003: Non Non Biyori
Aired: Fall 2013, Summer 2015
Genres: Slice of Life, Iyashikei, Comedy, School, CGDCT
Date watched: Nov 24 2018 – Nov 25 2018, Mar 28 2019
Series watched: Non Non Biyori (12 ep x 24 min + 1 ep x 20 min), Non Non Biyori Repeat (12 ep x 23 min + 1 ep x 24 min)
Why I started watching: Internet recommendations, as I was looking for good Slice of Life shows. This one seemed to be the cream of the crop..
..and I was not wrong. If peace could be intense, pardon the oxymoron, then this show would be the epitome of that. Cheerful, upbeat music, lovable characters that were cute without being hyperactive, and a plot that unabashedly did nothing but show you the gentle lives of the characters, all came together to deliver this gem of a series.
Non Non Biyori tells the story of a girl (Hotaru, third from left) who moves with her parents from the big city to a small countryside village, and her experiences as she immediately meets new best friends and learns about living life in rural Japan. The show is full of serenity and beauty, featuring lush, rolling countrysides, bubbling brooks, crisp forests, crop harvests, loud livestock, and more. The little problems that crop up as they explore and learn about the world are akin to small ripples in a huge shaded pond, fleeting memories buried in the warm, comfy blanket that is this show.
The second season does something very clever as well – as the first season takes place over the span of a year, the second season tells thirteen different stories within the same year, instead of advancing time to the following year. In this way, the show never has to deal with the passage of time and people leaving and growing up, instead simply allowing the viewer to get more absorbed in the town that time forgot. There is a movie out this year (2018) that I haven’t watched, however, that does take place a little bit past the timeline of the first two seasons, suggesting that if there ever is a third season, perhaps that will also move forward into the future, allowing for some actual character growth.
Still, the characters as is are great – each one has their own strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncracies, and there is a rotating stable of friendly minor characters that occasionally stop by to interact with them as well. This show taught me what an iyashikei (healing anime) was, and is a perennial contender for my #1 favourite anime. The way the two seasons overlap over the same time frame also allow for comparisons between events that happen around the same time, or allow for alternate viewing orders where you can watch episodes from alternating seasons in order to get a chronological feel to it all. Very neat!
All four songs from this show made it to my music stash, with the two OPs in particular (NNB’s Nanairo Biyori and NNBR’s Kodama Kotodama, both by nano.RIPE) holding down #2 and #1 on my top 10 OP list respectively for quite a while. The two EDs (NNB’s Non Non Biyori and NNBR’s Okaeri, both sung by the main characters) are no slouches either, however. All in all, if this show had been bad, I’m not sure I would have continued watching anime after Luluco and this. However, this delivered a fantastic complete package, and solidified my interest in finding more great shows!
Final Score: 10/10