You Need to Watch: Yuru Camp

Too Far Gone | Yuru Camp

Every anime season I put out a guide on Too Far Gone detailing what I believe to be the most exciting picks to watch in the coming months. Sometimes, however, shows that don’t seem interesting to you on paper, or in trailers, really do steal the spotlight. In a season that I was highly anticipating, brimming with excellence in the likes of Devilman: Crybaby, Violet Evergarden, and Pop Team Epic, shows like Yuru Camp (Laid Back Camp is its English title) can slip right under the radar. It wasn’t until I started to see people enjoying it online that I really paid attention to what could arguably be one of the most enjoyable slice of life animes I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Now that the show has reached the conclusion of its twelve episode run, here is why you should watch Laid Back Camp.

Yuru Camp focuses on a group of high school girls from Yamanashi Prefecture, an area not all that far from the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, who enjoy the outdoor pastime of camping. This immediately sets it apart from many slice of life shows, often set in an urban box, with characters playing out the usual set of antics and adventures. By having Yuru Camp set in the great outdoors it frees the all-female cast from the tired tropes and trappings that plague the genre, allowing them to better convey a sense of character and personality.

Along with changing up the formula of a typical slice of life show Laid Back Camp’s more rural setting is a huge visual boon. For those of us that enjoy anime, it’s refreshing to see a realist story not immediately default into a city backdrop. By choosing many of its settings as campgrounds in the surrounding area Laid Back Camp explores the beautiful natural side of Japan you rarely get to see, much less think of. On multiple occasions the show delivers gorgeous shots of scenery from forested lake-sides, to the iconic view of Mount Fuji benevolently watching over valleys.

Since the show focuses on normal everyday girls going about their everyday lives you won’t see anyone that clearly looks like an anime protagonist in the cast. One might assume this means that the characters are bland and boring, far from it, as the cast of Yuru Camp cycle through brilliantly colourful attire constantly. Since the show is set in the fall and winter the girls wear a gamut of styles to keep themselves warm: comfortable sweaters, winter parkas with fleece and toque combos (Canada style), each character has their own unique sense of distinguishing style.

Finally, one of the most interesting reasons to watch the show is that you might actually learn something. Yuru Camp, as the title suggests, is an anime about camping, and it genuinely tries to bring you into that world. In its own calm and laid back manner Yuru Camp teaches you how pine cones can make great fire starters, while in a very Japanese tone reminds you to be mindful of the rules of the campgrounds and to be considerate of others. The show also has a slight focus on cooking, showing viewers that life in a tent isn’t all about trail mix, hotdogs, and hamburgers and that you can have some of the comforts of home in the beautiful surroundings of nature.

Laid Back Camp is a much watch. A show based around having fun, enjoying the outdoors, and heartwarming friendship, its calming tone is a much needed respite from a season that is as emotionally trying as this one has been. Currently all twelve episodes are available to watch on Crunchyroll.

Image Source: C-Station

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