3 April 2019 | TheArtistWithoutAName
One of the few Slice of Life shows I actually like
I have under the past few months come to the conclusion that I am not a very big fan of Slice of Life shows. While there are some really good ones, I found many of them to be extremely bland. Don't get me wrong, one of my favorite aspects of movies and shows are the characters, so saying that I don't like SoL cause I value a story more is wrong. But I often find the stories to be unoriginal, the characters to be bland and the art to be visually uninteresting. Even some of the more critically acclaimed SoL shows haven't really stuck with me, like K-on or Lucky-star. Not that I think that their bad necessarily, but I just find them very forgettable.
But there are SoL shows that have oddly stuck with me, one being last years 'Yuru Camp' (or otherwise known as 'Laidback Camp'). And today, I'm going to try to figure out why I still remember it after a year.
Yuru Camp, made by C-station, who made 'Starmyu' and 'Seikoku no dragonar', and directed by Yoshiaki Kyogoku, known for his work on Usagi drop and Kuroko no Basuke, is about Rin Shima, an introverted high student, whose main interest is in solo camping. She spends her weekends camping in a new place by herself. But one day, Rin meets Nadeshiko, an energetic and cheerful student in the same school, on one of her camping trips.
Through this new relationship, we see how Rin becomes a little more social. We see her change her mind about... people.
What first made me love this show was how well Rin Shima was written. One problem I have with many SoL anime (and anime in general) is how introverted people are written. Most introverted characters I have seen are extremely socially anxious and shy. A few examples of this would be Maika from Blend S, Aya from KINMOZA and Miyuki from Lucky-star. I'm not saying that there isn't a person in the world who is like that. But a majority of introverted characters in anime have this exact personality. But this was were Rin Shima stood out from the crowd. While she enjoyed being by herself for the most part, that was the only thing that made her introverted. Otherwise, she could socialize well, she had friends (or maybe more A friend) and wasn't that awkward. And that is what being introverted means. It doesn't mean that you are shy, awkward or socially anxious, it just means that you get tired when being social, and gain back this energy when being alone. So you can be very social and social competent, but still be introverted.
And in the midst of stereotypical introversion, seeing a realistic take on it was a breath of fresh. She isn't really a very deep character because of this, but I also think that it isn't needed for a character in a show that has such a simple premise to have complex characters. And that's why I love Rin Shima so much, because she is a message for me to not criticize a character just because he or she isn't a deep character.
Another thing that really made this show was it's music. Composed by Akiyuki Tateyama, know for his work on 'Kemono Friends' and 'Island', Yuru Camp's music has a very atmospheric feel to it. This is partially made through the fantastic backgrounds, but mainly from this. Something else I don't really like about SoL anime (or anime in general) is how forgettable and bland many of its music is. There might be a song or two that I liked, but I have quickly forgotten about those. And even though I don't remember a lot of music from this series either, the feeling is something I don't know if I'll ever forget. With its use of uncommon instruments like the harmonica or even whistling, it has a very unique feeling to it. It's something I could see be influencing countless shows in the future, like last seasons 'My Roommate is a Cat'. It is partly why I love this show so much. With a different composer, I think it would've felt very different and therefore made the tone completely different. But with just the right music, it felt perfect.
Another thing that makes this show work is how they use it's jokes. I'm not a massive fan of comedy in anime. While I do enjoy comedy anime at times, most of the jokes don't work for me. But this is where yuru camp makes this work. I wouldn't say I laughed at any of the jokes, but I wouldn't say that was the purpose of the joke. In most anime, the comedies only purpose is to make the audience laugh. This isn't a bad thing at all, but it makes the shows that aren't funny completely fall apart. But when Yuru camp made a joke, instead of it being funny, i felt that it was very charming. The jokes were told by characters who would've told that joke in the world. The joke wasn't to the audience, but to the characters.
So even though I didn't find the jokes to be funny, it was extremely well made.
Yuru camp isn't a particularly complex show. It doesn't have deep characters, nor a very interesting story. But it was extremely enjoyable. With its perfectly toned score and it's charming jokes, it all just... works.