Impression: Yama no Susume – Episode 02

Of all the short anime series this season, this one stands out the best.

Following the end of the previous episode, we find Aoi being dragged over to Hinata’s house to make preparations to climb the mountain. Aoi is reintroduced to Hinata’s father, who comments on how much she’s grown. An overexcited Hinata reveals that she doesn’t know a thing about hiking equipment, so her father shows them how to set up a tent in their backyard. As Aoi and Hinata lie in the tent to watch the sunset, Aoi suddenly remembers her promise to climb the mountain with Hinata when they were younger, and begins to cry. She then agrees to climb mountains with Hinata, who immediately sets her sights on Mt. Fuji and other tall mountains.

Slice-of-life stories are generally light on drama and tend to focus on the everyday lives of ordinary people. What I like about this series so far is its ability to convey likable characters and a decent plot into such a short duration. With 12 episodes total at 3 minutes each, the total runtime of this series is looking to be around 35+ minutes. It’s a little over the standard 24 minute length of a typical episode, but not long enough to be considered a movie either. If it wasn’t for the unusual choice of presenting it in 3 minute bite-sized episodes each week, this would’ve turned out to be a half-decent OVA or short film.

The animation is exceptional for a series this short. Everything from the lighting, backgrounds, and character designs are done well. Character movements are smooth as well, and not at all like the stiff and robotic animation of the other short series this season. Even the score fits well in the more emotional moments. A notable moment of this episode was Aoi’s flashback to seeing the sun rise from the top of a mountain when she was a child. To see something so beautiful and breathtaking at a young age can leave a lasting impression on a person, as evident in the tears that started flowing when she finally remembered that day. For Aoi, who over the years has slowly withdrawn into the safety of her own world, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone if she wants to re-experience that beautiful moment in nature again.

Last thoughts:

  • I’ve never watched the sun rise before.
  • The introvert in me would rather stay indoors and look up “sunsets” on Google.

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