“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.” —Bob Hope
Once the Outdoors Activity Club is fully established, they decide to camp together over the Christmas break. Meeting at the Asagiri Plateau, the girls set up camp, play with fellow campers. Once evening sets in, they don Santa outfits and prepare their evening meal. Rin heads off to purchase propane when they run out of gas and recalls Ena’s remarks about the joys of camping in groups. The girls spend the remainder of their evening watching shows on Chiaki’s tablet before turning in. Christmas is a magical time of year, characterised by spending time with family and friends, partaking in good food and great times. Traditionally, the word Christmas evokes imagery of a fresh snowfall, sipping hot chocolate by a fireplace and sledding. Yuru Camp△, however, has Rin and her friends celebrate their Christmas in a unique manner in a camp site on the plains adjacent to Mount Fuji. It seems quite far removed from the Christmas festivities that I am familiar with, but watching Nadeshiko and the others camp find that this is only a prima facie observation: as the sun sets and the girls begin preparing their Christmas dinner, it turns out there is a considerable overlap in what they do while camping, and what I traditionally do for Christmas. After working together to prepare dinner and decking themselves in Santa outfits to channel the holiday spirit, the girls savour a warm meal under the evening skies, before breaking out Chiaki’s subscription to the Japanese equivalent of Netflix. Their manner of celebration may differ, but at its heart, the girls are sharing time together, resulting in a treasured memory of Christmas that particularly stands out for Rin, who spends Christmas together with her friends doing something that she’s long loved – Christmas is a season of togetherness, and as such, I’ve found that so as long as people are together, the notion of a Christmas spirit will continue to endure.
The meaning of Christmas is two-fold: it is a winter celebration of Jesus Christ’ birth, and is a season to spend with family and friends. Although its precise origin is unclear, Christmas was not widely celebrated until the ninth century, and prior to the spread of Christmas, European nations with a pegan culture had long been celebrating the Winter Solstice. By the Middle Ages, Christmas festivities were much more common, and concerns about Christmas as an avenue for commercialism and excesses began arising. As early as the seventeenth century, Christmas was banned in England for resulting in drunkenness and rowdy citizens. In the early twentieth century, Coca-Cola modernised the image of Santa Claus and this led to the view that Christmas was a time of gifts, of materials. Charles M. Schultz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas captures this concern, having Charlie Brown discover the meaning of Christmas while those around him concern themselves with a big, commercial Christmas, filled with expensive gifts, cash and aluminium Christmas trees. While attempting to direct a play, he picks up a shaggy tree that his peers mocks. But, upon learning from Linus that the original meaning of Christmas is not forgotten, Charlie Brown attempts to give the tree another chance. His peers later reappear to properly give the little tree love, and their animosities set aside, perform Hark! The Herald Angels Sing together. In the years following, while it may certainly seem that commercialism and consumerism permeates the Christmas holidays (in Canada, retailers aggressively advertise for Christmas on November 12), the true meanings of Christmas have continued to endure; the holidays continue to be a time of goodwill and togetherness for people.
Screenshots and Additional Commentary
- Consider this a Christmas gift from me to the readers; I’ve been incredibly busy for the past while, and my posting frequency has been dramatically reduced as a result, but Christmas Day means down time, a chance to sleep in and really rest up. This is my favourite Christmas gift: the chance to sleep in and wake up feeling really refreshed is incomparable. As such, I am sufficiently motivated to write a Christmas post for Yuru Camp△.
- The last time I wrote about Yuru Camp△ was back during the summer, and I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that the Survival Camp OVA was not particularly well-received. OVAs are usually intended to deviate from the style and approach of a season proper, hence the differences, so to see people not accept this was rather off-putting. This year, I chose to go with a Yuru Camp△ Christmas talk because its portrayal of Christmas is as unique and enjoyable as that of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?‘s Christmas.
- It continues to impress me just how tasty a prime rib roast can be despite its simplicity of preparation: black pepper, salt, olive oil and oregano is rubbed generously onto the meat, which is then cooked for 25 minutes at 500ºF (260ºC). After 25 minutes, the heat is turned off, and the roast is then allowed to warm in the oven for two hours. Since Rin and the others don’t have access to a 2400 Watt power supply, making a roast on the plains of Mount Fuji is not feasible, and so, they make nabe with fancy meat that melts in the girls’ mouths..
- For me, 打邊爐 (jyutping daa2 bin1 lou4, the Cantonese equivalent of nabe) is a New Year’s Eve tradition: this time year is typically quite cold, and there’s nothing like the rush of eating something hot on a chilly night. Unusually, this year’s been remarkably warm, and this is the first Brown Christmas I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s only -3ºC out there at the time of writing, and overcast; I’m hoping we could get some snowfall today.
- If Christmas Eves are a time for food and company, then Christmas Day for me is a quiet day spent relaxing. After the exchange of gifts with family by morning, I spend the afternoon taking hikes, reading books or gaming; because it’s overcast right now, my inclination to walk has diminished, and I think that I will enjoy some of that tea I got with a good book or movie later…provided that I am not gaming.
- The rush of eating too much is a familiar nemesis during the holidays: after the girls down their first pot, Aoi reveals that she’s also got a tomato broth and more meat. The girls reluctantly agree to continue with their Christmas dinner and eventually hit a food wall, although Nadeshiko is fine and is okay even when noodles are brought out. On my end, we still have the leftover prime rib beef bones from the prime rib, so tonight’s dinner will invariably include that.
- Yuru Camp△ was one of the strongest slice-of-life anime of the past year, and was met with near-universal acclaim. Sales figures for the series were solid, so it is no surprise that second season and series of shorts was announced a ways back. With its occasional instructions for camping and a generally relaxing atmosphere, Yuru Camp△ took a familiar concept, applied it to camping and then showcased the joys of exploration very well, making it particularly standout.
- Yuru Camp△‘s portrayal of Christmas is, like Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?‘s, a highly enjoyable and distinct one. Far from using the holiday as the basis for jokes or even fanservice, the story in both is tailored to say something specific about the Christmas spirit. Besides this, I admit that Yuru Camp△ made a fine choice for a blog post because I had a pile of screenshots that I never got to use in my earlier posts.
- Even working on the basis that I would not duplicate screenshots, I had no difficulty in picking out the screenshots for this post: my approach for picking screenshots is to take far more than a post requires, and then from this set, trim it down to the moments I can find something to say something about.
- After Rin returns from her trip to pick up additional propane, she returns to find the others speculating about the future. The use of space and lighting in this scene create a sense of warmth amongst the group and convey to viewers that the girls themselves represent light and warmth in an otherwise dark cold world. The night scenes of Yuru Camp△ are incredibly well done, and throughout the season, audiences are treated to spectacular night views.
- One aspect of Yuru Camp△ that I am very fond of, but have to made a particular mention of, are the voices. Soft and gentle, they contribute to the relaxing tone of the series; for the most part, I have no objection to what are colloquially referred to as “squeaky anime voices”.
- A classic question that is invariably asked around Christmas is whether or not one believes in Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a modernisation of Saint Nicolas, a wealthy bishop who was known for his generosity. However, after reforms, the concept fell out of popularity, even though gift-giving, especially to children, endured: Victorian writers rekindled interest in Saint Nicolas, and Clement Clarke Moore really sparked off the modern incarnation of Santa Claus that we know, with his 1823 poem “T’was The Night Before Christmas”.
- Santa Claus as we know him, with his flying reindeer and ability to visit several billion households over the course of 24 hours, remains relegated to the realm of fantasy. Some engineers working for The City of Calgary’s department of building codes set out to mathematically indicate Santa’s existence is implausible assuming conformance with macroscopic physics (i.e. the speed Santa needs to move at to accomplish his feat would have him burn up into a carbon cinder before he finished visiting his third house), but of late, folks studying quantum mechanics suggest that this field might allow Santa to exist.
- As the evening wears on, Nadeshiko and the others exchange their Santa outfits for something more comfortable amidst the falling evening temperatures: at the time of writing, the temperature at Asagiri Plateau also happens to be -3ºC; it can get quite chilly here in the winter, necessitating the proper gear in order for one to keep warm.
- The smiles in Yuru Camp△ are some of the most adorable I’ve seen in any slice-of-life anime, and believe you me, I have seen a non-trivial number of these shows, so I can make such a claim with confidence. Seeing these smiles is equivalent to hugging a large stuffed animal, and if it were not evident already, I have a fondness for all things adorable despite my profound love for first person shooters.
- Christmas is a fantastic time to sit back and watch shows; Chiaki’s brought a tablet and subscription to a media services provider. As the evening winds down, the girls kick back and watch shows before turning in. A miniature Christmas tree adorns the table: traditional trees are eight to ten feet in height and take an entire morning to properly decorate, whereas the smaller, desktop-sized trees can be put together in under ten minutes. I plan on using these small trees for Christmas until such a time as I need a larger tree to house Christmas gifts under.
- Nearing the end of this post, my mind turns towards wondering what a second season of Yuru Camp△ could entail; the first season was about Nadeshiko’s discovery of camping and its attendant joys, as well as Rin’s newfound perspective on group camping. One wonders where precisely a second season could go: the introduction of more members or new camping locations is likely to be the case.
- Regardless of what a continuation entails, I would be more than happy to watch it: Yuru Camp△ was consistently relaxing and enjoyable throughout its run. With solid visuals and an excellent soundtrack, every element in Yuru Camp△‘s adaptation was able to bring the manga to life.
- I’ve decided to wrap up with another angle of Rin and the others enjoying the sunrise by breakfast: this post has a “mere” twenty screenshots for ease of reading (and also because it’s faster to write). For all of my readers and visitors, Merry Christmas! I will be returning to wrap up The World in Colours before the end of the year, but until then, have a good one, and take it easy 🙂
Consequently, watching the girls of Yuru Camp△ celebrate Christmas in their own unique fashion, without expensive gifts or highly intricate parties; their best gift to one another is a memorable camping experience spent together with everyone for the first time. Having spent the majority of Yuru Camp△ trying to convince the solo camper Rin into the joys of group camping, Yuru Camp△ frames Rin’s acceptance of Nadeshiko’s invitation as the surest sign of change in her character. For Nadeshiko, this is a Christmas miracle of sorts, and so, creates an additional magic for Yuru Camp△, an already solid and enjoyable series. For me, camping on Christmas day with my friends seems quite difficult to fathom: my Christmases are characterised by spending the day with family and taking some down time from my usual obligations and responsibilities. Christmas Eves see a dinner with family, and the Christmas Day is about relaxing at home. There is one exception: four years ago, I spent Christmas Day on the observation deck at Taipei 101 overlooking the capital of Taiwan, and then Boxing Day was marked with a drive from the Monster Village to Kaohsuing City along the plains of Western Taiwan. While far removed from my usual hot chocolate and quiet mornings, that Christmas was still spent with family, doing something exciting; I imagine that since it is commonly accepted that Christmas is about togetherness and people, concerns about consumerism displacing the true meaning of Christmas are likely to not be as severe as some might be inclined to think. As long as there is this goodwill and togetherness, the meaning of Christmas will continue to endure into the future.