Yuru Camp – 20 Question Anime Review

What’s the show? Yuru Camp (2018).

Oh, I remember you mentioning this show! Yeah, in the Food Wars review you had a bitch because it’s called ‘Laid Back Camp’ in the West. It will always be Yuru Camp to me.

So what’s it about anyway? It’s about a bunch of high school girls who like camping!

Use a hammer!

And are they lesbians? W—what?

Doesn’t Yuru mean ‘girls love’? No! It means… ‘laid back’… Okay okay, I get the point your making! But I still persist that Yuru Camp is a better name.

Sure, sure. So it’s about something other than camping right? Usually in these kinds of reviews, I’m all like, ‘haha yeah of course’ and give you the full rundown on the show but, uh… no it is literally just about camping and the things one does before, during and after camping that is directly related to the activity of camping.

This anime makes me cold, in a good way!

Oh… okay—so is it good? It’s so good.

‘Cute girls doing cute things’ and all that? Don’t be so reductive, I mean sure it ‘technically’ falls into that category, but I don’t think I’ve ever watched an anime where I’ve felt so asexual.

Begyourpardon? I mean, I’m not asexual, I’m just saying as far as these types of shows go, there wasn’t a single moment where I ever thought of any of them as anything remotely sexual.

Snug as a bug!

“Too pure”? No, it’s not even that, it’s… it’s hard to put into words. It’s like, watching this show is meditation, and for the record I’ve never meditated so what I’m about to say could be total BS, but here goes, when I watch this show I kind of just ‘chill’ and all worldly notions go out the window, I’m not watching ‘cute girls doing cute things’ I’m observing ‘human shapes communing with nature’ I’m ‘at one with the world and everything that’s good in it’.

Sounds like some boring hippy shit if you ask me! Well I didn’t ask you, you’re the one asking me!

Brutal af.

Way to get defensive! I’m sorry, it’s just watching this show through the start of 2018 was like my one purely ‘Zen’ experiences of the Winter 2018 anime season. I’m a little defensive of it, plus a little sad that it’s over…

That’s fair enough, but you know this is a review, we have to speak to it with at least a bit of objectivity, what didn’t you like about it? I was talking to Irina, who watched every episode of the season too, though somewhat against her will as she was doing it for blogging purposes and her take on the characters is interesting. She said that all the characters more or less fall into a ‘nice girl’ trope, specifically that “good girls smile, are always happy, never complain, are never mean, petty or reproachable in any way”. And she’s absolutely right, these girls are nice to a fault, but where usually I’m all about characterisation and having memorable and unique and interesting characters in my anime, here it didn’t matter as much, because the show was more about the feeling it imparted than how it applied to reality.

Expect to see exclamations of the deliciousness of food throughout!

So these ‘characters’ then, dull are they? I don’t think so! I mean Nadeshiko, is kind of our protagonist, but only because her loud and enthusiastic personality commands the audiences attention, Rin probably has the most screen time and that’s probably why the show feels so ‘low-key chill’ because she’s a lone wolf in that she likes solo camping and dislikes having to ‘deal’ with other people.

And does she go through some sort of change of heart? Well, kind of, she’ll always be that lone wolf on her moped, ogling doggos as she drives but she at least comes to understand that camping can be fun with other people too!

Too many ‘good boys’!

It all sounds very slight. Where you been? I never said it was anything other than the most light-hearted and relaxed of anime experiences! It’s not like I ever sat week-to-week wondering what the thrilling conclusion to the cliffhanger moment of ‘will they arrive at the camp and eat food?’

Food, eh? So it’s a food anime too? It starts simple enough with a curry Cup Noodle and somehow escalates to sukiyaki and A5 wagyu beef by the end! But yes, food plays a big part in this anime, like even more so than some actual anime that are apparently solely about food!

Just dreamin’ ’bout dat juicy meat…

Well I think I’ve gotten a fair idea what this show is about, anything else to add? I want to go camping. And I hate the outdoors.

H—how can you hate the outdoors? Oh right, Mr. Sports Hater, M.D. I sometimes forget you’re a recluse. I’m a doctor now?—And a spider?!

“She makes it look so delicious”

Final score and recommendation! This is a hard one to quantify, like, don’t go in expecting anything resembling a story, not even by slice of life standards, nor is this an anime that has the sort of character growth that makes up for said deficiencies in story, what this is, for those who can appreciate the mindset is nothing less than a religious experience! It defies rating and review, it is peacefulness incarnate even if it’s little else, and for me that’s all I want amidst this turbulent world. 89 out of 100.

Splat.
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11 comments

  1. I am planning on binge watching this at some point, though the absence of story kind of makes me think that my call to not follow it at episode 1 was probably a sound one. As much as the characters were sweet in the first episode and the quality of the episode was very high in general, it just isn’t my type of thing. Still, there’s been so many positive reviews on this one, it has become an anime I have to check out just so that I have had the experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think with this show, it is all about the experience and with that respect either you can tap into that ‘good, relaxing feeling’ or you can’t. Though I admit I am surprised at how well it’s been received, that MAL ranking is impressive as heck.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Man,I love your reviews! 🤣 I think I enjoyed this most so far. May actually look into this series, too. Seriously, you make some excellent distinctions about e.g. the feeling produced being most important to this kind of show. Asian performance art seems to have arrived much earlier than the West’s at identifying specific emotions and trying to produce them in a very targeted way. (I know saying Asia is a huge generalization, but you do find this from India to Japan.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I definitely had the most fun writing this one (may have had a few alcoholic beverages during…) That’s a very interesting point about performance art too. I think sometimes just creating a “feeling”, as opposed to a complex plot or characters can be just as difficult to pull off if not more so.

      Like

      1. It absolutely can be. I’m more familiar with the Indian tradition of aesthetic theory, which gets really systematic about producing certain emotional effects and even defines its genres according to the primary feel the performance is aiming for. Japan seems to me to have something similar. By contrast, in the West we still carry the influence of Aristotle (here of all places, when much of his thought has been abandoned) and judge art and genre according to plot, character, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with me…I mean I agree with everything you say here, as you already know. This wasn’t for me just like meditation isn’t for me but for those who are seeking a calming experience it delivers something rather unusual – at its best…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Grr… Reviews need not be objective. In fact, being neither a computer nor a Zen master, subjectivity is for all intents and purposes not possible. For that matter, what you like or dislike about a show isn’t subjective – one man’s meat is another’s poison. (And it’s properly called balanced.)

    Liked by 1 person

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