The second season of Yuru Camp concluded with a four-episode trip around the Izu peninsula south of Tokyo. It was mostly more of the same — girls go camping in cool weather, and nothing much happens. Which is fine; spending time with the introverted, independent Rin is enough. (The next hard drive I buy will be named “Rin,” joining the company of Kino, Marika and Isako.)
Among its other virtues, the show was almost entirely free of common fanservice — the beach episode lasted maybe ten seconds and occurred only in one character’s imagination. However, there was plenty of scenery and food porn. One unexpected pleasure was the show’s awareness of the geological history of Izu. Although Japan has numerous volcanoes, some very active, they rarely figure in anime.
Here’s one reason for Yuru Camp‘s success:
Business Insider interviewed Laid-Back Camp producer Shōichi Hotta, where he shared some of the secrets behind the hit anime. He said that although the manga is published in Manga Time Kirara, which tends to be associated with slice-of-life stories that emphasize cute girls, Laid-Back Camp has some slightly different nuances to its appeal, and he wanted to ensure that this was captured by the anime. Specifically, there were two things that he set out to avoid:
1. When a character praises another one of the other girls, don’t make them say “You’re cute.”
2. Don’t let them get touchy-feely so easily.
He explained that doing so would pigeon-hole the genre, and also that these kinds of depictions weren’t in the original manga to begin with.
I’ve been checking out first episodes of the current season on Crunchyroll as they become available to non-subscribers. As usual, I rarely can tolerate more than five minutes of most, but I did watch the debut of OddTaxi twice. It looks like a kid’s show — simple art, anthropomorphized animal characters — but it has a satirical edge and looks like it could get quite dark. The central character, a walrus who drives a taxi, is blunt and cynical. There are strong hints of police corruption and various nefarious goings-on, and probably everyone has a secret. Despite appearances, it’s not for children. What the central story will be isn’t clear yet, but I will probably continue to watch this.
Let no screen cap go to waste: