for it.

  • Chiaki smiles as she airs out her sleeping bag back home. Here, I will mention the Yuru Camp△ 2 soundtrack, which released on March 31, a day before the finale aired. As I expected, the soundtrack is chock-full of wonderful songs that really bring out the wonder of nature. This time around rather than the Irish Fiddle, use of woodwinds creates a really connection to nature and appreciation of the great outdoors. My favourite tracks include ゆるキャン△SEASON2のテ-マ (Yuru Camp△ Season Two Theme), which brings back the motif from the first season, ソ口キャンの嗜み (Soro-kyan no tashinami, literally “Taste of Solo Camping”) and 歴史ある半島 (Rekishi aru hantō, “Historical Peninsula”).

  • There are a lot of wonderful pieces of incidental music in Yuru Camp△ 2‘s soundtrack, which consists of fifty-six tracks over two disks. Of these tracks, eight of these are original dramas, and the inset song that played in the seventh episode, この場所で (Kono basho de, “In this place”), is included with the second disk. The soundtrack is an indispensable accompaniment to Yuru Camp△ 2. Here, Aoi and Akari spend some time with their grandmother, showing her the photos they’d taken during the course of the trip. It turns out that Akari was able to buy a capybara plushie on top of some snacks. On an unrelated note, I have a bear with the exact same pose as the plushie Akari ended up getting.

  • Ena is thrilled to be with Chikuwa again. I’ve always been fond of long-haired Chihuahuas: despite being tiny, they have a bold personality. However, despite their coats, they’re not exactly fond of the cold, which is why Ena isn’t really able to travel with Chikuwa. With this being said, Yuru Camp△ doesn’t seem like a series to leave viewers hanging, and there could be a future where Chikuwa joins Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club in their adventures.

  • As thanks for gotten her the windshield and circuit relay, Rin gifts her grandfather some Izu Miso-pickled meat, suggesting it’d be a great camping meal. Meanwhile, Minami gives some of the Iida’s liquor to Ryōko. In these gestures of appreciation, Yuru Camp△ 2 has definitely gone above and beyond to emphasise the importance of expressing gratitude: while the camping aspects are doubtlessly the heart and soul of Yuru Camp△, I’ve found that the second season did particularly well with its presentation of a life lesson even the best of us could be reminded of: there are a lot of things that people take for granted, and being aware of one’s blessings is a vital part of having the resilience to make it through challenges.

  • As another school day begins, Nadeshiko hastens to meet Aoi, Chiaki, Rin and Ena: while Yuru Camp△ 2 doesn’t explicitly say so, it is clear that after the Izu trip, everyone’s now closer than ever, to the point where Rin, who’d previously only spent time with Ena while at school, is willing to hang out with Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi. The best stories occasionally leave some things unsaid, and use visuals to speak volumes about things: Yuru Camp△ 2 has certainly done a wonderful job here, and as the episode draws to a close, the time has come to give a final verdict on the series. Unsurprisingly, we have another A+ (4.0 of 4.0, or 10 of 10): I know I’ve been handing out A+ grades like candy this season, but each of the series I’ve watched have earned this score several times over. In the case of Yuru Camp△ 2, for consistently creating a sense of warm fuzzy joy each episode, for making me laugh and cry alongside the characters, for its wonderful themes and unparalleled portrayal of the travellers’ experiences, Yuru Camp△ 2 is a winner in all regards.

  • The presence of an ending card with this finale suggests that Yuru Camp△ 2 is going to be the last time there’s a Yuru Camp△ TV anime, the knowledge that there’s a movie makes this departure considerably less bittersweet. The only thing I know about the movie is that it’s coming out in 2022 and that it’ll be called Yuru Camp△ The Movie, but despite the unknowns, I will make an effort to watch and write about Yuru Camp△ The Movie once it becomes available. At the time of writing, I have no information as to whether or not there could be any additional OVAs, but should any come out, I’ll also check them out. With this in mind, Yuru Camp△ is far from over: the live-action drama has also begun airing, and as I’m able, I’ll make an effort to watch those. The live action especially excels with the portrayal of food and places, making it an immensely fun adaptation to check out.

Yuru Camp△ 2 is a series that does everything right: with an insightful portrayal of camping and its nuances, a meaningful theme, wonderful visuals and an exceptional soundtrack, there are no strikes that can be levelled against Yuru Camp△ 2. As such, I have no qualms making a strong recommendation to all viewers about this series. There’s no barrier of entry, the characters are immensely likeable, and the idea of fully enjoying one’s experiences, of living in the moment, are universally understood. It speaks volumes to what Yuru Camp△ 2 does well, that even those who ordinarily critical of slice-of-life anime find Yuru Camp△ 2 to be enjoyable. As noted earlier, however, this is not the end: with Yuru Camp△ The Movie coming in 2022, Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club will be able to continue on their excellent adventures together, and I imagine that many viewers will similarly appreciate seeing where things go. It is possible that Yuru Camp△‘s film could deal with spring or summer camping; until now, Rin’s chosen to camp in the fall and winter because of how quiet things were, while Chiaki and Aoi only began camping in the fall because they needed to save the funds for camping gear. With gear and experience no longer a problem, and Rin leaving Yuru Camp△ 2 more open-minded than before, more conducive for group activities, the floor completely opens to adventures that we’ve not seen previously in Yuru Camp△. Camping trips set amongst the verdant vegetation and deep blue skies of a Japanese summer appears to be a logical direction for the series to go in, although there is one certainty: no matter where Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club go for their next great journey, viewers are sure to have a great time.