Note: I am watching Laid-Back Camp (Season 2) blind. Please refrain from posting spoilers in the comments.
I’m never going to get my Rin and Sakura hangout, am I?
Well anyway, this episode begins with Nadeshiko returning to school after her solo camping experience and sharing her thoughts on it with Aoi. Nadeshiko has a mostly positive takeaway on the trip though she does admit to Aoi that she was getting bored after dinner and that made her want to camp with her buddies again. That revelation does feel like a copout to me as last episode didn’t really show Nadeshiko feeling bored about solo camping. That said, I also didn’t think Nadeshiko would be completely won over by the experience. She’s not Rin so her feeling different is to be expected. I take it as a win that Nadeshiko enjoyed solo camping enough that she’ll willing to do it again in between her group camping. Speaking of which…
After teasing us a couple episodes ago, the show finally has Toba-sensei pitch to the Outclub to go camping in Izu. Toba-sensei has the trip planned for March so that the girls can focus on studying for their final exams and (more importantly) let their wallets heal from their chronic bankruptcy. Both Rin and Ena decide to join them, with Rin having particular incentive in the trip as she had originally consider to go there during New Year’s. Later in the episode, Akari asks to tag along for the sole purpose of seeing capybaras and honestly, I can’t say I blame her. Coincidentally, the trip coincides with Nadeshiko and Aoi’s birthday (and also by sheer coincidence, those two happen to be born on the same day) so Rin, Chiaki, and Ena collaborate to get those two a present.
It’s nice seeing Toba-sensei call the shots this time around. Aside from picking the location and date, Toba-sensei also procures transportation and equipment for the girls. It’s clear that she’s looking after the girls more seriously after the whole Lake Yamanaka fiasco in Episode 6. That said, she does exercise some leniency as demonstrated when she allows Rin to travel to Izu on her moped. Despite her concern, she recognizes that this is something Rin really wants to do and she trusts the others when they vouch for Rin’s driving skills. Perhaps the most surprising and most amusing development for Toba-sensei is when she chooses to refrain from alcohol until the trip to Izu as a sort of consequence for keeping her students off of camping. If she plays it smart, she could break that promise and no one would know but to her credit, she does follow through on the agreement. I guess she does have self control after all.
For the second half of the episode, we see Rin preparing for the trip by installing new parts to her moped with assistance from her father and grandfather. And yes, this is without a doubt the most screentime Grandpa Narrator has so far in this show. Even though it already happened in Episode 3, it’s still surreal to see the old man talk. I’m so much more used to him narrating than actually talking in person.
I would still like to have an episode where Rin goes camping with her grandfather but it is nice to finally see some meaningful interactions between these two characters. Rin asks her grandfather for windshield for her moped and her grandfather actually sends her a brand new one he bought just for her. When Grandpa Narrator arrives and notices something wrong with a phone charger Rin added to her moped, the old man bikes all the way to another town just so that Rin has the part she needs to fix this issue. As Rin’s mother puts it, the old man acts cool but he’s a lot more doting than he lets on. Of course, the best interaction between Rin and her grandfather comes at the end where the two ride their bikes together for the first time ever. There’s no dialogue until the ride’s over (and to be fair, it’d be unrealistic and dangerous for them to talk anyway) but you can tell by the direction, the vistas, and the music just how much the two are enjoying this opportunity. This episode is the first time where we truly see the connection Rin has with her grandfather and I think the show really makes it count.
One amusing bit of information is that Rin’s folks apparently used to tour around on motorbikes back in the day, including Rin’s mother. Both Rin’s father and grandfather claim that her mother was quite good at motorbiking too which has Rin curious and her mother embarrassed. The show does throw a bone by briefly showing a young version of Rin’s mother on a motorcycle and with a bit of an attitude that presumably mellowed out over the years. Still, I really want to see this past in greater detail. It’s clear that Rin’s folks have their own fair share of stories to tell.
Near the beginning of the episode, Ena reveals to Rin that she somehow knows that the latter drove all the way to check on Nadeshiko in Fujinomiya. How Ena could even know that is elaborated in the episode’s post-credit scene where Sakura shares what happened to her mother and her mother then passes that story over to Ena while she’s working at a convenience store. I guess it’s a small world after all. The fact it is Ena who finds out is pretty amusing as Rin’s secret visit is the exact kind of ammo Ena can use for teasing her friend. Also, this scene is where we learn what job Ena has been working this whole time. Honestly, I’m surprised how modest the job actually is. With how secretive Ena is over it, you’d think it be something more out the norm. Then again, keeping something so normal a secret is the kind of joke Ena would pull on her friends.
Watch Laid-Back Camp on Crunchyroll and VRV (via Crunchyroll)