“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.