010: Yama no Susume
AKA: Encouragement of Climb
Aired: Winter 2013, Summer 2014, Summer 2018
Genres: Slice of Life, Iyashikei, Comedy, Outdoors, School, CGDCT
Date watched: Dec 03 2018 – Dec 05 2018
Series watched: Yama no Susume (12 ep x 3 min + 1 ep x 5 min), Yama no Susume: Second Season (24 ep x 13 min + 2 ep x 15 min + 1 ep x 26 min), Yama no Susume: Third Season (13 ep x 13 min)
Why I started watching: This one had come up multiple times in comparison to Yuru Camp, and featured several VAs that I recognized. Aoi is voiced by Yuka Iguchi, who was Hinata in Sora yori mo Tooi Basho. This Hinata is by Kana Asumi, who did Komari in Non Non Biyori, and a side character in Sora yori mo Tooi Basho too. Rin’s VA from Yuru Camp, Nao Touyama, voiced Honoka here. Yoko Hikasa voiced Kaede here, Mio in K-On!, Sakie in Demi-chan, Kou in New Game!, and another side character in Sora yori mo Tooi Basho. It would be my fifth show with a character of hers! At this point, I was seeing major overlaps in the VA’s in Slice of Life shows, as this show had VAs, also known as seiyuu, from six of my first nine shows.
After Luluco, I didn’t really want to watch any more anime that were just composed of shorts, however I noticed that this series had a lot of them, and also transitioned from 3 minute long episodes in the first season, to 13 minute long episodes in the next two seasons, and there were so many episodes that there were basically two full-length seasons of the show here. Even though the episodes were shorter than normal, I felt that the pace of each episode was brisk, with about as much happening on average as a normal episode from other shows.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show, although it was difficult to not compare it to Yuru Camp at every step along the way, since they are thematic sisters, with this one more focused on the mountain-climbing aspect than camping. In Yuru Camp, the girls are in a club called the Outdoors Activity Club, and their club room is right next door to the “Hiking Club”. If there were an anime based around that Hiking Club, that would be Yama no Susume. However, Yama no Susume has less focus on romanticizing the outdoor life, and more focus on character development, as they juggle school, jobs, and friendships. And occasionally clamber up the side of a random mountain together.
The third season in particular focuses on the relationship between the two main characters, with about half the episodes dedicated to each of them. There is still plenty of mountain hiking, though, as the group of girls often end up splitting into two different random groups and hiking up different mountain trails simultaneously, sort of like how Yuru Camp does it. It’s hard to say which of the two I found better, even though they are thematically similar, but suffice to say I enjoyed both shows immensely.
And then there was the music. Yama no Susume blew me away in this category. Most of the OP/ED songs were sung by the seiyuu of the main characters, and four of the seven upbeat songs were good enough to get into my song stash, although I quite enjoyed the other three as well. I found the video of the S3 ED, Irochigai no Tsubasa, to be intensely sweet and adorable, especially when they get to the talking segment in the song/video. It promptly became my favourite ending song until KareKano came along a month later. The S3 OP, Chiheisen Stride, was also very cheerfully sweet. From season 2, my favourite songs were the first OP (Natsu-iro Present), and the first ED (Tinkling Smile by Yui Ogura). The only issue I had with the songs from this show, is that none of the songs seem to have English lyrics available anywhere online, which I found rather peculiar, since practically all of the other anime that I have watched do. Gives me more of an impetus to learn the Japanese language quicker, I suppose!
Final Score: 10/10