The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Category Archives: Yuru Camp△

Mystery Camp: Yuru Camp△ 2 OVA Review and Reflection

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tracklist

Disk One

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

Disk Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Izu Camping!!! Birthdays: Yuru Camp△ 2 Twelfth Episode Impressions and Review

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories.” –Buddy Valastro

By the time Ena and the others wake up, it’s close to noon: they stop for sashimi before continuing on with their tour of Izu’s geospots, which includes Dōgashima, Sanshirō Island and concludes at the Mount Daruma Highland. At the Sanshirō Island, while Akari is disappointed to learn a tombolo isn’t edible, she and the Outdoor Activities Club have a fantastic time exploring the natural wonders of this island. After arriving at their campsite, Darumayama Kogen Campground, Chiaki and Ena ask Akari to look after Aoi and Nadeshiko while they go ahead with preparing a birthday celebration for the two. Minami drives them to a hot springs and Cape Mihama to round the day off. While Akari is shocked to learn that Nadeshiko and Aoi had already known about the event, upon arrival, Rin, Ena and Chiaki have prepared a fantastic party for Aoi and Nadeshiko. After the two blow out the candles to their cake, Nadeshiko and Aoi open their gifts, which turn out to be wooden cookware made for camping. Whilst tucking in to dinner, a shrimp and tomato risotto made using broth from the spiny lobster shell, the girls are completely blown away by the intense flavours. Minami receives a phone call from Ryōko, who remarks that it’s fantastic that Minami’s students have allowed her to experience a wider variety of things. Because one more day of travels await Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club, everyone turns in early this evening. The next morning, to watch the sun rise, everyone wakes up early. Akari is still tired, so Minami remains behind to look after her, while Rin and the others climb Mount Daruma, where a breathtaking sunrise awaits them. Thus, Yuru Camp△ 2‘s twelfth episode draws to a close, and surprisingly enough, this was not the season finale. As the twelfth episode drew to a close, a portion of the girls’ itinerary, namely the capybaras, still remain unvisited, and once the episode finished, with a title card for the next episode, it would appear that we are getting one more episode to wrap everything up. This was such an unexpected surprise and accounts for why this post isn’t titled “finale”. With the extra episode, this means that Yuru Camp△ 2 will get to continue with the girls’ adventures for one more episode, making use of the extra run time to ensure that everything that needs to be said and done gets proper shine time.

The twelfth episode’s focus is largely on Nadeshiko and Aoi’s birthday party, which serves to highlight how close Nadeshiko’s become with her new friends. When the episode opened, Nadeshiko and Ayano had been sharing a farewell with one another. Nadeshiko, who’d lived in Hamamatsu all her life, had been sad to leave her hometown and friends behind for Yamanashi, and Ayano promises to visit her when she’s settled in. She also suggests that Nadeshiko pick up something new to make the most of things. This would inevitably set in motion Nadeshiko’s love for camping and put her on a path to meet Rin, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena. Life-changing encounters come from having an open mind, and being made aware of how Nadeshiko had been feeling prior to her arrival in Yamanashi acts as a powerful juxtaposition: in this episode’s events, Nadeshiko is celebrating her birthday with her best friends, attesting to how close everyone’s become in the past few months on account of their shared experiences together. However, this change isn’t just one way: if meeting Rin, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena have allowed Nadeshiko to camp and experience new things, then Nadeshiko’s entry into everyone’s lives have brightened things up, too. Chiaki and Aoi now camp in ways they certainly wouldn’t have considered thanks to Nadeshiko’s energy, and Rin herself becomes more open to group activities. Ena, who’d previously preferred the comfort of her own bed and sleeping in to ludicrous hours, finds herself feeling an inclination to travel more, as well. Minami similarly is grateful for having taken up advising the Outdoor Activities Club, feeling a sense of pride in watching her students learn and mature. This episode of Yuru Camp△ 2 indicates, beyond any doubt, the significance of these fateful meetings; such meetings bring people together, challenge their world-views and ultimately allow people to come out stronger for it.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Because there are so many special moments in this episode, I’ve decided to feature a few more screenshots so that I can adequately articulate everything on my mind. The episode opens with a flashback to Nadeshiko’s final days in Hamamatsu, where she shares a moment with Ayano, who encourages her to keep an open mind for new experiences. In the six or seven months since Nadeshiko’s moved to Yamanashi, she’s had a major impact on those she met and transformed her own world, as well. The knowledge that Nadeshiko’s become an integral part of the Outdoor Activities Club now shows just how far reaching the effects of her falling asleep and missing Mount Fuji had on her life, making Yuru Camp△ 2 all the more touching.

  • Back in the present, Minami brings everyone to a restaurant for sashimi: the presentation in Yuru Camp△ 2 looks absolutely delicious, and while I still have some hesitation in eating sashimi, the reality is that properly prepared and stored fish is generally safe. Whole marine fish (that isn’t cod) are the safest to consume, while freshwater fish should always be cooked. This brings back memories of when I was in Japan and was served sashimi at a very fancy dinner that also featured kobe beef. Being a novice with sashimi, I ended up dropping the fish into a nabe and cooking things, which was probably unnecessary.

  • Yuru Camp△ 2 shows viewers that when she’s not smashed, Minami’s a very gentle and elegant sort of individual. She admires the seaside while enjoying her own lunch here, she comments on how a fish breakfast and an ocean view are unmatched. Chikai mentions that it is noon, however, speaking to how late everyone had slept in until. Nadeshiko’s jealous that Rin was able to get an onsen soak in while everyone was sleeping; like Rin, I’m an early riser, and as soon as I acclimatise to a new time zone, I usually wake up the same time as I would at home. Like most people, I have no trouble adapting when travelling westwards, which makes trips to Hong Kong and East Asia relatively quick to get used to.

  • After brunch, Minami takes everyone to Dōgashima, which the narrator explains as possessing a stunning ocean view. Nearby is Tenshodo, a naturally-formed sea cave. Volcanic landscapes are beautiful, and Yuru Camp△ 2 even provides viewers with a shot of the sea cave’s interior. I imagine that the producers probably canoed inside or used reference photos for this frame: guided canoe tours are provided, although I imagine that Chiaki’s wish of jumping in to its cool waters will never be realised. Once everyone’s happy with their sightseeing at Dōgashima, it’s onwards to the next spot: Sanshirō Island.

  • Unfortunately for Akari, she still believes the tombolo refers to pork jowl, and is therefore especially excited to set foot on Sanshirō Island itself, eager to find the vendors here. Ena, Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Rin’s faces says it all: they’re impressed that Aoi would pull pranks such as these even on her own little sister. To reiterate for the reader’s benefit, a tombolo is just a sandy or rocky isthmus that links an island to the mainland, and Sanshirō Island’s tombolo appears and disappears with the tides. At low tide, it appears and allows visitors to walk to the islands.

  • Excitement sets in, with Akari and Chiaki leading the charge to the island. However, it seems that arriving early means the tide hasn’t fully receded yet, and there’s a foot or so of water separating the islands from the mainland. Undeterred, the girls ditch their socks and shoes to wade through the waters, reaching the islands. While considerably warmer than anything in my neck of the woods (Izu Peninsula averages about 8.2°C in March), I imagine that stepping into the ocean waters would still be quite cold.

  • Such an experience brings back memories of the time I was exploring the California coast just north of Sonoma Coast State Park a few years ago: after the F8 2019 conference had ended, I had a bit of extra time to spare and was able to hang out in the Santa Rosa area of California, which I found absolutely beautiful. I believe the name of the beach I stopped at was called Russian Gulch, and at the time, a creek had divided the rocky beach in two. While trying to traverse this, I’d done as Rin and the others have done, but slipped and accidentally dropped my shoes into the water, completely soaking them shoes through. Fortunately, it had been a warm day, and after returning to the Air BnB I was staying at, my shoes dried out in no time at all. Luckily, I did happen to have a spare pair of shoes.

  • After reaching Sanshirō Island itself, Akari is surprised to find that there are no food vendors here whatsoever. Aoi remarks that being able to tell jokes apart is a part of growing up, stating it was akin to being able to differentiate between cabbage and lettuce. I found this to be a bit of a non sequitur, and Akari remains quite unconvinced. Aoi pulling pranks on Akari was adorable, and having Akari accompany the Outdoor Activities Club on this trip proved to be a great decision, providing another character to bounce off the others. Slice-of-life anime typically excel in this area, and a part of the joy is watching what happens when different characters interact with one another.

  • I’m including this screenshot here purely because I imagine that C-Station likely added a moment of everyone in their swimsuits after feeling that Aoi in particular had been shafted: during the Survival Camp OVA, Aoi wears a t-shirt over her bikini, and I vividly remember hearing the disapproval from fellow viewers at this decision. This scene should rectify that feeling of disappointment in full: as Nadeshiko imagines what it must be like here in the summer, Chiaki calls everyone back. Admittedly, such a scene is pleasant, reminding me of the warmest months of the year that stand in stark contrast with the weather back home: despite it being spring now, a pair of fresh snowfalls has doused my area with a few centimetres of snow, and today’s high is only supposed to be -1°C, which certainly isn’t very spring-like.

  • Sanshirō Island is probably the most iconic part of the Izu Peninsula tour, featuring in the key visual art for Yuru Camp△ 2, and I’m very glad that C-Station was able to incorporate this moment into the anime itself. Minami’s chosen to remain behind, and when the girls return as tide returns, she takes a photo of everyone. This was a pleasant moment that captures the aesthetic characterising the whole of Yuru Camp△ 2: this second season has featured the ocean in abundance, and with the ocean’s vastness symbolising stability and eternity, I imagine that Yuru Camp△ 2‘s themes deal with the durability and strengths of friendship. I’ll deal with overarching themes come the post for the finale.

  • Later, Minami takes everyone to go shopping for dinner ingredients, and with their supplies acquired, it’s time to hit up one more geospot before calling it a day: because dinner is special, Ena, Chiaki and Rin will require some time to prepare everything. Of note was that Aoi can be seen buying grilled meat skewers for Akari: Akari had been so excited about eating pork jowl that her disappointment was tangible, and there are some pranks that even Aoi feels bad about pulling. It was a small scene, but a very touching and heartwarming one to show that despite her love of pranking people, Aoi loves Akari very much and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure she’s happy.

  • After the highlight that is Sanshirō Island, the girls drive along Nishiizu Skyline towards the Mount Daruma Highland. The Nishiizu Skyline is a stretch of roadway with unparalleled scenery, and Minami reminds Rin to be careful with her driving. After they make their way up several switchbacks and admire the sights, they reach the highlands. Here, Mount Fuji is visible, and sight of Japan’s most iconic mountain reminds everyone of home. There certainly is something romantic about being able to see a part of one’s home from afar, and hints at the idea that travel is fun precisely because it helps one to also appreciate what their home has.

  • Despite it being a few hours before dark, Ena, Chiaki and Rin begin preparing dinner. In order to facilitate things, they end up confiscating Minami’s alcohol and ask her to drive Nadeshiko, Aoi and Akari to an onsen so that the others can relax while they focus on the task of getting everything ready. It would appear that Minami’s glasses go opaque when she’s in a drinking mindset, rather than when she’s drunk: Chiaki seizes her before she has a chance to drink here. Even more so than the first season, Yuru Camp△ 2 excels with funny faces, and I’m especially fond of moments whenever Rin takes on a rounded appearance.

  • While admiring the scenery from Cape Mihama, Akari is nervous that Nadeshiko and Aoi will learn of the surprise Ena and the others have planned. At her age, Akari places great importance on these sorts of things, bringing to mind the likes of Berenstain Bears and Arthur, where characters similarly worked hard to ensure that surprises stayed secret until the right moment. Older folks tend not to worry about surprises: it’s the sentiment that counts, after all. With Akari playing a much larger role in Yuru Camp△ 2‘s Izu trip, I’m glad that she was able to accompany everyone, and much as how Sakura had a larger part to play in Yuru Camp△ 2, Akari’s presence means that the series is able to present perspectives of camping and exploration that Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi and Ena alone may not be able to offer.

  • While Aoi and Nadeshiko had known about the party plans, this doesn’t stop things from being any less enjoyable: once preparations are complete, Minami drives everyone back, and Aoi and Nadeshiko blow out the candles to their cake. What’s impressive is that the cake was entirely homemade; while baking a full cake at the campground is certainly possible, Chiaki, Rin and Ena have gone with pancakes instead, a suitable alternative that speaks to their creativity in the field. However, the cake and birthday song isn’t the full surprise: it turns out that Chiaki, Rin and Ena have chipped in to gift Aoi and Nadeshiko wooden cookware made of a special resin and fibre mixture that allows it to be used for holding hot drinks.

  • I imagine that, at the time of Nadeshiko’s conversation with Ayano shortly before she left Hamamatsu, she would’ve never imagined that she’d find good times and great company in Yamanashi quite like this. Life is full of surprises, and Yuru Camp△ 2 definitely went the extra mile to accentuate moments that are worth remembering, whether they’re with friends or family. Aoi and Nadeshiko’s birthday celebration is very similar to how I celebrate birthdays: while Western media often present birthday parties as large bashes with invitations to half the people in my class and activities like “pin the tail on the donkey”, I’ve never celebrated my birthdays in such a fashion. Consequently, I am more fond of a more quiet event with those closest to me, just as Yuru Camp△ 2 portrays.

  • Once the candles are blown out (Nadeshiko and Aoi decline to attempt blowing out the Swedish Candle that Chiaki’s put together) and gifts opened, Minami takes a photo of everyone. At this point, dinner’s on, and Minami is finally allowed to kick back with her drinks of choice. Speaking to the Outdoor Activities Club’s consideration for her, Chiaki, Ena and Rin have whipped up some side dishes that she believes would pair well with the liquor that Minami’s brought.

  • The spiny lobster shell from the previous evening’s dinner returns to the spotlight, being used as the base in the broth that Rin, Chiaki and Ena use for their shrimp and tomato risottoan Italian rice dish cooked with creamy broth. The incredible, sublime flavours come together in a way that blows Aoi, Nadeshiko and Akari’s socks off: their faces here plainly suggest that things are so tasty, they’re beyond words. When risotto is mentioned, I am reminded of my brother’s trip to Nova Scotia for an academic conference; he had risotto for dinner one evening and was caught unaware of how rich and filling it was, resulting in a hilarious Man v. Food moment.

  • Mid-dinner, Minami receives a call from Ryōko, who is relieved that things are going well. Minami mentions that being together with Nadeshiko and the others had been pleasant, allowing her to experience things that she otherwise would’ve missed. She is very glad to have accepted the role of advising for the Outdoor Activities Club, and here, Yuru Camp△ 2 reiterates its theme of appreciation. This time around, the series aims to convey the idea that learning is bidirectional, with the teacher also learning from the students. Altogether, Yuru Camp△ 2 clarifies that Minami’s drinking is merely a hobby, one that does not interfere with her professional life. As it stands, Nadeshiko and the Outdoor Activities Club are in good hands.

  • While Yuru Camp△ had primarily shown Chiaki and Aoi as being close friends, Yuru Camp△ 2 shows that everyone’s completely at home with everyone. Aoi and Nadeshiko got along just fine in the first season, but the two never really appeared to have anything in common beyond camping. That Aoi and Nadeshiko share birthdays helps the two to bond further. I’ve always been fond of Aoi’s character: she acts as the responsible and level-headed friend for the gung-ho and spirited Chiaki, but also has a mischevious streak a kilometre across when it comes to pranks. That she’s voiced by Aki Toyosaki is brilliant: Toyosaki’s ability to deliver Aoi’s line with a soft Kansai-ben is unmatched.

  • One of the biggest subtleties that Yuru Camp△ 2 portrayed was the decision to have Chiaki, Rin and Ena make the special dinner together for Nadeshiko and Aoi, with Akari helping to keep the two occupied so the others can focus. Yuru Camp△ had suggested that Rin wasn’t very fond of Chiaki: she originally found Chiaki too noisy for her liking and turned down Chiaki’s invitation to camping, but ever since Chiaki helped Rin out of a difficult spot, Rin came to accept Chiaki, regarding her as a friend like Ena and Nadeshiko. By the events of Yuru Camp△ 2, Rin and Chiaki get along very well.

  • Ryōko makes a brief appearance in Yuru Camp△ 2, camping somewhere near Mount Fuji (perhaps Fumotoppara or Asagiri Kōgen, based on the presence of open plains). When Minami mentions that things with the Outdoor Activities Club have been smooth so far, Ryōko jokingly suggests that maybe Minami hadn’t seen any real challenges yet. There’s a bit of dramatic irony to things, since Minami did end up bailing Chiaki, Aoi and Ena out of a difficult situation at Lake Yamanashi.

  • When Nadeshiko suggests climbing to the summit of Mount Daruma to watch the sunrise, everyone enthusiastically agrees. Here, the Swedish Candle Chiaki’s made can be seen burning in the foreground: unlike Yuru Camp△, where the candle fell apart to her, Nadeshiko and Aoi’s surprise while they were camping at Eastwood Campground, Chiaki’s become more skillful at making these Swedish Candles, another subtle reminder that everyone’s camping skills have improved with time.

  • The next morning, the early start proves to be a bit much for Akari, so Minami suggests to let Akari keep sleeping so she’s fully ready for the highlight of her trip: the capybaras. This ends up being a good call, since the morning walk proves to be a bit more involved than either Chiaki or Aoi had envisioned. When Aoi looks on ahead, she’s impressed that Nadeshiko and Rin are so far ahead, speaking to the pair’s above-average fitness.

  • While waiting for the others to arrive, Rin and Nadeshiko begin preparing a bit of soup for the cold morning. Up here, Rin suggests using Vaseline to prevent their faces from chaffing, and shares with Nadeshiko the fact that her mother was also a biker, so with this, it looks like everyone in the Shima family enjoys the great outdoors. This doesn’t come as a surprise to Nadeshiko, who feels that Rin’s inherited her family’s love for travel. It is the case that Vaseline is a solid way to keep moisture in: over this past winter, I’ve switched over to a Vaseline-based lip balm when my usual Bert’s Bees failed to be effective.

  • With the extra time they’ve got, Rin and Nadeshiko set about preparing a miso soup for everyone, adding in the spiny lobster shells to provide a unique flavour. Despite being used already for the previous night’s dinner, Rin is surprised the flavour is still very noticeable. Nadeshiko mentions that the shell can actually be reused a few more times, and eventually, be ground down into a powder for use as flavouring. This prompts Rin to comment that Nadeshiko definitely feels like a wife for her unparalleled knowledge of cooking.

  • Moments later, Aoi, Ena and Chiaki join Nadeshiko and Rin. I’m certain that Chiaki’s lack of fitness is deliberately portrayed as a joke, since this marks the second time she’s completely gassed from climbing a mountain, and I’m guessing that more than anything, Chiaki simply wasn’t mentally prepared for the walk. When the girls spot a sign indicating that the elevation at Mount Daruma is 981.8 metres, similar to that of Lake Yamanaka’s, they are reminded immediately of that night where the thermometer plummeted and Minami had come out to ensure everyone was fine.

  • This prompts Ena, Chiaki and Aoi to thank Rin anew, a very touching moment. It was around this point that I realised Yuru Camp△ 2‘s twelfth episode was unlikely to be the finale: Minami has plans to visit the Iidas, and everyone is looking forwards to meeting up with Choco again. With only minutes left to the episode, it hit me that Yuru Camp△ 2 couldn’t end here, not when two outstanding promises had yet to be fulfilled. Yuru Camp△ 2 is about keeping one’s word, and this theme is critical enough to warrant an entire episode, which extends the second season’s runtime by an episode.

  • When the episode ended, I checked for the presence of another episode in the preview to be certain of things. While this came as a complete surprise for me, I welcome this news wholeheartedly: having the extra runtime means being able to flesh out and explore to a satisfactory extent. I have heard that Yuru Camp△: The Movie is also in production; assuming this to be the case, I imagine that this would probably act as a finale to the series, scaling up the girls’ camping adventures for the silver screen as an opus magnum for Yuru Camp△. Once the manga finishes, I am tempted to pick up all of the English-translated volumes from my local bookstore. At this point in time, it’s something I am only considering because picking up all twelve volumes will be a feat that will require a total of 214.20 CAD including tax.

  • On this note, I do intend to buy the Official TV Guidebooks for Yuru Camp△ 2 and Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? BLOOM as soon as they become available: both series have been very kind to me, and it would be very pleasant to see the behind-the-scenes and concept art for both. I speculate that both would individually cost a much more reasonable 2500 Yen each, meaning it would be 5000 Yen (about 57.80 CAD at the time of writing) to pick them up. Back in Yuru Camp△ 2, a swift sunrise welcomes Chiaki, Aoi, Nadeshiko, Rin and Ena to their final day on the Izu Peninsula. I look forwards to returning next Friday to write about Yuru Camp△ 2‘s finale, and until then, I’ve got a few more posts for readers: besides a pair of talks on Gundam 00‘s first and second seasons, I also crossed the finish line for Shirobako: The Movie a few days ago, so I am looking forwards to sharing my thoughts on this film with readers.

With the revelation that Yuru Camp△ 2 will have one more episode to wrap things up, I am immensely grateful that C-Station has made the decision to space things out and properly portray Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s biggest and grandest camping trip yet. An extra twenty minutes will allow for the remainder of the girls’ itinerary to be visited (it would be completely unfair to shaft Akari and not visit the capybaras when she’d been so excited to check them out all this time), and also wrap up all of the themes that Yuru Camp△ 2 strove to cover during its second season. I have never been left disappointed by a studio’s decision to extend a series: Sunrise had previously extended Gundam Unicorn and Gundam Origin to fully tell their stories, and the wait was well worth it. With this as the precedence, I have no doubt in my mind that Yuru Camp△ 2‘s finale will be an immensely satisfying conclusion to what has become one of the most widely-acclaimed slice-of-life anime around. With this in mind, however, next week, I will not be returning on Thursday to wrap things up. Two weeks ago, my search for a new iOS developer position drew to a close after five weeks of searching, and I was most fortunate to be extended an offer with a local software firm. This represents a new start for me; I am very excited to onboard and begin contributing to things. I officially start this new position on April 1, which is when Yuru Camp△ 2‘s finale is airing. In order to ensure a smooth transition and onboarding, I will be coming to the office next Thursday to meet the team and get set up. Consequently, I am moving my Yuru Camp△ 2 finale review to Friday, which is also Good Friday. Readers have my word that I will be wrapping up this series; my decision is made based on my intention to ensure I start my new position strong, as well as write the best possible Yuru Camp△ 2 finale talk that I can to wrap up yet another brilliant slice-of-life series.