The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Yuru Camp△

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.

Yuru Camp△ Original Soundtrack set for release on March 21, 2018

“There is one thing I can still do with a broken arm. I can…play my harmonica.” –Les Stroud, Survivorman

It’s been a while since I’ve done a soundtrack-related post – the last one was for GochiUsa’s second season soundtrack, which ended up being an enjoyable listen. For this season, I introduce the Yuru Camp△ soundtrack; with its diverse array of instrumental motifs and incidental pieces that draw out the anime’s cathartic atmosphere, the soundtrack for Yuru Camp△ is one that I’ve been looking forwards to. The soundtrack becomes available for purchase one day after the Vernal Equinox, releasing just ahead of the finale, which will air on March 22. The album will retail for 3456 Yen (42.62 CAD), consists of two disks and totals 49 tracks. Interspersed with the incidental music will be nine drama performances, alongside the opening and ending themes.

  • The album artwork for Yuru Camp△ singularly captures the entire spirit and atmosphere of the entire anime: a warm friendship developed from a mutual interest in camping and the love of scenery under the beautiful landscapes afforded by night. One of the things about Yuru Camp△ that I was not anticipating was its focus on food and enjoyment of said food. While Nadeshiko’s particularly well-known for her reactions to food, it turns out that everyone in the main cast similarly enjoys their food at least to the same calibre as Adam Richman of Man v. Food.

I’ve translated the track names to English for ease-of-access: unsurprisingly, this blog’s readers are predominantly English-speaking, so it’s useful to have the English names for each of the tracks. As with my previous translations, I remark that my translations are done using a combination of my rudimentary familiarity with Japanese, a Japanese dictionary and where required, a Chinese dictionary. Consequently, not all of the translations are guaranteed to fully retain the original Japanese meaning. In the Yuru Camp△ soundtrack, I’ve opted to translate some tracks literally, while others, I’ve kept only the phonetics. For the track ドッタンバッタン, the katakana translates literally to “Dottanbattan”, which is an onomatopoeia that describes a chaotic situation, so I’ve opted to go with “Frenzy”. ワクパラ (“Wakupara”) similarly has no easy translation to English: I believe it’s a contraction of ワクワクパラダイス, which translates to “Exciting Paradise”, so this is what the English title is given as. I’ve gone with a simple phonetic translation for the track ハテナノナ. Finally, for the 野クルの時間 (“Field Time”) tracks, わちゃ (wa-cha) is an Osakan way of referring to “many people speaking to one another”. The closest English translation is conversation, and given the atmosphere in Yuru Camp△, I think “chit-chat” is probably the most appropriate. There are three of these tracks, each with different iterations of the phrase わちゃ, so in English, I’ve gone with a similar translation using variations of “chit-chat”.

Disk One

  1. ゆるキャン△のテーマ (Yuru Camp△Theme)
  2. オリジナルドラマ その1 (Original Drama Part 1)
  3. SHINY DAYS (TV SIZE)
  4. オリジナルドラマ その2(Original Drama Part 2)
  5. キャンプ場のテーマ~本栖湖~ (Campsite Theme ~Lake Motosu~)
  6. 野クルの時間(わちゃわちゃ!) (Field Time (Chit-chat!))
  7. ソロキャン△のすすめ (Solo Camp△Recommendation)
  8. ゆるやかな時間 (Laid-back time)
  9. オリジナルドラマ その3(Original Drama Part 3)
  10. キャンプ場のテーマ~麓~ (Campsite Theme ~Fumoto~)
  11. おしゃべりとマグカップ (Conversations and mugs)
  12. ごーいんぐマイウェイ (Going my way)
  13. 夜明けの深呼吸 (Deep breath at dawn)
  14. ワクパラ! (Exciting Paradise!)
  15. オリジナルドラマ その4(Original Drama Part 5)
  16. キャンプ場のテーマ~高ボッチ、イーストウッド~ (Campsite Theme ~Takabocchi, Pine Wood~)
  17. 野クルの時間(わちゃ…) (Field Time (Chat…))
  18. ごーいんぐユアウェイ (Going your way)
  19. ゆるりの掟 (Laid-back rules)
  20. たじたじのた (I knew it)
  21. オリジナルドラマ その5 (Original Drama Part 5)
  22. ふゆびより (弾きがたり ver.) (Fuyubiyori, Performance version)

Disk Two

  1. オリジナルドラマ その6 (Original Drama Part 6)
  2. キャンプ場のテーマ~四尾連湖~ (Campsite Theme ~Shibireko Lake~)
  3. キャンプ行こうよ! (Let’s go camping!)
  4. 富士川賛歌 (Fujikawa Hymn)
  5. ストレンジブルー (Strange Blue)
  6. 野クルの時間(わちゃわちゃわちゃっ!!)(Field Time (Chit-chat chit-chat!))
  7. へろりんぱ (Lenticular)
  8. オリジナルドラマ その7(Original Drama Part 7)
  9. キャンプ場のテーマ~陣馬形山~(Campsite Theme ~Mount Jimbagata~)
  10. 踊ろよフォークダンス (Let’s dance to that folk dance)
  11. うんちくかんちく (Punctuation)
  12. リトルクルーズ (Little cruise)
  13. ハテナノナ? (Hatenonona?)
  14. オリジナルドラマ その8 (Original Drama Part 8)
  15. キャンプ場のテーマ~朝霧高原~ (Campsite Theme ~Asagiri Plateau~)
  16. オリジナルドラマ その9 (Original Drama Part 9)
  17. ふゆびより (TV SIZE) (Fuyubiyori, TV version)
  18. ため息ひとつ (A single sigh)
  19. でこぼこんぐ (Bumpy)
  20. ドッタンバッタン (Frenzy)
  21. ハプニングー (Happening)
  22. どろどろばあ (Mushrooms)
  23. 南国ファンタジー (Southern Nation Fantasy)
  24. 万歳山頂 (Banzai Summit)
  25. キャンピングinボッシブル (Camping in possible)
  26. なでしこはかく語りき (Nadeshiko is speechless)
  27. しまりん団子のテーマ (The Shimarin Dango Theme)

  • The page quote comes from Les Stroud during the Plane Crash episode, where he was simulating a broken arm. Stroud rarely enters his survival situations without his harmonica; he reasons that being able to play music and do something to stave off boredom is highly important in a survival situation. Occasionally, he uses the harmonica to make enough aural indicators of his presence to drive off other animals, and sometimes, he plays the harmonica simply to celebrate a good meal. While the girls of Yuru Camp△ never play any music during their camping trips, as a post related to music, I figured that it would be to pick a quote from Stroud relevant to music.

I again stress that my translations are only approximations of what I think the English titles to be. With eleven of the twelve episodes to Yuru Camp△ in the books, I’ve found an immensely relaxing anime that has done much to provide warmth during this uncommonly snowy and lengthy winter. I do not think I am mistaken when I say that reception to Yuru Camp△ has been universally positive: simple in its thematic elements, Yuru Camp△‘s main strength is a staple of most enjoyable slice-of-life anime. In its execution, Yuru Camp△ presents the ordinary as exciting and showcases the joys of different perspectives by pouring an exceptional amount of detail into the settings and situations. I’ll be returning shortly after the finale to do a full discussion on all of the components that make Yuru Camp△ so enjoyable, and close things up by mentioning again that even after Yuru Camp△‘s finale airs, there’s still an OVA that will be released with the first BD version, detailing life at the Outdoors Activity Club prior to Nadeshiko’s arrival.

Yuru Camp△: Review and Reflection at the ¾ Mark

“There’s no room for bravado when you’re alone in the bush.” –Les Stroud

After their arrival at Lake Shibire, Nadeshiko and Rin set up their tents, with Nadeshiko positively terrified of the legend of a bull spirit at the lake. Evening soon sets in, and the two begin preparing their dinner; Rin has difficulty igniting her coals, and Nadeshiko recruits assistance from a pair of fellow campers. With his suggestion, Rin is able to light a warm fire and prepares the chicken skewers, sharing some with the other two campers as thanks. In return, the camper and his sister provide Rin and Nadeshiko with jambalaya. Rin later runs into what appears to be the bull spirit and has the living daylights frightened out of her. Scared beyond all measure, she takes refuge inside Nadeshiko’s tent, but it turns out that this was merely the camper’s sister attempting to sober up. Back at school, exam season is in full swing, and procrastinating from her studies, Chiaki prepares a cooking set for use with hot food. She had earlier purchased a lacquered wooden bowl and skillet; using the school’s facilities, she removes the lacquer and seasons the skillet. After their examination period is over, Nadeshiko visits a local outdoors sporting equipment store with Chiaki and Aoi. On the eve of a camping trip with Rin, Nadeshiko falls ill and implores Rin to go on ahead without her; Rin decides to travel to a campsite in Ina, but finds that her shortest route is inaccessible. After speaking with some mountain climbers, she allows Nadeshiko to guide her travels, recalling her grandfather’s advice about how the most enjoyable trips can often arise from an open mind. While Chiaki visits Nadeshiko to give her a get-well gift and ends up cooking houtou for the entire Kagamihara family, Rin visits a temple, soaks in an onsen and enjoys a delicious katsu before oversleeping, much to her consternation.

Aside from camping itself, Yuru Camp△ has done much to present more on the personalities of each of the supporting characters, as well as continuing to explore knowledge in its run. Up until now, audiences have only seen Chiaki and Aoi’s personalities in the passing, but with a full episode dedicated towards their interactions at school, viewers gain more insight into both Chiaki and Rin. At the three-quarters mark, it is apparent that Chiaki is spirited and resourceful. Her engrossment with camping and know-how prove generally successful, and while she occasionally misses a step from excitement (such as forgetting to soak her newly de-lacquered bowl in vinegar to remove the residues), she’s able to make the most of her surroundings to prepare her equipment. The slow, methodical pace that Yuru Camp△ takes in presenting this process is instructive, and as such, Yuru Camp△ has proven to be surprisingly worthy of being counted as Survivorman The Anime. The additional time with Aoi also shows that despite her soft-spoken, gentle nature, she’s pragmatic and will not hesitate to set Chiaki straight if the need arises. This side of her personality comes from her having a younger sister. Between Chiaki’s resourcefulness and Aoi’s practical approach, they serve as a bit of a foil for Nadeshiko’s free spirit and also suggests that, despite what Rin might think now, the two will get along with Rin quite well as their paths cross. Exploring Chiaki and Aoi’s personalities thus set the stage for their eventual camping trip together – while Rin is unaware of this, audiences are being primed to expect what Rin will count as an unexpected, but welcome friendship with the remainder of the Outdoors Activity Club.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I wonder how many readers I lost and/or offended over the past half-month, what with the seemingly endless stream of posts about The Division and Battlefield 1. For those brave (or foolish) enough to have remained behind, you are rewarded with a return to what might constitute as standard fare for this blog: a talk on Yuru Camp△ now that we’re nine episodes in. I love the composition of this moment, as Nadeshiko and Rin make their way around the lake to their camp. The bright, welcoming light on the left, where their campsite is, stands in stark contrast to the foreboding dark of the right side.

  • The majestic autumn scenery is what I was aiming to showcase in my last post, but Rin and Nadeshiko only arrive in the sixth episode’s latter half. Rin gently teases Nadeshiko with the story of a bull spirit in the area, and suggests that she sleep earlier to avoid the wrath of the ghost. With their tents set up, Nadeshiko wonders about Rin’s tent, which has a different design to hers. Rin’s tent is a suspended type, whereas Nadeshiko rolls with a sleeve type. Yuru Camp△ explains that although the latter is more economical, with experience, the setup times for both tents are quite similar.

  • Rin’s brought white charcoal (備長炭, romaji binchō-tan) to use for her campfire; burning with a lower temperature than standard charcoal that allows it to last longer, the charcoal is also suited for cooking because it does not impart a sooty flavour into foods. Slow to ignite, Rin exhausts her fire-starter and is out of ideas, but Nadeshiko manages to bring in assistance from two campers she’d met earlier: an approachable gentleman and his sister, who’s fond of drinking herself into oblivion.

  • White charcoal can take upwards of half an hour to heat up to the point where it can be used to cook, and guides out there recommend what the gentleman has done: using another charcoal to provide the initial heat source is what’s needed to light white charcoal. Besides Rin’s grill, Nadeshiko had also brought her propane stove, allowing the two to prepare nabe on top of their yakiniku. While Rin tends to the grilling of meat, Nadeshiko sets up her nabe, and soon, dinner is ready.

  • As thanks, Rin and Nadeshiko bring some of their food over to share with the siblings. They receive some jumbalaya in return and savour the diverse flavours of their dinner under darkening skies. It turns out that the woman who’s smashed is actually an instructor at Minobu high school; one of the elements in anime such as Yuru Camp△ is that all characters who are introduced are introduced for a reason, playing some sort of role in the narrative. The older gentleman that Chiaki encountered while scouting locations for a future camping trip, for instance, happens to be Rin’s grandfather, a veteran camper who inspired Rin to take up the hobby.

  • Why is grilled meat as tasty and delicious as it is? The answer lies in something called the Maillard Reaction, a reaction between the constituent amino acids and long-chain carbohydrates in the meat that causes visible browning and a distinct, savoury flavour. From an evolutionary perspective, we developed a liking for this flavour because it is indicative of cooking, which increases the accessibility of nutrients within the food.

  • For each Yuru Camp△ post I’ve written so far, I’ve managed to feature at least one screenshot of the happy campers resting by a campfire during the night. This is not expected to change for the finale post. The finale, however, does not mark the end of Yuru Camp△: there’s an OVA that will release on March 28 accompanying the first BD/DVD volume. This special will follow the Outdoors Activity Club prior to Nadeshiko’s arrival.

  • The darkness causes Nadeshiko’s mind to wander back to the bull spirit, and she wishes to sleep beside Rin as a security measure. Rin remarks that her tent isn’t capable of accommodating two, and Nadeshiko returns to her own tent. Later, Rin makes for the bathroom, and in one of Yuru Camp△‘s most hilarious moments, finds herself face-to-face with a “ghost”. She bolts off and makes for Nadeshiko’s tent. I’ve deliberately chosen to leave out the screenshots and will encourage readers to check this moment out for themselves if they’ve not already done so. This moment also prompts the page quote from Les Stroud: in survival, bravado is not a priority compared to making it out alive, and for Rin, she learns that sometimes, it’s okay to swallow her pride.

  • Had Rin been camping solo, this certainly would not have been possible, and similarly, Rin would’ve likely continued to struggle lighting her charcoals earlier were it not for Nadeshiko’s bringing a fellow camper for help. Here, Yuru Camp△ shows that Rin is a very structured individual who does things by the book, but her weakness is not having the mindset to deal with unexpected situations. This is something that people of the ISTJ temperament face – the solution is to be more open-minded and deal with things as they come, rather than relying entirely on plans and backup plans. It thus becomes clear that Nadeshiko and Rin complement one another: Rin’s organisation and skill helps Nadeshiko get on track, while Nadeshiko’s open-mindedness and adaptiveness allows her to help Rin when the latter becomes stuck.

  • With her boundless energy and desire for experiences, Nadeshiko decides to take a boat back across the lake, waving in a spirited manner at Rin, who waves back. This camping trip is the point where Rin opens up to being with Nadeshiko, and while her words might not indicate thus, she’s definitely accepted Nadeshiko now, as seen in her smile. The scenery here is, again, top-notch: the water looks as detailed as it does in the Frostbite Engine, with its reflections and ripples.

  • To augment their camping experience, Chiaki’s brought a wooden bowl and cast-iron skillet; her excitement at putting them to use means she spends a bit of time preparing them in favour of studying for their upcoming exams. Aoi shows a hitherto unseen side to her personality here, reprimanding Chiaki and reminding her to hit the books. Aki Toyosaki’s characters, such as Yui Hirasawa, are usually quite absent-minded and carefree, but Aoi, like Hanasaku Iroha‘s Nako Oshimizu, is reliable and focused despite her soft-spoken demeanor.

  • The procedure outlined in Yuru Camp△ for seasoning a cast-iron skillet is accurately presented: seasoning is the process whereby a layer of oil is overlaid on top of the iron and heated. The heating process causes the oil to polymerise and bond to the iron, forming a natural layer that prevents sticking. The process requires three steps: after giving the skillet a cleaning to ensure there are no residues, a layer of oil is applied and heated. The process is then repeated to form a more substantial layer. Any unsaturated oil can be used: I’ve heard complaints that Chiaki’s choice of olive oil is uneconomical, but this is besides the point, as it still unsaturated. Saturated fats, such as lard or shortening, also work, but are trickier to apply.

  • While we may share a cruel laugh at both Aoi and Chiaki for burning themselves, the fact is that great care must be taken around heated elements: hot surfaces do not visibly indicate themselves as thus and exposes users to the risk of burns if caution is not exercised. The Survivorman aspects of Yuru Camp△ are impressive, and while some episodes focus more heavily on character growth, the series overall strikes a fine balance between characters and details. Back in Yuru Camp△, Aoi and Chiaki’s misfortunate does not last; their burns are very minor, and fall to the back of their minds as Ena arrives and discuss their new substitute instructor. Ena also expresses an interest in camping with the Outdoors Activity Club.

  • Exams are finally over, and Aoi’s done reasonably well, while Nadeshiko manages a satisfactory performance. Chiaki, on the other hand, squeaks by. With the winter break ahead, the girls decide to visit an outdoors sporting goods store in order to pick up sleeping pads: pricier ones can reach 150 CAD, but basic foam pads can go for as little as 25 CAD. Their advantage is as Rin stated – they prevent wear and tent on the tent floor and also provides insulation from the ground, which is especially important considering that the girls are camping in winter.

  • After arriving in Minobu, the girls walk through the main street and reach a warehouse: this is the Caribou shop that gives the eighth episode its name. I’ve taken a cursory look around, and to the  there’s no indicator that such a shop exists in the area. My best guess is that Caribou is probably based off another shop in a different location, but it is equally possible that I could simply not be looking hard enough.

  • Nadeshiko becomes enamoured with a small gas lamp, and after learning of the price from a clerk, decides not to buy it at the present: the one she eyes runs for 5000 Yen. She subsequently resolves to take up a part-time job to fund her activities and consents to take a picture of it while it’s lit. The interior of Caribou reminds me a great deal of Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and even Canadian Tire: these shops form the bulk of where most of my outdoors equipment comes from, and it’s always fun to browse through these shops to see what they’ve got.

  • As seen at Caribou, the amount of equipment one could potentially bring with them on an outdoors trip is limitless: Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi spend an entire afternoon browsing around all of the different items available for purchase at Caribou. Folks bring different types of gear with them depending on the nature of their adventure. With this being said, Les Stroud has long stated in Survivorman that one could survive reasonably well with a multi-tool, hatchet, a pot, some string and a fishing tackle, with an optional harmonica to bolster one’s morale.

  • Chiaki, Nadeshiko and Aoi check out a screen-house on display: more basic variants can run for 90 CAD, with higher end designs costing 400 CAD. While unsuited for the sort of camping that the Outdoors Activity Club partake in, they are usually used for providing a bit of shelter for groups to relax under, and I’ve most frequently seen screen-houses being used by folks who are camping with an RV. RVs are not particularly popular in Japan owing to parking costs, but the open spaces of Hokkaido are more conducive for folks looking to have such trips in Japan.

  • After they pick up their sleeping pads, Aoi, Nadeshiko and Chiaki stop to buy some manju back in town, and enjoy them on a bench overlooking the Fuji River. This particular angle is roughly 271 meters from the truss bridge spanning the Fuji River. I note here that I’m well aware of Nadeshiko appearing in a Google Maps equivalent earlier in the episode, but I’ve chosen not to include this moment. Now is also a good time to mention that at some point in the future, I will be returning to do an Armchair Tour of the locations in Yuru Camp△.

  • Nadeshiko’s enjoyment of food knows no bounds, and she finishes off her manju without realising it. She subsequently dashes off to buy more for her family, with Aoi doing the same, leaving Chiaki to look after their stuff. It typifies Yuru Camp△‘s ability to draw out and depict in great detail the subtleties of moments that we often take for granted in life – I am fond of slice-of-life anime for this particular reason, since it’s a reminder to stop and smell the metaphorical roses when life itself is hectic and highly-paced.

  • When Nadeshiko falls ill on the eve of a camping trip with Rin during Christmas, she begs in to continue in her stead, and Rin decides to attempt another long-distance trip on her moped to Ina in Nagano, south of Lake Suwa. Her use of Google Maps leaves her face-to-face with a roadblock; the way is shut to preserve the natural surroundings from human impact. While viewers may laugh, it’s an important lesson not to rely entirely on mapping software and GPS, given that they may not always be fully accurate; while the online mapping tools, like Google Maps, have become incredibly sophisticated thanks to large data sets, one should still carry their wits about them and use common sense.

  • While the unexpected closure and prospect of travelling back down the mountain frustrates Rin, she decides to stop and take stock of her situation, buying a warm drink and sipping it before making her next move. She runs into some climbers, who share with her some hōjicha, a green tea unique in being prepared by being roasted in porcelain over charcoal rather than being steamed. This process imparts on the tea a sweeter flavour, and also reduces the caffeine content in the tea. The climber recommends this tea to Rin, as it provides her with a warm drink that won’t keep her awake.

  • After parting ways with the climbers, Rin takes in the view from a balcony behind the Tsuetsuki Teahouse, which affords her with a spectacular view of the valley below. Besides its free observation deck, the Tsuetsuki Teahouse is also known for serving excellent coffee. Throughout the episode, and Yuru Camp△ as a whole, SMS conversations between the various characters are interspersed into the show; messages normally do not convey how a character is feeling during a conversation, so Yuru Camp△ makes use of voices to accentuate the feelings of each member in a conversation. Nadeshiko spiritedly suggests navigating for Rin, and Rin soon notices that Nadeshiko’s tone has changed, working out that Chiaki’s come to visit Nadeshiko, as well.

  • While Nadeshiko is on the mend and wishes to join Rin, Sakura firmly declines, stating that Nadeshiko needs her rest. Later, Chiaki pays her a visit and bids her a speedy recovery, also bringing with her some hōtō noodles. With their origins in Yamanashi, hōtō noodles are stewed flat udon noodles with a much heartier quality than standard udon noodles. Nadeshiko is excited at the prospect of having authentic hōtō prepared by a Yamanashi native, and her anticipation is shared by both her father and mother. Feeling that she can no longer half-heartedly put something quick together for Nadeshiko, with her pride as a Yamanashi native at stake, Chiaki quickly looks up a recipe and gets to work.

  • While Chiaki is busy preparing hōtō for the Kagamiharas, Rin visits the Kozen-ji temple, best known for the Legend of Sotaro. She imagines it to be a temple dedicated to puppies, but is disappointed upon seeing a ferocious-looking depiction of Sotaro, the wolf spirit who defeats a monkey-like monster to save a lady from being sacrificed. While exploring the temple grounds, which is open to visitors free of charge, Rin encounters a sign that warns of bears and wolves: for her stoic nature and love of the outdoors, here is another mark that Rin is uncomfortable with wildlife.

  • Rin encounters dog-shaped souvenirs containing fortunes, and after a brief internal conflict as to whether or not she should buy one for 500 Yen, ends up caving. One element in this scene I found amusing was how the dogs seem to shift in angle as to appear to be staring at her. She ends up with average fortune, which is consistent with her travels: while Rin seems to run into her share of challenges, an open-mindedness allows her to nonetheless make the most of things.

  • The whole of the Kagamihara family enjoys the hōtō noodles that Chiaki puts together. Nadeshiko’s mother and father are introduced here, with her father being ill from the same cold that hit Nadeshiko. Both he and Nadeshiko’s mother are friendly folk who enjoy food the same way that Nadeshiko does. Sakura’s reaction troubles Chiaki until she reveals that she also enjoys the noodles immensely. Everyone in the family has brown hair, but Nadeshiko’s pink hair stands out: while some folks are troubled by this, armed with my knowledge of Mendelian genetics, we can work things out without much difficulty. Red hair is caused by the MC1R gene, and for the sake of discussion, we suppose that pink hair in anime works similarly to red hair. We let B represent the dominant gene for brown hair and b be the recessive gene for red/pink hair. Nadeshiko expresses the pink hair phenotype and has the bb phenotype; in a Punnett Square, we can work out that both Nadeshiko’s parents must be heterozygous Bb (otherwise, the recessive bb cannot be expressed). So, this simple test shows that there’s no funny business occuring, which should put some minds at ease.

  • After visiting Kozen-ji, Rin decides to soak in an onsen, before watching a minor scuffle between Chiaki and Nadeshiko unfold over what Rin should have for lunch. Rin decides to go for a katsu, and I’m left to wonder where exactly Rin has gone. A cursory glance around the area suggest she’s at the Nakayama Tranquil Hot Springs Inn, across the road from the Kozen-ji. If this is the case, Rin’s picked an excellent spot to visit: visitors report a beautiful outdoors hot springs and fantastic food.

  • Despite their distance, Chiaki and Nadeshiko’s communications with Rin act as a bit of a warm-up for Rin to become acclimatised to Chiaki’s presence, despite her initial annoyance with Chiaki for showing up. I imagine that Rin’s reluctance to join the Outdoors Activity Club is largely because of Chiaki; she seems more likely to get along with Aoi, but as with Nadeshiko before her, once Rin is accustomed to Chiaki over electronic communications, she will likely make a more honest effort to get to know her better, which sets the stage for the camping trip with everyone.

  • Rin dozes off after her lunch and has a rather unusual dream before awakening to realise she’s overslept after savouring her katsu. Like grilled meat, there is a joy about eating deep-fried food despite their health risks: the evolutionary reason for this is because deep-fried food has a very high fat content. Fat molecules in fatty foods enhance flavours and also stimulate our taste buds – our sense of taste favours fatty foods because in moderation, lipids are essential in neurological development. This is why after enjoying fried chicken, as I’ve done on this rather snowy Saturday (there’s a fresh 20 cm of snow on the ground outside right now), we feel particularly content, enough to want to close our eyes and rest – as Rin did, I’m going to end this post right here, right now.

Having spent a camping trip with Nadeshiko, Rin herself also demonstrates a surprising side to her personality – well accustomed to being on her own, her happenstance meeting with what appeared to be a yurei and subsequent retreat into Nadeshiko’s tent shows that she’s appreciative of being with someone else now, and sets in motion the slow change in Rin’s perspective. When she plans out a second camping trip with Nadeshiko, it’s a hint that she’s beginning to accept Nadeshiko as a friend; even when Nadeshiko falls ill, Rin decides to take a very Nadeshiko-like approach towards camping, taking things as they come. By asking Nadeshiko to drive her travels, Rin is attempting to both give Nadeshiko the sense that she’s there with Rin on her travels, as well as giving herself the sense that Nadeshiko is accompanying her with her energy. It’s a marked change from the start of Yuru Camp△, and with Ena planning on accompanying the Outdoors Activity Club on their next journey, the stage is set for each of the actors to converge on one more major camping trip that sees everyone together. Before that can happen, however, Rin’s current journey to Ina must continue, and it is clear that despite her going off-schedule, her newfound sense of open-mindedness will allow her to enjoy and make the most of her journey ahead. After nine episodes, Yuru Camp△ has not disappointed, and looks to finish strong with its remaining episodes: I’m definitely keeping a close eye on Yuru Camp△, which has served as this season’s go-to show for my catharsis.

Yuru Camp△: Review and Reflections At the Halfway Point

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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