Room Camp

Room Camp

Room Camp anime series cover art
Room Camp

Series Overview

Room Camp (Heya Camp△ / へやキャン△) is a short series spin-off of Laid-Back Camp. There are 12 episodes, and each episode is three minutes in length — so you can watch the whole thing in about half an hour. Unfortunately, that’s about the only good thing I have to say about this series.

Generally speaking, short series are never as good as full length series. There are a few cases in which episodes being only a couple minutes long is a benefit, such as with Space Patrol Luluco, but even the episodes of that series are more than twice as long as those of Room Camp.

The main problem with shorts is that they simply don’t have enough time to actually do anything meaningful. But, I’m not trying to say that I expected Room Camp to be anything more than what it is. From the start it was clear that this is merely an add-on to the main series and isn’t meant to be viewed in a vacuum.

However, as I’ll discuss later on, the fact that this series isn’t meant to be viewed on its own is both a blessing and a curse.

Aoi, Nadeshiko, and Chiaki in the club room from the anime series Room Camp
Aoi, Nadeshiko, and Chiaki in the club room

The series focuses on a “stamp rally,” which is basically just a tourism board gimmick targeted at children to get people to visit various locations around the region. You get a booklet which has all the stamp locations marked in it, and you go to those locations and get the spot in the book stamped by the official stamp there.

Chiaki and Aoi decide it would be a good idea for Nadeshiko to complete the local stamp rally because she’s new to the region. And according to them, there’s a one-year supply of food as a prize for its completion.

Character Selection

With such a short run time per episode, it’s no wonder that the cast of characters had to be reduced compared to the main series. Instead of there being five main girls, Room Camp only focuses on the three official members of the Outdoor Activities Club.

These are Nadeshiko Kagamihara, Aoi Inuyama, and Chiaki Oogaki.

I know a lot of people like these three characters, and I do too, but I also think these are the worst three characters of the original series. Ena Saitou and, more importantly, Rin “Shimarin” Shima are my favorites. These two do still have some small cameos in Room Camp, but that’s the extent of their involvement.

Comparison to Laid-Back Camp

So now we get to the main portion of the review, which is the comparison between Room Camp and Laid-Back Camp. As I’ve already stated, Laid-Back Camp is the superior show, but that’s to be expected considering Room Camp is a supplementary short.

However, where I think Room Camp really fails is that it’s not about camping. The whole series revolves around this stamp rally, which is fine, I guess, but it’s not anything special. We just follow our three main characters to various random spots, such as a shrine.

I know that some people will argue that both Room Camp and Laid-Back Camp are more about the characters than anything else, and I typically would too for a slice of life series. But once the camping was removed, there’s just not much interesting content.

Chiaki, Nadeshiko, and Aoi relaxing from the anime series Room Camp
Chiaki, Nadeshiko, and Aoi relaxing

What I liked about Laid-Back Camp wasn’t just the characters. I liked watching the characters go camping. Camping is what they’re passionate about, and that’s really what made that series interesting and helped it stand out. Without that, Room Camp isn’t anything unique.

Additionally, Laid-Back Camp would sprinkle in camping tutorials, which, while I’ll never use them, were a fun little gimmick for the series. I think there was maybe one of those camping tips featured throughout all of Room Camp — because it’s not about camping.

And the last thing I’ll say in favor of Laid-Back Camp over this spin-off is that the scenic art was better. For me, one of the main draws of that series were the landscapes. While we still get some of those in this series — it is the same art style and everything, after all — they really aren’t the focus, and they’re generally less “nature-y.”

Aside from the obligatory shots of Mt. Fuji, a lot of the scenery in this short is man-made. With the removal of the camping aspect, so too was the connection to the outdoors somewhat removed.

Conclusion

Room Camp is a 5/10 from me. I did like watching it, but it’s nothing special and definitely worse than the main series it’s built upon. It all but removed my favorite characters, and also distanced itself from the camping theme which made Laid-Back Camp so interesting to watch to begin with.

Also, since it’s a short, the opening and ending theme are combined into one. The song for this OP/ED is good, and I like how it has the lyrics “happy Monday” and the series aired on Mondays, but it’s not as good as the OP/ED of the full series.

If you liked Laid-Back Camp, you’ll probably still like Room Camp, but don’t expect it to be as good — it’s not the second season, after all. And if you watched Room Camp without first watching Laid-Back Camp for some reason, I suggest you go watch the main series for a better experience.

Speaking of the second season, I think it’s meant to air during the winter season of 2021. However, due to current events, I could see it getting pushed back to winter of 2022. I think if they miss the winter deadline, they’ll hold off until the next winter, because they seem to purposefully release this anime during winter seasons.

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My review of the Laid-Back Camp Specials, including Room Camp episode 0, is available here.

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