I wish I could have been a bit more like Rin when I was her age. She knows solitude doesn’t have to mean loneliness, or boredom, or helplessness. Getting away for a solo camping trip gives her time and space to reflect, warm up by the cheering light of a campfire and treat herself. In those times, her internal voice reveals some of what she’s thinking, but probably not all. She isn’t indebted to share everything, give the world a warm smile and welcome everyone into her private mind. She knows there’s nothing wrong with that, and so doesn’t find herself duty bound to join her school’s outdoor activities club, even when she happens to make a friend there.
Laid-Back Camp doesn’t think a single one of these girls owes any audience an apology for how they have fun. It shows its cast the same respect that the fizzy bubblegum-headed Nadeshiko shows Rin in acknowledging she prefers to solo camp, leaving it at that. They can still connect as themselves, sharing pictures of the night views from their separate camping grounds. Rin is always included in Outclub’s activities, whatever they’re each doing, and made aware that she’s always welcome at their camp without being pushed.
It’s all for the better, as the anime can display two campers’ views, two wonderful ways of spending down time watching clouds around Mt. Fuji, or cooking up spicy hotpot. The pleasures of eating with the cold air sharpening every sense are crystallised in soft winter mist, the ice blue hue of the girls’ surroundings as safe as their sleeping bags. This is their world to enjoy, and nobody is out to intrude. In nature, at night in the woods, they can feel scared in the shadows, but in full security from prying eyes unseen.
Nobody is telling these girls, least of all Rin, to be wary of danger. In Laid-Back Camp, there is no danger in any girl camping alone. They can all fall asleep uninhibited, with nature standing guard outside their tents. By phone light, together or alone, they are peaceful, safe, happy and free.
Yes, I want to be more like Rin. Wise enough to know there’s no fear in going alone.