The second half of Encouragement of Climb season 2 (aka Yama no Susume) was a joy to watch.

Looking back over the episode list I don’t see any that I recall as being duds[1]. Whilst there was perhaps not as much mountain climbing, there was a lot of truly excellent character work.

The gentle Kaede who took such good care of Aoi on Mount Fuji[2]? We get to see how Kaede got to be that way, and it was beautifully merged into the main storyline.

Aoi’s fear of heights, the “mountain of memories”, and the promise that brought Hinata back into her life way back at the start of season 1? Beautifully called back, and provided Hinata with some beautiful moments of being a good friend herself[3].

Kokona wasn’t neglected with a limelight episode that was just adorable.

As for Aoi herself, the need to pay for her new hobby drove character growth by way of a part time job. This was both a nice dose of reality and a good way to show how Aoi is positively seen by other people.

More important though was the introduction of the photographer Honoka as a way of showing that Aoi can now connect to people on her own. Unfortunately Honoka was introduced quite late in the series so I didn’t see as much of this as I might have liked.

Yama no Susume was a show I looked forward to each week, and I was rarely if ever disappointed in the second half.

Possibly the weakest aspect of the 2nd half of Yama no Susume was the new OP (since I still prefer the 1st OP). All things considered that’s a fairly weak criticism[4].

I’d love to see a season 3 of Yama no Susume built around Aoi’s triumphant return to Mount Fuji. Alas there’s no sign of that as yet but I can hope.

[1] Unlike the execrable episodes 5 and 7 from the first half.

[2] In the first half of season 2.

[3] Arguments between Aoi and Hinata notwithstanding. They’re usually fairly quick to make up anyway.

[4] As opposed to the long list of shows about which the OP is the best, or only good, thing. I’ll bet most of my readers could name half a dozen shows like that without even trying…