So, this is a special occasion, being my birthday. Also, don’t expect releasing reviews on a weekday to be a regular thing; my next review will be back to release on weekends. But anyway, being a special day for yours truly, I have decided to take a look at a show that I should have gotten to some time ago.
Encouragement of Climb Season 2 (2014 TV Series, 24 episodes)
Director: Yusuke Yamamoto
Studio: 8 bit
So, back in 2014, exactly 3 years ago, I covered season 1 of Yama no Susume ((Yama no Susume S1 Review, June 2014, Archive site)). For a quick recap, it tells the story about Aoi and Hinata two childhood friends/high schoolers who end up getting into mountain hiking. Along the way, they meet Kaede a megane senpai who is quite knowledgeable in hiking along with Kokona an adorable middle schooler who enjoys the hobby as much as they do. Together they learn about the hiking and the outdoors. For such a short series (12-13 episodes at 5 minutes each), it was quite enjoyable. Luckily the second season is in many ways a vast improvement over the first. For one thing, its 24 episodes with each episode 13 minutes long. That means much more character interactions and development with girl quartet to be had, as well as the opportunity to have more fun times in the outdoors.
Yama no Susume S2 strikes the right balance between story arcs and episodic stories which is no mean feat. There are a few story arcs mainly surrounding the girls planning for and going on their hikes/outdoor excursions. But sprinkled in between those are some really good one shot episodes with great focus on character. I like how Kaede gets one involving her relationship with a fellow classmate when she finds out an old rain jacket. Or even the little moments like watching Kokona celebrating her birthday with her dear mother, it’s those little moments that really get to me.
Yama no Susume also has a very strong educational approach to its storytelling as well. Granted its plainly obvious on stuff regarding hiking and the outdoors. I especially the small segments where Kaede (the senpai and most experienced at it) explain information regarding hiking hobby. There’s also time given for planning out excursions which is something you do, I should know, I did hiking and camping growing up in the 90s and turn of the millennium. In addition, it is also quite heartwarming and wholesome in tone and mood. I felt really good and content while watching this show, akin to eating pound cake or any sort of comfort food.
Another benefit of the longer runtime is the production quality. Now while 8bit isn’t known for doing outstanding work as a studio, they do a great job with this show. First off, the first OP is amazing (done by Masashi Ishihama); a real treat in striking art design. The animation on characters is a bit more fluid here compared to the first season. I also have to give props to the background art (courtesy of Mukuo Studio and Studio WHO) for the gorgeous scenery on display in this show.
Lastly, Yama no Susume demonstrates the central appeal to me when it comes to Slice of Life: the magic of the mundane. Now whereas my favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy because they explore things outside of my current world, Slice of Life operates in the opposite direction. It explores daily life and that be just as interesting as those other genres. The moment where that crystallized for me was the scene where they go off for a night hike to see some fireflies; it was a truly wondrous moment.
Yama no Susume (both seasons) are available on Crunchyroll for free (with some ads but that’s not an issue with me). I highly recommend people to check this show out, it’s really a hidden gem with a lot to offer in its wholesome and heartwarming package.
So, July is my month off from blogging. I might have an article out on Anime Herald-I’ll let you all know-but rest assured that this coming fall I got a nice lineup of reviews planned out.
‘Til next time dear readers….