I have become hopelessly enamored with a new series that is utterly and bafflingly compelling. It spits in face of every narrative convention and rejects a hundred years of cinematic wisdom about pacing, action, and drama. I cannot begin to explain how deeply enjoyable this show is and cannot recommend it highly enough.
It is unapologetic winter camping propaganda aimed at high school girls in Japan. Yes. You read that correctly. The series appears to be designed entirely to encourage girls to go camping in fall and winter in and around the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan and I cannot get enough of it.
What happens in this series you ask? Teenage girls prepare to go camping. Then they go camping. They have a pleasant time.
Seriously, that’s it. There’s no conflict, no fighting, no romance, no danger. It isn’t scary, or sexy, or mysterious. There are no manufactured dramas or contrived misunderstandings. Their adventures include starting fires under reasonably favorable conditions and exploring new campgrounds. The main suspense is whether their meals will turn out well and whether they will get a good night sleep.
So what makes this series so compelling if nothing happens? It is deeply and profoundly soothing. Laid Back Camp is a story about people being kind, pleasant, and reasonable with each other. It is about friendship and camaraderie. It is about celebrating simple pleasures and taking time to take in and appreciate the beauty around you. It is a respite from the ceaseless, frenetic deluge of fear, and violence and, anxiety that pours constantly from our screens. It’s as though someone set a cartoon inside Bob Ross paintings. It’s that soothing.
In a typical episode, you can expect to see the characters set up tents, cook dinner, and spend significant screen time appreciating varied vistas, which have been lovingly rendered for your viewing enjoyment. There is also a narrator that will occasionally provide helpful advice and explanations about camping.
I recommend this show to anyone that has any appreciation of the outdoors, or just needs to escape into something truly relaxing. If you happen to know teenage girls that might be into late season camping, this is probably the greatest single show ever created.
You’ll feel better.
Images from Laid back camp belong to C-Station studio, Japan
Featured image by Edgina36