The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Laid-Back Camp

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.

The Real Life Road Home From Izu Peninsula: An Oculus-Powered Armchair Journey of Yuru Camp△ 2, Part IV

“I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing!” –Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

It’s been week after Yuru Camp△ 2‘s finale aired, and already, I’m suffering from Yuru Camp△ withdrawal. This was only to be expected, as Yuru Camp△ 2 represented an immensely cathartic experience, and so, without weekly episodes to look forwards to, things have become somewhat emptier. However, this does not mean that I’m out of Yuru Camp△ 2-related materials to talk about: somewhere before the series had ended, I did promise to return and do a short post on the remaining locations in Yuru Camp△ 2. This time around, I follow Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s way home. In the aftermath of a memorable and fulfilling journey to the Izu Peninsula, Yuru Camp△ 2 slowly winds down as the girls finish their itinerary and make their way back to Yamanashi under a setting sun that illuminates the land in a warm, gentle glow. Along the way, there are several noteworthy destinations to stop along at, allowing Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club to keep all of the promises they’d made at the onset of this journey. Thanks to Yuru Camp△ 2 being very open about its locations, this final set of locations prove straightforward to find. During the course of each of the four parts to my Yuru Camp△ 2 location hunt, I had a considerable amount of fun in finding everything: armed with my prior Oculus Quest experience, using landmarks and full immersion meant that none of the locations posed any challenge to find this time around. Thus, in this post, I take readers through the last of the Izu destinations, and return to Yamanashi, where Rin’s journey with camping first began.

  • The last leg of this journey begins at Hiroi Liquor Store, which is located at the heart of Itō in Izu’s eastern edge. Open from 0900 to 1800 JST on most days, Hiroi’s owners are every bit as friendly as the Iidas, and their sake is said to be excellent, being made from local rice. While I’m not big on alcohol, Hiroi also has an interesting selection of imported foods and drinks, making it a worthwhile place to check out even if one does not partake in drinking.

  • Mount Omuro is located 2.9 kilometres north north west of Hiroi Liquor as the mole digs, but by road distance, it’s a 4.6 kilometre drive. This dormant pyroclastic cone has not erupted for four millennia and is home to the Yamayake Festival, an annual event during which vegetation is burnt away. At the foot of the mountain, there’s a Visitor’s Centre and cable car that takes visitors to the summit of Mount Omuro. During early March, they’re open from 0900 to 1645 JST. An individual ticket for a round trip is 700 Yen (8.05 CAD), and the walk around Mount Omuro’s crater rim takes anywhere from twenty minutes to half an hour.

  • Across the street from the Mount Omuro’s Visitor Centre is the road access to Izu Shaboten Zoo, home of the capybaras that Akari is so excited to see. At the fork in the road, there’s a distinct cactus statue belonging to Izu Cactus Village Glamping, a resort offering fancy-pants camping. Glamping (Glamorous Camping) has been around for centuries as a concept, but it was only in 2016 where it entered the English lexicon. As one might expect of fancy-pants camping, Izu Cactus Village offers a do-it-yourself barbeque and beautiful geodesic dome tents that provide all the comforts of home. It’s, as folks are wont to say, a different form of camping that is a different kind of luxurious compared to the more traditional camping that Rin and the others do.

  • Glamping would defeat the purpose of Yuru Camp△, and their destination lies a ways ahead at Izu Shaboten Zoo, which is open between 0900 and 1700 JST from March to October. Visiting here is pricey compared to the Outdoor Activities Club’s usual events; individual tickets cost 2400 Yen (27.59 CAD), while for Akari, the price of admissions is 1200 Yen (13.80 CAD). For comparison, adult tickets to my local zoo is 24.95 CAD per adult, while children’s tickets are 14.95 CAD. However, what makes Izu Shaboten Zoo special is that, besides the famed onsen-enjoying capybaras, most of their animals are free-roaming and friendly towards humans. One can even purchase animal food and feed the animals here, and for visitors looking for a change of scenery, Izu Shaboten Zoo also has a pleasant botanical garden.

  • It’s a 32.6 kilometre drive from Izu Shoboten Zoo back to Darumayama Kogen Rest House, the same roadside stop with the observation deck and gorgeous view of Mount Fuji that Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club had visited in episode eleven. Rin had parked her moped here for the day and accepted a ride from Minami, and now that the time has come to head home, the group returns here to retrieve Rin’s bike before preparing for the hundred-kilometre drive back to Yamanashi. I imagine that Rin and the others also grab a light lunch here before heading back: there’s a snack bar that serves everything from ice cream and pancakes to noodles and curry rice.

  • The way back home to Yamanashi is presented as a very gentle and peaceful drive: here, a frame portrays Sirkanogawao Bridge on the Izu-Jūkan Expressway (E70) just outside of Ōhito, a small town north of Izu. E70 has a short tolled section and runs for 57.3 kilometres: it opened in 1992, but sections of it are still incomplete. With speed limits of 100 km/h depending on road conditions, expressways generally are only open to motor vehicles that can maintain 50 km/h or greater: mopeds like Rin’s are generally not permitted.

  • As such, Rin takes a slightly different way home on her moped: this intersection is where Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club part ways. Minami will head east down this road back to Prefectural Route 18 and make for the intersection linking them to E70, while Rin heads north for Prefectural Route 129. Because Rin’s journey is much slower, she has a few moments to herself, while the other girls (save Nadeshiko) fall asleep and find themselves back home in Yamanashi before they know it. The slope up this road looks much steeper in Yuru Camp△ 2 than it does in real life.

  • Yuru Camp△ 2 portrays a sign on the grassy slop adjacent to the road indicating the direction of Shuzenji Hot Spring, and sure enough, the signs can be seen in the real-world spot on the right hand side of the image. In this post, I’ve chosen not to go hunting for all of the various spots that Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club separately pass through: at the journey’s end, there isn’t much that can be said about freeway overpasses and coastal roads that is useful for readers. Visitors will only likely pass along these spots if they’re in Japan, and I don’t feel a particular need to compare stretches of road Yuru Camp△ 2 with real life, not when other comparisons do a compelling job of conveying how faithful the anime is to real life.

  • Back in Yamanashi, Rin runs into Nadeshiko, who’d gone out with Sakura to see if she’d been alright. Yuru Camp△ 2 ends with a conversation between the two, and here, Rin shares her first-ever camping trip with Nadeshiko. The series elegantly wraps things up towards its ending, and so, for this post, I’ve decided to go looking for the road Rin takes to get back home during her first year of middle school, where her love for camping began. Here, she walks along a road lining the Hanki River, just off Route 400. I’d long known that Rin lived somewhere near the Tokiwa River, so finding this spot was a matter of looking for bridges near the Tokiwa River along Route 300. Inspection of the Google Street View image and location from Yuru Camp△ 2 finds that I’ve got a match, right down to the red utility box and T-intersection road sign.

  • Much as how I ended the first Yuru Camp△ 2 location hunt post with a screenshot of an instance where the real-world location has a vacant lot, here, I’ve found the spot where Takeda Bookstore is located. The presence of a distinct-looking garage besides a house indicates that, as with Nadeshiko’s grandmother’s house, C-Station remains true to real life even if certain locations were created to accommodate the story, and as before, while visiting a vacant lot isn’t likely too troublesome, folks should still take care not to disturb residents if they are visiting for real. With this in mind, folks using virtual means of exploration can check things out to their heart’s content. I believe with this, I’ve covered off most of the relevant locations of Yuru Camp△ 2 and therefore, can conclude this post now.

I imagine that this will be the second last Yuru Camp△ 2 and location hunt post I write about in the foreseeable future, as I’ve covered almost all of the locations and content to the best of my ability. As per usual, having the Oculus Quest has made the location hunt process much more engaging and immersive, and in no time at all, I’d found everything of note. While this means that until Yuru Camp△: The Movie is released, I won’t be doing too many location hunts with the Oculus Quest. However, having said this, I have caught wind of an experimental VR app called Laid-Back Camp Virtual, which allows players to step into the world of Yuru Camp△. Insofar, I’ve been using Wander for Oculus Quest to visit the real-world locations of Yuru Camp△, but the developers at Gemdrops have successfully brought the world of Yuru Camp△ to life, complete with the talking pine cones. At the time of writing, only the Lake Motosu version is out, but there are plans for a Fumoto version as well. Individually, each cost 24.99 CAD for the Oculus Quest, and appear to be a guided tour of the experience that Rin and Nadeshiko have in their earliest experiences together, allowing players to really become a part of Yuru Camp△. While the experiences are quite short, totalling only forty minutes each, this could be a fun demo that adds another dimensionality to having an Oculus Quest: it’s been two years since the Oculus Quest released, and save for SUPERHOT VR and Wander, I’ve not really found other apps to be worth the price of admissions. Having a few additional titles in my library would really allow me to get the most out of the Oculus Quest; while I’ve greatly enjoyed its usability with only two titles so far, it would be nice to experience other games and see what’s possible in VR.

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.

The Real Life Izu Peninsula and Birthday Camping, Seaside-style: An Oculus-Powered Armchair Journey of Yuru Camp△ 2, Part III

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart” –Confucius

While Rin was denied the opportunity to camp in and explore Izu Peninsula during the New Year’s, circumstances have shifted, allowing Rin to accompany the Outdoors Activity Club to the Izu Peninsula for the biggest camping adventure seen in Yuru Camp△. Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島, Hepburn Izu-hantō) was formed from Philippine Sea Plate, Okhotsk Plate and Amurian Plate meeting in a triple junction, creating intense tectonic activity that results in volcanism and frequent earthquakes. Izu Peninsula is home to a number of fictional series; Amanchu is set on Izu’s eastern edge, and Koji Suzuki’s The Ring (along with the film adaptation) uses Izu’s remote but stunning natural beauty as the backdrop for a series of terrifying events. Although perhaps iconic for its setting in The Ring, the actual Izu Peninsula possesses none of the terror – it is a prefecture famous for its hot springs and natural features, which drives tourism, as well as wasabi production. With a population of some four hundred and seventy-three thousand people, and covering an area of 1421.24 km², it is here that Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club have their grandest experience yet, which has spanned three whole episodes so far. While Izu itself has a surface area nearly six times larger than the largest search space I’ve looked at for Yuru Camp△, the mountainous topography, narrow coastal roads and limited pathing options, together with the fact that Yuru Camp△ 2 has been very kind with showing routes and destinations, has meant that for this location hunt, finding the exact places that Rin, Nadeshiko, Chiaki, Aoi, Ena, Minami and Akari visit has presented no trouble at all. With virtually every spot well-covered by Google Maps, it became trivially easy to tread along the same paths and marvel at the same sights that this close-knit group of friends experiences on their adventures when the information in Yuru Camp△ 2 is so complete, and the Oculus Quest’s capabilities are used to further augment the rate at which things can be found. Using the full immersion that the Oculus Quest provides, the peninsula’s beauty is apparent as I travelled along the virtual representation of Izu’s coastal highways and mountain trails. In this post, then, the aim is simple enough: as with previous location hunts, my aim is to share the locations seen in Yuru Camp△ 2, and provide an adequate amount of detail so that folks can appreciate the effort than went into Yuru Camp△ 2. I am aware that location hunting with Yuru Camp△ is a popular activity; I do hope that this post is able to help folks find what they seek, and perhaps, even use this post as a starting point for planning out their own trip to Izu Peninsula.

  • I’ll open with a stretch of road Rin travels along during the first leg of her Izu Peninsula tour and assure readers that most of the remaining destinations in this post will be more exciting than various stretches of road. To share a bit of a story for fun: when I was younger, 半島 always gave me trouble: it translates directly to “peninsula”, but breaking the word apart, 半 (jyutping bun3, Hepburn han) means “half”, and 島 (jyutping dou2, Hepburn with the on’yomi reading) is island. Hence, my interpretation of 半島 was “half-island”. When I first visited Hong Kong at the age of four, the reading of Kowloon Peninsula (九龍半島, jyutping gau2 lung4 bun3 dou2) would always confuse me, since Kowloon wasn’t an island by any definition, and I struggled with the idea of what a “half-island” was until learning it was equivalent to a Peninsula.

  • While Rin’s soaking up a variety of geospots around the northwestern side of Izu, the Outdoor Activities Club travels down route 414 from Yamanashi into the heart of Izu, passing along the Michi-no-eki Amagi-goe roadside stop. There’s a small market here, Amagi Wasabi no Sato,  that the the Outdoor Activities Club stop by to get some wasabi ice cream: because of Izu’s climate and soil, the peninsula is well-suited for growing wasabi plants, and there’s actually a small field by the shop that grows wasabi. Visitors can even pick wasabi for themselves here; while the Outdoor Activities Club don’t see many geospots on their first leg of the journey, wasabi is an integral part of the Izu experience, so I felt that such a visit would be a reasonable tradeoff.

  • Fourteen minutes and 10.4 kilometres south of Amagi Wasabi no Sato is the Kawazu Nandaru Spiral Bridge, a feat of engineering that was completed in 1982 in order to ascend a steep mountain passage where building switchbacks was not possible. Because of the tight turn, the speed limit here is restricted to 30 km/h, and the total road distance this spiral bridge covers is 1100 metres to accommodate for a 45 metre elevation difference between road surfaces. As Yuru Camp△ 2 indicates, it’s certainly a fun experience for drivers and passengers alike.

  • While Chiaki and the others are riding the Kawazu Nandaru Spiral Bridge, Rin visits Ryugu Sea Cave, which is located a stone’s throw (7.1 kilometres down the shortest route, totalling about 12 minutes) from their rendezvous point. The Izu Peninsula isn’t particularly large, but Yuru Camp△ 2 demonstrates that there’s no shortage of natural attractions and local specialties to check out; it’s taken a full three episodes to even scratch the surface, and there’s still a few more spots Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club have on their itinerary for their last day. In this location hunt post, I’ve opted to show locations in order simply to keep things consistent.

  • At the parking lot for Ryugu Sea Cave, the shadows cast by the morning light shroud half of this frame in shadows. At this hour in the morning, Rin has the entire place to herself: only her moped is visible from this position, and to the left is the Healing Dragon, a small rental bungalow that acts as accommodation for visitors. It is across the street from Ryugu Park and features a full kitchen, barbeque pit and a washing machine. However, in order to make use of these facilities, one must register for a Healing Dragon membership, which is 1000 Yen per person.

  • As Rin discovers, the Ryugu Sea Cave is absolutely beautiful: originally an enclosed cave, the terrain above collapsed, creating a forty-metre wide opening that allows for the cavern to be fully illuminated. From the sky, Ryugu Sea Cave looks like heart, and so, is counted as a power spot, a place where nature is especially sublime and wondrous, sufficiently to recharge one’s spirits, hence the moniker. There are equivalent spots here in Canada: Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the Maritime provinces, have especially beautiful coasts, and the Bay of Fundy’s features are world-famous for their beauty.

  • After Rin meets up with everyone, the group heads on over to Shimoda’s Ra-Maru, a restaurant that serves some of what locals consider to be the best burger this side of Japan: their iconic Shimoda burgers comes with a gigantic slice of camembert cheese on top of the regular cheese slice, which, in conjunction with the sauce and generous helping of fried Alfonsino, is said to create a flavour experience that’s out of this world. While the burgers themselves are 1100 Yen (about 12.59 CAD), a full meal with a drink and side of fries or onion rings costs 1500 Yen (17.17 CAD). On the topic of burgers, I have mentioned that I am a bit of a burger connoisseur (although not to the same extent as poutine!), and my favourite burgers combine ingredients that play well together and super-combine for a veritable flavour explosion.

  • If and when I’m asked, the best burger in town for me is Kilkenny’s “Stuffed Bacon Cheddar” burger, a mouth-watering tower of bacon and cheddar cooked into the half-pound patty, paired with a fried egg, mango avocado salsa and back bacon. With this being said, I don’t see it on their menu anymore, and it’s been some four years since I’ve visited Kilkenny’s, so it is possible that the burger has been retired from the menu. Back in this location hunt, I’ve taken a few steps back here to show Ra-Maru from a different angle, to include the remainder of the building, which also houses a tourist centre, museum and seafood restaurant. Just visible in both the real life and anime incarnations are concrete pillars: the main floor is used as a dedicated parking space that Minami and Rin make use of, chosen for its proximity to Ra-Maru: the services and amenities here make this a solid place to act as a starting point for exploring Shimoda and its surroundings.

  • After lunch, the Outdoor Activities Club and Rin head into town to pick up ingredients for dinner. They pass over the Inouzawa River on Route 135: here, the cables for the Shimoda Ropeway, a cable car that takes visitors to an observation deck 156 metres up. The cable car runs every quarter hour and takes three-and-a-half minute one way; the sights up here are supposed to be great, especially when flowers are blooming, and there’s also a Buddhist shrine at the top of the mountain (Aizendo), but this isn’t a part of the Outdoor Activities Club or Rin’s itinerary.

  • Instead, for groceries, the group swings by MaxValu by Aeon. As the sign out front indicates, this supermarket is open twenty-four hours a day and has a solid selection of fruits and vegetables, everything that Aoi and Nadeshiko need to whip up their evening meal for their first night. In Yuru Camp△ 2, the store is called MaxPower, but otherwise, matches its real-world equivalent right down to the “open 24 hours” sign out front. However, it appears they’ve swapped out the Mister Donut place for what looks like a substitution for Starbucks. Incidentally, donuts are very popular in Japan, to the point where the only country on earth with both a larger number of donut shops and donuts consumed per capita is my homeland, Canada.

  • Manpo is a seafood restaurant and market rolled into one, being the place that the group stops at to pick up seafood for their evening meal. Located seven minutes (3.5 kilometres) east of MaxValu Izushimoda by car, Manpo (Manpuku in-show) is not mentioned by name in Yuru Camp△ 2, but finding it proved unexpectedly straightforward: I knew that Minami and the others had a short car trip between the MaxValu and Manpo. Further to this, Manpo was located prior to the group’s stop at Cape Tsumeki. Doing a search for seafood restaurants in the area quickly narrowed down the candidate locations, and Manpo was a perfect match. Visitors typically do as the gentleman does, sitting down to enjoy the charcoal-grilled seafood and excellent service. Minami is tempted to join, but ultimately, her students persuade her to keep going.

  • I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Google Street View extended down to the foot paths at Cape Tsumeki, a geospot renowned for its narcissus flowers and tranquil beaches. In March, Nadeshiko and the others won’t be able to see the narcissus flowers, and it’s a little too early for swimming, but the landscape remains inviting for a walk. With Street View available to me, I dropped onto the path on the grassy plains and traced it to Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s first stop, Tsumekizaki Lighthouse.

  • Tsumekizaki Lighthouse is perched at the edge of a cliff, creating a scene that’s simultaneously beautiful and melancholy: it does feel like the edge of the world here. A short way from the lighthouse are a collection of hexagonal rocks called the Tsumezaki Columnar Joints. Reminiscent of Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, volcanic activity caused the formation of columnar basalts, which form their distinct hexagonal patterns when thick lava flows cool quickly, causing vertical fractures to form. While exploring Cape Tsumeki, Minami learns that camping on the beaches here is actually prohibited.

  • With Cape Tsumeki done, and their problem of finding a new campsite solved, the Outdoor Activities Club and Rin head next to the Hosono Plateau. Like Manpo, finding this distinct-looking tunnel carved into the cliff adjacent to the coast initially seemed a daunting task, since I’d have to trace through some 17.5 kilometres of coast to find it, but as it turns out, traits in the landscape allowed me to locate this spot without too much difficulty. Google Street View shows that the drive along route 135 would be an immensely enjoyable one, and I am immediately reminded of Taiwan’s Provincial Highway 11, which travels along the island’s eastern edge between Taitung and Hualien and had similarly stunning views where the coastal highway would hug sheer cliffs that dropped into the ocean below.

  • The narrow coastal highway widens by the time it reaches Kawazu, a town located in a valley. This town will serve as an important intersection when the Outdoor Activities Club and Rin return here on their second day, but with their destination, they pass through the town and head for Inatori, which is where the road leading to Hosono Plateau is located. Here, a faint haze can be seen in Yuru Camp△ 2, and more impressively, Google Street View displays smoke in roughly the same spot. It is not lost on me that C-Station could have thoroughly researched most of their locations with Google Street View alone if they so chose: the amount of detail is impressive, and equipped with the Oculus Quest, I was able to replicate the drives with near-perfect accuracy to what Yuru Camp△ 2 presented.

  • Here, the Outdoors Activity Club and Rin reach Hosono Plateau Tree House Village, a delightful campground located a short 3.8 kilometres north of Inatori. Featuring actual tree-houses and nestled in a forest, visitors report that this campground is a particularly pleasant one. The managers are very attentive, the facilities are well-maintained, and the location makes it suited for stargazing. Not shown in Yuru Camp△ is the fact there’s a golf course adjacent to the Tree House Village.

  • This segment of the drive reminds me a great deal of Bragg Creek, a hamlet half an hour west of the city situated at the confluence between the creek the hamlet is named after and the Elbow River. Bragg Creek boasts to have the freshest air this side of Alberta, and is located in a forested area. As Minami and Rin travel down this road, the vegetation thins, and soon, the forests give way to wide open fields.

  • The grassy plains of Hosono Highland are located just a few hundred metres from the Tree House Village: the area is evidently windy, as there is a wind farm just on the hill. Known as Kawazu Wind Farm, this installation belongs to Eurus Energy, a Japanese company dedicated to clean energy production with wind and solar farms in five continents. Kawazu entered operations in May 2015 and generates 16.7 MW of energy. Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s final destination lies close to the wind farms, being the Mount Musujiyama trail that takes viewers right to the summit in fifteen minutes. Because Google Street View doesn’t extend far enough, I’ve chosen not to provide screenshots of the view from the summit.

  • The general rule for my posts are that I can only showcase locations retrieved from Google Street View or Google Places: this is to remain as faithful as possible to my Oculus Quest-only searches: for the foreseeable future, I would not count it a responsible decision to put boots on the ground for the sake of a few more photos and comparisons, and to be as fair as possible to readers, I’ve restricted my location hunts to what is available to everyone. Here, I’ve fast forwarded a little, after the group prepares to head to their campsite. According to Google Maps, to reach this spot, one will need to undergo a 44.5 kilometre drive that cuts across Izu’s mountains along route 15 on a lonely road. The intersection above is indeed located two kilometres from their destination, in the town of Nishiizu.

  • After Minami gives the girls the go-ahead to find an onsen (on the condition that it be nearby and close to the campsite so Rin doesn’t freeze or fall asleep from the drive), the group stops at Dōgashima. There are three hotels here home to onsen, making it easy to determine that Seiryu Hotel is where the girls go to unwind after a long day’s drive. With beautiful views from each room (in addition to the bath) and friendly staff, Seiryu Hotel accommodates English speakers and is located mere minutes away from Dōgashima, as well as the Sanshirō Island Tombolo. From here, Camp Koganezaki is an eleven minute (eight kilometre) drive to the north. I’ve got no comparisons of Camp Koganezaki simply because by the time Rin and the others arrive, it’s dark (and darkness makes it difficult to really pick out details in comparative screenshots).

  • Instead, I will jump ahead to Sawada Park, which is located on the northern side of Nishiizu and offers a gorgeous view of the sea. The smooth rocks at the edge of the parking lot are reminiscent of the hoodoos in Southern Alberta and were presumably formed by erosion. However, the scenery isn’t the main attraction: there’s an open-air bath here that costs 600 Yen for adults. While the baths are tiny, only allowing four to five occupants at a time in their calcium and sodium sulfate waters, the view is unmatched: in March and September, the sunset lines up perfectly with the baths, creating a one-of-a-kind experience. When Rin arrives in the morning, it’s much too early for such a treat, but in exchange, she’s early enough to have the whole place to herself.

  • Google Street View does offer viewers a chance to climb onto the footpath at Sawada Park and check things out for themselves, which was a fantastic experience within the Oculus Quest: I was able to drop myself to the same spot Rin passes through without any difficulty. It is amazing that some places do have complete Google Street View coverage, whether they be smaller parks or the interior of museums: Indoor Street View has made it possible for me to explore locations that would otherwise require an in-person visit, and it was with such coverage that I was able to get the images needed for Tsukuba’s JAXA Space Centre Exhibition Hall for my Koisuru Asteroid location hunt. I do note that while the technology exists, there is no substitute for being there in person: I imagine that this technology is primary intended to give visitors an idea of a spot’s layout and help out in planning out group excursions.

  • For brunch the next morning, Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club hit Dōgashima Dining Hall, a seafood restaurant just north of Nishiizu, twelve minutes south of Camp Koganezaki. Despite its unassuming appearance, Dōgashima Dining Hall has a pleasant atmosphere and delicious fare: the fish is supposed to be amazing. When I watched the twelfth episode of Yuru Camp△ 2, I hadn’t bothered to locate this restaurant, but now that I’ve found it, I can identify what everyone has. It appears that Aoi ordered the 俺のぶっかけ丼 (Hepburn ore no bukkake donburi), a delicious rice bowl with sashimi and egg. Minami’s gone with the 地魚刺身定食 (Hepburn jizakana sashimi teishoku, literally “Local fish sashimi set meal”). Akari is seen eating tokoroten (a sort of jelly made from seaweed); Dōgashima Dining Hall offers all-you-can-eat tokoroten with every meal, serving it with either black honey or vinegar and soy sauce.

  • Dōgashima itself has a striking coastline, and here, the group visits the hiking trail surrounding the Dōgashima Sea Cave: similar to Ryugu Sea Cave, erosion and weathering eventually caused a segment of the land to sink and collapse into the caverns below. While Chiaki mentions it’d be nice to hop right in to cool off during the summer, and Rin counters that there’s probably no way out. In reality canoe tours are offered, allowing one to actually get into the flooded caverns below to see the natural skylight. There’s a dock near the parking lot where visitors can register for the cave tour. While Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club don’t do such a tour, they do make use of the hiking trail to take in the unique scenery at Dōgashima.

  • Sanshirō Island displaces the onsen-enjoying capybaras as the most long-awaited destination for Akari: it’s located ten minutes north of Dōgashima on foot (totally 650 metres of road distance), and this island chain consists of three islands (Denbei, Nakano, Okinose and Taka). While there are no grilled meat vendors here per Aoi’s suggestion, the site is incredibly beautiful, and at low tide, enough of the water recedes so that one could walk to the islands without getting their feet wet. I imagine that Akari and the others arrived a little before the tide was lowest (one hour before and one hour after low tide), so they ditch their shoes and wade across. As Yuru Camp△ 2 states, the islands are so-named because depending on the perspective, there are either three or four islands.

  • With the list of geospots to visit for the day finished, the Outdoor Activities Club and Rin head back into Nishiizu to pick up some ingredients at Food Store Aoki, which is located right beside Nishina River. Rin and Minami had actually passed by Aoki earlier en route to Seiryu Hotel, so it makes sense for the group to swing by here for groceries. Visitors note that while things are a little pricier here, the quality and selection is solid, so the Outdoor Activities Club have no trouble finding the materials they need to whip up an impressive birthday dinner for Aoi and Nadeshiko at Aoki before heading off for their final destination of the day: Darumayama-Kogen Campground.

  • The route that Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club take to reach the campground is the same one that Google Maps recommends: they travel back up Route 136 past Camp Koganezaki and make a right onto Route 410. This particular crosswalk is located near a fork between the Ugusu and Ohisasu rivers – it is quite unremarkable save for the fact that it took a little bit of effort to locate. In this location hunt for Yuru Camp△ 2, I’ve chosen not to go with too many road shots because there’s also a considerable number of attractions to highlight. With this being said, the attractions and stops are generally easy to find, since they’re named after their real-world counterparts or offer identifying characteristics. Conversely, various stretches of road require a bit more patience to find and may not always allow for the most exciting of remarks to be made.

  • With this being said, every location for a location hunt post, I’ve found independently using only Google Maps, Google Street View and the Places API, plus a handful of computer vision techniques that are available to me. The reason for not delving further into pilgrimages on Japanese SNS for interior shots and the like is because those experiences aren’t always readily accessible for folks overseas: the aim of these Oculus Quest powered location hunt posts is to provide starting points that readers can check out straightaway. Thus, the only rule I have is that my location hunts must be something readers can also access. Here, Rin and Minami ascend a switchback, passing by Nishi-Amagi Plateau Branch House, a guesthouse that is known for its soft-serve ice cream and soba.

  • The West Izu Skyline is a stretch of road that cuts across the highlands and that offers unparalleled views: Izu also has the Izu Skyline, a toll road located to the east. Both roads are frequented by folks looking for a phenomenal drive or cycling adventure. Before setting off, Minami asks Rin to be careful and not be too distracted by the scenery – this is a known problem for drivers, and on the road trips I’ve done, I usually have another driver so we can take turns driving and checking out the scenery. Of course, when there are sights that call for it, sometimes, it’s a better idea to stop and really take a closer look. This particular spot on the road, facing south, is located quite close to the Nishi-Amagi Plateau Branch House, and I found it simply by following the West Izu Skyline a ways, using the curvature of the road and the Oculus Quest’s ability to let me look around in 360º to confirm I’d found the spot. I realise that the Google Street View version of the West Izu Skyline doesn’t have the road markings seen in Yuru Camp△ 2 – the latter clearly denote one-way traffic and no passing, whereas in the Street View images, I get the impression that one can change lanes.

  • I’ll conclude this post with a view from Darumayama Observatory, located just half a kilometre from the Daruyama-Kogen Campground. This marks the end of the twelfth episode’s travels, as the remainder of the day is dedicated to preparations ahead of Aoi and Nadeshiko’s birthday. As Yuru Camp△ 2 shows, Mount Fuji can easily be spotted from this viewpoint. While I’d originally intended to write this post after the finale to showcase all of the locations of Yuru Camp△ 2, the revelation that there’d be a thirteenth episode in conjunction with the large number of spots visited during Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s excursion to the Izu Peninsula meant it made more sense to cover off some of the locations now before their number made writing a post too daunting. With this done, I plan on writing one final location hunt post for Yuru Camp△ 2 once the finale is in the books to check off any remaining locations, as well as some sights in and around the Minobu valley to round out the season.

With this latest set of locations in the books, I think that readers now have enough information to draft out a complete Yuru Camp△ 2 tour: attesting to Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club maturing, the scope and scale of their travels has increased considerably since Yuru Camp△. Whereas Yuru Camp△‘s settings remained largely within Yamanashi and Nagano, oftentimes within the range of mass transit options, Yuru Camp△ 2 represents a much bolder series of adventures that requires more extensive planning, and perhaps private transportation to make reaching said locations easier. While such a trip is not the most responsible decision I could make right now, I will note that the Oculus Quest has again come through here; several locations in Yuru Camp△ 2‘s final third were found by capitalising on the 360º view that a VR headset offers. With Yuru Camp△ 2 providing the locations Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club visits, the key attractions were found without difficulty, and the superior spatial awareness that VR provides meant being able to very easily travel up and down a stretch of road to find nearby spots that were unnamed in the anime. In this way, from the segment of road travelling through a cave, to the restaurant that everyone stops for sashimi at and even the shop where Minami picks up a spiny lobster, each and every spot within this post was located without difficulty. Having now fielded the Oculus Quest on no fewer than seven location hunts, I finally feel like I’ve gotten proper use out of the complementary headset that I received from F8 2019. For the longest time, the Oculus Quest sat unused because VR still felt like a very niche function, being more of a novelty than a practicality. However, after demonstrating the Oculus Quest’s versatility with the Houkago Teibou Nisshi location hunt, it’s become evident that this headset’s very much become an indispensable part of my anime location hunting arsenal: while I lack familiarity with locations in Japan as a resident would and do not possess a strong enough command of the Japanese language to hunt for locations with the same speed as a local, advanced technology has certainly helped to close this gap, enough for me to hopefully have created a post that is interesting and useful for readers.

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.