Non Non Biyori: A Soothing Story Set In The Sticks

Nyanpasu!

Non Non Biyori was a show suggested to me by various people after I praised Yuru Camp. Yuru Camp was a show about a group of friends who explore the beautiful countryside of Japan through camping. Non Non Biyori takes this a step further by focusing on the inhabitants of a much more rural countryside, and how they kill boredom day-to-day.

Here’s the summary from MAL

Asahigaoka might look like typical, boring countryside to most; however, no day in this village can ever be considered colorless thanks to five students of varying ages occupying the only class in the only school in town. The youngest student is first grader Renge Miyauchi, who brings an unadulterated wit, curiosity, and her characteristic catchphrase, “Nyanpasu!” Then there are the Koshigaya siblings consisting of the quiet ninth grader and elder brother Suguru, diminutive eighth grader Komari, and the mischievous seventh grader Natsumi. The recent arrival of Tokyo-raised fifth grader Hotaru Ichijou, who appears overdeveloped for her age and thus naturally holds an air of maturity, rounds out this lively and vibrant group of five classmates.

From the get go, Non Non Biyori is NOT an anime driven by any sort of plot. It’s about as pure a slice-of-life as you can get, and its focus is more on the gorgeous rural scenery and the characters’ personalities. It’s also a show that takes its time, in a good way. Every aspect of the show, from the comedy, the emotional moments, and even just the gorgeous background shots are all given ample time to sink in for the viewer. A lot of runtime is dedicated to almost no dialogue, and just watching scenes play out. Yes, there is still a lot of talking, but the intercut long silences is what gives this series that feeling of peace.

The show has a very playful nature, and this extends to the characters. There’s not a lot of conflict that happens in the series, most of it is character-specific situations that get resolved in the episode, but they do leave a good mark when they happen. Most of the series is comedic, but not in a laugh out loud way. It’s a more pleasant sort of comedy, the type that has you smiling throughout all of the episode due to adorableness or goofiness. Renge provides most of the dry and eccentric humor I enjoy-

The Koshigaya Siblings Komari, Natsumi and Suguru provide a lot of the more traditional slapstick and situational humor-

And Hotaru’s borderline worship of Koma-chan’s cuteness is a wonderful source of humor as well.

However, the best part about the comedy is that it all feels like natural things every character would do, not a joke that the writer shoehorned in. This makes the characters feel authentic and not just a vehicle for the writer to put in “moments.” Their actions are all organic and happen naturally.

While the character designs are clearly anime as heck, the rural province of Asagihaoka is breathtakingly realized in all of its photogenic glory.

Full Album of BG shots here for your wallpaper needs.

It truly sucks you into this beautiful mountain town, and the little touches of civilization in this lovely mountain overgrown with green makes it feel much more alive.

The overall playful nature does make the few dramatic moments punch a lot harder, because you do feel for these characters, and you do get what they’re going through.

One of my favorite episodes that encapsulates the feel of the show perfectly is the one where Renge meets another girl, Honoka, who is her age and is visiting her grandma over the summer.

Renge is at first genuinely confused seeing a child as old as she is, but visibly gets very excited getting a playmate she can relate to. We are treated to a silent montage of their time together, and it’s quite adorable as you would expect. We get a lot of great shots of their summertime fun.

You know where this is going. Summertime friends can’t last forever, as Honoka’s father gets called home early for work, and without even being able to tell Renge. So, Renge naively goes to her house and expects her to be there, only to find she’s already gone. Now, we as adults, know that people come and go. Renge,a young child, doesn’t understand that yet. We get treated to a solid minute of an uncomfortably close shot of her blank face processing the fact, before she eventually breaks down into tears, the first emotion we see out of her that wasn’t the usual blank expression. Remember when I said the show took its time? That is uncomfortably true here.

To further drive the point home, remember all those cute shots of them playing together? They show you the same scenes without them right after.

Fortunately enough, Hanako sends her a letter promising to come back next summer, with a heartwarming photo of the two of them.

That about sums up why I love the show. It’s a wonderful and soothing experience with great characters and gorgeous cinematography, wrapped up in a beautiful mountain rural town. I give Non Non Biyori a 9/10!

I really enjoyed this show after a stressful summer,and if you haven’t watched this yet, go and watch it!

2 thoughts on “Non Non Biyori: A Soothing Story Set In The Sticks

  1. I love this anime. Yes, the nature aspect blended well with the comedy. Renge is also a massive scene stealer, and I have no prob with that. I still remember the 50-50 egg, haha.
    Yuru Camp is more SoL though, but yeah, the shows are very similar. you should just go for Tamayura or Aria the animation for the full nature experience. haha

    Liked by 2 people

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