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Manga / Encouragement of Climb
aka: Yama No Susume

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From left to right, back to front: Hinata, Kaede, Kokona, Aoi and Honoka.

"It may have been hard, but it was a lot of fun. I want to experience more of these feelings."
–Aoi Nakamura
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When Aoi Nakamura enters high school, she envisions herself participating in a variety of indoors activities such as knitting; having been injured from falling off a jungle gym some years previously, Aoi developed acrophobia and shies away from outdoors activities. However, on the first day of school, Aoi is reunited with her childhood friend, Hinata Kuraue, who persuades Aoi to accompany her on her mountain-climbing excursions. While Aoi is initially reluctant to participate, Hinata's insistence prompts Aoi to follow her on a short hike up a local hill, where she rediscovers the joys of mountain-climbing and recalls that as children, she'd seen a sunrise from the summit of a mountain and had promised to do so again with Hinata. Besides familiarising themselves with a range of skills and acquiring the necessary equipment for climbing mountains, Hinata and Aoi also encounter new friends in Kaede Saitou and Kokona Aoba on their journey. Together, they set out to explore and conquer the mountains of Japan, with the goal of one day fulfilling their promise to one another.

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Yama no Susume (ヤマノススメ, Encouragement of Climb) is a slice-of-life manga written and illustrated by Shiro. It was serialised in Earth Star Entertainment's Comic Earth Star magazine in 2011 and received an anime adaptation during the Winter 2013 Anime season, portraying Aoi and Hinata's reunion, their first excursions and meetings with Kaede and Kokona in three minute long episodes. A second season aired during the Summer 2014 Anime, consisting of twenty-four episodes that last fifteen minutes each, and during the summer of 2018, a third season aired. Owing to licensing issues, only the first and third seasons are available for watching on Crunchyroll. As of September 2019, a new anime project for Yama no Susume was announced during an autumn festival.


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Yama no Susume provides examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: The fifteenth episode in the second season initially suggests that Kaede's old friend, Yuuka, was dead, through use of imagery and melancholy incidental music, but it turns out that Yuuka's alive and well.
  • Barely-There Swimwear: When Aoi goes shopping for a new swimsuit ahead of Hinata's pool party, she finds a series of increasingly revealing swimsuits, culminating in her exclaiming that some swimsuit that cannot be seen before realising it's an unused hanger.
  • Bookends:
    • After her failure to ascend Mount Fuji during the second season, Aoi decides to climb Mount Tenran again and is surprised to discover how straightforward it was. This is the first mountain that she and Hinata had climbed together after reuniting with one another.
    • The second season's fifth episode opens when Hinata trips and accidentally pulls down Aoi's skirt. At the episode's end, Aoi ends up doing the same to Hinata.
  • Childhood Friends: Aoi and Hinata have known one another since childhood and attended the same elementary school.
  • Call-Back: To clear her head after being unable to reach Mount Fuji's summit with her friends, Aoi returns to Mount Tenran, the first mountain she had conquered with Hinata. This time around, Aoi finds herself experiencing no difficulties in making the climb even though she'd taken a more difficult route, indicating how far she'd come since she began climbing mountains.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Episode fifteen in the second season is focused on Kaede reminiscing about a raincoat she'd bought with Yuuka after realising the extent that Yuuka had worried about her well-being whenever she'd gone hiking alone.
    • Season two's twentieth episode follows Kokona, who goes for a walk around town to get a feel for the new hiking shoes her mother had gifted to her for her birthday.
  • Delicious Distraction: Aoi forgets to ask for advice on swimsuits after her mother offers her pudding.
  • Downer Ending: During the ascent to Mount Fuji's summit, Aoi developed altitude sickness and was forced to recuperate at the eighth station. She feels terrible that she's made Kaede accompany here, and remains dejected for a few episodes subsequently, but after taking a walk up Mount Tenran and meets Hinata up at the summit, Aoi regains her spirits.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: As children, Aoi and Hinata had gotten lost in a forest. Here, they'd met Kokona, who was dressed in a firefly costume, and managed to find their way. In the present, Aoi and Hinata have forgotten this meeting.
  • Funny Background Event: A foreign couple is seen in the background during the course of Aoi and her friend's climb to the summit of Mount Fuji. Besides exchanging a conversation in English, the pair are also highly enthusiastic about their journey.
  • Genki Girl: Hinata's high-energy, happy-go-lucky disposition forces Aoi out of her shell and is the driving force for her growth.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Hinata typically wears her hair in a pair of short twin-tails.
  • Heroic BSoD: While Yama no Susume is typically a very warm and easygoing series, the atmosphere becomes heavier in the aftermath of Aoi's failed attempt to climb Mount Fuji. For a few episodes afterwards, Aoi remains melancholy and cheerless.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Hinata laughs at Aoi after the latter offers her a yokan bar, as the act makes her resemble an old man. This particular bar of yokan had, ironically, been the same one that Hinata gave to Aoi during their Mount Fuji outing.
  • Iyashikei: Despite being focused on mountain-climbing, a physically-demanding activity, Yama no Susume progresses at a very relaxed pacing and has a calming atmosphere.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Honoka Kurosaki is a shy girl with a keen interest in photography, and she's introduced towards the end of season two as Aoi and the others climb Mount Tanigawa.
  • Meganekko: Kaede is the only girl in the group to sport glasses.
  • Real-Place Background: Besides featuring well-known mountains in Japan, Yama no Susume sets Aoi and the others' in Hanno, a city in the Saitama prefecture. Locations such as the Hanno City Library and Yakkosoen Medical Herb Garden, along with smaller streets, are faithfully reproduced.
  • Schoolgirl Series: While Yama no Susume might not be predominantly set in a school setting, it still follows the experiences of a group of school-aged girls.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Despite her brash and air-headed mannerisms, Hinata is a bright student who excels with her coursework and even works as a math tutor.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Heights?:
    • After she became injured from falling off a jungle gym, Aoi became afraid of heights.
    • Hinata is scared of fireflies and had developed this fear when she saw a firefly "monster" (which was Kokona dressed up as a firefly) after she and Aoi became lost.
  • Word Salad Title: The official English name of the series sounds somewhat unwieldy. Conversely, the Spanish translation in Latin America is a lot smoother: ¡Atrevete a Escalar! ("I Dare You to Climb!").

Alternative Title(s): Yama No Susume, Encouragement Of Climb

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