Heya Camp

May 1, 2020

Yo! Yo! Hey ‘ya! Hey ‘ya! Wassap my brothers and sisters! How ‘ya all doing today? Just kidding. That’s the impression I got when I heard that is the title of the second season of Yuru Camp, Heya Camp. Technically it means room camping. So does this mean we’re through with the outdoors and now they’re trying to do cheaper camps inside buildings? After all, with the coincidental pandemic of the Corona virus, have to take precautions and stay indoors, avoid as many contact with society and most important of all, wash your hands clean. So are we still going camping or what?

Episode 1
Nadeshiko finds a canned tuna in the room. Is it for food? Suddenly a wild boar enters! Today’s lesson: Canned foods can be used as emergencies to distract wild animals. Of course this is all just a figment of her imagination. It is Chiaki and Aoi who come by. Noticing the canned tuna in her hand, they note it can also make good oil lamps. Later when Nadeshiko shows some houtou food she made, Chiaki believes she has completed the Yamanashi Kids’ Stamp Rally. Haven’t? So what are you waiting for? Visiting various hotspots and collecting the stamps earns one a year’s worth of steamed buns! Let’s go, go, go!!!

Episode 2
First stop for the stamp rally is Mt Fuji centre. After that, the girls eat a dish in the shape of Mt Fuji. It seems the more they eat, it becomes the shape of whatever mountain they recognize it to be. Finally it becomes the shape of Europe’s Matterhorn before finally being devoured. As it is cloudy, they can’t see any of Mt Fuji at all. But seeing that they love Mt Fuji so much, they can imagine its outline and still enjoy the ‘view’. Hey! Is this turning into Yama No Susume???!!!

Episode 3
Now they are biking at Kawaguchi lake. They also meet a biking couple who request their help in taking some photos of them. Once done, they show the girls an album of the sceneries they have been on their bike. Hence the trio after getting their stamp, they wonder if they will look back at the stamp rally like this when they’re grown up. Maybe.

Episode 4
Before we forget about Rin, today’s episode focuses on her day in life. Don’t worry. It won’t take long. After getting up and eating breakfast, she goes to work but gets ‘surprised attacked’ by Saitou’s dog. Saitou keeps Rin accompany at the bookstore. She draws a picture of Nadeshiko. Rin doesn’t find it look anything like her and notes it is just simulacrum (the brain perceiving 3 dots as a face). Then she draws one on Rin. Brings back ‘scary’ memories? Going home, she got ‘surprised attacked’ by a pine cone that flew into her face. Mom is making nabe and looks like grandpa has given them salmon. Rin loves this ‘surprise attack’. As she puts the ingredients into the pot, then a simulacrum face pops up. Surprised?

Episode 5
The girls are taking a tram up to Kachikachi mountain. They talk about the local folklore on how it got its name. It seems there was a race between a rabbit, tanuki and turtle. Sounds familiar? Anyway, the rabbit and tanuki tried to outdo each other like the rabbit trying to annoy the tanuki by snapping flintstones (hence the ‘kachikachi’ noise and thus the name). But eventually both failed and the slow and steady turtle won. Kachi! The girls take pictures with the tanuki and rabbit statue. Hmm… Where’s the turtle? Anyway, after getting their stamp, they enjoy the delicious dango while enjoying the picturesque view.

Episode 6
Heading to their next stamp location, Nadeshiko learns that Aoi and Chiaki aren’t really childhood friends and only met each other in middle school. After getting a stamp at a place with sakura trees, Chiaki remembers this was where she came for her first year at middle school. Then at a bridge, Chiaki further remembers during the summer of their second year at middle school, they were having some fire swinging procession. Yeah, looks dangerous. Aoi accidentally flung it and almost hit Chiaki. That was the moment they actually talked to each other and became friends like how it is today. And then at the vending machine, also more memories of how Chiaki won an extra can and shared it with Aoi. But I guess now they can’t replicate that luck. Oh well, drink still enjoyable, though.

Episode 7
Oh no! Taihen da! Nadeshiko lost that stamp rally sheet! They search everywhere, the possible places she could have lost it but to no avail. All that searching makes them hungry so Chiaki brings them home to make houtou. If you don’t know what this dish is, I guess they try explaining it to us. At least the last time the dry houtou they made at Aoi’s place. Last time Chiaki made hers, mom made it free for all and threw random stuffs into it. Even so, today they’re going to have the freedom to make a freestyle houtou as long as they have the right noodles. Of course with Nadeshiko having a big appetite, this cheers her up a lot. Meanwhile an old biker dude (Rin’s grandpa) finds that stamp rally sheet on the roadside. What kind of guy would literally stop just because some little flyer by the side caught his attention?! Oh yeah. This place is so clean that there is barely any litter…

Episode 8
The trio are now soaking their feet at the footbaths. Wondering why this place is called Golden Feet, Aoi tells of a legend how a pair of golden sandals appeared before a farmer. He tried to walk away with it but was too heavy and left it there. Of course it is a blatant lie but the foreigner seems to love it and wants to hear more! Aoi then smoothly adds more lies that includes some feudal shogun hiding his favourite houtou here. Foreigner even more impressed. So lies are okay if you make them smile? Isn’t that what many lies are?! Hope this won’t come back and bite them later that will eventually lead to tarnishing Japan’s image! Later the trio try some hotspring snack. Nadeshiko then tries to pull a fast one that she has gold instead of raisins inside it. Of course Aoi could tell he lie right away because of her fake Kansai accent but notes they often work better because it sounds softer. Really? Nope. Aoi just lied and pulled another fast one on her!

Episode 9
Chiaki spots a Mt Fuji pattern on an item. This prompts her to ask the question from which angle this mountain was drawn. Based on it, it looks like it is from Yamanashi. One win for Yamanashi! Then they stop at a tuna bowl shop. Aoi explains this item is a featured one in Yamanashi despite it doesn’t border the ocean. In fact, it is Japan’s second largest consumer of tuna. The first being Shizuoka whom it neighbours. This prompts Chiaki to ask Nadeshiko whose side she is on. Of course Nadeshiko can’t choose and loves both places. She feels like she is like Mt Fuji, straddled between both prefectures. Yeah, she’s like the bridge to both places! Enough talking. Let’s go get some tuna bowl. Only, they have no money… :’(.

Episode 10
Chiaki suggests making a camp video. From buying food to trekking to the site. However they stumbled upon something scary! A cult worshipping table cloth???!!! Blair Witch Project this isn’t?! Gotcha. Just one of Chiaki’s lies but it was enough to scare the daylights out of Nadeshiko. When the trio visit the cave, Nadeshiko was awed with the surroundings until she realized her pals aren’t with her. Panicking, she runs out into the woods and almost got lost. Thank goodness for Rin nearby. She hands back the stamp rally sheet. Wow. Did they write their name on it? How did she know it belonged to them? Nadeshiko is glad to have it back. She thought she’d never see this again. All those visits not wasted since they stamped on a different paper so now they can cut it out and stick back here. So is it too late for Rin to join in the stamp rally quest?

Episode 11
The trio are on their last leg in getting the final stamps. The last one is at some outdoor public bath. There. Finished! They then soak in the bath and have a pleasant view of Mt Fuji. Then this is the real shocker: Nadeshiko actually knows that this entire stamp rally was a setup by Chiaki and Aoi! Wow. Such an amazing feat how they rush ahead and try to put together the necessary things. No wonder Nadeshiko spotted them during their ‘assembling’. Of course she doesn’t mind because she gets to go places and taste lots of great food with them. Once they leave, Nadeshiko suggests they should go camping. FINALLY! SOMETHING RELATED!!!

Episode 12
They’re finally camping! Albeit just in their school grounds. Nadeshiko asks why they did the stamp rally in the first place. Well, they’ve been camping nonstop since she moved here so they thought it would be nice to help her familiarize with the area as well as introducing places that they love to hang out. Wow. Nadeshiko almost close to tears. Watch out. Don’t overburn the marshmallow! Nadeshiko thanks them for the nice gesture. As they can’t really camp outside for the night, it’s camping back in their crammed clubroom. Next morning, Nadeshiko has created her own stamp rally and wants them to join her exploring her recommended spots. How sweet. Looks like it has lots more places to explore. Only, Nadeshiko printed the stamps backwards. Wait. How the heck can she print them so fast? More importantly, is this going to be a hiking anime from now on?!

Take A (Yuru) Hike!
When I first realized that this season only had 3 minutes per episode, I was totally in shock. How could they have downgraded a laidback camping series from a full TV length to just a few mere minutes? Why, they feel more like shorts and specials worthy to be included in DVD or BD purchases! What atrocity! I thought this was really a downer. Then I realized after watching finished this season that this isn’t actually the second season of Yuru Camp. The REAL AND ACTUAL season will be scheduled and coming in 2021 and this just some side spinoff. Phew. I thought they really tried to troll us because there is no camping whatsoever at all! Not even in a room! They should call this the hiking show or something. But thankfully, it’s good to know at this point that the REAL AND ACTUAL sequel will be coming next year.

So now that I’ve got that out of the way, the negative essence has subsided a lot. Yup. I was going to give a lot of sarcastic comments and opinions about this short because it didn’t really live up to the fun, casual and relaxing first season. It lacked a lot of things so much so I thought they cut things down and produced it just to make a quick cash grab. After all, the first season has its own charm despite not being a mainstream anime.

Essentially this spinoff sees the trio of mainly Nadeshiko, Chiaki and Aoi going around the Yamanashi prefecture and well, collecting stamps. It feels like one big promotional tour of the prefecture as we can see some of the local attractions as well as food being shown here. Is it visit Yamanashi prefecture year? Or did the local tourism board paid the studio to do this blatant advertising so as to bring in tourists and the money? I’m sure those are just my speculation and made up lies but whatever it is, the promotion was decently done and they didn’t really spam it in our faces to really come and see the place. Looks good. Very picturesque. Maybe one day I’ll visit there. When I have the money to travel, that is! :’(.

It is also weird for this series not to have all the main characters together. One will obviously notice that Rin is sorely missing and not part of the Yamanashi mini tour. It’s like they want to leave her out and make us forget about her as she makes cameos worse than background minor characters. While it is fun to see the trio together, it just feels missing without Aoi. Even more so, Saitou. If this was an actual second season, the criticisms would have been harsher. Not to say I’m giving them a free pass either but it would have been a lot more fun had the quartet (or quintet if Saitou is in) are together and doing fun things.

But it is really mind boggling how Chiaki and Aoi go all out their way to set this mini trip up just for Nadeshiko. My point is that, how fast and far must they travel and do all the bothersome things like setting up the table and desk? It’s just not plausible no matter how I think about it. Even assuming Yamanashi is such a peaceful prefecture and no idiot would be curious enough to mess those unmanned stamp desks, this is still too much mind boggling to process. No wonder Nadeshiko found out and just kept quiet. They’re so cute trying their best to set it all up for her. Now that it is Nadeshiko’s turn, I guess no point hiding it and just let the cat out of the bag. They’re so eager to hike, huh? Well, before one can really camp, one must still hike to the camping site. So I guess hiking is part of camping eventually. Hey wait. So is that year’s worth of steamed buns a real reward or not?! Oh well. I’m sure they got something more everlasting than that. Yeah. But still… Steamed buns…

One of the great things this season is the ending theme, The Sunshower by Asaka. It sounds like a great country music and that feeling of wanting to lie down on the grass and just enjoy the rest of the nice weathered day go by. This song definitely makes my day. No opening theme here since this spinoff is so short. Oh yeah. You remember that Jackson 5’s spoof of I Want You Back? Yeah, same singer. Now she’s going for a more calming country style music. Hmm… I have this feeling I heard this tune somewhere but I just can’t place my finger on it… Maybe it is just me thinking too much.

This spinoff doesn’t bring much to the table and it felt like they trolled those who were expecting some sort of camping but instead we got hiking and sightseeing. Yup, no camping tips and tricks here. Even if this feels a lot lacking, it still has its own cute and calming charm that should prepare us when the REAL AND ACTUAL second season finally arrives on our shores. Hey at least the girls got out and experience the natural fresh air and seeing places. Unlike us lazy otakus ‘camping’ in front of our comfy chair and comfy room watching (not necessarily comfy) animes. Is this what true Heya Camp really is?!

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