Laid-Back Camp: The Movie

Laid-Back Camp: The Movie

Laid-Back Camp: The Movie anime cover art
Laid-Back Camp: The Movie

They Grow Up So Fast

Laid-Back Camp: The Movie (Yuru Camp△ Movie / 映画 ゆるキャン△) takes place years after the events of the series. And it’s not even based on the manga like the anime series is. The movie is completely original.

But, why does it matter when the movie takes place and whether it’s original or not? Because I know there are others out there like myself who aren’t big fans of movies. I always put off watching movies. And that’s why we’ve started doing monthly movie nights on Discord. It’s so I can finally get through my backlog of movies.

Back to why this all matters, the movie isn’t canon. It came out after Season 2 of the series. But, it’s not mandatory viewing material for the upcoming Season 3. The way you should think about the movie is that if you want more Laid-Back Camp content, it’s there.

Ena, Nadeshiko, Aoi, and Chiaki from the anime Laid-Back Camp: The Movie
Ena, Nadeshiko, Aoi, and Chiaki

So, how far in the future does the movie take place? In the series, our main characters are in high school. In the movie, they’re all out of school and have jobs. And considering some of their jobs, it’s likely they went to university, as well. It’s been a few years.

Nadeshiko now works at an outdoor gear shop. Rin works for a magazine. Aoi is an elementary school teacher. Ena is a dog groomer. And Chiaki works for a local tourism board. Chiaki’s job is the one that matters for the plot of the movie.

When watching the movie, you’ll also notice that the girls don’t look the same as they used to. Most notably, Rin has short hair — like, very short. The Shimarin bun is a thing of the past. Nadeshiko also has short hair now, but I don’t think it looks as bad as Rin’s.

Grass Cutting Simulator

As part of her job with the tourism board, Chiaki wants to create a new campsite on an abandoned hillside. And to make her dream a reality, she recruits her old camping club buddies from high school. But, since the other girls have jobs, they can only help out in their free time.

Now, it quickly becomes apparent that none of these girls know what they’re doing. They may be experienced campers — some more so than others. But, they have no experience with designing, building, and maintaining a campsite.

Normally, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. In a lot of movies and TV shows, the characters start off inexperienced. But, the difference is that those characters usually learn what to do pretty fast. That’s not the case here. A very significant portion of the movie involves watching the girls do things wrong.

Nadeshiko and Chiaki cutting grass from the anime Laid-Back Camp: The Movie
Nadeshiko and Chiaki cutting grass

Take the image above, for example. One of the tasks the girls need to do is to cut the overgrown grass. And, keep in mind, this is an entire campsite worth of overgrown grass. So, how do they go about cutting it? With grass sickles. Yes, that’s how they plan to cut all the grass.

If they used a lawnmower, they could finish the job in a matter of hours. But, they want to cut the grass by hand, one blade at a time. And we get to watch it all happen. We watched them do this for multiple days and they never learn.

It actually became infuriating watching Nadeshiko and the gang work on this campsite. Why couldn’t we see them actually improve the campsite over the course of the movie? Instead, we watched them struggle for most of the movie and then got a montage at the end.

Did It Need to Be 2 Hours Long?

Did Laid-Back Camp: The Movie need to be 2 hours long? No. Of course not. Very few anime movies need to be that long. And this movie, in particular, could have been half the length. An hour would have worked.

We didn’t need all those grass-cutting scenes. And there were plenty of other scenes we didn’t need either. There were multiple scenes of the characters eating in silence that went on for too long. Listening to the sounds of people eating isn’t exactly appealing to me.

There were also plenty of scenes that had nothing to do with creating the campsite. In one, we follow Nadeshiko and Rin as they hike up a snowy mountain to a hot spring. And, of course, along the way, they stop for lunch — which we get to listen to.

Nadeshiko and Rin at a mountain hot spring from the anime Laid-Back Camp: The Movie
Nadeshiko and Rin at a mountain hot spring

Don’t get me wrong, the hike to the hot spring might have been my favorite part of the movie. But, did it have anything to do with the plot? Not really. Was it a necessary addition to an already long movie? Definitely not. This was 10 minutes of the movie.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, they don’t even start working on the campsite until 38 minutes in. That’s when they start cutting the grass. And they finally upgrade from grass sickles to power tools (still not a lawnmower) 1 hour and 44 minutes in. That’s 12 minutes before the credits start rolling.

Looking at how I’ve been talking about the movie so far, it doesn’t seem like I liked it very much. But, I do actually think it’s a good movie. It’s just not the movie I expected it to be. It’s more like a super long OVA.

Conclusion

Overall, I gave Laid-Back Camp: The Movie a 7/10, which is the same score I gave the first 2 seasons of the anime. But, I believe the anime series is better than the movie, despite giving them the same score. The movie is good, but it feels like it’s extra, which it is.

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