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Elf Yamada’s Love Song and Sagiri Izumi’s First Kiss: Eromanga Sensei OVA Review and Reflection

“I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more.” –Angelita Lim

Masamune, Hana and Kunimitsu attend a celebratory event for Emily to thank those who’d supported her: Emily’s work was adapted into an anime. After Emily persuades Masamune to help her change into a new dress during the event, Emily’s brother and mother both show up. Emily’s mother disapproves of Masamune on the basis that he appears to be corrupting her, even though the reality was that Emily was the one who had made it look as though she were dating Masamune. Upon learning her mother is here to bring her home, the pair clash, and Emily storms off in anger. However, with a suggestion from Masamune, she ends up performing a musical during her speech at the event, convincing her mother to let her live on her own terms, and after the celebration wraps up, Emily and Masamune share a moment together after Emily makes her feelings known to him. Later, Masamune catches a cold after visiting Emily, and is unable to submit his manuscript ahead of a deadline. Sagiri decides to look after him. To this end, she sets foot outside of her room to fetch medicine for Masamune, do some housework and even manages to answer the door when Megumi and Tomoe show up. However, when Hana shows up and tries to break in, Sagiri confiscates the poster Hana had wished to give him. Sagiri ends up falling asleep and dreams about the past, but upon waking up, she gives Masamune a quick kiss before making him dinner. Masamune thanks Sagiri, noting her cooking is quite good, but Sagiri ends up catching Masamune’s cold. Masamune helps her out so she can rest and indicates he’s looking forwards to her recovery so that they can continue working together. The two Eromanga Sensei OVAs came out two years after the original series had aired, releasing on January 16, 2019, and while they do not advance the story in a significant way, nonetheless provides an opportunity for characters to break the status quo in ways that they were not seen doing in Eromanga Sensei proper.

In Eromanga Sensei, the death of Sagiri’s mother caused her to become withdrawn, but as Masamune becomes closer with Emily and Hana, rival authors and rivals for his affection, Sagiri also began stepping out of her shell. Similarly, Masamune himself had suffered the loss of a parent, as well, and turned to writing as a way of finding happiness anew. The journey seen throughout Eromanga Sensei had been about finding new happiness together through a shared pursuit, although the anime also ended up being a very gentle, cozy portrayal of this. At the end of Eromanga Sensei, beyond Masamune and Sagiri’s worlds becoming a ways more colourful, and rowdier, things nonetheless were preserved in a sort of status quo: Masamune is uncertain of the feelings he has for Sagiri, and while Sagiri has certainly accepted him and his friends, she still rarely ventured out of her room – instead, she usually accepts visitors instead and only attends events if Masamune streams it to her via Skype. This is where the Eromanga Sensei‘s OVAs excel. Masamune is given a chance to explore his feeling a little more freely after seeing Emily’s best side, and Sagiri’s concern for Masamune is sufficient for her to venture out of her room, culminating in her gaining the resolve to cook for him after he falls ill. These episodes do much to show that the events of Eromanga Sensei did much to nudge both characters forward and adds a minor degree of closure to a series that, while amusing, didn’t otherwise do much to move the needle during its original run. In this way, the OVAs are welcome additions to Eromanga Sensei: unlike most OVAs, which capitalise on looser restrictions to go all-out on titillation, the Eromanga Sensei OVAs instead opts to present more tender moments between the characters.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • According to the blog’s archives, the last time I wrote about Eromanga Sensei was back in April 2018. Back then, I approached this anime from the mental health perspective; the anime did give every impression that it would be ecchi oriented, and while a few episodes did indeed present viewers with this in abundance, I never felt it to be so blatant that it detracted from the anime. With this in mind, Eromanaga Sensei stands in the shadow of its predecessor; compared to OreImoEromanga Sensei felt a lot more muted and subdued.

  • Because it’s been almost four years since I last watched Eromanga Sensei, I’ve largely forgotten most of the events, and needed to do a quick refresher on things to get re-acquainted with the story. I had originally intended to watch and write about the OVAs when they’d come out in January three years earlier. At the time, there would’ve only been an eight-month gap between my finishing Eromanga Sensei and the OVAs, so I would’ve probably gotten back into the swing of things more quickly. I believe the reason why I ended up failing to do so was because after watching First Man, my interest in anime suddenly waned.

  • In fact, looking back at the archives, the only anime I wrote around during that timeframe was CLANNAD and Endro. Most of my extra time was spent in The Division, Battlefield V and Ace Combat 7. Once I’d settled into my games, and the afterglow from First Man wore off, I eased my way back into anime; I ended up watching Domestic Kanojo in April, and together with 501st Joint Fighter Wing Take Off!, I found myself returning to my usual patterns. By then, however, thoughts of Eromanga Sensei had left my mind, and it wasn’t until recently, when I was going through my unwatched anime, that I found this Eromanga Sensei with two episodes left incomplete.

  • Entering the first of the Eromanga Sensei OVAs, I had no idea what to expect, but after seeing Emily persuade Masamune into helping her change dresses, and watching Emily attempt to evade her mother’s questions about what she’d been sending back home, memories did return to me: both Hana and Emily had been into Masamune, but Masamune had promptly shot down Hana. This left the floor open to Emily, who’d been very forward about how she feels about him: over the course of Eromanga Sensei, she spent a great deal of time with Masamune and fell in love with him more as a result.

  • These feelings lead to a disagreement between Emily and her mother, who feels that Masamune might not be the right person for her. Recalling how devoted her mother had been to her father, Emily storms off. One visual aspect that stands out is the fact that everyone in the Granger family appears to have an exaggerated form of Stahl’s Ear, a condition where there’s an additional cartilage layer that pushes the ear out and gives it a pointed shape. This appearance is what leads Emily to take the pseudonyms “Elf”, and Emily’s older brother brings to mind the likes of Thranduil from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

  • Because Masamune is kind by nature, he hears out Emily and suggest that she simply be forward with things. Unlike OreImo‘s Kyōsuke, who was persuaded to be more mundane by childhood friend Minami, Masamune is a ways more motivated, having turned to writing to get past feelings of grief and loss when his mother had passed away. The gaps in Kyōsuke and Masamune’s personalities mean that Eromanga Sensei and Oreimo  have a dramatically different atmosphere about them – on one hand, the characters in Eromanga Sensei are more likeable, but this also means that there’s less drama, and correspondingly, less of a chance to watch the characters manage their feelings.

  • When the time for Emily’s speech arrives, she saunters onto the stage and discards the speech she’d written for the event, choosing to improvise instead. It turns out she’s decided to use the moment to properly convey how she feels to her mother, and after thanking everyone for supporting her all this way, she breaks out into song. Both of the Eromanga Sensei OVAs involve a musical performance from the female lead, livening them up considerably and giving both Akane Fujita (Sagiri) and Minami Takahashi (Emily) a chance to shine. I’m familiar with Minami’s roles as Kanna of Harukana Receive, El Condor Pasa from Uma Musume Pretty Derby, Lucoa from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and Machikado Mazoku‘s Lilith

  • I was all smiles during this musical performance, which sees even the security detail joining in with Emily as she sings her heart out. In the end, Emily’s mother is convinced that she’s being sincere about how she feels regarding Masamune, and consents to let her stay in Japan. Being an OVA, Emily’s story here is a satisfying and self-contained event which gives her an outcome that she’d long been hoping for – after the event concludes, she and Masamune share a private moment together, where Emily openly admits her feelings for Masamune. The question of who should initiate the kokuhaku is a topic of no small debate, and this is one of those scenarios where I’ll not that there isn’t a right answer.

  • There’s actually a lot of conflicting advice out there for how to kick things up a notch: some say to pull the trigger ASAP, while other people say to let things occur naturally. I myself have familiarity with five ways of how not to do it – if I were to liken things to a sniper, then on two cases, I waited too long, while the other three times, I pulled the trigger a little too early but missed. Dating is like a bolt-action rifle: there’s a finesse about it that takes time to learn, and every shot counts. Unlike a semi-automatic marksman rifle, there’s a delay between shots, since it takes time to chamber a new round into the barrel. One of these days, I’ll get it right, and I take consolation in people who a lot wiser than myself – dating and relationships is supposed to be like a parking lot. The parking lot will often be near full half the time, and it’s going to be a pain in the ass to find a space, but all one needs is one space.

  • With this in mind, I felt a great deal of warmth at watching this kokuhaku between Emily and Masamune: anime are often namby-pamby about who the male lead ends up with when there are multiple women in his life, and this leaves viewers with a feeling of hollowness. Overall, while I was a fan of Hana and felt Sagiri to work less well for Masamune, I do agree with the sentiment that Emily is probably the best person for Masamune. As such, this Eromanga Sensei OVA ended up delivering a conclusion that wound up being quite satisfying for me.

  • Whereas the first of the OVAs saw a fancy event, the second is a ways more mundane and has Sagiri looking after Masamune when he falls ill following a visit to Emily’s place. However, in this second OVA, the extent of Sagiri’s growth is shown; whereas she was shy, withdrawn and quite unable to do even the basics without Masamune’s help, here, Sagiri does her best to look after Masamune. There was always a lingering tension, since we’d not seen Sagiri do anything resembling housework until now.

  • However, there are many things that occur off-screen, and it is reasonable to suppose that Sagiri’s opening up to people around her also gives her more confidence to act. This is something that I am accepting of in anime: it is impractical to show every moment where characters are going about their business. However, not everyone follows this approach, and in shows where characters are able to perform far better than is expected given what is shown, some viewers count it as undeserving or implausible. K-On! was subject to this back in the day: Yui and the others are seen drinking tea and eating cake more often than they practise, but still manage to put on professional-grade performances at school concerts.

  • Much as how not every detail behind how Houkago Teatime operate is shown, not every last moment in Sagiri’s life is shown; instead, viewers must infer that it is with the presence of others that she slowly becomes able to find the strength to do things she wasn’t able to do before. Sagiri’s disposition means that she reminds me somewhat of GochiUsa‘s Chino Kafuu, and here, she wonders why Masamune doesn’t have any instant food on hand after deciding she’s not skilled enough to cook for him, and that ordering delivery would mean needing to handle the delivery person.

  • When Megumi and Tomoe come to visit, Sagiri is adamant about not letting anyone in. However, she does consent to hear them out upon learning that Tomoe’s swung by to deliver some assignments and a new book that Masamune had ordered. Of everyone, Tomoe is probably my favourite character; she has a good eye for books and is able to spot what might interest Masamune immediately. On the other hand, Megumi shows up for kicks, and the only reason why Sagiri doesn’t turf her is because Tomoe is around.

  • In any other post, I probably wouldn’t have consumed a dedicated screenshot for this moment: it turns out that Tomoe also has dropped off the latest volume of 86 EIGHTY-SIX for Masamune, and moreover, Sagiri’s taken an interest in this series. Back in 2019, five volumes of 86 EIGHTY-SIX had been released, and the fact that Eromanga Sensei was able to freely show it in such vivid detail, in retrospect, foreshadowed A-1 Pictures’ eventual adaptation of the series: both Eromanga Sensei and 86 EIGHTY-SIX are published by Dengeki Bunko, so there was no issue in referencing another work.

  • On the topic of 86 EIGHTY-SIX, I have plans to write about it once I’ve finished catching up to the twenty-first episode so I can cover off how I’ve felt about this second season. The final episodes will release in March, and I’ll write about themes then, but for now, it’s a good opportunity to write about some smaller aspects that have worked well for me so far. Back in Eromanga Sensei, whereas Sagiri had been thrilled about 86 EIGHTY-SIX, she’s less-than-impressed when Hana shows up and tries to break in, then attempts to give something to Masamune in an attempt to cheer him up. Earlier, Hana and Ayame share a conversation with Masamune after he calls in sick; Ayame is okay with moving his deadline up, while Hana immediately demands to know that he’s alright.

  • After dreaming about the past, Sagiri steals a kiss from Masamune, who’s still sleeping. This moment lends itself to the second OVA’s title, conveying a moment of tenderness. Throughout Eromanga Sensei, it is suggested that Sagiri is frustrated that Masamune does not return her feelings – for Masamune, he’s come to see Sagiri as a sister, and his only link to family. The setup in Eromanga Sensei had long been conducive for discussion of the importance of human connection, and in practise, the series is never a melancholy one – Masamune has plenty of people in his corner to support him, and in this way, he is able to support Sagiri, too.

  • To see Sagiri break out of her comfort zone and cook something for Masamune was a turning point in Sagiri’s character development: while she had doubtlessly grown throughout the course of Eromanga Sensei, this moment makes it clear that she’s beginning to see a world beyond the one she’d confined herself to since her mother had passed away. While Sagiri struggles with some of the cooking (she makes a small mess of things in a few places and here, leaves the water running), she perseveres, and for her troubles, she ends up successfully making an omurice for Masamune.

  • After a full day’s rest, Masamune’s fever has gone down, and he finds Sagiri’s cooking to be quite good. In a bit of irony, since she’d spent the full day with Masamune, Sagiri’s picked up the bug from him. However, Masamune is well enough now to look after her, and Sagiri bashfully thanks him for all he does; while she’s not too good with expressing her feelings throughout Eromanga Sensei, this moment indicates to viewers that the Sagiri here has come a very long way from when Masamune was trying to coax her out of her room, and steps like these will eventually quicken, allowing her to return to classes. For Masamune, he looks forward to working with Sagiri on whatever projects they have next, bringing the OVA to a close.

  • The Eromanga Sensei OVAs were a fun addition to the series, and according to my old post, I’d given the series a C+ after finishing: while it was satisfactory to watch, it wasn’t particularly novel, nor did it compel me to anticipate each upcoming episode with bated breath. Having said this, I am glad to have finally wrapped up the OVAs, which added a bit to both Emily and Sagiri’s characters in a positive manner, although with these OVAs in the books, I do not imagine that we will be getting any sort of continuation of this series in the future; it has been five years since the original series aired, and three years since the OVAs. Fortunately, things wraps up on a sufficiently conclusive manner so that a continuation is not strictly necessary.

The fact that I’m writing about the Eromanga Sensei OVAs a full three years after their release shows the extent to which I procrastinate when it comes to anime. To put things in perspective, I first wrote about Eromanga Sensei back in 2018 for a Terrible Anime Challenge post, and the anime itself had actually began airing during the spring of 2017; I was gearing up for my Japan trip back then, and had been avidly following P.A. Works’ Sakura Quest. When I finished my journey through Eromanga Sensei, it was about a year after the series had finished airing. I’d heard about the OVAs, and had been curious to see what they entailed, but circumstance led me to put them off. With both OVAs in the books, I can finally say, after some four years, that I’ve finished Eromanga Sensei to the maximum extent possible – while this was never a series that would change my world view or move me as other anime had, there’d been a gentle and easygoing aesthetic about Eromanga Sensei that made it stand apart from author Tsukasa Fushimi’s previous work, OreImo. Unlike the bolder and more well-known OreImo, Eromanga Sensei is a little more subdued and muted in comparison, lacking its predecessor’s notoriety and a story that pushed the boundaries for its portrayal of social norms. Instead, I ended up finding Eromanga Sensei to be an interesting portrayal of how creative focus is a viable, and healthy outlet for managing mental health issues like depression: both Sagiri and Masamune turn to creative work in order to channel their feelings, and in doing so, their worlds become more colourful for it. By sheer coincidence, their approaches bring them closer together in a way that they couldn’t have foreseen, accelerating their ability to rediscover happiness. While certainly not revolutionary by any means, Eromanga Sensei still ended up being a satisfactory experience, and watching the OVAs reminded me of the fact that each of the characters did have their unique charms which, together, made them a fun group to be around.

Sorairo Utility OVA Review and Reflection

“The difference between a good golf shot and a bad one is the same as the difference between a beautiful and a plain woman – a matter of millimetres.” –Ian Fleming, Goldfinger

After Minami spotted a lady at the local driving range, she became inspired to take up golfing in high school. On a warm summer’s day, she joins her friends, Ayaka and Haruka for a game, hoping to make par on at least one of the holes. However, while Ayaka and Haruka are a ways more proficient, Minami struggles to line up a drive down the fairway. Although she’s dejected by noon, after lunch, she decides to simple focus on playing an enjoyable game, and on the last hole, she manages to line up a shot that lands on the putting green, leaving her within one stroke of making par. However, nerves causes her to miss, but in the end, she still has fun anyways. This is Sorairo Utility (空色ユーティリティ, “Sky Blue Utility”), an anime short that is produced by Yostar Pictures promoting golf. During its fourteen minute long run, Sorairo Utility renders moments from a day spent on the golf course as Minami tries to achieve a personal goal, and despite encountering disappointment, once she finds her magic moment, is able to find new life in a game she’d taken up. This OVA was released on December 31 and was originally announced back in October, and despite its short length, still ends up being quite enjoyable to watch: for one, it’s deep blue skies and verdant grass as far as the eye can see. This stands in stark contrast with the weather we’ve got right now; back home, there’s a fresh snowfall, and Environment Canada is forecasting that the temperatures are going to dip right back into the minus twenties over the next few days.

Despite its short runtime, Sorairo Utility‘s manages to weave in a tale of finding one’s own inspiration and approach to things. Minami opens the day lacking confidence in her game. Her technique is rigid, and her posture is stiff. Every mistake seems to be a game-ender. However, after taking a funny photo with her friends, Minami decides to just wing it during the afternoon, and while having more fun, she ends up taking a suggestion from Haruka: to visualise the ball going where she wants, and imagine herself doing the technique that she wishes to do. Minami recalls a summer memory, where she’d spotted a lady doing a drive at the range. It turns out that watching the ball soar into the sky had led her to appreciate how blue it was, and this was her motivation for taking up golfing. Minami subsequently makes a fantastic drive, putting her ball right on the putting green; it’s the combination of both her own inspiration, in conjunction with suggestions from a better player, that helps Minami to make this shot. Sorairo Utility thus indicates that improving in anything is to accept assistance from the outside, and possessing the drive to get better from within. This is a relatively simple message that gives a bit more weight to Sorairo Utility, which is otherwise a basic, but still enjoyable portrayal of golf, a sport that I’m not terribly familiar with.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Sorairo Utility opens with an attractive lady practising her drives at a local range, and this sight is what leads Minami to take up golfing. With strong form, the woman drives a ball high into the blue sky, as straight as an arrow, and this is what inspires Minami to also give golfing a go. The scene is faded out, indicative of a flashback – in the present, the colouring is very vibrant, and the warmth can practically be felt through the screen. However, Minami’s game isn’t quite where she’d like it to be, and she wonders if buying better golf balls will help her.

  • When I first heard about it, I imagined that Sorairo Utility would be a twelve episode series about golf. Had this been the case, I would’ve wondered if it would be a series I would be able to consistently watch and write about: golf isn’t something I’m terribly interested in, but on the flipside, neither is fishing, and I thoroughly enjoyed Houkago Teibou Nisshi during its run. A few minutes into Sorairo Utility, and it became clear that the three characters, Minami, Ayaka and Haruka, are sufficiently colourful as to drive things.

  • Both Haruka and Ayaka are a ways more experienced than Minami; Haruka feels a great deal like Yama no Susume‘s Kaede and Super Cub‘s Reiko, while Ayaka reminds me of K-On!‘s Tsumugi. Minami, then, is the quintessential slice-of-life character; she’s energetic and outgoing, but also quick to become discouraged. These character archetypes are familiar, but also tried-and-true, forming the basics for what could be a full-fledged anime that I’d be interested in watching.

  • Were Sorairo Utility a full-sized anime, I imagine that it’d follow a very familiar pattern: Minami picks up golfing and is introduced to Haruka and Ayaka, participates in a tournament where she gets wiped out, then rediscovers why she’d picked things up in the beginning, and consents to join another tournament for the finale. Depending on the intended themes, anime such as this could have Minami losing again but having fun anyways, or otherwise perform better (e.g. placing in the top ten or third). Either way, she’d then look forwards to improving and continuing on.

  • For me, the outcomes of a given anime are secondary to the route it takes to get there. When one is familiar with the thematic elements inherent to a genre, things can become predictable very quickly, and while some folks count this as a strike against the genre, I find that the journey matters more than the destination. In something like Sorairo Utility, what Minami gets out of things is more important than what happens in the end.

  • Here, Minami attempts to putt the ball into the hole. Angles are properly used in Sorairo Utility to convey the different phases of golf, with sweeping shots shown for long drives, and close-ups for putts. Minami’s switched over to a putter her to make the close-range shots; golfers require several different kinds of clubs depending on where they are. The woods are the largest and meant to drive long-range shots. Irons are used for slightly shorter shots, or tee shots on short holes. Some golfers may prefer hybrids over long irons. Wedges, on the other hand, are used for approach shots, or for extrication from sand traps. Finally, the putter is a specialised club for knocking the ball into the hole itself.

  • For Minami, her problem seems to be that she’s too worried, and correspondingly stiff, to make fluid motions that would allow her drives to be straight. In spite of this, it doesn’t stop Haruka, Ayaka and Minami from having a bit of fun together – even though Minami is discouraged by her game, Haruka and Ayaka serve to brighten her day up considerably. Here, I remark that a lot of works feature golf; the sport’s popularity in North America comes from the fact that it is accessible (one can rent clubs, and on average, an 18-hole round costs around 45 CAD), as well as the fact that it is in a beautiful setting, is slow-paced, and provides good exercise, too.

  • The fact that golf is slow-paced makes it highly social event: in between holes, players can chat and hang out. Taken together, golf figures in everything from something like Ian Flemming’s Goldfinger, to Kevin Gillis’ The Raccoons. The former has James Bond facing Auric Goldfinger in a crooked golf game, and for film critics, this was one of the best golf scenes in any movie, as well as being a great opportunity to showcase the fact that Sean Connery himself was an avid golfer. Goldfinger has Bond outfoxing Goldfinger at the last hole when he catches the latter cheating, creating for one of cinema’s most iconic moments.

  • I’m guessing readers are less likely to be familiar with the golf segment of “Join The Club” in The Raccoons, during which industrialist Cyril Sneer attempts to gain admittance into a country club so he can level the playing field against business rival Mr. Knox, whose membership allows him to win over clients more easily. While Cyril ends up winning the golf game, he learns that some clubs aren’t worth belonging to and passes this along to Lisa Raccoon, who’s taken up smoking in a bid to fit in. The Raccoons was a surprisingly mature and well-written series despite being a children’s’ show, and while word is that there’s a remake in the works, I’ve not heard when it will begin airing just yet.

  • In Sorairo Utility, there’s no Nazi Gold at stake, and the players aren’t trying to win a golf tournament so they can be admitted to an exclusive country club – it’s just three friends, blue skies and open fairway. Here, Minami decides to keep a funny-looking self-portrait after Ayaka and Haruka laugh themselves silly, feeling that it might be good keepsake of the day.

  • Whereas Haruka and Ayaka might find Minami’s featureless expression hilarious, I personally enjoy moments such as these, when Minami sends yet another ball flying off-course, to a greater extent. There are no shortage of funny faces in Sorairo Utility, and about halfway into the episode, I became convinced that were this to be a full series, it would’ve likely have made the list of things I’d actively follow in a given season.

  • Over lunch, Minami orders a katsu bowl, leading the others to wonder if she’s having a bad day. This simple remark speaks volumes about the characters – to the very least, both Haruka and Ayaka know Minami well enough to guess how she’s feeling based purely on what she orders. However, a delicious meal does put the spirits back in Minami, and after lunch, Haruka notices that Minami’s more energetic than she had been during the morning. A good, hot meal can do wonders, and today was the sort of day where a hot meal is most welcome: I ended up using the leftover hot pot ingredients to make a simple but tasty ramen.

  • Par the course for an anime about golf, but featuring young women, Sorairo Utility also features some off-course antics, such as Minami messing with what appears to be a Cape Penguin. Sorairo Utility is probably one of the best-kept secrets of this current season, and despite not offering the same level of character development or presentation of golf as a full-scale series might, nonetheless manages to capture the spirit of golf and condense it down to a short. Some folks have wondered if Sorairo Utility was originally a 1-cour series that “went wrong in production”, resulting in this short film, but looking around, I’ve not found anything decisive to say this is the case.

  • What I did learn was that Sorairo Utility‘s director, Kengo Saitō, simply wanted to do something with golf: this project simply been the result of Saitō longing to animate golf, and looking around, he’s got a lot of golf-related sketches. Thus, rather than production problems, Sorairo Utility resulted from Saitō’s wishes being granted. The end result isn’t bad at all: everything is smoothly animated, and both character design and background artwork is solid. Saitō had previously been the animation director for Little Witch Academia and SSSS.Dynazenon, both of which proved successful, so I imagine that this OVA came about as a result of Yostar Pictures giving one of their directors a chance to fulfil a longstanding dream in recognition of his contributions.

  • To motivate Minami on the last hole, Haruka and Ayaka decide to show her the funny photo once more. Each of Minami, Haruka and Ayaka are voiced by relatively new voice actresses, although they are voice actresses who’ve got a few shows in their resume that I’m familiar with. Minami is voiced by Miyu Takagi (Miyu Okamoto of Wake Up, Girls!), Yurina Amami plays Haruka (Kayoko Hayakawa in Koisuru Asteroid), and Ayasa Goto voices Ayaka (Sachie Kaibara from PuraOre!). After the laughter subsides, Minami clears her mind and thinks back to the day that inspired her to take up golf.

  • With her ideal shot in mind, Minami swings, connects with the ball and sends it into the air, straight as an arrow. At 1080p, the ball is plainly seen, but even at this lower resolution, one can still roughly make the ball out; it’s a single speck on a backdrop of deep blue, evocative of a hot summer’s day. This is the perfect shot for Minami, one that lands her onto the putting green, and after the initial shock of making such a drive wears off, Minami is all smiles.

  • As Minami ultimately finds, being relaxed is what helps her to make this drive. That she’s working to improve her golf game brings back a classic moment from Rick and Morty‘s first season, where Jerry asks of a Meeseeks to help him take two strokes off his golf game. The Meeseeks suggest keeping his shoulders square, keep his head down and relax, but this is to no avail. Ordinarily, when given the right instruction, once one gets a feel for things, they’ll be able to replicate it more consistently until it becomes a part of their technique. The tricks that the Meeseeks suggested to Jerry are likely correct; when Haruka suggests that Minami relax, the results are immediately noticeable.

  • That Jerry is outplayed by an anime girl in golf proved most hilarious, and viewers can feel the same joy that Minami feels after she makes this shot. Even though Sorairo Utility is only an OVA, it’s clear that the production staff still treated the series with the appropriate respect and effort; the end result is enjoyable to watch because there is still a journey where one ends up rooting for Minami. In excitement, Minami decides to run off over to the putting green in lieu of taking the golf cart.

  • I certainly wasn’t expecting to write about a short this early into 2022, but I’m glad to have sat down and given Sorairo Utility a go. With this one in the books, I’ll be writing about Slow Loop next. I’ve decided that I’ll also be writing about Girls’ Frontline at this time, and once I’ve had a chance to watch Shuumatsu no Harem, I’ll have a more concrete decision as to whether or not I’ll be talking about that one. Tabi wa ni appears to be delayed; it was scheduled to begin running in December, but I’ve not heard any news about it at all. In between the seasonal anime, I’ve also begun watching Ishuzoku Reviewers and Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san. Once I’ve taken a chance to get my blogging schedule sorted out for the start of this year, I anticipate that I’ll be writing about both come February.

  • To round things out, Ayaka, Minami and Haruka unwind in the onsen after their game, acting as a satisfying conclusion to this short. The theme song for Sorairo Utility is performed by HAM (Haruka, Ayaka and Minami): it’s a sunny-sounding piece called Love Theory, and the joyful aesthetics reminds me of the summer. While the summer itself is a full half year away, and despite the fact that this winter’s been forecast to be both colder and snowier than seasonal, experience shows that even the longest winter will give way to summer again. With this post in the books, it’s time to take the remainder of today easy before I return to work tomorrow; today is also Koisuru Asteroid day, the second anniversary to when Koisuru Asteroid began airing, and that means while it snows outside, I get to go back and begin rewatching this celebration of the sciences again in what has become a new tradition for me.

Sorairo Utility is yet another example of how anime can be a phenomenal medium for presenting topics that otherwise might not elicit much interest in viewers. While I’ve briefly golfed before, I’ve never found it to be a particularly exciting sport to watch (having been spoiled by things like the NHL). Similarly, I’ve gone fishing as a part of a class trip out to the west coast years earlier, but it wasn’t such a life-changing experience that I took it up as a hobby later. Neither golf or fishing, pastimes here in Canada, are things that I would have counted to be interesting. However, being able to watch its portrayal in anime has always been an enjoyable experience; while anime won’t always nail down every last detail as a technical manual or professional instruction might, its portrayal of the finer details and the fun characters have can make a given hobby feel considerably more enticing. Houkago Teibou Nisshi had done this in 2020 with its depiction of fishing, and here in Sorairo Utility, although we viewers only get a glimpse into things, the OVA has convinced me that there is nuance in golf that makes it worthwhile. This is why I’m so fond of anime that portrays real-world activities: even something like pottery, which is far removed from the set of what I’d normally partake in, can be made exciting through anime. This speaks both to the fact that every activity has subtleties that make them worthwhile for different people, as well as the fact that anime excel at bringing out the best parts of each activity.

Girls und Panzer Das Finale Part Three OVA: Daikon War!

“What do I know of man’s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes” –Samuel Beckett

Miho, Saori, Hana, Mako and Yukari head off to Ooarai’s Agriculture Department to deliver some documents for their representative, Jane, although they struggle to acclimatise to their horses, which were provided so they don’t have to walk. It turns out that the agriculture representative has missed a series of meetings, and as a result, is short a bunch of printouts. As Saori and the others travel further, the rice fields give way to the foothills. Here, they speak with a farmer who indicates that Jane’s in pursuit of a ruffian, and they press further into the desert. Although the task is lengthy, the girls soon encounter Jane in an old western town after hearing a gunshot. Their conversation is interrupted when Belle shows up, and after Belle fires a round that ruins the churros, Mako is angered. She confronts Belle directly, leading the others to come out and surround Belle. Belle in turn demands a one-on-one duel with Jane. Unfortunately for Belle, Jane’s the faster draw in the west, and she finds herself splattered with paint. Belle decides to make a break for it, but having learnt how to ride Choco properly, Saori captures her. As it turns out, Belle was wanted for the theft of daikon radishes. Belle takes Jane and the others back to a smokehouse, where she’s making iburigakko (smoked and pickled daikon); it turns out Belle had wanted to share some recipes with the school at large, but no one was willing to give her recipes a go. With the misunderstanding cleared, Jane agrees to help Belle secure daikon so she won’t have to resort to stealing them. Later that evening, Miho and Jane share a conversation: Jane’s interested in having some extra hands to help out, but Miho remarks that everyone’s got their own activities, and wonders if Jane would like to join Ooarai’s Panzerfahren team. The pair agree to go their separate ways, and Jane promises to support Miho’s Panzerfahren team before riding off into the sunrise. Tus ends Daikon War, the OVA accompanying Das Finale‘s third act that continues in Girls und Panzer‘s tradition of demonstrating how having the patience to talk things out is how conflicts can be resolved: once Jane understands what Belle’s intentions are, things quickly turn around, and Jane goes from hunting down Belle to helping her secure daikon for her recipes.

Besides being a heartwarming tale of how Girls und Panzer would see disagreements and misunderstandings sorted out, Daikon War also gives viewers a bit more insight into the School Ships within the Girls und Panzer universe. These vessels are gargantuan in scale: despite a length of seven-point-six kilometres and a minimum width of nine hundred meters, Ooarai’s Zuikaku is actually on the smaller end of things, and even larger school ships exist. The amount of deck space available allows entire towns and biomes to be hosted, and this in turn creates a limitless potential for adventure. Daikon War is one such example, showcasing a side of Ooarai’s school ship that we’d not seen before: it was fun to see how Ooarai’s Agriculture programme is large enough to encompass several different kinds of farming, and how students can also be involved in keeping the peace in larger areas of the ship. The Girls und Panzer universe is immensely intricate, and exploring things outside of Panzerfahren shows what other nuances exist in their world. However, Daikon War also creates a new challenge for Girls und Panzer. Zuikaku’s layout has been shown as being very consistent throughout Girls und Panzer; most of the deck is covered by the town, and the school is situated at midship. There’s a couple of forested hills on the ship’s starboard side, and at the bow, some fields can be seen. However, in Daikon War, Saori and the others ride through rocky, mountainous terrain reminiscent of the landscapes in Arizona. These areas aren’t visible from the top of the vessel, creating a minor bit of discrepancies in how the Zuikaku is laid out. This is one of the hazards about longer-running series: inconsistencies like these can result if older materials and newer requirements are not reconciled. In this case, the Zuikaku is not expressly shown as having desert areas, so one does wonder whether or not the school ship has undergone terraforming updates or similar. Of course, such details are probably only on the minds of fans like myself, who’ve been around the block for a while: Daikon War itself is a fun OVA that gives viewers a chance to see Miho, Saori, Hana, Mako and Yukari outside of Panzerfahren, hanging out with their classmates in a world that is quite similar to, but also quite unlike our own, and a few discrepancies hasn’t stopped me from being all smiles while watching this latest Girls und Panzer OVA.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The last time I went horseback riding was back during band camp when I was a middle school student, and while a walking horse was reasonably easy to ride, I had a bit more trouble when horses went into a trot. Experience horseback riders will have no trouble managing their horse even while it gallops, and here, Miho struggles to steer her horse. I found it interesting that Miho and the others remain in their school uniforms while riding: normally, long pants are preferred, and I imagine that riding a horse with bare thighs could become quite uncomfortable because it exposes one to various pinches, burns and scrapes.

  • Daikon War’s first moments show the girls passing through farmland similar to that of Japan’s inaka, and the Das Finale‘s visual quality is stunning: it genuinely does feel like the satoyama out here. As Miho’s group passes through then region, satoyama gives way to fields similar to those of Southern Alberta, British Columbia’s lower mainland, or Montana, I find myself feeling that this spot reminds me a great deal of home: in the southern reaches of my province, the foothills near the Rockies are dotted with farms, and during summers, it is incredibly relaxing to drive down here.

  • Amidst the ferocity of armoured warfare, there’s precious little time for characters to act as they normally would because they’re so focused on the task at hand. Conversely, moments like these allow viewers to see how Saori and the others are when they are outside of Panzerfahren. Saori ends up naming her horse Choco after its dark brown coat, speaking to her personality, although the horse doesn’t seem to take kindly to being named: it promptly bucks, causing Saori to fall off its back.

  • Hana ends up explaining what the purpose of this excursion is: the agriculture representative, Jane, has been absent at several student council meetings, and since Hana is now the new president, it’s her responsibility to get the documents delivered. That Miho, Mako and Yukari follow along for the adventure shows how close the five have become during their time as Panzerfahren teammates.

  • Being able to see parts of the Girls und Panzer world that would otherwise not be explored is one of the main reasons why Girls und Panzer OVAs are always fun to watch. Here, Hana speaks with a farm girl who helps to point them in the right direction: Ooarai’s school ship is home to around thirty thousand people, and seeing other people on board the school ship speaks volumes to why Miho’s efforts to win the Panzerfahren championship, and then a match against the University team, was so important. Had she failed, and Ooarai been closed, thirty thousand people would’ve had to have found new homes and schools.

  • Stakes like these is probably why Der Film was able to threaten Ooarai with a second closure: the sheer size and scale of a school ship means that it takes a very large amount of resources to keep them running, and while Ooarai may not offer any one specialty as the other schools might, thirty thousand people call the ship home, and it is clear that those who live here love their home very much, which created the weight behind Der Film. This is something that wasn’t shown in Der Film, so it is understandable that not everyone will agree with this sentiment. In fact, back in the day, some folks at AnimeSuki had been left so disappointed by the film that they ended up ditching the franchise outright. Given that Das Finale has placed an emphasis on teamplay and strategy, and has hinted at Ooarai squaring off against St. Glorianna in the final match, I imagine that Das Finale is the continuation that these individuals would’ve been looking to watch.

  • After encountering folks who are familiar with the area, Hana and the others travel deeper into the mountains. The verdant landscapes soon give way to arid desert, devoid of any vegetation. Throughout the day, Mako’s been becoming increasingly hungry, and a running joke here is that everyone the group runs into is enjoying food of some kind. Some individuals with Indigenous attire are chilling with popcorn, and a cowgirl is seen holding what appears to be a turkey leg. While Mako implies she’d very much like some, Saori presses the initiative, and the cowgirl soon points them to the last destination.

  • Upon arriving in town, which possesses Pueblo architecture, Miho and the others meet Jane, a blond-haired sheriff with a similar aura about her as Saunders’ Kay. Hana explains why they’re here, but Jane counters that she hasn’t time for things yet, since she’s busy chasing down an outlaw. Admittedly, seeing Spaghetti Western-styled OVA in something like Girls und Panzer was completely unexpected, but it also speaks to how versatile the world is, in being able to accommodate so many kinds of stories without once making the stories feel like they’re out of place.

  • Having grown up in what is considered to be Canada’s cowboy country, and living in a city with The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth means I’m no stranger to elements of the Old West: in both American and Canadian history, the west was long considered to be the Frontier, and both governments invested into expanding into this territory. In Canada, efforts to settle the prairies weren’t made until the 1840s, when Prime Minister John A. MacDonald pushed policy to encourage development of the west. With the Dominion Lands Act and founding of the RCMP, homesteaders moved into the prairies as farmers. Conversely, in the United States, settlers often conflicted with Indigenous peoples already living in the West, leading to violent clashes that saw most Indigenous people lose their land.

  • These struggles are glorified in Old West films, and the term Spaghetti Western comes from the fact that some of the most successful films had Italian producers. Here, after Mako mentions that she’s quite famished, Jane passes her a churros. This Spanish dessert is also popular in Mexico, consisting of fried dough lightly dusted in cinnamon sugar. I had my first churros in Cancún during a conference, and I find them quite delicious. It was quite endearing to see Mako with a smile here, and Yukari’s smiles are similarly heartwarming.

  • Jane and the others promptly come under gunfire from the outlaw that Jane had been chasing. When a stray round takes out Mako’s churros, Mako’s frustration brings her out into the open. She grabs Jane’s hat and confronts the outlaw, leading Miho and the others to back her up. The odds have suddenly turned against Belle, who’s cornered, and this gives Jane a chance to finish things off once and for all. During this engagement, Miho wonders if they’re using real guns: Jane and Belle are both using revolvers. I believe that Jane’s rocking a 1873 Single Action Army, but it’s a little hard to tell.

  • The 1873 Single Action Army is one of the most iconic weapons of the Old West, prized for its stopping power and reliability. Such weapons might’ve been a little less suited for duelling, since the longer barrel would increase draw time. In a one-on-one, a shorter barrel or snub nose might be more appropriate; at shorter ranges, lower muzzle energy isn’t quite as important as stability and weight. Jane ends up accepting Belle’s challenge for a duel, and the square off at sundown while Miho and the others look on, with no small degree of apprehension.

  • Before Belle can even react, Jane’s already drawn and pulls the trigger. Belle’s head disappears behind a cloud of red, but fortunately, this is just a paintball gun. This shouldn’t be too surprising: in Japan, firearms are tightly regulated. Shotguns and air rifles are legal to possess, so long as one consents to random police checks and an extensive screening process, while all other weapons are prohibited. Similarly, it is inappropriate for students to be carrying actual firearms, so paintball guns are more than suitable as a substitute. The end effect of the duel causes the tension to taper off, as comedy displaces the suspense: Belle is now covered in red paint.

  • After Jane wins the duel, Belle decides to beat a hasty exit, but thanks to Saori ranking up her riding skill, she’s able to nab the escaping Belle. Belle is subsequently tied to a post, and the others learn of what’s happening here: it turns out that Belle had been stealing daikons from nearby farmers, so Jane was sent out to investigate and figure out what was going on. Miho and the others are surprised by this outcome; they’d been expecting something a little more dramatic.

  • Daikon are a common food in Japanese cuisine; pickled daikon are used in a variety of dishes, but it can also be simmered in oden. In Chinese cuisine, daikon (known as 蘿蔔, jyutping lo4 baak6) are used to make turnip cake, a savoury and delicious dim sum made of shredded radish and flour, mixed with several ingredients like Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, Chinese sausage and shiitake, then served with soy sauce. Now that I think about it, turnip cakes feel like a Cantonese version of okonomiyaki.

  • Back at her smokehouse, Belle offers Jane and the others iburigakko (いぶりがっこ), smoked and pickled daikon originating from the Akita prefecture. The process involves smoking freshly-picked daikon for a minimum of two days using wood sourced from oak or cherry, and then pickled in a low temperature rice bran for forty days, creating a dish with a very distinct flavour profile. Belle offers Jane and the others here a sample of what’s possible with iburigakko, and I note that daikon is actually one of the components of our family’s Cantonese-style hot pot (打邊爐, jyutping daa2 bin1 lou4): one of my family traditions is to have a 打邊爐 this time of year, when the weather is chilly, and the nights are long.

  • Last evening, I sat down to a hot pot featuring lamb, beef, giant prawns, oyster, cuttlefish, four kinds of fish balls, lettuce and cabbage, as well as daikon two ways. Besides freshly-sliced daikon, I also added shredded daikon with a splash of lemon juice to my soy sauce dip, adding a kick to things. The thing I love most about these homestyle hot pots is that they’re cozy, and things were chased with the leftover champagne from our New Year’s Eve party. Here, Saori, Yukari, Miho, Mako and Hana try out some of Belle’s iburigakko creations, and immediately, they’re blown away by the rich flavour.

  • Once Jane comes to understand Belle’s story, which is a bit of a pitiful one (other students at Ooarai refuse to give her daikon because they see no merit in iburigakko), she ended up resorting to theft to make some. If Miho and the others’ reaction were anything to go by, it appears that once others have had a chance to try iburigakko, they’ll be much more receptive towards things, too. I imagine that Belle’s interest in iburigakko is a personal one that she’s turned into a school project of sorts, as well. Without further exploration, this won’t be known to viewers, but the implications are that school activities on a school ship are very engaging and essential part of education; I’ve long found that hands-on education is the most effective, and have always performed best when given a little background before being set loose with a project or a chance to learn on my own.

  • After things are resolved, Jane thanks Miho and her friends for stepping up to help, before the pair exchange the wish to join one another’s respective activities. I particularly liked this moment because it was a chance to see how Miho is outside of Panzerfahren: when she first met Hana and Saori, Miho had been quite shy and clumsy. The Miho we see today is more confident and spirited, and for me, this does help make the case that while Das Finale might be about Momo, there could yet be a chance for Miho to properly reconcile with Shiho. A more outgoing and assertive Miho would have an easier time with doing this. Daikon War ends with Jane riding off into the sunrise while a Western-style theme plays to close the episode out.

  • The soundtrack to Das Finale‘s first half released back in May of 2021, and while it doesn’t have this ending song (which I imagine will make it over into the soundtrack for Das Finale‘s second half), it does have both versions of La Chanson de l’oignon, a vocal version sung by BC Freedom’s students, and an instrumental version. The soundtrack is fun, and it’s great to be able to listen to the new incidental music heard in Das Finale. With this, I imagine this is the last I’ll be writing about Girls und Panzer for a while: on the estimate there’s a 664 day-long gap between now and the next act, I’ll be stopping by next in 2023 to write about Das Finale‘s fourth chapter and its associated OVA. In the meantime, we’re now two days in 2022, and all of the anime that’ve caught my eye so far are airing on January 7, so it’s time for me to ease up with the blogging and take it easy until Slow Loop begins later this week.

The immense successes that Girls und Panzer enjoyed over the past decade stems from a combination of a strong thematic piece, lovable characters and meticulously-researched armoured warfare details. However, through its OVAs, Girls und Panzer also shows that the potential for telling stories outside of Panzerfahren is unbound. OVAs such as these are prima facie frivolous and don’t add anything substantial to the series’ main themes, but their value is found in being able to give characters a chance to bounce off one another outside of Panzerfahren matches. One aspect of Girls und Panzer I’ve always enjoyed ware the slice-of-life moments; in Das Finale‘s third act, seeing the characters engaged in their usual duties, as well as taking it easy in between preparations for upcoming matches, provides unparalleled insight into the characters themselves. These moments hint at how different characters approach Panzerfahren, and suggest that how individuals’ dispositions are outside of their duties can greatly impact their actions when the chips are down. Seeing Mika build a snowman before a match both shows that she’s one to let her mind rest before a challenge, as well as how she believes that great ideas can come from anywhere, whether or not one is actively preparing or taking a rest to regroup. Similarly, watching Miho and the others venture into the heart of Ooarai’s farmlands shows that they’re a friendly and open-minded bunch. Saori has a talent for picking things up, and the normally laid-back Mako becomes all business if anyone messes with her food. Miho is also shown as being less shy than she’d been at the series’ beginning; she’s now able to carry a conversation and even consider inviting people to try Panzerfahren out. Altogether, these short OVAs are valuable to viewers for providing insights into characters and the Girls und Panzer universe in ways that Das Finale‘s main acts do not. The fact that Das Finale‘s second and third acts include an OVA serves to enhance the experience for those who choose to watch the series at home: these bonuses add to things in a way that just watching something at the theatrical première cannot confer.

Travelling Shimarin: Yuru Camp△ 2 OVA 2 and The Official Guidebook Yagai Katsudo Kiroku Volume 2 Review and Reflection

“Exceeding expectations is where satisfaction ends and loyalty begins.” –Ron Kaufman

In the near future, a manned Mars lander enters the planet’s atmosphere and prepares for a historical achievement. However, as the lander approaches the surface, its camera array picks up something surprising: the profile of a young girl camped out on the surface, nonchalantly grilling meat. Mission control identifies this as Shimarin, and are shocked beyond words that mankind’s next giant step has been beaten out by the solar system’s greatest camper. At least, this is what Ena imagines Rin’s camping will take her; it turns out that as the night sets in on their latest camping trip, the Outdoor Activities Club and Rin are swapping stories about the sorts of adventures Rin might have once she gets her advance license. Once Hokkaido opens up to Rin, Nadeshiko suggests that Rin will be able to have all sorts of delicious food from Hokkaido, while Chiaki imagines Rin as being an aruki-henro rocking the Shikoku Pilgrimage on her trusty Vino 50. Meanwhile, Aoi supposes Rin would be able to push herself further during the winter to enjoy the warmth of various onsen. However, Rin feels that these adventures are a bit outlandish and unlikely to be within the realm of her usual travels This is the second of the Yuru Camp 2 OVAs accompanying the third and final Blu-Ray volume, being a gentle fireside conversation about camping that was probably set during the second night of Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club to the Izu Peninsula. Unlike the previous OVA, the second Yuru Camp 2 OVA is gentler in nature and lacks the mean-spirited cut of Nadeshiko camping at a work camp; a chat around the campfire about camping is the best way to wrap up what will be the last bit of Yuru Camp△ viewers see prior to 2022’s Yuru Camp: The Movie.

The contents of Yuru Camp 2‘s OVAs both stem from the manga’s Heya Camp△ segments; this time around, elements were drawn from segment 33 in volume five, and segment 65 in volume eight. The adaptation of content from Heya Camp△ for OVAs demonstrates how much material there is within Yuru Camp△: unlike the regular manga’s story, which is grounded in reality, the Heya Camp△ segments are fanciful, imaginative and creative, presenting a more comedic and exaggerated side of camping that otherwise wouldn’t fit into the regular story. The end result is a fantastic means of allowing the series to poke fun at itself and also remind viewers that at the end of the day, Yuru Camp△ is about having fun. Further to this, the second and final OVA to Yuru Camp 2 also hints at what is upcoming for the series; by choosing to portray Rin in a variety of different camping trips quite unlike anything that we’d seen previously, the OVA is hinting at the fact that Yuru Camp: The Movie will be doing something bigger and bolder than before. This isn’t too surprising, as anime films have typically taken concepts from their original run and then expanded it such that the scope matches what one expects from a silver screen feature presentation. Given that Yuru Camp△ has continued to expand the scale of Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club’s adventures, one can reasonably surmise that the camping trip within the movie will be both further away and features more people than anything the series had shown until now. This prospect is most exciting, and while it probably won’t see the girls reach Mars ahead of NASA or CNSA, I am rather curious to see what destinations and experiences await this group of friends.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • As it is right now, the United States and China possess the greatest likelihood, technology and scientific know-how to run a successful manned Mars mission: such an undertaking has been given serious thought since the 1950s, and the subject of no small discussion in academic circles and fictional works alike. The second Yuru Camp 2 OVA parodies this by giving Rin the ultimate advantage: a manned Mars mission is estimated to cost five hundred billion US dollars, so, seeing Yuru Camp△’s most proficient camper can trivially accomplish something that the world’s brightest and best minds were so close to reaching, drives the humour in this first scene.

  • The scientists running the mission are reduced to incoherent puddles, and I imagine that it would be a considerable shock to see five hundred billion dollars and decades of effort be defeated by a girl’s power to desire grilled meat anywhere in the solar system. One detail I liked was how everyone is speaking broken Japanese during these scenes; the Yuru Camp manga has everyone speaking in English. Of course, such a feat is well outside the realm of possibility: Rin is wandering the surface of Mars without a pressure suit, but Mars’ atmosphere is two orders of magnitude thinner than Earth’s, lacks the oxygen content and can drop down to around -70ºC by nightfall, forcing the inevitable conclusion that this is a bit of fantasy.

  • Unsurprisingly, this turns out to have been a what-if scenario from Ena. The manga supposes that this is another one of Rin’s dreams, and it speaks to the strength of both Yuru Camp△’s anime and live-action drama that aspects of the manga are so cleverly written into a different context without breaking immersion. Besides the Yuru Camp OVAs, one moment from the manga’s Heya Camp segments was the idea that keeping everything packed makes it easier to clean up the next day, and the Outdoor Activities Club decide that they can pack up everything, even their tents, before the next morning, leaving them to sleep in the open air. The drama ended up bringing this to life for laughs.

  • Given the jackets that Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club are wearing, coupled with the fact that Minami are accompanying them, I concluded that Yuru Camp 2‘s second OVA was set during the second night of the Izu trip. It doesn’t seem quite so outlandish to have everyone telling campfire stories before turning in for the evening, and par the course for Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club, their stories are all camping-related. This is what lends itself to the second OVA’s title, which had long hinted that the OVA’s contents would be related to Rin in some way.

  • The second Yuru Camp 2 OVA is nowhere near as fleshed-out as Heya Camp△’s Sauna, Meal and A Three-Wheeler OVA, which saw Rin do her weekend camping trip on a loaner Yamaha Tri-City motorbike. When I watched the first of the Yuru Camp 2 OVAs, I was a smidgen disappointed that it was only four minutes long and lacked the same level of content as did the Heya Camp OVA, but I subsequently recalled that the OVAs were largely adaptations of the manga’s omake content. As such, entering the second Yuru CampOVA, I tempered my expectations and anticipated a shorter, but still enjoyable segment.

  • This time around, Yuru Camp 2‘s second OVA exceeds expectations for being enjoyable to watch, and matching the remainder of the series in tone. The first OVA, Mystery Camp, was fun in its own right, but the middle vignette saw Nadeshiko go to a work camp. It was utterly heartbreaking and demoralising, and to the best of my knowledge, was a new story written specifically for the OVA. While funny in a twisted, cruel way, I did remark that doing something like that again would be a tough pill to swallow – I am therefore glad that Yuru Camp 2‘s second OVA is much more in keeping with the tenour as the rest of the series.

  • Nadeshiko’s ideal camping destination for Rin is Hokkaido: the northernmost island would be a fun place to ride, and they do have some of Japan’s best food: from top left going clockwise, Nadeshiko imagines Rin riding off to have kaisendon (a seafood bowl of white rice topped with sashimi, crab, prawn, squid and roe), baked potatoes topped with butter, yūbari melon, Genghis Khan (a grilled mutton dish) and corn off the cob. I certainly would like to go visit Hokkaido purely for their food alone, although the northernmost Japanese island is no slouch in attractions, either: Hakodate is supposed to be beautiful owing to its distinct night-scape, and Sapporo is famous for their ice sculptures.

  • Chikai’s vision of a travelling Shimarin entails Rin travelling to Shikoku for the 88-temple pilgrimage, decked out in the aruki-henro‘s garb. The aesthetic of Chiaki’s suggestion casts Rin as being similar to Kino of Kino’s Journey, wandering to different parts of Japan and gaining spiritual enlightenment as a result. While I’ve not seen the original Kino’s Journey, curiosity led me to give the 2017 anime a go. I was promptly impressed with the thematic aspects, and how much effort was paid into making each nation unique, noteworthy. Kino herself is well-suited for the journey, possessing exceptional sharpshooting skills to keep herself out of trouble, and despite her stoic mannerisms, is polite and open-minded.

  • Earlier today, my copy of the Yuru Campofficial TV guidebook arrived. I had pre-ordered it back in June when the listing was first created, and figured that to save a few bucks, I’d go with unregistered airmail, which was ten dollars less costly than the other options. Airmail takes an estimated five to twelve days, and since my copy of the guidebook came on day eleven, I’m very happy. After opening the package, I was impressed with the book’s heft: it’s a fully twenty-five percent larger than the first season’s guidebook while at the same time, costs only twenty percent more.

  • Most impressive was the fact that the guidebook details every location, both in and around Minobu, as well as the different campsites, restaurants and attractions for both Yuru Camp 2 and Heya Camp△. Besides locations, concept art of every dish is shown, and in conjunction with the cast interviews, the guidebook really demonstrates the level of effort that went into making the series. The guidebook’s extra materials come from the fact that Yuru Camp 2 has one more episode than Yuru Camp did, as well as the fact that it fully covers Heya Camp△, as well: the stamp card Nadeshiko completes is also included.

  • Altogether, the Official Guidebook Yagai Katsudo Kiroku Volume 2 is the ultimate resource for Yuru Camp fans, and I’m immensely glad to have picked it up when I did. I’ve heard rumours that an election is about to take place here in Canada, and with mail-in ballots being one of the primary options on account of the ongoing health crisis, it is suggested that Canada Post could slow down as they need to make additional deliveries, so the guidebook couldn’t have come at a better time.

  • I had been a little worried after the first OVA: the Dystopian Camp, as it is known, is really just a work camp, and puts Nadeshiko in a piteous situation. With this being said, the anime adaptation has nothing on the manga; during one of the omake comics in volume eight, Chikai and Aoi discuss how to keep the campsite clean, but then Nadeshiko interjects and states it’s fine to eat any waste they produce. The panel is horrifying to behold, and as it turns out, Chiaki had been having a nightmare.

  • Conversely, owing to Rin’s not-so-secret love of onsen, Aoi supposes that Rin would want to push her enjoyment of the hot springs to the limit by travelling in increasingly cold weather, only to hit the thermal waters immediately after. This is something I’d like to try, and since my area is blessed with bitterly cold winters, as well as geothermal hot springs an hour over, it would be possible for me to hop over to the Upper Hot Springs in Banff during the winter. I have considered doing an overnight stay during the winter, during which I would hit the hot springs early in the morning, then don a thick woolen sweater and then sip a hot cocoa on a café down Banff Avenue before returning to my lodgings and sit down to a warm, hearty dinner.

  • In Aoi’s mind’s eye, Rin even gets to bathe with the Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata), an Old World Monkey (differentiated from New World Monkey by the lack of a prehensile tail and arboreal preferences) found in Nagano. In reality, the Japanese Macaque were first seen bathing in open-air hot springs belonging to a hotel in 1963, so to give the monkeys a place of their own, Jigokudani Monkey Park was constructed. It is only in the imagination where one could bathe with the Japanese Macaque – hygienic factors preclude such an activity in reality, altough one cannot deny that Yuru Camp has a talent for visually portraying comfort through the characters’ fuzzy eyes.

  • While a winter hot springs trip to Banff would be fun, I suddenly realise that it would also be immensely relaxing to spend a few days at a ryōkan, especially one with private baths and an in-house kaiseki dinner. There is a draw about the aesthetic of peace and simplicity at a ryōkan that conventional accommodations do not offer, and being able to soak in my own private onsen while overlooking the mountains as Rin does here would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While ryōkan are no slouches in terms of price, I have been working for a while and could go on such a trip, so long as I plan for a trip where I’m not busy with work.

  • While I’m not keen on driving a moped though the snow as a part of said vacation on account of that being my everyday life for eight months of the year, I suppose that I should treat myself to a ryōkan experience at some point in the near future – for the past four years, I’ve not travelled out of country except for work (including business trips to Denver, Winnipeg, and attending F8 2019), and I’ve not taken any vacation time off for myself because I’ve been so focused on building stuff for start-ups. Since I was the only iOS developer around, it was always all-hands-on-deck, so it was difficult to get away. However, I am working with a larger company now, and since there are other developers, it would be possible for me to take some proper time off: since I now have five years of experience, I have three weeks of vacation time.

  • I can get by well enough with just the statuary holidays – I live to solve problems. However, I do appreciate that work-life balance is important, and from the other side of the coin, I also solve problems to live. Three weeks of vacation time (15 days off) is quite a lot, and I could go on a one-week trip to Japan for a ryōkan stay, and still have enough left over for a week off at the end of the year, plus five more days of time for things like other appointments. With this sort of timeframe, I’d definitely be able to give the ryōkan experience a go: I’d previously had a similar experience during my travels to Japan, during which I was served sukiyaki nabe and sashimi for dinner, before going for a soak in the hotel’s onsen.

  • Such a trip is something to look forwards to in the future, but for the shorter term, there’s also Yuru Camp: The Movie to look forwards to. With Aoi’s thoughts of winter onsen in the books, the second Yuru Camp 2 OVA draws to a tranquil close, being a warm and light-hearted way of wrapping up the second season. While Yuru Camp△ came with three OVAs, including a particularly enjoyable romp on a deserted tropical island, one cannot fault C-Station, since all of their present efforts are probably directed at the film.

  • With this final OVA and the second season’s official guidebook, I’ve had a very Yuru Camp△-focused year: I also ended up watching the live-action drama and bought both Yuru Camp Virtual experiences for my Oculus Quest. Having had a chance to try things out now, I conclude that the Oculus Quest is the best way to enjoy Yuru Camp Virtual. Unlike the mobile app for iOS and Android, the Oculus Quest is completely immersive, and unlike the HTC Vive, Valve Index or Oculus Rift, the Oculus Quest is unencumbered by wires, offering the most freedom of movement.

  • Now that I think about it, I’m been pretty picky about what I about what I buy for the Oculus Quest, and a full two years after picking up my complementary Oculus Quest from F8 2019, the only apps besides Yuru Camp Virtual I paid for are Wander and SUPERHOT VR. Although VR has improved dramatically since the days I put my virtual cell into the earliest Oculus Rifts, the technology is still quite limited, so I don’t spend too much time in VR. I’ll close off with the OVA’s final moments, which has Rin rocking her moped on the surface of Mars. In the near future, I have plans to write about Action Heroine Cheer Fruits, which I recently finished, along with some thoughts on Far Cry 5 following the free weekend, a special post on Kanata no Astra, and of course, a talk on The Aquatope on White Sands now that we’re six episodes into the series.

Besides the second Yuru Camp 2 OVA, I also recently picked up the official TV guidebook for the second season – the first TV guidebook had impressed with its thorough presentation of the behind-the-scenes in Yuru Camp△, featuring character design, concept art, cast interviews, location stills and never-seen-before artwork, as well as a summary of all the episodes and OVAs. The first season’s TV guidebook sold for 2500 Yen, and so, when I learnt that the second season’s TV guidebook would retail for 3000 Yen, the price increase suggested to me that this would feature more content: Yuru Camp 2 is bigger than its predecessor, after all. I therefore hastened to pre-order my copy – these guidebooks always offer phenomenal insight into series that online discussions alone do not provide, and while I made the choice of going with a slightly less expensive shipping option (which resulted in my copy taking a bit longer than usual to arrive), it becomes clear that the wait was well worth it. Yuru Camp 2‘s official TV guidebook is bigger and badder than its predecessor. With 160 pages over its predecessor’s 128, the second season’s guidebook showcases the new locations in hitherto unseen detail (in particular, having information about what went into the Izu Peninsula segment of Yuru Camp 2 was most illuminating). In addition, it also details the new equipment that Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club utilise. To my pleasant surprise, the guidebook’s increased price tag means that Heya Camp△ is also presented, and with it, the locations that Nadeshiko visits with Chiaki and Aoi on her stamp rally, along with Rin’s experiences while she’s rocking the Yamaha Tri-City bike. The guidebook acts as a tangible copy of Yuru Camp 2, allowing me to catch details that I missed during my initial watch of the series, and reading through it, I am thoroughly impressed with the level of effort that went into Yuru Camp 2. There is no doubting that C-Station will continue to put on an impressive showing for Yuru Camp: The Movie – if Yuru Camp 2 was anything to go by, we viewers can reasonably expect to be blown away by the adventures that Rin and the Outdoor Activities Club share.

Mystery Camp: Yuru Camp△ 2 OVA Review and Reflection

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

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

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

Screenshots and Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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