Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 1st May 2018
“Laid-Back Camp” is a 12 episode slice of life anime series about a group of high school girls who love camping, and go on frequent trips together or alone. There’s the bubbly food obsessed Nadeshiko, quiet bookworm Rin, outdoor club president Oogaki, voice of reason Inuyama, and the cheerful smiley faced Saitou.
Folks, I’m going through a rough patch lately, because of personal reasons, but you know what? I needed this anime, I really did, and I don’t regret picking it up at all. Those expecting a deep show full of layered substance or intense drama will be disappointed, because this is very much a slice of life series through and through, putting gentle atmosphere before complex storytelling.
When done right, slice of life has the magic to capture the charm of mundane activities, through sheer likability or a relaxing tone, and “Laid-Back Camp” has that appeal. There’s a quaint loveliness to seeing these girls simply camping outdoors, from the gorgeously painted scenic landscapes, to the delicious Japanese outdoor food they cook together.
I felt goosebumps run down myself, as I smiled happily, soaking in the peaceful tranquility of these campsites, and I even enjoyed the long road trips for campsites located far away. My heart melted, seeing how joyful these adorable campers felt about doing everyday activities outdoors, making myself feel whimsically enchanted by plain ordinary things like barbecues or lanterns.
The show will even sometimes provide educational pointers, teaching viewers little facts or tips about camping traditions; letting us know how tools function, or teaching us about starting fires for warmth or food. I actually grew up as a boy scout, so I was taught these kinds of things, but I guess they kind of faded, until this anime reignited my interest in camping, and I already have plans to buy a tent soon!
The characters are very basic, what I described in the plot synopsis is all the development the show gives them, but this didn’t bother me; as the dynamic between these simple personalities works on a comedic level, and I really enjoyed spending time with these sweet friendly girls. I never felt annoyed by any of them, thought their colourful moe designs were cute, loved watching them having fun, and wanted to keep seeing their camping trips together.
Backing this series, is a suitably nuanced soundtrack, which blends acoustic guitars with atmospheric ambient sounds, truly adding to the subdued calmness of the show, and making me sink into my chair with a laid back grin. I could even hear some Celtic influences, which took me back to memories of camping with family across the British country as a kid, and this made “Laid-Back Camp” connect to me on a special nostalgic level.
I’ll admit that the show had chances to create some kind of strong arc through Rin, but ignored those opportunities, like Rin’s reluctance to camp with others at first, or her relationship with her equally camping obsessed grandfather (who is one of the coolest old guys ever), in spite of this though, I kept wanting to marathon this series! I valued the camping lessons it taught, felt the warmth of every campfire, and shivered in awe at the stunning landscapes.
If you enjoy slice of life shows, have a curiosity about camping culture, and admire atmospheric nature, then give this series a go! I feel sad that I’ve already finished it, I thought it was that uplifting and adorable. Not only has this show inspired me to get into camping again, but it’s now one of my go to anime for being cheered up, it’s a delightful series that demonstrates it’s genre being done really well.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH IT ON CRUNCHYROLL
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