11 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Inushinde /

Non Non Biyori Episode 1: More Like Non Non BORING

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Seriously though, it’s alright.

Non Non Biyori is a series that wears its iyashikei label proudly, albeit not obnoxiously. The iyashikei label carries with it certain responsibilities that must be abided by: A primarily female cast, a younger character talking in deadpan that makes up approximately 99% of the series’ humor/fanservice, and a strict adherence to a “no excitement ever” policy. Basically it’s the kind of show that we at The Cart Driver collectively drool over.

For the most part, it holds up its end of the bargain almost to a fault. The only male with screen presence spends half of that time trapped in a wooden floor, and the only thing approaching excitement is a missed bus ride toward the episode’s end. Basically, it does all it can to deliver the message that day to day life is to be savored, and not callously disregarded in favor of frivolous material gains and unnecessary stress. Most importantly, convenience does not necessarily equal happiness. Sometimes, I can’t help but think that this message is being peddled to the wrong demographic.

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For what it’s worth, there is a certain tranquility to be found here, even with the constantly out of tune recorder and harmonica BGM that viciously mauls any potentially negative emotion that might otherwise sprout. The show does a great job at cultivating an ideal environment for the viewer to project their idyllic fantasies on, thanks in part to making the village feel virtually untainted by the scourge of modernity. The setting is lovably rendered, but lacks a personality to really bring it to life; personality would imply some kind of excitement after all, which we already covered as a bad thing.

It’s somehow not boring (and not at all creepy I swear), to play witness to school-age children frolicking about without a care in the world, and periodically reminding me that they leave their houses unlocked at night. They aren’t memorable and dynamic leads, but they do a great job at conveying the laughable irrelevance of their existences in as endearing a fashion as possible. Also, for a show with Silver Link’s involvement, there’s a surprising lack of sexual focus. The fact that it involves middle schoolers only makes this more surprising. The camera refuses to do anything but show off the lovely scenery, and not once does a character mention tits.

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Ultimately, the actual characters and their lives play second fiddle to the series’ insistence on bombarding its viewers with gorgeous pastoral scenery. Even the message that the countryside holds untold visual riches is overshadowed by the insistence on forcing that scenery on the audience. This isn’t a bad thing, since it is very pretty, but it does make the appeal of the show rather one-dimensional in nature. Still, at the very least Non Non Biyori will probably keep up its “momentum” for most of its run. I’d hardly call it a good start, but it sure as shit isn’t bound to get anybody riled, unless they really hate rural Japanese villages for some reason.

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11 Comments

  1. Kiraly
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I don’get it, is it boring or non-boring? Or non-non boring as in not not boring, or very emphatically non-boring?

    • Posted October 9, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Its a collection of all the trvial, dumb, and awesome thoughts you thought as a 5-year old with too much time on your hands and not a care in the world as to what other people would think about it. Boredom is awesome. Boredom is pure. Boredom breeds brilliance.

      tl;dr Its non non boring.

      • ANON
        Posted October 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Think of it this way: If you’re a fan of scenery porn then you won’t get bored.

    • Someone Else
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Not sure if you’re an Iyashikei hater or just really good at analysis in general

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      I wasn’t bored, but I wasn’t going to pass up such a low-hanging fruit of a title. This is one of those shows that proves a lack of any kind of impetus can be refreshing.

  2. fathomlessblue
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Could be worse, I keep reading the title as Num Num Biryani, and immediately suffer hunger pangs.

  3. Someone Else
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Cool, this one got covered in first impressions. Other than scenery porn, their lack of common sense which is usually to make gags with in any anime is for the first time not out of place. They effectively make use of the setting to setup the jokes which feels genuine and not forced for the sake of funny. Also this is the first time in so many years that I actually liked another Iyashikei anime since Aria (Which is 3 years ago?). Other Iyashikei like Tamayura or Sketchbook was just meh.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      There is definitely a natural sort of fluidity here. I also liked the jokes and the way that they contributed to the peaceful, cheerful atmosphere. Nothing really stood out, scenery aside, but that’s why it works. Definitely like it better than Tamayura too.

  4. Pusswookie
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    “Also, for a show with Silver Link’s involvement, there’s a surprising lack of sexual focus. The fact that it involves middle schoolers only makes this more surprising.”

    I’m afraid I don’t understand this concept. What do you MEAN they don’t fetishize middle schoolers? The hell else are they for?
    I can’t be the only one who is thoroughly confused by this sentiment.

  5. Nagiasa
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Remember the Gargantia and all the “healing” we received from that? Curse you Gargantia and all the meh you caused! Good thing I dropped that sea slug by adding large quantities of salt.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Hey, Gargantia was alright. It just OD’d on Heart of Darkness a bit is all.

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