Title: Non Non Biyori
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Summary: Asahioka Branch School, a combined elementary and middle school in an isolated village, has only five students total, four girls and one boy. The girls are best friends, and pass the season with traditional activities like harvesting mountain herbs and fishing.
Review: This one is probably going to be a rather short review since you can’t say much about a slice of life, comedy anime. You either watch them or you don’t. I personally decided to give this one a go because slice of life anime can be pretty entertaining. They generally aren’t anything special, and most of the time they can be skipped every season. Non Non Biyori wasn’t an exception squeezing its way out of an avoid watch for some key moments.
Slice of life rely heavily on story because you can’t really make cool action scenes or quick camera cuts. That doesn’t mean you should completely shoo it away though. Many of the slice of life anime that stood out to me were the ones who took the time to make beautiful backdrops, talented lighting, and original character design. Non Non Biyori didn’t really do it for me. It was your stereotypical animation without much attention to detail. It did have some sweet scenes between the four friends from time to time. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. Instead the anime decided to focus most of its energy on quick quips and one liner jokes.
Non Non Biyori decided to do what most slice of life do and focus on silly everyday activities and put their own spin on it. It wouldn’t be a slice of life otherwise right? It was kind of nice taking the characters to the outskirts of Japan where things like cars, tall building, and arcades were unheard of. A part of me felt a little jealous of the quiet and peaceful life these girls experienced, becoming friends with anyone and everyone. Then I felt sad that they completely ignored one of the best characters in the anime, the brother. He was easily the most subtle, funny, and talented of the five. I only wished they gave him more time to shine on the screen because no one made me laugh as hard as him. Overall the series gave me a few smiles and chuckles through its airing and I’m happy they decided not to go past twelve episodes. There were some heart warming moments that made me a little nostalgic. It did what a slice of life was supposed to; it placed me in a relaxed state where my mind could shut itself off and simply enjoy the moment. The anime was something to pick up if you don’t want to invest too deeply in a series and still want to feel a small sense of satisfaction.
The first thing I’m going to mention is the opening. It instantly brought me back to “Esoragoto” from Sankarea and “Real World” from Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita. I’m typically not for singers with high pitch voices, but nano.RIPE’s is unique enough and always matches the fast paced beats so well. Needless to say the opening “Nanairo Biyori” was no exception. I’m so happy that she has managed to grab multiple opening and ending spots for many anime in recent years and hope to see more of her soon. The rest of the OST was a lot slower and gave off a very rural feeling with the recorder/flute versions of the background music. It was mostly different renditions of the same song, but each was just as sweet as the last.
Final statements: It has been announced that this series will get a second season, and I’m on the fence whether I want to watch it or not. I don’t really see the series providing any additional entertainment since it is a low priority watch. I’ll probably give it a go if I find myself with some more spare time since the first season offered a very relaxing atmosphere.