Nao ToyamaAki ToyosakiSayuri HaraYuru Camp
Laid-Back Camp Movie
Medium: film
Year: 2022
Director: Yoshiaki Kyougoku
Writer: Jin Tanaka, Mutsumi Ito
Actor: Aki Toyosaki, Nao Toyama, Rie Takahashi, Sayuri Hara, Yumiri Hanamori
Keywords: Yuru Camp, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 120 minutes
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 15 February 2023
It's two hours of Laid-Back Camp, which is a bit much. I like the show and its characters, but I still paused this film occasionally to do other things. It grows a (gentle) storyline for the last twenty minutes, but otherwise you're here to watch likeable people, enjoy the atmosphere and admire the scenery.
It's a flashforward film, set several years later when our schoolgirls have all grown up and got jobs. Nadeshiko is a shop assistant in a camping store, so keen to help her customers that in one scene she recommends a product in a different shop across the road. Rin is editorial staff on a local magazine in Nagoya. Chiaki works in tourism promotion for Yamanashi Prefecture. They can't get together as often as they used to, but one day Chiaki and Rin get together and have an idea. (Until then, I'd been wondering if the film was even going to have a point.)
They're going to start up their own campsite, albeit as part of Chiaki's prefectural promotion work rather than as a start-up business. They meet pine cones that talk in tiny voices. They learn things, including a highly tempting recipe for salmon soup. They visit an onsen and (as always in this show) there's no nudity. They make use of a robot that plays rock-paper-scissors. It's pleasant... but that's it. There's no opposition and, frankly, no sense of drama. It's just Nice Girls Doing Relaxing Stuff, although that includes some hard work in cutting grass and trimming tree branches.
As always, the show's scenic travelogue side is huge. Without shoving it down our throats, we're visiting lovely and meticulously reproduced places. (That's true whether it's the great outdoors or the centre of Nagoya.)
Those last twenty minutes are quite good. The girls' proposed attraction sounds nifty and I'd go there. It's certainly more interesting than the knee-jerk default option of a museum. Overall, this is a modestly charming film that should please Laid-Back Camp fans, but it's struggling to sustain the show's low-key formula over two hours and I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to the franchise. By all means, watch it if you enjoy this series... but you might want to consider breaking it up into half-hour "episodes". Watch it in bits across a week, perhaps.