A Slice of the Countryside Life
When the season starts, there’s a whole bunch of shows you’ve probably never heard of. And for someone like me, who is able to watch pretty much everything, without having it stack up too much, sometimes there are shows that you weren’t really caught by the description, but show up on the CrunchyRoll “Updated” page. And they don’t look obviously awful, so you give them a try…
What’s It About?
All the characters
Non Non Biyori is so slice of life, I’m surprised that there isn’t a crust around the edge of the screen (although in Japan, they seem to always cut off the crusts). Set in the countryside of Japan, it’s about four girls who are the only four girls in the area. So they’re the only students in the school (well, besides one boy, but he’s more scenery than a character). Natsumi (Sakura Ayane, Akane from Vividred) and Komari (Asumi Kana from Nyarlko-san) Koshigaya are 1st and 2nd year middle schoolers (respectively), while Ren-chan (Koiwai Kotori, Iwai from Dansai Bunri) is a first grader. And transferring in is Ichijou Hotaru (Murakawa Rie, Aoi from Vividred), a 5th grader who just moved to the area from Tokyo. That boy I mentioned is the Koshigaya’s older brother, but he gets stuck in a hole early and never speaks, so he’s not really a character.
You make do with the school you have
The main focus of the show is the daily life of these four girls, and “Hotarun”’s adjustment to the change in her life. It’s not angsty, it’s not emotional, it’s just… nice. The whole show is nice. The only source of consternation in the first episode is the girls wondering if they really do live in the country. And obviously they do, but what’s the criteria for that being a problem? If things are inconvenient? In the end it doesn’t really matter. They are where they are, even if they have to wait 2 hours for the next bus.
A Pretty Way to Spend a Half Hour
The animation by Silver Link is nice, with lovely shots of the countryside, and pretty shots of things like the blooming sakura they visit to eat dessert. An idyllic setting, it’s really brought to life in the show, with some amusing quirky things thrown in like the neighbor on a mobility scooter driving across the screen or a cow here and there. The pacing is definitely on the ‘healing’ side, with the most dynamic thing that happens being the girls missing the bus (more dynamic than their game of dodgeball). The background sound is nice, and helps bring you into that country feel. The incidental music fits the mood (even Ren-chan’s recorder playing), and the OP by nano.Ripe is typical for them, nice to listen to. The ED is sung by the four characters, and is fitting for the show.
As if you weren’t sure it was the country
Just one more to make sure
It’s hard to say a whole lot about this show, but I found it really enjoyable. It was a perfect way to wind down, and just enjoy half an hour. It’s not complicated, it’s not full of conflict (really, this show makes Tamayura or Aria look like a thrill ride of existential questioning), it’s just relaxing and fun. And the thing is that it felt slow, but it never felt draggy. If I had to come up with one thing it did wrong, it would be that Ren is a little bit too ironic for a first grader. That’s really it. So I’m definitely going to keep watching and I hope it stays enjoyable.