The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Yuru Camp△

Christmas Camp and Mount Fuji: A Yuru Camp△ Christmas

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

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

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

Screenshots and Additional Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fibbing Camp: Yuru Camp△ OVA Review and Reflection

“Half a truth is often a great lie.” —Benjamin Franklin

When Chiaki remarks that different countries camp differently, Aoi tells Nadeshiko of a variety of bald-faced lies about how New Zealanders, Canadians and the Swiss camp. Nadeshiko buys this without a second thought, but Chiaki catches her. Later, Aoi’s younger sister, Akari, shows up and, when Nadeshiko remarks that she’s fond of Mount Fuji’s view from all directions, the sisters trick Nadeshiko into believing that she’ll be punished by being exiled to the Narusawa Ice Caves for loving the Yamanashi view as much as the Shizuoka view. Chiaki thinks that Nadeshiko should be more skeptical, but Aoi is cool with Nadeshiko being as gullible as she is. During this conversation, Akari arrives and attempts to convince Nadeshiko that Rin is leaving for Alaska – while Nadeshiko is sure that the real Rin is not so small in stature, Sakura then shows up with Rin’s hairstyle. Chiaki and Aoi also style their hair in Rin’s distinct bun, causing Nadeshiko untold confusion as she struggles with which Rin is the real deal. The second of the OVAs amounts to little more than an adorable romp through what the Outdoors Activity Club does outside of their camping activities: besides researching on camping equipment and technique, it seems that the girls also bounce off one another to create humour. In this OVA, Aoi’s enjoyment of being a prankster is presented – the TV series suggested that she’s able to tell lies without blinking, and the OVA further illustrates that she actively enjoys deceiving others.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • While Canadians love to canoe, for the record, Canadians also love to RV, and most of us camp normally: I immediately knew that something was off when Aoi asserted that us Canadians canoe to camping spots frequently. Because the Yuru Camp△ OVAs run for a short five minutes, my posts for them will be correspondingly shorter, as well – I have ten screenshots for this Yuru Camp△ post, as I did with the previous “Room Camp” special.

  • As it turns out, Aoi’s sister, Akari, is also a bit of a prankster, as well: Nadeshiko feels that something is off about “Aoi” when Akari tries to pass herself off as Aoi. In this image, besides obvious differences in size and eye colour, the two look nearly identical. Apparently Akari is here to rectify a bit of a ruckus that ensued ever since Aoi tried to sell the idea that her family’s noodle shop has sobaudon, implying they have udon noodles served with an exotic bird meat. This a play on soba and udon, two different kinds of Japanese noodles: shops that serve both kinds of noodles will advertise that they sell sobaudon.

  • If Akari is to be believed, Aoi’s pranks are pretty large in scale and lands her in hot water, but how much of this is true remains open for discussion. While Akari explains what’s going down, Minami is depicted as being stuck answering an overwhelming number of complaints about Aoi’s actions, which seems a bit of a stretch, considering that Yuru Camp△ depicted Aoi as a capable student who has no troubles with studying and keeping up with her coursework. It should then become clear that such an incident never happened, and that Akari is visiting for any reason besides trying to pick up the mess that Aoi’s supposedly caused.

  • Akari and Aoi’s eyes take on a creepy shape when they’re lying: Chiaki warns Nadeshiko that this is the surest way of telling when the Inuyama sisters are distorting the truth for their own amusement, but being naïve about the ways of the world, Nadeshiko is unable to discern what’s real and what isn’t, resulting in a hilarious moment filled with what have since been referred to as Crying Nadeshiko Noises™. This is the closest the infamous Aokigahara, better known as the Suicide Forest, is mentioned in Yuru Camp△: the Narusawa Ice Caves are lava tubes located in Aokigahara, and has an average internal temperature of 3ºC, hence their naming. It is highly unlikely that the girls of Yuru Camp△ will visit Aokigahara – besides the lack of designated camping areas in the forest proper, the macabre possibility of encountering corpses would certainly ruin the comfortable sense that Yuru Camp△ is known for.

  • Admittedly, it feels a little strange to talk about Yuru Camp△ and not feature any screenshots of camping. In spite of the lack of camping, some aspects of camping are still mentioned, and the OVAs allow for five minutes of humour that otherwise would not fit anywhere else in a proper story about the girls preparing for and going camping. With the manga on-going, Yuru Camp△ could see a sequel in the future, and I would definitely watch a continuation of this series.

  • Regardless of the season, Yuru Camp△ is always welcome. However, the anime’s setting in the winter, and the fact that the first season aired during the winter meant that the anime feels distinctly like something that should be watched during the coldest months of the year. The anime did end up being the perfect remedy for when the days were short, and the air frigid, so to watch Yuru Camp△ again during the warmest time of year does feel a little strange.

  • Nadeshiko’s smile is unparalleled, and it was quite welcoming to see it return again in this OVA. Here, Nadeshiko is proud of herself for having managed to see through yet another ruse when Akari shows up, trying to pass herself off as Rin and claiming that Rin’s going to Alaska to camp. However, things get a bit more complex when Sakura shows up with, leading Nadeshiko to become confused as to why Rin is apparently in different sizes.

  • Summer is in full swing by this point in time, and because of the multitude of Stampede lunches around, leftover food from barbecue events are commonplace: hot dogs, fried chicken wings, Caesar salad and cheesy hash browns made up tonight’s dinner. The temperatures today reached a balmy 29° today, and there were no clouds in the sky. Summer’s been a relaxing one so far, and I’m looking forwards to making the most of the summer weather by taking morning walks around nearby parks, drinking slushies on hot days and the like.

  • The legendary Shimarin Dango makes a return in this OVA, and Nadeshiko is genuinely unable to differentiate between everyone once Chiaki and Aoi switch over to Rin’s hairstyle. Ena orchestrated this particular stunt, and by OVA’s end, it’s nearly impossible not to feel bad for Nadeshiko. I encountered difficulty in translating the OVA’s title, ほらキャン,  to an appropriate equivalent in English. ほら typically means “hey!”, but in this context, is used as ほら話 (approximately “tall tale” in English). However, this sounds a little awkward as a title. I’ve thus decided to give the best translation as “Fibbing Camp”: fibs are inconsequential lies, befitting the casual nature of Aoi and her sister’s pranks.

  • With this OVA in the books, I’m going to return to scheduled programming: Harukana Receive‘s second episode airs tomorrow, so I will be watching and writing about it in lieu of spending the evening unwinding in Battlefield 1. Ever since the Battlefield V closed alpha, Battlefield 1‘s been feeling a little more foreign to me, and adopting the strategies of a more defensive playstyle proved to be surprisingly effectual. I’ve since unlocked the new Burton LMR, and there are some interesting stories to tell about my Road to Battlefield V experience, as well, so between the Harukana Receive posts, I’m going to try and work in a Battlefield 1 post.

The flipside of showing Aoi’s propensity to lie for her own amusement is that Nadeshiko’s trusting, naïve nature is also presented. The unique personalities among members of the Outdoors Activity Club allow for some genuinely hilarious moments in the girls’ everyday life at school outside of their time spent camping together. The relaxed environment in their club allows the girls to be themselves, and in this OVA, have a bit of good-natured fun at Nadeshiko’s expense: while it’s just Aoi and Akari making various fibs to Nadeshiko, it seems that Nadeshiko is rthe sort of person who can be pranked easily – by the OVA’s end, Sakura, Ena and Chikai are in on the jokes, as well, resulting in a hilarious, yet pitiful moment for Nadeshiko that was quite heart-meltingly adorable. It is clear that Yuru Camp△‘s characters are a dynamic bunch, although the short lengths of each OVA suggest that the bulk of the series’ magic comes from camping, as well. This second OVA is set entirely in the Industrial Hallway that acts as the Outdoors Activity Club’s clubroom, the upcoming OVA for Yuru Camp△ is set to take place in a southern part of Japan that is quite warm and will be set for release just under two weeks from now. It’ll mark a change of pace from the two OVAs thus far, although I do wonder how things will unfold if there is only five minutes of time to work with.

Yuru Camp△ Episode Zero: OVA Review and Reflection

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” –Plato

Aoi and Chiaki are surprised to learn that they’ve received a narrow storage space as their clubroom. Before they begin cleaning, Aoi brings out a camping magazine from the school library, and she looks through it with Chiaki, learning that camping is an expensive hobby. When Chiaki grows discouraged and shares with Aoi her wishing of going camping together with her, Aoi is moved. She crafts a makeshift cooking tripod from some of the materials in the storage room. Chiaki considers creating their own camping gear with what’s available in the room, but physical constraints make this an impractical route. She later manages to find an inexpensive tent online and makes a reservation for it when they see that it’s sold out, feeling that with a tent, their adventures can really begin. With a runtime of five minutes and seventeen seconds, the Yuru Camp△ OVA brings to mind the likes of Girls und Panzer‘s OVAs – set before Nadeshiko arrives, the OVA details the Outdoors Activity Club’s first steps from humble beginnings, giving audiences a chance to see Aoi and Chiaki’s friendship prior to the addition of the remainder of Yuru Camp△‘s cast. The OVA also illustrates that Chiaki enjoyed camping with her family as a child, and although her family was not shown during Yuru Camp△, the OVA depicts her memories of camping with her parents as a positive influence; this is what prompts Chiaki’s desire to start a club for doing outdoors activities without the rigour and intensity of another existing club.

  • I realise that today is April Fools’ Day, but this post is no April Fools’ joke, and its contents are authentic. With this cleared up, we enter Yuru Camp△ discussion, where I’ve previously referred to the Outdoors Activity Club’s clubroom as the Industrial Hallway. Named after the location in The Matrix, which is characterised by an infinitely long hallway with doors in it, the Industrial Hallway itself a reference to the Long Hall in Alice in Wonderland. Unlike the Long Hall or the Industrial Hallway, the Outdoors Activity Club’s clubroom is finite, with a window looking out into the skies and no other doors, albeit a really narrow one that makes it feel like a hallway.

  • Shimarin and her Dango-style hair are visible as Aoi browses through the school library, finding a camping magazine in the process. Rin has no speaking roles in the OVA and only makes a cameo appearance to reinforce the fact that this is before Rin becomes acquainted with Aoi and the others. This discussion has fifteen screenshots, since there is quite a bit to cover despite the OVA’s short length – basic computation finds that there’s a screenshot taken every 21 seconds on average, which, while high, does not beat the record set by my Warm, Winter Canada post.

  • While browsing through a camping magazine, Chiaki and Aoi learn that camping gear can be very expensive, especially the high-end equipment designed for more extreme outdoors conditions. Aoi imagines Rin running faster with a knife, after they come across some pricey survival knives and wonder if there’s any difference between these knives and kitchen knives. A survival knife is built for outdoor applications (e.g. preparing traps, skinning animals and cutting through branches) and can be folded so they can be transported easily, while kitchen knives are strictly for preparing food and specialised for the task. They are not so easily transported in a backpack compared to survival knives.

  • Chiaki consider several makeshift, if somewhat creative, solutions to address the fact that gear is so expensive, but she ends up feeling that they might not be feasible. She recounts to Aoi that her interest in camping was sparked by the excitement she experienced while camping with her parents during kindergarten. From enjoying food cooked outdoors to the warmth of a campfire and the expanse of dark skies, it was a memorable experience that Chiaki has longed to recreate and share with Aoi. It stands to reason that Chiaki and Aoi are very close friends.

  • Aoi is moved by Chiaki’s sincerity and from her expression, is on board to help Chiaki on her quest to share the magic of camping. She bumps into some metal tubing below. While Yuru Camp△ has given Aoi and Chiaki limited characterisation, glimpses into both girls’ characters were seen: Chiaki is very enthusiastic about camping, while Aoi is more laid-back and practically-minded. Aoi is seen reigning back Chiaki’s excitement at times, a consequence of having a younger sister, and so, when dealing with her friends, has a quiet maturity about her.

  • In a few moments, Aoi creates a cooking tripod, used for suspending a pot above a campfire. One of the joys about Aoi’s character is that she’s essentially K-On!‘s Yui, Mio and Mugi rolled into one: hearing Aoi talk is always so enjoyable because her lines are delivered by Aki Toyosaki, who imparts into Aoi’s voice a soft, relaxing quality. Some viewers have found it unusual that she speaks with a Kansai dialect, arguing that her speaking the Kansai dialect in Yamanashi is equivalent to hearing someone from Alberta talk with a Brooklyn accent. It’s quite amusing that these folks do not think outside the box – using the old noodle, it’s possible that the Inuyamas might have originally lived in the Kansai area before moving to Yamanashi.

  • While I’m a fan of Aoi for her voice, browsing around on the interwebs, it seems that her voice and eyebrows are, curiously, not her defining characteristic. The manga depicts her as being well-endowed relative to Chiaki and Nadeshiko, but the anime kicks things up to twelfth gear. My intuition tells me that the author created Aoi to be a bit visually distinct from the others, and the anime decided to make things more visible, although speaking to the strengths of Yuru Camp△, excessive mammaries and yuri are largely absent, so Aoi’s large bust never distracts from the story beyond providing a few moments conducive of some interesting screenshots.

  • Seeing that it is possible to improvise, Chiaki proposes making use of the various objects in the storeroom to help create camping gear, cleaning out the storeroom in the process. Throughout Yuru Camp△‘s first half, Chiaki continues to devise solutions that, while somewhat effective, are also impractical. This is best evidenced by the use of various insulators to keep warm in place of a properly-outfitted sleeping bag; while Chiaki notes that it works, it would also be quite difficult to use the bathroom had they actually used such a solution whilst camping.

  • While Chiaki and Aoi are clearly unfamiliar with camping this early in the game, their spirit is admirable, and I mention that outdoorsmen like Les Stroud improvise frequently, making use of conventional objects in unconventional manners in order to survive. Some notable examples include him using car insulation and seats to fashion a rudimentary pair of snowshoes in Norway and making a desalination apparatus from parts he finds on the beach on Tiburon Island. While Stroud is usually disappointed with the appearance of junk everywhere he goes, no matter how remote, he also makes considerable use of it to help in his survival, reasoning that he should always be bettering his situation, and that making things also helps keep boredom away (which could be lethal in a survival situation).

  • Now is the winter of Chiaki and Aoi’s disco tent: in their imagination, a gust of wind eliminates their hardwork, snuffing out their campfire and blowing away the table into Chiaki’s face. Aoi is knocked over like a statue and begins crying. It’s a heart-wrenchingly adorable moment: bonus points are awarded to this scene for depicting Aoi as a rigid-body object. It’s a very clever play on the phrase “now is the winter of our discontent”, which is from Shakespeare’s Richard III, describing Richard as a man who abhors himself and the world he’s in. Phonetically similar to “disco tent”, the phrase has been parodied, and Yuru Camp△ has taken it one step further, having Chiaki and Aoi suffer when they create a disco tent.

  • Chiaki falls to her knees after accepting that improvisation has its limits. Later, Aoi and Chiaki will take on part-time jobs to provide funds for the Outdoor Activities Club’s excursions, making it possible to acquire some entry-level gear for camping that the girls put to good use. However, I find that their improvisation early on helps them in developing a survival mindset; while not in the same survival situations as Les Stroud, being open-minded allows Chiaki and Aoi to roll with a situation as things happen. They impart the benefits of this approach to Rin later on in Yuru Camp△.

  • While browsing on her phone, Chiaki finds an incredibly inexpensive tent: retailing for a mere 980 Yen (11.90 CAD), it turns out I was wrong about the tent being on a sale. With this being said, I have seen some tents sell for as little as 21.99 CAD (ODOLAND 2-person tent), and at the time of writing, there’s a tent, the Gigatent Cooper, which is going for 18.99 CAD. Some of the seemingly-unrealistic things in Yuru Camp△ are in fact possible, evidence that the author has taken the effort of doing the research before putting things into the manga.

  • At the end of the day, Chiaki and Aoi have cleared out the former storeroom, putting themselves one step closer to consolidating it as their clubroom. By the time Nadeshiko arrives, the room is filled with texts and magazines on camping, along with some basic camping implements. There’s also a blackboard with a drawing of what I can consider to be Adventure Time‘s Jake the Dog. Voiced by John DiMaggio, Jake sounds identical to Futurama‘s Bender, and his best moments are downright hilarious.

  • While reserving the tent for the present, Chiaki will eventually buy the tent. With one thing down, she takes a breather with Aoi in the OVA’s final moments, feeling that they’re one step closer to camping, but one thing leads to another, and soon, autumn descends upon them. Writing for the Yuru Camp△ OVA also reminded me of some of the challenges I faced while writing the Girls und Panzer OVAs years back: as short OVAs with many interesting moments, it was difficult to find something meaningful to talk about for each of the moments in my figure captions.

  • We’re now into April, and after a dinner at a Chinese restaurant, the evening is setting in. With this post in the books, I think I’ve covered off everything that can be reasonably discussed for the whole of Yuru Camp△. March has been a bit mad for posts, and moving ahead into the spring season, I have plans to watch Amanchu! Advance, as well as Comic GirlsSword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online and Gundam Build Divers – of these shows, I will watch a few episodes before deciding how often I’d like to write about them.

To see the Outdoors Activity Club come so far in the space of a few months is most uplifting – when Chiaki and Aoi first started the club, all they had was a storeroom, some magazines and a reservation for a basic 980-yen tent. All beginnings are difficult; for Chiaki and Aoi, besides initially lacking the resources to carry out a camping trip, the club is also short on members and an advisor. It is only with Nadeshiko’s arrival and eventual roping in of Ena and Rin into their adventures that Chiaki and Aoi’s visions of the Outdoors Activity Club were realised. By showing things at the very beginning, audiences thus appreciate Nadeshiko, Rin and Ena’s friendship with Chiaki and Aoi further, elevating the sense of warmth that this group of friends have developed in their time spent camping together. Its short runtime notwithstanding, the Yuru Camp△ OVA is a pleasant addition to Yuru Camp△ for accentuating the adventures and experiences that Chiaki and Aoi will later have with Nadeshiko, Rin and Ena.

Yuru Camp△- Finale Review and Whole-Series Recommendation

“In the adventure known as life, there are those who live it vicariously, and enjoy the ride from the safety of an arm-chair, and that’s good. There are those who have a few chances to realise incredible and life-changing experiences; and though they don’t repeat them, they carry with them a growth and personal philosophy for the rest of their lives. And there are those for whom a taste, is never enough; for whom the lust of adventure, is nearly insatiable. And if you add to that the overwhelming desire to create, and to share, then you get where I reside. For the end of one adventure, only signifies the beginning of another.” –Les Stroud, Survivorman

Having overslept, Rin continues on to her destination at Jinbagatayama campsite. Detouring through a winding mountain path, she finds that her path is impeded by a construction sign. Sending Nadeshiko a photo of her predicament, Chiaki quickly ascertains that the road is likely traversable, having experienced the same situation before when construction crews left their signs behind. Rin continues on her journey and reaches Jinbagatayama. After checking in, she sets up camp amidst a very blustery evening and enjoys her dinner: a pan-fried pork bun and the hōjicha tea from a mountain climber Rin had met earlier. Settling in for the night, Rin sends a photo to Nadeshiko. Back at school, the Outdoors Activity Club gear up for their Christmas camping trip and invite Ena along. When their club activities catch the attention of instructor Minami Toba, the girls manage to rope her into being the Outdoor Activities Club’s advisor. Chiaki decides to try and invite Rin to accompany them, and while Rin initially declines, she recalls her interactions with the Outdoors Activity Club. In conjunction with Ena’s encouragement, Rin accepts the invitation. On the day of the camping trip, Rin arrives at the Asagiri Plateau shortly after Chiaki and Aoi, who’ve gone off for some ice cream. She explores the area and runs into Nadeshiko; the pair find Chiaki and Aoi, purchase firewood and make their way back to the campsite, where they begin cooking Christmas dinner with the Kobe beef that Aoi’s brought. The girls run out of gas, and Rin decides to buy some from a nearby shop. When she returns with the gas, the girls spend the evening watching movies before retiring. The next morning, Rin and Nadeshiko awaken early to prepare breakfast. As Chiaki, Aoi, Ena and Minami tuck in, the sun rises, bathing the land in light. New Year’s approaches, and the girls decide to give their clubroom a cleaning. Nadeshiko is still in search of a part time position, but things turn around when Ena asks if she’d be interested in helping deliver New Year cards. Some time later, Nadeshiko sets out on a solo camping trip, and with a beautiful day ahead, she runs into Rin, who is on a trip of her own.

At its core, Yuru Camp△ follows the progression of how a group of disparate individuals befriended one another through their mutual love of camping despite fundamental differences in their approaches. Rin’s camp is one of individualism and solitude; she prefers her solo adventures owing to the quiet and freedom that offers. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the approach that the Outdoor Activities Club takes. Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi share their adventures together, and have one another to fall upon on if things turn out unexpectedly. As Yuru Camp△ continues, Rin begins encountering the unexpected in her adventures that threaten to derail her planned excursions, and in each instance, Nadeshiko and Chiaki have risen to the occasion to help her work out a solution. While solitude is conferred by solo camping, it also means that one must work out their own solutions in response to a challenge, whereas in company, one can solve a particular challenge as a group. Consequently, Rin begins to understand that camping together with friends has its merits, and begins opening up to individuals that she was initially cold towards. Taking small steps in inviting Nadeshiko out, Rin similarly appreciates Chiaki’s help when she finds a roadblock on a remote mountain road to her campsite. Her experiences lead her to accept an invitation from Chiaki to camp with the Outdoors Activity Club during Christmas. By the time of the Christmas camp, Rin has evidently accepted that camping in a group could have its merits. Her experiences with Nadeshiko, Ena, Chiaki and Aoi are overwhelmingly positive, and she learns that the trade-off for solitude is companionship. Having her friends around allows Rin to enjoy moments far more profoundly than on her own, as well as giving her support when she runs into difficulty. Similarly, when Nadeshiko runs out of burner fuel, Rin is on station to provide assistance. Through its presentation, Yuru Camp△‘s central message is that the main merit to being together with friends is precisely being able to provide and receive assistance; this particular aspect of friendship is invaluable, and the mutual concessions associated with companionship is one of the most crucial element in friendship.

When Yuru Camp△ began airing, I remarked in jest that the anime could be considered Survivorman The Anime. However, with all twelve episodes of Yuru Camp△ in the books, this statement is no longer a joke: moments of calm and amusement are interspersed with an explanation of the equipment and techniques that Rin and the others make use of throughout Yuru Camp△. From differentiating the different types of sleeping bags, to explaining the procedure for lighting a fire and why some methods need to be modified depending on the fuel used, from detailing the recipes for the different meals that Nadeshiko and the others prepare to concise but relevant remarks on efficiently setting up camp, Yuru Camp△ has evidently taken the time to investigate the processes required to set up a camp site and the attendant luxaries that Nadeshiko and her friends bring into the activity. The processes could easily be reproduced in the real world for folks who are camping. Yuru Camp△ takes a similar, if somewhat more high level, approach to the format that Les Stroud uses in Survivorman. Through his survival trips in remote corners of the world, Stroud explains the rationale behind each of his actions and also outlines to viewers the step-by-step process for activities such as lighting a fire, setting up a makeshift shelter or preparing water for drinking. His explanations have helped several individuals survive when they were caught in unfavourable situations: Chris Traverse of Gypsumville, Manitoba credits Les Stroud with having given him an idea of what to do when his snowmobile ran out of gas in a remote area. Stroud remarks that it’s humbling to learn that Survivorman has helped save lives. While the elements of Yuru Camp△ are focused on the fun of camping rather than surviving a life-or-death situation, one can nonetheless imagine that with its level of detail, Yuru Camp△ could help some campers get their gear together with less frustration. Having said this, I find that Yuru Camp△ has earned the right to be considered as Survivorman The Anime: the only thing Yuru Camp△ is missing is the “man” part of Survivorman, with a group of high school girls in place of a Canadian survival expert to run the show.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • There’s nothing like the rush of making one’s way to an objective when they’re off schedule, and by my admission, I’m guilty of pushing the limits for road speeds when the need arises. The tenth episode continues with Rin pushing towards her campsite, with concern written all over her face at the prospect of missing check-in. She stops briefly to pick up dinner before continuing on her journey.

  • When her route is blocked by a construction sign, Rin locks up, terrified at the prospect of being forced to go the long way around. She sends a message to Nadeshiko, and when Chiaki spots what’s going on, swiftly steps in to help Rin out. Rin’s irritation with Chiaki vanishes, and she subsequently proceeds to her campsite just in time for checking in. For this finale post, I’ve got the standard thirty screenshots; I originally imagined that there might’ve been more, but as it turns out, the casual pacing in Yuru Camp△ means that there are long moments spent looking at a scene unfolding, which both serves to reinforce the idea that there is merit to taking it easy and also makes it a bit easier to write for.

  • At the top of the plateau, Rin’s failure to secure her tent down leads it to blow away in the wind gusts, and she suffers when her gear blow in opposite directions. This particular aspect raised some eyebrows, but interactions of air currents with surface features can create localised cyclones where the wind moves in a circular manner, accounting for the phenomenon in Yuru Camp△. With this being said, I find that it is quite unnecessary to worry about aspects of realism in slice-of-life anime such as these.

  • While wishing she’d arrived sooner so she could explore, Rin enjoys her dinner and tea, taking in the night landscapes. Yuru Camp△ might not have the same attention to detail as seen in a given Kyoto Animation, P.A. Works or Makoto Shinkai production, but the visuals nonetheless are produced to a high standard. I’ve taken a look at the manga, and my local bookstores will be stocking the first few volumes of Yuru Camp△ in the upcoming months. The anime adaptation is highly faithful to the source material and brings the monochrome manga to life, adding colour alongside aural elements.

  • In exchange for the hōtō noodles, the Kagamiharas give Chiaki gyoza. It is explained that the Kagamiharas are from Hamamatsu, which is counted as the gyoza capital of Japan. Owing to the high wheat production and weather patterns in the area, gyoza are seen as the perfect food in being able to both warm during brisk winters and reinvigorate during the summer. Consequently, it’s the prefecture with the highest gyoza consumption, and the Kagamiharas are unsurprisingly fond of them.

  • Ena soon joins the Outdoor Activities Club’s activities; when Rin declines Chiaki’s invitation to join the Outdoor Activities Club in camping by Christmas, Ena manages to convince Rin to give it a shot, and here, the girls practise lighting a campfire on a stand on a brisk winter day. After Ena reveals that she’s rolling with a 4500 Yen sleeping bag, she invokes the envy of Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi. It turns out that Ena’s father bought the sleeping bag on account of Ena’s sensitivity to the cold, feeling it’s worthwhile if Ena can spend more time with her friends. This gesture makes it clear that the Saitous, although never seen on screen, love Ena very much, which was a very welcome touch to Yuru Camp△.

  • When Minami notices the girls with a fire on campus grounds, she makes the reprimand them, only to learn that the Outdoor Activities Club has permission to partake in their activities. She reluctantly becomes the club’s advisor when Chiaki manages to convince her that most of their activities are self-directed and dependent on being outdoors, and later, Nadeshiko learns that Minami is the intoxicated lady she and Rin had run into at Lake Shibire.

  • Minami takes a post as a substitute instructor at Minobu High School and during working hours, looks a world apart from her hammered self. Her greatest enjoyment in life is to kick back with a drink in hand and gets smashed in no time at all, but also recovers surprisingly quickly from the after-effects. While sober, Minami is a quiet, reserved individual who occasionally offers the girls suggestions.

  • On the day of the Christmas camping trip, the girls meet at a campground on Asagiri Plateau, so-named for the fog that can roll in during the mornings. Chiaki and Aoi arrived the earliest, and after joyously rolling down a hill, decide to go exploring and settle down for some sweets at a nearby ice cream shop. Because it’s late where I am, I’m not going to bother pinning down the coordinates of the exact locations that Aoi and Chiaki visit. However, I will note that Asagiri Kogen is relatively close to a dairy farm, which translates with some of the freshest ice cream around, and that the presence of Fujisan Winery nearby would keep Minami happy.

  • Because it’s winter, I imagine that the nearby Paragliding School is closed, explaining why there aren’t any paragliders around in the skies. Despite being quite unrelated to the image here, I could not find anywhere else in the post to fit the revelation that the individual accompanying Minami camping earlier was in fact her younger sister rather than brother. Minami remarks that her sister is confused for a guy with a nontrivial frequency and that the two of them are familiar with camping since their parents loved camping. From my end, I found this a bit surprising, but I’m not going back to change the fact that I also failed to make the distinction, since that could be anybody’s mistake (especially considering that Rin and Nadeshiko did not notice anything until it was mentioned).

  • While waiting for the others to show up, Rin roasts a marshmallow with her gas stove and makes s’mores with Nadeshiko. A gas stove will certainly do the trick, although most people probably will think of campfires. This treat is especially popular in Canada and the United States, with the earliest incarnations being described in cookbooks dating back to the 1920s, when they were known as Graham Cracker Sandwiches. S’mores became known as such in the late 1930s, but regardless of their names, share the simple recipe of Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate.

  • After meeting up with Chiaki and Aoi, Rin agrees to pay for the firewood by ways of thanks, and takes as much as she can back with her. However, her moped has limited storage, so she asks Chiaki to carry the remaining bundle with her.

  • Ena’s arrival is prefaced by the arrival of Chikuwa, Ena’s dog. Ena lets loose Chikuawa with sausage, and this leads Nadeshiko on a joyful run across the open fields of Asagiri Kogen. Her adventures are joined by some children, and sensing the fun of the moment, Chiaki breaks out a frisbee. The group subsequently spends a spirited afternoon playing frisbee with the children in the plains. The day grows late as the sun sets and evening descends upon the land.

  • I’ve chosen not to show the moment here, but Asagiri Kogen is the perfect spot to view Red Fuji, which occurs during the evening when the reddening light cast a crimson colour on the mountain. It’s beautiful, and the Japanese believe that seeing this sight is particularly lucky. Minami awakens from her alcohol-induced sleep, during which Nadeshiko and the others have wrapped her up with a range of blankets to keep her warm.

  • Aoi sets about preparing sukiyaki with the ingredients that she’d brought with her. A subtype of nabesukiyaki involves thinly-sliced beef cooked in mirin, soy sauce and sugar alongside tofu and leafy vegetables. Compared to other forms of nabesukiyaki is sweeter, and is the choice of meal that Aoi goes about making on her grandmother’s suggestion: it’s a dish that’s to be shared with others during the winter months.

  • If there was a prize for best smiles in an anime, then Yuru Camp△ would win hands down: Nadeshiko’s smiles are heartwarming to watch, and the smiles in Yuru Camp△ are generally very infectious. It is reasonable to say that the warmth of Yuru Camp△ contributed substantially to me getting through the early months of 2018: the start of a year is always the toughest for me, and this year’s been especially tricky at work. It’s been a difficult period, and in conversations, things are slowly starting to turn around now; having shows like Yuru Camp△ to watch have allowed me to kick back and regroup.

  • The portrayal of food and its attendent enjoyment is only second to outdoors activities in Yuru Camp△: the closest equivalents that come to mind when I see Nadeshiko reacting to her food are Man v. Food‘s Adam Richman and Survivorman‘s Les Stroud, both of whom have rather unique ways of expressing their enjoyment of a meal. Hot food on a cold night is especially delicious, and with winter not quite done with my corner of the world yet, I recall a hearty curry katsu on a bed of spaghetti, garnished with a fried pumpkin slice, that I had earlier this week. It’s been a while since I’ve had katsu, and curry katsu is the perfect balance of savoury, creamy and crunchy rolled into one.

  • As far as cooking goes, I’m versed in the basics, but one of my goals is to develop my own approach to cooking in the near future. With the first round of sukiyaki in the books, Aoi prepares round two, which is a tomato sukiyaki. In response to the rich flavours, which we viewers will simply have to imagine, Nadeshiko and Chiaki simply gush at the flavours, while Rin, Ena and Aoi quietly marvel at the flavour. Rin’s monologue shows that she’s no novice when it comes to food, and her descriptions are on par with Adam Richman’s approaches, explaining to audiences how the flavours complement and enhance one another in a very poetic manner.

  • While Nadeshiko is more than happy to put away more food (the prospect of cheese noodles excites her), the others are content to have a smaller portion as they begin to hit the food wall. To celebrate Christmas, the girls don Santa Claus attire, and even Rin gets in on the festivities. The girls begin running low on propane, and Nadeshiko breaks out into tears on this revelation. It melts my heart whenever Nadeshiko cries, and a part of the appeal about Yuru Camp△ is how endearing the characters are; they remind me of the vibe that GochiUsa‘s characters exuded.

  • In response to the lack of propane, Rin offers to go get some. She reflects on the day’s events and smiles, the surest sign that Rin’s perspective on group camping has come around since the start of Yuru Camp△. Whenever she’s wearing her glasses, Minami reminds me of Ah! My Goddess‘ Sora Hasegawa, one of the Motor Club’s members with similar glasses. I prefer Minami’s appearance sans glasses and a blood alcohol content high enough to put me on the floor: it’s no joke when I say that what Minami drinks in one sitting is probably enough to kill me per alcohol poisoning. While Rin’s off buying the propane, Nadeshiko imagines what things might be like ten years from now – her imagination remains quite plausible right up until she introduces the idea of a rocket-propelled tent.

  • I suppose you could say that such a notion is pretty in-tents. While winter camping in Japan looks quite cozy and comfortable as per the portrayal in Yuru Camp△, it turns out that Canadians are even hardier: guides for camping in Alberta by winter boldly state that a little cold (to the tune of -20ºC) is not a justification for not camping, and note that winter camping has its charms in that it offers quieter campsites. Keeping warm in a Real Canadian Winter™ requires sleeping bags similar to that of Ena’s, making use of ground covers, dressing in layers and one of the most effective tips that Les Stroud mentions, hitting the bathroom before sleeping – the body expends additional energy in keeping fluid in the bladder warm, which is energy better spent keeping the rest of the body warm. Considering the specific heat of water, this is nontrivial!

  • It was most welcoming to see the whole party together in Yuru Camp△‘s final two episodes, marking the culmination of an entire season’s set of experiences that lead Rin to enjoy camping in groups. While Yuru Camp△ might ostensibly be about Nadeshiko, the themes primarily deal with Rin and her gradual warming up to the idea of group camping on top of her existing enjoyment of camping alone. As the evening becomes night, the girls begin streaming videos on Chiaki’s tablet, doing the Yuru Camp△ equivalent of a Netflix night.

  • The next morning, Chiaki, Aoi, Ena and Minami awaken to find Rin and Nadeshiko preparing an all-Japanese breakfast. Here, I mention that the page quote, sourced from Les Stroud, best captures the different approaches to adventures that people take: quite simply, there are people who are okay with not doing too much, people who are profoundly moved by doing something, and people who love doing things all the time. I sit squarely in the middle category: like most Hobbits, I love the comforts of home, but will occasionally step into the wider world in search of adventure and come away from the adventure more learned than before. Rin and Nadeshiko are described by the last category, seeking new adventures and making the most of their youth.

  • While Rin and the others enjoy a brilliant sunrise under perfectly clear skies, I will comment on the soundtrack in a bit more detail since my last post, now that I’ve had a chance to listen to it in more detail. The music of Yuru Camp△ is phenomenal, capturing the different characters of each campsite and the camping hobby in general. From the whistling tunes that I’ve long associated with Canadian Tire (and outdoorsmanship) and the use of kazoos in the more light-hearted pieces, to the Celtic and Scottish inspired suites that serve as the themes for different campsites, and the gentle piece that describes Rin’s feelings towards solo camping, the soundtrack plays a major role in contributing to the unique atmosphere of Yuru Camp△.

  • This screenshot almost looks photorealistic: Yuru Camp△‘s art style adheres to the idea that less is more, expertly bringing out the experience that Nadeshiko and the others share to viewers behind a screen. I’ve heard that since Yuru Camp△‘s airing, camping rates have gone up in Japan as fans take to the different campsites around Mount Fuji with the aim of recreating Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s adventures. This is yet another example of how, far from being an unhealthy hobby, anime has the potential to inspire individuals to be open to new experiences. One of my personal examples of how anime led me to do something different is how I got into tea and coffee through Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?.

  • Nadeshiko struggles to find a part-time job nearby to help her fund her camping equipment, but her fortunes change when Ena contacts her with a position. I empathise with Nadeshiko’s situation entirely: hunting for work is a difficult process that can be considered a full-time job in its own right, and there are occasions where knowing the right people can make a significant difference. In Yuru Camp△‘s case, the stakes are a bit lessened, since Nadeshiko simply seeks to earn some disposable income, but when one reaches a point where they need to be financially stable, things can become more stressful. Consequently, I’m most thankful that there are shows like Yuru Camp△ that help us relax, put things in perspective and come out refreshed, ready to handle adversity again when a new day begins.

  • As greenery and life seep back into the world with the arrival of spring, it’s clear that things have come full swing since the first episode of Yuru Camp△: with her experience now, Nadeshiko tries her hand at solo camping and sets off for the shores of Lake Motosu, where she first met Rin. Rin’s experiences throughout Yuru Camp△ is equivalent to my partying up with random players to complete legendary missions in The Division, while Nadeshiko is the equivalent of someone trying to solo The Division‘s campaign having beaten it once and experienced the endgame with a group of friends at every step of the way. Both are completely unique experiences, and it’s logical to see Nadeshiko’s interest develop in experiencing things from Rin’s perspective.

  • Nadeshiko holds up the gas lamp (which looks like a Coleman model) that she’s brought along with her. Rocking a reasonably complete loadout, Nadeshiko looks like she’s done a good enough job at her workplace to have continued working there and so, has earned enough money to buy some reasonably good quality equipment of her own. It’s a subtle show that for her carefree spirits, Nadeshiko can be serious and focused when the situation calls for it, working hard to earn the things and goals that she desires.

  • Lake Motosu looks quite different than it did during Yuru Camp△‘s first episode, attesting to the dramatic changes that a shift in seasons may bring. I note here that if there was a single grievance I had about Yuru Camp△, it was that the airing date, being on Thursdays, is quite unconducive towards episodic reviews. This is a series that I could see myself writing about each week, but being on a weeknight would’ve made it challenging. Thursdays and Tuesdays have been quite busy this year, only lightening up as of late – I spent the Tuesdays and Thursdays of February training at the dōjō in preparation for my ni-dan exam, which I managed to pass.

  • Of course, it would be unfair (and unwise) to factor airing date into my final verdict for Yuru Camp△. This series earns an A+, a 9.5 of 10 for its delivery and presentation, as well as for having a fun cast of characters, losing points only because I find myself wishing there’d be a continuation beyond the OVA. Here, Nadeshiko runs off to greet Rin, who happens to be “solo” camping at Lake Motosu, and I conclude my Yuru Camp△ post by looking ahead into the future; March is quickly drawing to a close, and I’ve got plans to write about Slow Start, as well as A Place Further Than The Universe once their finales air. Before that, Girls und Panzer Das Finale‘s first episode will be available for viewing soon, so I’ll be writing about that on very short order.

At the end of Yuru Camp△‘s main run, I find an anime that is this season’s premiere title for catharsis. With its combination of warm character dynamics that are occasionally punctuated with some good old-fashioned comedy, a soundtrack that captures the excitement and calm of camping, and clean, expressive landscapes, Yuru Camp△ does a phenomenal job of depicting the ins and outs of camping amongst a group of friends who’ve come together thanks to their shared interest in taking the outdoors in a laid-back manner. With additional elements that help viewers familiarise themselves with camping, Yuru Camp△ is inviting and approachable – the deliberately slow pacing of the anime will likely be off-putting for viewers who are expecting greater intensity, but for others, it will be a welcome change of scenery from routine, allowing one time to slow down from the rush that life can be. Consequently, while I greatly enjoyed Yuru Camp△ and would give it a strong recommendation, I also acknowledge that the genre might not be for everyone; as a result, I would give Yuru Camp△ a strong recommendation for audiences who are looking for something relaxing, as well as for viewers who are long-time fans of the slice-of-life genre. For everyone else, this series is still worth watching if one is up for a more languid story whose aim is to help heal, rather than be thought provoking. With this being said, reception to Yuru Camp△ has been largely positive, and most viewers have also wondered whether or not a continuation is possible. Given that Yuru Camp△‘s manga is ongoing, and if sales for the home release are good, there’s no reason not to believe that Yuru Camp△ would not get a second season. I certainly would continue watching Yuru Camp△ with great interest should there be a continuation, and there’s an OVA upcoming that will give audiences one more story from Yuru Camp△ before things come to an end for the present.