WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 1 of Laid-Back Camp, now streaming on Crunchyroll.
The winter 2021 anime season is here, and already, Laid-Back Camp is launching into its second season with style. While Laid-Back Camp doesn't have the same fanfare as the upcoming Dr. Stone season or the much-anticipated fifth season of My Hero Academia, this new season promises 12 more episodes of relaxing outdoor adventures.
Rin is the best camper among the main characters, having more experience and camping gear than Nadeshiko and the others. But even she was a novice camper at some point, and the first half of the Season 2 premiere is a flashback to Rin's middle school years, when she went on her first-ever camping trip with her father. She had to work out some kinks along the way.
Rin's First-Ever Camping Adventure
In the opening flashback, Rin came home from middle school and found a surprise: her beloved grandfather sent her a large package loaded with basic camping gear, ready to pass on the joys of camping to his granddaughter. Rin dug into the package at once, and she experimented with tent construction right there in the living room, paying close attention to the instruction manual along the way. A few days later, Rin and her father headed to a local campsite near a shore that overlooked Mr. Fuji, and Rin was ready to test her camping skills for real. Her father gave Rin a chance to handle the camp by herself, and he retired to the local cabin resort to let his daughter have her fun at the shore.
Rin did her best, but she had a few false starts. She quickly learned to be gentle when using a rock to hammer in the metal rope pegs, and she had to factor in the wind so her books and papers wouldn't just fly off like that. She got ready to light a fire, but the logs refused to burn until her kind camping neighbor gave her some solid advice. Rin learned to use dry grass and twigs to start the fire, then add slightly thicker wood on top to let it grow. Happy with her fire, Rin got to work cooking rice for some camping curry, only for it to turn out badly. Rin was getting frustrated; how could she mess up her grandfather's hobby like this? She hadn't even thought to bring a camping chair.
Then she got a call from her mother, who reminded her of some packaged noodle soup in her backpack. Rin cooked the noodles just fine and filled her hungry belly, and she resolved to do better next time. She'll become an outdoor expert no matter what, and the flashback ends on that uplifting note.
Rin And The Spirit Of Camping
The lesson Rin learned was that while camping can be hard work, it's ultimately supposed to be fun, not a chore, and this hobby can be richly rewarding. It's a chance to get away from the business of urban life and reconnect with nature, and for a studious and hard-working middle school student like Rin, such a relaxing break with Mother Nature is a must. This is something that Nadeshiko and her friends Aoi and Chiaki also realized by now in the present day. During the same evening (in the flashback) when Rin observed Mt. Fuji from her first campsite, Nadeshiko was also admiring that snow-capped mountain while riding a bike in town. Little did the girls know that the joy of camping and viewing Mt. Fuji would bring them together one day as friends.
In the present, Rin is preparing another trip for New Year's Day, and she has to plot her trip so she can avoid the heavy traffic from Tokyo. She'll visit the Iwata region, home of the Mitsuke-Tenjin shrine, which in turn houses the spirit dog Shippeitarou. With any luck, Shippeitarou will watch over Rin the whole time, and just before Rin heads off for her trip early one morning, Nadeshiko meets her and hands over a cup of curry noodles as a parting gift before the trip. Rin gladly accepts it and heads off into the sunrise for her first camping trip of the year.
The girls and the viewers alike can learn a lot about camping from this show, making it a modest but charming entry to the "edutainment" trend of anime. Rin learned quickly how to set up a comfortable and practical camp, and in the show's first season, Nadeshiko and her two friends learned the ropes as well. The girls sometimes slip up, but nothing truly horrible is going to happen, and they can always learn from their mistakes and set up a better camp next time.