Reviews of Laid-Back Camp (2018) and related work

Laid-Back Camp (2018Moving picture, 5.0 hours) – previously

Seen in 2022.

This review refers to the first two seasons, but not the interseasonal OVAs.

High-school girls go camping. The first season covers one autumn and early winter, the second season the rest of that winter.

Comedy. Predictable, partly in that nothing really happens. There is a pretty strong focus on cooking, especially grilling various meats. There is also a hybrid commercial-didactic dimension discussing camping gear with typical prices, often voiced by an older male narrator as if to instruct young viewers and boost both sales and tourism.

There is heavy use of instant messages and smartphone photography, which is at once naturalistic and detrimental. The static texts simply look boring and a lot of the photography uses real photos of real places that are digitally processed and painted over. The yurui genre, named in the title of the show, is competently executed here, but the makers took no risks.

The second season was produced three years later and is therefore a season only in the most tenuous sense, but it does carry the same title. It continues in the same style as the first with greater confidence and competence, and slightly more tension as one trip goes bad. Episode 9 is a highlight: Rin’s father and grandfather go out of their way to help equip her moped for a camping trip, with the grandfather making a quick shopping trip to improve a new built-in USB charger for Rin’s phone, hooking up the DC/DC adapter with a relay to the ignition key switch so it can’t drain the battery. It’s multi-generationally cozy and results in Rin tailing the club’s (teacher’s) van on that moped in her huge scarf; a visual more charming than the capybaras of the season finale.

References here: Rilakkuma to Kaorusan (2019), Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! (2020), Let’s Make a Mug Too (2021).

moving picture animation Japanese production fiction series

Room Camp (2020Moving picture, 40 minutes)

Seen in 2020.

A stamp rally.

moving picture sequel animation Japanese production fiction series