When Camping, Show, Don’t Tell

I ran into some problems with Dame x Prince Anime Caravan, so I had to switch to Idolish7 for my lineup. It was a complete disappointment too, because I had my latest episode of Dame x Pri ready to go, only to run out of time in a day and then find it locked up the next day!

…enough griping about what HiDive does though. One thing I really appreciate from YuruCamp (Laid-Back Camp) is its ability to hit some good narrative beats.

YuruCamp is an odd show to have in my lineup full of pretty boys. I’m not into camping so I can’t make use of the advice, and even though I like eating food, I’m no good at making it so the words of Akio Ohtsuka (the narrator) are lost on me for camping recipes as well.

So what drew me to it?

Initially, it was Pinecone-chan’s fault. For the uninitiated in what I mean by this, Pinecone-chan is a talking pinecone (duh) from the first two episodes with a tiny, cute voice. The voice does appear in subsequent episodes, but for the first two episodes it’s restricted to Pinecone-chan and I accidentally fell head over heels for this measly little pinecone by trying to figure out who voiced it – Pinecone-chan’s voice credits are missing from episode 1 and 2’s EDs, you see. I still don’t know who voiced Pinecone-chan…and if you know, I want to know too!

Of course, the title of this post tells a different story. After the initial buzz around Pinecone-chan fell away, I was left with this show that seemed quite subpar to my other shows (because the shows with the cute boys all seem to have competent drama or comedy as well).

However, there is a strength that this show has above its competition, and that’s its ability to show and not tell some of its greater pleasures. Swells in the music are well-timed to ensure the audience feels awe at shots of night time skies and picturesque shots of Mount Fuji. Furthermore, in the visuals department, it’s obvious there’s been a lot of work into the backgrounds and the body language – there’s one scene in the first episode where Nadeshiko slurps curry ramen (starts at about 2:50 in this video) that really demonstrates what this show does best.

Most importantly, even if it has a narrator, the show stays quiet during some of the moments where the aim is to sit back and watch these girls do their thing in a way that gives off a friendly, yet relaxed ambience. It’s been said by pretty much anyone who talks about this show in a positive light that the show really lives up to its name, and that’s why.

Of course, when it does bother to add words to itself, often it’s making light yet silly fun of its characters like Saitou’s gift of a bear-shaped hairdo to Rin in episode 2. The show holds surprising character depth, such as when it shows the girls working at part-time jobs to fund their trips. Furthermore, it’s got puns that are impossible to spot without knowledge of the Japanese language or culture such as how Nadeshiko starts counting Yukichis after being surprised at the amount of money camping items cost (“Yukichi” in this case is Yukichi Fukuzawa, face of the 10000 yen note).

So, that’s it from me. Do you fall asleep watching YuruCamp, or do you feel energised enough to go camping like the Outdoor Club and Rin do?


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