The Concept Behind This Movie
When I heard about this movie, I wondered how this series would pull off a movie. While I wouldn’t say that Laid-Back Camp is plot less, it’s about these girls learning to camp and sharing their passions about it. Rin is our main focus character who knows a lot about camping while three other girls: Nadeshiko, Chiaki, and Aoi, learn more about the specifics of camping through Rin’s advice. Rin is a very introverted girl, so there is also that connection of Rin slowly coming out of her shell to camp with these other girls. How do you turn that into a movie?
Movies need a bit more of a plot. There needs to be something leading the girls behind together and something that allows the film to have a feel good sort of conclusion. Obviously, a lot of the people behind this film knew that too. A plot occurs which allows the girls to connect together with each other in a good way. Plus, each character, even in small amounts, gets their time to just be either really cool or helpful. It is a very well produced movie that knows exactly what it is doing while still carrying the Laid-Back Camp tone and ideas too. I’m kind of astonished by it.
The Movie’s General Plot
I’m not sure how long this film takes place after Laid-Back Camp season 2, but it has to be long enough to make the very young puppy Chikuwa into an old man. That means a lot of things have changed. Rin has always worked at the school library and now she is working at an editorial department of a small, Nagoya magazine. She is a career woman that works long hours and only goes camping when she has the time to do it. Plus, she rides a complete motorcycle now instead of her Moped she started out with.
Then there are the other girls Aoi is now an elementary school teacher, Chiaki is working at a tourism agency at Yamanashi, Ena works at a pet grooming and car shop, and Nadeshiko works at a camp store. Everyone has a job where they can afford to travel and buy things they need. Things which was a major struggle for all of them when they were in high school. But since everyone is busy, they haven’t gone camping or even enjoyed their company with each other for the longest amount of time. Though, they do stay in communication with each other through texting. At least there is that.
Everything changes when Chiaki shows up around Nagoya to talk to Rin. First the two hang out and Chiaki just drinks a lot and talks about her job and asking what to do about a piece of land by her company. (Rin does mention Chiaki’s drinking so they have met together at some point recently). But anyway, Rin talks about making the land a campground prompting Chiaki forcing Rin to go to the place through a Taxi. They look at the place and the old team talks about making this their own project. Something which also became a project for Rin at her job for an editorial. It’s really simple and good stuff.
Contributing and Adulthood
This film knew how to incorporate the passion of these girls camping and allowing them to grow up at the same time. Building a campsite is one of those things which is a much more adult way to share that passion. Not just to keep their passion to themselves, but helping the community at large to enjoy another place to go camping in Japan. Another unique site for people to go to build out of reused materials and other things onto them as well. I think that adults should be the ones to lead the future by helping the younger generation to find their passions and energy.
Something which runs into a little bit of trouble when Chikuwa acquires some pottery from the Jomon Period. It causes a pause in the camp ground as more artifacts from that era are found and the campsite is in jeopardy. It takes Chiaki to bring a lot of her knowledge together to not only compromise with the committee, but find a good way for the camp ground to work in harmony with the pottery too. Adulthood is about making compromises and finding a way for everyone to get a little bit about what each person wants in a scenario. This is an idealized version of this, but it works for this film. Go Chiaki and everyone else for creating such a good presentation.
Adults Still Learn and Grow
Our four adults are still young and learning about their own sorts of stakes. Or simply how to cut grass. In the beginning of this film, Rin is being helped at work by an adult teammate. Given suggestions, asking if they have a good sort of editorial to turn in, and suggesting the building a camp editorial to go in their magazine. Something which Rin doesn’t notice until the camp site building hits a dead end and she is given more time than usual to overhear conversations in that guy protecting or working more than his fair share for Rin to work on her project. Our girl finally understands and starts learning more particulars about their job and is wiser then she was in the first place.
Aoi is not as much of a focus character as Rin is, but her schools and teaching do get some sort of attention. Her elementary school is closing down due to the lack of kids going to it. Something which causes her a bit of grief, even if she is moving to teach at another school, because she liked her current school. But that also provides yet another opportunity to help her own personal project. Since the school is not using its playground materials, they can now be found at the new campsite. Nadeshiko, at her job, is supporting younger girls to get into the hobby of camping at her store. Ena feels like the only left out of this even if she did get her dog athletic area. Mainly, she is there to be the fun sort of fifth member with a dog and sadly, she fell short.
Some Conclusive Thoughts
On a visual level, I don’t feel like this film is that much of an upgrade from the tv series. Sure, there is a lot more time given to this film in its environments and character animation, but those things were already pretty good for a tv series. The main highlight is showing these girls as adults now and you can really feel that these are the natural transitions from high school to now. The girls aren’t as doughy as they used to be and their facial features are much more defined and rigged. Every character looks great and I wanted people to know it. Once again ,the animation style itself didn’t change but the assets from Rin riding a motorcycle to Nadeshiko using a Backhoe to flatten some Earth. None of this is a bad thing.
Which brings up some opinions about the film and its really good. It balances that sort of happy and comfy appeal the tv series had with its camping and girls hanging out learning to camp with having some realistic sorts of expectations and ideas as these girls do more with their lives and leave a bigger impact as young adults. I’m astonished that it worked so well and it is an easy recommendation to everyone who wants to check it out. I even think there is enough context from the opening scene to allow people who haven’t seen the series to enjoy this movie. There just wouldn’t be as much context, but that’s ok. The film is its own thing and it’s just really good.