Laid-Back Camp – Ep. 2

You’d think with Nadeshiko attending the same school as Rin, the two of them would bump into each other from get go. Oddly enough though, it takes a while for them to reunite as the two girls seemingly keep passing by each other without the other noticing. In the meantime, Laid-Back Camp has Nadeshiko meet Chiaki and Aoi and join the Outdoor Activities Club.

At first, Chiaki is on the fence about welcoming a third club member. Thing is, the clubroom (which, according to Aoi, was originally meant for storage) is extremely narrow and will only feel more cramped with more people. However, Aoi convinces her otherwise as having a third member means the club is just one member short of meeting the quota for a larger room. You then get the slight impression that Chiaki and Aoi are a little desperate to keep Nadeshiko in their club by keeping her engaged in spite of their lack of resources (more on that in a bit) though that soon dissipates as this is Nadeshiko we’re talking about. She’s so friendly and enthusiastic that it’s hard to imagine her giving up on the club so quickly.

Something that I always found really funny is how the Outclub start off as wannabe campers. You of course have Nadeshiko who just recently got interested in camping but meanwhile, Chiaki and Aoi haven’t really gone a camping trip themselves. So far, their club activities involve setting up their tent, making bonfires on school campus, and reading magazines about camping. That lack of real experience is even reflected in their possessions. The clubroom is full of assorted items related to camping and the club is so broke that whatever equipment they actually have is as cheap as it can get (told you their wallets would be a running joke). All things considered, it’s all a huge contrast to Rin who’s well-versed about camping and seems to have some good gear at her disposal. Sad? A little bit. Hilarious? Absolutely.

Eventually, Nadeshiko and Rin bump into each other. The Outclub practice setting up a tent which Rin and Ena sees from the school library. When one of the poles snaps, Rin notes that the issue can be fixed with a fitter though she’s hesitant to go out and help the club, preferring to mind her own business. Ena ends up heading out instead though she does take the opportunity directing Nadeshiko’s attention to Rin, thereby allowing the two to reunite. This leads to one of my favorite gags in the series where Nadeshiko runs up to Rin, only to then crash into the glass window. The animation of her slowly sliding down the glass always cracks me up.

Curiously, the episode cuts away from there and jumps forward in time to Rin’s next solo trip. You don’t find out until the end that upon reuniting, Nadeshiko invites Rin to the join the Outclub which Rin very crudely declines. The decision to save that conversation for later is a little strange. Why not let it play out linearly and then cut to Rin’s trip right as she shows her distaste to Nadeshiko. It’d be just as comically effective as cutting right when Nadeshiko slams her face against the window. I think the reason why the conversation is withheld is so that we can first understand why Rin would rather camp by herself.

For the rest of the episode, you watch Rin explore her camping site. She comments on some of the sights that she comes across and takes some pictures with her phone. My favorite moment is when she encounters of a pair of dogs that run up to her. Rin acts very smug when one of them can’t reach her due to their leash, only for the other dog to tackle her right in the stomach. Every time I watch this scene, I laugh so much. The whole sequence is all very cute but one takeaway to make here is that Rin is having fun. She may be by her lonesome but she’s nevertheless enjoying her trip.

With that in mind, one can see why Rin is begrudged to take up on Nadeshiko’s offer. Rin clearly prefers camping solo; it’s certainly what she’s used to. Camping in a group would not take time away from camping solo, it would also take Rin outside of her comfort zone. When you put it like that, it does like Nadeshiko is asking an awful lot out of Rin, even if that isn’t her intention. Rin certainly could’ve given her response a bit more politely, and she does end up regretting how she conducted herself, but I don’t think she’s being unreasonable here. Her wanting to stick with what she’s used to is understandable.

The episode ends on a less awkward note by having Nadeshiko pay Rin a surprise visit at the campsite. Ena apparently messaged her where Rin is camping. How interesting that Ena keeps pushing Rin into situations where she has to socialize. It’s certainly a bit mischievous but it’s also very thoughtful on Ena’s part. She recognizes Rin’s budding friendship with Nadeshiko and so, she pulls these stunts to encourage it. Also, Ena has a cute dog named Chikuwa…just figured I mention it…

As for Nadeshiko, it doesn’t look like she’s all that upset by Rin’s response from earlier. She just seems eager to hang out with Rin again, presumably without worrying how she’ll get back home this time around. That the two are camping together again is worth keeping an eye on as the more Rin spends more time camping with her, the more she’ll branch out of her comfort zone.

ED: “Furu Biyori” by Eri Sasaki

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