Well that went places…
Of the three OVAs in Season 1, this one is easily my favorite. It’s also the weirdest by a wide margin. The presumably non-canon episode begins with all five main characters taking a flight to Australia so that they can do some winter camping during their summer season (talk about dedication). When the plane experiences some minor turbulence, the girls panic and jump out of the plane, landing on a seemingly deserted island. The rest of the episode has them finding ways to survive on their own. Even on a rewatch, I’m a little stunned that this episode actually exists.
Despite the setup, this episode is largely pleasant and funny just like any other episode in Laid-Back Camp. I suppose things look grim at first. Food is low on supply, Chiaki and Nadeshiko hallucinate eating bananas, and the rest have no luck with catching fish. However, none of this feels concerning as the idea of an anime about camping having its main characters stranded on an island is so absurd to begin with. Sure enough, the characters’ luck comes around in the next scene and things mellow out from there. There are times where the show even embraces the absurdity, such as when Chiaki wears some tribal attire while enjoying some actual bananas and when Ena largely sleeps through her stranded island experience. The best part is how the characters start to get used to life on the island before realizing that what they really should do is find a way home.
Oddly enough, this OVA is also the obligatory beach episode of Laid-Back Camp. Normally, I expect a trip to the beach in CGDCT anime but I honestly did figure Laid-Back Camp would be exempt from that. I mean, all of Season 1 is set in the winter so it’d be horribly contrived to see any swimsuits. Plus, this show has its fanservice quota covered by having everyone hit the hot springs every once in a while (which I’d argue leaves even less for the imagination). But this episode is set in the summer and there is a beach on that deserted island so put two and two together. Really though, what surprises me is that Laid-Back Camp of all things would get to the beach episode in the craziest way possible. Who would’ve thought.
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