If the last OVA is considered the backdoor pilot to TV Room Camp, I really have to wonder what makes this episode then. At first, it goes by the “Room Camp” title but then it switches over to a different one (Wikipedia translates it as “Tall Tale Camp”; the fansub I use translates it as “Ruse Camp”) so who knows if this is a “true” episode of “Room Camp”. Perhaps I shouldn’t harp on this but I can’t help it after the last OVA title got me chronologically confused.
This episode revolves around Nadeshiko’s gullibility. Aoi makes a bunch of stuff about camping customs in other countries. Her little sister Akari (Risae Matsuda) impersonates her while visiting the school and spouts more nonsense together (for the record, she’s made cameo appearances before; this is the first time I can mention her organically). Ena then gets her and Sakura to impersonate Rin while Chiaki and Aoi play along with the bit as well, complete with hair buns. For the most part, Nadeshiko buys into each and every one of these lies. I can understand the first two but for Nadeshiko to fall for the last one is pretty absurd. Surely, she’s not that gullible…right?
By far, the strangest moment is when Akari addresses a previous “Room Camp” skit. In that one, Aoi makes up a lie about a bird connected to soba udon places common in mountainous areas. Here, Akari more or less addresses to the audience and stresses that the bird Aoi mentions doesn’t exist. Were people actually that confused and caused such a stir that the people making this show felt the need to address it one more time? I thought it was obvious enough that Aoi was making stuff up.
Aoi’s penchant for lying is an awfully underutilized aspect of her personality. She’ll make stuff up, sometimes elaborately so, before generally ending it with a very casual and cheery admission of her deception. A nice touch this episode adds is Aoi’s tell in which she gives a fake smile and her eyes become unnervingly aimless and empty. It’s all a really funny gag but it’s exclusive to these “Room Camp” segments and it’s sadly non-existent in the main canon of the series. To be fair though, the joke requires someone to be extremely gullible and the only person who fits the bill is Nadeshiko.
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