This is a really random note to start on and maybe it’s just me but this episode has a strange usage of Season 1’s OP, “Shiny Days” by Asaka. The usual sequence doesn’t play, which is a shame as I really love that sequence, but the song itself still plays an insert number. It only strikes to me as odd as “Shiny Days” is very cheerful and energetic song and yet, it’s playing in the background while Rin is leisurely driving her moped to her next campsite. I will say this though: I kind of love how abruptly the song ends, right when Rin discovers a route she planned doesn’t work.
Anyway, Rin is off camping solo again though oddly enough, camping solo wasn’t the plan. She first invites Nadeshiko to come along but unfortunately, the plan falls through at the last minute due to Nadeshiko catching a cold. While Rin is by no means opposed to go by herself, you can tell that she really wishes her friend could join her. She offers to postpone the trip and only decides to go because Nadeshiko encourages her to do so (which is very in character for Nadeshiko to do). There’s a scene where Rin meets two women who rock climb together. Despite the lack of comment by Rin, the rock climbers is clearly meant to be a mirror image of Rin and Nadeshiko and the two of them camping together. Later, Nadeshiko offers to be Rin’s navigator for the trip. While Rin can just check the map on her phone, thereby rendering the gesture moot, she does accept the assist as that at least means Nadeshiko can be with her on the trip vicariously (more so than simply exchanging text messages). All this really speaks to how Rin has changed over the course of the season. She’s still a solo camper through and through but the fact that she wants to invite a friend shortly after the last trip and still involve her in some way shows that she’s also grown more flexible with regards to her hobby.
At one point, Chiaki pays Nadeshiko a visit and accompanies Nadeshiko as Rin’s navigator. The way in which she reveals this is hilarious. Nadeshiko lets Chiaki impersonate her in the text messages and the two of them jokingly pretend it’s a hostage situation when Rin catches on. I love how the former’s voice gradually morphs into the latter’s and while Nadeshiko’s emoji portrait is the same one as always, it somehow perfectly suits the deceptive tone of the scene.
Initially, Rin is a bit begrudged to have Chiaki tag along, even thinking to herself that they won’t get along. That much is also shown in her actions as she responds to Chiaki’s texts more bluntly and straight to the point compare to with Nadeshiko’s. I get that Rin is only comfortable around her closest frineds but it’s still a little surprising considering that Rin is good friends with Nadeshiko and Ena and Chiaki isn’t really that much different from those two. Still, you do see Rin act less abrasive as time goes on. When Nadeshiko and Chiaki argue over what kind of foods Rin should try on her trip, Rin ends up taking both of their suggestions to heart, showing that she is getting along with Chiaki more than expected.
As always, you have Rin visiting a couple of places on the way to her destination. The most prominent place featured is Kozenji, a temple associated with the legend of a dog named Hayataro. My favorite moment is when Rin caves into buying a fortune that comes with a statue of the dog. I love how she’s both annoyed but also happy with her purchase and it’s really funny how this is where she grapples her wallet over when it actually costs 500 yen (one day of work at the bookstore will surely make back that money). There’s also Rin’s dream where she meets Hayataro himself who apparently has Nadeshiko as his companion (why the mustache?). It stands out purely for how bizarre it is (again, why the mustache?). I’ve said it before but I really enjoy these moments where Rin tours around on her own. Call it Best Girl bias (because Rin really is Best Girl. Fight me on this) but it always amazes me how well she’s able to carry these scenes.
While the Christmas trip is still a way away, the show does update on its status by having Ena accept the invitation to join. Part of me kind of wishes to see her thought process on that but then again, Ena simply going “why not?” is totally something she’d do. With this news, Nadeshiko proposes to Chiaki that they should try inviting Rin. That stands as 50-50 at this moment as Rin appears to still be a solo camper at heart. And while she’s gotten used to Nadeshiko’s company, it’s not like she’s that close to the rest of the Outclub. Having another one of her friends on board though might certainly help.
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