Well, this is a nice surprise. The Room Camp special starring Best Girl won’t be out on Blu-ray and DVD until May 27th but for whatever reason, the powers that be put it up on Youtube for 24 hours on April 29th (in JST obviously). Obviously, you can still watch it because this is the internet we’re talking about but the Youtube upload was apparently streamed at a native 480p and is watermarked the hell up (side note: I will replace these screencaps when the Blu-ray comes out). It sucks for any blogger trying to make screencaps (ahem) but whatever, we got to see it early.
Oddly enough, this special is actually way longer than any episode of Room Camp, clocking in at about ten minutes instead of three. That’s about the same length as three episodes from the show. Well, I guess we now know where most of Rin’s screen time went. This special hogged it up.
Here’s the thing about Room Camp: I like it (I’ve actually seen it twice now) but Rin barely being in it feels like a crime to me. Call it Best Girl bias, I do consider her to be one of my favorite characters ever, but she is a big part of what makes Laid-Back Camp so lovable. She’s arguably the protagonist of the show alongside Nadeshiko and her personality is so well-defined — a seasoned camper with a sense of adventure and tranquility and though quiet and a bit of a loner, she is by no means antisocial. She can almost carry a whole episode on her own; that’s how charming she is. Nao Touyama’s performance as the character is also just great; probably my favorite performance of hers to date. I really like everyone in Laid-Back Camp but it isn’t the same without Rin so I’m all for this special making up for lost time.
This episode plays out more like a traditional episode of Laid-Back Camp. It’s easy to see why. There’s no stamp rally in sight and you actually have Rin going camping, and to an actual camping site I might add, which is more than I can say for the Outdoor Activities Club. We start things off with Rin meeting with her dad and getting to use a trike motorcycle while her usual moped is undergoing maintenance before stopping by a sauna and finally at her camping site of choice (complete with foodie eye candy of course). It’s routine stuff for Laid-Back Camp but it’s been so long since we’ve seen something of the like that it’s by no means stale.
Things do perhaps feel a bit too “marketable” for lack of a better term. I read on MAL that this is a collaboration between the production committee and the Yamaha Motor Company and it definitely shows with how much attention is given to the trike Rin uses. And Laid-Back Camp has never been shy about doing fan service but that sauna scene does feel mighty prevalent since it actually takes up a third of the episode’s run time. I don’t find of any of this egregious however. I’ve seen more blatant ads and honestly, Rin getting so excited to use a trike makes sense and it goes well with the running trend of Rin always getting the coolest stuff (and she didn’t even need to spend money this time!). The sauna scene is also played more for laughs than for sexiness, having Rin try Ena’s suggestion of cycling through a sauna, a cold bath, and an air bath. The different expressions she makes as she deals with the varying temperatures is simply adorable.
Something really random and minor but still noticeable is that Rin apparently cut her hair short. That actually threw me off. I even checked Room Camp to see if her hair was like that already but no, it was still long so this look is new. When the hell did she cut her hair? I wonder if this hairdo will continue into Season 2. I like it but I must admit that I do prefer the longer hair, especially with the bun. Heh, maybe Rin got cut her hair so that Ena can’t “mess” with it anymore.
Since this is a Rin-focused episode, I’m inclined to call it great and the best one in Room Camp. The only one that comes close is the fourth episode but since that was only three minutes long, it loses to this special. In all seriousness however, it is nice to see more of Rin, and actual camping for that matter, in an interlude that largely (and understandably) focused elsewhere. It’ll certainly tide fans over as we all wait for Season 2. Goodness, 2021 can’t some soon enough.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Room Camp on Crunchyroll