Laid-Back Camp (Yuru Camp) is a Winter 2018 anime based off the manga of the same name by Afro. The series follows five girls as they learn more about the great outdoors and embark on wondrous camping excursions. Laid-Back Camp is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Who It’s About
Rin Shima is a veteran solo-camper, despite her young age. She enjoys the peacefulness found in camping along during the off-season. Reserved and quiet, she is not outwardly social with anyone other than Ena, as her ideas of fun seem incongruous with those of her more energetic schoolmates. Despite her camping experience, she is prone to missteps every now and then.
Nadeshiko Kagamihara is Rin’s polar opposite. Hyper, excitable, expressive, and boisterous, she is a camping-newbie who leaps everything-first into the realm of the great outdoors. After getting her first taste of camping from Rin, Nadeshiko works with Chiaki and Aoi in ramping up the school’s Outdoor Activities Club’s camping efforts.
Chiaki Ohgaki (Oogaki) is the captain of the girls’ school’s Outdoor Activities Club, having kept the club alive with only two members, despite the fact that the club has apparently yet to perform any actual outdoor activities. Chiaki often adopts teasing or exaggerated personas to embellish her own tales, so much so that not quite everyone is able to tolerate her. She doesn’t let that bother her, though (if she even notices). Strong-willed, impulsive, and somewhat unreliable, she helps Nadeshiko add sparks of jovial enthusiasm to the show.
Aoi Inuyama reigns in Chiaki’s antics as she serves as a more down-to-earth character. She’s been friends with Chiaki for some time and seems to be the only one who can keep up with her pal’s often-inflated personality. Before Nadeshiko’s arrival, Aoi was Chiaki’s sole other member within the Outdoor Activities Club. Due to their lack of membership, Aoi is the one who encourages Chiaki to bring Nadeshiko on board. Despite often anchoring Chiaki and Nadeshiko, she is not necessarily a stranger to participating in their antics.
Ena Saitou is the most subtle cast member due to her comparative lack of screen time. But that doesn’t mean she’s a slouch. From her roleplaying text conversations with Rin to her adorable relationship with her chihuahua Chikuwa, Ena isn’t lacking in the likability department. Not only that, but she also breathes a more relatable air of apprehension into the show. Unlike the other girls, she hasn’t been bitten by the camping bug and so isn’t so eager to venture out just yet, but she continues to express mild interest in the girls’ hobby and assist them with their preparations whenever she can. She largely serves as the spectator, sort of like the audience, but one can only wonder how long that will last given who all surrounds her.
What It’s About
While enjoying one of her solo camping trips during the off-season, Rin encounters Nadeshiko, a girl of the same age who missed her bus home after falling asleep. Against her nature, Rin comforts and feeds Nadeshiko until her sister can pick her up, all the while introducing her to the world of camping. Before departing, Nadeshiko leaves Rin with her contact information so that they can camp together in the future.
As fortune would have it, Nadeshiko transfers into Rin’s school. She instantly seeks out the Outdoor Activities Club to begin her own log of camping adventures with the club’s two members. Turned off by Nadeshiko’s energetic nature and preferring solitude anyway, Rin is hesitant to interact any further with Nadeshiko. However, the new girl continues to worm her way into Rin’s life, causing the girl to wonder if group camping might not be so bad after all.
Who It’s For and Isn’t For
Who It’s For:
- People seeking a relaxed, calming show
- Anyone who loves camping or the outdoors, or desires to learn more about such things
- Fuji-san’s fan club.
- Chihuahua lovers
Who It Isn’t For:
- Anyone looking for a show with riveting plot beats or a constructed narrative
- Those hoping for a focus on character development
- Outdoors-haters and vampires
Laid-Back Camp is a subtle comedy that offers a lot more than it initially gives away. There’s not much in the way of driving forces, character arcs, plot beats, or anything of that sort. What does exist are adorably heartwarming moments, a relaxing score, a likable group of girls just having good times, and an all-encompassing sense of wonder. This is a show almost guaranteed to infect you with an urge to trek into the wilderness with your tent, or at least to your backyard. Tender, soothing, and actually informative, Laid-Back Camp is by no means a mega hit of the season, but if you can get down with a warm and fuzzy show about the simpler things in life, there really isn’t a better recommendation.
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