Shizuka ItouAki ToyosakiSayuri HaraYuru Camp
Laid-Back Camp: Seasons 1-2
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2018: L
Also known as: Yuru Camp: Seasons 1-2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018, 2021
Director: Yoshiaki Kyougoku
Writer: Jin Tanaka
Actor: Aki Toyosaki, Marina Inoue, Nao Toyama, Rie Takahashi, Sachi Kokuryu, Sayuri Hara, Shizuka Itou, Tomoyo Kurosawa, Yumiri Hanamori
Keywords: Yuru Camp, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 25 TV episodes + 5 OVAs
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 13 February 2023
It's funny and lovely. It's also plotless, mind you. Nothing in it matters. Girls go camping. Sometimes they talk about going camping, or buy camping equipment. It's another "cute girls do cute things" show... but it's also one of the best examples of those I've seen. No baddie. No antagonist. Theoretically, no point. Nonetheless, it's cool because the girls are likeable, the animation's full of character and the show has excellent comic timing. You'd happily watch 15 episodes of the girls just pulling each others' legs, which isn't a bad description of the show.
RIN SHIMA = an anti-social loner who in any other anime would be dragged unwillingly into the Outdoor Activities Club by the Pink Haired Idiot Heroine. Not here. Rin's horrified by the idea of a club. She likes solo camping... and that's what she does. She befriends Nadeshiko, yes, and she'll eventually end up hanging out with the others, but at her own pace and on her own terms. Also, she's an expert at most things camping-related and the most competent, reliable girl in the cast. She can carry an entire episode by herself, although she doesn't mind swapping text messages and photos with her friend by phone.
NADESHIKO KAGAMIHARA = the Pink Haired Idiot Heroine. Often compared to a dog. She's either an idiot or extremely absent-minded, but she's also enthusiastic about everything, full of energy and made of iron.
There are other girls too, but you get the idea.
Importantly, I found the camping interesting, unlike other activities like, say, the mountain-walking in Encouragement of Climb. The show knows its subject inside-out and is full of cool facts and advice. The Swedish Torch in ep.5 is awesome. I'd recommend this show to anyone, but campers in particular will eat it up.
The show's tone is light and I loved the theme song. Non-sentient objects will occasionally speak, for laughs. (Inanimate objects might say a tiny "hello" or "yo", for instance, while dog models in a gift shop in ep.10 will turn and look at you between shots.) There's slapstick. There's leg-pulling. There's a teacher who probably needs professional help with her alcohol problem. It doesn't have an ending, but you won't be expecting one. There's a spin-off series (Heya Camp) and a live-action TV series, both in 2020. I'd been looking forward to both, although in both cases I was disappointed. Haruka Fukuhara is unwatchable in the live-action series. Fortunately, a second anime season arrived in 2021, so...
It's more of the same, really. It's a bit weaker since no one has a character arc (unlike Rin in season 1), but it's still very likeable. Is Nadeshiko's "drawn by a five-year-old" smile the show's secret weapon? I'd been expecting the show to fail to recapture the spark of Season 1, but it's fine. I enjoyed it. I think the group episodes work better than the solo ones, mind you.
This season didn't really warrant a separate review.
Theoretically, there's little difference between this and other "cute girls do cute things" anime. It's just that, here, everything clicked. (In Season 1, anyway. Season 2's still okay, but I can't promise that other adaptations of the same source material will work this well.)