Laid-Back Camp – Ep. 5

With this episode, we continue and conclude the dual camping trips held by Rin and the Outclub respectively. Watching this episode, I’ve been thinking about how engaging it all is. The potential pitfall with doing two trips back to back is them end up feeling the same thing. Watching the execution however, it’s fun comparing and contrasting the two trips.

Let’s first talk about the structure and progression. A good chunk of the Outclub’s trip surrounds their pitstop at a hot spring. Being a place where they can decompress from the cold weather and the long walk, the girls naturally get sidetracked. In fact, they get so sidetracked that they accidentally oversleep and arrive to the campsite late. Conversely, Rin’s trip has her going from place to place on her (somehow) newly acquired scooter, resulting in a more scenic adventure where she looks on at different vistas. Even when she takes breaks, Rin reaches her destination in time which goes to show much more experienced and focused she is compared to the other characters. This isn’t to say her trip goes entirely without mishaps, however. Unlike the Outclub, Rin doesn’t get to enjoy a pitstop at a hot spring as the one on the way is closed for the winter. Basic plot details are shared between both scenarios but they play out differently, allowing for the experiences to overlap without coming across as redundant.

With three characters, the Outclub’s trip is naturally where there’s more banter at play. I much prefer Nadeshiko’s chemistry with Rin but her, Chiaki, and Aoi do play off of each other quite nicely. Having about the same amount of experience as each other (and presumably the same funds), the three of them are in sync with their plan of action. And beyond that, they’re just a fun bunch together. One moment I enjoy is when the gang makes a log candle and Chiaki tries to hide the weak wiring she used after the fire collapses. Another is when the girls play rock, paper, scissors to decide who should take the second tent by their lonesome (unsurprisingly, Nadeshiko loses).

On the opposite side, you have Rin who is by herself. To be frank, the first, second, and even fourth episodes do a better job making use of Rin’s ability to carry her scenes alone. There’s more quirky happenings going on there. Here, Rin keeps biking and then keeps walking once she’s at her destination. What does work in this episode is the frequent change in Rin’s mood. First, she’s happy with the mileage she’s getting with her scooter. Then, she’s enthusiastic about the hot spring. When the pit stop is a no go, she gets depressed. Finally, her mood lifts when she sees the view from the campsite and makes dinner (with her own ingredients this time!). That’s (one of) the things I love about Rin. While generally a quiet person with very subtle expressions, she’s a far more dynamic personality underneath.

The highlight of this episode is its ending. By that, I mean the last scene before the credits roll and not the “Room Camp” segment of the week. Rin and Nadeshiko are both about ready to hit the hay but text each other about how their respective day goes. At one point, the two head outside to take and send each other pictures of the view from where they’re at. Not only is this the best scene in the episode, it may very well be my favorite scene in all of Season 1. The direction is particularly superb here. I love how the “camera” dollies to show the entire vista that each girl is photographing and how the final shot symbolically puts the two of them next each other over the same background. More importantly, the message of this scene (pun not intended) is so heartwarming. While both girls spend their day on their own, taking different journeys to different destinations, they are still connected to each other. If anything, their bond is only growing stronger. That much is telegraphed by the final shot. The two are literally nowhere near each other but they are effectively standing beside each other, overlooking the same city lights and the same night sky.

Thanks for reading!

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