Continuing their treks through the high peaks of Japan, the mountaineering girls are back for more! First-year high school student Aoi Yukimura, a shy girl with a fear of heights, and her wildly energetic friend Hinata Kuraue set out once again to conquer the perils of backyard camping trips, summer homework, and even a climb on the mountain of their dreams. Joined by middle school student Kokona Aoba and their knowledgeable upperclassman Kaede Saitou, the squad members are ready to take on whatever slopes and challenges they might face, no matter how steep.
Through their shared hobby of mountain climbing, they bond closer than ever and even make new friends on trails all over the country. Whether it is just a local hill or the tallest mountain around, nothing is too much for Aoi and the crew to handle. They will climb, stumble, and rise to even greater heights together!
"(Mountain-climbing) may have been hard, but it was a lot of fun. I want to experience more of these feelings. Lots more."
I was eager to watch the second season after seeing the first season which consist of three-minute episodes. It was great that in this second season the episodes are longer, which leaves for more story and definitely development in the characters. If you'd watched it already, you should know that Aoi at first didn't like mountain climbing. But with the help of Hinata, and along with two more girls, Kaede and Kokona, she got to learn more about it and she had a lot
of fun with them.
In the second season, it continues in with almost the same idea, but also some episodes do offer some surprises. There are some more mountain-climbing adventures in the story which not only entertain you with cute girls but you can also learn something, whether it's the mountain or Japanese culture. Education isn't the main focus in the story but it's great that at least there is something to know, from the characters' knowledge to us viewers. At times when they aren't climbing, there is a small story, whether it involves the four girls or individual. It's good as well for such smaller stories that we can get to know more about the girls well and perhaps seeing some development.
The story has a lot of cute and funny moments from the characters' interaction. My emphasis goes on cuteness because I swear, the pandering is real on this anime. Every episode, you will never miss your dose of cuteness. Although this does not have any effect to the story, they are there to brighten your watching experience, and maybe your day when you're feeling down. It also has a few dramatic moments which, luckily, doesn't go overboard and nothing tragic happened for a light-hearted anime.
You may have seen tons of slice of life anime, and whether they have a story or not does not really matter now. But whether it tries to make the audience feel satisfied or enjoy is a much important factor, and Yama no Susume does not fail in this. Indeed, the story may not be too perfect, but it is definitely special in many people's hearts, including mine. Also, you probably seen tons of them being school-themed. However, this anime focuses on nature instead, one of the less-used themes, and it was great that it did their utmost best to glorify this theme. All references said in the anime are real, including the attractions and legends. With some knowledge learnt, you will have a different experience that you never felt before in your anime watching.
It is nice to see a small cast, especially for a slice of life anime. This also leaves more story and development in most of each character. You already have met four girls, Aoi, Hinata, Kaede and Kokona. They have a special bond together like as if their friendships will last forever. Also, if you looked at the poster, you would see a new character, which is Honoka. She is introduced in the last few episodes and despite not having enough time to know more about her, she is a good addition to the group. Calm as always, smiles once a while too.
Aoi and Hinata has one of the best friendships I've seen. It's well-developed and despite their differences and small fights in-between, they still stick close together since young. Hinata is always out there to reach Aoi and help her along the way whenever she is stuck in a difficult situation. That also means Hinata has learnt about Aoi one step at a time and so she knows Aoi and herself more.
The girls have a nice dynamic character with different set of emotions once in a while. They are aware of their thoughts and know what to do to make themselves better. Overall, they all have developed throughout the whole story, and I'm impressed to see that. But not only just them, but also a few characters that are introduced later in the story which changed their mindset over thanks to the girls.
For a light-hearted anime, expect everything cute. Back to the point, the art for this anime is almost similar to any kind of slice of life anime, but it stands out the most for its spectacular sceneries depicting mountains, skies and buildings. The details look refined and almost real. I love the nature drawn such as the sun-rise and the flowing river. The atmosphere is lively with background people around interacting one another. The character designs are absolutely cute and nicely-detailed and a bit real. The facial expressions are well-done, that show how does the character feel.
There are two opening and three ending songs in total. One of the ending song is reused from the first season, but it's a nice touch to relive the memories of the first season as well. Overall, all of them are sweet and lovely to hear. They may not stand out with the rest in the two seasons, but honestly, I love all of them so much. I must give special mention of the animation that went along with these songs, because they have this unique art style that reminded me of the first opening in Bakemonogatari. The background music isn't really memorable but I think it's done well. The voice acting is great too.
I never had this time when I dislike an episode, and I was always power-hungry for more. This anime never failed to disappoint me, so this had to be one of the best anime I have watched since the start. I'm glad to find this anime from the first season, and I really hope to see more of cute girls climbing mountains in the future. It's regrettable to see that this anime does not pick up enough hype. So I consider a miracle if I met a random stranger and he said he had watched this anime. I really hoped a lot more people can watch this.
Hence, please watch the two seasons. They will never disappoint you, trust me.
This second season of Yama no Susume continues the story of Aoi and Hinata from the first one as they, along with their two friends, keep developing their interest on mountain climbing while reaffirming their friendship. This is overall a cute and positive show with endearing personalities and an inviting mood. And yet, it has to be one of the most perplexing experiences I've had watching anime, and for many reasons.
I admit it, I didn't like the first season. With a premise that should have hit all the right notes in my personal tastes, I found the delivery dull and lazy, filled with the most
blatantly regurgitated trope iterations and overall giving me the impression that I wasn't watching something genuine and sincere.
This season is far longer, the episodes have more time to develop its ideas and not feel too schematic and/or contrived, so in theory it should be able to fix these issues. And it, indeed, went way better this time. Yet if I had to describe this season in a single word, that would be "erratic". Extremely, bewilderingly erratic.
First, let me say that the art and animation in this show deserve all the praise that I can't fully give in other departments. It is a show about outdoors and scenery and it delivers with great shots and embellished natural landscapes. It has a lot of active and energetic character interaction and it's delightfully executed in movement and framing to transmit that feeling of liveliness throughout. The visual delivery is absolutely on point and that is something I can't deny no matter how I feel about the series.
That said, I am very conflicted about the writing and characters, and perhaps the most blatant example of this inner conflict came in the very first episode. The vibes I was getting from it couldn't be worse; the same essential problems the first season had in execution, with a kind of moe and cutesy imagery that felt so lazy, tropey and lowest common denominator that I couldn't get invested in its mood at all. And yet, there was a scene right there, when the girls finally set up the tent and enjoy their time together. That scene. That conversation in the tent. It somehow felt properly restrained, natural, authentic. It was exactly what I want and expect a slice of life to be.
To a point, I wish the entire anime was a consistent stream of serviceable mediocrity, somehow like that first season was, because this is more difficult to handle. "Irregular" would be an understatement for this show. It is actually brilliant, genuinely great and inspired, in bits. Some of its little sequences can rightfully be placed among my favorite slice of life moments of all time, and the series gets some themes and tones surprisingly well. For instance, one of the things I was most surprised about is that, for a series this positive and idealistic... it handles the negatives and adversities incredibly well. It knows how to deal with tension and inner conflict. The negative effects of Aoi's acrophobia are perhaps my favorite plot point of the series and whenever it plays a role it doesn't feel sweetened or overdramatized, but heavy and uncomfortable, and creates some of the best and most heartfelt scenes in the show. I could mention some other moments that deal with an amount of tension and conflict, like the semi-frequent quarrels between Aoi and Hinata, or that scene with Aoi trying to convince her mother to let her climb Mt. Fuji... and they all, somehow, excel at executing their particularly heavier moods.
But for every great there's a downside in this show and in this case it's the amount of monologuing and characters wording their feelings and concerns. Aoi is particularly guilty of that and it can get truly grating. It is cheap, it is redundant and it disrupts the natural flow of events. I can't fully express how much I dislike the choice to use them as tools for character exposition, and how often they managed to break my immersion in otherwise very competent scenes and conflicts.
In fact, in general, I don't feel much for the characters of this series. For the two main ones, I like them more as concepts than as characters themselves. While sometimes, clearly more often than the rest of the cast, they move me and hit home in a particularly brilliant way, I can't bring myself to getting this kind of strong attachment to them that other series manage to create. And it's not due to lack of merits: the premise of their friendship is really beautiful and inspiring, and their relationship doesn't have anything essentially wrong, actually managing to capture the little instances of conflict that also conform a friendship. I think it's worth noting, and to a point daring for the show and the overall mood it intends to create, that it tries to put emphasis on their bickering instead of reducing their relationship to the beautiful and wholesome moments. But with that said, I can't get over character quirks of Aoi that I find irritating, like the above mentioned, and while Hinata is more solid, she isn't in any way memorable to me as a standalone. The rest of the cast is rather forgettable. Kaede is... just there. I don't hate her, I wouldn't say I like her, to a point I appreciate her viewpoint and I see nothing wrong with her presence but nothing else. Kokona is a weird and ambivalent case. She is sweet to the point of type 1 diabetes, which I somehow can handle due to my high sugar tolerance but even then I can't help but point her as a character that is pushed far beyond the limits. And yet, there is some naïve childhood charm in her that prevents this excess from backfiring or resulting in annoyance.
I truly don't know what to say or how to sum up my views of this show. It is genuinely brilliant but at the same time it's grating and mediocre. It has forgettable characters but intense and breathtaking character moments. It feels fake and pandering in its amount of regurgitated moe gimmicks that are uninspired and overdone in execution, yet it somehow is able to transmit down-to-earth feelings that few slice of life capture with such efficiency. The highs of this show seem to come from nowhere, but they exist, and they make the experience absolutely worthy. That is what I can conclude, I guess. It was worthy. Irregular, erratic and a huge mess of an experience, but one of a kind. And somehow, I find myself looking forward to the third season.
This review is just going to be how Yama no Susume Second Season is to me.
I started out watching Yama no Susume out of curiosity (well that actually applies to most of us huh) only knowing that it's about mountain climbing. In little time Yama no Susume captured my eyes and heart to the show showing the beauty of mountain climbing but not without the challenges and suffering (and moe).
As where I'm from has no mountains so before I watched the show I had no real idea and interest in mountains not to say climbing it but this show just does it so well
in portraying to the audiences about the beauty that lies ahead upon climbing mountains. It sure did for me, after watching the Mt. Fuji arc I was inspired I was hyped to climb Mt. Fuji someday and sure as hell did I climb it on July 7th to 8th 2015 when I was in Japan (for goraiko like what the girls did in the anime).
It was like what the anime showed me it is tiring, you question yourself why are you here but in the end when you get to the top your rewards are wonders, you meet people upon climbing everyone's nice. If it wasn't for this show I wouldn't have climbed Mt. Fuji, I wouldn't have saw the beauty at the summit and during the climb, I wouldn't have experienced the feeling of being above and among the clouds. I wouldn't have experienced this once in a life time event. I am just really in love with this show they don't just show you the beauty they show you what it takes to get there as well that's why I was prepared for the suffering it had to take to get to the summit.
All and all, this show is wonderful in my opinion it's moe, realistic and inspirational an 8/10 for me.
Honestly, I happened to come by this anime purely by chance. An anime about girls climbing mountains? As soon as I read the summary, I gave it a try. What the summary anticipated was a journey, and a long one at that.
The four main characters go through many hardships and turns, and it made me want to cheer them on. Aspects of their experiences are often relatable in some way, too, like being unsure if you're able to do something, or simply an argument with your closest friend.
With art comparable to the easygoing nature scenes of Non Non Biyori's, Yama no Susume manages to
fascinate me greatly. The detail and effort put into every scene is incredible and inspiring, and the accuracy with each feature of mountain climbing as a whole is amazing. It definitely feels like the studio behind it actually went and climbed a mountain themselves, giving the animation a very genuine 'mountain aura'.
Overall, I enjoyed both seasons of Yama no Susume, although it's unfortunate that the episodes in both seasons weren't full length, but the second season made a big difference to the three-minute (?) shorts of the first season. It's an enjoyable ride, for sure.