Well here we are folks, more or less at the half way mark for the second season – if you haven’t seen the entire first half, I would recommend watching all of it first, because ahead of us are many spoilers. Now with that disclaimer out of the way, let us continue.
This episode continues on from where our adventure began last week; Chiaki, Aoi and Ena decide to do a Winter Camp trip without Rin and Nadeshiko, who are both at work. Within the opening minutes, Chiaki reveals the set-up that the Caribou clerk suggested as an alternative to a Hammock, and it is…a camping chair with a smaller version of the camping chair to use as a type of footstool. Along the way they witness hobbyists playing with remote control aeroplanes, and a woman camping with her dog (a corgi called Choko..as in Ochoko, the cup you drink Sake from, because the woman’s family runs a Sake Shop). However shortly afterwards, problems arise. When finishing up a group selfie and sending it to Rin as Chiaki’s way to be cheeky, the girls all find out that their phone batteries are dangerously low, as the weather appears to be colder due to being at a higher altitude than when they did the Christmas Camp.
While she doesn’t go camping with them, Rin plays a very important role in this episode, especially when we consider what is to come. While cleaning her camping gear (which includes how she uses drain cleaner to cleanse her “donation box” of soot), she receives the group selfie, which leads her to practically google Lake Yamanaka for weather information…
At -2’C at 4:30pm, it was only going to get colder, it seems (in fact, if Christmas Camp was 600 metres and this Camp was 1000 metres above sea level, you will be talking about a difference of 4.5’C compared to the Christmas Camp. Then you consider the time. Christmas Camp was at night, but this is happening in the mid-to-late afternoon). Subconsciously, I’m taken back to one of the early episodes of season one when I see scenes like this. When they were testing cardboard boxes and tinfoil on a summer sleeping bag. Even the music starts to suggest the danger they were in – not in a “Jaws is coming” approach, but more a “We’re out of our depth and need to act now” fashion. So they prepare quickly, as Chiaki travels to a nearby shop to get supplies, including hand warmers and cardboard (to go under the sleeping bags), while Ena and Aoi get firewood to start the hotpot that will hopefully warm them up before they get into the sleeping bags in the tent to keep the heat in.
After Aoi and Ena experience a nightmare scenario, they are rescued by the Sake shop owner with the dog, whom they met earlier in the episode. It is here we see how campers really prepare for a sub-zero night: A tipi style tent with a wood burner (complete with a small chimney), and their own hotpot being prepared with ramen noodles, ready for sharing. After this, Chiaki gets back and wonder where everyone went, before being called over and joining everyone.
Soon, the second nightmare scenario happens. Not for the girls, but for the girls’ advisor Minami Toba – Miss Chug herself, who searches frantically for the girls and calling their names. Before finding their tents abandoned and experiencing the scare that Rin had with Nadeshiko in a throwback to the very first episode of the show. Toba gently scolds the girls for going to this location without telling her, and does it while keeping her cool. After the small lecture, in which the girls learn from their mistakes and Toba apologises for not asking where they were going first, we find out that Toba and the Sake shop family might actually know each other..or at least have something to connect them…lets be honest, this is not very surprising. So everybody stays for hotpot and ramen, Toba and the woman’s father (the hobbyist with the toy aeroplane) get plastered, and then they pile into Toba’s car while in their sleeping bags until morning…Her car’s engine ran the whole night. Then we see the girls get out to see the sunrise. The end-credits look like a collection of photos they took while having breakfast, which Rin happily receives, and is then thanked for warning Toba. It is in the post-credits where we finally see Nadeshiko tonight, and she possibly sets up the next episode by telling Rin she’s going to give a solo camp a try.
This episode is a particular stand-out because it is the first time any of our characters were in real peril – not for a lack of punctuality or lack of gas canisters to make breakfast with – But the fact that the girls could have gotten very sick, and possibly die due to being ill-prepared for such a drop in temperature (as Toba said, it could have caused an incident). I also love how above and beyond Toba goes to save or protect them after Rin gives her a heads up on where they were camping (Because minus fifteen degrees centigrade is no joke). It also stands out because of how many times Chiaki’s glasses got steamed up. Anyway, we’ll see if Nadeshiko’s solo camp is happening next week, or whether she’s just preparing for it, and I’ll see you there.