Tag: 2018

Penguin Highway

Penguin Highway

Penguin Highway anime movie cover art
Penguin Highway

The Great Penguin Conspiracy

Penguin Highway (ペンギン・ハイウェイ) is a sci-fi, fantasy, mystery anime about penguins in a Japanese town. It’s a weird movie and I thought it was going to be a lot better than it was. Unfortunately, Penguin Highway isn’t a very good movie.

One thing that made Penguin Highway watchable, though, was that I didn’t watch it alone. I watched it as part of the DoubleSama Discord server‘s monthly movie night event. Penguin Highway was December’s movie. And yes, I’m only now getting around to the review.

So, what’s Penguin Highway about? It’s about a conspiracy — at least, at first. You see, one day, Penguins appeared in a small Japanese town. Where did they come from? Why were they there? And, most importantly, do they even actually exist? That’s right, there are penguin truthers in this town who don’t believe the penguins are real.

Aoyama looking at the penguins from the anime movie Penguin Highway
Aoyama looking at the penguins

Now, you may be thinking that it would be pretty easy to prove the existence of some penguins. But, after their initial appearance, the penguins disappeared. Nobody knows where they went. So, it kind of makes sense that those who didn’t see the penguins themselves don’t believe they existed.

Naturally, the most popular theory was that they escaped in transit. But, that doesn’t appear to be the case. No local zoos or aquariums reported the penguins missing. And with that, most of the townspeople lost interest in the mystery of the penguins.

However, there was one boy who didn’t lose interest. Aoyama, a nerd, wants to get to the bottom of the mystery. So, he recruits the help of a local dental assistant with whom he has a questionable relationship. Together, this unlikely pair unravels the truth behind the penguins — and, as it turns out, the universe.

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Main Characters

Despite being a nearly 2-hour-long movie, Penguin Highway only has 4 named characters. These are Aoyama, Uchida, Hamamoto, and Suzuki. But, there’s also 5th character worth mentioning, the Lady. We never learn her name, but she’s one of the 2 main characters, along with Aoyama.

Aoyama is a middle schooler at the latest. He’s a young boy who’s interested in things like space and chess. So, as I mentioned earlier, he’s a nerd. He also doesn’t have many friends. Though, this is likely due to his failure to pick up on social cues and the fact that he’s annoying.

Uchida is Aoyama’s one friend (of the same age). He’s also a nerd. But, he seems more well-adjusted than Aoyama. He’ll grow up to be a normal person. However, as he is now, he’s kind of useless. He’s afraid of getting in trouble and doesn’t want to get beat up, for some reason.

Hamamoto, Aoyama, and Uchida from the anime movie Penguin Highway
Hamamoto, Aoyama, and Uchida

Speaking of beating people up, Suzuki is the class bully. Of course, that means he picks on Aoyama and Uchida. Though, I have to say Aoyama kind of deserves it. Suzuki is also the leader of the penguin deniers in Aoyama’s class.

The last of the named characters is Hamamoto. Hamamoto is the popular girl in Aoyama’s class. Suzuki has a crush on Hamamoto. But, she’s more interested in Aoyama because they share similar interests — like space. As the movie progresses, Hamamoto inserts herself into Aoyama and Uchida’s circle.

Finally, we have the Lady. She’s a dentist’s assistant who befriended Aoyama at some point. They play chess together at a local cafe. But, their relationship is a bit worrying. Aoyama has also been to her apartment alone at night to “play chess.” And she even takes him on an out-of-town trip alone.

Pocket Dimension of the Sea

Are you thinking Penguin Highway sounds like a pretty good movie so far? Well, hold your horses. I haven’t actually discussed any of the weird stuff yet. You see, this is a sci-fi anime. And the sci-fi aspects of the movie make no sense.

Let’s start off by spoiling where the Penguins come from — the Lady. That’s right, the Lady is the one who created the penguins (without knowing it). She can turn random objects into penguins by throwing them. And, for some reason, this only works if she’s in direct sunlight.

In case you’re wondering, no, this is never explained. But, it gets weirder. The Lady also creates leopard seal-like monsters that can swim through solid ground. These, she creates while she sleeps. They’re the spawn of her nightmares — or something like that.

Aoyama, Hamamoto, and Uchida looking at the "Sea" from the anime movie Penguin Highway
Aoyama, Hamamoto, and Uchida looking at the “Sea”

Then, there’s also the pocket dimension known as the “Sea.” The “Sea” is a giant sphere of water in the middle of a field. And as we later learn, it’s a portal into another dimension. So, you may be thinking that this must be explained at some point. Well, you’d be wrong.

The closest we get is when Aoyama’s father uses his wallet to explain pocket dimensions. He doesn’t actually explain the “Sea.” He’s just explaining pocket dimensions in general, for some reason. And after this cursory explanation, he hops on a bus and skips town.

Oh, and then there’s another mystery involving the stream that surrounds the town. It’s a circle. It starts and ends at the “Sea.” Again, this is never explained. I assumed this was going to be important. Maybe the stream is a boundary of some kind and will connect back to Aoyama’s father leaving. No. That would make too much sense.

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The Dentist’s Assistant Who Never Was

With all the weird stuff surrounding the Lady, it wasn’t much of a surprise when we learned she wasn’t real. Well, she’s real. But, only temporarily. You see, like the penguins and leopard seal monsters, she’s from the “Sea.”

And once the penguin energy (yes, that’s a thing) returns to the “Sea,” the Lady can’t stay around. The “Sea” collapses in on itself and everything from the “Sea” starts disappearing. By the end of the movie, the Lady is gone and Aoyama is only left with his memories of her.

This leads us to my favorite part of the movie. Well, one of my favorite parts. My first favorite part came early on because we watched a poorly translated version. We only realized the movie was available on Crunchyroll after it was over — I assumed that as a movie, it wouldn’t be.

Aoyama and the Lady riding the train from the anime movie Penguin Highway
Aoyama and the Lady riding the train

Anyway, back to my favorite intentional part of the movie. Throughout the whole thing, Hamamoto was flirting with Aoyama. And, as you might expect from Aoyama at this point, he wasn’t picking up on it. But, at the end, after the Lady disappears, he mentions that he still has someone special.

So, he must have finally recognized Hamamoto as a girl, right? Wrong. He’s talking about his memories of the Lady. First, Hamamoto had to compete with a mature woman. Now, she has to compete with the memory of a mature woman. She can’t win.

I’m kind of surprised Aoyama even remembers Hamamoto’s name. She seems so far off his radar that at times it seems like he forgets she exists. It sucks for Hamamoto. But the fact that Aoyama still unintentionally rejects her in the end was too funny to me.


I had to give Penguin Highway a 4/10 in the end. The movie looks nice. And the Lady is cute. But, the plot made absolutely no sense. There were so many twists and turns that ended up going nowhere. You’d think everything would get tied up at the end and make sense. But you’d be wrong.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me on your social media of choice — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. And I’d like to thank Key Mochi for supporting at the Senpai tier. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms anime movie cover art
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Movie Overview

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou / さよならの朝に約束の花をかざろう) is an original anime movie by P.A. Works. Its genres are drama and fantasy, and it was definitely made specifically to make you cry — as many P.A. Works anime are.

The movie follows an Iorph girl named Maquia. Iorphs are immortal (long-lived?) people who live in a distant land separate from the continent of the humans. There, they spend their days weaving cloth that records the history of the world. They call this cloth Hibiol, though the word is also used to describe something treasured.

Maquia is an orphaned Iorph. I don’t believe we were ever told what happened to her family. But, the village elder raised her, so she’s not completely alone. And one lesson the village elder taught her was to not care about humans if she ever met any.

Maquia from the anime movie Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Why shouldn’t Maquia care about humans? Because Iorph are effectively immortal. Any human she cares about will die long before her — and then she’ll know what true loneliness is. Right from the start of the movie, we can tell that this is exactly what’s going to happen to Maquia.

So, after this is all set up, some humans attack the Iorph homeland. They capture the women and children and slaughter everyone who tries to stop them. Maquia, however, suffers a different fate. One of the dragon things the humans arrived on goes berserk and carries Maquia off on her own.

When Maquia wakes up, she finds herself on the human continent. She doesn’t know what happened to her homeland or whether she’ll ever be able to return. Not long after this, she finds an orphaned baby human, names him Ariel, and decides to raise him as her own.

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A Bit More Explanation Needed

Maquia is a very good anime. But, there were a few things I would have liked a bit more explanation of. Of course, I often say that not everything needs a complete explanation. And I still believe that. But, sometimes, a bit more explanation is necessary.

The first thing I would have liked to have explained more is the Hibiol. We know it’s a cloth woven by the Iorph. But, as it turns out, humans can weave it too — Ariel does. So, that seems to imply there’s nothing particularly magic about it.

Iorphs also use their weaving of Hibiol as a form of writing. When they say it records the history of the world, they mean that literally. But, other than it being a vague form of world-building, I’m struggling to see what the point is. It’s important because we’re told it is — that’s all.

Lang, Deol, Maquia, and Ariel (and the dog) from the anime movie Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms
Lang, Deol, Maquia, and Ariel (and the dog)

Next up are the Renato (the dragon things). At the start of the movie, there are only 5 Renato left in existence. They routinely die from the “red eye disease” that makes them go berserk before burning up. I’d have liked a bit more explanation of this.

Leilia assumes that the red eye disease is a product of the conditions in which the Renato are kept. The humans keep them chained up when not used in war. They’re pretty much just there to be a metaphor for the captured Iorph. But, it still would have been nice to have a definitive explanation.

And the last thing I want to bring up are Iorph-human hybrids. There are 2 we know of in the movie: Barlow and Medmel. Barlow has the Iorph’s long lifespan. Medmel does not. I guess Medmel just got bad genetic RNG.

Everyone Is the Worst

What surprised me most about Maquia is how all the characters ended up being terrible people. Some of them I can forgive more than others. But, they all made pretty selfish decisions, some of which I still don’t really understand.

Let’s go through a few of these selfish decisions while spoiling the rest of the movie.

First up is Ariel, who comes to resent his mother, Maquia. As he grows up, he realizes that he isn’t her biological child. He ages and she doesn’t, so it’s pretty obvious. It gets to the point that he basically disowns her. In the end, he does come back around, though.

Okay, so Ariel had a rebellious phase. I can forgive him for that even though the things he said to Maquia were uncalled for. But, I’m having a hard time forgiving Maquia’s actions.

Maquia kissing Ariel after he dies from the anime movie Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
Maquia kissing Ariel after he dies

After reuniting with Ariel and helping his wife give birth to their daughter, Maquia dips. She leaves Ariel, who’s like 20 and begging her to stay. And she doesn’t see him again until literal minutes before he dies of old age. She abandoned him, and for what? There was no real reason.

Speaking of abandonment, there’s also Leilia, an Iorph kidnapped by the humans. They forced her to marry the prince and bear him a child. But, since the child (Medmel) was a mortal girl, they considered both Leilia and Medmel failures.

Now, why does this make Leilia a bad person? Well, ever since giving birth, she wasn’t allowed to see Medmel, despite wanting to. And likewise, Medmel always wanted to meet her mother.

But, when they finally get to meet each other at the end of the movie, Leilia jumps off a cliff in front of her daughter. Again, for what?

Maquia: Recommended

I complained a lot in this review of Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms. But, I still think it’s an 8/10. It’s a very good movie and I do recommend it. But, the fact that it’s hard to like most of the main characters does leave a bad aftertaste.

You see, I’m pretty sure the movie wanted me to be crying at the end. But, instead, I was pretty mad about Maquia and Leilia abandoning their children.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button down below. Also, follow me on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server to discuss anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and Key Mochi for supporting this blog at the Heika and Senpai tiers this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

Bloom Into You

Bloom Into You

Bloom Into You anime series cover art
Bloom Into You

Series Overview

Bloom Into You (Yagate Kimi ni Naru / やがて君になる) is a shoujo ai anime that’s probably considered one of the best of the genre by a lot of people. If you’re wondering what the difference between shoujo ai and yuri is, I went over that in my review of Adachi and Shimamura.

Now, going back to the part about this being considered one of the best shoujo ai anime, I’m not someone who believes that to be the case. As you’ll see throughout this review, I think Bloom Into You is quite a bad anime.

Bloom Into You follows a fairly straightforward structure. The series takes place over the course of a year and follows the developing relationship between two girls. However, with this, the anime already runs into a problem: It doesn’t finish the series.

While the series as a whole takes place over a year, the anime is only about 6 months. And what that results in is the anime not really getting to the meat of the series. By the final episode of the anime, the relationship has barely begun.

Now, why is this such an issue? Well, I’m not really interested in the vast majority of the content from this series that isn’t focused on the relationship between the main girls. I could watch any other, average slice of life anime to get the same content.

And further, because the anime ends at the halfway point of the series, it doesn’t resolve anything. It doesn’t end at a good stopping point. It just kind of ends without tying up any of the major plot points built up throughout the season.

It’s not a satisfying anime to watch, and it doesn’t even end in a way that made me want to read the manga to find out what happens next.

Main Characters

The two main characters of this series are Yuu Koito and Touko Nanami. These characters are the next major issue I have with Bloom Into You simply because they’re not very likable. If I’m watching a romance anime, I want to like the characters.

But before I get into the characters’ personalities, let’s take a moment to look at their appearances. The character designs in this series are extremely boring. They’re bland, they’re flat most of the time, and the girls just aren’t cute.

Yuu’s and Touko’s personalities aren’t all that much more interesting than their character designs. And in fact, for both characters, their lack of personalities is used to further the plot. But, since the series ends before their personalities actually develop, it just leaves them boring.

Yuu and Touko from the anime series Bloom Into You
Yuu and Touko

Yuu Koito’s defining personality trait is that she’s indifferent. She doesn’t reciprocate Touko’s love for her and instead just goes through the motions because that’s what’s expected of her. Yuu doesn’t know what it means to be in love, and frankly, she doesn’t care to find out.

Touko Nanami’s defining personality trait is that she doesn’t have a personality of her own. Her personality is acting how she thinks other people expect her to act. This could have been interesting if the anime didn’t abruptly end.

But, the worst part of these characters is actually the dynamic of their relationship. I’ll go into it in more detail in the following section, but it’s a very one-sided relationship with a prominent power differential between the two characters. In a lot of ways, I would say that the relationship between Yuu and Touko is more suspect than that of Yuzu and Mei in Citrus.

How to Groom a Boring Girlfriend

To understand why Yuu’s and Touko’s relationship is so problematic, we need to look at the power dynamic between them, their personalities, what they’re each seeking from the other, and both their actions and words.

Things start off rocky when you realize that Yuu is a first-year student within the student council while Touko is a second-year student who’s the student council president. Already, we can see that Touko holds some amount of power over Yuu.

On top of that, there’s the fact that Yuu is unsure of herself because all of her peers have experienced feelings of love, but Yuu hasn’t. This leads Yuu to search for someone else who doesn’t know what love feels like. And she thinks she found someone she can relate to in Touko.

Touko kissing Yuu in the gym shed from the anime series Bloom Into You
Touko kissing Yuu in the gym shed

The problem is that Touko isn’t like Yuu at all. When Yuu confides in Touko that she feels comfortable around her because she thinks they’re the same, Touko immediately takes advantage of this and confesses to Yuu.

While Yuu was seeking someone else with who she could share her misunderstanding of what love is, Touko was seeking someone who she can love unconditionally and who won’t love her back. So not only is she taking advantage of Yuu but if Yuu ever does develop feelings for Touko, the implication is that Touko would no longer be interested in her.

And then, of course, comes the most suspect part of all. Part of Touko’s forcing of her feelings onto Yuu includes doing so physically. She knows that Yuu isn’t romantically or sexually interested in her, and yet she touches and kisses her without her consent. There were even times when Yuu explicitly stated that she didn’t want to engage in such acts.

Basically, this whole series is about how the student council president grooms one of her underclassmen into being her romantic slave. She forces herself onto Yuu both physically and emotionally and for some reason, people see this series as a wholesome romance.

If Touko was a male character, I think people would immediately try to “cancel” this series for promoting rape culture and I think they would have a valid case for doing so.


I know some people are going to try to argue that Yuu develops feelings for Touko over the course of the series. But what you’re not understanding if you argue that is that Yuu is being groomed and manipulated into having those feelings.

For me, Bloom Into You is a 4/10. I really can’t think of anything I thought this series did well. The fact that it stops arbitrarily without resolving anything is bad. The character designs and characters themselves are bland. And the relationship featured in the series is based on emotional manipulation.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of the Bloom Into You manga is available now. I read the whole thing, from start to finish to give the series a shot at redemption.

Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation

Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation

Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation cover art
Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation

Movie Overview

Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation (劇場版 のんのんびより ばけーしょん) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a movie from the Non Non Biyori series and it’s about the girls (and Suguru) going on vacation in the summer.

If you liked the Non Non Biyori anime series, you’re going to like the movie as well. It’s basically just a longer episode (about three times the length) with a different setting. The character interactions and comedy are all the same.

Now, this movie isn’t just your standard beach episode, but longer. We actually already had a beach episode — season 1 episode 5, titled “I Pretended I Forgot My Swimsuit.” No, this is a full-blown vacation in Okinawa.

— Slight Spoilers Incoming —

The movie starts off with Surugu winning a four-person trip to Okinawa and giving it to his Komari, Natsumi, Hotaru, and Renge. But, since those four can’t go alone, that means Kazuho has to go as well to chaperone them. And since Surugu was the one who won the prize, they bring him along as well.

However, the group expands further when Kaede also joins the trip as a second chaperone, Hikage begs to be allowed to go as well, and Konomi joins the fray as well for some reason. It’s been a few weeks months since I watched it and I honestly forget how Konomi becomes involved.

So what we end up with is the whole main cast going on a summer vacation to Okinawa. The only characters missing who appeared in the first two seasons are Yukiko, Hotaru’s parents, and Honoka and her grandmother.

Aoi Niizato

The only new character introduced in the movie is Aoi Niizato. Aoi is the daughter of the hostess of the inn our main group is staying at. She’s the same age as Natsumi, and so the two of them become friends.

Something to remember is that until this point in the series, Natsumi hasn’t actually had any friends who are the same age as her. The closest one to her age is her older sister, Komari, who’s one year older. And, the same is really true for all of the main Non Non Biyori cast with the exception of Renge.

Well, technically speaking, Hotaru also has friends her age from her old school. But she doesn’t have any friends her age who have been real characters in the series. Natsumi has always lived in the middle of nowhere, so she’s never had friends like that.

Renge, Hotaru, Komari, Natsumi, and Aoi from the anime Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation
Renge, Hotaru, Komari, Natsumi, and Aoi

Compared to the other characters in the series, I think Aoi is probably fairly low-ranked. Surugu effectively isn’t a character, so I’m not counting him. But I think I probably like Aoi more than Komari, Natsumi, and Hotaru. Everyone else who goes on this vacation is better than Aoi.

With that said, I do think Aoi improved Natsumi’s character a bit. The two of them are similar not only in their age but also in their hobbies. Natsumi is the sportiest of the main girls, and Aoi is a member of her school’s badminton team, so they bond over that.

However, they’re also very different in one major way. While Natsumi is known to shirk her chores, homework, and anything else she has to do, Aoi reliably helps out at her mother’s inn every day. This causes Natsumi to reflect on how she behaves — at least for the short duration of her vacation.

Is the Movie Necessary?

To me, the big question you should have at this point is, “is the movie necessary for watching the rest of the series?” The simple answer to that is no. I watched the movie before the third season began because I was told that it was canon. However, while it may be “canon,” you don’t need to watch it.

As of the writing of this review, we’re 10 episodes into Non Non Biyori Nonstop, and there’s been no reference to the events of the movie. If that changes over the next two weeks, I’ll update this review accordingly. But for now, there’s no need to watch the movie before Nonstop.

It was assumed that Aoi might make an appearance in nonstop, but that hasn’t happened yet (spoilers, I guess).

Renge sitting on Kaede's lap and enjoying a drink from the anime Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation
Renge sitting on Kaede’s lap and enjoying a drink

Now, does this mean that you should skip the movie entirely? I think that depends on your commitment to the series. I’m not usually much of a movie person, but I did enjoy it. It had a lot of good Renge content — which I’m all for — despite a large portion of the movie focusing on Natsumi.

If you wanted to skip the movie, though, you wouldn’t be missing out on any “important” information. Not that any information in Non Non Biyori is all that important. But like I said, the events of the movie haven’t even been referenced since.

And, to wrap up this section on the relevance of the movie, let’s see where it fits in the chronological order (featured in my review of Non Non Biyori Repeat). I’m not sure exactly where it falls, but I’d place it after season 1 episode 6. It takes place at the end of summer vacation, and season 1 episode 7 is the first episode back to school, so I’ll place it just before that.


In the end, I gave Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation a 7/10. It’s a good movie, but it’s not anything spectacular. Really, it’s exactly what I expected based on the TV series; and exactly what I’d expect from Non Non Biyori is still pretty good even at its worst.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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.


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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