Yuru Camp is based off of a manga by Afro. Which I’m fairly certain is a circle’s name and not the name of the actual author. Afro is known for Anthology comics based off of works like Madoka, Sakura Trick, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka & Sansha Sanyou. I’m detecting a pattern and it has to do with lots of cute girls and heavy shoujo-ai. This may be a circle after my own heart. It was adapted into an anime by C-Station. C-Station is one of those studios I’ve never heard of. They’ve got a list of nine anime they’ve worked on, according to MAL and this is the first one I’ve watched.
We open with young Shima Rin going on a solo camping trip. She stumbles across a girl sleeping near the camp site and thinks nothing of it, until late at night when the girl approaches her, crying because she overslept. This is Kagamihara Nadeshiko, a young lady who just moved into the area. Rin shares some of her pre-packaged camp food and lets Nadeshiko warm up by her fire until her sister arrives to pick her up. In a completely unsurprising coincidence, Nadeshiko has enrolled in Rin’s school. She quickly joins the outdoor club with Oogaki Chiaki & Inuyama Aoi. From there we basically get our cast of young ladies bonding over camping.
The only real issue I have with the story telling is that they kind of do the Tsuritama thing where they occasionally spend too much time on the mechanics of the outdoors activity. Although this series isn’t nearly as bad about it and does a better job of giving you small snippets that integrate well into the story instead of the long diatribes that series had. They do go on too long about camping equipment on a few occasions though. You’d almost think they were sponsored by an outdoor goods store.
With that relatively minor complaint out of the way, let’s move on to the positives. First off, this series is really relaxing and charming. It’s one of those anime that you just feel good watching. Rather like So Ra No Wo To. The snappy banter among the girls is superb. Saitou probably gets the best lines in the series in that regard. Maybe they figured they needed something to make her stand out since she doesn’t go camping most of the time and just kind of chats with the others using text messaging. The humour is really well executed and this series has a lot of strong comedic moments. I also appreciate that they address the financial barrier that people have to face when taking up a hobby like camping. And this series loves dogs, which I can appreciate. Not only does Saitou have a dog, but virtually every episode has incidental dogs somewhere. It even gets little details right like how chihuahuas don’t do well in the cold, like to burrow and wear bunny outfits for nefarious purposes.
The characters have a decent degree of complexity to them, which you don’t often see in cutesy slice of life works. They also mesh very strongly for comedic purposes. Which is part of the reason that the banter is so excellent. Even the incidental characters they encounter on their excursions tend to have a good degree of verisimilitude.
The artwork is really nice. The characters are done in a pretty typical moe style which may not be impressive but does look good, and the scenery scenes are absolutely amazing. The series is also really good at drawing dogs. Whether they’re just being encountered randomly or they’re being put in little outfits. The level of detail put into the camping gear is also pretty impressive but camping gear isn’t dogs so it’s not that important.
The main cast is voiced by Takahashi Rie, Touyama Nao, Hara Sayuri, Hanamori Yumiri & Toyosaki Aki. All of whom are really good in this. I’ll also give Tateyama Akiyuki credit for doing a really good job on the soundtrack. You may recall that te did well with Kemono Friends too. The track in this might be a tad better.
There’s quite a bit. Rin and Nadeshiko in particular get a lot of moments, including sneaking into one another’s tents in order to sleep together, although in both situations there’s an explanation given beyond just them wanting to sleep together. There’s also some stuff with Aoi deliberately making Chiaki jealous.
So, the writer for this clearly has a strong fondness for shoujo-ai, dogs and camping. Two of those things are interests we share but you’re not catching me out in the woods where some slasher film shit could go down and there are biting insects. All in all, though, I found this to be a highly endearing, enjoyable little series. If you hate the more cutesy slice of life style stories, it’s not going to change your mind. If you like them, even if only occasionally or when a really strong one comes along, chances are pretty high that you’ll enjoy this one. For myself, I give it a 9/10.