Let’s be honest, the year of 2020 was excruciating. I had to deal with a vicious pandemic, family drama, a near crippling sense of loss and a dwindling faith in humanity. I was struggling to find a reason to enjoy life as I used to in my earlier years. I haven’t found much to watch that warranted a review. Then, two weeks ago, a friend of mine suggested that I watched an anime called “Laid Back Camp”, which was supposed to be relaxing and soothing. So, we decided to watch it together through Discord and I’m very glad I did.
“Laid Back Camp” is about a group of high school girls, all who share a passion for the great outdoors. One of them, a blue-haired girl named Rin Shima, enjoys solo camping. She isn’t a fan of joining groups at first. However, that slowly begins to change when she meets a certain pink-haired airhead by the name of Nadeshiko Kagamihara, joins her school’s outdoor club. As a result, these two girls form an unlikely friendship while traveling to various Japanese campsites along the way.
Throughout my years of watching anime, the characters are usually chasing after a big dream or a high ambition. There are always obstacles that get in the way. However, since “Laid Back Camp” belongs to the hit or miss “slice of life” genre, the only conflicts the girls face are the occasional harsh weather conditions and the large amount of money needed to purchase camping equipment. There are no enemies to defeat, no high stakes war to win over, no bloodshed or tragedy. This is a show about young people with a common passion for camping, wanting to see, feel and taste all that Japan has to offer.
I have never been a true fan of slice-of-life anime. Not since “Azumanga Daioh” have I enjoyed another anime with a similar calming atmosphere.
The interactions between the characters are fun and lighthearted. There is just enough diversity in the cast to make them endearing and distinct. The two main characters, Rin and Nadeshiko, stand out as the most memorable pair thanks to their contrasting personalities. Rin is the distant and calm loner, Nadeshiko is the bubbly, gluttonous airhead. Even though they warm up to each other overtime, neither of them changes completely. Rin just learns about how fun it is to camp with her friends while Nadeshiko appreciates the peaceful solitude of camping alone.
Not only do the characters make this series entertaining but it wouldn’t have been possible without the beautiful shots of scenery and famous landscapes. It was obvious that the creators wanted to be as intricate as possible with showcasing the exquisiteness of rural Japan, particularly Mount Fuji, which becomes a prominent motif throughout the series. It gives the characters a greater gratitude for camping. That’s what the show has always been about, appreciating what’s around you.
For those who feel overwhelmed with the struggles of the real world, I recommend giving “Laid Back Camp” a chance. This is just the right anime that can set your heart, mind and soul at ease.