Laid-Back Camp Specials

Laid-Back Camp Specials

Specials Overview

The Laid-Back Camp Specials (Yuru Camp△ Specials / ゆるキャン△) are three shorts with an average length of about 8 minutes, making the trio roughly as long as a standard episode when combined. I’m not really sure why I never watched these specials until now considering I’ve seen both the original Laid-Back Camp and the Room Camp short series, but here we are.

I went into these specials expecting them to be mini versions of the main series episodes. However, that’s not what they are. Instead, they’re a combination of Room Camp and completely random content. The first episode is literally titled “Room Camp Episode 0,” the second episode is effectively a Room Camp episode, and the third episode is… something else.

But despite the fact that I didn’t get what I was hoping for out of these shorts, they were quite good. They weren’t as good as the main series, but they were definitely better than Room Camp, which was an overall disappointment for me.

Room Camp Episode 0

The first episode was the weakest of the three, which makes a lot of sense considering it’s just the prequel episode to the Room Camp short series. This episode “follows” Chiaki Oogaki and Aoi Inuyama as they play make-believe camping within the club room.

I’m pretty sure there was an episode from the actual Room Camp that was just like this one, but I can’t be certain because I’m not going to check.

It starts off with Chiaki and Aoi looking through a camping magazine and talking about their winter camping dreams. However, their chat quickly spirals downward once they see the prices for the equipment in the magazine. And this prompts Chiaki to question why everyday items can’t just be used for camping.

Chiaki Oogaki from the Laid-Back Camp anime series specials
Chiaki Oogaki

As expected, it turns out that there are actually reasons behind the use of specialized camping gear. For example, switchblades are safer to carry because the blades are covered in transit and sleeping bags are better than futons because they’re more compact and lightweight.

The episode culminates with the pair imagining a campsite created with everyday items which they ultimately refer to as hobo-chic. I think they’ll be sticking to the classic camping gear in the future.

Ruse Camp

Episode 2 still took place within the club room but was much better overall than the first. This time around, additional characters such as Nadeshiko, Rin, Ena, Sakura, and Akari make appearances. The episode focuses on Nadeshiko getting tricked by the other characters, specifically Aoi, Ena, and Akari.

I think this was Akari’s first appearance in the series. Or rather, I know this was her first chronological appearance in the series because Nadeshiko and Chiaki don’t know who she is at first. But what I mean is, I don’t think she was featured in Room Camp either since I watched that first.

Akari Inuyama from the Laid-Back Camp anime series specials
Akari Inuyama

Akari is Aoi’s younger sister and looks almost exactly like her except smaller and with different colored eyes. She even acts just like Aoi and uses the same facial expression when she’s attempting to trick Nadeshiko.

At the end of the episode, Ena rounds up all the other girls, except Rin, and has them impersonate Rin in an attempt to confuse Nadeshiko. Unfortunately for Ena, I don’t think her prank was quite as good as Akari pretending to be a shrunken down version of Aoi. There’s just no replacement for the one, true Shimarin.

Survival Camp

The third episode was by far the best, as well as the longest, of the three. Incidentally, it was also the only one that didn’t take place within the club room — there’s definitely some correlation there. Instead, this episode took place on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (about a mile off the coast of Japan).

What was supposed to be a relaxing camping holiday in Australia for Nadeshiko, Rin, Ena, Chiaki, and Aoi turned into a nightmare. Or, it almost did. After their airplane suffered a minor malfunction, the girls decided to jump out over the open ocean, because why not? Luckily, they landed on a tropical island and had a nice time camping there instead.

Rin Shima jumping out of a plane from the Laid-Back Camp anime series specials
Rin Shima jumping out of a plane

As for the highlights of this episode, the best one came during the plane malfunction. If you’re unsure about whether to watch these specials, please at least watch this third episode specifically for the plane malfunction scene. It’s quite possibly the best piece of Laid-Back Camp content I’ve seen, rivaled only by Rin getting attacked by a bear that one time.

The second and third highlights of the episode are so close that they could go either way. First, Chiaki becomes the lord of the bananas. We don’t know where she found so many bananas, but she claims that they spoke to her. Second, Rin catches a large fish. That’s it. That’s the highlight.

Despite the fact that Rin is my favorite character, I think I’m going to put Chiaki, lord of the bananas, in second place after the airplane malfunction scene. And since Chiaki played a fairly large role in that scene as well, I guess she also wins the prize for the most entertaining character of the specials.

Conclusion

I think I’m going to give the Laid-Back Camp Specials a 7/10. The first episode was pretty weak, but the next two really made up for it, especially since the first episode was also the shortest. It’s just too bad that the Room Camp short series was based on the first special episode and not the third.

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