7 CommentsTwelve Days / By Inushinde /

12 Days of Anime #8: A Girl and Her Dolls


I couldn’t keep my non-Non Non Biyori streak up. I’ve written a few hundred words on why I enjoy Non Non Biyori in the past, but the words never seen to form beyond “this show is great”. Going into detail about why I feel that Non Non Biyori’s one of the best shows of the year is a daunting task because I don’t quite know how to put into words what makes it work so well. “Everything” isn’t exactly the most specific descriptor.

There’s excellent interplay between our cast of kids and their rural surroundings, helped by a heap of scenery porn, but it’s not trite enough to only ride the coattails of Japan’s UNIQUE FOUR SEASONS, like less inspired slice of life fare. There’s equally good interplay between each of the characters, without pulling their personalities into the stagnant crotch stain of routine and forced comedy like other shows this year did (Cough Yuyushiki cough). But even that wouldn’t be enough to elevate it to one of my favorite shows of the year if it couldn’t, in some way, compete with the likes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and the finale of Girls und Panzer.

After thinking on it for a few days, I decided that it boils down to one thing—Non Non Biyori can make a character utterly obsessive, stitching together dolls of the object of her affection, without accidentally (or intentionally) making her creepy.


Non Non Biyori’s qualities are best encapsulated by one sketch in an earlier episode, where recent transfer student Hotaru is shown cuddling with plush dolls that she crafts in the image of Komari, one of the classmates that she becomes rather enamored with. When Komari and the rest of her friends decide to pop in for a visit, Hotaru does all she can to hide her handiwork, ultimately failing.

Up to this point, Hotaru is portrayed as incredibly mature for her age (around 11), both in the looks and personality departments. The only part of her that isn’t unnaturally refined is her demeanor toward Komari, which borders on overly-affectionate. She’s probably the least developed of the main cast, but it’s still easy to get a sense of her personality coming from a happy childhood, and generally being indicative of a mentally-sound individual. She isn’t going to assault people for talking to Komari anytime soon, or try to abduct her, at the very least. The attraction itself comes across more as nebulous “liking” than anything lustful or possessive, and isn’t creepy because it’s so childish. Now, if it continues well into her teenage years, then it might be worth looking into.

To actually see this seemingly arbitrary personality quirk in action goes a long way toward fleshing her out. It’s nice seeing a girl in anime with the emotional capacity of a fifth grader that actually IS a fifth grader, who also has enough going for her that her relationship with Komari isn’t her only distinct personality trait. This moment best exemplifies Non Non Biyori’s skill at giving characters well-rounded personalities, while knowing how to play them up for laughs that don’t feel exploitative. It’s all in good, harmless fun.

Of course it helps that the Komari plushes are all cute as hell.

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  1. shytende
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Non-Non Biyori is just really good at what it does.
    It does understand perfectly what makes a Slice of Life/Feel Good Anime.

    Sometimes, I’m not asking for any more than that.

  2. Someone Else
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    The innocent obsession is actually just one part, this because the show itself keeps heading on different directions. One time it will be a gag show, another it’s a drama, another it’s an Iyashikei level of super calm anime. It’s no wonder why you had a hard time describing this show because it really is, but at least it makes it entertaining

    • shytende
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s just a Slice of Life serie, honnestly.
      Some moments are happy, others are sad, because that’s what life is about, but nothing truly bad will happens on this show.
      That’s a show that truly understand what Slice of Life means and can vary enough to be interresting each episode.
      It’s easy to keep people interrested every weak when incredible things are happening, but keeping you interrested whith just everyday life shows a true mastership.

  3. Fumoffu!!
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Yuyushiki >> Non Non Biyori.

    I am definitely not trying to rile you or anything.

    • shytende
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      I really think you can’t compare Gag Series with Slice of Life Show.
      Gaga series just try to mah=ke you laugh, while Slice of Life makes you connect with the characters.

      Slice of Life are such superior. So, Non-Non Biyori > Yuyushiki.

      (I actually liked Yuyushiki, but Non-Non Biyri is objectively better)

  4. Mormegil
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Renge is best girl.

    • Posted December 19, 2013 at 2:50 am | Permalink

      Agreed. She’s going to grow into one hell of a heartbreaker, provided she can find somebody who appreciates fur seal calls to the same extent she does.

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