Laid-Back Camp Episode 10
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Laid-Back Camp ?
Rin's latest solo camping trip looked like it was over before it began last week, but apparently neither road closures nor total darkness can stop this girl. Despite having her equipment blown in every direction by the freezing wind, she does eventually get a tent set up for the night. Meanwhile, the members of the Outclub continue to plan their Christmas camping trip, and even Rin (eventually) agrees to tag along. The club also finally gets a faculty advisor, who just happens to be a familiar face from Nadeshiko and Rin's lakeside excursion.
I had honestly expected Laid-Back Camp to close the book on Rin's ill-fated solo trip after last week's episode, so this week's continuation comes as a surprise. While unexpected, her nighttime misadventures are pretty entertaining. After initially presenting Rin as an unflappable veteran camper, the series is beginning to find humor in her occasional mistakes. The ordeal of trying to set up a tent in the wind is particularly amusing, and it somehow feels more relatable than the flawless assembly montages we've seen in some previous story arcs. This portion of the episode also takes the important step of signing Rin up for the Christmas camping trip, which is now set to include the whole cast. Her initial refusal of the invitation makes for a nice bit of humor that's very much in-character, but I'm glad the series is finally bringing the whole gang together.
The Outclub's planning meeting also has its moments (including a couple of delightfully goofy faces, as seen in this week's screenshot), but these segments continue to be more of a narrative necessity than a highlight. By now, many of the story beats are overly familiar; there's a new piece of equipment accompanied by jokes about the club's budget, everyone obsesses over food, and Nadeshiko eventually comes up with a silly yet somehow useful idea. There are some small twists on the formula here and there, like the use of a smartphone stylus to set up extra sight gags, but the overall effect remains the same. While perfectly watchable, the Outclub's school hijinks just don't stand out from the slice of life crowd in the same way that the camping trips do. Without any new scenery to admire or moments of personal growth to experience, there's just nothing that memorable here.
The club meeting also sets up a re-introduction of sorts for Toba, who previously appeared as the drunken camper in episode seven. The contrast between that image and her deliberately professional attitude at school is amusing on its own, and her recruitment as the Outclub's advisor is handled fairly well. It's a fairly standard case of “new teacher gets drafted into helping main characters,” complete with the club's former not-quite-advisor shamelessly passing the job off to Toba. Ultimately, her value to the series will depend on her chemistry with the rest of the cast, and she hasn't yet had enough screen time to establish any real rapport with the girls. As far as late-season introductions go, this one seems like it'll be a positive addition at best and a relatively harmless one at worst.
Despite starting off with the end of Rin's camping trip, this is more of a setup episode than anything else. In that context, it accomplishes everything it needs to: the camping crew has been assembled, we're past the first round of equipment trivia, and the series has settled on the next destination. Throw in a bit of humor and you've got a competent, if not terribly special, half hour of animation. As long as next week's episode is worth the wait, I'll call that a win.
Laid-Back Camp is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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