T.A. Barnhart
2018-04-10 ss thumb for shiki.png

shiki

anime

Yuru Camp - halftime report

I love camping myself, so I gave this one a chance without expecting much from it. Six episodes in, I continue to be surprised how wonderful it is.

But first, can anyone explain this?

I’m assuming they tossed into the OP just for the fun of it. I’m good with that.

Yuru Camp works for a couple of reasons. One, the spectacular backgrounds that fill the episodes. Japan is a beautiful country, and the show’s producers see the countryside – and Mount Fuji, of course – as one of the series’ stars. Smart move. 

The second major reason YC works for me is Rin. I have a soft spot for soft-spoken anime girls – and it’s nice, that for a change, the quiet one isn’t a silver-haired anti-social oddball. Rin just likes to camp alone, but she readily enough adapts to sharing her space with Nadeshiko, who more-or-less gives her almost no choice.

But Nadeshiko, for all her obliviousness about Rin’s desire to be alone, turns out to be a great camping companion. In episode 2, by showing up and making hot pot, she changes how Rin thinks about camp meals in the future. Cup ramen is no longer good enough, and Rin decides to learn to cook better food for herself.

 oh yea, i wanna go camping, too.

oh yea, i wanna go camping, too.

Novice Nadeshiko for the win!

There have to be side characters as well, of course; that’s mandatory in anime (except for the best series of 2017, SSR). Usually those characters are weak, irritating, useless, etc. In YC, Aoi and Chiaki are great. They are only superficially stereotypical. They accept Nadeshiko – they’d like to get enough members to get a real club room and not a closet – and her enthusiasm gets the two girls to get serious about camping.

Well, as serious as this club is ever going to get.

 

The various storylines avoid clichés pretty well. Chiaki scoping out a possible campsite and meeting some old dude who shares his meal. Rin taking her first trip via scooter. The back-and-forth text messages and photos. Rin and Nadeshiko sharing the same space, so to speak, at the end of episode 5 and then going camping – and barbequeing – in episode 6.

The practice sessions at school.

I love shows that have no high school boys in them. Apart from Araragi in the Monogatari shows, almost every high school boy is whiny, selfish, terrified of girls, and, despite having no redeeming qualities, the object of love for the most beautiful and talented girls (who deserve much better) and often the saviors of the planet.

These four girls are real people I care about. They behave like real people, or at least as close as you’ll get in a slice-of-life anime.

Along with Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho, Yuru Camp is my favorite of the Winter 2018 season. I hope they keep the spirit of the first six episodes intact through the end.

T.A. Barnhart