Last episode ended with Rin being stuck at her campsite and waiting for her grandfather to pick her up. And I’m not kidding, this would mark the first time we’d ever see the two characters on screen together. Unfortunately, Laid-Back Camp still wants to be a tease and Grandpa Narrator doesn’t show up until the very end of this episode so his scene with Rin is very brief. It’s still nice to finally see Rin in the same scene as her grandfather but man, this show has got to do an episode where the two of them are camping together. It doesn’t have to be present day, another flashback episode sounds nice too.
So what does Rin do in the meantime? Well as it turns out, Nadeshiko is heading to her hometown of Hamamatsu for a few days to visit her grandmother and meet up with her friend from middle school, Ayano Toki (Tomoyo Kurosawa). Upon finding out about Rin’s predicament, Nadeshiko asks her if she’d like to stay at her grandmother’s, to which Rin accepts. Funny how these solo trips eventually involve Nadeshiko in some way but then again, that’s kind of the point and part of the appeal of the bond shared between her and Rin.
What’s fun about the trip to Hamamatsu is that you have Nadeshiko leading the way. Usually it’s Rin who is more knowledgeable or both of them are dealing with new things together, at least when the trips are just two of them. But in this case, the location is Nadeshiko’s hometown so she gets to act as Rin’s tour guide, showing her various places around town. One particular highlight is when she takes Rin to a local restaurant and for once, Rin can’t afford the fancy food. I’m still convinced Rin usually has more money than the other characters though I imagine after her New Year’s trip and taking a detour to Hamamatsu, her wallet must be drained. Fortunately, Nadeshiko has her covered, thanks to allowance provided by her father. It would’ve been amazing though if Nadeshiko was able to pay everything off with her own income. What a flex that would’ve been.
By the time, Nadeshiko and Rin make it to the former’s grandmother’s place, Ayano is already there. I really enjoy her introduction; she just lazily crawls to the door frame while still munching on her snack. Immediately, it’s clear that this girl is pretty laid back (no pun intended) and there’s some potential to the kinds of chemistry it may have with the established cast. For now, we have Ayano sharing her history with Nadeshiko to Rin. Some of the tidbits corroborates Rin’s assessment of their mutual friend, such as how contagious Nadeshiko’s passion for food can get. Others come to a bit of a surprise. Somehow, it never crossed my mind that Nadeshiko used to be burly from all that snacking. Sakura making her exercise sure explains her insane stamina.
Along the way, the show sets up Ayano possibly becoming a fellow camper. Understandably, she initially finds the idea of winter camping pretty niche though the more she chats with Nadeshiko and Rin about it, the more she gets the appeal. It’s not explicitly confirmed that she’ll give camping a try but I hope to see Ayano tag along for a trip. It could be a lot of fun seeing her meet Chiaki, Aoi, and Ena and seeing that she has a moped makes me really want to see her bike to places with Rin. For now, Ayano says that she’ll come over to Yamanashi someday and I’d be shocked if that doesn’t happen before Season 2 ends.
Near the end, Nadeshiko asks Rin about her solo trip and Rin gives a very thoughtful answer on both it and her feelings on camping in general. Despite admitting that camping with Nadeshiko and the others has been fun, Rin remains enamored with the idea of camping solo, remarking that the loneliness is its own sort of catharsis different from a group trip. I doubt Rin really thought back and forth on this, nor was this New Year’s adventure serving as a raincheck on whether she’d still enjoy camping by herself. She’s always felt this way and I doubt that’s going to change. Still, it’s satisfying to hear Rin affirm her feelings in her own words. I also love Nadeshiko’s response, she’s always been supportive of Rin’s solo camping but judging by the conversation, it sounds like Rin has given her food for thought that never crossed her mind before. Had the Season 1 ending not been retconned, I can see this conversation being a catalyst towards Nadeshiko giving solo camping a try.
After being absent in Episode 2, Laid-Back Camp brings back “Inuinu Inuko-san” for some post-credit entertainment. I’m not too far ahead in Season 2 so I have to wonder if this truly is a mainstay. That’s of course fine by me, I quite enjoy these small little scenes after the ED in general and there really isn’t enough of Aoi’s amazing trolling in this show. That said, it is a little silly how the “Room Camp” title has been effectively phased out despite this new segment more or less serving the same purpose. I’m joking here but it’d be really funny if “Inuinu Inuko-san” gets spun off into its own series.
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This post was originally published on February 26, 2021
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