Encouragement of Climb Key Visual

Source: CrunchyRoll

The third season of Encouragement of Climb aka Yama no Susume has just wrapped up and is a lesson in the risks of attempting to shift the point of view.

For those unfamiliar with the first and second seasons, Yama no Susume has mostly focussed on Aoi’s perspective as the shy girl being dragged into being more active by Hinata. Whilst there have been episodes from Hinata’s perspective, particularly in the 2nd half of the second season, this show has mostly been about Aoi coming out of her shell.

So I came into a much-anticipated season 3[1] with nearly 40 episodes with Aoi as the viewpoint character. To an extent Hinata was well understood, but more in terms of how Aoi sees her.

In the second half of season 3 the main viewpoint shifts to Hinata. Specifically to Hinata, having now succeeded in bringing Aoi out of her shell, beginning to feel lonely / worried that Aoi will abandon her.

And… it didn’t quite work. For me.

I do think I need a clear “your mileage may vary” disclaimer here, as I do recall seeing people I follow on twitter adoring this story arc. I also need to stress that the individual episodes were well written, well voiced, and tightly focussed on the story at hand[2].

And yet… despite the build up being there along with callbacks to the previous seasons that should have resonated, I just didn’t feel episode 12 Friends the way I felt The Promise in season 2.

Maybe it’s because my own personality leads me to sympathise with Aoi more anyway[3], maybe it’s because the series has been so heavily weighted towards Aoi that the shift came too late. My current thinking is that it’s mostly the latter, that the shift comes too late for the viewer to truly sympathise with the insecurities behind Hinata’s brash exterior.

I know it sounds like I’m beating up on season 3, but I did enjoy this season and I was disappointed to find out it is only one cour. The other thing that needs to be said is that the writers did take a risk trying this approach, and their willingness to do so should be applauded.

So I’m still looking forward to a season 4 and Aoi’s triumphant return to Mount Fuji[4].

I also reserve the right to revise my opinion, especially if season 2 returns to CrunchyRoll[5] and a binge watch generates the feels that I didn’t get on a weekly viewing.

Question of the Post: if you’ve been watching all 3 seasons of Yama no Susume, did the shift to Hinata’s viewpoint work for you? Why? Can you think of any other shows with a similar shift that did or did not work?

And here’s the OP sung by the cast (and in character I think):

[1] I was really looking forward to this season.

[2] I especially appreciated not having the unnecessary diversions into fanservice like episodes 5 & 7 of season 2.

[3] People who know me well can probably guess why

[4] Which, with any luck and clear weather, I might even catch a glimpse of in November.

[5] Currently CR has seasons 1 & 3. Licensing: it’s a complicated thing sometimes.