Laid-Back Camp (Winter 2018) – More Than Cute and Heartwarming

“Laid-Back Camp” is “another” cute girls doing cute things anime and one of the treasures in the season. This isn’t the same type of anime. There is something that makes this show so attached to our hearts. This is what makes me feel forget how life is so temporary. In fact, it’s a narrow world we live on. In short, “Laid-Back Camp” isn’t cute girls doing cute things. Sure, we have these cute girls doing something like camping but it’s different from school anime I’ve watched.

Take the example such as “K-ON!”, “New Game!”, “Magic of Stella,” and “Is the Order a Rabbit?” All of these anime looks like cute characters. They participate in a group, various kinds of simple activities. Hanging out, playing video games, creating clubs, or something like that. “Laid-Back Camp” is so simple. It’s about campgrounds. Regardless, almost all people don’t like or feel uninterested in doing things like that. Adapted from a manga with the same title by Afro, it’s one of those under-viewed gems at the season.

“Laid-Back Camp” sometimes reminds me about this world so simple for us to live. This is one of the show that I made as medicine. When I was sick, instead of taking medicine disposed of from a doctor. Although, it’s just an analogy. This anime also opens up any perspective of anyone in viewing at how the world covers its breadth. We live in a wide world but in fact, our lives are narrow.

Meanwhile, “Laid-Back Camp” is a spectacle like “Non Non Biyori” which has the same tone of natural beauty and rural setting. The main point of this anime isn’t just how we take that perspective but how we see nature from other perspectives of its beauty. It’s about happiness, peace, warmth, delightful, and fun. These anime almost have all kinds of subjective things so it’s also difficult to include in the category of cute girls doing cute things type of anime.

It’s about fun and entertaining. The main thing in this anime is camping but is that easy? There aren’t many people who like that besides I have also felt and participated in these activities. The story begins without any recognition or ado. It’s just straight to the story itself. Unlike the cute anime girls doing other cute things which focus on one cute character who wants to participate in groups or clubs. At first, we will be introduced to an idealist but a loner, Rin Shima.

Her love for camping made her prefer to do it by herself rather than be with her friends but it didn’t make her as a person who had no friends at all. Then, Nadeshiko Kagamihara, another super hyperactive girl appeared but got lost where Rin did camping. There is no other choice, they camping together, enjoy ramen, and sit around the campfire to stay warm. Just a simple story which made this anime feel cute at the beginning.

Simple, it’s about simplicity. Something simple can create a beautiful life in time in certain places unless we have to change our perspective of this world. Initially, I felt this anime went a little slow because there was silence moment in this anime or something like that. Therefore, it didn’t feel ‘alive’ so much. But, the story seems not so special except the tone itself. It’s having a very peaceful tone like enjoying a rural environment that’s so calm without any loud sounds besides we enjoy the atmosphere of camping both us as viewers and characters in this anime. Speaking of characters, the characters do take stereotypical characters in cute girls doing cute things, generally like hyperactivity, easy going, pretending to be cool, shy, and etc.

Everything in this character has certain dynamics and different personalities. Take an example like Nadeshiko, she seems to be one of the most active characters of all but she isn’t too annoying. Her love for camping doesn’t make her only able to do it but he can be a reliable person besides shouting or things like that. All the characters in this anime seemed to have their own stories and relationships such as Nadeshiko with Rin, Rin with Ena, Aoi and Chiaki, and Aoi, Chiaki, and Nadeshiko. In the beginning, they didn’t only belong to one group but they took their own path from the story itself so it needed a process so that these characters could form a group.

Almost all anime like this usually give us various tips from what the concept is told. For example, “Shirobako” introduces a concept about behind the making of anime, “Food Wars!” who use food as the concept, etc. “Laid-Back Camp” doesn’t only tell about camping but also teaches us small tips in the scope of the camping. Not only camping, but the anime also introduces something besides camping like what tasty food you must eat when you go to camping, benefit tools you must use, things that shouldn’t be done in certain places, and others.

These things are told through the narrator voice who sometimes participates in the story and there is even one scene where the characters in this anime talk to the narrator himself. It’s quite breaking the 4th wall. The humor is like an anime of the same type in general. The jokes are executed perfectly depending on certain moments and it’s so memorable comical. There is a moment when one character to another character meets but it turns out, they aren’t aware when in one school. Various kinds of light humor make this anime match with the tone.

Apart from which, this is a slice of life anime. So, it’s not surprising if some complain that this anime looks dull and only uses the same format as a slice of life anime in general because it doesn’t have a plot whatsoever. Seeing how these characters undergo various kinds of daily life besides camping makes these characters so attached to the audience. There is a segment when they imagine if they will meet a few years later and do the same thing again just as they were together.

It adds some heartwarming moment to that segment. It’s about memories, reunions, old friends, and forgotten, like an unforgettable experience. Besides, it’s just some cliche thing but why not? Besides Nadeshiko who is the main center in this anime, there is Rin who likes to camp alone. However, the moments between Nadeshiko and Rin made Rin feel inspired by Nadeshiko despite seeing Nadeshiko from a different perspective.

Other characters such as Aoi and Chiaki have their own stories. Aside from Nadeshiko, who is also in a club called Outdoor Activites, back to Nadeshiko who created a connection between Rin, Aoi, and Chiaki. Ena seems to have her own background which is also mainly to Rin. But, I only hope that in the next season we will see more of her roles as the main character too. The art is great especially the soundtrack that impresses in the style of the countryside with the flute sound. There aren’t many backgrounds taken apart from the outside atmosphere such as landscapes or nature.

The club becomes indoor background. The rest, it’s just a natural atmosphere and camping. The designs of the characters are standard with a variety of hair colors. At the beginning of the opening theme song, I didn’t really like it because it’s not too impressive. It takes some inspiration to The Jackson 5 vibe. The ending theme song is nice and catchy. Apart from which, the two songs aren’t very attached to me. The voice acting is impressive especially Yumiri Hanamori and Nao Touyama. I like Nao Touyama as Rin because there is some slightly moment about her character who always comes out of quietness and solitude. The rest, they perform very well.

Simplicity can invite so many things to this broad life. “Laid-Back Camp” is an anime that’s so simple but its simplicity that makes this anime so unique. Although it’s just the same as cute girls doing cute things anime, for me it’s hard to include into such category. Besides using camping as the main concept, you can also learn a lot or not a little about camping itself. This is one of the anime that also makes my perspective of nature and world change. It’s just a wide world but life is so narrow.

With characters whose unique to each other, “Laid-Back Camp” is a sedative to forget life for a while. The narrative is great, the art is great, the sound, the tone, the pace, all of the things in this anime seems so warm and has its own impressions. It conveys some message too besides looking at the world from different perspectives such as memories, friendship, togetherness, and grateful. At least, that’s what made me think after watching this anime. “Laid-Back Camp” is very simple but its simplicity makes it so special.

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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