• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Laid-Back Camp Season 3
Episode 5

by Steve Jones,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Laid-Back Camp (TV 3) ?
Community score: 4.4


With the gang finally united, Laid-Back Camp switches gears from sightseeing to a food-filled fiesta, extolling the virtues of both meat and sensible cookware. It's an incredibly straightforward episode. The girls cook food, eat food, and go to sleep. The devil, of course, is in the details, and this series is no stranger to making its mealtimes as relaxing as they are tantalizing. We've come a long way from cup ramen, and it's fun to watch Nadeshiko and Rin pursue ever loftier heights of campfire cuisine.

The edutainment angle is solid this week. We learn about proper wood chopping techniques with a billhook, how to sous vide hamburger meat, the advantages of pressure cookers, a simple cookie recipe, and more. This is nothing new for the series, and it synergizes with its function as camping propaganda. While it might bore seasoned outdoor scouts, I'm in the “camping curious” target audience, so I find these digressions demystifying and potentially helpful in the future. Next time I hold a billhook, I'll hear Rin's words of wisdom.

As usual, the character interactions help sell this propaganda. The animation is noticeably less refined this week, but it works when it manifests as looser and more cartoony. Going off my memory of the first two seasons, I think this is another dividing line between C-Station's and Eight Bit's adaptational philosophies. The animators of this third season seem to indulge in goofier exaggerations, and they do so more frequently. I'm thinking about Nadeshiko's Higurashi-worthy stare as she first brandishes the billhook or Rin's rapid hand movements when she's about to use enhanced interrogation techniques to find out where Ayano bought her meat. I like this stuff. However, they add more mortar to the aesthetic barrier between the anime girls and the photorealistic backgrounds.

When the new visual approach falters, the continuity of the voice acting often picks up the slack. Yumiri Hanamori's Nadeshiko is iconic at this point. While this show doesn't have “dramatic” roles, she demonstrates a lot of range, especially when monologuing. Just listen to her transition from wistful memories of Ayano to excitement over her beef stew plating ideas. Nao Tōyama, meanwhile, is in sync with the new season's direction and shows us Rin's sillier side more easily and frequently. Her mealtime meats (sorry, I can't think of a better word for it) are perfectly over-the-top. And I love Tomoyo Kurosawa's playful dirtbag approach to Ayano, and that's no surprise because I love almost every one of Tomoyo Kurosawa's roles. She nails the sleepiness/laziness of a girl who bit off more motorbiking than she could chew.

The anime's strengths come together well in the post-credits epilogue. Kurosawa's raspy morning voice for the bleary-eyed Ayano is nothing short of sublime. I love to hear an actor utilize the “ugly” parts of their vocal register. Meanwhile, Nadeshiko is already awake, appreciating the special kind of loneliness that camping lets her experience. However, she's also quick to share her amazake with Ayano and let her in on the unique palette that sunrise brings to the great outdoors. If Laid-Back Camp has a central theme besides “camping = good,” it's about the duality between the intrinsic isolation of the activity and the sense of oneness it instills in you. Basking in dawn's glow, sipping on a warm drink, and breathing in the cold mountain air, Ayano finally understands that appeal.

I'm more engaged when Laid-Back Camp is in travelogue mode. I love journeys, destinations, and things of that nature. But cooldown episodes like this one are also an important part of the series' ecosystem, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hungry after watching it. Despite the length of this arc, I don't think it's overstayed its welcome at all. It's been an ambitious synthesis of everything that makes Laid-Back Camp so singularly good. While I'll be a little sad to see it end next week, the conclusion of one camping trip only means the onset of the next one.


Laid-Back Camp Season 3 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Steve is on Twitter while it lasts. Reviewing this show is going to guilt him into going on more hikes. You can also catch him chatting about trash and treasure alike on This Week in Anime.

discuss this in the forum (38 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to Laid-Back Camp Season 3
Episode Review homepage / archives