Spoilers, spoilers, and spoilers, oh my! What many things I will say. However, by the end of this review, I’ll be giving my star rating and comparing it to Season One.
So here we are. The end of the road, at least for now. It is the last day of the Izu Camping Trip, and it is time for everybody to go home. However, there are still geo-spots to see, people to say thank you to, and zoo animals bathing in hot springs, as indicated in the previous episode. Let’s get started.
So the girls have just come down from Mount Drauma and let us know what they plan to do next. One. Go to Mount Omuro. Two. Go to Ilda-San’s Sake Shop to give their thanks for saving them at Lake Yamanaka. Three. Head to the Cactus Park. And of course, Four. What we have all been waiting for: Seeing Capybaras bathing in a hot spring. Rin thanks the other girls for inviting her on the trip, to which they say, “What brought this on? ‘C’mon, there’s a whole day of stuff to do first!”
I’m also saddened to say that this will be the last time we see this Season’s opening (outside of reruns). You might notice that Rin’s phone has highlights of the previous episode in each one, so we have reason to watch each opening when we start the show.
So Rin has a different experience in this episode as well – by leaving her Moped at the camp while they all pile into Toba-Sensei’s minivan. By sitting in the middle, Rin realises how cramped the journey would have become had she not taken the Moped (despite being four feet three inches tall). ‘Causing her introverted nature to flair up a tad bit.
They arrive at the Sake-Shop, where Chiaki, Aoi, Ena and Toba-Sensei thank the family for looking after them (with embarrassment on their part). Rin, Nadeshiko and Akari are introduced, to which the father comments on how he used to travel with his friends when he was younger. Toba-Sensei leaves her thank-you-gift to them: A bottle of wine and – – Raisin sandwiches?… It sounds weird. I’m assuming they are more like raisin cakes than sun-dried grapes in white bread. UPDATE: Okay, they’re more like Biscuit Sandwiches, like Custard Creams, Oreos and Jammie Dodgers, only there are raisins in them… They’re probably quite good. While chatting, Rin and Nadeshiko get introduced to Choko-chan, the family’s Corgi. Who runs past them and straight to Chiaki, Aoi and Ena. At this moment, Ena shows that she is missing her little doggie by calling Choko-chan Chikuwa. After this, the gang mention their plans, and the daughter of the Sake Shop Owner decided it would be a good idea to walk the dog and goes with them.
They arrive at Mount Omoro, where we receive a small montage of things that happen. Including the consumption of ice cream and the use of the Ski Lift. To the shock of Rin and Nadeshiko, the ski lift has a feature similar to Splash Mountain in Walt Disney World – by taking your photograph, which you can buy and keep. Neither girl saw it coming. But saw the amusement of it. So they each get a copy. The rest of the girls decide to run to the top of the mountain. Toba-Sensei and the Daughter of the Sake Shop walk casually to match the dog’s speed. At the top, everybody gets a great view of the land. ‘Perhaps two towns rather than one. Chiaki, once again, proves how unfit she is when compared to the rest and then had a good laugh when the girls imitate a triangulation point they found on the ground for reference of measurement. Afterwards, a group photo commences, to the delight of Nadeshiko, who gets Mount Fuji into the picture. She then receives a Shinto legend from the sake-shop daughter, which plays into her gullibility and leads to amusement.
The Cactus Park ends up looking as cheesy as you might expect. It’s like something straight out of middle America or Las Vegas. While entering, they see Peacocks, Pelicans and Monkeys just roaming around the area (something I’ve experienced at the Zoo and Butterfly Park before. Though with no monkeys), which all seems normal until the receptionist at the ticket office tells another worker that animals had escaped. While inside, we get a small zoo experience. Aoi feeds a Llama, Rin looks at a Shoebill Stork, and both Nadeshiko and Chiaki stand inside a Cactus House, which is probably too warm, considering how steamed up Chiaki’s glasses are.
Now for the main event – Capybaras in the hot spring. We get a hint of Deja Vu here as Chiaki and Akari do a silly run towards the sight while Nadeshiko trips and falls in another moe moment that’s the same as before. They get to the Capybaras. It was worth it – – so soothing and relaxing. Which then gets even better when they find out you can pet the Capybaras. ‘Making Chiaki concerned with Akari’s decision-making, as capybaras seem to be the right thing to say to get her to go anywhere. She pets the Capyharas, then gets thrown into a sea of temptation at the gift store with Capybara plush toys, hoodies and, of course, dumplings! Akari brings us back to an early episode in this Season – – Chiaki still hasn’t given Akari her New Years Allowance yet. Afterwards, they all go back to the Sake Shop to say goodbye for now. Toba-Sensei makes it clear – the Iidas have a customer in her from here on.
On the way back to camp, the gang decide to stop at a roadside station and evaluate their trip. ‘Commenting that they should come back and do all of the geo-spots. To provide context, the girls saw twelves geo-spots out of well over a hundred.
Reality hits Nadeshiko that the trip is almost over. But as far as she is concerned, the trip will only be over when everybody gets home. Rin gets her Moped back and then travels for a little bit before taking a left while Toba-Sensei goes straight on and drops each girl home. Nadeshiko takes a photo of Rin before she leaves. ‘Seems like the nice thing to do…or one that suggests uncertainty. In the car, everybody but Toba (obviously) and Nadeshiko are sleeping. ‘Bringing a full-circle quality to the trip, as now Nadeshiko is the one awake and possibly experiencing what she missed when she napped in the car on the way to Izu. They see the Izu peninsula, along with the sunset. We then see Nadeshiko get dropped off, as it is clear that everybody has arrived home – – everybody but Rin, who is stuck in rush hour traffic while it is already dark. She remarks that she has already ridden four hundred kilometres (two hundred and forty miles) and has another fifty kilometres (thirty miles) before she is finally home. Making us realise that she probably would have snapped if she took the ride in Toba’s minivan the whole way there and back.
While riding, Rin reflects upon the last three days. Giving us a small montage with one of the Season One musical scores playing in the background to sink that remanence into us. Rin then self-reflects:
“I don’t know if it’s because I’m driving alone or if the night scenery is making me feel this way. But I’m a bit lonely. Still, the healthy exhaustion and the relief of being homeward bound. I love this feeling.” In this sentence, go back to what she said while Nadeshiko visited Ayanko Toki and her Granny in episode three. ‘About her appreciation of loneliness. ‘That she got the best of both worlds with this trip. By camping in a group and travelling alone. She then pauses in front of Mount Fuji. Giving us a cinematography shot that brought us back to the first episode of Season one: In Season One Episode One, Rin is going right on her bicycle and looking at Mount Fuji on her left in the day time. Here, she is going left on her Moped and looking at Mount Fuji on her right at night time. Our Shima Shima Shima Rin has grown up.
While Nadeshiko’s family stare at all of the Wonderful Food she brought back from Izu, Nadeshiko herself becomes concerned for Rin, who isn’t answering her texts. The others have gotten home and are showing their happiness. ‘Meaning the Izu Camp Trip isn’t over yet. Not until Rin gets home. While on the outskirts of Minobu, Rin and Nadeshiko (with the help of Sakura) meet up to make sure everything is okay. It causes Rin to reflect when Nadeshiko didn’t update her online status while doing her solo camp, which worried Rin in episode eight. The concern for friends goes both ways.
We then get a bit of dialogue between Rin and Nadeshiko, as Nadeshiko says she wants to do another solo camp, while Rin reflects on the first episode of this Season: her first camping trip. As the credits roll, we see Rin finally arrive home, her grandfather received a gift from her, and then the whole gang meet up the following morning. Ready for the next day of school (Which I believe is them entering a new school year. Since new grades begin in Spring in Japan. Correct me if I’m wrong).
‘Now for me to reflect on the Season as a whole. To connect and compare it with Season one. I will be honest. Season Two of Laid Back Camp takes everything that made Season One great and happily expanded upon it. The animation team have gotten comfortable with what they are doing and even tried some new things that weren’t as present in Season One, such as the wind among flowers. We also saw the characters a little more animated in short bursts, and they (along with their families) are developed further, with their friendship being more enriched with what has happened here. However, Season Two needs Season One for the best experience. Together they are like one big Season in itself, with Room Camp being extra. The themes of friendship, taking risks, and blasting through real problems are littered throughout the program (because what is a story where everything goes perfectly?)
Anyway, I look forward to Season Three. ‘As well as the movie that is to be out in 2022. I might even try and find the live-action version of the show before then.
My guess for next Season (or the movie) is that we will eventually get a Summer Camping Trip, which will include Nadeshiko’s childhood friend Ayano Toki (Who may ride her Moped along with Rin on the journey). It feels set up to happen. Anyway, here are my ratings:
Art Style: *****
Voice Acting: ****