Think of any word that you would associate with the coziest feeling in the world. When I say cozy, I’m talking about that feeling where it’s below freezing and covered in snow outside and you’re inside a cabin in the woods, sitting next to a roaring fire on a fluffy and fuzzy rug, wearing your thickest wool socks with that super soft blanket wrapped around you while you enjoy rich, creamy hot chocolate. I’m talking magnum comf here. That feeling is what it’s like to watch Yuru Camp (Laid-Back Camp; ゆるキャン△). Spoilers ahead.
Honestly, where do I even begin to unpack the wonder that is this anime? It’s truly just twelve episodes of pure, unadulterated bliss. It’s amazing to me that this show is as good as it is, because it has absolutely no right to be this entertaining. It’s literally just high school girls in an outdoor camping club…camping. That’s it. The premise could not be any simpler. There’s no major conflict, emotional or physical (unless you count a battle with the wind while trying to set up a tent), no ultimate adversary (except for the common cold), and no tragic deaths (minus the death of sleeping in). And yet, this is one of the easiest 10/10 scores I’ve ever given.
Even the soundtrack is probably one of the most comfortable things you’ve ever heard in your life. It opens with this high energy pop number by what I can only assume is the Japanese Jackson 5. Then, throughout the episode, they insert this flute-y adventurous theme that makes you feel like you’re exploring the countryside right along with them. Finally to close, it’s an acoustic lullaby that I swear could cure cancer and rid the world of crying babies forever. It’s incredible.
If you’re looking for an anime that can treat you to gorgeous views of the Japanese countryside, including copious money-shots of Fuji-san, Yuru Camp has it in spades. Not only does this anime make me want to take out a loan to buy camping gear, it makes me want to ship all that gear to Japan so that I can see these places myself. If ever there was an anime meant to inspire the weebs and the NEETs to get outdoors, this is the one.
But this anime isn’t content to simply provide a chill-inducing soundtrack and borderline pornographic views of the Japanese countryside. They take it even further by putting in a bunch of well rounded characters with unique traits and personalities. And as if that wasn’t enough, they made them all absolutely hilarious. The comedic timing of the writing and acting in this show borderline unfair to the viewers. If someone offered you an absurdly high amount of money to sit through this entire show and not laugh a single time, you’d lose in the first episode, but you wouldn’t even care because it’s that funny. Even the narrator is hilarious.
Normally, I would be pretty cautious about writing such a glowing review for an anime to avoid the inevitable “over-hyping” problem I sometimes encounter. But I’m pretty sure it’s nearly impossible to overstate how fantastic this anime is (or I’m in denial…probably that one). This anime really is the whole package. It has solid characters, a fun (and surprisingly educational) story about camping, spellbinding music, top-shelf acting, and A+ writing. The next time you are home sick, or are needing a pick-me-up, or just want to watch the most chill anime you’ve ever seen, pull up Yuru Camp and hit play. You’ll be finished with the episodes before you know it. Luckily for you, they already announced a second season.