TL;DR – The camping adventures continue for Rin, Nadeshiko, Aoi and Chiaki in season 2. Rin goes on a solo-camp to the sea but her attempts to return home are stifled when the weather turns bad. What was meant to be a two-day camp turns into a longer stay involving sight-seeing, more camping, visiting friends and family and discovering all the wonders of Japan.
Review (warning: spoilers)
Mid-way through season 2, Yuru Camp focuses on Rin’s friends Aoi, Chiaki and Ena. They have ventured to Cape Ohmama in winter and set up camp by Lake Yamanaka. Chiaki puts together two compact chairs and turns it into a hammock, which all three of them take turns in trying out. Each expresses how divine it feels and how they don’t want to move. The animated bliss on their faces says it all and you can’t help but feel how the simple pleasures can be the best. It is the little things that sums up this slice-of-life anime series, and it does it in fine form.
Enjoying the outdoors, drinking tea, the accomplishment of cooking one’s own dinner on a portable gas light stove, embracing the fresh air, and living in the moment are what makes this anime beautiful. The characters are cute, which I don’t think is particularly necessary, but their interactions lend to funny moments that add to the overall contented feel of this series.
All is not smooth sailing, however, as setbacks and unexpected problems arise that allow the viewer to learn quite a lot about what it takes to be a camper and what you should be mindful of. For example, the Cape Ohmama episode sees our trio of girls discovering it is much colder where they are than where they have gone on previous camps. Turns out the Lake Yamanaka campsite is 1000 metres above sea level. Their mobile phones have drained of power due to the cold, and by late afternoon it is already minus-two degrees Celsius. The girls thus have to figure out how to adapt, and it is an insightful and interesting look into the challenges of winter camping.
Campfires, hot pots, sleeping together in tents, using cardboard beneath their sleeping mats, and using hand warmer patches in their sleeping bags are all ideas the girls come up with. Some of these don’t come to fruition, however, and it is only with some luck that they don’t end up packing up all their things and heading home in the dark. Luck in this episode comes in the form of a couple of fellow campers who have properly prepared and invite the girls in to keep warm and eat with them. I don’t know how anime does it, but whenever they depict food, it always looks delicious.
The adventures still focus primarily on Rin and she is the quiet star of the show with the more gregarious Nadeshiko also getting decent air time. Rin has the most knowledge of camping and the places she goes to will make you want to explore Japan’s camping sites and have you jumping online to purchase innovative camping products and equipment. Either that or you will, at least, want to visit the hot springs Japan is famous for and lounge in these places without a care in the world.
Yuru Camp does a good job of being a tourist poster for the country even if it is unintentional. It is a lovely look into how we should all slow down and not get sucked up into the rush of busy lives. The age old adage of ‘stop and smell the roses’ never more evident than in Yuru Camp, or perhaps it is more ‘stop and cook yourself a winter curry while staring up at magnificent Mount Fuji.’ Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as easily but definitely achieves the same end goal.
9 out of 10